Drunk on Water, Drug Shortages, Understanding Health Care News, Plus Nursing Blog Posts of NoteJuly 15, 2011
The water myth: A physician, writing in the British Medical Journal (abstract only), has looked at the evidence for drinking eight glasses of water a day and says the oft-recommended practice is “debunked nonsense,” a myth the bottled water companies have been only too happy to exploit and that many respected health care organizations and experts continue to support. Maybe common sense reasoning is also partly to blame—after all, the idea seems to make sense. And all that water certainly conjures images of purification, which is inevitably appealing in a world of pervasive toxins, chemicals, food additives, and the like, and in a time when fewer people in any given Western country practice the same or similar religious sacraments or rituals, practices that may—among other functions—have once served a similar “purifying” psychologic purpose.
Drug shortages: The Wall Street Journal Health Blog has reported on two surveys that suggest that “unprecedented” drug shortages are being experienced by most hospitals. The reasons are multiple: shortage rumors that prompt hoarding, FDA actions that halt production, lack of a crucial ingredient, poor inventory management, and others:
All treatment categories were affected, hospitals said, with 80% or more respondents experiencing shortages of surgery/anesthesia, emergency care, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal/nutrition, pain or infectious disease drugs. And 66% of hospitals reported shortages of cancer drugs. Some 47% of hospitals reported experiencing a shortage of at least one drug on a daily basis.
What the study really said: The following resource isn’t new, but with more and more people getting health care news from the Internet, network television, newspapers, or from TV personalities like Oprah and Dr. Oz, it’s more important than ever for us all, whether health care journalists or nurses, to know a bit more about judging the quality of the evidence out there for certain treatments, tests, and drugs. HealthNewsReview.org offers some excellent tools for understanding what’s true, possibly true, and a complete distortion of the facts, with short primers on everything from causation vs. association, absolute vs. relative risk, and phases of drug studies to commercialism and much more.
Nursing blog sampler: Emergiblog had a nice post about a week ago about the practical challenges involved in treating the increasing numbers of children whose parents are unable to control them (or, as she puts it, “kids seem to be the adults in some families”). For something on the light side, Nurse Ratched’s Place has a post called “Treadmills, Hot Guys, and Nurses.” The gist is that everyone needs a little motivation, whether in the gym or while working a long nursing shift, and maybe a little old-fashioned objectification is just the thing (but not, of course, underwritten or endorsed by AJN!). Notes of a Nurse-To-Be has a post (ok, a couple weeks old now) on the particular kind of mental fatigue she experienced during her first mental health rotation.
Alas, as I went through our blogroll today, I noticed at least two nurse bloggers who’d hung up their keyboards for various reasons over the past several months. Several others haven’t updated in a long time, but then, it’s summer. No doubt there are many great new nurse blogs that we haven’t yet discovered. If you know of them, or run them yourselves, please let us know–we can’t guarantee we’ll link to them, but we’d like to have a look.
And no, I DO NOT mean those weirdly anonymous sites (onlinebsn.org, lpntornbridge.org, onlinerntobsn.org, etc., etc.) that are always contacting me about a great new list of nursing blog posts they’ve just put up, and wouldn’t I love to post a link to their helpful blog? It’s nothing personal, but no, we wouldn’t, if you’re neither a journalist nor a nurse, can’t or won’t tell me who’s funding you, and simply exist to collect traffic by collating other peoples’ content and putting it in flattering lists. We care about accuracy, authenticity, full disclosure of conflict of interest, real evidence, and real nurses. The rest is noise, gumming up the search engines to no one’s benefit (or not ours, anyway).
Enjoy the July weekend!—Jacob Molyneux, AJN senior editor and blog editor