health care

[Book Review] One in a Billion

by Nursetopia on August 18, 2016

OneInABillionOne in a Billion: The Story of Nic Volker and the Dawn of Genomic Medicine, authored by Mark Johnson and Kathleen Gallagher, is a true story of a boy with a never-before discovered disease after the finished Human Genome Project, leaving cardiac physiologists an opportunity to map the boy’s genome for sequence errors. In the writing vein of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacksit reads more like fiction and will keep your attention through the end.

I devoured this book in about six hours. It is masterfully written, includes brilliant views of science and medicine and patient/family perspectives, displays a prime example of Moore’s Law (of economics and rapidly developing technology), and is thought-provoking regarding ethics surrounding entire genome sequencing. It is enthralling at times like a mystery and heart-tugging to read of a mother’s unwavering love and advocacy of her son with the only recorded instance of the disease. I particularly loved how the mom’s Caring Bridge journal entries were woven throughout the story to give patient/family perspective alongside medical discussions.

With the ever-increasing need for nurses and all healthcare professionals to understand genetics and genomics, this is a lovely educational book that is also easy to pack for a weekend beach vacation. It really is that good!

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Healthcare Olympians: Experts Make it Look Easy

by Nursetopia on August 16, 2016

2407819953_40e22d8d97_o via nghiem vo, Flickr.com

The Olympics captivate me. I watch the screen in utter amazement as a pole vaulter launches 18+ feet in the air, people run 400 meters (once around the track) in under 50 seconds, seemingly-stationary rowers slice through the water at lightening speed, gymnasts tumble in dizzying patterns of flexibility and speed and power.

These athletes remind me a lot of healthcare professionals. Because they both make their work/care look easy. My specialty is leadership and clinical background is oncology, but I entered into the world of cardiovascular services administration this year. While I may not be a critical care expert, I am still a nurse and can understand some of what’s happening all around me as I keep budgets and processes and teams together. I never grow tired of watching these team members, though, because I am constantly thinking, “They make this look so easy.” It’s true. Watching a STEMI case from the control panel looks like a smooth, well-orchestrated, planned event. That’s because there are rock-star clinicians in the room who have worked their careers for the adrenaline-filled, life-saving moment. Similarly in the clinical area I am most familiar with, seeing nurses hang high-risk cytotoxic drugs all day long while providing unparalleled emotional support is astounding. It’s incredible to watch. Just like the Olympics.

How amazing that we get to call this our profession! We don’t wait four years to see this amazing work. We see it constantly each and every day, and it happens all throughout our nation and world. What heroes we have among us!

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thanksSaying thank you to patients is fun. I love doing it. It’s a good thing I enjoy it – because it’s a necessity in healthcare today. Our patients are consumers; they have choices in their care, and they should be thanked for their business…yes, even if their business pays less or not at all – because one day it might or their word of mouth advertising may lead to one (or many) who might. In addition, saying thank you is considered a “must” in regards to patient satisfaction scores – HCAHPS and CGCAHPS. Perhaps your health system utilizes the AIDET principle? The “T” in that sweet-power-packed communication acronym is…you guessed it…thank you. And beyond the business and patient satisfaction score aspects, saying “please” and “thank you” is simply good manners, no matter if you’re blessed to live in a southern state or not.

When I thank patients or family members, more often than not, I express my gratitude with the following sentence: Thank you for allowing us to care for you. Somewhere the conversation may also include, It’s been our pleasure to serve you. 

Not only do theses comments express gratitude, but they also remind everyone around – including myself – of the service we’ve provided – our care. It’s a lovely note to end any conversation of thanks.

Do you tell patients and families thank you after caring for them? If so, how do you most often say it?

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WoooHoooI love any reason to celebrate people – especially healthcare workers. Every job in healthcare is difficult in some way. We all do sacred work in our disciplines, so when it’s an appreciation week or month, we should live it up and thank our colleagues.

And because I love to celebrate my coworkers, I like being prepared with cards, treats, or at the very least – an acknowledgement. I don’t like being caught off-guard, not knowing it’s a certain disciplines appreciation month, week, or day. That’s never fun. Thanks to NAS Recruitment, I won’t have to experience that again because they’ve developed a running list of healthcare professional celebration dates. If you use it, you’re sure to celebrate all year long!

Woohoooooo! Partaaaaaay!

Disclosure: In no way was I paid to mention NAS Recruitment. Their effort to celebrate healthcare professionals with this proactive calendar caught my attention and sparked my sharing.  

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Valentines2016_LubDubValentine’s Day is an “easy” day to thank those around you at work, no matter your role. Gratitude is contagious, and you might be surprised how great you feel after thanking those around you and watching them light up with a smile. Little moments of thanks really can change a day, a week, a unit, a culture.

If you need some Valentine’s Day work-love help, I’ve made images and cards in the past. They’ve been so well-received, I’ve made a new line of 12 free, printable Valentine’s cards available for everyone; not all of them are shown here, so be sure to visit the download link. Simply download, print (card stock is best), add a handwritten note to the blank space on the front or back of the card, and share with your coworkers. Enjoy!

And, no matter your healthcare specialty, if you have ideas for future cards, please share in the comments. Spread the love this season!

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This week, Baylor Scott & White Health live-tweeted a heart transplant via #HeartTXLive. The Twitter stream follows the story of “Jane,” a North Texas mom in her 30’s, living with cardiomyopathy since birth who found out Monday morning a donor match was found. By Monday evening, the entire country heard Jane’s story and watched as she received the gift of life through organ donation. Social media buzzed, and traditional news outlets began sharing the event, as well.

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I was glued to the feed, and going back through #HeartTXlive again is just as enthralling and inspirational. Not only did Baylor Scott & White Health honor an organ donor and family giving such a precious gift, but they gave Jane a new chance at life while highlighting a complex surgery, team, and process. They pulled back the curtain on transplant surgery and showed the world what incredible care happens everyday without millions of people in concert. Individuals from all over social media chimed in with #ImADonor, and Texas organ donation organizations saw a 30% increase in residents registering as donors.

Those aren’t numbers. A 30% increase in registered organ donors means hundreds of people in need have greater chances of having a match. That’s the gift of life. And it all came from one person who registered as an organ donor and a family who chose to give through their grief. What a legacy.

Thank you to Jane and her family – for their courage in sharing their story in such a vulnerable moment; to Baylor Scott & White Health – for forward-thinking and using social media as a powerful, altruistic tool; and to Jane’s donor/donor family and organ donors and families everywhere – for giving life.

If you’re not an organ donor and want to give life to others, register with your state and let your family know your wishes.

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Go Mo-Mo-Movember Pinterest Board

by Nursetopia on October 22, 2014

Movember Pinterest BoardIn one way or another, I am always raising awareness of cancer. As much as I love my job as an oncology nurse leader, I would love for there to be no need for my services.

Events are popping up left and right these days, and while it’s tough work, it is personally satisfying to create something from nothing with great people to raise awareness of site-specific cancers and help screen community members for various cancers that can be detected early per national, evidence-based screening guidelines. I always refresh my memory as I prepare for cancer awareness talks or events, and it seems I always, always, always learn something new.

November, or Movember, as it is now well-known, is quickly approaching. I’m working on a few things in my area, and before I start, I always like to brainstorm – with people and by myself, with tools (such as the Internet) or with only my big-dreaming brain. Part of my recent brainstorming for Movember developed into a Movember/Mustache Mania Pinterest board. I’m simply sharing with you, as well, because it is far too easy to get sucked into Pinterest!

Do you or does your health care system do anything for Movember or to increase the awareness of men’s cancers? I want to know; I’m still looking for ideas!

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Send Nina Pham, RN, A Note of Encouragement

by Nursetopia on October 15, 2014

Ebola is the word of the day, month, year. Honestly, before a few weeks ago, I knew very little about the disease. My, how that has changed.

As a Texas nurse, I’ve thought about healthcare professional colleagues throughout the state often over the last month. I have incredible statewide colleagues. Really. I’ve thought about the Dallas healthcare team as they took care of one of the most high-profile patients of the year. And, I’ve thought about them all as now two of their own – our own – Nina Pham, RN, and a second, yet to be identified nurse, have tested positive for Ebola.

Anyone and everyone who has ever been on the frontlines of care knows how difficult healthcare is under “normal” circumstances. It’s everyday, invisible heroics.

I keep placing myself in the other nurses’ shoes – contemplating potential thoughts and feelings during a shift. What an internal dichotomy. It’s mainly Nina Pham, RN, though, whom I have thought of lately. Reports have indicated she is spending time reading and resting; that sounds nice, for sure. But not in an isolation room that is in the proverbial spotlight of the developed world. What is she thinking? What is she reading? What will life be like after her discharge as she is on the road to recovery? How does it feel to have close colleagues care for her now? What do her day-to-day moments look like? Is she steering clear of the free-flowing media? Does she know so many people are thinking of her?

THR Facebook PostAfter a Facebook update from Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital yesterday, I realized I don’t have to wonder about that last question. I can actually tell her I’m thinking of her via the hospital’s “send an email to a patient” feature. I love that. I absolutely sent her a quick note.

It’s no surprise to regular Nursetopia readers that I am an avid advocate for notes of encouragement. Because I believe there is more good in this world, this seems like a perfect opportunity for the healthcare profession to support Nina.

If you’re thinking of Nina and want to encourage her, stop what you’re doing, and send her a note now. Help brighten her day and her spirits. As soon as the second nurse is named, we can all do the same for her, as well.

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NursetopiaMashupCroppedJust like I do with hardcopy journals and books, I tend to save up articles in my email box until I get time to binge-read. Here’s some of what I’ve been reading that I’ve saved for a while. There’s some pretty good stuff here!

Do you save articles and tweets in your email inbox, too? What’s piling up in there?

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Clinical Nurse Leaders, or CNLs, are becoming more and more prevalent within the nursing profession. Rightly so; these colleagues are making waves in the industry, saving lives and money. Here’s a little more about Clinical Nurse Leaders: The Air Traffic Controllers of Patient Care.

 

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Disclosure: This article is sponsored by University of San Francisco Online Master of Science in Nursing

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