Posts Tagged ‘AJN’

h1

If You Really Want to Get That Letter Published

April 28, 2014

By Karen Roush, PhD, RN, FNP, AJN clinical managing editor

via Wikimedia Commons

via Wikimedia Commons

We love getting letters to the editor . . . really . . . whether it’s to agree or disagree, applaud or admonish. With some articles we actually feel a sense of excited anticipation—this should get some letters!—not because we like to create controversy (though we don’t shy away from it either when there’s something important at stake), but because we want to create dialogue among our readers.

That’s what the Letters to the Editor column is for: to add to the conversation by pointing out nuances, adding support from personal experience, expressing a dissenting view of a topic, or offering corrections or clarifications.

A good letter to the editor contains:

• a point of view
• a sense of the writer and why they were moved to write a letter
• additional information that clarifies, corrects, or enhances the original text (and the evidence backing it up)
OR:
• a reasoned, respectful argument (and the evidence to back it up) against some aspect of the original text
OR:
• a narrative that gives a clearer sense of the human implications of the original text

These are the main criteria we look for in the letters we receive.

We are glad when you enjoy an article or are pleased to see the topic covered in print or can relate to something we published. Drop us a line anytime and let us know. We share those emails with the staff and it helps us know that we are staying on target. But those types of letters are usually not going to get published. They matter to us, but they don’t add a lot to the conversation.

A special alert for students: we get a lot of letters from students that follow along these lines:

I really liked the article/enjoyed reading the article/agree with the author. Here are some other studies/research/evidence that say the same thing about the topic. This is what I do/did/want to do/all nurses should do related to the article.

Such letters are good examples of the kind that don’t get published because they don’t add anything new to the conversation. (Perhaps unsurprisingly, many student letters are about short items in our News section. These articles are often about studies that have been published elsewhere; they summarize findings, provide valuable analysis and context, and sometimes quote study authors or others with a stake in the topic. If you have something to say about the topic of the news item, and it meets the general criteria I listed above, then send it to us. If you have something to say about the individual studies, consider whether your letter should instead go to the journal that published the original study, not to us.) Read the rest of this entry ?

h1

Nursing Students and Then Some – In Opryland, Revisiting AJN’s Long Connection With NSNA

April 14, 2014

Revisiting AJN’s long connection with this vibrant student nursing association. 

By Maureen Shawn Kennedy, MA, RN, editor-in-chief

Opryland critters

Opryland critters

I’ve said it a number of times over the years, most recently in my editorial in the April issue of AJN: the National Student Nurses Association (NSNA) is a vibrant organization and produces one of the most well-organized annual meetings in nursing. This year, it broke attendance records, drawing approximately 3,200 students and faculty advisors to the Opryland Hotel in Nashville, where I spent part of last week.*

Supporting NSNA since its founding. The American Journal of Nursing has been a supporter and and sponsor of the NSNA since the organization began in 1952. The NSNA offices used to be part of the AJN offices at one time, and before NSNA had its own publication (Imprint), AJN published “The Student Pages.” We sponsor Project InTouch, an award given to the student who recruits the most new members for the organization. This year, winner Joanna Laufer from East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, recruited 130 new members; overall, this initiative brought in over 1,600 new members this year. Impressive.

Impressive, and sharp dressers too! The students I met—mostly junior and senior nursing students—were also impressive. They were enthusiastic, eager to learn, and professional. I have to say this group as a whole was better dressed than many attendees I’ve seen at other nursing conferences—they clearly got the message about what business casual meant; I rarely saw anyone in jeans.

The students’ major concern was of course, finding a job in this tight market. And there were few recruiters other than the military services among the couple of hundred exhibitors—most were schools of nursing and companies with educational products for passing the licensing exam. Many speakers reinforced the message that the tradition of working in a hospital for a year before working in other settings is not necessary (and likely never was), and students seemed a bit relieved to hear that. But more jobs will be opening in primary care settings and preventive care services; senior care centers and long term care will grow along with the aging population, so jobs will be there, too. And while it might be tough now to get a job in a hospital, the market will be very different in a few years as older nurses retire. Read the rest of this entry ?

h1

For Nurses, on Slowing Down, Unplugging, Career Change, and Serendipity

December 30, 2013
Photo by James Russo, via Flickr

Photo by James Russo, via Flickr

Here are a few year-end posts from recent years that seem to me pretty much as relevant and timely as ever.

“Career Change in 2011 [or 2014]? Ask the God of Gates, Doors, and Beginnings”
A good source of inspiration for any nurse who feels the need of a change.

“Year-End Reindeer Dreams”
A meditation on serendipity and working holiday shifts as a nurse. It got a lot of responses from readers when we first posted it.

“The Slow Old Days”
A short, thought-provoking post by AJN editor-in-chief Shawn Kennedy, about unplugging over the holidays.

—Jacob Molyneux, senior editor/blog editor

Bookmark and Share

h1

The ‘Dialectic at the Heart of Healing’

December 13, 2013

Capture
By Jacob Molyneux, senior editor

Here are the opening paragraphs of the short intro I wrote for our special December edition of the Reflections column. Since the illustrations are an important part of this column’s presentation, I’d suggest clicking through to the PDF versions of the articles linked to below:

“There is a dialectic at the heart of healing that brings the care giver into the uncertain, fearful world of pain and disability and that reciprocally introduces patient and family into the equally uncertain world of therapeutic actions.” —Arthur Kleinman, The Illness Narratives: Suffering, Healing, and the Human Condition

In recent years, the role of narrative in medicine and nursing has gained (or perhaps regained?) a certain amount of respect.

Some advocates value the stories of patients and practitioners because they bring us in from the cold, reminding us of the human side of an increasingly technology-driven field. Others argue for narrative as a crucial source of knowledge about disease processes and best practices, yet another form of evidence in the constant quest to improve outcomes. Others focus on the therapeutic aspect of such writing, our deep need to make sense of encounters shaped by loss, pain, and suffering, whether witnessed or experienced.

The Reflections column has been appearing monthly, with rare gaps, since 1983, when AJN debuted this and other new columns (as well as its editorial board). Reflections essays exist to give a voice to those who have a story to tell about health care, whether they be nurses, patients, physicians, or family members of patients. Read the rest of this entry ?

h1

Family Pet Visitation: A Nurse-Led Project at One Illinois Hospital

December 4, 2013

AJN1213.Cover.Online

We hear a lot about therapy dogs that are specially trained to visit patients in the hospital. But I for one would want to see not just any dog but my own dog, if I were gravely ill and in the hospital. I know I’m not alone, and some nurses set out to determine the pros and cons of making pet visits happen for some patients in their hospital. What safety concerns might there be? According to the current available research, what benefits might patients experience? What protocols would be necessary if it were to happen?

Nurses from Memorial Hospital in Belleville, Illinois, set out to answer these questions and bring such a program to life. They give the details in “Family Pet Visitation,” a feature article in the December issue of AJN (free for a month), along with some moving photos of patients and their pets. Here’s a quote from the start:

Read the rest of this entry ?

h1

Why Don’t We Pay Attention to Oral Care in the ICU?

October 16, 2013

By Maureen Shawn Kennedy, MA, RN, AJN editor-in-chief

“Although meticulous oral care has been shown to reduce the risk of ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP), oral care practices among critical care nurses remain inconsistent, with mouth care often perceived as a comfort measure rather than as a critical component of infection control.”

scanning electron micrograph of Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria, one several types that can cause VAP/CDC

Scanning electron micrograph of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, one of several bacteria types that can cause VAP/ CDC image

So begins one of our CE feature articles in the current issue of AJN. In “Mouth Care to Reduce Ventilator-Associated Pneumonia” (which you can read for free), the authors discuss why mouth care is so important among the interventions to reduce VAP—and why it is often not given a high priority among patient care procedures.

I have to confess that in my clinical days, mouth care was done almost as an afterthought. In our critical care unit, we were always diligent in monitoring vitals signs and IV fluids, suctioning, turning and positioning the patient, but oral care usually was a perfunctory task, completed with a few quick swipes with lemon-glycerine swabs.

Booker and colleagues explain why oral care deserves the careful attention we give to other measures. They also review the research on barriers to our providing this care. Many nurses are simply unaware of the connection between oral flora and subsequent development of VAP or the importance of addressing oral hygiene in the first few days after admission. This article is an eye-opener.

In addition, the authors include an evidence-based, step-by-step guide to providing oral care for intubated patients. Read the rest of this entry ?

h1

The 10 Most Popular Articles on AJN Right Now

October 11, 2013
From boliston, via Flickr

From boliston, via Flickr

The 10 current “most viewed” AJN articles are below. Sometimes we’re surprised by the ones that go to the top of this list. At other times, the high interest in the article makes perfect sense. Most of these articles are currently free, either because they are CE articles or because they are shorter opinion pieces or the like. We hope you’ll have a look.—Jacob Molyneux, senior editor

“The Care of Pregnant Women in the Criminal Justice System” 

CE article. Overview: Current practices in the treatment and transfer of pregnant inmates in this country may negatively affect maternal and fetal health or well-being. Some violate federal or state laws; others conflict with standards of obstetric care and are widely considered unethical or inhumane. This article discusses these practices; their legal status; and implications for nursing practice, policy, and research.

“Developing a Vital Sign Alert System”

CE. Overview: This article describes the implementation of a nurse-designed, automated system for enhancing patient monitoring on medical–surgical and step-down nursing units. The system . . . was found to substantially reduce out-of-unit codes without increasing nurses’ workload.

“Mouth Care to Reduce Ventilator-Associated Pneumonia”

CE. Overview: Despite the well-established association between good oral hygiene and the prevention of VAP, the importance of mouth care in infection control is seldom recognized. The authors discuss the pathophysiology of VAP and why oral care is crucial to its prevention. They also provide an evidence-based, step-by-step guide to providing optimal oral care for intubated patients.

“Decreasing Patient Agitation Using Individualized Therapeutic Activities”

CE. Overview: Hospitalized patients who are suffering from cognitive impairment, delirium, suicidal ideation, traumatic brain injury, or another behavior-altering condition are often placed under continuous observation by designated “sitters.” These patients may become agitated, which can jeopardize their safety even when a sitter is present. This quality improvement project was based on the hypothesis that agitation can be decreased by engaging these patients in individualized therapeutic activities. . . .

“Loneliness and Quality of Life in Chronically Ill Rural Older Adults” 

Original Research CE. Overview: Background: Loneliness is a contributing factor to various health problems in older adults, including complex chronic illness, functional decline, and increased risk of mortality. Objectives: A pilot study was conducted to learn more about the prevalence of loneliness in rural older adults with chronic illness and how it affects their quality of life. . . .

“Evidence-Based Practice: Step by Step: Asking the Clinical Question: A Key Step in Evidence-Based Practice”

Free. Part of AJN‘s evidence-based practice (EBP) series. Excerpt: “A spirit of inquiry is the foundation of EBP, and once nurses possess it, it’s easier to take the next step—to ask the clinical question. Formulating a clinical question in a systematic way makes it possible to find an answer more quickly and efficiently, leading to improved processes and patient outcomes.” Read the rest of this entry ?

h1

House of Death, House of Life: Reflections of a Hospice Volunteer

August 9, 2013

Perhaps the fundamental requirement for hospice volunteers is an open mind. Assumptions and first impressions rarely predict reality. I met a soft-spoken woman who was once a nun, then later became a theme park belly dancer. I met an ex-Marine officer and small-town police chief, a self-described “soldier by nature,” who denounced all wars after 1945 as senseless bloodbaths. I met a former civil rights activist upset that minorities were moving into his neighborhood.

lllustration by McClain Moore. All rights reserved.

lllustration by McClain Moore. All rights reserved.

That’s from the August Reflections essay in AJN, “House of Death, House of Life.” The author, Ezra Ochshorn, explores the moments of tragedy and levity he encounters in his work as a hospice volunteer, the powerful impression made on him by people who are either at peace or full of “bitterness and regrets” as they approach death, his realization that his most important task is to be in the “here and now” with each person—and then to do his best to take this lesson back into his own life.

But why not read the entire short essay, since it’s free? Just click the link above.—JM, senior editor

h1

Winding Down Nurses Week 2013

May 10, 2013

By Shawn Kennedy, AJN editor-in-chief

We’d be remiss not to mention Florence Nightingale during Nurses Week, especially since her birthday marks the end of the celebration. (She was born on May 12, 1820.) I often wonder what this visionary would be like if she were a nurse today—my bet is she would be a PhD and FAAN, and conducting multinational outcomes research related to nursing-sensitive indicators with grants from the Royal College of Nursing and the AARP/Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Campaign for Nursing!

Nightingale never wrote for AJN, but there are some 200 stories and mentions of her in our archives. We thought we’d mark the close of Nurses Week with a comment from AJN’s founding editor, Sophia Palmer, on the occasion of Nightingale’s death in 1910. Here’s an excerpt, or read the original piece in our archives (free until next week on AJN‘s Web site).

DOC051013-05102013102301

Bookmark and Share

h1

Surely, ‘Tis Not an Easy Cap to Satisfy…

May 8, 2013
Photo from otisarchives4, via Flickr.

otisarchives4/Flickr.

By Karen Roush, AJN clinical managing editor

Though the nursing cap went by the wayside years ago, this beautifully written essay by a nurse about her cap, published in AJN in April, 1929, struck me as a metaphor for many things—nursing itself chief among them. And though the wearing of a cap may have changed, what this author expressed in 1929 about nursing hasn’t: “sympathy without sentimentality; broad understanding without cynicism; charity without weakness.” The opening paragraphs are below, but the entire essay, “My Cap,” will be free until next week on the AJN Web site.

CapExcerpt

Bookmark and Share

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 664 other followers