Nursing

[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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The Snickers “you’re not you when you’re hungry” commercials crack me up. Because it’s true! We all tend to turn into different people when we reach that beyond-hungry point.

Maybe that’s partly why so many people working in healthcare are a little perturbed. We’re hungry, and the bag of chips stuffed in a pocket to inhale at any given moment just isn’t cutting it.

Nurse RatchedTake a break, People. You’re not you when you’re hungry. And while Snickers are great as an occasional treat, it may not be the best choice to fuel your life-saving skills throughout the 8 or 12-hour shift. Grab some protein and a complex carbohydrate.

What’s your go-to shift meal and snacks?

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Nurse.com’s 2016 Gem Awards Open for Nominations

by Nursetopia on January 10, 2016

I bet you work with or live around some amazing nurses. I certainly do. Why not honor their great work and nominate them for an actual award like Nurse.com’s Gem Awards?

With six categories, there’s one to honor all of the amazing work nurses do both at work and in the community. Hurry and get your nomination in; nominations end April 15, 2016.

By Macroscopic Solutions, Flickr.com By Macroscopic Solutions, Flickr.com

 

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Leader, Leader quite legendary,

How do your nurses grow?

With sharing wells, and mentor swells,

And encouragements that overflow.

Grow, by Susy Morris, via Flickr.com Grow, by Susy Morris, via Flickr.com

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May is full of wonderfulness – graduations, the beginning of summer, Nurses Week, and yes…Oncology Nursing Month. Now, as an oncology nurse I realize my bias; that’s okay, it’s a good bias.

Seriously, I love oncology nurses. They give, give, give. They are brilliant healthcare professionals, and I am proud to belong to the specialty.

Shower the oncology nurses around you with appreciation all month long. There are oodles of free, printable cards here; just click the Freebies & Giveaways link above to start sharing the love.

Happy Oncology Nursing Month!

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Murphy’s Laws of Nursing Leadership & Management

by Nursetopia on October 16, 2014

Oye VeyHeard the phrase “anything that can go wrong, will go wrong”? Yep, Murphy’s Law is prevalent in nursing leadership and management just as it is in other areas of nursing and health care. Here are a few gold-standard Murphy’s Laws for nurse managers and leaders.

1. The day you’ve set aside and diligently blocked from meetings will be the day a stomach virus sweeps through the unit, causing severe short-staffing to the point of needing your clinical assistance for direct patient care. Good job blocking that calendar, and best wishes for “catching up!”

2. Your boss is guaranteed to call you on the one day you leave the office early. And he’ll need some numbers for a report within the hour.

3. The “Can-I-Have-5-Minutes?” conversation will take over your next scheduled meeting – that you lead – and end up with at least three action items to complete.

4. A patient will request to speak with you right as you realize you have yet to empty your bladder during the day.

5. The moment you are fully staffed, at least two team members indicate they need leaves of absence.

6. The probability of Joint Commission showing up for your organization’s unannounced survey increases with the number of days remaining until you leave for your long-awaited vacation.

7. The week after you ask team members to purge storage closets will be the one week of the decade in which something from that storage closet will be requested.

8. Minutes before your budget is due you will remember an ancillary expense that could potentially lead to a major variance.

9. The copy machine will jam and run out of toner as you try to print your presentation for the multidisciplinary board.

10. The candidate you love for the open position will be screened out of the HR system via a glitch, leading to weeks of attempted correction.

Creating these just makes me laugh. Leadership is a trip. In so many great ways.

What other Murphy’s Laws do you have in nursing leadership and management?

 

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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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Slowing the Nurse Pace

by Nursetopia on October 7, 2014

I learned the nurse pace from years of working on the unit. It’s about twice as fast as a regular stroll, and it will leave you behind without notice. It is a stride that says “calm” and “let’s go, go, go!” all at the same time. It typically doesn’t alarm others because, relatively, all the nurses are pacing one another; it’s ordinary.

Even after years of being off the floor, I can’t shake the nurse pace. Especially in the mornings, at the early beginnings of my day, if I’m moving, I’m moving; I try not to get frustrated with others, but I absolutely will walk in front of you – not alongside you – if you cannot keep up. Sometimes people even ask what’s the rush. It takes mental strength to slow my pace and try to act cool about it.

I’m not the only one.

Have you ever noticed this about much of our profession? Are we just accustomed to going non-stop that our entire life tempo changes?

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A Great Nurse Changes Everything

by Nursetopia on August 7, 2014

Nothing can replace the amazingness of a great nurse. Nothing.

He steps right in to fill the gaps and seemingly knows exactly what to do.

Even when she is not completely sure what’s going on or has never moved through the work before, she leans back on the nursing process, analyzes the situation, looks for gaps, and pulls resources together to provide care in a timely and empathetic manner.

He makes rough waters calm.

She changes the culture of an environment within moments.

Great nurses are expected. I assure you, though, they do not just happen.

A great nurse changes everything.

 

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