DiversityNursing Blog

ICYMI: The Top 5 Blog Posts From This Summer

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Wed, Sep 30, 2015 @ 10:52 AM

It's officially Autumn season and we are sadly saying goodbye to our Summer sandals and pulling out clothes to keep us warm. If you're going to miss Summer like us, hopefully taking a look back at our hottest blogs of the season will help ease the pain. 

1. 14yr old African American Develop A New Surgical Technique To Sew Up Hysterectomy Patients

img_8652This incredible young man, Tony Hansberry II, is a 14-year-old student who used an endo stitch in a way no one has ever done before and the results are a game changer.

Read Story


2. Study Confirms What We Knew All Along: Nurses Are Key to Hospital Success

We all know and love Nurses, but isn’t it wonderful when a research study validates something you already know? We think you’ll enjoy this article.

Read Story


 3. 5 Things Labor Nurses Want You To Know

"As a labor and delivery nurse, here is what I wish I could say to every mother out there, what I'm sure many of us would want to say to the families we care for..."

Read Story


4. Nurse Practitioners More In Demand Than Most Physicians

 It comes as no surprise that primary care doctors are, and have always been, highest in demand. However, recent data shows that this paradigm is shifting.

Read Story


5. Empty Pill Bottles Desperately Needed (Take your meds & help others!)

In other parts of the world patients are handed their pills and must use whatever they have to keep the medication safe. In three easy steps you can make a difference for those patients. 

Read Story

Diversity and Inclusion in Health Systems

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Mon, Sep 28, 2015 @ 03:02 PM


Diversity and Inclusion should be a top priority at Hospitals and Health Systems across the country. Why? Because your workforce should reflect your patient population. Your patients may come from your local communities. Others may have traveled from another country to have access to the specific illnesses you are noted for treating. It is imperative that your Nursing and medical team is culturally sensitive to their patients in order to provide the best care possible. Different cultures have different customs including: mannerisms such as not looking you in the eye; family members in attendance around the clock; the way  they dress; language/communication; the food they eat;  etc.

Understanding Diversity and Inclusion helps your team provide culturally responsive care. It also enhances the quality of life for your team. If your Nursing team is culturally aware, your patients and their families will be more comfortable and trusting of your hospital and staff. This makes the entire hospital experience a more positive experience for the patient, which in turn makes a smoother work environment. Imagine becoming ill and hospitalized in another country that doesn’t speak your language and doesn’t understand your subtle cultural differences. You’d most likely be scared and do whatever possible to get home immediately to a hospital where you feel safe and comfortable communicating with your medical team. A hospital you trust.

Hospitals and Health Systems use all types of approaches to monitor and educate their staff about Diversity and Inclusion. Many have Chief Diversity Officers or programs in place to educate and enhance this important factor of health care. Diversity can foster and drive excellence in patient care, research, and education. Here’s what some Hospitals and Health Systems are doing to improve Diversity and Inclusion in the workplace.

Chief Diversity Officers

The Chief Diversity Officer at the AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges), Marc Nivet, Ed.D., defines a CDO’s role “It’s using the concept of diversity and inclusion to promote a stronger, better organization. Before, it was primarily about representational diversity, focusing on bringing in diverse faces. That remains critically important, but now we also are thinking about how to make use of that diversity to improve health.”

If your organization doesn’t have a Diversity and Inclusion Initiative, do they need one? Nivet goes on to say, “There are still some doubters who do not see the value of a diversity initiative. They don’t see the microinequities of how staff or patients are treated. The pressure is on the CDO to illuminate those inequities, bring them to the surface, and encourage conversations about them.”

Leadership Programs

Boston Children’s Hospital provides leadership development programs for professionals of color. One of their programs is called Conexión. “Conexión was created to advance Latino leadership to meet the changing needs in business, education, and government organizations in an increasingly culturally complex world.”

The Partnership Program is another great opportunity Boston Children’s Hospital provides. The Partnership’s mission is to “develop professionals of color, increase their representation in Boston area businesses and institutions, enhance opportunities for advancement and influence, and thereby extend the region’s economic competitiveness. The Partnership program consists of two levels depending on experience.”

Diversity and Inclusion Team

Yale-New Haven Hospital has a 16 person team dedicated to carrying out their Diversity and Inclusion initiatives. The initiative is based on 6 key factors.

  • Recruiting a diverse workforce that is sensitive to and inclusive of people's differences
  • Providing an excellent patient experience by understanding patient diversity and the needs of the many different people the hospital serves
  • Working with a wide variety of groups and individuals in the community to improve people's health and access to care
  • Ensuring the hospital is the employer of choice by creating an environment that encourages the talents and recognizes the uniqueness of each employee
  • Supporting the hospital's efforts to use diverse vendors and suppliers
  • Educating staff on working with diverse team members and caring for diverse patient populations

Do you have Diversity and Inclusion initiatives in place at your organization? Does your workforce reflect you patient population? Feel free to contact us below to learn more about addressing some of these very important issues!

Contact Us!


Nurse Association 'Zero Tolerance' On Workplace Bullying

Posted by Pat Magrath

Thu, Sep 24, 2015 @ 10:34 AM

mily Mongan via www.mcknights.com 


This summer, the ANA (American Nurses Association) released a new position statement regarding Incivility, Bullying, and Workplace Violence. It clearly states that “All RNs and employers in all settings, including practice, academia, and research, must collaborate to create a culture of respect that is free of incivility, bullying, and workplace violence”. Any kind of workplace violence whether it be physical, verbal or psychological is not to be tolerated and should be reported immediately. This applies to bullying incidents/workplace violence from a co-worker, patient or patient’s family member. When these incidents are allowed to continue, there are many damaging consequences including psychological, financial and a toxic work environment.

A leading long-term care nurses group is praising a tough, new “zero tolerance” the American Nurses Association has adopted regarding violence and bullying in healthcare workplaces.

The ANA announced the new policy Monday, citing a survey of 3,765 RNs that found almost one-fourth of respondents had been physically assaulted at work by a patient or a patient's family member. The survey also found up to half of nurses had been bullied in some manner by a peer or a person in a higher level of authority. ANA's statement defines bullying as “repeated, unwanted harmful actions intended to humiliate, offend and cause distress.”

The ANA's new policy includes recommendations to prevent and handle violence like encouraging employees to report incidents of violence, avoiding blaming employees for violence perpetrated by non-employees and developing a violence prevention program aligned with federal health and safety guidelines.

“Taking this clear and strong position is critical to ensure the safety of patients, nurses and other healthcare workers,” wrote ANA President Pamela F. Cipriano, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN, in a statement. “Enduring physical or verbal abuse must no longer be accepted as part of a nurse's job.”

Violence against healthcare workers, especially nursing assistants, should be handled with more scrutiny by long-term care providers, according to American Association for Long Term Care Nursing Executive Director Charlotte Eliopoulos, RN, MPH, PhD.

“Studies have shown that more than half of certified nursing assistants [CNAs] are victims of assault and battery at least once every week,” Eliopoulos told McKnight's. “Staff need to be better prepared to identify violence-prone individuals, prevent violent acts, and manage them should they occur.”

Take a stand against workplace bullying.


Get Your Free Bullying Tip Sheet

This Medical ID App Could Save Your Life

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Wed, Sep 23, 2015 @ 03:45 PM


You don't know when an emergency is going to happen. You don't know if the emergency is going to happen to you. But you can prepare for a medical emergency by downloading the Apple Health app and creating a Medical ID. 

People should keep their information and medical history with them in case they cannot communicate during an emergency. We aren't saying you should carry your entire medical file to the grocery store. But what if we asked you to carry your smart phone?

Some people wear their information on jewelry like bracelets or dog tags. Other people have it written down and kept in their wallet. Now most people have a smart phone and can download apps like the Apple Health app. 

This health app allows you to store and update all your important medical information. Information including your name, date of birth, medical conditions, medical notes, allergies and reactions, medications, emergency contacts, blood type, organ donor status, weight, height, and photo can all be stored and accessed from a touch of a button on your lock screen.

Here's how to access Medical ID on a locked iPhone:

1. Swipe to unlock.

2. Tap Emergency.

3. Tap Medical ID, on the emergency call screen.


Here's how to insert your information in the app:

1. From the iPhone home screen, choose the “Health” application. It is the white app with a pink heart in the top right corner.

2. You will notice a “Medical ID” option in the tool bar along the bottom of the screen.

3. An option to “Create Medical ID” will appear and display a screen with fields for you to enter your information.

As a patient, it can save your life. For medical professionals, try to make it a habit to always check a  patient's phone for a Medical ID. It could help you save their life.

Related Article:

How Health Apps Will Change Nursing

'She Saved My Life': Mother Is Awakened From A Coma By Her Newborn Baby

Posted by Pat Magrath

Mon, Sep 21, 2015 @ 12:11 PM

jdwz0-mom-daughter-2Many Nurses have a 6th sense when it comes to their patients. This story is about a Nurse who’s patient was in a coma after a C-section. Nothing was bringing the patient out of the coma. The Nurse’s actions changed the outcome of could have been a very tragic situation.

For Shelly and Jeremy Cawley, what should have been one of the happiest moments of their lives took a near fatal turn. 

Shelly went in for an emergency C-section and doctors had to put her under. After several hours, they were getting worried that Shelly hadn't woken up. 

The couple's newborn daughter, Rylan, was resting safely a few floors away in the same hospital. 

"I was a mess. I was numb. I didn't know what to think anymore," Jeremy told People. "The doctors had done all they could and it was clear, they absolutely thought they were losing her at this point." 

It wasn't until nurse Ashley Manus, a big proponent of skin-to-skin contact, stripped Rylan down and gently put her on her mother's chest that everything changed. 

"I was hoping somewhere deep down, Shelly was still there and could feel her baby, hear her baby and her mother's instincts would come out and she would realize, 'This is where I need to be.' " Manus said. 

Incredibly, it worked!

Jeremy says the bond for Ryland was instant, and she fell right asleep on her mom. She was so content the doctors had to make her cry so that Shelly would hear her baby. 

"We could see a spike in her vitals on the monitor. We knew that somewhere in there she was hearing her baby. Rylan saved her mom's life," Manus said. 

It would be another week before Shelly came out of the coma completely and could hold her baby for the first time. Both mom and baby were fine, with no complications from the ordeal. 

It's been a year since Shelly's miraculous recovery, and this past weekend, the family celebrated Rylan's first birthday. 


Thank You, NICU Nurse

Posted by Pat Magrath

Fri, Sep 18, 2015 @ 02:22 PM

Natalie Romero via www.huffingtonpost.com 


Grab the tissues because this article is a beautiful thank you note from the mother of an infant in the NICU. She refers to the Nurses in the NICU who took care of her baby as “background heroes”. Always there offering comfort to both her and her baby; translating the doctor’s language in to words she could understand; singing and reading to her baby; staying with him in the OR; and all the other important things the Nurses did to help her through it. She’s not sure if she ever properly thanked you so she wrote this letter. It’s beautiful and so are you for all you do for your patients and their families.

During our NICU stay, our son was seen by dozens of doctors -- surgeons, neonatologists, anesthesiologists, cardiologists, orthopedics and radiologists. He was treated by occupational therapists and physical therapists.

If you were to walk in the room during rounds on a typical day, you would have found five or six doctors huddled around his tiny body reviewing his charts. They discussed his numbers throughout the night, their opinions on his treatment, and how he was responding. The doctors didn't always turn to us to include us in the conversation. And to be honest, we didn't always understand their language.

If you were to look very closely at the scene, you may have noticed someone hovering in the background almost going unnoticed. If you looked hard enough, you would have noticed my son's NICU nurse who rarely left his side during rounds. His nurse stayed close by and tended to my son while the doctors tended to his illness. His nurse always helped us figure out the doctor language once they were gone.

Those nurses were our background heroes. They didn't get the same credit as the doctors and they never searched for praise, but they were such an important and necessary part of our NICU journey.

NICU nurse, I don't know if you know the impact you had on our family.

I don't think I thanked you.

I hope it's not too late.

Thank you for quietly closing the curtain to give me privacy when I couldn't stop the tears.

Thank you for rocking my baby when I couldn't be with him at night.

Thank you for knitting him hats and booties.

Thank you for reading to him.

Thank you for singing him lullabies.

Thank you for staying with him in the operating room.

Thank you for being gentle with him when he was battered and bruised after hours and hours of surgery.

Thank you for being his advocate and questioning everything, even the doctors, when you felt like he was being given unnecessary treatments.

Thank you for keeping the small bit of hair that was shaved off of his head when the only available vein was on his skull. "It was his first hair cut," you said when you handed it to us the following morning.

Thank you for teaching me how to bathe him without making all the alarms ring.

Thank you for teaching me how to read the machines he was attached to.

Thank you for helping me hold him without pulling out all his tubes.

Thank you for silently standing beside me while I cried tears of helplessness.

Thank you for helping me see the good I was doing by heading off to pump every three hours.

Thank you for making feel like a normal mother in the moments when I felt anything but normal.

Thank you for celebrating each ounce of milk consumed, each breath taken without the breathing tube, each time the number on the scale went up.

Thank you for celebrating when he was discharged.

Thank you for helping me get through one of the toughest experiences of my life. You were a part of the reason I survived it.

I don't know the half of what you have seen. I know that even though you always seemed to be smiling, behind closed doors you cried your own tears. I know that in the moments of chaos when alarms were sounding and codes were being called and my world seemed to be crashing down around me, you stayed calm and focused and you made sure that my world stayed upright.

I hope you know that I felt your hand of my shoulder. I hope you know that I was grateful to see your face every morning. I hope you know just how important you were to us.

I hope it's not too late to say thank you.


Minorities in Medicine: Diversifying Healthcare in the U.S.

Posted by Pat Magrath

Wed, Sep 16, 2015 @ 03:37 PM

By Denston Carey Jr. via www.wcuquad.com 


While many of us are well aware of the disparities in healthcare, this article written by a medical student, makes some good points about the need for more diversity at all levels in the medical field. What would you add to his thoughts?

Increasing the presence of minority groups within the medical field is a pressing issue in healthcare today. When one walks into the average doctor’s office or hospital, one cannot help but realize that there is not enough diversity within the medical field. The sparingly present racial and ethnic groups in medicine are more formally referred to as the Underrepresented Minorities.

African-Americans comprise about 13 percent of the American population but, they make up only four percent of American physicians. – AAMC

Groups that are underrepresented in medicine are present, as physicians or other medical professionals, in small numbers relative to their presence in the population as a whole. For example, though African-Americans comprise about 13 percent of the American population, they make up only four percent of American physicians (AAMC). Furthermore, the 14 percent presence of Hispanics in the American population is hardly reflected by the mere six percent of Hispanics coming out of U.S. medical schools in recent years. It goes without saying that there are some negative side effects that stem from this lack of diversity within American healthcare. 

The medical professionals of the U.S. simply do not reflect the mosaic of racial and ethnic groups that comprise our population, and this indeed has social and cultural implications. Patients not only come with symptoms and disorders, but they also come with different social and cultural backgrounds. 

Being a medical professional is about more than just understanding how the human body works—medical professionals need to be able to relate to their patients on a personal level as well. When caring for such a diverse population, our medical professionals must be both culturally competent and reflective of the patient population. Understanding and relating to patients is an important part of medicine, and it can make a huge difference in the patients’ experience if their healthcare providers are able to do this. 

Beyond the social and cultural reasons that call for a diversified healthcare force lie the needs of underserved communities. Underserved communities are those which face economic, cultural, or linguistic barriers to healthcare (DOH). There have been studies that show underrepresented physicians (African-Americans, Latinos, American Indians, and Pacific Islanders) are far more likely to practice in underserved communities than their white counterparts. Because theseunderserved communities may benefit from a more accessible healthcare system, when underrepresented groups serve them, the healthcare disparities that afflict these communities are likely to be mitigated by an increase in the amount of underrepresented physicians.


With this now in mind, it is apparent that increasing the prevalence of underrepresented minorities within the medical field can also decrease healthcare disparities. 

So, how can WCU help? The first thing we can do, as a university, is diversify our own pre-health programs. We can then work to support and embrace this diversified community of pre-health students. Lastly, we can reach out to the younger people of the West Chester community, encouraging them to pursue careers within the healthcare field as well. Through these three objectives, WCU can contribute to the national effort of diversifying the American healthcare force. 

Minorities in Medicine wishes you all the best this semester, and we look forward to seeing many of you pre-health students get involved with this organization. 

Register For The $5,000 Education Award!

Miss Colorado Wears Scrubs and Describes Passion for Nursing in Miss America Talent Portion

Posted by Pat Magrath

Mon, Sep 14, 2015 @ 02:48 PM

By Erin Powell via www.thedenverchannel.com 


No matter how you feel about the Miss America Pageant, if you missed Colorado’s Kelly Johnson and her view about being a Nurse, you can see it here. Please let us know what you think about what she had to say.

Sunday's Miss America pageant will surely feature plenty of glitz, glam and glitter.

Miss Colorado didn't look like that in this week's preliminaries. During the talent competition, Kelly Johnson walked onto the stage with her hair in a ponytail, clothed in baggy scrubs with a stethoscope draped around her neck. Johnson didn't show off a talent, but she passionately explained hers: nursing.

After a deep breath, she said, "Every nurse has a patient that reminds them why they became a nurse in the first place. Mine was Joe."

Joe suffered from Alzheimer's disease and at night, screamed out because of night terrors. Miss Colorado would comfort him and stop him from screaming, but explains she couldn't change his treatments or medications because she was "just a nurse."

Instead, they'd talk about his grandchildren and laugh together. Until one day he was crying. She stopped and said to Joe, "You're not just Alzheimer's."

"Same goes for you. You're not 'just a nurse,'" he responded. "You have changed my life because you have cared about me."

Johnson graduated as the valedictorian from Grand View University in Des Moines.

"I am so grateful for the opportunity to share how passionate I am about this profession. Thank you to the Miss America Organization," Johnson wrote on Facebook.

This is why I did what I did. All in one message. This means so much to so many people. I love you, America. Thank you for reaching out to me. This is all for you! #NurseKelley

Do People Trust Telemedicine? [INFOGRAPHIC]

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Tue, Sep 08, 2015 @ 02:11 PM

By Sara Seng via www.bartonassociates.com 

The telemedicine market isn't only effecting physicians and other healthcare professionals. Telemedicine has potentially great benefits for patients too. For example, regular office visit expenses will reduce and patients who have a difficult time traveling to appointments, don't have to worry about it anymore.

As the telemedicine market is expected to reach $34 billion by 2020, its impact in the healthcare industry is endless. Telemedicine refers to the use of telecommunication and information technologies in order to provide clinical health care at a distance. From reduced transportation expenses to increased cost efficiency, healthcare organizations are constantly searching for more ways to provide quality care and communication between providers and their patients.

However, do people ultimately trust telemedicine?

TechnologyAdvice recently conducted a nationwide survey of 504 U.S. adults to investigate the way people feel about telemedicine and its services. The infographic below highlights their findings.


Empty Pill Bottles Desperately Needed (Take your meds & help others!)

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Tue, Sep 08, 2015 @ 01:58 PM

Ginger Ail Blog post


Not every patient gets their medication in a pill bottle. In other parts of the world these patients are handed their pills and must use whatever they have to keep the medication safe. In three easy steps you can make a difference for those patients.

Pill bottles: they are those translucent orange soldiers that pile up all around us… in our drawers, bags, cabinets… sometimes I wonder – if I had saved every empty pill bottle since I got sick, what would that look like?

One of the things I have always hated the most about being sick, is you often need more help than you can give. That’s not always true, but there are definitely days or weeks like that for even the most functioning among us. I see those specials on tv and think: I want to build a Habitat for Humanity house or dig wells in Africa (this might be a late night, insomnia induced thought but the general sentiment still stands).

Neither of those will be happening in my lifetime, but that’s okay. There really are other things we can do, all of us, to help other people no matter how sick we are. Here’s one idea that only requires a bit of energy…

“Medicine Bottles for Malawi” is a project with an idea so simple, it’s brilliant. I’ve tried this myself so I can vouch for how easy it is to do and how good it feels to pass on something you know will help others.

Imagine you’ve walked miles to a remote village or hospital to receive any form of medical care you can find. You are given the medication you desperately needed and now you have to start the journey back home. You don’t shake the pill bottle maraca as you walk because there is no pill bottle, heck there’s barely medicine. The pills you received are wrapped in a tiny scrap of newspaper.

A scrap of newspaper is all the protection your precious cargo has. The more I thought about this, the more I realized it’s a bigger problem than it sounds like: no safe way to carry the meds home when you are most likely walking miles, no way to really protect the meds from moisture, loss, damage once you get them home. Apparently those orange bottles do more than you think and so can you…

How to Help:

Step 1: Take your meds and when you finish the bottle, don’t throw it away! This includes bottles you might receive over the counter like for Advil, Motrin, vitamin bottles, supplements – as long as the bottles aren’t large, send them on! (Large bottles just cost too much to ship).

Step 2: Remove the label. I find it’s easiest just to peel them off, takes a few seconds, but you can also save up until you have a pile of the bottles and dump them into a bowl of boiling hot water.

Step 3: Snail Mail Send them off! I used a large flat manila envelope, it’s cheap & easy to mail.

Address it to: The Malawi Project, Inc.
3314 Van Tassel Drive
Indianapolis, IN 46240

Tip: Take a photo of that ^ address on your phone & save it as a contact! When you have enough bottles to send off, you won’t have to log back in here to find the address. I do this often and it definitely saves some energy to take photos of info.

Bonus Benefit: I saw someone online arguing that we shouldn’t send them to Malawi because they won’t be recycled when they are finished being used. I thought this question was silly since they are so desperately needed there but I like the answer all the same: Nothing goes to waste in Malawi. Your medicine bottle, when it’s empty, will be used in 100 other ways. Imagine you have very little and then think of all the ways a bottle with a sealed lid could be helpful.

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