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Diabetes and Puberty – How Nurses Can Help Teens and Their Parents Manage Blood Glucose

July 7, 2014
Trenton Jantzi replaces his insulin pump infusion site during a break at school. The high-school senior must change his infusion site every three days. Photo by Mark Ylen / Democrat-Herald.

Trenton Jantzi replaces his insulin pump infusion site during a break at school. The high-school senior must change his infusion site every three days. Photo by Mark Ylen / Democrat-Herald.

A new article in AJN gives crucial information on the challenges to managing diabetes, both type 1 and type 2, that are faced by teenagers and their parents during the physical and psychosocial changes of puberty.

Any nurse can tell you that it’s not easy to manage diabetes. I got type 1 diabetes when I was 27 years old and it took me more than ten years to really understand how to balance the effects of diet, exercise, insulin intake, and other factors like illness or stress.

There’s a lot at stake, too, in terms of long-term complications linked to poor blood glucose control, including blindness, heart disease, neuropathy, and a host of other unpleasant complications. In addition, there are serious potential short-term risks of diabetes like hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia that can land you in a coma or worse.

Even with experience in managing diabetes, there are setbacks. Any time of change—moving, illness, a traumatic event, immersion in a new pursuit—presents new challenges, both psychological, practical, and physical.

Remember adolescence? Did you want to act as your own nurse, pharmacist, dietitian, policeman, and cheerleader day in and day out (and without the years of training)? How can nurses help teenagers with type 1 or type 2 diabetes manage their diabetes?

Here’s the overview of “Diabetes and Puberty: A Glycemic Challenge,” a CE feature article in the July issue of the American Journal of Nursing. 

As children with diabetes enter adolescence, the physical and psychological changes of puberty add to the challenges of disease management. This often leads to increased stress for both parent and child and to poor overall glucose control with potential short- and long-term complications. During this period of transition, nurses play a central role in teaching patients and their families about the effects of puberty on insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism, and in discussing how the emotional and behavioral changes associated with this challenging time can affect diabetes management.

Read the rest of this entry »

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As Another June Is Forgotten, Some Notes on Nurses and Normandy

July 3, 2014

By Maureen Shawn Kennedy, AJN editor-in-chief

A pause before the 4th of July: Nurses were at D-Day too.

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Nurses coming ashore at Normandy/AJN archive

Last month, there were a number of D-Day remembrances in the media—June 6 was the 70th anniversary of the 1944 Allied forces landing along the beaches of Normandy and what many believe to have been the single largest tactical maneuver ever launched.

I was especially interested in the D-Day events—I’ll be visiting the Normandy beaches in October. My father was a World War II army veteran and landed at Normandy, though not in the first wave. He arrived days later with Patton’s 9th Armored Division after the beaches had been secured. (His unit would go on to fight in the Battle of the Bulge and finally into Germany after securing the Bridge at Remagen, the only bridge across the Rhine River into Germany not destroyed during the German retreat.)

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AJN archive

One thing I was surprised to learn is that nurses landed at Normandy and other invasion beaches within only a few days of the first wave. The photos here are from the AJN archives—the above photo shows nurses landing at Normandy. And the one to the right predates Normandy and shows nurses disembarking in April, 1944, in the harbor at Naples, Italy. (According to this article from the AJN archives, which describes nurses coming under fire while treating wounded troops at the Anzio Beachhead, nurses arrived shortly after troops landed on Italy’s shores in the fall of 1943. For the best version, click the link to the PDF in the upper- right corner of the article page.) Read the rest of this entry »

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How a Nurse Helped My Health Anxiety

July 1, 2014
IF

Photo by Sheila Steele, via Flickr.

By Amy M. Collins, editor

As a person who suffers from health anxiety, going to the doctor is always an ordeal. While some hypochondriacs tend to seek medical care with fervor, I am of the variety that avoids it at all costs. Unless it’s necessary.

Recently I had a necessary diagnostic test that involved a contrast agent. Several things about the test worried me. I was told it might hurt; I’d never had a contrast agent before (and on House—a show I should never watch—patients are always allergic to it!); and I was afraid that during the exam I would panic, faint, or cry.

Some people might be thinking: “suck it up!”—and I wouldn’t blame them. But I promise you, this isn’t something I’m proud of. I’d love to be more stoic when it comes to medical procedures/visits. Unfortunately, anxiety is a real thing. It is illogical and it can sometimes take over one’s senses. I spent the days preceding the test sleepless and tense. Read the rest of this entry »

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A Child’s Story, or Why She Became a Nurse

June 30, 2014
Illustration by Anne Horst. All rights reserved.

Illustration by Anne Horst. All rights reserved.

Day in and day out, a child lives in fear. Her stomach often twists in knots of pain for hours before the pain fades away. The doctors can find no medical reason for the pain. Her mother angrily accuses her of faking it, of being more trouble than she’s worth. The child is often told how stupid she is. Though her father sometimes protects her, at times his medication doesn’t work and he transforms from a caring protective father into a crazed abusive one. Even when the child is unharmed, she stays in a constant state of panic as soon as she walks in her front door.

That’s the opening paragraph of this month’s Reflections essay. “A Child’s Story” is a tough read. It’s about child abuse, helplessness, the will to endure, about those who help and those who don’t. In the end, it’s a hopeful story, despite everything. The story is also a reminder of just how much the decision to become a nurse means to some people. Here’s a brief excerpt, but we hope you’ll read the entire short essay (click on the article title above).—Jacob Molyneux, senior editor

 

 
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AJN’s July Issue: Diabetes and Puberty, Getting Patient Input, Quality Measures, Professional Boundaries, More

June 27, 2014

AJN0714.Cover.OnlineAJN’s July issue is now available on our Web site. Here’s a selection of what not to miss.

Diabetes and puberty. On our cover this month, 17-year-old Trenton Jantzi tests his blood sugar before football practice. Trenton has type 1 diabetes and is one of a growing number of children and adolescents in the United States who have  been diagnosed with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes. The physical and psychological changes of puberty can add to the challenges of diabetes management. Nurses are well positioned to help patients and their families understand and meet these challenges.

To learn more more about the physical and behavioral changes experienced by adolescents with diabetes, see this month’s CE feature, “Diabetes and Puberty: A Glycemic Challenge,” and earn 2.6 CE credits by taking the test that follows the article. And don’t miss a podcast interview with the author, one of her adolescent patients, and the patient’s mother (this and other podcasts are accessible via the Behind the Article page on our Web site or, if you’re in our iPad app, by tapping the icon on the first page of the article). Read the rest of this entry »

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Providing Culturally Sensitive Care: It Takes More Than Knowledge

June 25, 2014

By Karen Roush, AJN clinical managing editor. Photos by the author.

DSC_0136One Saturday a few weeks ago I grabbed my camera and headed out to spend the afternoon taking photographs around the city. I ended up wandering around the streets of Chinatown, photographing the street life—the rows of fresh fish on piles of ice, the colorful patterns of vegetables in crates outside shops, old women in variations of plaid and flowered housedresses lined up on a bench, children scattering clusters of pigeons.

Eventually I happened upon a vigorous and highly skilled game of handball in a park. The competitors were predominately young Asian men, though there were a few Hispanic men playing too. Standing next to me, a young man was telling his friend about a clever way a mutual friend had devised to get out of paying a parking ticket. If you live in New York, or almost any big city, you will earn yourself a parking ticket or two at some point. Intrigued by this man’s idea, I asked him if it actually worked and he assured me it did. Then he rolled his eyes and said, “Oh no, I shouldn’t have said anything. Once the white people know, that’s the end of it!” Read the rest of this entry »

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Takeaways from 2014 ANA Membership Assembly

June 23, 2014
Pamela Cipriano, incoming ANA president

Pamela Cipriano, incoming ANA president

By Maureen Shawn Kennedy, AJN editor-in-chief

So far, so good

In June, the American Nurses Association (ANA) convened its second membership assembly, which included representatives of constituent and state nurses associations, individual members groups and affiliated entities, plus the board of directors. (This is the structure that replaced the House of Delegates as the official governing body of the ANA, when ANA restructured in 2012. See our 2012 report on the restructuring.)

The assembly was preceded by ANA’s annual Lobby Day on June 12th, in which nurses visited legislators on Capitol Hill to talk up legislation important to nursing, like bills on staffing, safe patient handling, and one that would remove barriers to efficient home care services.

This membership assembly was subdued—perhaps a gift for Karen Daley, the outgoing two-term president who shepherded the organization through a turbulent period of change. There were no contentious resolutions to deal with this time—there were only three issues brought to the group through dialogue forums, to develop recommendations for the board of directors:

  • scope of practice (full practice authority for all RNs)
  • integrating palliative care into health care delivery
  • promoting interprofessional health care teams

While the scope of practice topic was ostensibly promoting full practice for ALL RNs, most of the discussion (and a video) focused only on APRNs as physician colleagues. I wonder: are we fostering a message in which only nurses who are APRNs are perceived as physician colleagues? Read the rest of this entry »

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