public health

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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NursetopiaMashupCroppedI’m forever saving articles, hoarding items in my RSS feed, favoring tweets, and emailing myself with items to look up. I’m never short of reading material, and many times I am overloaded with information that is just collecting electronic dust. This week I cleaned out my inbox and other online warehouses. Here’s some of the eclectic information I reviewed recently:

Am I the only one that does this? Surely not. What great reading is lurking in the electronic piles you keep?

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What ‘Community’ Looks Like in Health Care

by Nursetopia on April 17, 2014

Each hospital has its own culture – a mixture of the city, the people, artistic and political movements, and area businesses. Even hospitals within the same city have different cultures thanks to the leaders within those organizations and their backgrounds and viewpoints. Academic hospitals feel different than community hospitals. Organizational behavior is fascinating, especially in health care.

There are around 400 major teaching hospitals in the U.S. So, with 5,723 total hospitals nationwide, that means most people are likely to receive care in a community hospital rather than an academic center. Yet, “community hospital” often has a negative connotation among many, as if there is some teaching-hospital snobbery that only those facilities are worthy to provide care. Sure, major teaching hospitals are centers of massive research and up-to-date science. However, community hospitals deliver exceptional care throughout the nation and are doing some wildly innovative things that large teaching institutions could never do as a result of their bureaucratic red tape and flaming hoops of often unnecessary-and-frustrating process.

Don’t get me wrong; I love major teaching centers. They are brilliant beacons of light in our national healthcare system. All-in-all, though, community hospitals have my heart. The community sometimes get lost, but when community culture meets community health care, amazing things happen.

You see, community  is something we assess in healthcare all the time. Nurses continuously document mothers’ bonding with their newborns and family members and friends at patients’ bedsides. We notice eye contact or lack thereof and chart about affect and social assessment questions to protect patients from themselves or others. We have entire teams of professionals to help patients when they feel all alone, so we can help them belong and be productive members of society. Relationships are part of health and well-being; there’s no way around that. Community is relationship. Community hospitals aren’t made up of strangers. No, the great ones are filled with relationships; and I’m not just talking about doctor-nurse or supervisor-subordinate relationships. I’m talking about our-kids-play-basketball-together relationships and yeah-my-doctor-is-my-neighbor relationships and I-knew-that-physical-therapist-when-she-was-yea-high relationships and that-small-business-owner-helped-build-our-new-clinic relationships. It’s an incredible sense of belonging that promotes health care. 

What a concept.

Have we lost too much of the community – the relationship-building and maintaining – that’s possibly assisting in the erosion of health care?

"Relationships" by Nic Price via Flickr.com “Relationships” by Nic Price via Flickr.com

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MashupMy reading list is filling back up again, and I’m absolutely loving it. I’m squeezing in chapters here and there, and you better believe free moments in between meetings and snippets of downtime have their fair share of bit-sized information and education. Here’s a little of what’s been passing through my brain lately:

What are you reading these days?

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Never heard of a Certified Cancer (or Tumor) Registrar? You’re not alone. Even people within the oncology world often do not know about these amazing team members. The reason? They work behind the scenes and do so much background work that they make the Invisible Woman look like Captain Obvious.

Ever wondered how we get our cancer statistics like incidence, prevalence, mortality, and survival rates? That’s all because Tumor Registrars abstract data from individual patient charts over the course of a cancer patient’s lifetime. Curious how providers know whether or not specific treatment regimens make a difference in patient outcomes over time? Yep, that’s a Tumor Registrar’s work, too. Inquired whether there are certain clusters of cancers in specific locations that may be tied to environment, diet, etc. Oh, yes…thank a Tumor Registrar for those nuggets of info, also.

Cancer Registries are incredible sources of data; they are absolutely vital to our patient care, our healthcare system, and to public health. If I need data as an oncology administrator, the Cancer Registry (my local, state, and national ones) are the very first places I look to for help. These professionals are that amazing.

On top of all of that work, Cancer Registries are often the departments that help coordinate tumor boards as well as American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer accreditation pieces.

Do you know your Certified Cancer Registrars and Cancer Registry team? If not, you need to meet them. Today. And thank them while you’re at it.

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Here’s some of what I’ve been putting into my brain this week:

So what has caught your attention this week?

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Remembrance

by Nursetopia on September 11, 2013

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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MashupHere are some of the highlights of my reading (and viewing) this week:

What are you reading?

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