DiversityNursing Blog

Instagram’s Graveyard Shift

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Wed, Feb 04, 2015 @ 12:44 PM

By JEFF SHARLET

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The photograph that Markisha McClenton posted on Instagram is a self-portrait, a close-up that is muted in dim light. She might be on her way to work. She might be coming home. Her workdays begin and end in the dark, and they are dark in between. She’s a lab technician in Jacksonville, Fla. Her specialty is blood. She has worked these dark hours since her son was 7. “Freedom,” she told me over the phone from her lab. That’s why she works these hours: The freedom to work at night and to raise her children during the days. To her, this is good fortune. She is smiling in this photo. But her eyes are midnight eyes, 3 a.m. eyes. Why take a photo at that hour? “People forget about us, the night shift,” she said. The #nightshift. That’s the hashtag she used. It’s how I found her.

I’ve been working at night myself for a long time now. Once it was out of choice, a preference for the quiet hours. More recently it was because I had no choice. Insomnia. One night, I was drinking my third cup of coffee — because when you can’t sleep, you might as well stop trying — and ignoring the deadline looming the next morning. Instead, I stared at the matrix on my phone, my own red eyes scanning a tiny sample of some 670,000 photographs under #nightshift. Most of them were people like me, awake when they didn’t want to be awake. And like me, they were looking at the screen in their hands, held up by the one in mine.

Night Life

This is the ghost world of #graveyardshift (#nightshift’s sister hashtag), whose workers file into Instagram every evening. These pictures may be clever or maudlin, silly or harrowing or sad. “Desperate” is a word that comes to mind, but so does “resigned.” And even “resistance.” Sometimes it’s in the form of a gag, a ridiculous pose; sometimes it’s in the form of a gaze so steady that it seems to warm the fluorescent panels framing so many of these pictures. The hashtag itself is a form of solidarity.

There are the warehouse workers who snap themselves letting a wisp of marijuana smoke slip from between their lips, little Instagram rebellions. There are the soldiers and sailors pulling a night shift for no good reason other than orders, photographing themselves and their comrades on the verge of sleep or already under. Cops in noirish black and white, their pictures framed to show a bit of badge. And nurses. A lot of nurses. Close-up, arm’s length, forced smiles, dead eyes. Scroll through #nightshift, and you’ll see some saints among them and some whose hands you hope will be more alive in an emergency than their ashen faces.

The #nightshift hashtag is especially well populated by the armed professions and the healing ones. Sometimes they are almost one and the same, as in the case of @armedmedic3153, a.k.a. Marcelo Aguirre, a paramedic in Newark and suburban New Jersey. He owns an AR-15, a ­9-millimeter­ and a shotgun, but the only thing he shoots on the night shift is his camera. He works nights so he can study days; he wants to be a doctor. Nights are good preparation for that: You get more serious cases. You learn on the job. A 12-hour course each night you’re on. Twenty-four hours if you take a double. After a while, the adrenaline that juices you when you’re new — when you’re still keeping a tally of the lives you’ve saved — disappears. You just do the job. “High speed and low drag,” Aguirre told me when I called. “Please ignore the siren,” he said. “We’re going to a call.” A stroke. Nothing to get excited about. Coffee sustains him. He stays clean. Some guys, he said, use Provigil, but that’s prescribed. “For shift-work disorder,” he said.

Markisha McClenton, the lab tech, told me that she no longer gets sleepy. “I program myself,” she said. She wouldn’t change her schedule now if she could. She likes working alone. There are nurses at the facility where she works, but they don’t often venture back to the lab. “They think it’s creepy,” she said. “At night.” Maybe it is: The long hours of the night shift are a reckoning with time.

“There’s people still struggling like I struggle,” a miner named Mike Tatum told me, explaining why he posts pictures and why he looks at them. “Working through the night, not sleeping next to your wife, missing your kids because they go to school before you get home.” Tatum likes to post pictures of the heavy machines used to dig coal from Wyoming strip mines. He drives a D-11 bulldozer. “I push dirt,” he said. Other machines dig the coal. Twelve hours of ‘dozing, four nights in a row. He came to this job — a good one, $30 an hour or more for as long as the coal lasts — after construction work dried up in California. “Nobody back home has really seen what we do out here,” he said. It’s a good job, he swears. He’s brought his 6-year-old boy out to see the machines. He’d be proud if his kids grew up to be miners. A good job. Rough on the back. But you’re just sitting. Driving the ‘dozer. Nobody bothers you. Hours without a word. “Pretty easy,” he said. Plenty of time to think. To make plans. Things he can do with his days, when he has days.

So far, this is enough to see him through the nights safely. “Quite a few fatalities the past year,” he observed. He heard about a man at another mine who drove a machine into the pit. “Maybe a suicide.” It didn’t seem like an accident; he had to drive through a couple of berms. “Splat,” Tatum said. “And a couple more like that.” He says other guys have died on the road, Highway 59. It’s a long drive out to the mines, and drug testing never stopped anyone from drinking, especially after the shift is over.

Pan out to take in some fraction of the 670,000 faces. Pay attention to the eyes, drooping or unnaturally wide. Is it fatigue? Or something more? Something less? Stay sane, and the night shift may seem like just another set of hours. Lose yourself to the loneliness, and the daylight leaks out of you. But something else can come in. A kind of calm. The kindness of dark hours.

When I was first drawn into this nighttime Insta­gram grid, I was looking for a distraction, for ­images to displace the thoughts that had agitated me to exhaustion. What I found instead was something that seemed descended from Walt Whitman’s “Democratic Vistas,” his great prose poem of an essay that was really a proposal for a new kind of literature, a way of speaking, a way of seeing. We shouldn’t mistake Instagram’s squares for the public one. But neither should we miss the quiet dig­nity afforded by gathering under this hashtag: the solidarity of recognition, of being seen.

“Nightwalkers,” Pierre Bell calls the men and women who find their peace after-hours. He’s new to the night himself, working as a nurse’s aide on the behavior unit at an assisted-living home in Akron, Ohio. “What’s behavior?” I asked. “Combative,” he said. “Lockdown. Spit, kick, hit, bite.” Sounds terrible, I said. It’s not, he told me, especially at night, when the anger subsides, and when the alarm I can hear beeping in the background is an event rather than a constant song. The other aide will get that one. Bell, a 28-year-old father of a 9-month-old, was sitting with the nightwalkers. The strange ones, the restless ones, the story­tellers. “Some were in wars,” he told me. “Some were teachers.” Sometimes they talk for hours. If they’re up, he’s up. It feels to him like a matter of courtesy. The behavior unit is his patients’ home. He’s only visiting. Trying out the night they live in.

And on his break, he can slip away. Take a snapshot, make a record of himself in this new country of the other hours, post it on Instagram as ­@piebell522.­ He took the one that caught my eye when he was in the bathroom. “I saw the dark behind me,” he said. “I thought it could be a picture.” A lovely one, as was the shot that followed hours later: Bell’s baby boy, the reason he works the night shift. Not for the money but for the days he can spend with his son, a handsome little guy with his father’s gentle eyes, but warmer in the golden sunlight of the morning.

Source: www.nytimes.com

Topics: jobs, work, nurse, nurses, career, night shift, instagram, pictures, night

Boston Hospital Medical Staff Brave Blizzard On Skis

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Wed, Jan 28, 2015 @ 11:00 AM

BY EMMANUELLE SALIBA

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After a howling blizzard with hurricane-force winds socked Boston with 21 inches of snow on Tuesday, some nurses and doctors hitched rides with police or put on skis and snowshoes to get to work.

Kelli O'Laughlin, one of the doctor's at Brigham and Women's Hospital who skied to work, found her ride "fun" and "exhilarating." She told NBC's Miguel Almaguer that doctors have to come in to work because"the emergency department is one of those places where 24 hours a day, 7 days a week it's always going."

"Our sincerest thanks to all employees that have gone to extraordinary lengths to get to the hospital during the storm," wrote the hospital in an Instagram post along with a photo of pathology technician Vivian Chan on snowshoes.

Source: www.nbcnews.com

Topics: work, staff, snow, blizzard, storm, weather, commute, healthcare, Boston, Massachusetts, nurse, nurses, health care, medical, hospital, career

New Report Finds a ‘Diversity Dividend’ at Work

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Thu, Jan 22, 2015 @ 02:29 PM

By JOANN S. LUBLIN

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Is there such a thing as a diversity dividend?

A new study of 366 public companies in the U.S., Canada, U.K., Brazil, Mexico and Chile by McKinsey & Co., a major management consultancy, found a statistically significant relationship between companies with women and minorities in their upper ranks and better financial performance as measured by earnings before interest and tax, or EBIT.

The findings could further fuel employers’ efforts to increase the ranks of women and people of color for executive suites and boardrooms — an issue where some progress is being made, albeit slowly.

McKinsey researchers examined the gender, ethnic and racial makeup of top management teams and boards for large concerns across a range of industries as of 2014.  Then, they analyzed the firms’ average earnings before interest and taxes between 2010 and 2013. They collected but didn’t analyze other financial measures such as return on equity.

Businesses with the most gender diverse leadership were 15% more likely to report financial returns above their national industry median, the study showed. An even more striking link turned up at concerns with extensive ethnic diversity. Those best performers were 35% more likely to have financial returns that outpace their industry, according to the analysis. The report did not disclose specific companies.

Highly diverse companies appear to excel financially due to their talent recruitment efforts, strong customer orientation, increased employee satisfaction and improved decision making, the report said.  Those possible factors emerged from prior McKinsey research about diversity.

McKinsey cited “measurable progress” among U.S. companies, where women now represent about 16% of executive teams — compared with 12% for U.K. ones and 6% for Brazilian ones.  But American businesses don’t see a financial payoff from gender diversity “until women constitute at least 22% of a senior executive team,’’ the study noted.  (McKinsey tracked 186 U.S. and Canadian firms.)

The study marks the first time “that the impact of ethnic and gender diversity on financial performance has been looked at for an international sample of companies,’’ said Vivian Hunt, a co-author, in an interview.  Yet “no company is a high performer on both ethnic diversity and on gender,’’ she reported.

And “very few U.S. companies yet have a systematic approach to diversity that is able to consistently achieve a diverse global talent pool,” Ms. Hunt added.

McKinsey has long tracked workplace diversity. A 2007 study, for instance, uncovered a positive relationship between corporate performance and the elevated presence of working women in European countries such as the U.K., France and Germany.

Source: http://blogs.wsj.com

Topics: jobs, work, gender, workplace, management, minorities, recruitment, report, companies, employer, employee, gender diversity, ethnic diversity, diversity, ethnic, career, race

Reasons Why Nurses Are Secretly Angels Living Among Us (Part 1)

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Mon, Jan 19, 2015 @ 01:38 PM

By Carolyn Kylstra

1. They work 10- or 12-hour shifts, often without breaks.

Actually, make that 13 hours.

2. Those 10- or 12-hour shifts? They might just start at 6 am. OR AT 6 PM.

Those 10- or 12-hour shifts? They might just start at 6 am. OR AT 6 PM.
BuzzFeed

Rise and shine!

3. They have no idea what they’re about to encounter literally every time they go to work.

27 Reasons Why Nurses Are Secretly Angels Living Among Us
NBC / Via uproxx.com

4. Except they know for sure that they will be doing paperwork. Lots and lots of it.

Except they know for sure that they will be doing paperwork. Lots and lots of it.
Pixar / Via youtube.com

5. They’re usually taking care of about six (or more) patients at any given time…

27 Reasons Why Nurses Are Secretly Angels Living Among Us
CBS / Via cambio.com

Source: www.buzzfeed.com

Topics: work, humor, shifts, sickness, RN, nurse, nurses, medical, hospital, treatments, career

Get the Job Before Your Interview Starts!

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Mon, Jan 19, 2015 @ 01:19 PM

By Bridgid Joseph

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Changing jobs can be a stressful process for some because of the dreaded interview process. But there are a few pretty simple tips that can help put you, and your interviewer, at ease to make for a much better experience, and lead you closer to that new job you’ve been wanting! Stop letting the interview process paralyze your career.

For most people, the worst part of thinking about changing positions, or getting a new job, is the interview process. Maybe you are someone who gets nervous and sweats, shakes, or just can’t focus on the questions being asked, which makes the interviewing process torturous for you, something you dread, and guess what?

If you feel awkward and uncomfortable, so does the person interviewing you. As someone who has moved around quite a bit, interviewed for numerous jobs, and scored an offer each time (not to toot my own horn), I have learned some tricks to interview well, that are applicable to most people. And as someone who now interviews applicants, I have a whole new perspective of what and interviewer “sees” during an interview; there are some small Do’s and Don’ts that can make you appear more poised and ready than you may feel!

DO Dress the Part:

Even though you may be coming in for an interview for your first job as a nurse, Medical Assistant (MA), Patient Care Technician (PCT), etc. you want to dress as if you are coming in for a job as a Director or the Chief Nursing Officer. I am not telling you to spend a ton of money on some fancy suit, but you want to look nicely put together with clothes that fit you well and look nice.

I was walking from my car to an interview and I was wearing these great fitted pants that I found on sale at one of my favorite stores and couldn't believe they were 60% off, they looked great, fit great, and with a top that I already owned, and a pair of smart black shoes, I felt (and looked) like a million bucks. Until I tripped a little, looked down, and realized the hem gave away on one of my pant legs (probably why such an amazing pair of pants were on such a super sale in my size), so I acted quickly, hobbled quickly to my car, did a little “runway” hem with some tape that I had in my car (i.e. I taped up the hem inside of my pants), and went back on my way. 

Even though it was a bit of smoke and mirrors show, no one knew that my pants were taped together, and I even got complimented on how great my outfit looked. You don’t need to spend a lot, to look like a lot, but looking neat in nicely fitting clothes, shows that you are putting in the effort to put your best foot forward and show yourself in the best light. 

DON’T Dress for a Night Out or a Day of Work:

If you are applying for a clinical job, yes it is awesome that we get to wear scrubs to work everyday, and it does make those of us that work clinically, at a deficit for “business” attire in our wardrobes, but it doesn't make it acceptable for us to wear scrubs to an interview. You also want to make sure that you aren't wearing something that you would choose to wear out to a bar/nightclub with your friends. 

I have seen quite a few outfits in my time that make me think twice about the applicants common sense. Don’t make the interviewer question your common sense; that means you have set yourself up to have to prove your intelligence and critical thinking skills, despite what your resume might say!

(I realize I put this in twice, but I can’t tell you how many times I have seen people really inappropriately dressed for interviews!!)

DO Have Good Posture: 

Did you know that sitting straight up and keeping your shoulders back make you appear smarter, attentive, and more of a leader?

Well, it does. I may be interviewing you for a position in an entry level, but I am more apt to hire someone that shows me they can be a leader within their position and will work hard and role model their leadership skills. And if they stay in their position, they will hopefully move up the ranks quickly.

DON’T Oversell Yourself: 

A big mistake interviewees make is overselling their skills. If you don’t have a certain skill set for a job you are interviewing for, that’s OK. Not everyone is an expert in their field when they first start, right? 

We all start somewhere. So when you are asked, for example, “How comfortable are you taking care of a patient on with an intraaortic balloon pump?” and you think “A WHAT?!?!?”

Don’t sweat it, and give an honest response such as, “I haven’t had the experience of taking care of such a patient, but I have extensive other skills, such as [insert skills here] that I learned quickly, and I would love the opportunity to learn more about those patients and their specific needs. Is this a common patient type on your unit?” 

You do two things with that answer...

You let me look back at your resume to review your skills, and you also show that you are interested in this experience and willing to learn. I may be looking for a more experienced nurse, but I will definitely consider you and your willingness to learn as a huge asset; I would rather hire someone motivated to learn and improve than someone who is stagnant in their learning process and no longer feels excited about their role. 

DO Be Honest on Your Resume: 

Sometimes it is glaringly obvious when people tell mistruths on their resumes, and sometimes it isn't, but it usually becomes obvious during an interview. I have had perspectives that added some skills into their resume that they don’t have, and through standard interview questions, it got quite awkward as I realized they did not have the skills they boasted about. (see don’t oversell yourself!)

DO Be Positive: 

As with all experiences in life, if you walk in feeling positive, confident, with a big smile on your face, and an open mind, you can win over almost anyone! There is no need to be nervous as the worst thing that can happen is that the job isn't a match; so think positively and imagine that you already have the job, and your interview will be a great experience. 

If you want a change in your career/life, send out those resumes and get your interview smile on and go get that new job! 

Source: http://allnurses.com

Topics: jobs, work, job, resume, interview, job interview, hire, hired, healthcare, career, careers

10 Warning Signs You Are Working with the Wrong Nurse Leader

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Wed, Jan 14, 2015 @ 01:01 PM

By Cynthia Howard RN, CNC, Phd

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Finding the right nursing job includes finding a manager that will help you grow, develop, and support your career goals.

There is a saying that people leave their managers and not their jobs and to have success in your career may mean you want to circulate your resume in order to find the best fit for you. This means you have to know what you want and need in the area of support.

Here are 10 warning signs you may be working with the wrong manager:

  1. You never hear from your manager prior to your performance reviews. Over 75% of performance problems can be improved with proper feedback and less than 33% of the time, feedback is provided.
     
  2. You have no idea what they want.  This can be worse than not having feedback at all. When a manager says, “I do not like how you did that,” you really have no way of knowing what they really mean. Make sure to ask for clarification. Review your job description and ask for your manager to specify what parts of your job responsibilities are most important to them. It could be they are focused on patient safety and you have an interest in health literacy. Knowing what they want gives you the advantage of focusing your efforts for the greatest gain.
     
  3. It is their way or the highway.  This is a problem for many nurses. Job satisfaction comes with autonomy and the opportunity to solve your own problems as they show up on the job. When a manager consistently tells you what and how to do something, employees quickly turn off their own creativity; more than likely, with an increase in mistakes.

    A nurse who is practicing for 7 years shared a story about his experience on a new unit. His Clinical Specialist was a micro-manager. She told him to give this medication immediately because of incoming admissions. She had poured the med. This went against his better judgment but because he knew she would have a fit, he gave it, to the wrong patient. She was extremely apologetic however the “error” was on him. Do not compromise your judgment for the sake of status quo.
     
  4. Your manager wants you to figure it out.  The opposite of micro-managing is to not manage at all and letting everyone figure it out for themselves. This happens quite a bit leaving the power position to go to the most domineering individuals on the unit. Everyone needs to know the manager is in charge and when needed will make those tough decisions.
     
  5. You could not recognize them if your life depended on it.  If your manager hides behind email or a closed door, having a relationship with your manager will be impossible. Communication and trust is the foundation of a great working relationship.  

    Suggestion for managers: Time is an important commodity and getting around to all your staff can be time consuming. Why not use technology and set up a short video. Most iPhones take excellent video. Take 2-3 minutes every week and share what is going on. You may also want to share something personal about yourself; if you just started juicing, kickboxing, celebrated an anniversary or a milestone with your children. Interview them, show images along your morning run, and share something of yourself in order to make the connection with your staff.

    Suggestion for staff: Make a short video on your unit of a new initiative, gratitude board in the break room, more efficient way to give report, a snippet of rounds, and just a friendly hello from everyone on the unit. You may even want to say thanks and express appreciation; managers are people too!
     
  6. The way out the door is faster than up. If you have a manager that makes any attempt for you to advance your skills difficult, it will be hard to boost your resume. Managers can feel threatened by qualified staff members who want to move up the ladder and may indirectly thwart your efforts to move forward. This is really short sighted on the manager’s part because any manager that turns our qualified leaders actually looks really good to their higher ups given the ongoing need for good talent in any organization.
     
  7. Lack of training.  Being able to do a job well requires the right training. Often it takes the manager to assess the need for training based on performance and outcomes. This relates to the lack of feedback. While every employee really should do their own assessment of what they need to do well and then make the request of their manager, the manager should also be on the lookout for staff that need training and set up opportunities to make this happen.
     
  8. When the manager has obvious “favorites.”  Everyone has preferences in personality style, but when the manager consistently selects one particular individual for all the initiatives, opportunities for advancement, or other assignments that provide variety, the manager is sending a message to others they do not care about your skills or your future.
     
  9. When your manager routinely says, “I’ll think about it.”  Obviously considering all sides of the problem/ situation is important however some managers hide behind this and never make a decision about what is the ideal way to go.  Quickly, this can be frustrating if you are looking for a course of action to solve a problem.
     
  10. When your manager over reacts or criticizes you in front of others.  This is a toxic behavior and is an indication you want to find a new place to work. Quickly this will diminish your self-esteem, leading to resentment and stagnation.

    Knowing what you want in the way of workplace is key and will help you avoid a poor manager. What type of opportunities are you looking for in the workplace? What are your career goals? Evaluate the workplace, ask questions, find out the management style, review a performance appraisal, ask about turnover, and see if you can build a relationship with your new manager.  

Enjoy the opportunity to find a place that truly supports and honors you! 

Source: www.nursetogether.com

Topics: jobs, work, patient safety, job, resume, shift, manager, LPN, performance, clinical specialist, nursing, RN, nurse, nurses, medical, hospital, medicine, practice, career

America's 9 biggest health issues

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Mon, Jan 05, 2015 @ 11:20 AM

By Sanjay Gupta

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After an incredibly busy 2014, during which health stories like Ebola, new food nutrition label rules, and the debate about the right to die sparked by Brittany Maynard dominated the headlines, it's now worth looking at what we may be covering in the next 12 months. 

So, in no particular order, here's my take on the nine big health stories to watch for, and the questions they will likely raise, in 2015.

Doctor shortage. There aren't nearly enough of us to care for the U.S. population. By some estimates, the country is already short of tens of thousands of doctors, a problem that will only get worse as the demand for care increases with our aging population. That could mean longer wait times for you when you need to make an appointment. But that also means policy makers will have to consider questions like: Is there a way to increase the number of residency training slots? Are there other health care professionals who can reasonably fill in the gaps? Will the nation's quality of care go down? How can the country avoid a situation where only the wealthy will be able to afford quality care? 

Hospital errors and infections. Hospital mistakes and infections are still one of the leading causes of preventable death (indeed, some studies suggest "hospital-acquired conditions" kill more people than car accidents or diabetes). 

True, a recent study showed the rate did get better this year, saving tens of thousands of lives. But what else can hospitals do to prevent these mistakes and infections? Can technology like e-prescriptions and electronic health records prevent problems that most often occur: the mistakes caregivers make with a patient's drugs? 

Antibiotic resistance. It has been called public health's "ticking time bomb."The World Health Organization calls antibiotic resistant infections one of the biggest threats to global health today. Each year, at least 2 million peoplebecome infected with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics, and at least 23,000 people die each year. Most of these deaths happen in health care settings and in nursing homes. How can we respond? Well, research teams around the world have already started searching for the next generation of infection-fighting drugs. But it remains to be seen if time will run out, sending us back to the beginning: a time before antibiotics, where even a cut that becomes infected could kill you. 

More do-it-yourself health care: apps and technology. Technology has made do-it-yourself patient care much easier. This goes beyond just a patient's ability to look up their symptoms online. There are apps to help with autism, apps that can simulate a check-up, apps that can monitor conditions. Wearables can motivate you to walk more or sleep more or check a diabetic's glucose level. But how does all this helping yourself make your health care better? How much is too much? And what does this mean for your privacy? After all, the health care industry accounted for 43% of all major data breaches in 2013. Meanwhile, although 93% of health care data requires protection by law, some surveys suggest only 57% of it is "somewhat protected." What could this mean for your privacy and personal information if security doesn't get better? 

Food deserts. While not everyone agrees with the term food desert, the USDA still estimates 23.5 million people live in these urban neighborhoods and rural towns with limited access to fresh, affordable, healthy food. Without grocery stores in these areas, residents often have to rely on fast food and convenience stores that don't stock fresh produce. It takes a real toll on their health. Families who live in these areas struggle more with obesity and chronic conditions, and they even die sooner than people who live in neighborhoods with easy access to healthy food. More farmers markets are now accepting food stamps and many nonprofits have stepped in to try to bring community gardens and healthy food trucks to these areas, but so far it's not enough. Will cities offer incentives to grocery store chains to relocate to these neighborhoods?  How else can this system be helped? 

Caregivers for the aging population. We are heading into a kind of caregiver crisis. The number of people 65 years and older is expected to rise 101%between 2000 and 2030, yet the number of family members who can provide care for these older adults is only expected to rise 25%. This raises a series of related questions, not least who is going to step up to fill the gaps? Will cities that don't traditionally have strong public transportation systems add to their routes? Will developers create more mixed-use buildings to make shopping and socializing easier to access? Could the government create a kind of caregiver corps that could check in on the isolated elderly? Who will pay for this expensive kind of safety net? 

The cost of Alzheimer's. Currently about 5.2 million Americans have Alzheimer's. That number is expected to double every 20 years. With a cure some way off, what can be done to ease the emotional and financial burden on families and communities affected by the disease? The Alzheimer's Association predicts that by 2050, U.S. costs for care will total $1.2 trillion, making it the most expensive condition in the nation. How will we be able to afford the costs of caring for this population? What can the country do to achieve the goal the White House set for preventing and effectively treating Alzheimer's by 2025?

Marijuana. With the growing acceptance of weed, we can expect that more laws will change to allow medical and recreational use of marijuana. How will the rest of the laws in this country adjust? For instance, Washington state is coming up with a Breathalyzer-type device to check if drivers are high. But it will be interesting to see how readily available these devices are going to be. Will legalization improve the scientific understanding of the long-term consequences of the drug? What other uses could this drug have to help those who may need pain relief most?

Missing work-life balance. Americans spend more time on the job than most other developed countries. We don't get as much vacation, we don't take what vacation we have, and we are prone to working nights and weekends. This stress has a negative impact on Americans' health. What are companies doing to help? What technology can change this phenomenon? Will millennials who say work-life balance is a bigger priority than other generations rub off on the rest of us? What can we personally do to find a better balance? 

We may not be able to answer all these questions in 2015, but we sure will try. And the health team and I look forward to exploring these issues with you in the coming New Year.

Source: www.cnn.com

Topics: life, work, 2015, marijuana, New Year, doctor shortages, antiobiotic resistance, food deserts, caregivers, apps, technology, health, healthcare, nurse, doctors, population, Alzheimer's, medicine, treatment, hospitals, Americans

Why America’s Nurses Are Burning Out

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Mon, Sep 29, 2014 @ 01:27 PM

By Dr. Sanjay Gupta

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Annette Tersigni decided at the age of 48 that she wanted to make a difference. She attended nursing school and became a registered nurse three years later. “Having that precious pair of letters – RN – at the end of my name gave me everything I wanted,” she writes on her website. Before long, Tersigni discovered the rewards – as well as the physical and emotional challenges – that come with nursing.

“I was always stressed when I worked, afraid to get sued for making a mistake or medical error,” says Tersigni, who was working in the heart transplant unit of a North Carolina hospital. “Plus, working the night shift caused me to gain weight and stop working out.” Tersigni moved to another hospital, but the long shifts continued. Three years later, she left her job.

Tersigni’s experience isn’t unusual. Three out of four nurses cited the effects of stress and overwork as a top health concern in a 2011 survey by the American Nurses Association. The ANA attributed problems of fatigue and burnout to “a chronic nursing shortage.” A 2012 report in the American Journal of Medical Quality projected a shortage of registered nurses to spread across the country by 2030.

Work schedules and insufficient staffing are among the factors driving many nurses to leave the profession. American nurses often put in 12-hour shifts over the course of a three-day week. Research found nurses who worked shifts longer than eight to nine hours were two-and-a-half times more likely to experience burnout.

“Our results show that nurses are underestimating their own recovery time from long, intense clinical engagement, and that consolidating challenging work into three days may not be a sustainable strategy to attain the work-life balance they seek,” says study author Linda Aiken, PhD, director of the Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing.

Deborah Burger, RN, co-president of the union and professional association National Nurses United, doesn’t believe that long work shifts tell the whole story. “Most people can work a 10- or 12-hour shift if they’ve got the right support and right level of staffing,” Burger says.

“In order for nurses to feel satisfied and fulfilled with their work, the staffing issues must be seriously addressed from a very high level,” says Eva Francis, MSN, RN, CCRN, a former nursing administrator. “Nurses also need to be able to express themselves professionally about the workload, and be heard without the fear of threat to their jobs or the fear of being singled out.”

A new study suggests that nurses’ burnout risk may be related to what drew them to the profession in the first place. Researchers at the University of Akron in Ohio surveyed more than 700 RNs and found that nurses who are motivated primarily by the desire to help others, rather than by enjoyment of the work, were more likely to burn out.

“We assume that people that go into nursing because they are highly motived by helping others are the best nurses,” says study author Janette Dill, assistant professor of sociology at the University of Akron. “But our findings suggest these nurses may be prone to burnout and other negative physical symptoms.”

RELATED: Managing Job Stress

That finding doesn’t surprise Jill O’Hara, a former nurse from Hamburg, NY, who left nursing more than a decade ago.

“When a person goes into nursing as a profession, it’s either because it’s a career path or a calling,” says O’Hara, 56, who now operates her own holistic health consulting practice. “The career nurse can leave work at the end of the day and let it go, but the nurse who enters the field because she is called to it takes those emotionally charged encounters home with her. They are empathetic, literally connecting emotionally with their patients, and it becomes a part of them energetically.”

Besides driving many nurses out of the profession, burnout can compromise the quality of patient care. A study of Pennsylvania hospitals found a “significant association” between high patient-to-nurse ratios and nurse burnout with increased infections among patients. The authors’ conclusion: A reduction in burnout is good for nurses and patients.

So what can be done? O’Hara thinks the burnout issue should be addressed early on, when future nurses are still in school. “I honestly believe the way to truly help nurses avoid burnout is to begin with a foundation of teaching while in school that stresses the importance of knowing yourself,” she says. “By that I mean your strengths and weaknesses. It should be taught that self-care must come first.”

Burger stresses the importance of taking regular breaks on the job. “If you’re not getting those breaks or they’re interrupted, then you don’t have the ability to refresh your spirit,” she says. “It sounds hokey, but it is true that you do need some brain downtime so that you could actually process the information you’ve been given.”

Tersigni, 63, now works part-time at a local hospital, specializing in the health and well-being of other nurses. She founded Yoga Nursing, a stress-management program combining deep breathing, quick stretches, affirmations, and relaxation and meditation techniques. “All of these can be done anytime throughout the day,” Tersigni says. “I even teach nurses to teach these to their patients. So the nurse breathes, stretches, and relaxes, while also teaching it to the patient.”

Source: http://www.everydayhealth.com

Topics: work, burning out, tired, registered nurses, nursing, health, healthcare, nurses, medical, stress

14 Items That New Nurses Should Have in Their Bag

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Mon, Sep 29, 2014 @ 01:22 PM

By Rena Gapasin

new nursing grad bag.jpg

If you are a nursing student or new nurse, you are probably wondering what you will need in your work bag. Aside from your personal stuff, what are the things you bring that signifies you are a nurse?

These nursing supplies listed below are a must if you want to do your job efficiently.

The most common supplies nurses have in their bags are:

  1. Stethoscope

    This is one of the most important tools of the trade. Nurses use this tool to listen to things such as the heart, veins, and intestines to make sure proper function. According to Best Stethoscope Reviews, here are the 6 best stethoscopes to buy. As you surely know, it's one of the most important tools for a patient's assessment.

    One of today's leading stethoscope brands is Littmann. You can choose from the classic style to the most advanced kind.

  2. Books

    A handy reference listing down common medicines and conditions. MIMS provides information on prescription and generic drugs, clinical guidelines, and patient advice. Nurses can also use Swearingen's Manual of Medical-Surgical Nursing, a complete guide to providing optimal patient care.

  3. Scissors and Micropore Medical Tape

    Bandage scissors are used for cutting medical gauze, dressings, bandages and others. Nurses need to have these in their pockets for emergency use, especially for wound care. Micropore tape is also important and should be readily available, for example, when your patient accidentally pulls his/her IV.

  4. Lotion and Hand Sanitizer

    Nurses never forget to wash their hands several times throughout the day, leaving their skin dry. That's why having lotion in their bags is important to keep the skin in good condition. Meanwhile, the sanitizer helps nurses steer clear of germs, along with other contagious agents.

  5. Six saline flushes

  6. Retractable pens

  7. Sanitary items - gauze, sterilized mask and gloves, cotton balls

  8. OTC pharmacy items (cold medicines, ibuprofen and other emergency meds)

  9. Small notebook - for taking notes from doctors and observations of your patients.

  10. Thermometer

  11. Tongue depressor

  12. Torniquet

  13. BP apparatus

  14. Watch with seconds hand

On Nurse Nacole’s website, she shares that she carries a drug handbook, intravenous medications, makeup mirror, tape measure, towel, lotion, wipes, 4 in 1 pen and a homemade cheat sheet for her patients.

Also, in MissDMakeup's What's In My Work Bag Youtube video, she has a box of batteries, tapes, a pack of gum, toothbrush, sanitizer, coupons, snacks, umbrella, stethoscope, pens, folder of her report sheet and information sheet, tampons, charger, name tag, ID, makeup bag, eye drops, lotion, hair clips, highlighter, pen light, and journal.

So, What's in My Bag?

In my bag, I have a 4-in-1 pen, a highlighter, IDs, bandage, journal to write some new information when I surf the net, my phone with medical e-books and medical dictionary in it, and other stuff like alcohol, sanitizer, over-the-counter meds (such as paracetamol, cold medicine, pain killers, multivitamins), eye drops, handkerchiefs, floss, toothbrush, nail file, band aids, and food.

Aside from my knowledge in providing quality patient care, I also bring things that can help me get through my shift. In an effort to make things more compact and easy for a nurse to get access to, most common nursing supplies are available in a portable kit. The size and styles are developing as new ways of making a nurse's shift easier.

These are just few of the essential nursing paraphernalia that a new nurse needs. 

What's in your bag that you can’t live without?

Source: nurse together

Topics: student nurse, nursing student, work, job, nurse bag, supplies, nursing, healthcare, nurses

Share Your Experience for Transitional Care Research (NAHN)

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Fri, Sep 26, 2014 @ 11:44 AM

webCropped NAHN logo RGB resized 600

With the generous support of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and guided by a national advisory committee, a multidisciplinary team based at the University of Pennsylvania seeks to learn from clinicians or clinical leaders who are primarily responsible for transitional care services in health systems and communities throughout the United States.  Specifically, the team is conducting a research study designed to better understand how transitional care services are being delivered in diverse organizations.  Participation in this research survey is voluntary.

If you are a clinician or clinical leader responsible for transitional care service delivery in your organization, I encourage you to learn more about this study.  To access the survey and more information on the study, please visit:

Transitional Care Survey

NAHN is happy to assist Dr. Mary Naylor and the University of Pennsylvania in this 2 year project.  Dr. Mary Naylor will be providing NAHN with feedback on the survey results. If you know of others who have such responsibility within your association or work environment, please forward this email to them.

Thank you in advance for your consideration of this request.

Source: http://www.nahnnet.org/

Topics: work, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, NAHN, survey, transitional care, hispanic, healthcare, research, nurses, medicine

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