DiversityNursing Blog

This Mom Wants All Parents To See This So They Don't Make The Same Mistake

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Thu, Jun 23, 2016 @ 11:41 AM

em3mp-baby-hot-water-hose.jpgChildren playing in sprinklers. A fun activity in the summer months. What could go wrong? Read on and find out.

An Arizona mother wants to warn other parents after her 9-month-old boy was accidentally sprayed with scalding hot water coming from the garden hose, causing second-degree burns to about 30 percent of his body.

Dominique Woodger said she was about to fill a little pool with water on Monday, as she normally does. When she turned on the faucet, the extremely hot water came out of the sprinkler head attached to the hose, getting all over her baby who was sitting on the ground.

"I thought he was crying because he was mad, because he hates when he gets sprayed in the face. I didn't think that it was burning him,” Woodger told ABC News.

Woodger said doctors say her baby will be okay, but she doesn't want other parents or children to experience the same pain.

"It's heartbreaking. It is. It sucks," Woodger said. "All of it was peeling. He had blisters all over the right side."

Parents, please remember to always touch the water from the hose before you spray it on your child.

Related Articles:  Practice safety around lakes, swimming pools

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Topics: parents, summer safety

Practice safety around lakes, swimming pools

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Tue, Jun 21, 2016 @ 02:01 PM

watersafe.pngAhhhh… don’t you love summer? On this 1st day of summer, we think it’s wise to post this article about safety around water. Whether it’s a pool, the ocean, a lake, pond or any body of water, safety is a must. As a mother and lap swimmer, I had my son in the pool at our local Y when he was an infant. Swimming lessons followed soon after. It’s extremely important you know how to swim for safety reasons because you never know when you’ll be in a life or death situation around water. As a Nurse, you’ve unfortunately seen situations with tragic outcomes.

While many parents worry about their children’s safety around swimming pools, as they should and need to do, drowning incidents can also occur in natural bodies of water, says information from the U.S. Swim School Association.

Safety precautions need to be taken around all water environments. According to the Center for Disease Control, about half of all drowning incidents occur in natural water settings such as lakes, rivers or oceans. And, almost 75 percent of people killed in boating accidents die as a result of drowning.

As the summer boating season begins, there are steps parents can be taking to keep their children safer in the water. The U.S. Swim School Association has put together the following guidelines to help keep children safe while boating this summer.

• Make sure your children know how to properly wear a lifejacket. And always have children under 12 wear a life jacket at all times when boating or using personal watercraft.

• Personal floatation devices should always be U.S. Coast Guard approved. Never substitute water wings or other recreational type floating toys for an approved PFD.

• Create a water safety plan for your family and have water emergency drills with your children covering how to recognize the signs of someone struggling in water and what to do in this type of emergency.

• Teach your children the “throw don’t go” rescue method. Instead of entering the water to help a struggling person, teach your child to throw in a rope, reach with a stick, paddle or other object to pull the person in.

• If you take your kids on a shore excursion while boating, be aware of tides and currents and other risks the ocean or beach may have.

• Non-motorized boats can also pose a risk. If your family is canoeing or kayaking be sure your child is wearing a life jacket and knows what to do if the boat flips.

• If your child is playing near a natural body of water and accidentally falls in, teach your child to roll over on his or her back and float until help arrives if exiting the water is not an option.

• Never use floatation devices or water wings to keep your child safe in the water. Rely on your direct supervision.

Swimming lessons are a great addition to help keep your child safer while boating and around open water. For more information about swimming lessons and water safety and to find a Unites States Swim School Association member swim school near you, visit usswimschools.org.

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Topics: water safety

Brigham, nurses lay out key sticking points in contract talks

Posted by Pat Magrath

Mon, Jun 20, 2016 @ 03:04 PM

ryan_bwhhospital1_met-6084.jpgNurses at Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston are threatening a walk-out next Monday, June 27, 2016. The Massachusetts Nurses Union and management at the hospital have been in negotiations and cannot agree on their contract. What are your thoughts about it?

Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the union representing its registered nurses are at an impasse.

Negotiators from Brigham and the Massachusetts Nurses Association have met 20 times to hash out a new contract, but after the latest session on Friday, the dispute seemed only further from resolution.

The union has threatened a one-day strike on June 27, and patient care is likely to be disrupted as hospital leaders scale down operations and hire temporary replacement nurses. The hospital says nurses will be locked out for five days if they walk out.

“In response to what the union said was their greatest concern, we worked hard to develop a generous wage and benefit package for every one of our nurses, despite the tremendous financial pressure in healthcare,” Dr. Ron M. Walls, Brigham’s chief operating officer, said in a statement. “We are disappointed that the union rejected our most recent proposal.”

Brigham is owned by Partners HealthCare, the state’s largest health care provider network.

Union negotiators said in a statement that “nurses are prepared to strike unless Partners offers a fair settlement that values patients over profits… Every patient deserves safe care and every nurse deserves a fair wage and equal benefits.”

So, what’s preventing an agreement? As hospital and union leaders prepared to continue talks Monday, they shared details of their latest proposals with the Globe:


Brigham nurses receive 5 percent annual raises for their first 18 years on the job. The hospital proposed keeping those step raises and adding a new step at the top of the pay scale. Those at the top would receive a 4 percent increase, plus a $500 bonus, over three years, bringing pay for full-time nurses at the top of the scale to $148,616. The average Brigham nurse currently makes $106,000 a year. The hospital also offered $1.4 million in bonuses, but after the union rejected its offer, it directed that money to hiring temporary nurses to work in case of a strike.

The union also wanted to keep step raises in place and add a top step to the scale. But it wanted bigger raises than the hospital proposed: a 5 percent raise for nurses at the top of the scale, and an additional 4 percent increase for all nurses over two years.


Brigham wants to place newly hired nurses into a “flex” insurance plan already offered to other Brigham and Partners employees. The hospital calls it a comprehensive plan with a wide range of options, which many union nurses have voluntarily selected in the past. Brigham officials said they offered to set a maximum employee premium contribution rate so they wouldn’t be able to increase what nurses pay without future negotiations.

But the union says the hospital is forcing newly hired nurses into “lesser benefits.” Officials say the hospital has already “lured” many nurses into its preferred insurance plan only to increase employee costs over time. They want new nurses to be able to choose from the same health insurance options that existing nurses have.


The union says Brigham has been cutting nurse staffing in one unit of the hospital, where patients are recovering from major thoracic procedures, such as lung transplants. Union officials say the unit was historically staffed with 15 nurses at a time, and they want to keep staffing at that level.

Hospital officials maintain that staffing in that unit is “comparable to or better than similar units within the hospital and at other hospitals throughout the state.” They want to set staffing levels according to the number of patients in the unit at a given time, and how sick the patients are. On Friday, the hospital asked the union to agree to a plan for submitting complaints about staffing to senior nursing officials, but the union said this was “unacceptable” because nurses already complain when they have concerns about staffing and “nothing is done.”

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Topics: nursing unions, strike, Brigham and women's

Our Top 5 Favorite Blog Posts

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Fri, Jun 17, 2016 @ 03:09 PM

  1. Nurses, Make Time For Stress Relief


  2. The Importance of Humor in Nursing

  3. Diversity In The Nursing Field


  4. Homeless Veteran Became VA Nurse To Help Others

  5. Important Questions Regarding Your Diversity, Inclusion and Cultural Proficiency

If you like these blogs you'll LOVE our newsletter!
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At an Orlando hospital, the victims kept coming — but so did an army of nurses

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Thu, Jun 16, 2016 @ 11:10 AM

la-1465936625-snap-photo.jpgAs we are all still grieving the horrific shootings in Orlando, this article points out the hospitals and medical teams who took care of the victims. As staff called co-workers at home and asked them to come in and help with the overwhelming number of patients coming in to the emergency room, the response was “I’ll be right there”. We know our Nurses across the country would respond the same way.

Things started out fairly well, by a busy emergency room’s standards. The Orlando Regional Medical Center had been warned that gunshot victims would be arriving from a nearby gay nightclub, and the first one was conscious, talking and medically stable.

“We didn’t know exactly how many we were going to get,” Dr. Kathryn Bondani recalled Tuesday. “We thought maybe they’re all gonna be like this, and that would be great.”

But then another victim from the mass shooting early Sunday at the Pulse nightclub arrived, and another, and another, in critical condition with devastating injuries. Four or five of the earliest patients died. And then victims kept coming – not always arriving in ambulances, but sometimes in the backs of trucks, sometimes seemingly just appearing in the halls of the hospital, awaiting treatment.

Gunshot victims aren’t an unusual sight at the 75-bed facility in downtown Orlando, nor are they for any trauma center handling the daily chaos of a major American city.

ut on Tuesday, staff at the hospital described what it was like to confront the aftermath of the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history, with one staffer likening it to a “war scene.” Forty-nine victims were killed.

Nine of those victims died “in the first few minutes” after arriving at the Orlando Regional Medical Center, which received 44 victims from the shooting, according to Dr. Michael Cheatham, the hospital’s chief surgeon. 

Six of the 27 victims still being treated at the hospital Tuesday were in critical condition, and doctors warned that some may die. Twelve victims were also treated at Florida Hospital in Orlando, where six remained in fair condition.

The victims arrived at Orlando Regional Medical Center in two waves over the course of Sunday morning. There was an initial batch of almost two dozen who arrived shortly after shooting began at 2 a.m. A second group arrived after police confronted and killed the gunman.

Some of the wounds were small, looking like they were from the shooter’s handgun; others were much larger, probably from the shooter’s .223-caliber semiautomatic rifle, according to Joseph Ibrahim, the center’s trauma director.

Some victims looked like they’d been shot from close range. Some looked like they’d been shot while running away. One victim had 11 gunshot wounds; another had four surgeries after arriving Sunday, doctors said. Many of those who died suffered head wounds, they said.

One of the victims taken to the hospital was clubgoer Angel Colon, who was shot three times in the left leg as he ran away from the gunman, and then was trampled by other club patrons trying to escape.

Speaking at Tuesday’s news conference, Colon said his left leg was “shattered” and he couldn’t run, so he lay down and played dead as the gunman began “shooting everyone that’s already dead on the floor.”

“I can just see him shooting at everyone, I can hear the [shots getting] closer, and I look over and he shoots the girl next to me,” Colon said.

“I’m next – I’m dead,” he recalled thinking as the gunman approached.

The gunman shot him in the hip and hand and moved on as Colon tried to show no reaction.

Soon the police arrived, and Colon said he could hear officers trading gunfire with the assailant. Colon saw an officer, and the officer grabbed his hand, saying, “This is the only way I can take you out.” He then dragged Colon out – as broken glass cut Colon’s back and his legs.la-1465936754-snap-photo.jpg

“I don’t feel pain, but I just feel all this blood on me, from myself, from my other people,” Colon said. “He just drops me off across the street” – outside a Wendy’s  restaurant -- “and I look over, and there’s just bodies everywhere, we’re all in pain.” There, an ambulance took Colon to the safety, and the chaos, of the Orlando Regional Medical Center.

he hospital normally gets alerts from a “very advanced” emergency medical service system that lets hospital workers know when certain patients are headed their way, said Medical Director Gary Parrish. This time, “there was really no advance notice at all.”

As more patients arrived, the on-duty staff began calling more doctors, and more nurses and other staffers, who answered their phones in the middle of the night with a common answer: “I’ll be right there,” according to surgical intensive-care unit director Chadwick Smith.

An army of nurses arrived – dozens who were supposed to be off-duty – along with X-ray and blood technicians as doctors set up a triage to treat the most gravely injured patients, said Bondani. Workers speedily cleaned up operating rooms after the end of one surgery so doctors could immediately begin another. Coordinators responded immediately whenever supplies ran low.

The scene was emotional, with “people in pain, people worrying about their loved ones, people not knowing where their loved ones are,” said Smith.

But doctors said that despite the chaos, the hospital’s emergency plan worked smoothly and efficiently. Aside from the initial patients who died immediately after the shooting, no one else at the hospital had died in the 48 hours since the attack, doctors said.

Smith got emotional at Tuesday’s news conference as he talked about watching hospital staffers arrive in tears to do their jobs.

“It was singularly the worst day of my career, and the best day of my career,” Smith told reporters. “I would think this is probably the same for every person you see standing up here.”

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Topics: Orlando Florida

Men’s Health Week: Prevent, detect, treat

Posted by Pat Magrath

Tue, Jun 14, 2016 @ 04:30 PM

reimagining-black-mens-health-418_c0-18-420-262_s885x516-1.jpgThis week is Men’s Health Week and this article serves as a reminder about the importance of men paying attention to their health. As a Nurse, you are in the perfect position to remind your male and female patients to take care of themselves, exercise, eat healthy, listen to their bodies and get help if they notice any persistent changes.

Men’s Health Week is being recognized across the U.S. during the week leading up to and including Father’s Day (June 13-19). And while I have said it before, it bears repeating, this is not just a men’s issue — we all need to be aware and support our men’s (young to old) good health and prevention of health problems. To that end, I am sharing key information in three parts to help spotlight Men’s Health. There are many medical and social factors that impact the physical, social, emotional and spiritual health and wellbeing of all our men and boys.

Studies show that culturally women surpass men in asking for help with their health and too, our boys and men have been raised in a culture “to be emotionally restrained, keeping things close to the vest, being in control, independent, competitive and to endure pain.” Research shows that many men only seek medical counsel when under duress from a family member or when their condition has deteriorated to a severe state. This in itself is an issue but add to this, these staggering statistics:

• Men die at much higher rates from the most common forms of cancers that affect both sexes
• Experts agree there is a focus on women’s health with multiple commissions – but the same lags for men with substantial amount of health disparities in men/boy’s health research

The purpose of Men’s Health Week is to heighten the awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among our men and boys. This Part 2 (of 3) spotlights some additional key concerns while underscoring that having an awareness of preventable health problems along with early detection and treatment of chronic illnesses are imperative to improving men’s health. (Part 1 is here.)

Dr. Nina’s What You Need to Know: About Men’s Health Part 2

Depression While depression in men is common, they often times do not gain the relief needed as they believe they have to be strong and in control of their emotions at all times. And mental health can also affect our physical health; depression can increase the risk for heart disease and other serious medical problems.

Research shows, too, that when feeling hopeless, helpless, or overwhelmed by despair, men and boys tend to deny it or cover it up by physical pain, reckless behavior, anger, or drinking too much. While a key step to recovery is to understand that there’s no reason to feel ashamed – that is more convoluted for men as a result of our culture.

And unfortunately, depression in our men can be overlooked—they can find it difficult to “open up” to talk about their feelings. This can result in the underlying depression going untreated, which can have serious consequences—men suffering from depression are four times more likely to commit suicide than women. It is important for any man to seek help with depression before feelings of despair become feelings of suicide.

Depression is not a sign of emotional weakness or failing of masculinity. It is a treatable health condition that affects millions of men of all ages and backgrounds, as well as those who care about them—spouses, partners, friends, and family. If you (or someone you know) is dealing with depression – talk honestly with a friend, loved one, or doctor about what’s going on in your mind as well as your body. Once correctly diagnosed, there is plenty you can do to successfully treat and manage depression.

Connecting and Isolation: I am currently reading a book by therapist, psychiatrist Dr. Rob Garfield (2015), titled: “Breaking the Male Code: Unlocking the Power of Friendship” about the “connecting” breakthroughs and valuable benefits from men that had personally felt disconnected – and an insightful introspect of what, as a culture, we reinforce in our men “boy code” – “guy code.”

Research shows men may have as many friendships as women have but the quality is often very different. If a guy has a good friend, he may see them once every 3 to 5 years. Social relationships and connection for men are equally vital to men’s wellbeing, as to women’s. Loneliness can send both men and women down a path toward bad health, and even more intense loneliness, studies have shown. We want to encourage healthy connections and examine our views and related behaviors on “guy codes.”

Decrease alcohol use According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men are more likely than women to drink excessively: 58% report drinking alcohol in the last 30 days and 23% report binge drinking 5 times a month (equates to 8 drinks). In addition to the numerous illnesses that chronic heavy alcohol use increases the risk for—liver disease, heart problems, dementia, cancer—being intoxicated has also been shown to elevate the risk for aggression, accidents, injuries, and deaths.

The Federal Dietary Guidelines on Alcohol Consumption state the following regarding drinking in moderation: For men 65 years of age and younger, no more than two drinks per day and for men who are older than 65 years, no more than one drink a day. They even recommend that some should not drink alcoholic beverages at all including those who cannot restrict their drinking to moderate levels; plan to drive or operate machinery; are taking prescription or over-the-counter medications that can interact with alcohol; have certain medical conditions; and are recovering from alcoholism.

According to a statement from an editor of American Journal of Men’s Health, “facts are that men put their health last and it has been researched to find that most men’s thinking is, if they can live up to their roles in society, then they’re healthy.” From infancy to old age, women are simply healthier than men. Out of the 15 leading causes of death, men lead women in all of them except Alzheimer’s disease, which many men don’t live long enough to develop.

Our men deserve better – their health needs all our attention, on every front — at home; in our communities; and the national level (as we advance more research as well as commission additional understandings to break through the health gap). Let’s rally to help make a difference!!

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Topics: mens health

Nurses, Make Time For Stress Relief

Posted by Pat Magrath

Thu, Jun 09, 2016 @ 11:45 AM

One of the most stressful professions is Nursing and all Nurses are under a tremendous amount of stress.  The most stressed are the ED, ICU and OR Nurses, but all are under a lot of pressure of one kind or another. Dealing with traumatic injuries and terminal illness involves a lot of stress and grief. Long hours dealing with grief and injury all take a toll. Hobbies, activities and classes are a good way to help relieve some of that stress.
There's a multitude of things you can do in the summer and anytime of the year for enjoyment and to relax.  Everyone has a different way of relaxing depending on their likes and dislikes.  From classes to hobbies to fun in the sun, there's something for everyone.
  • Classes:  Although classes in the summer are not usually work related, there are many that can help with relaxation.  There are classes available from Feng Shui and Tai Chi to crocheting, woodworking or pottery making.   If you live in or near a fairly large city, you should have literally hundreds of choices. Anything that involves learning something new, movement or concentration is good to relieve stress.

  • Hobbies:  Already have a hobby?  Summer is a great time to pursue them.  Hiking, gardening, camping and rock collecting are all good summertime hobbies. These are all outdoor, fresh air pursuits.  Some for indoors include reading, stamp or coin collecting, knitting, baking or cooking, making jewelry or scrapbooking. 
    Starting an aquarium is fun and watching the fish is very soothing.  Learn to play a musical instrument like the piano.  The right type of music can be very relaxing

  • Meditation: Learning to meditate is terrific for stress relief.  There are CD's you can buy or get from the library that can teach you meditation. There are also music CD's available for meditation.  Meditation also helps to lower blood pressure and relieve anxiety. Tai Chi is an active meditation and it's highly recommended to help deal with stress.
  • Exercise: Bicycling, walking, yoga and swimming are all good stress relievers along with most other forms of exercise. Take a dance class or Zumba. Get out in the sunshine with boating, fishing, water skiing, flea markets and garage sales. Go antiquing or to auctions. Plenty of sun and vitamin D are great for stress.  Be sure to wear a sunscreen!
Leave it at Work
There are many ways to relieve stress, but most important is to leave it at work when you walk out the door. We know this is easier said than done.  There are going to be days when you take things home with you. You can't avoid it.  Because you’re a Nurse, you are naturally compassionate, loving and giving.  It's part of who you are and why you became a Nurse.  
Some other ideas -- go to a museum, the local farmer's market, the zoo, take a drive in the country or a short trip.  Just getting away for a few days can do wonders for your stress level and give you a new perspective.
To sum it up, find something you like to do that makes you feel good.  Whether it's summer, winter, fall or spring there's something for any time of the year.
Want more tips on dealing with stress in the Nursing field? Just ask one of our Nurse Leaders, they will be glad to help! Just click below!  Ask A Nurse

Topics: stress

LGBTQ Youth Health: What to Talk About During Pride Month

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Tue, Jun 07, 2016 @ 12:05 PM

LGBTQPride.jpgIn honor of LGBTQ – Pride Month, this article touches upon the struggles this community deals with in their personal and professional lives. We all know how important support is from family and friends particularly for teenagers who are questioning who they are attracted to and sometimes, their sexual identity.

As Nurses dealing with the public all the time, this article talks about the importance of listening, accepting and guiding your family, friends and patients to the right resources. We hope you find it helpful.

While LGBTQ people have enjoyed the benefits of more acceptance from society, LGBT youth remain vulnerable to suicide, homelessness and negative health outcomes. This is largely due to their lack of acceptance from their parent or guardians. In our own practice and in numerous studies, it has been proven that more than anything else, the love and support from parents and families are critical to the health and success of LGBTQ youth.

One of the most tragic cases we have seen was Manuel’s (names and other identifying details have been changed), a 16-year-old Puerto Rican teen who was raised in the South Bronx by his mother. All his life he was taught by his family, culture and society that his future would be defined by a wife and kids, by his ability to support his own family and become the “man” of his house. However, while everyone was telling him who and what he should be doing, he had already started to dream of a very different life. From an early age, he knew he was attracted to men – but he kept his feelings buried for fear his family would disown him if they found out or that his sexuality would bring shame to his family. 

One day, his mother went through his cell phone and found text messages from his "best friend" describing how in love they were. His mother put all of her son’s belongings into garbage bags, put them on the curb and told him, “never come back until you like girls!” Manuel became homeless at 16, and with nowhere else to go, he began exchanging sex for money to live. Three years later, he was diagnosed with HIV. When he finally got help, he told his social worker he had two wishes: “That I had been born straight so none of this would have happened, and that my mother believed that I didn’t choose to be this way.”

Now meet Wanda, a 15-year-old African American teen born and raised in Brooklyn by two parents who were actively involved in their church. Every Sunday after church, Wanda and her parents had dinner together and used the time as an informal family meeting where everyone was encouraged to talk openly about their week. While she was sometimes attracted to boys, there was a girl on Wanda’s soccer team that she couldn’t stop thinking about. She tried to ignore her feelings for this girl and put more energy into dating a boy in her class who liked her a lot. One day after church, Wanda’s mother asked her how serious she was about the boy she was dating. 

Wanda shrugged that it wasn’t serious, but then she built up the courage to ask her parents: “What would happen if I liked girls, too?” Her parents sat in silence for a few seconds before her father replied, “We would love you no matter who you like.” “Of course we will always love you,” Wanda’s mother said, “but are you sure about this? This is very new for me, so you’re going to have to help us understand this.” 

How do you think you would react if your child told you they were LGBTQ? Parents play an extremely important positive or negative role in the lives of their children, especially when children are becoming aware of who they are attracted to or love (sexual orientation) or if they feel themselves to be a male, female or somewhere in between (gender identity). In fact research shows that children whose parents belittle or shame them are more likely to suffer from depression, attempt suicide and have poorer health than children whose parents are supportive

While you might be afraid that talking about LGBTQ issues with your child will encourage them to be gay or transgender, who they are or who they love is inherent to each person and emerges over time. The best thing for you to do is talk openly and love unconditionally. Don’t be hurt if your child discloses their feelings to someone else first. Most children who are exploring their sexual orientation or gender identity tell a friend, family member or health/mental health professional before they tell their parents because they would rather know for sure before they risk telling their parents. 

As a parent, you can emphasize that there's no risk in talking about these things, because you will love your child regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity – and that you're there for them when they are ready to talk. Being LGBTQ no longer means your child will automatically get HIV or will have a limited life. With pills to prevent HIV and the full range of family options (including marriage) increasingly available to LGBTQ youth, your support is crucial in supporting and accepting your child to emerge as a healthy teen and adult who can achieve their full potential.

While it can be difficult for young people and their families to speak about issues like sex, sexuality and sexual orientation, you are not alone. Many resources exist, such as PFLAG.org (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays), GLSEN.org (Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network), Family Acceptance Project (FAP.org) and our program, adolescentaids.org, which provides care for LGBTQ youth as well as HIV care and prevention services. If you know or think your child is LGBTQ, we hope you will use this year’s Pride Month as an opportunity to proudly celebrate your child and help them navigate this wonderful and challenging time known as adolescence.

Related Article: LGBT People In Rural Areas Struggle To Find Good Medical Care

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School Nurses Needed

Posted by Pat Magrath

Fri, Jun 03, 2016 @ 10:50 AM

Nurse_6.jpgWhile reading this article, I immediately thought of my friend who has been a School Nurse for years. She absolutely loves her job and “her kids” – that’s how she sees them. She talks about them all the time. She travels between 2 schools, an elementary school and a high school in the city of Boston. The schools are within a mile of each other. I am continually amazed at what she does for them. Some of her students don’t have the support at home they should have, so she’s always stepping in to be sure they have glasses if they need them; dental check-ups; and even clothing, including warm gloves and coats. She’s mindful of what every student needs and she’s always going above and beyond, like so many Nurses do. 

For some of these children, she is their support system helping them with things that go beyond medical issues. She loves watching them grow and taking care of them. Many of her kids come back to see “Nurse Cathy” after they’ve left the school. She loves them and they love her too.
This article talks about the increasing need for School Nurses. Perhaps this is something to consider? You may not have to get as involved as Nurse Cathy does, but perhaps there are school children out there that need you.

California falls significantly short of a new recommendation by an influential group of pediatricians calling for every school in the United States to have at least one nurse on site.

Fifty-seven percent of California’s public school districts, with 1.2 million students, do not employ nurses, according to research from Sacramento State University’s School of Nursing.

The call for a nurse in every school appeared this week in a policy statement by the Illinois-based American Academy of Pediatrics. The group’s new guideline replaces its previous one, which recommended that school districts have one nurse for every 750 healthy students, and one for every 225 students who need daily assistance.

The academy said the use of a numerical ratio was “inadequate to fill the increasingly complex health needs of students.”

Even when measured against that old yardstick, California’s schools are woefully deficient. Statewide, there is one nurse for every 2,784 students, according to 2014 numbers from KidsData, a program of the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health. That’s nearly four times more students per nurse than the academy had recommended.

And in some regions it is far worse than that. In Santa Cruz County, for example, there were 13,432 students for every nurse in 2014.

California’s school nursing shortage is troublesome, experts say, because nurses provide much more than basic health services to students. They help manage chronic diseases, assist with obesity prevention, and participate in emergency preparedness and behavioral assessment, among other things.

“School nursing is one of the most effective ways to keep children healthy and in school and to prevent chronic absenteeism,” said Breena Welch Holmes, lead author of the academy’s policy statement and chairwoman of its Council on School Health.

Kathy Ryan, a nurse in the San Diego Unified school district and president of the California School Nurses Organization, said the academy’s new guideline, which also calls for access to a physician in every school district, underscores the vital need to upgrade health services in the state’s schools.

She noted that the new recommendation is stronger than the previous ratio-based guideline for whole school districts. Having a nurse across town, even if it means a school district is meeting a numerical target, is not as effective as having a full-time nurse on site every day, she explained.

Ryan noted that when children are absent, schools loses money. So when school nurses help reduce absenteeism, they could eventually pay for themselves, she said.

California’s school nurse deficiency is due in large part to the fact that schools are not legally obliged to hire nurses, and employing them competes with other priorities for scarce funding, said Linda Davis-Alldritt, ex-president of the National Association of School Nurses and a former nursing consultant to the state’s Department of Education.

“Districts are stretched for money, and school nurses aren’t required, so they don’t see the need,” she said.

For California to attain the academy’s goal of a nurse in every school, the state legislature would need to make it a requirement, Davis-Alldritt said.

Related Article: Giving School Nurses Access To Medical Records Improves Care 

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Homeless Veteran Became VA Nurse To Help Others

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Tue, May 31, 2016 @ 03:53 PM

tomalligoodNursing assistant Tom Alligood wears camouflage scrubs during his emergency room shifts at the Dorn VA hospital because he says it helps other veteran patients realize they've "walked over the same dirt," the 62-year-old former Army tanker says.

And he doesn't just mean the desert sands of Iraq.

Alligood means homelessness, job loss and the mental anguish of being a long-time military veteran trying to adjust to the trials of a dog-eat-dog, backstabbing civilian world he says nearly ate him alive.

"I need to be around veterans like me. That's where I get my strength, my 'positiveness' from," says the burly former first sergeant who now sports a long, gray braid on his back.

Alligood says he has found a new mission - working in the sprawling Columbia VA hospital and helping as many of his one-time brothers and sisters in arms as he can.

And the VA is looking for more people like Alligood.

In an attempt to respond to the crisis of lengthy patient wait-times and a malfunctioning bureaucracy, VA Secretary Robert McDonald told Congress the agency hired about 14,000 health care workers last year, including 1,300 doctors and 3,600 nurses.

At Dorn, nursing administrator Ruth Mustard said the hospital hired an average of 85 nurses as well as 25 licensed practical nurses and 25 nursing assistants each year for the past two years.

Alligood's background as a military veteran is a plus, she says, and they can always use more like him.

"Veterans know what it takes to serve and what sacrifices they've endured and what some of their challenges have been that have affected their health," the nurse supervisor says.

Alligood said he can relate to his veteran-patients because the route he took from being a VA patient to VA caregiver has been a challenging one.

After leaving the Army, he took a job managing a concrete block plant. The job was eliminated when the plant was sold. Falling deep in debt, Alligood said he took to sleeping in abandoned buildings after losing his car and his home. Life in homeless shelters didn't sit right, either.

"I wasn't in the best of shape, mentally and physically," he said, his rumbling voice catching. "That was the lowest I've ever been."

Alligood said counselors told him about a VA program that put homeless veterans into counseling and back to work. He grabbed the chance to put in 40 hours a week transporting other veterans around the hallways of the sprawling Dorn VA Medical Center in wheelchairs and gurneys.

"It was for $5.15 an hour, minimum wage. But trust me, that $5.15 meant more to me at that time than anything," he recalls.

As he traversed the hospital's maze of corridors, Alligood said he made a point of greeting as many people as he could.

Alligood's banter with other veterans caught Mustard's ear. She told him the VA would pay for his schooling if he wanted to learn to become a certified nursing assistant and come back to help other veterans.

He went back to school and the Florida native returned to the Dorn VA Medical Center, where he's logged three years in an eldercare unit and six years in the emergency department.

"He has a fabulous rapport," Mustard said.

Emergency room nurse Karen Teal says the former first sergeant has a personal touch that put stressed-out patients "instantly at ease."

"He's our jewel," Teal says, beaming at her co-worker.

Alligood said his days in Iraq and Saudi Arabia help him understand veterans who might be dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder. He recounted one veteran he found experiencing a "flashback" in the ER.

"I was able to tell him, 'I got your back, I got your back,'" Alligood said, telling how he'd gotten down on the floor with the ailing veteran, assuring him he'd reached a safe place.

"I don't feel that this is a job for me. I feel that this is a calling, because I get to help so many people," Alligood said.

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