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From Creative Sleep to Uncourteous Doctors In Training: A Nursetopia Reading & Education Mashup [Part 17]

MashupAdmittedly, my extra reading has been limited recently due to other priorities. That’s okay, I’ve still caught bits and pieces of some really great stuff lately such as:

What have you been reading lately?

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I remember.           I remember.

09.11.2001.             09.11.2001

Four planes.          Four planes.

2,977 victims.       2,977 victims.

I remember.          I remember.

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A Ball Dropped: Testicular Cancer Survivors Speak Out in A New Film

I’m an oncology nurse. I’m passionate about many things – including cancer survivorship. I’m pretty vocal about testicular cancer. Why? It’s simple – I have many males in my life that I hold dear. I bet you do, too – no matter your gender. It’s important for all of us to know about testicular cancer and the impact it makes on men and their entire lives.

I had the pleasure of meeting Nick O’Hara Smith of Checkemlads several years ago at the LIVESTRONG Global Summit in Ireland. It was not hard to miss Nick; he carried a giant, stuffed testicle and spread education about testosterone deficiency after testicular cancer. Needless to say, that man is not only changing the UK but the world through his awareness messages.

Nick and other testicular cancer survivors are once again shining a light on the stigmatized disease of testicular cancer. They’re talking about it with authentic tenacity. I’m not going to lie – I shed some tears listening to the stories of men advocating for their health and quality of life. And I love that the film team included discussions with an oncology clinical nurse specialist.

Take some time; watch the video; share the video.

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Film Features Real Nurses and Their Stories

I love seeing real nurses in pictures and films. I’ve had enough of the well-groomed-young-nurse-hugging-my-clipboard photos. Show me some real nurses. Here’s a few projects that do just that:

  • Joy Williams, RN, from Massachusetts General Hospital, discusses her work and love for Project HOPE in this short film.
  • Photographic film captures the essence of nurses and their work in The American Nurse Projecta “photojournalistic journey that aims to capture and share the images and stories of nurses from all across America and to celebrate the role of the nurse in this country’s healthcare system.” The creators chose six nurses to feature in a full-length documentary, and simply based on the nurses’ brief bios, this is going to be an amazing film when it debuts in Fall 2013.
  • NURSES, If Florence Could See Us Now is a documentary celebrating the work of nurses. As the film trailer points out, most people have a hard time explaining what exactly a nurse does, but rather explain nursing through how nurses make them feel. That’s powerful stuff.
  • The Truth About Nursing has a list of nursing-related documentaries, along with “nursing” and “artistic” ratings.
  • Nurses is a four-part documentary of Australian nurses. It was actually planned and filmed by nurses.
  • A quick search on YouTube reveals over 53,000 results. Looking through the first seven pages of results, at least, there are definitely gobs of short films on real nurses and their work. I love that. After page seven, the results get a little sketchier, so you might have to refine your search criteria to get real nurses who aren’t wearing – ahem – “unapproved” scrubs.

Are there any other photographic or film pieces capturing real nurses that inspire you?

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‘Cancer in Hispanics/Latinos’ Receives Nursing Education Attention

The Hispanic/Latino population is the fastest growing population in the U.S. The group, which actually consists of many sub-populations, has a common set of physical, emotional, and practical concerns related to cancer and healthcare that all nurses (and really all healthcare professionals) need to recognize and understand.

LIVESTRONG, the Nurse Oncology Education Program, and Alpheus Media joined forces to develop the new, free continuing nursing education (CNE) video activity Advancing Care: Cancer in Hispanic/Latino Populations. Thanks to the beautiful videography, compelling patient stories, and accompanied multidisciplinary professional education, this CNE will leave you wishing every continuing nursing education activity was so entertaining, intriguing, and informational.

Whether or not you work in an oncology setting, Advancing Care: Cancer in Hispanic/Latino Populations is appropriate for you. It was developed with nurses and other healthcare professionals in all fields of practice in mind. Try it for yourself, and share it with your colleagues. Leave a review on the course site, and let me know what you think about it, as well.

Full Disclosure: I had the privilege of working with the developing organizations on this project from inception to completion. I am a part of the CNE planning committee for this activity. I did not receive any remuneration for this blog post, which reflects my opinions only. 


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U.S. Health Care Costs Spiraling Out of Control

A new report from the International Federation of Health Plans compares health care costs among countries; to no surprise, health costs within the U.S. exceed all other countries for 22 of the 23 services included in the survey. For example, the cost of Nexium® in the U.S. is $193, while it is $69 in Switzerland, $23 in France, and $3 in India.

American friends, you’ll likely be sickened as you take a peek at the average cost of a physician appointment in the U.S. versus other countries (page 17). I hope your ill feelings recover quickly, as the cost per day of a hospital stay in the U.S. is $3,949 compared to Chile – $1,552, Australia – $934, Switzerland – $690, France – $655, Germany – $632, Spain – $515, Argentina – $380, and India – $236.

There’s no denying our health care system needs a major change.

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The Right Thing To Do

KONY 2012 via Lego-LM,

It’s easy to look back at moments in history and think, “How could they let that happen?” Now is one of those times our children will look back on, as well.

If you haven’t seen this video, please watch it. Yes, it’s 30 minutes long; yes, I hope it spurs you to action. If you think Joseph Kony has nothing to do with health care across the globe, you are mistaken. Separated by continents and oceans, we have colleagues in the midst of unthinkable war and daily life, people who need our help. Part of what we do as advocates is make the invisible people visible, the unheard heard. Now is no different. Nurses, physicians, pharmacists, therapists, nutritionists, and every other healthcare professional need to take notice and take action. It’s the right thing to do.

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Nursetopia on Strike: Stop SOPA and PIPA

I am joining millions of other individuals and thousands of websites worldwide, such as Wikipedia and Google, to speak out against American censorship, which is currently proposed by two Federal bills – the House’s Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Senate’s Protect IP Act (PIPA). The bill names sound great, and I am all for protecting privacy and curbing piracy but not in the name of censorship. Here’s a quick video of what’s happening. Thanks, Fight for the Future, for this video.

And if you want more info, check out the corresponding infographic. You know by now I love a good infographic. I wouldn’t want SOPA or PIPA preventing me from sharing my favorite finds in the future. If you want to join the voices, write Congress now. If you live outside the U.S. and still want to help, petition the State Department. Tweet about it today and until the bills are voted on within the next few weeks using #SOPASTRIKE. If you blog or have a website, consider joining the movement today, as well.

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Coffee + Cervical Cancer Screening = Volunteerism

"coffee beans" by via Flickr

Looking for a way to give back and see the world at the same time? You need to volunteer for my friends at Grounds for Health, a global nonprofit bringing women’s health to coffee-growing communities in Mexico, Tanzania, and Nicaragua. They use cervical cancer screening technologies such as VIAA to save lives in these resource-limited areas. Cervical cancer is a global threat, and you can make a difference.

Volunteering with Grounds for Health is sure to be an amazing experience. And if you can’t globe-trot, there are absolutely other ways to volunteer with this great organization. Get involved today.

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One Error. Five Patients Impacted. Forever.

Five Taiwanese patients recently woke up from transplant surgery with a very different prognosis than what was hoped. Yes, they each had new organs – heart, liver, lungs, and two kidneys – all desperately needed; however, all the organs were donated from an HIV-positive man. One error, resulting from one person taking lab results via telephone (“non-reactive” HIV-test versus “reactive” HIV test) – without a second confirmation or check, which is the hospital’s standard procedure.

It is for this reason that telephone orders for high risk/high alert medications and situations are a thing of the past or at least slowly becoming a thing of the past. There are just too many opportunities for preventable errors. In addition, numerous healthcare organizations are encouraging employees to have a questioning attitude, which encourages double and triple checks. However, processes and procedures are only as good as the people who utilize them appropriately.

"telephone ear piece" by Leo Reynolds via Flickr

While the impacted patients are absolutely the number one priority in this situation, the AP article alluded that the healthcare providers involved were under duress as a result of the situation, as well. I can only imagine. I was involved in a sentinel event, and there is no doubt it changed my thoughts about many issues and greatly impacted my career. I have heard numerous stories of other healthcare professionals – of all disciplines – as well, leaving their respective professions as a result of severe sentinel events. The losses associated with this case will likely continue for quite a while.

Organ donation and transplant are usually filled with so much hope and meaningful continuation of life lost. One moment shattered that. My thoughts are with the five patients and their families. My condolences to the organ donor’s family who not only lost a loved one, but first heard about his HIV-positive diagnosis through this tragedy. I wish the best for all the healthcare providers involved and the millions of others who dedicate their lives to people via professions intolerant of errors.