New and Noteworthy
A forum for discussion on recent news and developments in healthcare and the NP field.
Wednesday, July 20, 2016
In the nursing profession, time and care are dedicated to patients, but along the way, the NP's wellbeing can be forgotten. It is important to be the healthiest you can be—both mentally and physically—so that you are able to provide optimal care without sacrificing your own health. Eleanor Brownn once said that "you cannot serve from an empty vessel."
Long hours, patient deaths, and stressful days eventually take their toll on NPs. Burnout, a term used to define complete exhaustion and lack of personal accomplishment, is also common in NPs. Although stress cannot be eliminated entirely, it can be lowered. Remember that self-care is not selfish—it is a necessity in order to be successful. Here are three simple ways to help lower stress and improve your mental and physical health.
- Write: Whether it is in a notebook or on your iPhone, take time to write out how your day went or what has been bothering you. Sometimes, writing (or typing) out what is weighing on your mind can ease stress. It is ok to have a stressful day, but it is not ok to hold it in!
- Exercise: With a busy schedule, this is easier said than done. However, any little bit of exercise can boost your mood with the release of endorphins. Exercise will also give you time to reflect. So go ahead, take an evening jog or a walk during your lunch break, or hike through a local park.
- Take a break: Immerse yourself in something that gets your mind off of work. Listen to music, catch up with an old friend over a meal or the phone, or watch a movie. When you have time off, take it. Remember that it is healthy to have a life outside of work, as it allows you to be refreshed when you start a new week.
- Color: Coloring, whether freely or in a coloring book, has proven to be meditative and lower stress levels. Its repetitive nature eases the mind, and its connection to childhood creates feelings of happiness. Painting or creating any other form of art can help reduce stress as well.
An NP cannot carry out the appropriate treatment and care plans for patients when they are exhausted mentally or physically. It may not be practical to get 8 hours of sleep every night or exercise every day, but it is important to do at least one activity that benefits your body or mind. Find something that brings you joy or peace and works for you, whatever that may be.
Check out this website for a list of self-care activities. Click here
for free, printable mandala coloring pages.
Tuesday, July 12, 2016
Why are our nation's heroes waiting for healthcare? Due to a shortage of physicians and other professionals, 505,000 veterans are wait-listed for 30 days, and roughly 300,000 wait up to 60 days for health services.1 To solve this national health crisis, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has proposed a regulation that will give veterans direct access to APRN and NP care in VA facilities.2
If this policy is put into action, our veterans will receive the quality healthcare they deserve. It is time Americans recognize the need for better, timely care and that APRNs and NPs are able to provide it. Currently, more than 4,000 NPs practice full authority in VA facilities in which they make diagnoses via ordering and interpreting tests, initiating and carrying out treatments, and even prescribing medications. Decades of research has confirmed that NP patients receive equal care outcomes to those from physicians or even better.1
By fully utilizing the years of clinical education that APRNs and NPs have, veterans will receive quality care and treatments when they need it—not after months of waiting. This important proposal can only make a difference with your support. Beginning now through July 25th, 2016, your voices can be heard through public comment. Please join the VA and healthcare professionals everywhere by telling the VA that Veterans Deserve Care by visiting their website.
1. FreshNews: Veterans Deserve Care launches national campaign supporting veterans' access to health care. https://www.freshnews.com/veterans-deserve-care-launches-national-campaign-supporting-veterans-access-to-health-care/20160705.
2. Veterans Deserve Care: Tell the VA and congress. https://www.veteransdeservecare.org/.
Thursday, July 7, 2016
Tony Martin, a Clark, New Jersey local and NP, has received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Consortium of Circulatory Assist Clinicians (ICCAC).
Martin was recognized for his dedication to improving patient care and starting the ICCAC at the ICCAC’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C. for his dedication to improving patient care and starting the ICCAC. The ICCAC’s main goal has been to provide the necessary devices and curriculum for training ventricular assist device (VAD) professionals. Their mission now includes sharing information and support to achieve optimal outcomes for patients who require mechanical circulatory support. Consisting of 200 members internationally, the ICCAC has evolved into a primary resource for all things VAD-related.
Martin has worked at the Newark Beth Israel Medical Center (NBIMC) since 2005 where he assists patients who require VADS. Martin’s efforts extend outside of the NBIMC, as he has enhanced patient care internationally and continues to participate in research to improve this life-saving technology.
When asked to comment on the Lifetime Achievement Award, Martin voiced his gratitude for the NBIMC team: “I’m honored to be part of a program that is respected and valued by so many patients and professionals.”1 Martin began his journey to help cardiac patients at Kean University in Union, NJ, where he received a science degree in Nursing. Martin earned his master’s of science degree at the University of Medicine and Dentistry in Newark, NJ to now serve as an acute care NP.
Tony Martin, we thank you for your work with the ICCAC, your dedication at NBIMC, and how you have taken your knowledge and experiences to help other NPs provide better care for cardiac patients.
1. Clark-Garwood Patch: Clark nurse practitioner receives lifetime achievement award for care of cardiac Patients. http://patch.com/new-jersey/clark/clark-nurse-practitioner-receives-lifetime-achievement-award-care-cardiac-patients.
Monday, June 27, 2016
The word "nurse" is derived from the Latin word, nutricius, meaning "to nourish a child," which has created deep ties between women and the nursing profession.1 However, nursing is becoming a common career choice for men. Males are able to balance out nursing staffs and bring a different set of skills to their teams.2
These talents are not just limited to physical attributes, like strength, which is a common misconception. Just like female nurses, male nurses bring clinical and critical thinking skills as well as dedication. Fortunately, stereotypes are beginning to fade, as men are recognized as nursing colleagues in all respects.2 It is important for people to know that regardless of gender, those driven to pursue nursing have a strong desire to care for others.
According to Jerry Lucas, a registered nurse and founder of Male Nurse Magazine, many people just do not realize how many male nurses there are in the healthcare profession already and that the number is still growing. People tend to question men in the nursing profession and ask if they have intentions to attend medical school. This is another male nurse stereotype but allows them to open up about what they do and why they do it in hopes to inspire others.2
We live in a society where gender barriers are being broken down to ensure everybody gets the chance to showcase their talents, no matter what profession they choose. Female physicians are more commonly accepted, despite men dominating the profession in years past. Now, male nurses are slowly but surely making the same efforts. It is time they receive the respect, understanding, and recognition that they have worked for from both their colleagues and their patients.
1. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Male nurses break through barriers to diversify profession. http://www.rwjf.org/en/library/articles-and-news/2011/09/male-nurses-break-through-barriers-to-diversify-profession.html.
2. South University. Male nurses defy stereotypes. http://source.southuniversity.edu/nursing-careers-not-defined-by-gender-a-look-at-the-male-nurse-52817.aspx.
Tuesday, June 21, 2016
The Zika virus has all but taken over the news ever since its outbreak in early 2015. The virus is primarily spread through the bites of infected Aedes aegypti and albopictus mosquitoes. When someone contracts Zika, they may exhibit fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis for several days to a week.1 How can NPs prepare to identify and treat Zika?
These symptoms may be mistaken for other illnesses, making it imperative that proper blood testing is completed to detect the virus for individuals at risk.1 The virus is responsible for congenital deformities and neurological impairments, including microcephaly.2,3 There are no treatments for Zika, but pain management, fluids, rest, and other care should be provided for those affected by the virus.1
The Zika virus may have an enormous global impact, and it is up to healthcare providers, including NPs, to determine a patient's risk of contracting the virus. Make sure to assess the patient and partner's travel plans, both past and future, as well as their likelihood of pregnancy. This is a preventable virus with public health and personal protective measures.2 While keeping in mind these care practices, review the CDC site often and stay updated on news regarding this virus and any possible medical advances.
1. Advance Healthcare Network. Nursing management of the Zika virus.
2. American Association of Nurse Practitioners. Education tools – Zika.
3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Zika and pregnancy.