These experts from the UW-Madison faculty and staff have agreed to comment on breaking news, ongoing developments and trends in their areas of expertise. If you need help arranging interviews, email University Communications.
Experts on today’s news…
Cassie Voge on: Role of rural nurses
Last week, a bill in Washington was debated that proposed uninterrupted meal and rest breaks for nurses, as well as further protections against mandatory overtime.
"By putting these types of mandates on a critical access hospital that literally serves a handful of individuals, I would submit to you those nurses probably do get breaks," Republican state Sen. Maureen Walsh said on the Senate floor . "They probably play cards for a considerable amount of the day."
Not exactly, said nurses nationwide, using social media to share the importance of nurses in rural areas. So what do they do? Cassie Voge, an expert on nursing education, can discuss.
Ankur Desai on: Earth Day
Ankur Desai, an expert on climate change, can comment on Earth Day observed April 22, which kicks off Earth Week.
“Earth Day is but one day of our planet’s trips around the sun to reflect on how fortunate we are to be here and how amazing that unbelievably thin layers of atmosphere and soil sustain life as we know it," Desai says. "We harm these at our own peril."
Anna Andrzejewski on: Preserving art: Why Notre Dame Cathedral – and art – matter
Anna V. Andrzejewski had just finished teaching History of American Art and Architecture Monday when she heard the news – Notre Dame Cathedral was on fire. Her interest in art was inspired by a humanities class in high school taught by a retired college professor of art history.
“He convinced me places like Notre Dame mattered,” she says.
But why? To some, the answer is obvious. Andrzejewski offers her thoughts about what makes Notre Dame so significant and why preserving art is important.
"I always tell my students that 'the real thing' produces an entirely different experience – and nowhere is this truer than with buildings, because we, as human animals, move through space and it’s how we relate to buildings. With Notre Dame, pictures capture parts of its glory – but you can’t 'see' or 'feel' what the experience of it is like as one could have in the Medieval period. You might have a picture of the stained glass, but relating that window to the nave, or the building as a whole, can’t happen without being there."
Read more here.
Fabio Gaertner on: Tax reform impact
The most recent U.S. tax reform included a substantial corporate tax rate cut from 35 percent to 21 percent. Proponents of the policy deemed the decrease to be necessary to increase U.S. competitiveness abroad, while opponents argued tax cuts would not improve U.S. firms’ ability to compete globally.
A new study led by Fabio B. Gaertner, associate professor of accounting & information systems at the Wisconsin School of Business at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, along with Jeffrey L. Hoopes at the University of North Carolina and Braden Williams at University of Texas at Austin, found that the latest tax reform impacted foreign firms’ stock returns unevenly, shifting the competitive landscape. While U.S. markets and the rest of the world on average saw positive returns, Chinese stocks experienced a total market value decrease of about $237 billion in response to the latest U.S. tax reform.
“Our research indicates that investors believed U.S. firms would be better able to compete with Chinese firms as a result of the tax reform,” says Gaertner. “In fact, the pattern of negative Chinese returns and concurrent positive U.S. returns is consistent with the political argument that U.S. businesses were at a competitive disadvantage before tax reform, at least with Chinese firms.”
Linsey Steege on: Nursing errors and patient safety
Criminal charges for a medical error are unusual, but recently a former nurse at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn., was arrested and charged with reckless homicide and abuse in February for making a medical mistake that resulted in an elderly patient's death by mistakenly taking the wrong medicine out of a dispensing cabinet. The American Nurses Association issued a statement criticizing the charges, saying that "the criminalization of medical errors could have a chilling effect" on health care workers' willingness to report errors. Linsey Steege, a systems engineer and UW–Madison School of Nursing professor and an expert on healthcare safety, says that blaming nurses for system errors doesn't improve patient safety. She can speak to measures she believes are more effective.
"There is a lot a health system can do after an error to prevent it from happening again. But blaming the human, oftentimes a nurse, does nothing to improve the quality of healthcare deliver," Steege says. "What it does do is scare health professionals and make them feel like they can’t share when something wrong or they almost made an error but it didn’t hurt the patient. And that is a big problem."