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In Touch
A forum to discuss the latest news and ideas in nursing and healthcare.
Tuesday, July 29, 2014
It's happened again--an ED nurse in New York who worked at New York Presbyterian hospital for 7 years was fired for posting a photo to Instagram (read all about it here). The photo didn't show a patient or give away any patient information. Do you think her firing was justified? How can nurses protect themselves when it comes to social media? Share your thoughts below!

Thursday, July 24, 2014
How flexible are you? (This isn't a fitness question.) Do routines rule your personal and professional life? Do you derive a sense of comfort or safety from them? Does varying from those tried and true routines knock you off kilter or make you feel that your world is in turmoil? Though I'll admit a strong preference for spontaneity, routines do indeed have their place. Some routines are established to promote patient safety, such as procedural time-outs and independent verification of high-alert medications. However, many routines are born out of administrative directives as well as our own personal comfort zones and habits to exert a measure of control over unpredictable situations. The danger occurs when the routine itself becomes the priority and we lose sight of the forest for the trees. So, when does following a routine become a barrier to action or even an excuse for refusing to adapt to a changing situation? I'd say when it acts as a detriment to effective patient care or a roadblock to meeting patient needs—for example, failing to respond differently when circumstances evolve from a normal state to an urgent or emergent one because of some ingrained pattern of thought or expectations. Writing up a colleague in a negative manner simply because he or she deviated from a traditional routine without fully appreciating the “why” or extenuating conditions falls along these same lines. Another sure sign of a routine serving as a barrier or an excuse is the declaration, “I've (we've) always done it this way.” That's clear evidence that someone has ventured into the sacred cow pasture. All must watch their step in this territory and carefully plan their route to avoid a potentially unpleasant experience. Yes, some sacred cows have earned their place, but recognize that many constrain us from enjoying greener pastures. I'm not suggesting we throw our routines to the winds and let chaos reign. Instead, I'm advocating that we make every attempt to always consider the big picture and bend to the best degree possible. That approach can do wonders for unit climate, interdepartmental and interdisciplinary teamwork, patient and family experience, and staff morale. It's the path to constructive and collaborative problem solving and transformative thinking. What are your thoughts on this subject? Share them here.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014
There's an interesting article making the rounds on the Internet called "5 Terrifying Things I Learned as a Drug-Addicted Nurse" (read it here: http://www.cracked.com/article_21331_5-terrifying-things-i-learned-as-drug-addicted-nurse_p2.html). What do you think hospitals should do? Share your thoughts! 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014
During this year’s Symposium in March, the main topic of conversation among nurses seemed to be about how many nursing employers do not fund attendance at professional conferences given the current economy. Several nurses commented that they felt committed to funding their own conference attendance as a part of their personal professional development—it was a gift they gave themselves. What about you? Does your employer fund conferences, workshops, etc. to help you improve your practice? If not, are you able to do it yourself? Do you find conferences and workshops valuable to your career as a nurse? Share your thoughts below!

Thursday, January 09, 2014
In my most recent editorial for Nursing2014, I addressed the problem of quantity versus quality, and how that’s reflected in our healthcare practice. Patient outcomes and market forces—namely, cost—are driving us to scrutinize past practices and think differently. Though advances in healthcare have saved countless lives and improved quality of life, overuse and misuse has a dark side. Examples include prescribing antibiotics for viral infections at the insistence of the patient or family; the habitual use of radiographic imaging, such as CT scanning, when other modalities may yield suitable information; and performing invasive procedures that may not clearly correlate with improved health outcomes. The related threats are significant: antibiotic resistance and the emergence of “super bugs,” adverse drug reactions, higher cancer rates from diagnostic radiation, and procedural complications. Given the risks, experts are now reconsidering some longstanding guidelines for low-yield screening studies to avoid the risks linked to false-positive or inconclusive results.
What are your thoughts on this issue? Do you agree that more doesn’t necessarily mean better when it comes to healthcare options? Does this affect how you treat your patients? Share your thoughts here!
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.