ProPublica: VA nurses scrutinized after patient deaths in two states

After a patient died last year at a Veterans Affairs hospital in Manhattan, federal inspectors discovered nurses in his unit had a startling gap in their skills: They didn’t understand how the monitors tracking vital signs worked.

None of the nurses interviewed could accurately explain what would happen if a patient became disconnected from a cardiac monitor — which allegedly occurred to the patient who died, according to an October 2011 report from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ inspector general.

The incident followed two deaths in the cardiac monitoring unit at a VA hospital in Denver that raised similar questions about nurse competency.

Earlier this month, a broader review by the VA inspector general of 29 VA facilities found only half had adequately documented that their nurses had the needed skills.

Read the full story at  ProPublica.

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