12/11/17

The dumbest or biggest waste of time someone has checked into the ER for?

The common cold? Hangnail? What are some of the most ridiculous moments you've encountered of grown adults coming into the ER, tying up resources, you've experienced?

11/28/17

Have you, or when was the last time, you lied to a patient or their family?

Have you ever been in a circumstance where you lied to a patient or their family? There may come a time when you are trying to relay information and the family doesn't comprehend what's happening, and you may, say, save someone's feelings with a white lie. Are there instances where it could be for the better, to help families or patients cope with loss. here's a story from Allnurses.com worth reading. Warning, it's a tear jerker.
I got the call on the EMS radio around 5 am. This is the usual time we get calls from EMS responding to nursing homes- The nurses are rounding on their patients to give am meds, and they find their residents dead or in distress. An 87 yo female, febrile, and in severe respiratory distress coming in. Pt is a DNR, but family is very involved, is aware, and will meet them in the ER. I'm alerted that family is in the waiting room before the patient even gets there. I go out and introduce myself, tell them I will be her nurse, and that I will bring them back as soon as I get her settled in the room. EMS arrives, and carefully transfers their frail burden onto one of my stretchers. You can see the relief on their faces, that they got her here and are able to hand her off before she dies on their watch. I'm now the proud owner of one very ill person. Temp 102+, Respiratory rate 14 and irregular. HR 50's, sat 84% on NRB, I don't need my Littmann to hear the rhonchi- Other hx is advanced dementia, DM, CHF. Has been in the nursing home for about 6 months- her husband had taken care of her at home as long as he could, but it finally got too much for him to manage, as he was also dealing with his own health problems at the age of 92. I got her settled, and the Doc comes in- I give him the pertinent info- Not a whole lot we can do at this point other than make her comfortable and treat the infection. Chances are poor that she will make it, and we both know it. Doc moves on to deal with people he can help, leaving me in control of this mess. I bring her visitors in, including her only daughter in her 60's, and several close friends of the family. I get them settled in and TRY explain to them what is going on. They don't get how bad off she is- I try to explain it to them in soft terms- They share with me who she is- a wife, a mother, a friend.I learn her husband is frail and elderly. I strongly suggest that if he is able, that he come. The daughter tells me she is going to leave to go get Dad. I explain that mom could go at any moment, each gasp she takes could be her last. I don't want them to have to deal with the idea that she died without ANY of her family around. But I REALLY wanted her husband there. The daughter calls her husband, who is dispatched to go get him dressed and here. In this age of technology, we can keep up with a lot of things. I'm updated that son in law is at dad's house, he's getting him dressed, getting him loaded in the car with the wheelchair. I'm watching my patient brady down, 50's, 40's 30's....The monitor is alarming, and my pt.'s daughter sees it. Husband lands in the parking lot, and the son in law is getting him loaded in his wheelchair. Then she died, no resps, asystole on the monitor. The daughter asks me- "Is she gone?" ..... Read the rest here: http://allnurses.com/emergency-nursing/i-lied-a-960234.html

11/7/17

Nursing Practice During a Disaster: Some Considerations

Nursing is by nature a profession based on caring compassion and the desire to alleviate suffering and facilitate healing. The nursing profession has and will play a vital role in the response to any disaster. This fact has been acknowledged by the Institute of Medicine(IOM) in their report The Future of Nursing Leading Change and Advancing Health. The IOM has also created the report titled Guidance for Establishing Crisis Standards of Care for Use in Disaster Situations. The nation has coped with disasters such as the 9/11 terrorist, hurricanes, and pandemics. Some disasters require an all out immediate health care response, other disasters require a more planned response over a longer period of time. The IOM has distinguished disasters by calling them pervasive or catastrophic. However, every disaster requires a different allocation of resources, and maximum output of health care personnel. Care decisions are made in a compressed time frame and the standard of care will change. The standard of care that is able to be implemented is known as a crisis standard of care, is executed by the presence of certain circumstances and at present is formally declared by a state government. Preparation before a disaster is essential. There are many questions that nurses would have in deciding how to respond in a disaster. What are a nurse’s professional and personal considerations? Effectiveness means getting the answers beforehand, as almost any nurse will feel a professional obligation to assist in a disaster if needed. This article will pose some questions nurses might have in an attempt to provide tools to help a reader make an informed decision. The IOM has recommended national standards and protocols in any disaster response. Currently only some states have disaster contingency plans. The IOM with input from professional organizations such as the ANA has prepared a report that outlines suggested procedures. The ANA has its own policy paper as well. The Red Cross is also establishing scope of practice for nurses in their disaster response which includes nurse managed shelters. It is called the Disaster Health Services Concept of Operations. The IOM has stated that 5 elements must comprise any national policy on disaster response. They are: That any plan has a firm ethical foundation, and there be community and provider engagement and education that are continual and integrated. There must be assurances on legal authority and environment. Clear triggers, indicators and responsibilities, which employ evidence based decision making processes.are necessary. Here are some of the questions nurses might have about their professional role in a disaster. What capabilities will I need to practice effectively? The Columbia School of Nursing has composed a list of core competencies for clinicians in disaster healthcare. For a health care professional the following is a brief summary of emergency preparedness skills: Responding to the emergency within the incident or emergency management system of the particular organization or entity. The ability to explain one’s role in the disaster response. Initiate patient care according to licensed ability and coordinate referrals to an appropriate agency according to the patient’s condition. Be able to recognize sickness, disease, or injury that is a consequence of a number of agents natural or manmade. The ability to put in place infection control procedures to reduce spread of disease, which will include decontamination and use of protective equipment. Recognize and manage stress and anxiety created by the disaster and refer if necessary. Communication is a large part of several competencies as clinicians will need to both receive and convey information about the disaster, for example to facilitate updates. They will also have to interpret information received and summarize care given to patients and also participate in post event evaluation. What would be my scope of practice? What the legal protection is in place to protect me in my practice? The IOM report stated that professionals need to be clearly protected in order to allow health care professionals to practice without fear of legal action as long as they are acting in good faith and not recklessly. Although comprehensive liability protection is in place medical personnel are protected if they act under an emergency declaration as part of a team, for example. The IOM has recommended that existing liability protection be tied to linked to the declaration of crisis standards of care. An ethical foundation allows for confident provider response and action. Clarification and standardization of protocols will encourage nurses to respond in a disaster. If my present employer doesn’t have a disaster plan response where can I get training in disaster nursing? Be knowledgeable about your employer’s emergency preparedness plan if your medical center has one. Get involved in advocating to your peers the importance of creating a plan. Also be aware of your state’s response protocols are. Nurses can also train with organizations that would respond in a disaster such as the Red Cross, Disaster Medical Teams and the Medical Reserve Corp Standards of care in a disaster will differ from health care on a regular basis. Any crisis standard of care must be applied consistently and with transparency. All this must be contained in a policy that has been developed pre disaster by a disaster medical advisory team using evidence based decision tools and algorithms. In a disaster health care professionals’ goal must be to provide the care for the greater good of a larger number of patients. Nurses must confidently rely on their professional experience to make up for the lack of technology, staff, or support services available. Also utilities and infrastructure to administer health care may be damaged. One point that has been proven in any disaster is that vulnerable groups of society suffer the most both during and after the event. As mentioned earlier, community engagement is necessary in any disaster response plan, both for it to be executed successfully and for the recovery of citizens after. This is where nurses’ professional skill and unique position of trust in the public’s eyes will mean they are the health care professionals best positioned to elicit and maintain constructive productive dialogue with the public before, during, and after a disaster. Policymakers would do well to note the public’s trust in nurses and put them in positions to engage the public in disaster response planning. Sources: http://nursingworld.org/MainMenuCategories/WorkplaceSafety/DPR/Disaster-Preparedness.pdf http://nursingworld.org/MainMenuCategories/WorkplaceSafety/DPR/TheLawEthicsofDisasterResponse/AdaptingStandardsofCare.pdf http://www.nap.edu/catalogue/12749.html http://nursing.advanceweb.com/News/National-News/Nurse-Led-Disaster-Response-Model-Aligns-Red-Cross-With-IOM-Goals.aspx?cid=xrs_rss-nd

10/16/17

Burnout - From the ER and Beyond, Healthcare Workers at Risk

With a rising awareness real mental health, one of its aspects seems to lack practical application in the workplace. Nursing, and healthcare professionals, know that their job is fast-paced, sometimes at break neck speed, role that demands significant focus and investment in all ways. That includes mental and physical weight that can have adverse effects if nothing seriously. We have seen many healthcare professionals, not the least of which are nurses, have to take long extended leave, or worst, leaving the profession entirely because of burnout. The question for discussion is this: How does your workplace treat burnout? The startling reality is that burnout happens, and you need to take care of yourself. However, workplaces seem to ignore this reality and do not have adequate mechanisms in place to help their employees. The culture of overworking is one that's leaving unhealthy nurses in its wake. Are there programs in your workplace that are helping? What have you seen work? What do you do for yourself to ensure holistic health?

5/4/17

Mental Health Awareness and Care for Nurses

It's mental health awareness month in the US, and mental health awareness in Canada.

There's a noticeable increase in mental health awareness. For example, it's helpful when celebrities step up and share their struggles. It normalizes what has largely been either hidden or stigmatized.

Mental health is something many health practitioners know intimately. Both in what they see on the job, but also what they what they have to deal with themselves.

If, as a health practitioner, and especially a nurse, you don't take care of your own health, you're going to suffer. Faced with acute issues normal in a healthcare setting, like a hospital, increases the likelihood of mental illness.

High stress environments are a normal part of the job. However, the consequences of that environment need to be treated as normal too. Often, the results of losing work time and employees to issues such as anxiety impact the healthcare delivery system as a whole. What's both disappointing and incredulous (if you're the healthcare practitioner) is how little management acknowledges the problems.

From management, to corporations, to insurance providers, to workplace safety, mental illness still has a ways to go before it is recognized as in need of both proactive treatment (self-care), and space for healing (when illness emerges).

How many nurses, for example, suffer from mental illness yet can't claim that as a viable health concern to receive time off and insurance coverage for that time? How many are wondering if they're they only person who suffers from workplace anxiety because the issue is simply not addressed by management. How many are faced with management or environments that simply assume you work until you burn out and then are replaced?

The holistic care for employees in the healthcare, especially doctors and nurses, is lacking. We need to use the increase in mental health awareness to raise the prominence of adequate services and policies to protect workers as they continuously provide services in areas with a high degree of impact on one's own mental health.

What are do you do for self care? Share your insights.

What do you receive or see happening in your workplace both positive and negative?

5/1/17

Nurses: You are Intrepid Pioneers



The knowledge and skills of nursing are portable and reflect versatility. Nurses are scientific critical thinkers who see their vocation as a calling to improve the health care of citizens through compassionate healing. Nurses’ ability to evaluate and think on their feet in a variety of situations is found in all locations of health care from the operating room to patient homes.

The history of nursing reflects innovation. Since May is the month we find nursing week this article will take a look at one aspect of the future of nursing. Nursing’s bird’s eye view of health care gives nurses opportunity to see how health care delivery can be improved through new inventions of equipment and services. There are many examples in the past of nurses who have filled voids in the health care system by pioneering health care innovation. They have been mentioned in this space already, such as Frontier Nurse Services or the Visiting Nurse Services of New York and the Henry Street Settlement.

Some nurses have extended the entrepreneurial spirit to create businesses of their own. This article will give several examples of present nursing businesses and possibilities in the future.

4/18/17

The Horror Stories of Clinical - Student Nurses Share Their Experiences

All nurses have them. At first, it was a shock, but if you stuck with it, you realized it was going to be a routine affair. We're talking about the chaos of humanity you can only find in healthcare.

Although not specific to the ER, sharing stories about your time in clinical (especially if you're in the midst of it now) is a good cathartic release for what can be heavy stuff. Here are two anecdotes to share. If you have an experience from your time in clinical or internship, (hopefully with levity) add it to the comment section below.