DiversityNursing Blog

Nurse Almost Died From Stab Wounds Now Wants Laws Passed

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Thu, Jul 20, 2017 @ 10:34 AM

Elise-Wilson-wounds-850x478$large.jpgNurse Elise Wilson was in critical but stable condition after being stabbed by a patient at Harrington Hospital in Southbridge last month. Nurses aren't "expecting to encounter violence but they do, every single day of the week," said Elise's husband, Clifton. "They are cursed, spit upon, bitten, punched, kicked, and yes, stabbed."

The Boston Globe said, Elise was treating Connor Oregan, 24, of Southbridge, in the emergency room around 10:15 a.m. when Oregan slashed at her multiple times with a knife before fleeing the hospital.

The nurse was stabilized in the emergency room before being flown to UMass Memorial Medical Center for further treatment. She underwent eight and a half hours of surgery and remained in critical but stable condition, the district attorney’s office said.

Clifton Wilson, and colleagues will testify Wednesday before a committee at the State House in support of legislation proposed by the association “that requires health care employers to develop and implement individualized workplace violence prevention plans,” according to a release. The association has dubbed the legislation “Elise’s Law.”

“The attack against Elise was vicious and left her fighting for her life,” said RN Tracy DiGregorio, who was working in the ER at the time of the assault. “Unfortunately, I cannot say violence against nurses is rare. Nurses and other health care professionals are assaulted every single day at hospitals throughout Massachusetts. We should pass ‘Elise’s Law’ right away to help stop the violence.”

Massachusetts Nurses Association talked about the photo and said, "This is a tough photo to look at. But RN Elise Wilson and her loved ones want the public to see the violence nurses and other health care professionals are experiencing. And they want it to stop. Elise is only smiling because she is grateful her ventilator and feeding tube have been removed." 

The young man allegedly sat in the parking lot sharpening his knife for 20 minutes before entering the emergency room, Clifton Wilson told lawmakers. Conor O'Regan, 24, is accused of the attack. Clifton also said, "She bled out three times and almost died."

Since the attack, Harrington Hospital has beefed up security, and now has a metal detector, he said. They've also hired a Southbridge police officer.

Have you experienced violence from a patient or witnessed it at your place of work? Please share with us in the comments section below. 

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Topics: workplace violence, safety laws, employee safety, Massachusetts Nurses Association, Nurse attacked

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

Switching Careers To Nursing

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Wed, Jul 12, 2017 @ 01:25 PM

Story-Tablet-for-Healthcare-04-2017-484x252-JPG.jpg.jpegFor many people, Nursing was all they ever imagined they would be doing as their career. For other people, becoming a Nurse was a second career for them. No matter which stage in life they chose to become a Nurse, these people are passionate about what they do and they are happy they made the switch to a job they love.

170706140316-tp-john-mcelroy-3-medium-plus-169.jpgJohn McElroy worked in a local brick factory for about twenty-five years. He lost his job in 2007 after sufferring from a stroke. McElroy wanted to be a Nurse when he was younger and during one of his hopsital visits, his childhood dream was restored. John told CNN, the Nurse thought he would be a fantastic Nurse. She gave him advice and told him, "You will have loads of excuses to not do this, to fail, to quit. But you've got to carry on."

John attended college and even earned $4,000 in scholarships. In 2012 he graduated with a Nursing degree and every day McElroy sees pieces of his own journey reflected in his patients. He educates families on the unique needs of stoke survivors. By sharing his personal story, he hopes his patients will believe that there is life after recovery.

1473958826-NSL_29NURSE01_51885364-(2).jpgWhen Bob Evans was 20 years old he took an aptitude test that showed Nursing as a good match for him. Learning news that he was going to become a father Bob decided to take a job in the horticulture business, mostly in sales and customer-service positions in landscaping and lawn care.

In his late 50's, there was a restructuring where he worked. He wasn't sure what he was going to do for work. His wife Lou said, "Remember how you were interested in becoming a nurse when we got married?" I said, "It's too late," but she said, "I don't think so." Bob and his wife attended an information open house at Collin College and decided to go for it. He earned his associate's degree at Collin College in 2013 and a bachelor of science in nursing in 2016 at the University of Texas at Arlington. 

Bob told Dallas News the toughest part about changing careers is, "The transition from expert to novice. I knew that not being the expert on the job anymore would be an adjustment. Assuming the role of novice required a steady flow of swallowing my pride. It has been humbling, but learning and mastering skills that help others is really rewarding."

05FIFTYRETIRE-master768.jpgLaura Callens worked as a school admissions director and was taking care of her husband, Eddy, who had brain cancer. After Eddy passed away in 2011, Laura quit her job and spent some time in Mexico where she had a career epiphany. She heard about a nursing program and realized she had honed relevant traits and skills like compassion and deep listening while caring for her husband. Though hesitant to become a student again, she applied to Nursing school.

According to the NewYork Times, Ms. Callens happily graduated last December and will soon be a neurological nurse. She will work in the Rochester hospital unit where her husband was treated.

Changing careers is always a nerve-racking journey. For people in their 40s and 50s, making a change can be daunting. Experts believe assessing job opportunities, doing some smart skill-matching and getting technical training can help speed the process. But, you also have to love what you do for a living and these people luckily found their calling.

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Topics: career change, becoming a Nurse

The Debate of Charlie Gard's Life

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Thu, Jul 06, 2017 @ 02:33 PM

170703-brandy-baby-tease_bjsyny.jpgI've read many articles discussing cases of euthanasia, the use of life support, and Death with Dignity. This case involves the life of an 11-month-old boy named Charlie Gard. Charlie's parents, Chris Gard and Connie Yates, are trying to prevent Doctors in London from turning off their son's life support so they can take him to the United States for an experimental treatment. Charlie has a rare degenerative condition called Mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome.
 
Do you think the hospital should release the baby into the parent's custody so they can take him to the US for treatment or do you agree with Doctors who believe Charlie has no hope of surviving without assistance and should be allowed to die in dignity? Continue reading down below for more details of Charlie's case.
 
 
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Topics: Death With Dignity Act, life support, parental rights, quality of life, euthanasia

Demand Growing Rapidly For Nurse Informaticists

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Fri, Jun 30, 2017 @ 12:03 PM

nurse-informatics.jpgTechnology is an integral part of almost every field of work and in order for Health systems to stay on the cutting edge you need a healthcare IT professional on staff. This is where the Nurse informatics specialist comes in.

Demand is growing for Nurse informaticists and according to the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, the average salary is more than $100,000 and 95 percent of their survey respondents “view health IT as a strategically critical tool to help healthcare organizations be successful.”

According to Forbes, "The shift to electronic health records has spurred a dramatic change in the way health care professionals work. Nurse informaticists design and maintain processes for how people use electronic records, finding ways to save nurses’ and caregivers’ time. And they test systems rigorously. For example, they must make sure a patient’s vital signs are accurately recorded by heart monitors, and that the data is accurately transferred to electronic health records."

_Informatics Nurses are bilingual. They can talk IT and talk Nursing._.pngInformatics Nurse isn't a new career choice. Joyce Sensmeier, vice president of informatics at HIMSS says, "The American Nurses Association blessed it as a specialty in the early 1990s." She also goes on to say, “Usually the East and West Coast have quite a few positions. The Midwest as well — Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Illinois. That’s where a lot of the biggest health systems are. To be paying nurses this salary, it takes a strong health system.” But hospitals aren’t the only organizations that need the specialists. Universities and health technology startups do, too.

allnursingschools.com beleives it is a great leadership role opportunity. Because you’ll be responsible for creating strategies, implementing policies and ensuring better patient care, specialists can be a great fit for someone looking to move into advanced nursing. According to the HIMSS survey, 71 percent of healthcare organizations employ a “clinical IT leader” such as a Chief Nursing Informatics Officer.

Sensmeier also told Forbes, "To become a nurse informaticist, you’ll need a nursing degree, project management skills, an understanding of data and the ability to analyze it. The best route is to get a nursing bachelor’s degree to start, then get some real-world experience as a nurse, so you understand the clinical environment. After that, a master’s degree in health or nursing informatics — offered at most major universities—will provide all the education you need, even if you’d like to rise to the level of CNIO. These programs take two years, full time. An alternative is a one-year certificate in informatics. You probably can’t get to the CNIO level without a master’s, but a certificate will give you the core skill set."

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Topics: Lou Gehrig's disease, healthcare professionals, electronic health records, nurse informaticists

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

Former Combat Medic Combats PTSD With Hip-Hop

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Mon, Jun 26, 2017 @ 12:40 PM

doc-todd-21_wide-f1a0f9bb6201a43906f53ebecf9ccf0890d264ce.jpgFormer Fleet Marine Force corpsman, George "Mik" Todd, released a new hip-hop album called Combat Medicine. George raps under the name Doc Todd and his main goal is to help veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, or substance abuse.

According to NPR, Todd took several years before gettingt help for his PTSD. He was depressed and started drinking heavily. Eventually, he realized what he needed to be doing was helping other veterans. With savings from his job as a money manager and help from his wife, he was able to quit his job. He'd been making music since he was a teenager. Now, he wanted to use his music to help veterans heal. And he had plenty of material for his lyrics.

Some lyrics from his song, Not Alone, Doc Todd urges veterans to take action in their own recovery.

The struggle is real

Found a feast

And lost a soul

Eventually my drinking

It got out of control

There in darkness, I roamed

Struggling to find home

See Suddenly death didn't

Feel so Alone

Take those bottles out, dog

and pour 'em in the sink.

Take the needles out of your arm

And the gun away from your forehead.

It's time, man.

You've been through enough pain.

Stand up.

It's time to stand back up.

Learn more about Doc Todd in his interview here.

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Topics: clinical depression, PTSD, Veterans, post traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse, hip hop

Safety First Party Ideas!

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Fri, Jun 23, 2017 @ 11:51 AM

Safety firstparty with a Nurse.png

It’s officially summer and we looked around for some creative ideas for you to show your Nursing colleagues, family and friends at a cookout or party. Perhaps you're planning a graduation party for a Nursing student. Whatever event you’re planning or attending, these fun recipes are sure to impress any time of year -- enjoy!
If you have some of your own recipes, please share them in the comments section below. Happy Summer! 
 

Drinks

Have Murse-y Margarita
1 oz. creme de banana
1 oz. gold tequila
1/2 oz. triple sec
3/4 oz. lemon juice
1/4 mashed banana
Apply lemon juice to the rim of a frosted double-cocktail glass and dip into caster sugar. Fill the glass with crushed ice, add the ingredients and blend briefly. Serve with a lemon juice-dipped slice of banana.

Nightingale Old Fashioned
mix 2 oz bourbon
1 1/2 teaspoons simple syrup
2-3 dashes of Angostura bitters
one orange slice, ice, and one maraschino cherry.  

The Night Shifter
1 oz. After Shock Fizzy Orange
1 oz. Sambuca liquor over ice.
Then, top off your glass with chilled Red Bull. 

Gin and Colonic 
6 mint leaves
1/4 lime, sliced
1 1/2 oz gin
and one tablespoon sugar to a shaker and muddle.
Then, add 4 or 5 cucumber slices to the shaker and shake vigorously. Finally, pour the mixture over a glass containing 4 ounces of tonic water and a few ice cubes. Stir, let sit for a few minutes.

Code Brown
1/2 oz. Butterscotch Schnapps
1/2 oz. Whiskey

Hematoma
2 oz. vodka
4 oz. tomato juice
Juice of 1/2 limes
1 1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
6 dashes Tabasco sauce
salt and pepper
1 lime wedge
Add vodka, juices and sauces to a shaker with ice, adding salt and pepper to taste. Shake vigorously. Strain over ice cubes into a highball glass and garnish with lime wedge.

The End-of-Shift Report (aka Irish Coffee)
1½ oz. Irish whiskey
1 tsp. brown sugar
6 oz. hot coffee
Heavy cream
Combine whiskey, sugar and coffee in a mug and stir to dissolve. Float cold cream gently on top. Do not mix.

Desserts

Frosted and sprinkle cookies. Idea from www.iheartsprinklescookies.com

142cd3e953961b0f2ada71523164f898.jpeg

Pretzel sticks dipped in white chocolate with frosting details. Idea from Pinterest

c4eebe603c43be340cc78cd711f5ef3e-543104-edited.jpeg

Brain cupcakes! Idea from blog.wantsandwishesdesign.com

4078171cb5c64390d3cd698de665232c.jpeg

Jello shot syringes. Idea from Pinterest

3e80795daae89446d1df3a5dd00084f1.jpeg

Cookie bandaids! Idea from partysupplies.art-spring.net

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If you have any recipes you would like to share, please comment below!

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Topics: Nurse graduation party, nurse theme, Nurse theme drinks, Nurse theme desserts

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

7 Ways to Overcome the “I’m Too Busy to Plan A Vacation” Syndrome

Posted by Contributor

Thu, Jun 15, 2017 @ 02:32 PM

vacation-rentals-slider3.jpegWritten by: www.vacationcounts.com
Summer officially starts next week. We know how busy you are and that you need a break. We came upon this article and think it will be helpful in giving you some tips to plan a much-needed vacation. You may already have the time off on your schedule, but haven’t gotten around to actually planning it.
 
We know the 1st point may not apply to you, but the other tips should. Whatever you do, we hope you have the opportunity to leave your job behind, unwind, relax and enjoy yourself.
 
I don’t know how many times I’ve heard people say they were too busy to plan their next vacation. Has this happened to you? They were overworked, stressed by life, and just plain tired. After another busy day of work and home responsibilities, it is easy to feel like there is no time or energy to plan another vacation.

You know you want to take a vacation, am I right!? So avoid the temptation to let your days off arrive with zero planning. Embrace work-life-vacation balance by maximizing your time off from work and life.

So what happens when your vacation dates are coming up soon and you have no idea where you want to go? Don’t fall into the “I’m too busy” trap. Repeat to yourself… “I am NOT too busy to plan a vacation.” Do it again because with our advice you will never again be too busy to plan your next vacation.

As promised, here is our top 7 ways to book a memorable vacation with minimal effort.

1. You can plan a trip while you commute

We all seem to have an Android or iPhone in our hands as we go about our day. And people love to download apps onto their phones. That is where mobile bookings come to the rescue.

All the major online travel websites offer smart phone apps (think Expedia, Booking.com, and Priceline) and are working hard to get you to book on your mobile device. They are improving the booking user experience with every app update. They all want to be able to say they let you book the perfect vacation in as few clicks as possible.

Plus coupons are offered all the time, giving you instant discounts. Shop around for the most popular travel booking brands in the app store. You will probably have to create an account and sign up for their newsletter to receive the best deals, but it is worth it.

OK so how does this save you time when you are too busy to plan a vacation? Simple! Use your commute time, your morning coffee time, or your lunch break (you do know how important it is to take a lunch break) to plan a vacation. Make your co-workers jealous by telling them you’re planning a tropical or exotic vacation on your phone.

Now you can book a vacation even while commuting or taking your regular break at work.

2. Cruises and all-inclusive resorts are no-brainers

Are you looking for the downright easiest vacation option? Look no further than a cruise or all-inclusive vacation to do the trick. Both tend to include all your food and drinks (at least non-alcoholic), plus scheduled “fun” activities for your entire family all day, every day. It is hard to go wrong, especially when you go with the recommendations of friends and family. Just ask them where they went by posting to your social media network.

Booking a cruise or all-inclusive resort takes minutes once you pick your dates and region of the world.  For all inclusive places to stay, try conducting a Google Image Search to choose a vacation by photo. Type in “all inclusive resort” plus a city or country name (like Jamaica or Puerto Vallarta) that you are thinking about. Can you picture yourself on that beach or having a drink at the luxurious bar? Also consider booking directly with the resort as you might be given a better room or other special offers since they don’t have to pay a commission that way.

Besides the cruise lines you see on TV, try CruiseCritic for first-timer advice, ship reviews, and ports of call coverage. Simply select a cabin or room type plus a few optional vacation elements and off you go. You can book direct or leverage the help and advice of a travel agent (see next tip) if you prefer.

3. Outsource the heavy lifting to a travel agent

With the popularity of online do-it-yourself (DIY) travel bookings, you may have forgotten that travel agents stand ready to assist. There are fewer travel agents today than years ago, but they are more reachable online and off. You can choose to visit a retail travel agency or search the Web for an independent travel agent with expertise to match. Either way travel agents will always come to the rescue when you are too busy to plan your own trip.

Travel agents do not typically charge a fee except for booking airline tickets in some cases. Any small fees are well worth the time and stress savings.

A good travel agent will ask you a few questions in-person, by phone, or via email first. Without you lifting a figure, you’ll receive a list of the top two or three options – the best matches for your vacation wishes. All you need to do is choose one and pass along your credit card details. The entire booking process will be taken care of for you. Done and done!

4. Package holidays are one-click vacations

You don’t have to be an independent traveler with every trip. Even if you have never booked a package holiday in the past, give yourself permission to book a pre-made vacation this time. Tours and vacation packages come in various forms.  The most common is to book a guided multi-day tour which includes accommodations, transportation, some meals, and of course loads of sightseeing and activities. The United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA) Member Directory is a good starting point.

The other one-stop option is to make a booking which combines airfare with hotel, some activities, and transfers.  Besides receiving a package discount, you may also receive free admission tickets, transport passes, and welcome gifts. Today most of the major online travel websites offer one-click vacation packages which you can build in just a few clicks of the mouse. Besides Expedia, sites like Hotwire, Go-Today.com, and airlines such as Southwest give you an incentive to book all the pieces of a vacation together. Just look for the highlighted discount amount to find out how much you’ll save over booking airfare and hotel separately.

Themed hotel packages are another form of package holidays that are gaining in popularity. While checking rates and availability at a B&B or a resort and spa, you may be offered several “special” room-rate packages. These might include gourmet meals, spa treatments, local attractions, romantic experiences, and family programs. So by only booking a place to stay, you gain an entire vacation package in one-click.

5. A big city vacation can be done spontaneously

When you are overwhelmed by the endless vacation possibilities, go with a big city trip. Choose a big city that you can easily reach by car, train, bus, or a direct flight. Next pick a centrally located hotel that fits within your budget. Most accommodations offer personal help on what there is to do once you arrive. So with this type of effortless vacation there is no need to plan ahead.

Big cities have an endless variety of attractions, events, history, places to eat, and neighborhoods to explore. You won’t run out of things to do.  Just ask at the front desk and browse the tourist brochure rack for fun ideas. Or do what you do at home. Pull out your smart phone and scan Yelp, FourSquare, Google Maps, and browse to the local tickets and “What’s On” web guides to plan your city break.

What if the nearest big city is one you’ve visited numerous times? To make it fresh and new, take another approach. Pretend like you live there. Rent an apartment or a room in a house so you can stay in a residential neighborhood. That way you can shop nearby markets, dine out with the locals, and appreciate big city life for the duration of your trip.

Just like every place is worth visiting at least once, every place is worth living in – at least for a brief period!

6. Renting a beach or mountain home is easier than ever

Whether you prefer the scenery at the beach or in the mountains, consider renting a vacation home for your next bit of time off. You trade in life at your current home for a new temporary home away from home. Websites to search and book vacation homes and “holiday lets” are plentiful. Popular choices include HomeAway.com and VRBO plus HolidayLettings for European destinations.  Some are managed properties in vacation-friendly communities. Others are individually owned so you deal directly with the owner. This type of vacation is a cinch to plan.

You also have upstart Airbnb as an incredible source for part-time vacation homes around the globe. Their inventory runs the gamut from empty rooms to apartments to entire homes that people rent out when they go away. These rentals are often lived in, but have more character than furnished time-shares.

Renting someone’s actual home is like moving into a new town without all the heavy lifting. You’ll appreciate the fully stocked kitchen to save money by cooking at home. Owners are happy to share with you their favorite places to eat, stroll, and be entertained. You may even make friends with the neighbors.

7. Choose a staycation to play tourist in your home town

When you find yourself not in the mood to travel far from home, a staycation (see definition of a staycation) is the best decision. Planning a stay-at-home vacation takes only a small bit of work since you can avoid the transportation and lodging decisions. The most important part of a staycation is to have an “on vacation” mindset. You may be at home, but you have to push aside and get away from your day-to-day routines and responsibilities.

Act like a tourist in your home town to maximize your staycation. Pick up a copy of the local events newspaper or browse the online version. Stop by the official tourist office to pick up brochures such as for walking tours, tourist attractions, and special events. This is your chance to experience workday daytime happenings – just don’t feel guilty about not being at work yourself.  Take a class, try a hipster lunch spot, catch a matinée, be a sports spectator, and act like an “I’m On Vacation” tourist without leaving home.

Think about what nearby “tourist” attractions that you have never visited.  Search the TripAdvisor list of “Things To Do” to find out what gets the highest ranking.  How about those must-see attractions that you feel embarrassed to say you haven’t “done” in all these years? Add these to your staycation itinerary for sure.  One warning… be careful to avoid the temptation to run errands by making a full day of being on a (stay-)vacation each day.

Have You Planned Your Vacation Yet?

Now that you have 7 minimal effort ways to plan a vacation even when you are super busy, which technique are you going to use to book your next vacation?

Vacation is all about the time you spend away from home and work. There are no wrong vacations, except for the ones you miss taking. Whenever you feel overworked and overstressed and have a vacation period coming up, you’ll have no excuse for depriving yourself and your family. Choose a one-click option, rent a home, call a travel agent, book a guided tour, embark on an all-inclusive cruise, or even take a staycation.

Which is your go to choice for planning a trip when you lack the time and energy? Add your thoughts in the comments below to share your time-off time-saving advice.

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Topics: work life balance, busy schedule vacation, nurse shift, vacation planning, nurse vacation

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