DiversityNursing Blog

Nurse Shares What Delivering Babies Is REALLY Like

Posted by Pat Magrath

Thu, Jan 19, 2017 @ 11:29 AM

newborn-delivery-photo-420x420-ts-stk25209nwl.jpgLabor and Delivery Nurses will appreciate this post. My only problem with it is that she keeps saying “I’m just the Nurse…”. The word “just” is where I’m having difficulty. Perhaps she’s using the word to be self-deprecating? I’m not sure. What do you think?
As pointed out in this post, your first priority while in that labor & delivery room is your patient and the baby/babies who are about to be born. We here at DiversityNursing.com appreciate what all Nurses do every day. We would never refer to you as “just” a Nurse. Of everyone in that room, you are the most connected to your patients and their needs. You are their advocate and recognize when something is going well or not. You share in their joy and sometimes, their sorrow.
You put your needs aside to take care of your patients and for that, we are grateful.

Susan Jolley, a registered nurse from Texas, has shared a beautiful tribute to delivery nurses, highlighting the amazing and sometimes heartbreaking work they do on a daily basis. 
It begins: 'I am just a nurse. A Labor and Delivery nurse. Sounds like fun doesn't it? Well....

'I am just the nurse who was there during the birth of your child.
I am just the nurse who held your hand, looked you in the eye, and made you feel like the strongest woman in the world.'

The post then goes on to explain that midwives are also there during some truly difficult moments. 

'I am just the nurse who vigilantly monitored your baby's heartbeat and recognized that he was in distress.

'I am the nurse who took photos of your baby because you were all alone... Even though I should really be charting and dong about a hundred other things.'

Susan's post went on to say that nurses will be there through everything, including being the one who 'reassured a teenage mom that she can be an amazing parent and still get an education.'

However, they are also: 'Just the nurse who stood by you while you handed your baby to his adoptive mother. I held you steady. I watched you tremble. My heart ached for you.'
If that wasn't enough, the post details how nurses and midwives are also there at the truly tragic moments. 'I am just the nurse who held your hand and told you, "She is beautiful. I am so so sorry for your loss." My heart ached for you. I wanted to hold my children and never let them go that night... but they were already sleeping because I stayed late to be with you.' 

However, the end of the post ended saying that while it might be difficult and often unappreciated, being a nurse is an amazing job, ending with: 

'I saved your life.
I saved your child's life.
My body aches.
My heart aches.
And I love every minute. 
I am JUST a Labor and Delivery nurse.'
The post has already been shared over 55,000 times with many mums sharing their own stories of how they have been helped by labour and delivery nurses. 

One said: 'Angel's in disguise who are very under appreciated at times but very dedicated and beautiful people.. Because of the special care and pure selflessness they show us.'
Another added: 'So true they really don't get the recognition they deserve i will always remember the nurse who delivered my still born baby boy and then 2 years later came in on her day off to deliver my son the emotional support from her was unbelievable and definitely something that will stick with me forever xxx'
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Topics: delivery, delivery room

Legislative Updates For Nurses in 2017

Posted by Pat Magrath

Wed, Jan 18, 2017 @ 01:59 PM

2073142.jpgIf you’re looking for an update on legislative measures for Nurses, please read this article. Some information is by state, such as legislation in CA to prevent workplace violence which is referred to as “a regulation landmark and a model for other states and the country. It requires every health care provider to develop a comprehensive workplace violence prevention plan.”

There is also national legislation such as the ban on powdered surgical gloves across the country that goes in to effect today. What are your thoughts about the legislation noted below?

Although 2016 brought some legislative disappointments-such as Congress's failure to pass Title VIII legislation, which is designed to reauthorize, update and improve nurse workforce programs-several states moved forward with an array of legislation and regulations that will affect nursing practice this year.

Here's a sampling of what's new for nurses in 2017:

  1. Combatting workplace violence, starting in California

California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board approved regulations to prevent workplace violence in health care settings. The legislation (SB 1299) passed in 2014 and was sponsored by the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United (CNA/NNU).

Bonnie Castillo, RN, director of health and safety for CNA/NNU called the legislation a regulation landmark and a model for other states and the country. It requires every health care provider to develop a comprehensive workplace violence prevention plan. The plans must assess threats and risk of physical and verbal attacks and how to mitigate the risk. Nurses and other health care workers must be involved in the planning.

The rules require hands-on training, competency validation and engineering controls, such as alarms. The regulation includes the entire health facility campus, including parking garages. The regulations require internal incident logs and reporting to Cal/OSHA, even if no injury occurred. And there is a provision to disallow retaliation if the nurse or other worker reports or calls in law enforcement.

"The intent is to ensure all hospitals are safe and therapeutic," Castillo said. "The incidence of violence has increased."

The union will meet with representatives of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in January about making these regulations national. NNU plans to advocate for passage of similar legislation in other states, and legislation to protect nurses in other settings, such as schools or retail clinics.

"Every state needs this," Castillo said. "Nurses cannot provide a level of care their patients need if they are unsafe. If the nurse is at risk, everybody is at risk."

  1. Oregon's nurse staffing law takes effect

The Oregon Legislature passed nurse-staffing legislation in 2014 and all aspects of the law have taken effect as of January 1, 2017. It requires that hospitals create nurse staffing committees comprised of direct-care nurses and nurse managers to develop and approve staffing plans for their hospitals. The law also sets limits on mandatory overtime, creates a mediation process to resolve disagreements and requires regular audits by the Oregon Health Authority.

  1. Multistate nurse licensing and the Enhanced NLC

The Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC), launched in 2000, allows nurses to have one multistate nursing license and practice in their home state and other compact states. Twenty-five states currently participate in the original compact, which streamlines the licensing process for many travel nurses.

In 2015, the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) developed an Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact, which lets nurses provide telehealth nursing services or respond to emergencies in fellow compact states without an additional license. The enhanced compact will come into effect when 26 states pass it or on December 31, 2018.

South Dakota became the first state to pass the Enhanced NLC in 2016. Nine additional states have followed, and the NCSBN expects several more states to approve the new compact in 2017.

Contact American Mobile for help expediting the nurse licensing process, in compact and non-compact states.

  1. Changes to nurse continuing education          

Washington State has changed its continuing education requirements to include that nurses complete a mandatory 6 hours of continuing education in suicide assessment, treatment and management.

Florida is considering a requirement that all nurses and other health care professionals complete a 2-hour continuing education course about human trafficking and domestic violence every third biennial relicensure or recertification. For nurses, the course must be approved by the Board of Nursing.

  1. State scope of practice laws for nurse practitioners

State regulations about how much autonomy nurse practitioners have in their practice are constantly changing. This State Practice Environment map from the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) can help you keep up on the latest news. Find travel NP jobs with our partner, Staff Care.

  1. National ban on powdered surgical gloves

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is banning the use of powdered gloves during surgeries, in patient examination gloves and absorbable powder for lubricating a surgeon's glove. The agency said that these products "present an unreasonable and substantial risk of illness or injury and that the risk cannot be corrected or eliminated by labeling or a change in labeling." The ban takes effect January 18, 2017.

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Topics: legislative updates

Healthcare Boards Have Many Reasons To Embrace Nurse Leaders

Posted by Pat Magrath

Mon, Jan 16, 2017 @ 03:42 PM

Nurse-leadership.jpgNurses are smart, compassionate individuals with excellent training and creative ideas. With that said, why aren’t there more Nurse Leaders on the board of their place of employment? We know boards are always looking at the bottom line, ways to save money, and grow their business. But think about it, some Nurse Leaders have extensive business experience in addition to their healthcare background. They bring a unique perspective because of their education and experience. They know what’s important to patients and also… what isn’t.
A Nurse Leader has first-hand knowledge of where money is being wasted. With his/her input, the board will gain valuable insight and hopefully make decisions to improve quality patient care as well as achieve a healthier bottom line. Is there a Nurse Leader on your board?

In the wake of the 2016 election and a changing context for healthcare decision-making, health systems that expand the scope of board dialogue will have a strategic advantage.

Into what was already a rapidly if not chaotically changing healthcare marketplace, there may be major changes from a new presidential administration. There is no better time to get all the right players at the table. Care providers facing the many changes and uncertainties associated with healthcare during Donald Trump’s administration will need diverse board-level input and timely feedback from their core employee sector, nursing, and its insider’s perspective on the patient experience. 

We view this as an optimal time for health systems to add a nurse leader to their boards because the profession’s caregiving expertise and awareness of patient perspectives is needed for sound strategic decision-making. Drawing on our many years of work together as a former health system CEO and as a nurse executive board member, here’s our short list of ways a nurse with high-level business expertise can help a health system board strengthen profitability and patient outcomes.

Balanced board focus

A nurse who has a strong business background and substantial healthcare experience can offer practical, useful input to improve a health system’s board governance. When Kathy first joined the Alegent board, she urged the board to balance its time equally between finance and quality outcomes, patient safety and quality care.

That was a turning point in the organization’s governance. Prior to her input, board meetings had focused primarily on finance and reviewing financial results because that’s what board members most understood. The board needed to focus on the core business of quality care. As time went on, finance was relegated to a lesser part of board meetings because those reports could be sent in advance and continued to be management’s responsibility.

Rick: Kathy first and foremost earned the respect and trust of the board as a very strong business leader and colleague with substantial healthcare experience. She could stand toe-to-toe with any board member on any topic. She also brought nursing experience and the unique dimension of clinical care, an array of experiences and perspectives our board didn’t have before.

Kathy: Nurses understand what it is to deliver human services and generally find themselves in the role of patient advocate and touchpoint for all activities in a hospital. My perspective was broader because I was a senior vice president of a Fortune 500 healthcare company. In addition to my passion for the mission, my experience was corporate and profit-oriented. My focus was on making sure you deliver care as efficiently and cost-effectively for the best outcomes.  

Return on investment 

To improve quality outcomes, resource utilization and financial metrics, it’s critical that nursing leadership and front-line nurses, executives and board governance are all in partnership. Without that, change is simply not possible. Across the board, Alegent’s measures improved dramatically after it dedicated resources to improving outcomes for direct hands-on care of patients. This core business is affected directly by nursing across the enterprise. At Alegent, we could link a clear set of statistics and graphs for a variety of outcomes to the impact of Kathy’s input and expectations.

Kathy: When I joined the board, we had no board committees working on quality. It was easy to make the case that the board ultimately has responsibility for quality outcomes. A lot of people think having better quality may cost more money. Actually, you get a return on investment if you deliver higher quality, and you can easily reduce your costs.

Rick: We took Kathy’s recommendation to focus on quality patient care very seriously and found the resources to make this happen. We ended up with a strong team of quality experts, physicians, nurses and colleagues with analytical skills—some of whom we hired and some of whom we moved into leadership roles. We became national leaders in quality outcomes. Our company’s quality scores were on par with Johns Hopkins (Health System) and Cleveland Clinic and were ahead of the Mayo Clinic.

Blind spot protection

A board without diverse perspectives risks overlooking uncomfortable yet important issues.

Rick: Kathy could challenge management and the board in ways nobody else could because of her experience and knowledge. She pressed management on quality outcomes when they began to be published publicly. I will never forget the day we reported wonderful quality outcomes scores for our metropolitan hospitals. Our rural hospitals weren’t reporting the same scores. Kathy said,“Our company’s name is on those buildings too. Why aren’t we delivering the same care there?” There was dead silence. That type of feedback—pointing to conversations our board needed to have—was exactly what I needed as president and later CEO. Thanks to Kathy’s input, we put resources and focus on quality outcomes in our rural hospitals and brought them quickly into the top decile nationally with comparable care.

Kathy: We achieved these quality improvements because our hospital administrative leadership team took on this challenge; they creatively led changes in our culture and processes, and committed resources to make it happen.

Pivot to the future

The nursing profession has dedicated itself to empowering people with comparable stature and skills as other board members to share nursing’s valuable perspective on the front-line business. That’s why we joined the American Nurses Foundation’s effort to increase the number of nurses on boards, building on its impact as a founding member of the national Nurses on Boards Coalition.

There is a ready cohort of nurse leaders with the governance and healthcare expertise to be excellent board members. All the board has to do is get them oriented to the organization. This next-generation cadre of nurse leaders is ready for an important task. Their input on behalf of the critical issues and the bigger picture will be essential to protecting and reinforcing the nation’s vital healthcare sector in the coming era.

If you have any questions feel free to ask one of our Nurse Leaders who are always here to help!
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Topics: nurse leaders, nurse leadership

Being A Magnet Nurse

Posted by Pat Magrath

Wed, Jan 11, 2017 @ 03:05 PM

Magnet-Recognition-Logo-CMYK.pngMagnet certification. You’ve heard the term, but do you really know what it means and how difficult it is to achieve Magnet status? Did you know that only 6% of all US hospitals are Magnet recognized? To work at a Magnet hospital brings pride to their Nurses because it’s something they’ve worked hard to achieve.

If you’d like to know what it’s like to work at a Magnet recognized hospital, please read this article written by a Magnet Nurse.

I’m a Magnet® nurse. I’m proud to say that my entire nursing career thus far has been nurtured within Magnet-recognized hospitals, first in Idaho and now in Missoula. The American Nurses Credentialing Center currently recognizes 448 hospitals as Magnet hospitals – only 6 percent of all U.S. hospitals. This recognition has become something of a gold standard in nursing.

In the early 1980s, a nursing shortage prompted the American Academy of Nursing to establish a task force to study workplace satisfaction within U.S. hospitals. In the course of that work, the researchers noted that a handful of institutions were particularly adept at retaining talented nurses and fostering a positive experience for patients.

The team directed their attention to those hospitals in order to learn what factors produced the effect of keeping skilled nurses employed within an organization. They identified 14 traits, termed the “Forces of Magnetism,” and formed a culture that evolved into the Magnet Model. The culture described by these forces became the standard of excellence, the Magnet recognition program, which hospitals can strive to attain. Those traits, while varied, center on two things: improving patient outcomes and empowering nurses within the health care system.

So what does it mean to be in a Magnet hospital? Magnet hospitals must outperform other hospitals nationwide for clinical outcomes, patient satisfaction and nursing satisfaction by focusing on best practices in patient care. Nurses are encouraged to develop strong working relationships with patients, physicians, social workers, and other health care disciplines to create a high-quality experience for the people they serve. The hospital can apply for recognition through the ANCC Magnet Recognition Program and must reapply every four years.

For nurses like myself, Magnet means having opportunities to be involved and feel empowered to make changes in our work environment through council membership, research projects and education. And most importantly for nurses, it means feeling supported and having a voice within the organization.

This past October I attended the national Magnet Conference in Orlando, Florida. It was incredibly inspiring to be surrounded by nearly 10,000 passionate, engaged and motivated nurses from across the country, linked by a similar purpose. These nurses do not shy away from tough situations or unwanted outcomes in health care, but work to improve their chosen profession and empower those around them to do the same. They are nurses who are committed to being leaders, teachers and advocates within the field of nursing. They are the best at what they do.

Since returning home, I’ve tried to keep that inspiration with me daily as I care for patients. Magnet hospitals aren’t perfect, yet they strive toward excellence and continued improvements through the shared theme: empowering nurses to transform health care. We are committed.

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Topics: Magnet hospitals, magnet nurse

When You Have The Choice of Dying

Posted by Pat Magrath

Tue, Jan 10, 2017 @ 04:14 PM

deathwithdig.jpgThe day I had to put my dog down was an incredibly difficult day. I remember telling my sister-in-law about it and her response was “too bad we can’t do it for our human loved ones”. It was such a strong statement, but I knew where she was coming from. Her mother suffered from Alzheimer’s for close to 10 years and the last few years of her life, she had no idea who any was, not even her beloved children. 
In your profession, you see death often. We know some deaths are blessings and the passing of my sister-in-law’s mother was a huge blessing and relief to her family. She had no quality of life, no joy, no communication, and was basically a shell of who she was. The topic of Death with Dignity is gaining momentum. I think many of you believe that a terminally ill patient has the right to choose when they’ve had enough and want to end their life. Am I wrong?
What do you think about this very important topic that impacts us all? Please read this article and let’s get a dialogue going below in the comments section.

It was cold but the sun was shining when my father looked out the window and said he wanted to die.

He was lying in a hospital bed, tubes tying him to machines and drips. He was 65, wasn’t a smoker but, like a lot of firefighters, had inhaled things that embedded in his lungs, slowly strangling them. His skin was ashen, his eyes wet and hauntingly sad.

When he said he wanted to die, my immediate reaction was to reassure him, to hold his hand, to tell him that my mother, my brother, my sister, and I didn’t want him to go, that we loved him too much to let him go, that he couldn’t go just yet.

That was 29 years ago, and it took me many years to realize that my reaction to my father’s plaintive, death-bed declaration was selfish, that it was rooted in what I thought was best, what I wanted, not what he thought was best, not what he wanted.

My father lingered for several weeks after he told me he wanted to die, suffering greatly. I have no idea if he would have opted to end his life earlier, to end his suffering earlier, but I wish he had the option.

It would be helpful to know whether a majority of Massachusetts legislators think others should have that option, too, but for the last eight years they have punted on the Death with Dignity Act, bottling it up in committee so that it dies without the dignity of a full and fulsome hearing.

Five years ago, a referendum that would make it legal for physicians to prescribe medications that terminally ill people could use to end their lives was narrowly defeated. But, like all social change, like all civil rights, the right to die with dignity is moving forward, inexorably.

Last month, the Massachusetts Medical Society commissioned a survey of its members’ attitudes toward what they called “medical aid in dying.” For a group that has historically opposed what some call physician-assisted suicide, the mere act of seeking its members’ opinions acknowledges the shift, much of it generational, in thinking.

In October, Dr. Roger Kligler, a retired Falmouth physician with prostate cancer, filed a lawsuit asserting he has a right to obtain a lethal dose of medication from a doctor willing to prescribe it if he becomes terminally ill and chooses to avoid more suffering. 

Dr. Kligler rightly believes he’ll get a quicker answer from a court than the Great and General Court. As it has with other highly contentious matters, including same-sex marriage and the legalization of marijuana, the Legislature has been more than happy to let the courts or the public do the heavy lifting.

But even if a court agrees with Dr. Kligler’s argument, the decision could be narrowly tailored to only his case. And as the messy rollout of marijuana legalization has shown, legislating complex matters by referendum often leads to convoluted results

The Legislature needs to take on Death with Dignity, in all its complexity.

Nine years ago, State Representative Lou Kafka sat down with one of his constituents, a guy from Stoughton named Al Lipkind, who was dying of stomach cancer. Lipkind asked Kafka to file a bill that would make it legal for doctors to write prescriptions for terminally ill people who wanted to avoid needless suffering. Kafka refiles the bill every session. The initial dozen co-sponsors have grown to 40.

“Al was able to make me see it through his eyes,” Kafka told me. “Unless and until it becomes personalized, it’s an issue you don’t necessarily think about.”

Not long after Al Lipkind died in 2009, Kafka watched helplessly as the same disease that slowly and torturously killed my dad did the same to his father.

“I watched him gasp for breath,” Kafka said.

Like me, Lou Kafka doesn’t know if his father would have chosen to end his life before enduring months of agony. Like me, he wishes his dad had the option.

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Topics: Death With Dignity Act, medical aid in dying, physcian assisted suicide

A Nurse For 50 years Says Take Love With The Pain

Posted by Pat Magrath

Mon, Jan 09, 2017 @ 10:45 AM

AR-170109708.jpg&maxh=400&maxw=667.jpgNurse Tommy will be missed by many of his co-workers, patients and their families. After 50 years of doing a job he loves, Tommy is retiring with mixed feelings. He’s loved working as a hematology-oncology nurse at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.
He can calm an inconsolable infant and bring smiles to children with a devastating illness. Like many of you, he has a gift. This article is a lovely tribute to a very special man.

“Love is the reason I do what I do, even though at times it’s painful when you have a loss.” — Tommy Covington, hematology-oncology nurse at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

Thank you, Tommy, for the last 50 remarkable years you’ve given us.

From Vietnam and all those severely wounded soldiers and Marines you cared for during your four years as an Army nurse. How many beds did you say were filled in your hospital ward in Guam during one stretch of heavy fighting — 92?

You knew it was just a matter of days, even hours, before you’d be sitting by the bedside of many of these men as they were given their last rites. You felt the pain and the loss, but where was the love?

You came home and enrolled in the RN program at Los Angeles Trade Tech College, leaving your friends wondering why you would want to work in a “female profession.”

You didn’t see it that way. You had just left a war full of male nurses. Gender had nothing to do with saving lives. You landed a job in the hematology-oncology unit at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles in 1970 where your patients now were babies and kids fighting another enemy — cancer.

That’s where you say you found it. In pediatrics. The love. 

You cared for these kids and cradled them in your arms for 46 years, giving their emotionally drained parents a chance to catch a few hours of precious sleep. You’d sit at your nurse’s station at 3 a.m. on the night shift and turn on soft music to calm the babies down.

“You cuddle them and make eye contact, and when they smile back at you, well, it’s just a wonderful thing,” you told me. Yeah, I bet it is, Tommy.

But with the love, came the pain. Always. You knew many of these babies and young children would not see another birthday. You had to block that out and just do your job.

“Many of my patients have succumbed to their disease,” you say. “How do you learn to deal with it? It’s part of life. It’s been my way of life for 50 years.”

The people at CHLA tell me you’re a legend at the hospital, one of its most beloved employees. You’re still getting mail and phone calls from parents who can’t shake you from their minds, even years after their babies have died.

If it hadn’t been for you, the heartache they went through would have been so much worse. You helped get them through the lowest point in their lives, and they still feel a need to thank you for that all these years later.

One young mother of a 22-month-old daughter, Jessica, who spent a month in the oncology unit recently, described your gift perfectly.

“It was about 10 o’clock at night and she just kept crying,” Brittany Thornton says. “Tommy came to the door and asked if he could help. He picked Jessica up and it was like magic — she stopped crying immediately and laid on his shoulder.

“He took her for about two hours and let me sleep. He’s the only one who can make Jessica stop what she’s doing and smile.” What a gift you have, Tommy.

And now, it’s time to say goodbye to this hospital you’ve served for almost half a century and go fishing. To throw your line in the water and find that peace you can’t find anywhere else.

Your 71-year-old knees are killing you, and there’s a lot of walking on this job. You don’t want to cheat your patients.

“If I can’t function at 100 percent for them, it’s time for me to go,” you say. I can see that. The smart ones always know when it’s time.

But there’s a hurt in your voice you can’t hide, Tommy. It’s not going to be easy walking away from a job you love, even with all the pain and loss attached to it. You’re going to miss these kids and the rookie nurses you’ve helped train to one day take your place.

They were a large part of why you worked the 7 p.m.- to -7 a.m. shift three nights a week all these years. You joked the hours made the commute from your home in Valencia to L.A. easier with less traffic, but that wasn’t the real reason.

The night shift gave you more independence, a chance to spend extra time looking into the eyes of the crying babies in your arms. Feeling their love.

This morning you’re going into work one last time to clean out your locker and sign some retirement papers before driving home to your wife, Laurie, who also works at CHLA as a staffing coordinator, as does your son, Joe.

Next week, you’ll be on a fishing boat out of Ventura Harbor, throwing your line in the water and just relaxing. It all sounds perfect, but you admit your heart won’t be out there on that boat with you. Not for a while.

It’ll still be at work with all those beautiful babies and children who gave you so much love and pain throughout your remarkable career.

Thank you, Tommy Covington, for the last 50 years. You’re a hell of a man.

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Topics: retiring nurse

Meet The Father-Son Nursing Duo

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Fri, Jan 06, 2017 @ 11:23 AM

There's an old saying, "If you love what you do, you never work a day in your life." Chris Graham was working a job he didn't love and decided it’s never too late to get a job that you do love. 
He wanted to become a Nurse. Somehow, he managed to get his Nursing degree with 4 children to take care of at home. One of those children followed in his father's footsteps and graduated from the same Nursing School. The legacy will continue as another one of Chris's kids has been accepted to Nursing school. What a wonderful role model Chris is for his family.

A strong connection with an anesthesiologist at the mechanic shop he worked in inspired Chris Graham to pursue nursing school, but little did he know that years later, he would inspire his son to do the same thing.

Graham, a 48-year-old resident of Baton Rouge, walked across the stage to graduate from Our Lady of the Lake College in 1999, and a few weeks ago, his second son, Stefin, accomplished the same feat when he received his diploma from the newly dubbed Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University.

Chris serves as the director of Nursing at Jefferson Oaks Behavioral Health, and Stefin has been hired to work in the intensive care unit at Our Lady of the Lake Hospital.

In 1995, Chris was working at BMW of North America as a mechanic, married to a schoolteacher and the proud father of two sons, but he knew that eventually he wanted to pursue another career path.

Although he didn’t know exactly which field he would pursue, Chris began taking prerequisite courses at night while working a 40-plus hour workweek at the mechanic shop.

It wasn’t until he struck up a relationship with a local anesthesiologist who became a regular at the shop that he decided to turn toward the medical field.

“I said, ‘Doc, I can’t go to nursing school with these kids,’ and he said, ‘Aw, yeah you can. Just put your mind to it.’ Long story short, I ended up registering at Our Lady of the Lake College, and in 1996, I took my first nursing class,” Chris said.

Being accepted into the program was only the first of many hurdles he had to overcome on the long road to graduation.

“Once I got accepted into nursing school, we had two more children,” said Chris. “My wife, Jeri, was a full-time teacher, and I quit working for BMW North America and put all my efforts into nursing school. At that point, I became a stay-at-home dad, and we went from having my six-digit salary to living on a teacher’s salary, which was tough with four kids and a house. Somehow, we got through it, though, and I love what I do.”

Chris’ hard work did not go unnoticed, since he was the first person to receive the Dr. John Beven Award for graduates who exemplify the art and science of nursing, and years later his second son, Stefin, chose to pursue the same career path.

Stefin said, “I was maybe 8 or 9 years old when my dad graduated from nursing school, and I didn’t realize what a big feat that was until I was older. He didn’t just have me, he was also taking care of my two younger brothers and my older brother, so he graduated nursing school with four kids.”

Although watching his dad was inspiring, for Stefin, the decision to pursue nursing was solidified while doing service hours as a high school senior.

Stefin said, “When I was in high school, I had to do service hours, and my dad helped me get those by bringing me with him to work. He worked in a surgery center, and I would go with him to see the patients. I loved seeing what he did as a nurse, and I felt like that was the type of trade I could enjoy and pursue.”

Growing up, Stefin always felt drawn toward caretaking roles, so the unit he chose to work on was a natural fit for him.

Stefin said, “I feel like I was always called to be a caregiver to other people, and my faith teaches me that in serving others we are served. About halfway through school, we did our ICU rotations, and I really fell in love with it. You get to take care of the most vulnerable patients who often can’t speak for themselves.”

The nursing legacy of the Graham family will be continued when the fourth Graham son, 18-year-old Austin, starts classes in the fall at Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University.

For Chris, seeing his sons follow in his footsteps is an honor unmatched by little else.

Chris said, “It makes you wonder: Did they mimic and learn from me, and did I help to encourage this somehow? I teach my children to go after their own aspirations, not what other people tell them to do, so it’s been humbling to see them pursue nursing.”

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Topics: nursing school, father and son Nurses

Robots Designed To Help Nurses, Not Replace Them

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Tue, Jan 03, 2017 @ 03:47 PM

IMG_9931.jpgBy 2021, robots will have a growing presence in healthcare. That doesn't mean less Nursing positions, but more assistance and safety. Think of robots used to detonate bombs instead of sending in a human to do it. These robots would be dealing with high risk patients with infectious diseases. 
They can also help Nurses with lifting patients and heavy objects, and they can handle the staffing. Does this sound like a good idea to you? Would you feel comfortable implementing robotics into your work place? 

A grant from the National Science Foundation has led engineering and nursing students at Duke University to create a robotic “nurse” to assist human nurses, according to an article published in the News & Observer. The robots are being tested as “alternatives to human contact to diminish risks for providers,” who are caring for patients with infectious diseases.

“We are not trying to replace nurses,” Margie Molloy, an assistant nursing professor, said in the article, explaining they are trying to create a safer environment for healthcare providers.

The first-generation robot called “Trina” (Tele-Robotic Intelligent Nursing Assistant) can perform tasks, albeit clumsily at present, such as delivering a cup, a bowl, pills and a stethoscope to a patient. Its face is a computer screen on which an actual nurse’s face appears.

In the fall, students conducted a simulation with a fake patient using the remote-controlled robot, which has a price tag of $85,000.

Plans for the next generation of Trina include giving her a “more friendly and human-like appearance” and enabling her to collect and test fluids, the article stated.

“We need to establish a better interface with the human and the robot to make them work together and be more comfortable,” Jianqiao Li, engineering student, said in the article.

A Business Wire article stated that by 2021 robots will be a growing presence in the healthcare system, surpassing 10,000 units annually.

“More than 200 companies are already active in various aspects of the healthcare robotics market,” said principal analyst Wendell Chun, in the article. “These industry players are creating highly specialized devices for a wide range of applications, and the use cases will continue to expand as costs decline and healthcare providers recognize the early successes of robots in supporting high-quality care and a range of ancillary services.”

MIT has been teaching robots to assist nurses with scheduling. A robot can observe humans working on a labor and delivery floor and then formulate an efficient schedule for staff, according to the July 2016 MIT News article.

Nurses’ positive comments about the robot included that it would “allow for a more even dispersion of workload” and that it would be helpful to new nurses who are acclimating to their roles.

“A great potential of this technology is that good solutions can be spread more quickly to many hospitals and workplaces,” Dana Kulic, an associate professor of computer engineering at the University of Waterloo, said in the article. “For example, innovative improvements can be distributed rapidly from research hospitals to regional health centers.”

Another robot project funded by the NSF is developing robots to help nurses lift patients and heavy objects.

“The proposed Adaptive Robotic Nurse Assistants will navigate cluttered hospitals, while equipped with multimodal skin sensors that can anticipate nurse intent, automate mundane low-level tasks, but keep nurses in the decision loop,” according to an award abstract. “Modular and strong hardware will be deployed in reconfigurable platforms specially designed for nurse physical assistance.”

Related Article: A Robot Delivers Meds at Dana-Farber

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Topics: robotics, robot

Our Top 5 Most Read Articles of 2016

Posted by Pat Magrath

Thu, Dec 29, 2016 @ 12:17 PM

2016.jpgAs 2016 comes to a close, we wish you a Happy New Year and All the Best in Health and Happiness for 2017!
To recap the year, we’d like to share our Top 5 most read articles in 2016. We hope you enjoy them and please feel free to let us know topics you’d like us to explore in 2017. Thank you for being part of our DiversityNursing.com community.
There was a big tiny surprise on a flight leaving Philadelphia. A woman's water broke and luckily a Nurse of 40 years, jumped into action. You might be wondering how the pregnant woman got clearance to fly. Turns out she was only 26 weeks pregnant. The baby, ironically named Jet, was a miracle delivery and is still in the Intensive Care Unit.
Nurses are always learning. Whether it’s on-the-job with practical experience or continuing your formal education, you are always on a quest to learn more. Perhaps you’re trying to figure out how to do something better, earn your next degree, improve your relationship and listening skills, or how the latest electronic medical records program works. You are determined to move forward and be your best. If you’re looking to advance your formal education, we offer this article as a source of information on Nursing schools and acceptance rates.
Do you feel safe at work? I hope you do 100% of the time. If you don’t, this article focuses on violence happening against healthcare staff from their patients. Nationwide safety standards are being considered. Some states and healthcare systems have adopted their own policies and safety training. 
Though discrimination exists in many forms, racial discrimination brings a unique set of implications that threaten the mental and physical health of patients and acts as a barrier to seeking care from medical professionals. Eliminating racism, therefore, is not just a concern for civil rights activists, but also for medical professionals.
5. 10 Tips To Help You Enjoy Your Holiday Nursing Shift
The holiday season is fast approaching and with that comes a lot of stress in both our personal and professional lives. No matter what holiday you celebrate, we hope it is a joyful and peaceful holiday for you and your family.
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Topics: 2016, 2016 blogs

A Nurse And A Gentleman

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Wed, Dec 28, 2016 @ 12:54 PM

Male_Nurse1.jpgEducational systems should be increasing the diversity of its students to create a workforce that is prepared to meet the demands of diverse populations. Since the 70's there has been an increase of male Nurses by 200%. Stereotypes of professional gender rolls are being broken down.
The student-led group MEN, follows in the footsteps of AAMN the American Assembly for Men in Nursing. The group is open to all genders and their goals are to empower male Nursing students, promote awareness and cultural competence, and advocate growth and development. In doing so, MEN will help lead the change.
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“It does not make a thing good, that it is remarkable that a woman should do it. Neither does it make a thing bad, which would have been good had a man done it ...”


The preceding quote is the second-to-last sentence of Nightingale’s famous book. Her allusion to the equality between sexes looks as if it has been added as an afterthought. In the discussion about men in nursing, her ideas may seem portentous, but it is doubtful if she ever imagined that men would be infiltrating the field.

The number of male nurses and men enrolling in nursing programs are at all-time high. According to the US Census Bureau in 2013, the latest figures show that approximately 9.6% of nurses in 2011 are male compared with 2.7% in the 1970s—representing a more than 200% increase. At our College, about 10% of advanced practice students and 14% undergraduate students were male during the school years 2014 to 2016. Eight of the full-time faculty are male—or 11%. Nationwide, enrollment of men in entry-level nursing programs remains stable at about 15% since 2012. It is likely that these numbers will increase in the next decade as more media attention is given to the reality of nursing as a viable and rewarding profession for men and women alike.

Enter — MEN.

The student-led interest group MEN came about in 2009 when a group of male students sent out a call for anyone who identified as male to gather and brainstorm about establishing a student activity group.

In its by-laws, MEN adopted the objectives of the American Assembly for Men in Nursing (AAMN) as its core purpose. These goals include:

To empower male nursing students to be responsible for their holistic health and well-being in order to serve as role models in the community.

To promote awareness of health related issues affecting the male population by addressing their unique health challenges.

  • To promote cultural competence among all its members to recognize the male perspective of nursing.

  • To advocate for the growth and development of its members as leaders in nursing and in society through education, outreach, advocacy, and service.
Throughout each school year, MEN organizes and collaborates with other student groups to provide high quality extracurricular programming to not just meet its educational mission, but to promote comradery and mutual support among male students in the program. Some of the more recent events hosted by MEN include bike rides and indoor rock climbing, résumé writing and interviewing skills, men’s health awareness campaigns and fundraising, alumni networking, picnics, and presentations on various clinical topics of interest.

While the group’s purpose relates to men in the nursing profession, MEN is open to students of all genders, with some of its executive board members in the past being female. One significant outcome of the group is that several key MEN alumni established New York City Men in Nursing, an official chapter of AAMN.

The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health

While many health professions are becoming more gender-balanced, the nursing workforce has remained predominantly female. The impact of the increasing number of men entering nursing is still emerging and not yet fully understood. Other countries have long established policies to deal with instructional and practice variations based on religious restrictions. For example, in a nursing school in Oman, male students are not allowed in maternity wards. High-fidelity simulation offers male students the “hands-on” experience in labor and delivery.

One important consideration in the slowly increasing gender diversity in nursing education is for faculty to be aware of the well known gendered characteristics in learning, while keeping in mind that every individual is unique. Gendered differences is a potential topic for nursing education researchers.

Career Trajectories of Male Nursing Students

Hospitals remain the largest employer of all registered nurses, with 63.2% providing inpatient and outpatient care in a hospital setting. Staff nurse—or its equivalent—is the most common job title of RNs in the US. However, there is no comprehensive data on current career choices of male nurses. Older data indicated more men work at hospitals in proportion to the number of female RNs.

What is certain today is that the highest representation by men in all fields of nursing practice is in nurse anesthesia. The US Census Bureau reported that 41% of all Certified Registered Nurses Anesthetist (CRNAs) are males. An online survey by Hodes Research in 2005 reported that the top three specialties reported by men were critical (27%), emergency (23%), and medical/surgical (20%). Awareness of the trend of career trajectories and aspirations of male nurses has important implications for nursing education and clinical stakeholders.

A Nurse and a Gentleman

Males are collectively called gentlemen, yet the virtue of gentleness, as a social construct, is mostly associated with women. Perhaps, it is one of the many reasons why it is especially pleasing to see men exemplify gentleness in a nursing role. What male nurses can offer to nursing is to breakdown the stereotypes of professional gender roles. Compassion, courage, good faith, and other virtues are all universal, and can be found among male and female nurses. At NYU Meyers, we believe in these values and are glad to see a growing number of men living them personally and professionally. 

by Fidelindo Lim, DNP, CCRN, and Larry Slater, PhD, RN, CNE Clinical Assistant Professors

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

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DiversityNursing.com is a national “niche” website for Nurses from student nurses up to CNO’s. We are a Career Job Board, Community and Information Resource for all Nurses regardless of age, race, gender, religion, education, national origin, sexual orientation, disability or physical characteristics. 

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