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In Touch
A forum to discuss the latest news and ideas in nursing and healthcare.
Tuesday, February 17, 2015
We’re experiencing the resurgence of measles, a disease that had been effectively eradicated in the U.S. due to herd immunity from population-wide adherence to receiving vaccination against measles. Educating the general public about health issues always poses a significant challenge. That’s why I’m amazed at how health misinformation can so readily proliferate and overpower legitimate, evidence-based science. Debunking the bunk becomes a task unto itself and adds one more layer of difficulty in achieving effective disease prevention.
 
Should vaccination be mandatory as a critical matter of public protection? Consider this: Someone’s choice not to vaccinate against measles (or even deadlier diseases like smallpox or polio) can directly lead to the morbidity and mortality of countless others. These include babies too young to be immunized, individuals who are unable to receive vaccines due to health or immune system problems, and even people who were vaccinated long ago, since immunity from the earlier vaccines may no longer be fully protective. 
 
I certainly support individual self-determination for most aspects of healthcare because it’s consistent with a patient-centered approach. But when it comes to highly contagious diseases that can harm many more lives than the individual’s own, that philosophy changes. For these circumstances, it’s past time that we shifted our direction to population-centered.
 
What do you think? Share your thoughts below!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015
Yesterday, U.S. federal health officials reported that 121 cases of measles have been reported in 17 states and D.C. And of course most of those who have contracted the disease were unvaccinated. What do you think should be done about the re-emergence of measles? Is mandatory vaccination the way to go, or improved education about vaccinations? Share your thoughts below!

Thursday, January 22, 2015
Yesterday's news about the Boston doctor gunned down at Brigham & Women's Hospital is shocking and something that we don't want to think could happen in the facilities where we work. But of course, the sad reality is that it can. Have you encountered an active shooter or similar violence in your facility? Does your facility have a policy in place to deal with an such a situation?
 
We published an award-winning article in 2013 about this subject, "Responding to an active shooter and other threats of violence," and it may be a good refresher to read it again. Share your thoughts below.

Thursday, January 15, 2015
I've had many recent conversations with colleagues about nursing professional development and career advancement. Invariably, we arrive at a common sticking point: talented nurses who were encouraged to engage in experiences or projects that would contribute to their professional growth but chose to opt out because there was no significant monetary incentive. I'm referring to opportunities such as participation in professional organizations, taking on volunteer activities, achieving extra certifications, going back to school, and writing for publication, to name a few.
 
I certainly respect that doing one's job may be all that's humanly possible for individuals with complex family or health issues. We obviously value nurses who come to work, competently handle the day-to-day challenges, and go home at the end of the shift. However, to nurses who have both the capacity and desire for career development, yet have an aversion to any extra work that carves into personal time, I'll say this: you just might want to reconsider your mindset.
When I think back on my own career, some of the richest experiences stemmed from volunteer and professional activities for which I never expected to be paid. What immediately come to mind are the friendships, the knowledge and skills, the networks and connections with people, and the opportunities that wouldn't have been possible otherwise. One experience often paves the way for others as ability, expertise, and character are honed.
 
Taking on new endeavors requires accountability, a willingness to learn, the capacity to finish what is started, and the acceptance that there may not be immediate, if any, financial gain.
 
There's value in going the extra mile if the opportunities are connected to personal or career goals—but how can you add another activity to an already busy life? Take stock of how you spend your time and consider ways to become more efficient. When possible, give up things that bog you down and don't add value. Be willing to move out of your personal comfort zone. Set realistic priorities and avoid procrastination. At the same time, strive to live a balanced life.
 
Remember that rewards aren't always immediate. Sometimes you have to broaden your definition of reward beyond the monetary to find your pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015
A 17-year-old girl was recently forced to undergo chemotherapy to treat her Hodgkin's lymphoma. Both she and her mother did not want her to receive the treatment, which would give her an 85% chance of being disease-free for five years; without the treatment, she would surely die. What do you think? Did the court do the right thing, or should this have been left up to the family? Share your thoughts below!
About the Author

Linda Laskowski-Jones
Linda Laskowski-Jones, MS, RN, ACNS-BC, CEN, FAWM, is editor-in-chief of Nursing and vice president of Emergency, Trauma, and Aeromedical Services at Christiana Care Health System in Wilmington, Delaware.