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DiversityNursing Blog

California Lawmakers Want to Raise Smoking Age Limit

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Mon, Feb 02, 2015 @ 11:43 AM

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Should the legal age for smoking be raised from 18 to 21? That’s the question being pondered by lawmakers in California, where a growing contingent of health advocates are seeking to make their state’s minimum smoking age the highest in the United States.

Known as Bill 151, the legislation, which was proposed by Democrat Senator Ed Hernandez last Thursday, is designed to limit tobacco smoking among young people. Hernandez says it’s about preventing people from becoming addicted to cigarettes when they’re most vulnerable.

“Tobacco companies are aware that people tend to become addicted to smoking if they start it at young age,” Hernandez said. “Senate Bill 151 proposes to increase the legitimate smoking age in California from 18 to 21 years in an offer to restrain tobacco smoking in children and teenagers.”

Hernandez has evidence to support his cause. According to the American Lung Association, nine in ten smokers take up the habit right around the time they reach age eighteen. Overall, it’s estimated that about 36,000 California children begin smoking each year.

Hernandez says it’s time to take a tougher approach when it comes to preventing young people from smoking. “We can no more bear to sit on the sidelines while huge tobacco markets to our children and gets another era of youngsters snared on an item that will at last kill them,” Hernandez said.

California is not the first state to make this venture. Utah, New Jersey, Maryland, and Colorado have all tried to raise the smoking age from 18 to 21, with every attempt ending in failure.


Topics: age, laws, government, California, smoking, cigarettes, tobacco, health, health care

Conjoined Twins Plan Party After Reaching Landmark Age

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Wed, Jul 09, 2014 @ 10:55 AM


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Ronnie and Donnie Galyon are eagerly awaiting a major milestone this Saturday. Even though it’s not the conjoined twins’ birthday, the duo plans to celebrate turning 62 years, 8 months and 7 days old with a big block party.

The reason for the celebration? The date means they will have lived longer than the original “Siamese Twins,” Chang and Eng Bunker, who became famous as a sideshow act in the 1800's.

“Put it this way -- I’m stoked,” Ronnie Galyon, 62, told the Denton Daily News.

Ronnie and Donnie Gaylon were born in 1951 and live with their younger brother, Jim Galyon, and his wife in Beavercreek, Ohio. The Galyon twins are joined from the breastbone area to the pelvis and spent their first months on Earth in the intensive care unit.

“They weren’t even expected to live the first day, let alone get out of the hospital, let alone live 62 years,” said Jim Galyon. “This has been a life-long goal to meet and beat the Bunker twins. It means the world to them.”

After growing up, the pair performed in carnival sideshows and circuses until they retired in 1991, according to the Associated Press. The Galyon twins lived on their own after retirement, although they moved just a few houses down from their brother so that he could help them. The twins moved in with their younger brother after they became deathly ill following a viral infection and were in the intensive care unit with various health problems, including blood clots in Ronnie’s lungs.

With the help of the community and the Christian Youth Corps, Jim Galyon was able to build an addition on his house and make it handicap accessible. He and his wife now care for his brothers 24 hours a day.

“[They] have their own totally different personalities,” said Jim Galyon. “Donnie can be very serious and reserved; Ronnie is very happy-go-lucky.”

While the duo is excited for the party on Saturday, they’re really anticipating their next birthday. This October the twins will turn 63, breaking the record for the oldest pair of conjoined twins, according to Guinness World Records.

The twins have been excited about breaking the official record for years.

“It’s what me and Donnie always dreamed about, and we hope to get the ring, because we’ve dreamed about getting this since we were kids,” Ronnie Galyon told the Denton Daily News.

As the Galyon twins plan to make history, their family is working on compiling a history of the twins’ former life on the road. They’re asking anyone who might have seen Ronnie and Donnie Galyon in their circus days to can contact the Galyon family at


Topics: age, twins, conjoined, party

Nurses Aiding Aging Memory With Laughter

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Mon, Jun 09, 2014 @ 12:56 PM


Laughter the best medicine

First up in this week’s news is a look at an article on humor and the mental health of senior citizens I found over at A new study from researchers at Loma Linda University in California looked at the effects of the stress hormone cortisol on aging patients’ memory and mental acuity. They studied the possibility that laughter might lower the effects of cortisol on the seniors.

Healing Power of Funny Videos

Two groups of senior citizens were shown a funny 20 minute video and then were tested on their memory and mental acuity as well as cortisol levels. This was then compared to tests on a group who did not see the video. The subjects who saw the funny video were found to score better on the memory tests and had lower cortisol levels suggesting that regular exposure to funny and humorous things can improve memory and mental state of seniors.

The study was presented recently at the Experimental Biology conference in San Diego. One of the authors summed up the research saying, “it’s simple, the less stress you have, the better your memory.” This doesn’t mean that we need to be comedians in the midst of our care for patients but it does point to the core nursing tenet that when we treat the whole patient we manage their overall health better.

Make sure your hospitals have access to humorous videos and movies in their in-house TV system. Maybe even share a suggested funny YouTube video of the day with your patients who wish to view it. When appropriate, you could even open up your patient interactions with a simple joke. Maybe “why did the chicken cross the road” will be a precursor to better patient interactions in the future.



Topics: age, nursing, health, medicine, laughing

Aging Population a Boon for Health Care Workers

Posted by Alycia Sullivan

Fri, Oct 12, 2012 @ 03:02 PM

11:10AM EDT October 5. 2012 -From

07clinic 4 3 r560As Baby Boomers age into retirement by the millions each year, their growing health care needs require more people to administer that care.

That makes fields such as nursing one of the fastest-growing occupations, and hospitals are hiring now to prepare for what's to come.

Central Florida Health Alliance has 140 to 170 open positions a week, and almost 90% of them are for jobs that include registered nurses, pharmacists, physical therapists and pharmacy technicians, says Holly Kolozsvary, human resources director.

The two-hospital system based in Leesburg and The Villages is hiring for its peak season from January to April, when many retirees seek winter refuge in the Florida sun. But it's also managing a trend that requires it to employ more people year-round: More retirees aren't leaving at the end of spring, Kolozsvary says.

"It's kind of a domino effect," she says. "They move here, they're well, they get sick, they're left here through their cancer or heart disease, and we have to take care of them."

Job postings on for positions including registered nurses, physical therapists and physician assistants rose 13% from June 2011 through June 2012, according to a 2012 health occupational report by the job site.

The additional demand could be due partly to hospitals preparing for the retirements of many older nurses as the economy gets better, increasing the need for new skilled workers. Scripps Health, a group of five hospitals and 23 outpatient facilities in San Diego, plans to hire about 400 nurses a year over the next three years but might need to increase that by 200 annually because of retirements, says Vic Buzachero, senior vice president for human resources. About 30% of the hospitals' nurses are older than 50.

Jamie Malneritch applied for a part-time job as a registered nurse with Scripps in March and heard from the hospital the same day she submitted her application. She started working a month later.

The 31-year-old, who has worked as a nurse for four years, says the job security and growth opportunities were primary drivers in her decision to go to nursing school in 2006.

"It seems like we always need more hands," she says. "Nursing is flourishing."

With an average salary of $64,690 a year, according to 2010 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, registered nursing may be the more desired profession, but lower-paid home health aides are actually in higher demand.

An industry shift that puts more emphasis on outpatient care and home health services makes home health and personal care aides two of the fastest-growing occupations in the country. Employment in both positions, which have an average salary of about $20,000 a year, is expected to grow by about 70% by 2020, BLS data show. Registered nursing is expected to grow 26%.

ResCare HomeCare, a national provider and employer of home health and personal care aides, who work primarily with seniors with chronic illnesses or disabilities, has received 32,000 applications this year, a 23.3% jump from last year, and it hired 6,000 of the people who applied, about 5% more than in 2011, says Shelle Womble, senior director of sales.

Home health and personal care aides are generally the same, providing services such as checking vitals, prepping meals and bathing and grooming the patient. But home health aides are funded by Medicare and, in some states, require more training, while personal care aides are funded privately and may require less training, Womble says.

ResCare, where aides make $22,000 to $30,000 a year, is anticipating the need for more workers in the near future.

"Right now, one of our key positions is that we are hiring the talent before we even get the clients so we can be prepared and have the staff available," Womble says of home health and personal care aides. "There's a lot more competition for that type of employee."

Topics: age, baby boomers, healthcare, nurse, nurses, care, hospital staff

If We Work Into Our 70s, What Happens in the Workplace?

Posted by Hannah McCaffrey

Fri, Jul 06, 2012 @ 10:32 AM


You might think working well into your eighth decade is preposterous. But it is becoming relatively commonplace. The number of working people age 65 and older reached an all-time low in 2001, when just 13% held jobs. Now that rate is rebounding, and the number of workers older than 65 is 18% of the workforce.

The Future Workplace “Multiple Generations @ Work” survey asked 1,189 workers across the generations how likely they thought they were to work past age 70.

Seventy-seven percent of baby boomers (between ages of 48 and 66) said they believed they would work into their 70s. What is surprising is that 82% of Gen Xers (between ages of 36 and 47) agreed.Nurse 4

There are a number of reasons for employees to believe they will be working longer. First, they are already living longer. Boomers are expected to live longer than any previous generation of Americans. Of the 3.4 million born in 1946 — including Bill Clinton, George and Laura Bush, Donald Trump, Susan Sarandon, Steven Speilberg and Sylvester Stallone — 2.8 million are still alive. The men can expect to live another 22 years, the women another 25.

By 2030, when the first baby boomers reach the age of 84, the number of Americans older than 65 will have grown by 75%, to 69 million. This means more than 20% of the population will be older then 65.

And since we are living longer, we may want and need to work longer – especially to meet the financial needs caused by sagging retirement accounts, and plunging property values. As careers get longer, workplace culture will have to accommodate age diversity. Some traditionalists (those 66 and older) and baby boomers are already working further into their 70s and 80s, so as a new batch of employees from “Generation 2020″ (born after 1997) graduates from college and joins the workforce, it will become common to find five generations working side by side at the office.

A multigenerational workplace has plenty of advantages, including the potential for knowledge sharing, mentoring and coaching. But it can also create tension, the likes of which can erode office morale and sabotage productivity.

The “Generations @ Work” survey asked workers about their expectations and requirements for an employer.  The study found the struggles among the generations often eclipsed the advantages.

As originally discussed, in my book, The 2020 Workplace, each generation brings its own lens to the workplace, and individual and group talents can become obscured by assumptions, myths and real or perceived tensions and criticisms. This can lead to  havoc in the workplace.

Here are five ways to address and prevent generational tension at your company:

Teach your managers to anticipate generational differences, starting in the recruiting process.

Many young workers today approach job interviews differently than their predecessors. For our survey, we asked a sample of 150 managers to give us examples of surprising questions they’ve been asked by interviewees, most of whom were of millennial age. To the surprise of managers, millennials asked questions such as:

“Do I have to show up each day?”

“Can I use my own tablet, phone and laptop at work?

“Do I have to wear shoes to work?”

These questions can seem irreverent, but managers must understand what’s really behind them. The applicant who asks if he has to show up each day is really inquiring about the company’s telework policies and flexibility. The applicant who inquires about her ability to bring her own devices to work each day is really asking if the company has a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) to work policy in place to allow employees to use their own devices instead of company-owned, standard devices.

And, if you are ever faced with a question about shoes, remember Steve Jobs – he frequently went barefoot to work!

Be aware of each generation’s preferred learning and communication styles.

In our survey, 35% of Generation 2020 said they consider mentoring and coaching the most valuable form of career development with only 20% preferring the classroom. This generation also prefers to use the latest tools – such as mobile devices, gaming, video sharing and social networks – for learning new skills.

A study by Deloitte Consulting and the IABC confirms this finding as it relates to communication styles. The study concluded that younger workers want information delivered immediately, and in shorter and more-frequent chunks. Speed and frequency of communication are important to them.

Google provides a good example of how to use games to boost productivity. Google‘s management realized that the company’s large spread of office space was cutting down on human interaction. To help foster connections, the company built an online, multiplayer social game called GoCrossOffice, modeled after the game Risk. Players collaborate, organize and socialize with each other, and in the process, strengthen their team-building and strategic-thinking skills. Since then, other companies have joined in this trend, too.

Enlist Millennials as subject-matter experts on what appeals to their generation.

Some companies think of millennials as a problem to be solved in the workplace. But the forward-looking ones enlist millennials when they are trying to adopt a new product or service inside the company.

Neiman Marcus Director of Learning and Development Keith Meyerson relied on millennials who work for Neiman Marcus to promote the collaboration module of the company’s learning management system (LMS). Instead of using a top-down communication program, Neiman Marcus focused on communicating from the bottom up by using millennials to drive participation and share this practice with older workers who are typically not early adopters of new tools in the workplace.

Don’t believe the myths about each generation in the workplace.

It would be easy to put each generation in a box and characterize them based on stereotypes. But there are also plenty of similarities to be found among workers of all ages.

For instance, flexibility has become an increasingly valued workplace characteristic by workers of every generation. When Future Workplace asked how important a flexible work environment was, 35% of our survey respondents, across all ages, answered either “important” or “very important.” For all generations, flexibility –flexible hours and flexibility of location (i.e., telework) – was more important than both compensation and opportunities for advancement.

As more organizations see the importance of offering flexibility in the workplace, we will see this touted in recruiting materials as a way to attract talented new hires.  Organizations will need to probe for more cross-generational priorities such as flexibility, and communicate with both current and prospective employees about how they are delivering on those demands.

Be prepared for generational tension.

Intergenerational conflict is impossible to prevent entirely, so be prepared to address it when it does arise.

In our survey, 66% of millennials agreed with the statement, “my personal drive can be intimidating to other generations in the workplace,” and the generations’ divergent views on what to expect in the workplace of the future further outlined that tension. A study by PricewaterhouseCoopers found the same.

Take a cue from Bank of America and Pratt & Whitney. Both  organizations have created Employee Resource Groups focusing on Multi Generational issues.

Why focus on the needs and expectations of a multi-generational workforce? Just think of your future employee, the one entering your workplace in 2030. According to the Office of National Statistics, one third of the babies born today in 2012 will live to see their hundredth birthday! Now consider the age of the oldest member on your team in 2030.

The employers who adapt most quickly to the realities of a multigenerational workforce will become the ones who attract and retain the highest-quality employees now and in the future.

Topics: age, generation, diversity, education, technology

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