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In Touch
A forum to discuss the latest news and ideas in nursing and healthcare.
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!

Wednesday, January 07, 2015
Once again, the Gallup organization has polled Americans to see who they trust most -- and nurses have come out on top once again! Nurses have consistently been the top-rated profession since the poll began in 1999 (excluding 2001 when firefighters topped the list). It's certainly gratifying to see how trusted we are in the eyes of those we care for and drives home the importance of honesty and ethical behavior in our profession. Congratulations to all of us, and let's keep up the great work!

Thursday, December 11, 2014
When you think about research, is your curiosity piqued in anticipation of discovering new knowledge, or does your mind flash back to suffering through a nursing research class that was less than enjoyable? Unfortunately, many nurses experience the latter and tune out research literature instead of tuning in. That’s troubling, because research is the foundation of evidence-based nursing practice and it serves to define us as a profession.
 
If nurses don’t read and evaluate whether or not research findings have relevance to their work, they run the risk of practicing in a way that’s either ineffective or possibly even deleterious to patient care. No one wants to waste valuable time and effort performing tasks that don’t contribute to desired outcomes. But how do we turn the tide so that nurses better appreciate and utilize information from research? Perhaps we need an altogether different educational approach.
 
I had the pleasure of listening to a keynote address by Bernadette Mazurek Melnyk, PhD, RN, CPNP/PMHNP, FAANP, FNAP, FAAN, at a nursing research conference held at my hospital.* Dr. Melnyk advocated that faculty in undergraduate and graduate nursing programs shift their strategy from teaching nurses the mechanics of conducting research to the proper application of research findings in nursing practice.
 
Dr. Melnyk differentiated that BSN, MSN, and DNP programs enable nursing graduates to evaluate the strength of evidence and to apply research findings, while PhD programs prepare students to conduct research. These are important distinctions when considering advanced education or, perhaps, a new career goal.
 
I recall having to design and conduct a full research study and produce a thesis to meet requirements for my MS in Nursing many years ago. For me, the experience was, in a word, onerous. Rather than feeling inspired to conduct more research studies, I simply felt relieved that I was finally done. That’s okay—though I greatly value the research process, I learned that my personal preference is research application.
 
To survive and thrive, we need a diverse talent pool of nurses who will enable our profession to confront the challenges we face, formally study the issues, and forge the best path forward guided by the strength of the evidence. Anything less, and we risk going back to healthcare’s dark ages.
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.