The following is the New Jersey Nursing Initiative (NJNI) weekly news roundup, highlighting nursing and health care stories from around the state.

Merger of Two Hospitals Could Increase Quality, but Also Concentrate Power (NJ Spotlight)
If the end of traditional hospitals concentrating services within their walls wasn’t apparent, the proposed merger of Hackensack University Health Network and Meridian Health made it clear. Not only would the new Hackensack Meridian Health include as many as 11 acute-care hospitals, but also it would include doctors’ offices, rehabilitation centers, skilled nursing, and assisted-living facilities.

Texas Nurse’s Ebola Infection Worries NJ Healthcare Workers (NJ Spotlight)
In the wake of a Texas nurse contracting Ebola from a patient, New Jersey hospitals are ramping up drills and training to better prepare their staffs to prevent any spread of the virus in the state. Healthcare workers have expressed concerns about what they should be doing to protect themselves and their patients, and groups representing nurses are calling for hospitals, the state Department of Health, and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to rethink Ebola safeguards.

Volunteers provide respite, friendly faces to those in need (The Sentinel)
The programs that the Interfaith Network of Care offers are more than just car rides and gatherings. They are long-lasting friendships that bring smiles and cherished memories. The Interfaith Network is celebrating 18 years this year as a network of volunteers from faith congregations and the community, providing services such as friendly visits, door-to-door transportation for non-emergency medical appointments, information and referral, telephone reassurance, respite care and Strong-For-Life exercises.