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Think About It
A forum for discussion of the latest news and ideas in nursing management and healthcare.
Thursday, April 09, 2015

April 6th-12th is the American Public Health Association’s National Public Health Week. Daily themes include:

● Raising the grade by creating a stronger public healthcare system.

● Starting from zip—where you live can greatly impact your health. Find out about health disparities where you live and/or work using this tool. 

● Building momentum by creating more health-conscious programs such as Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move initiative. Momentum also includes companies like CVS no longer selling tobacco products.

● Building broader communities through expanding partnerships outside of the healthcare sector. Collaborate with city planners, educational officials, and so on to help combat issues that affect health such as poverty and limited educational opportunities.

● Building on 20 years of success. This year National Public Health Week turns 20, and it’s cause to celebrate its successes. It’s also a time to reflect on what can be improved as we work toward becoming the “Healthiest Nation in One Generation.”

Here are some of our articles you can read for free that discuss improving public health.

Leadership competencies to improve health disparities

Sleep deprivation in children: A growing public health concern

Innovations in social media: The MappyHealth experience

Thursday, April 02, 2015

April is Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month. Healthcare professionals, not just sexual assault nurse examiners (SANE), can make a difference in the lives of survivors by understanding the facts,  the effects this violence can have on mental and physical health,  where to find information for themselves and their patients, and how to properly care for a survivor. Statistics are grim: approximately 1 in 5 women and 1 in 71 men have been sexually assaulted in their lifetime. Add to this that many assailants aren’t prosecuted for numerous reasons including, but not limited to:

● a survivor’s fear of reporting the incident

● lack of training among law enforcement officials (unsure how to properly investigate a case, victim-blaming, and so on)

● rape kit/ DNA testing backlog.

Healthcare professionals must be aware that survivors may experience a myriad of physical and mental problems beyond the damages of the actual assault, which include diabetes, irritable bowel disorder, alcohol or drug abuse, post-traumatic stress disorder, asthma, and more.

To help combat the violence, the White House Council on Women and Girls published its report “Rape and sexual assault: A renewed call to action,” which outlined what the Council plans to do to help end sexual assault. One of the steps to take is improving the forensic evidence collection.  So, in 2013, the National Protocol for Sexual Assault Medical Forensic Examinations (SAFE) was updated to provide “information on assisting populations with special needs such as survivors with limited English proficiency; survivors with disabilities; American Indian and Alaska Native victims; military personnel; and lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender victims.” Also mentioned is fully utilizing SANE—not only are they trained to properly collect evidence, they also know how to avoid revictimization, and can provide compassionate care  to survivors.

On top of these efforts, telemedicine technology is being harnessed as a tool to help any and all clinicians caring for survivors of sexual violence. The National Sexual Assault TeleNursing Center at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, created by The Justice Department and the National Institute of Justice, “will provide 24/7, year-round remote expert consultation by SANEs to clinicians caring for adult and adolescent sexual assault patients.”

In the past, we've published articles on sexual assault to help bring awareness to our readers. Read these two for free:

Sexual assault can happen in your institution: Are you prepared?

The hard truth about human trafficking.

Here are some additional resources for further education on this topic:

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Our April issue focuses heavily on issues in nursing, including what makes nurses better professionals, their opinions on shared governance, and why they may or may not participate in a clinical ladder program. The CE, written by Editorial Board Member, Joyce Sensmeier, explains the future of nursing knowledge from an informatics standpoint. As always, it’s free to read.

You’ll also find part 2 of the Measures that Matter series, which explores “developing or selecting measurement tools, planning data collection strategies, and testing and refining the measurement process—including issues that you may face when you actually attempt to apply metrics in a real-world setting.” And, in Leadership Q&A, Editorial Board Member, Kathleen Murray, answers the question: “How do I maximize the contributions of millennials on my team?”

The issue is now online, so check it out!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015
Even though the Ebola panic has quieted, the disease isn't finished running its course. On March 11, a clinician working with Partner's in Health (PIH) in Sierra Leone was diagnosed with the disease. He was part of PIH's Ebola Response Sector, but is now receiving care at the National Institutes of Health Special Clinical Studies Unit in Maryland. Unfortunately, the NIH stated on Monday that his condition has progressed from serious to critical.
Ten of the clinician's colleagues who were in contact with him when he tested positive for the disease have been identified and flown to the United States for observation under quarantine. Following CDC protocol, they'll remain isolated for the rest of the 21-day incubation period in case any of them show signs or symptoms of the disease.
PIH will remain in Sierra Leone and Liberia to continue to help the people of West Africa. Dr. Paul Farmer, one of the charity's founders, said the organization's goal is to help the West African communities detect, treat, and prevent all types of illnesses, including Ebola.
For more information on the Ebola epidemic, read the World Health Organization's Ebola Situation Report.

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Hospitals are constantly looking for ways to improve the patient experience within their organizations.  One way has been to completely redesign the hospital’s appearance. However, research was recently published that stated these hospital upgrades may not have the intended outcome of improving the patient experience.

If redesigns may not work, what else can be done? How about creating and producing a hospital-wide game show? Volunteers at Wheaton Franciscan-All Saints hospital in Racine, Wis., have created a way for patients and their families to watch and participate in  game shows. Twice a week though closed-circuit television, patients are able to tune into channel 71 and play games called "Schwobble" (think Bingo, Scrabble, and Wheel of Fortune) and "SMILE" (bingo-esque numbers game). Players can even win prizes ranging from an ice cream cone to a gift certificate for a car wash.

The production is run completely by All Saints' volunteers, who broadcast the games in a make-shift studio within the hospital's lower level. Volunteers are responsible for playing host, delivering game sheets (to approximately 200 rooms), answering phones, using the computer to project the answers, and delivering prizes.

The game show was developed to lift patients' spirits and help them forget they're sick, even if just for a brief moment. So far, it's been working.

Would you consider doing something similar within your organization?

About the Author

Nursing Management
“Think About It” is an extension of Nursing Management. Here, you can read and discuss professional information geared toward helping nurses excel as leaders. This blog tackles important topics without the worry of print publication deadlines!