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Nursing2021 covers the latest news in nursing and healthcare. See what's making headlines this month!

Thursday, May 6, 2021

By Laura Dreissigacker Hooker, RN

We all know the buzzwords from the last year-plus. COVID-19, coronavirus, masks, social distancing, quarantine, remote learning, homeschooling, and the list goes on. I never, ever imagined using most of these words in my everyday life. Yet, here we are, with these being part of our everyday vocabulary.

I remember waking up during the few weeks after the first person in our small community tested positive for SARS-CoV-2. I was isolating with my identical twin sister Julia in my basement. We are both RNs on a surgical unit at a small hospital in northern New York, where we cut our teeth as new nurses fresh out of the nursing program at Clinton Community College. We have remained there for the past 19 years. We didn't want to expose our families to COVID-19 if we contracted it at work, so we chose to self-isolate. Julia was sharing a queen-size bed with me in that dark, cool room. Meanwhile, my family stayed upstairs to socially distance.

I remember one early morning when we both rolled over, looked at each other, and immediately started crying. We held each other close, hugging, sobbing, and commiserating. Between the tears, we uttered the question, “How is this our life right now?"

For those first 2 months of COVID-19, we wore masks around family members outside our household, especially our precious 90-year-old Gram. No hugs, no kisses, no normal. We prayed for a solution, cried for a miracle, and watched the news in despair and horror as the death toll and case numbers rose daily. With every addition of a new standard or restriction, we said, “How is this our life right now?"

In all the chaos surrounding our lives, love was our constant. No matter how unnerving the world around us was, I knew I had the love of my family to help get us all through. No matter how little toilet paper there was in the stores, no matter how crazy things got with restrictions, and social distancing, and mask wearing, and paranoia, there they were.

I had an exposure to a patient with COVID-19 at work when the pandemic was just starting to affect my community. I was under a county-mandated quarantine afterward. I wasn't worried about myself so much, but I was worried about my family. What if I brought this home to them? Are they washing their hands? Why are they coughing? Does my son feel hot? I felt like I was always on edge, constantly waiting for the coronavirus to infiltrate our little family. Luckily, I never contracted the virus, but the paranoia and the worry were enough to do one in.

Work was a continuous ebb and flow. Fortunately, we were very well staffed at our hospital and we were not overwhelmed with a large number of patients with COVID-19. We set up a COVID-19 section in our hospital and had staffing levels appropriate to the extra time and energy needed to care for these patients. It was stressful but manageable. Census dropped and personal protective equipment was monitored, sterilized if necessary, doled out, and used. Luckily, we had plenty of supplies, unlike many facilities downstate and across the country and the world. I remember thinking how lucky I was to have a job that was “essential." To have job security in these incredibly uncertain times was eye-opening. My sister, dad, aunts, uncles, and most of my immediate relatives all had essential jobs during the pandemic.

I remember thinking about my own kids and their futures. When they think about what they want to do for a career, I want them to remember that being an essential worker in the times of crisis brings money home and keeps food on your table. In my 41 years, never had I thought about that. I didn't want it to be lost on my kids.

As the months have gone on, our “new normal" is becoming easier, but it's far from perfect. I hate that my kids must stay home to learn their studies. I hate that I am still worried about people getting sick. I hate that I have masks hanging from my car shifter and hand sanitizer in every bag I own, but I will continue to do as required to keep my family, my community, and myself safe.

However, it has not all been so bad. I have never been closer to my family, both extended and immediate. My hands have never been cleaner, and my bank account has never been more flush due to missing our yearly vacation. At work I learned so much. Our hospital is a close-knit team, and we have all come together during these times. I am grateful for my life and my community. Here's to seeing the silver lining and realizing that yes, this really is our life right now, but it won't be forever.

 

Laura Dreissigacker Hooker is a medical/surgical clinical ladder 3 nurse at Adirondack Medical Center in Saranac Lake, N.Y.

Monday, November 30, 2020

For many, the recent rise in COVID-19 cases has left the usual holiday celebrations in a state of limbo. With more than 61,000,000 cases globally and more than 12,000,000 in the US alone, the CDC issued new guidelines ahead of Thanksgiving and the remaining holiday season. Although challenging, increased isolation over the next few weeks may prove vital in curbing the spread of the virus, but there is additional good news on the horizon in the form of a potential vaccine.

In fact, November 2020 has seen promising results for three vaccine candidates. First, Pfizer and Biontech announced that their vaccine appeared to be 90% effective ahead of the conclusion of a phase III clinical trial. Upon its conclusion, the efficacy looks to be about 95%. A week later, Moderna announced similarly notable early results in one of its vaccines, with a 94.5% efficacy. Another domino soon fell, as AstraZeneca and Oxford University announced a third promising vaccine result. This final vaccine was 90% effective in one regimen consisting of a half-dose followed by a full dose a month later, and 62% effective in another regimen that consisted of two full doses separated by a month: a combined efficacy of 70%. It may also be less expensive and easier to store, as it does not require storage at freezing temperatures.      ​

Despite rising hope in the new vaccines, the world certainly is not out the woods yet regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and the US is encouraging citizens to continue wearing masks in the meantime. Additionally, public expectations on a timeline for the widespread availability of any vaccine remain uncertain, as does individual willingness to take an initial vaccine in the US. With any luck, the push for continued isolation will help nurses and healthcare staff during their effort to combat the recent surges in cases, just as the news of a potential vaccine—much less three—is sure to help many of those struggling with isolation over the holidays. 

Thursday, August 27, 2020

2020 has been a year like no other, and most social gatherings and business interactions have now gone virtual. For example, Nursing Management Congress (NMC), one of Wolters Kluwer's most popular annual conferences, will be held online from Tuesday, 9/22 to Friday, 9/25. Although we can't travel to exciting destinations for professional meetings the way we used to, the educational and networking opportunities are certainly still there—and they're now available from the comfort of home!

Developed by frontline nurse managers, the exemplary content of the meeting has earned a reliable reputation over the years. So, why attend NMC Virtual? Simple: for the same exceptional opportunities that our participants have come to expect!

Our top speakers draw from first-hand experience in nursing leadership to offer a relevant and diverse range of nursing expertise, including sessions on regulatory changes, safety challenges, patient outcomes, and the COVID-19 pandemic. NMC Virtual also offers a wide variety of continuing education courses, with more than 33 contact hours available throughout the conference. And unlike previous in-person meetings, the virtual platform allows participants the flexibility to re-watch sessions on an on-demand basis for up to 90 days after the conference has ended! Session recordings will be available about 2 weeks after the broadcast.

NMC 2020 combines the benefits of in-person conferences with the advantages of virtual meetings. As always, the Exhibitor Showcase will feature different products and services to help your team, and attendees will have plenty of time to network with speakers, peers, and vendors. In addition to engaging topics and discussion from respected leaders in nursing management, the NMC Challenge is a live competition to earn badges and points, and the 10 highest scoring registrants will be eligible  for prizes!

Are you looking for an opportunity to gain a broader understanding of practical and theoretical management techniques? These frequently asked questions can provide additional details and information. Hope to see you online in September! 


Friday, July 24, 2020

2020 is the Year of the Nurse and Midwife, and it has been an unprecedented time for healthcare professionals. The COVID-19 pandemic has left its clinical and economic mark on countries around the world.1 Domestically, the US has seen notably sharp recent increases in cases in California, Florida, and Texas among rising rates in several other states.2,3 With all that is and has been going on, it can be easy to miss important news updates when trying to stay informed on current events. Let's take a look back at the last 6 months to highlight popular and relevant Nursing2020 content.

January kicked off the Year of the Nurse and Midwife with a compelling and eye-opening feature on nicotine toxicity, which focused on preventing child and adolescent exposures to e-cigarettes and e-cigarette products. In the following month, an insightful addition to the Legal Matters department discussed failure to act and nurses' obligations to patients. A popular March feature examined vertical violence, a type of bullying that describes a manager's hostility toward a subordinate. April saw another well-received article, which discussed nursing considerations for patients with chronic fatigue syndrome.

In March, COVID-19 was declared a national emergency.4 By May, editor-in-chief Linda Laskowski-Jones recounted a business trip to the Pacific Northwest in an editorial and detailed her brief stay in Washington State when the pandemic first made headlines in the US, describing behaviors that would soon become commonplace. Her June editorial would go on to detail its economic and societal impact, urging for improved disaster preparedness. She then participated in a more in-depth discussion regarding COVID-19 in the debut of the Nursing2020 Podcast, which is currently on its second installment with a third to be released on Friday, July 31.

Throughout the year, Nursing2020 has provided valuable information and a well-rounded view on a variety of healthcare topics geared toward frontline nurses, educators, leaders, and researchers. Online or in print subscriptions provide access to a range of high-quality content, including monthly CE opportunities and members-only access to exclusive Nursing2020 online content, and the upcoming coverage is slated to be every bit as relevant. For late-breaking news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn!

 

References:

1. Almukhtar S, Aufrichtig A, Bloch M, et al. Coronavirus map: tracking the global outbreak. New York Times. 2020. www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/world/coronavirus-maps.html.

2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Cases in the U.S. 2020. www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-updates/cases-in-us.html.

3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. United States COVID-19 cases and deaths by state. 2020. www.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#cases.

4. The White House. Remarks by President Trump, Vice President Pence, and members of the Coronavirus Task Force in press conference. 2020. www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/remarks-president-trump-vice-president-pence-members-coronavirus-task-force-press-conference-3.

Monday, June 1, 2020

Around the world, there has been a sense of cautious optimism as many countries are easing restrictions to begin reopening after months of lockdown. In the US, the prospect has led to an improved stock market. However, countries such as China, Germany, and South Korea have all seen new clusters of infections, with each monitoring the situation closely to determine the potential need for renewed quarantine measures. Many are watching and waiting with bated breath.

As the US moves forward with reopening efforts, state and federal regulatory bodies are offering guidance. Every state is in some stage of transition. Nationally, the White House issued a general guidance for both employers and individuals, which consists of three phases. Meanwhile, the CDC has released cleaning guidelines for homes, businesses, schools, and other public spaces with EPA-approved disinfectants. It also detailed surveillance initiatives to support reopening efforts, including contact tracing and infection control recommendations specific to different healthcare settings.

Despite the excitement, the world has only entered the preliminary stages of what could be a long process of reopening. For example, certain states have already reported an increase in new cases in the US. Essential employees such as nurses and other healthcare professionals have a lot of expertise to offer as these efforts continue, and Nursing2020 has included resources to support those on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic:  

- https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/us-map
- https://emergency.cdc.gov/han/
- www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/covidsurge.html
- www.ama-assn.org/delivering-care/public-health/covid-19-physician-practice-guide-reopening