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Pat Magrath

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Appreciation

Posted by Pat Magrath

Thu, Apr 05, 2018 @ 11:43 AM

Pope-FrancisTo be appreciated for who you are and what you do makes us feel good about ourselves. It affirms that we’re doing a good job and we’re being recognized for it. Appreciation goes a long way at work, at home and how we connect with each other. We thought you’d “appreciate” reading this article because someone pretty special thinks Nurses are amazing and we do too!

"I thank her and I want you to know her name: Sister Cornelia Caraglio,” said Pope Francis as he remembered the nurse who saved his life at 20 years old. 

"When, at the age of 20, I was on the verge of death, she was the one who told the doctors, even arguing with them, 'No, this isn't working. You must give more,'" the Pope said during a meeting with thousands of nurses - members of Italy's national association of nursing professionals.

“And thanks to those things [her suggestions], I survived,” recalled the Pope. 

The Pope Thanks Nurses

Pope Francis thanked all nurses in attendance, "you are there all day and you see what happens to the patient. Thank you for that!" he continued, “many lives, so many lives are saved thanks to you!”

He spoke about the importance of the nursing profession and the unique relationships nurses form with all members of the healthcare team - patients, families, and colleagues. Pope Francis stated that nurses are at “the crossroads” of all these relationships. 

Furthermore, Pope Francis acknowledged the “truly irreplaceable” role nurses play in the lives of their patients. “Like no other, the nurse has a direct and continuous relationship with patients, takes care of them every day, listens to their needs and comes into contact with their very body, that he tends to,” stated Pope Francis. 

The Pope called nurses, “promoters of the life and dignity of the persons.”

He spoke about the sensitivity they acquire from “being in contact with patients all day," and addressed the healing power of listening and touch. Calling touch an important factor for demonstrating respect for the dignity of the person. 

He praised nurse’s continuous and tiring commitment to their individual patients despite the patient’s societal status. Calling a nurse’s care particularly important in a society which often leaves weaker people on the margin, only giving worth to people who meet certain criteria or level of wealth. 

Pope Francis called the nursing profession “a real mission,” and referred to nurses as, “experts in humanity.” 

When speaking of touch, Pope Francis told the story of when Jesus healed the Leper through touch. Encouraging the nurses, "we must recognize the importance of this simple gesture," Pope Francis said. "Mosaic law forbid touching lepers and banned them from approaching inhabited places. But Jesus went to the heart of the law, which is summarized in love for one's neighbor," stated Pope Francis.

While acknowledging the difficulty of the nursing profession, Pope Francis encouraged patients to have patience with nurses, to not demand things from nurses and to smile more at their nurses.

The Pope reminded nurses, "a caress, a smile, is full of meaning for one who is sick. It is a simple gesture, but encouraging, he or she feels accompanied, feels closer to being healed, feels like a person, not a number.”

Pope Francis encouraged nurses, to not forget the “medicine of caresses.”

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Topics: Nurse appreciation

Join Johnson & Johnson and DoSomething.org to Help Beat Cancer

Posted by Pat Magrath

Wed, Mar 28, 2018 @ 01:00 PM

give a spit.png

We’re posting this information about the “Give a Spit About Cancer” campaign to help spread awareness regarding healthcare disparities in bone marrow transplant recipients. As usual, white patients have a greater chance of finding a donor match than people of color. If more bone marrow donations are given by people of color, the % of matches in this population will increase. Please help us spread the word.

Since 2011, Give a Spit About Cancer has mobilized more than 8,000 young people to change patient lives through registering to become a bone marrow donor. Last year, Johnson & Johnson teamed up with DoSomething.org and the Give a Spit About Cancer campaign to help amplify those efforts.

Give a Spit About Cancer was established to help address a staggering health disparity that exists among bone marrow transplant patients: 77 percent of white patients have a chance of finding a viable donor, while black patients only have a 23 percent chance. By increasing the diversity of donor registries and targeting donors between 18 and 44, the campaign aims to do what nurses strive for every day: give all patients an equal chance, regardless of race.

Throughout this year’s campaign, DoSomething.org and Johnson & Johnson will take to social media to spread awareness and mobilize the community to take action. However, the campaign is much more than a social media movement – it is truly saving lives. Young people can help make a tangible difference by simply swabbing their cheeks with the provided swab kits, which adds them to the partner organization Be The Match®, operated by the National Marrow Donor Program® (NMDP), the largest and most diverse marrow registry in the world.

For donors like 19-year-old Veronica, diversifying the bone marrow registry is essential to providing life-saving operations, like those that could have saved the life of her friend Demarco, who had bone marrow cancer and passed away after a transplant rejection.

“I want to help people like my friend because he deserved to live his life and go to college, but wasn't able to achieve his dreams,” Veronica shared with DoSomething.org. “I'd hate to see more young people suffer from cancer when they are more than able to make this world a better place like Demarco did. For his memory - this is why I want to donate, to change someone’s life."

The Give a Spit About Cancer campaign launched on March 27 – now is the time to get involved. Visit DoSomething.org to find out how you can get a swab kit, start a drive on your campus, encourage your peers, and get involved in the movement. 

Topics: bone marrow donor, cancer awareness

Are You Worth Your Salt?

Posted by Pat Magrath

Mon, Jul 31, 2017 @ 11:16 AM

Values-1.jpgHappy Summer! We hope you’re enjoying your work, perhaps some time off, the weather, and your friends and family. I received this article in my inbox and thought it was perfect for you, our Nursing community, because it’s about how we approach our work and life. It’s about our principles, being appreciated, having balance in our life and more. Sometimes you just need to read something that makes sense and makes you feel good. Enjoy!

This article was written by Ron Culberson

Several years ago in Golf Digest magazine, I read a story about a young golfer named Charlie Siem. He was playing in a tournament and after making the winning putt, he bent down to retrieve his ball from the cup. Immediately, he realized that the ball in the cup was not his. At some point along the course, he had played the wrong ball.

Hitting the wrong ball in a golf tournament is grounds for disqualification. However, in Charlie’s case, no one else knew he had hit the wrong ball. Still, he presented the ball to the tournament officials and was promptly disqualified from a tournament he had just won.

This was a case of a young man’s principles guiding his decision—even though it was not an easy decision to make.


When I think of behavioral principles, I’m reminded of a phrase I heard as a child but had no idea what it meant. The phrase was, “He is worth his salt.”


As someone who cooks quite a bit, I didn’t think being compared to a cheap commodity like salt seemed particularly complimentary, but the phrase supposedly has its origins in ancient Rome where soldiers were paid in salt. At the time, salt was quite valuable.


And in the Christian
Bible, there are numerous references to salt. Most use salt as a metaphor about enhancing our lives the same way salt enhances food. Christians are supposed to be the “salt of the earth”, or to bring value to the world. Perhaps salt, like principles, is more valuable than I realized.

In
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey said, “Principles are guidelines for human conduct that are proven to have enduring, permanent value.”

Principles are the way we carry ourselves through life and work, and essentially, they are our salt. Our principles are the seasoning that makes life better. So, I thought I would spend the next couple of articles focusing on the principles I have chosen to guide my life and work. Hopefully, by seeing them, you will think more purposefully about your own principles and how they season your life. Then, hopefully, we can all be worth our salt.


Appreciation
One morning, after getting dressed for a presentation, I got my second cup of coffee from the free hotel breakfast bar. As I sat the cup down on the desk in my hotel room, the lid slipped off of the cup. The cup bounced onto the desk back up in the air and then coffee spewed all over me and the floor. I did not have much of an “attitude of gratitude” at that particular moment. In fact, I recall a few “salty” words that were brewing in my head. And yet, after my initial irritation, I realized that there were many things for which I was grateful.


On that particular morning, I was grateful to be working. I was grateful to be in a decent hotel with a free breakfast. I was grateful for my client and the audience who ultimately appreciated my presentation, despite their wondering why the sleeve of my shirt was brown.


Here is the funny thing about appreciation. Sometimes it’s offered too routinely and we fail to recognize the sincerity. Just like the person who salts their food without tasting it, it’s automatic and not purposeful. True appreciation is sincere intentional gratitude for the good things in our lives and by reminding ourselves of this on a regular basis, life tastes a little better.


Balance
The simple truth is that when we have balance, we don’t fall down. And we need balance in most areas of our lives. We need balance between work and play. We need balance between people time and alone time. We need balance between our spiritual, emotional, and intellectual experiences. Otherwise, just as too much salt can mask the flavor of our food, we don’t get to experience the full variety of flavors in our lives.


One year, I had taken on too many volunteer jobs in my Rotary club, my church, and my professional association. I was spending nearly 15-20 hours each week just keeping up with my duties. It was affecting my work, my family life, and my health. So, I had to cut back a bit and become more selective in the roles I took on. This balance helped me to do a better job in each area of my life.


Compassion
There is a common meditation practice called “Loving Kindness” which encourages us to both receive and give compassion. As someone who has a pretty active cynicism gland, this meditation is a wonderful reminder of the importance of compassion. In every situation, a compassionate attitude will give us more success and add substance to our relationships. Whether we’re opening a door for someone, saying “thank you” for a kind gesture, or just offering a smile to a stranger, kindness born out of compassion connects our hearts to others. Whenever I remind myself to consider what someone else might be experiencing, I always feel kinder towards them.


A few days ago, I mentioned to a women tending a hotel buffet that the sausage gravy was really good. And as a southerner, I told her that I know my sausage gravy. Her face lit up as if I had given her a great gift. She worked hard on her buffet items and was grateful that someone noticed.


We live in a world where negativity and aggression get the most attention. We can turn that around with a kind word and a generous spirit. Instead of “give me the salt,” perhaps we can say, “please pass the salt…and thank you.”


Excellence
As the author of
Do it Well. Make it Fun., I chose excellence as the foundation of my book. If we seek excellence in everything we do, we create a platform of integrity on which to build our success. But we may not always know what we need to do to achieve excellence.

When I took a motorcycle safety course in 2001, I assumed that I knew everything about riding a motorcycle because I had owned one in college. And since a motorcycle only has two wheels, I couldn’t imagine that there was that much to learn. Once I got into the class however, I discovered there were things I didn’t know I didn’t know. The class opened my eyes to my knowledge deficits.


Unless someone gives us feedback or points out our mistakes, we will never discover where we need to improve on the road to excellence. When I worked as the Director of Quality Service at Hospice of Northern Virginia, we used a 360-degree performance evaluation process. In other words, for my yearly review, I was evaluated by my boss, my peers, and the people I supervised. It was certainly an unnerving process but it was one of the most helpful ways to find out my strengths and where I needed to improve. In all areas of our lives, if we strive to determine where we need to get better as employees, parents, partners, neighbors, etc., then we really can enhance the days of our lives…like salt through the hourglass (a few of you will know that obscure reference!)


Fairness
When I was offered my first management job, I realized that two of the people I would be supervising were my peers from a previous job. In order to manage the department effectively, I needed to make sure I treated them fairly and that the other employees felt they were also being treated fairly. So, we talked about it before I took the job and agreed we could make it work. However, if my other staff had felt that I favored my former colleagues, my ability to supervise would have been compromised.


The concept of justice is based on fairness. None of us wants to be treated unfairly. We don’t want someone else to get a discount at the store when we’re not eligible. We want our children to get the same opportunities as other children. And we don’t like it when people who have more seem to get away with even more. Fairness is the basis for effective organizations and relationships. Every time we make a decision that affects other people, we might ask ourselves, “Is this fair to everyone involved?” It’s an ideal embraced by Rotary International and a good principle for the rest of us. When someone treats us fairly, we believe that they really are worth their salt.


Hopefully, these principles will help you think about your own principles and how you can “walk the talk” in your own life. Please know that my own process of living my principles is a work in progress. But isn’t that what life is all about? We’re on the journey just trying to make the next day a little better…or saltier! 

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Topics: appreciation, compassion, values, principles, balance

Frontier Nursing University Awarded $1,998,000 Nursing Workforce Diversity Grant

Posted by Pat Magrath

Tue, Jul 25, 2017 @ 11:46 AM

blobid1_1500648981783.jpgHyden, KY -- Frontier Nursing University (FNU) has been awarded the Nursing Workforce Diversity grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). The grant totals $1,998,000 in funding in support of a four-year project that will be led by FNU with assistance from several key partner organizations.

The goal of the Nursing Workforce Diversity (NWD) program is to increase access to high quality, culturally-aligned advanced practice nurses and midwives that reflect the diversity of the communities in which they serve. The grant, which provides $499,500 per year, supports a proposed project in which FNU will implement a comprehensive systems approach to implementing five evidence-based strategies to support disadvantaged advanced practice nursing students from recruitment through graduation. The social determinants of education will be used as a framework to assess student needs and guide activities throughout the course of the project.

The overall aim of the program is to increase the recruitment, enrollment, retention, and graduation of students from disadvantaged backgrounds. Through education and training in Frontier Nursing University’s advanced nursing and midwifery programs, these students will be prepared to provide advanced practice nursing and midwifery health care services across the U.S.

Findings from an American Association of Colleges of Nursing policy brief (2016) found that racial and ethnic minority groups accounted for 37% of the country’s population, yet minority nurses represent only 19% of the total registered nurse workforce (National Council of State Boards of Nursing Survey, 2013).  As minority population growth rises, so does the likelihood of these populations experiencing greater health disparities such as increased rates of maternal morbidity and mortality related to childbirth, infant mortality, chronic diseases, and shorter life spans compared to the majority of Americans. There is growing evidence that greater racial diversity in the health care workforce is an important intervention to reduce racial health disparities.  

“We are extremely proud and excited to receive this grant and to be a part of such an important project,” said FNU president Dr. Susan E. Stone. “We are deeply committed to the goals of the NWD program and helping to overcome barriers that hinder the success of our underrepresented students, from recruitment through graduation.”

The project’s primary objectives are: 1) to achieve minimum of 30 percent minority student enrollment by June 2021, the end of the project period; 2) to increase the racial and ethnic minority retention rate and 3) to graduate an average of 100 new nurse-midwives and nurse practitioners representing racial and ethnic minorities underrepresented in nursing each year of the project period. 

Grant funding will support personnel, consultants, and diversity training for faculty and staff.  Retention activities, including mentor programs and writing support will also be funded.  FNU students will also benefit from substantial scholarship support and professional development opportunities.  To achieve the goals of the program, FNU will formally partner with the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), the American College of Nurse-Midwives, Midwives of Color Committee (ACNM-MOCC), the National Black Nurses Association (NBNA) and Mona Wicks, a multicultural sensitivity and diversity training expert consultant.

View the grant announcement on Frontier Nursing University's website.
 
Contact: Brittney Edwards, Director of Marketing and Communications
 
###
 
About Frontier Nursing University:
FNU is passionate about educating nurse-midwives and nurse practitioners to serve women and families in all communities, especially rural and underserved areas. FNU offers graduate Nurse-Midwifery and Nurse-Practitioner distance education programs that can be pursued full- or part-time with the student’s home community serving as the classroom.  Degrees and options offered include Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP), Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or Post-Graduate Certificates. To learn more about FNU and the programs and degrees offered, please visit Frontier.edu.

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Topics: Frontier Nursing University, funding, Diversity and Inclusion, Health Resources and Services Administration, Nursing Workforce Diversity Grant, FNU

Hundreds Strike Outside Tufts Medical Center For Nurses

Posted by Pat Magrath

Thu, Jul 13, 2017 @ 11:08 AM

0712_tufts-strike-04.jpgFor many reasons, it’s always sad to hear about Nurses going on strike. You are the most dedicated and caring people we know, so for Nurses to call a strike, things have to be pretty bad. We’re saddened to share the news that the Nurses at Tufts Medical Center went on strike today.

Like most people, we immediately think about the patients affected, but we also think about you, the Nurses and how you’re affected. We hope this gets resolved very soon. Here’s the story. Please let us know your thoughts.

Nurses flooded the streets outside Tufts Medical Center Wednesday in the first strike of its kind at a major Boston hospital in 31 years as hospital executives vowed to lock them out for the next four days with no contract settlement in sight.

Starting at 7 a.m. Wednesday, nurses rallied, chanted, and carried signs outside the main entrance. Some 320 replacement nurses were brought in to work through Monday, and executives promised to keep the Chinatown hospital running without any interruption in patient care.

Hospital executives said about 60 surgeries planned for Wednesday were performed as scheduled, and patients were keeping their appointments.

“Outside of the organization, you may see what looks like a celebration,’’ said Dr. Michael Wagner, chief executive officer of Tufts Medical, referring to the nurses marching on Washington Street. “Inside this organization, we are completely focused. This has been a galvanizing moment for the organization.”

The strike came after about 15 months of talks failed to produce a new contract for the 1,200 registered nurses at Tufts, a 415-bed teaching hospital that treats children and adults.

The Massachusetts Nurses Association, which represents the striking nurses, says it is seeking increases in pay and staffing levels, but both sides deadlocked over another key issue: retirement benefits. The hospital wants nurses who still have pensions to move into defined-contribution plans, similar to 401(k)s, which would save the hospital money. The union has fought to keep the nurses’ pensions.

Mayor Martin J. Walsh, a former labor leader, urged Tufts’ administrators and nurses to return to the bargaining table.

“A prolonged strike or lockout does not help Boston, does not help the patients, and does not help find a resolution,” he said in a statement.

But unlike last year, when Walsh helped avert a nurses strike at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, the mayor said he has not been asked to help broker a deal at Tufts.

The union has said for days that its members were prepared to strike. But Julia Agri, a Tufts nurse for 9½ years, said she never expected to walk out.

When she finished working the overnight shift Wednesday morning, she was escorted out of the hospital along with other nurses. Then she grabbed a sign that read, “If Tufts Nurses Are Out Here Something is Wrong in There,” and joined her colleagues picketing on the sidewalk.

“Nurses love this hospital,” she said. “[I’m] feeling really sad it has gotten to this point.”

Mary Havlicek Cornacchia, a nurse at the hospital for 29 years and cochairwoman of the union’s bargaining team, said it was “heartbreaking” to strike.

“It’s not a place we want to be,” she said on the sidewalk. “There were a lot of tears this morning.”

Chief nursing officer Terry Hudson-Jinks, a member of the management team, said contract talks collapsed not over patient care issues but over money concerns.

“No one wins in a strike,’’ she said.

Currently, nurses at the top of the wage scale at Tufts make about $63 per hour. At the Brigham, the top wage is about $70 per hour. Nurses also have the opportunity to earn overtime and other additional pay.

Both sides agree that nurses’ wages at Tufts are below those of other Boston hospitals. Tufts officials say they want to rectify that by offering a 10.5 percent raise over about four years to nurses at the top of the pay scale.

All other nurses would receive a 5.5 percent pay hike over four years, in addition to 5 percent annual step raises, which are already built into the contract.

The 320 replacement nurses, hired for about $6 million, were brought in by a national staffing agency from across the country and trained off-site in preparation for the strike.

Hospital executives said the replacement nurses were hired on a five-day contract, so the striking nurses would not be allowed back into the hospital until Monday. But the striking nurses said they would try to return to work Thursday morning.

State health inspectors said they will remain at the hospital throughout the strike and lockout to monitor quality of care. Six officials from the state Department of Public Health arrived at Tufts at 6 a.m. Wednesday and stayed until noon, hospital executives said. They plan to return twice a day at unannounced times until the striking nurses return to work. The state Department of Mental Health is also at the hospital.

“We have been working closely with hospital leadership to prepare for this strike, and we have transitioned to actively monitoring operations at the hospital,’’ said Ann Scales, spokeswoman for the Public Health Department. “Throughout the coming days, we will continue to work with the hospital to ensure patients receive safe, effective, and high-quality care.”

The health department required Tufts to submit a comprehensive strike plan that includes staffing details, but the agency refused to release the plan to the Globe Wednesday.

The strike, in a traditionally labor-friendly city, drew a scores of supporters to the sidewalk outside the hospital, including union firefighters, laborers, carpenters, and a parade of state and city politicians.

“This is about a bigger promise, the promise that if you come to work every day and you work hard and you make sacrifices, you will have a pension, you will be able to retire,” Senator John F. Keenan, a Quincy Democrat, said at an afternoon rally with the nurses.

One nurse, Paula Sinn, said she had one patient set to receive an infusion for a neuromuscular disease who postponed treatment because she didn’t want to cross the picket line.

“So she made that decision before we heard from her doctor whether it was safe to do so,” Sinn said. “We were so touched. It makes me feel stronger to do what we’re doing because we’re doing it for people like her.”

Jacqueline Buzzard, an Exeter, N.H., resident waiting for a heart transplant, kept her appointment at the hospital Wednesday, despite the strike. The nurses, she said, supported her when her heart ailment was diagnosed.

“It was traumatic for me, but they were there,” she said. “I want them to get everything they need.”

While Bob Kilroy’s daughter was inside the hospital being treated for a major heart issue, Kilroy wrote “patient’s father” at the top of a union sign that read, “I stand with the Tufts nurses.” Then he walked the picket line with the nurses, saying they have provided compassionate, quality care for his daughter for years.

“These are the people that have been here for her for 17 years,” he said through tears. “So much love and dedication.”

Boston Globe

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Topics: strike, nurse strike

Finding Humor in Life's Challenges

Posted by Pat Magrath

Wed, Jun 28, 2017 @ 04:15 PM

PAY-Laughing-Cheetah.jpgOccasionally I receive Ron’s eNewsletter and I always find them thoughtful, humorous and to-the-point. In this one, he offers examples of the importance of using humor while under stress, most of them in medical situations. I hope you find them clever and humorous too! 

I wish my brain consistently delivered me a funny and snappy comment like the people in this newsletter or my neighbor, Kay, who is always so witty and sharp at 86 years old! She is delightful to be around. How about you? Are you quick-witted and find the humor in most situations? Perhaps you have an example you’d like to share?

Written by Ron Culberson

For instance, a few years ago, while going through airport security, I was trying to remove my watch. I had recently changed the band and was having trouble unhooking it. As I attempted to take it off, the watch slipped out of my hand. I grabbed for it and accidentally smacked it twenty feet across the floor. Nervously, I turned to the TSA agent and said, “Time flies, doesn’t it?”

He laughed. I retrieved my watch. And I made my flight without incident.

Dropping your watch is not a huge problem. I understand that. But when we can find humor during life’s more challenging experiences, the situations feel a bit less challenging. So, I thought I’d share some of my favorite examples from family, friends, and colleagues who used humor to cope with their particular predicaments.

———

Recently, I spoke for the US District Court clerks in western North Carolina. The Clerk of the Court, Frank Johns, shared that he was diagnosed with an unusual type of intestinal cancer in 1999. His daily treatments consisted of two chemotherapy injections administered in each side of his, well, back side. Luckily, Frank is married to a nurse so she could administer the injections.

On some days, Frank noticed that the injections didn’t hurt at all while on other days, they hurt a lot. So one day, when he didn’t feel any discomfort from the shots, he asked his wife to mark the spots on each cheek with a Sharpie. A couple of days later, he went to a tattoo parlor and had two permanent bullseyes placed where the spots were. Oh, and by the way, Frank is an avid gun enthusiast so the bullseyes were appropriate on a many levels.

In Frank’s case, humor definitely hit the spot! And it made a challenging situation better. Today, Frank’s cancer is in remission.

———

Early in my career, I spoke at a local support group for people living with serious illnesses. I asked the participants how they used humor to cope with their health challenges. One man said that when he went to see his doctor for a checkup, he placed a Beanie Baby crab under his hospital gown. When the doctor lifted the gown to examine him, he said, “Sorry, I’ve got crabs.”

The doctor burst out laughing.

When you’re dealing with a serious illness, edgy humor can be one of the greatest reliefs for the tension. It’s like fighting fire with fire. In this case the patent’s reference to an STD lead to ROTFL.

———

A colleague was telling me that when her father died, she went to the funeral home to purchase an urn for his ashes. However, she felt that the urns on display were too serious and that they didn’t fit her father’s fun personality. She felt that they were just too “urn-est.” Haha.

So, she solved the problem by burying her father’s ashes in a beer growler! He had always loved beer and she felt this represented his life much better than a more somber container. I guess you could say one bad urn deserved another (sorry).

———

My friend Theo Androus's dad was quite a gregarious guy. Once, Theo told him that his haircut looked awful. His dad said, “Son, the only difference between a bad haircut and a good haircut is two weeks.”

As Theo’s dad got older, he began to have physical problems due to diabetes. On one evaluation visit, his doctor told him that he would probably need to have his leg amputated at some point in the near future. 

Theo’s dad asked, “When you cut off my leg, can I have it back?”

The doctor responded, “Why?"

His dad said, “Because I want to bury it under a tombstone that says, ‘The rest is yet to come.’”

Theo’s dad was the epitome of using sharp wit to battle serious life challenges. He was definitely a cut above the rest.

———

My friend Michael Aronin was born with cerebral palsy. All his life, he has dealt with people who are uncomfortable with his speech and his unsteady gait. But, as a comedian, he has always responded to this discomfort with humor.

Once, when Michael was nine, he was in a department store with his mother. He tripped and fell. A sales person came over to help his mother pick him up. As they were lifting him to his feet, he said, “I shouldn’t have had that second beer.”

Michael has a brilliant way of straightening out the uneven road in his life.

———

A couple of weeks before my father died, and when it seemed pretty clear that he would not get better, a few friends and family came to visit him in the hospital. My dad was a private person who didn’t like to talk about himself or the seriousness of his situation.

One day, our pastor and my dad’s friend Neal were in the room. The pastor asked, “Is there anything you want to tell anyone?”

In his typical witty way, my father said, “Well, Neal owes me five dollars.”

We all laughed and my dad successfully avoided one more serious conversation.

———

Sometimes it may feel like nothing is funny. Other times, humor is the only way we can get through the day. A touch of humor can be just the balance we need so that we don't get knocked off our feet by life’s challenges.

So, laugh a little. It’s good for what ails you.

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Topics: funny, humor, humor during difficult times

She told him to get back in the truck

Posted by Pat Magrath

Mon, Jun 19, 2017 @ 02:50 PM

0ddea7c3cbfc4d408c0ae6307490e386-0ddea7c3cbfc4d408c0ae6307490e386-0.jpegThere were many texts, but it was the incomprehensible text encouraging a young man to get back in the truck that sent him to his death. Perhaps you haven’t heard of this story. It started as local news in Massachusetts, but when it went to trial, it became national news.
 
It is the senseless, shocking, and tragic story of a suicidal young man and a young woman who communicated primarily through texting about their depression and suicidal thoughts. He had attempted suicide before, but with her encouragement, he finally succeeded. This case received a lot of attention because the young woman, accused of involuntary manslaughter, was not physically present when he died. Yet through texting, she shamed and encouraged him to complete the act. Why? What was her motivation and what was she thinking?
170610114404-michelle-carter-conrad-roy-split-exlarge-169.jpeg
To learn more about this story, please read and then share your thoughts with our community. What do you think about the verdict? What should her sentence be? Clearly there are mental health issues here. Do you think she should be held accountable?
 
Learn more about the case here www.boston.com
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Topics: laws, depression, Massachusetts, suicide, michelle carter, national news

Men In Nursing

Posted by Pat Magrath

Tue, Jun 13, 2017 @ 09:57 AM

Male-Nurse.jpegEven though women comprise an estimated 90% of the Nursing industry, opportunities have been steadily increasing for men. Since 1970 the number of male Nurses has grown from 2.7 to 9.6% of the industry. Some of the reasons more men are attracted to Nursing is that jobs are secure and pay between $40,000 and $60,000. Here's a deeper look at opportunities for men in Nursing. 

Geography of Male Nurses

In some states the percentage of men in Nursing is much higher than the national picture. In Nebraska, for example, male Nurses outnumber female Nurses by a 3-1 margin. But in all other states women are the majority. In California, 20% of Nurses are male.

Excelsior College in Albany, New York has partnered with the American Assembly for Men in Nursing (AAMN) to encourage more male Nurses. The goal of the AAMN, a national organization with local chapters, is for male enrollment in Nursing programs to reach 20% by 2020

Changing Attitudes About Nursing

One of the reasons why women dominate the Nursing industry is due to  traditional perceptions in our society. One of the main stigmas men have faced in the past is the stereotype that Nursing is a woman's job. Another perception has been that men in Nursing are not able to be admitted to medical school.

Despite a long history of men in Nursing going back to ancient Rome, in the 19th century cultural gender roles began to favor women as medical assistants. Emphasis on Victorian values of that era in the United States escalated the stereotypes of gender roles. The low point for male Nurses was during the Great Depression, declining to 1%. 

These perceptions are changing, though, just as more women are becoming physicians. Already in the field of Nurse Anesthetists about 41% are male. The average annual salary for this occupation is $162,000. 

Reasons Men Should Consider Nursing

  • Nursing shortage
  • Nursing is an industry with growing opportunities 
  • Variety of high-paying specialties
  • Dispel outdated gender myths and provide industry diversity
  • Work in a variety of settings - hospital, office, school, homecare, teaching, etc.

If you're a male who wants to pursue Nursing as a career, you should focus on Nursing more than gender. It's a rewarding occupation on many levels for both men and women, especially for people who enjoy caring for others. While Registered Nurses in America earn an average salary of about $52,000, more specialized Nurses earn over $72, 000. The job will also expand your knowledge about health, which you can apply to your own life and circle of friends. 

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Topics: male nurse, diversity in nursing, men in nursing, male nurses

The 2017 $5,000 Education Award Winner Is...

Posted by Pat Magrath

Tue, May 23, 2017 @ 11:49 AM

…and our 2017 DiversityNursing.com Annual $5,000 Education Award Winner is… Tom Dion.

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Tom is a Memory Care Unit Manager at Cape Heritage Rehabilitation and Health Care Center in Sandwich, MA on Cape Cod. Tom was surprised and very happy when I called him to deliver the good news that he is our 2017 Winner!

Tom didn’t get into Nursing right away. His journey started at Westfield State University in MA as a student in Exercise Science to become a Physical Therapist. He graduated in 2008 and received his BS in Exercise/Movement Science. After school, he worked a variety of jobs, including moving furniture, medical equipment technician, as well as ice sculpting for weddings, the Bruins, and other functions.

He was always drawn to healthcare and when deciding on a new career path, he looked to do something that had more meaning. In his words, he “needed a spiritual change”. In 2012, he went to Nursing school at Signature Healthcare Brockton Hospital School of Nursing and graduated with an RN diploma. I asked him what was the draw to Nursing.

“I like the idea of helping people. Nursing provides fulfillment and meaning.”

While growing up, Tom spent a lot of time with his grandparents. He was very close to them. He was drawn to working with the geriatric community because of his understanding and love for his grandparents.

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Right out of Nursing school, Tom started working at Cape Heritage as a Staff Nurse doing sub-acute rehab. After 1 year, he was offered a position as the Wound Care Department Head and promoted to Assistant Director of Nurses.

Tom has worked there for 2.5 years and has gained valuable administrative and management experience. He’s now a Unit Manager of the Memory Care Unit, which is a restraint free facility. The memory care unit is his favorite because he’s able to “lend a voice for the patients that aren’t able to speak for themselves.”

"The residents provide the purpose that I was looking for."

He is always assessing his patient’s capabilities to ensure they are provided with everything needed to maintain their optimal level of function.

“It’s important to pay attention to your resident's behavior, because it often provides the most crucial insight you have into identifying a problem.”

He talked about a male patient of his, who requires reassurance on a continual basis. He is unable to communicate his needs at times, which may be as simple as which day of the week it is, what time it is, or using the restroom. “Working fast to address the root cause of his worry, and keeping him comfortable is a challenge I look forward to every day.”

It’s important to have a sense of humor because in the memory care unit,

“You live in their world”.

The reality of their world is abstract, a world that they can and will explain to you, in bits and pieces. “The rewarding part of my job is working with the residents to complete these thoughts and fill in the gaps.” When helping the residents, these moments create a lasting impression that leaves him with a sense of fulfillment he hasn’t gotten anywhere else in life. As a co-worker frequently reminds me, “when I leave work, Tom, my hands are clean and my heart is pure.”

Cape Heritage also provides hospice care. It’s not an easy job, but it is very much appreciated when family members thank them. Tom is often in awe of his team and the work they do. They are truly special people to work with this population.

I asked Tom about being a guy in Nursing. He said it was a big transition from working with mostly men to working with primarily women. He said “it’s been interesting in a good way” and he doesn’t feel he’s treated differently because he’s a guy. He’s treated well and enjoys his Monday – Friday 7am-3pm shift.

Like so many Nurses I talk to, Tom says the best part about Nursing is it can lead you in so many directions – hands-on Nursing, teaching, case management, etc. “There’s always something different you can be doing.” He’s enjoyed experiencing different parts of Nursing.

Tom’s future plans include getting his WOCN (Wound Ostomy & Continence Nurse) certification. He remembers one particular female patient that stands out. She came in with a wound the size of a basketball on her back and it was deep into her spine. He could actually see her spinal column. Because of the technology available, CPI (closed pulse irrigation), he was able to disrupt the bacteria and create a completely healthy environment. Many people thought it was impossible to heal and close her wound, but within 7-8 months she was completely healed!

While working full time, fishing and enjoying activities outdoors, Tom plans to pass the national boards and receive his WOCN certification by the end of this summer. Teaching is in his future as well.

Congratulations Tom Dion – we are proud of you and see great things in your future!

Registration is open at DiversityNursing.com for our 2018 $5,000 Education Award.

Topics: Nursing Education, Education award, Award Winner

The Wave Of Retiring Baby Boomer Nurses Is Coming Here's How To Prepare

Posted by Pat Magrath

Thu, May 04, 2017 @ 03:56 PM

ea30f5a1f5294dc91ecb08bfb6bdb02a.jpgEach generation has a nickname –Millenials, Gen X, Baby Boomers, etc. I am a baby boomer and this article is frightening to me. It discusses the tens of thousands of baby boomer Nurses that are starting to retire and will continue to retire over the next few years.
 
As baby boomers continue to age, medical needs increase. What is tough to face is the wealth of experience and knowledge the baby boomer Nurses have, which their baby boomer patients need, will be leaving the Nursing profession. This article points out 4 action items hospital leadership should be taking to deal with a new kind of nursing shortage.

Beginning in the early 1970s, career-oriented and largely female baby boomers embraced the nursing profession in unprecedented numbers following large increases in health care spending after the introduction of the Medicare and Medicaid programs. By 1990, baby-boomer registered nurses (RNs) numbered nearly one million and comprised about two-thirds of the RN workforce. As these RNs aged over the next two decades, they accumulated substantial knowledge and clinical experience. The number of boomer RNs peaked at 1.26 million in 2008, and, after a brief delay in the early part of the current decade (likely associated with the Great Recession), the baby-boomer RN cohort began retiring in large numbers. Since 2012, roughly 60,000 RNs exited the workforce each year, and by the end of the decade more than 70,000 RNs will be retiring annually. In 2020, baby-boomer RNs will number 660,000, roughly half their 2008 peak.

The retirement of one million RNs from the nursing workforce between now and 2030 will mean that their accumulated years of nursing experience leave with them. We estimate that the number of experience-years lost from the nursing workforce in 2015 was 1.7 million (multiplying the number of retiring RNs by the cumulative years of experience for each RN), double the number from 2005 (see Figure 1). This trend will continue to accelerate as the largest groups of baby-boomer RNs reach their mid to late sixties. The departure of such a large cohort of experienced RNs from the workforce means that patient care settings and other organizations that depend on RNs will face a significant loss of nursing knowledge and expertise that will be felt for many years to come.

The exit and replacement of retiring RNs will not occur uniformly because health care delivery organizations in some regions of the country will confront faster RN retirements and slower replacements of their RN workforce (especially the New England and Pacific regions) compared to other regions of the country (the Southern and Central regions). Consequently, some organizations will experience bursts in RN retirements that may result in temporary nursing shortages and disruptions in care delivery. How can health care delivery organizations overcome the loss of so much nursing knowledge, wisdom, and expertise?

Health care leaders must recognize that the retirement of the RN workforce has only recently begun, that it will intensify over the coming years, and that the loss of RNs with decades of experience creates multiple risks. Foremost, the quality of patient care could decrease as new and less experienced RNs enter the workforce and replace RNs with decades of experience. This is not to suggest that RNs with fewer years of nursing experience are less qualified to provide high-quality nursing care. Rather, it is to acknowledge that the longer an RN is in the workforce, the knowledge accumulated over many years is likely to increase a nurse’s ability to effectively manage all types of clinical and organizational challenges.

Relative to novice RNs, experienced RNs are likely to be more adept at identifying complications and unexpected changes in patient conditions sooner and respond appropriately. They are also more likely to know how to manipulate the organization’s culture to “get things done,” make clinical assignments that better match the knowledge and skills of nurses with the needs of the patient, serve as role models and mentors, and deal effectively with physicians, administrators, and others to assure the well-being of patients and their families. All of these attributes can matter greatly in providing a consistent, predictable, and safe patient environment. It is not difficult to recognize these nurses—often they are the clinical and organizational leaders who are counted on to ensure smooth operations of clinical and administrative systems.

Health care organizations must also recognize that the retirement of so many experienced RNs will occur commensurate with the aging of the country’s nearly 80 million baby boomers. Not only will growing numbers of elders increase the demand for RNs, but because three in four people older than age 65 have multiple chronic diseases, the intensity of nursing care required to manage this medically complicated population will also increase. Aging baby boomers will especially benefit from care provided by the most experienced nurses—the very nurses who are retiring from the workforce.

Four actions should be taken by hospital chief nursing executives, hospital patient care unit managers, and human resource officers to both anticipate and act to prevent the negative consequences that could ensue as RN retirement accelerates.

First, it is important to gather information on an organization’s nursing workforce to ascertain when and how many RNs are expected to retire and identify the nursing units, departments, and patient populations that will be affected. Sharing this information with physicians and other clinicians who will be affected and seeking their involvement will be critical to mitigating potential harmful consequences.

Second, hospital leadership should prioritize working with department and unit leaders to engage soon-to-be retiring RNs to learn what can be done to delay their retirement—for example, decreasing hours and number of workdays, modifying their responsibilities, improving the ergonomic environment to minimize injuries, or revising organizational policies and clinical conditions that hinder and dissatisfy nurses. Similarly, older and more experienced RNs could be offered opportunities to fill new roles in community engagement, patient navigation, or education and prevention.

Third, it is important to encourage the creation of programs that bring older and younger RNs together to identify the knowledge and skills needed by rising RNs that can be imparted by older and more experienced RNs. Fourth, review (and strengthen as needed) succession planning to assure that retiring nursing managers will be replaced by RNs who are well-prepared to assume management of clinical and administrative operations on patient care units. Future RN leaders could be identified and partnered with soon-to-be retiring RNs in management positions and participate in formal programs in management and leadership development, team building, communications, budgeting, program development, and other leadership roles.

It is imperative that health care leaders recognize that as the retirement of RNs ramps up, a different type of nursing shortage will emerge—one of knowledge, skill, experience, and judgment, all attributes that contribute to the successful clinical and administrative operations of complex health care delivery systems. Now is the time to anticipate and prepare for the retirement wave of the nation’s RN workforce.

Figure 1.  Number Of Years Of Experience Lost To The Registered Nurse Workforce, 1979-2030

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Topics: baby boomers, retirement, retiring nurse, nursing experience

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