Baby Boxes: Gifts Intended to Educate New Parents About Safe Sleeping

A Gift for Every New N.J. Parent

When I had my first child in New Jersey more than a decade ago, the hospital sent me home with a bag of product samples, including a few diapers, a package of wipes, two cans of formula, and an assortment of coupons. These items were helpful to varying extents—I was breastfeeding and unlikely to buy the products featured on the coupons, but the wipes and diapers certainly came in handy. So did the little hat a nurse put on my son’s head soon after birth. With its horizontal pink and blue stripes, this soft beanie that actually stayed in place was ever present during his first few weeks. It was the most useful and well-loved relic of our hospital stay.

The parents of infants in New Jersey are now given an even more practical item, one that also has the potential to reduce infant mortality rates: a baby box. This laminated, nontoxic cardboard box is packed with items that are essential during the early days of parenthood—including diapers, wipes, clothing, and breast pads—but it’s also a bed. The box, which includes a mattress and sheet, provides a safe place for infants to sleep during their first year. It’s free to all new and expectant parents in the state who watch a 20-minute educational video and take a quiz online. Upon completion, they receive a certificate that allows them to pick up the box at a local distribution center or order it by mail.

February 24th, 2017|Nursing, Public health|0 Comments

An Oncology Nurse’s Perspective on the Health Insurance Situation

Money Bag/ by Julianna Paradisi/ all rights reserved

Costly Care

I was an oncology infusion nurse in a hospital-based ambulatory center for a number of years, many of them before the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was signed into law in 2010. Besides administering chemotherapy and blood products, I infused medications to patients with sickle cell anemia as well as chronic autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and Crohn’s disease.

The common denominator among these diseases is the high cost of the medications used to treat them, at the time ranging from $3,000 to $10,000 per treatment. I know, because patients told me, their nurse.

I also know because uninsured patients were required to fill out paperwork declaring their lack of income, prior to receiving authorization for charitable treatment. If they were sick enough, they were admitted to the hospital for initial treatment, at more expense than outpatient infusion, until the paperwork was completed and approved.

These were particularly difficult times to be an infusion nurse.

Some patients lost their jobs during cancer treatment, because the cost of their cancer care increased their employer’s insurance coverage risk pool rates.

Other patients worked night shift before arriving, sleepless, for chemotherapy as soon as we opened in the morning. They couldn’t afford to lose their health […]

February 22nd, 2017|health care policy, Nursing, Public health|1 Comment

AJN February Issue News: Linking RN Perception of Workplace Safety and Patient Care, Aid for Family Caregivers, More

AJN’s monthly news section covers timely and important research and policy stories that are relevant to the nursing world. Here are some of the stories you’ll find in our current issue:

A hospital nurse prepares toxic medication using a biological safety cabinet. Photo © Horizon International Images Limited / Alamy Stock Photo.

How Does RN Perception of Workplace Safety Relate to Patient Care?

A new report by health care consulting firm Press Ganey found that higher nurse-rated scores for workplace safety and surveillance capacity were associated with higher nurse ratings of quality of care, lower rates of missed-care events, and lower rates of pressure ulcers and patient falls.

Bipartisan Bills Propose Assistance for Caregivers

Two bills currently before Congress would reduce burdens of care for family members, if passed: one would establish a national strategy to support caregivers from the community to the federal levels, and the other proposes a tax credit of up to $3,000 […]

February 21st, 2017|Nursing|0 Comments

Nurses and Patient Safety: Parallel Histories

Photo from AJN archives.

I’m especially pleased that one of the CE articles in the February issue focuses on nursing’s role in creating a safe environment for patients: “Nursing’s Evolving Role in Patient Safety.” And in full disclosure, I was excited to see that the authors used the AJN archives to chronicle how nursing addressed (or didn’t address) safety issues around patient care.

From the earliest days of nursing through to the current complex systems in which we practice, nurses have been the health professionals responsible for ensuring safe passage of patients through the health care system. From Nightingale’s criteria for creating a healing environment to the “5 rights of medication administration,” patients rely on nurses to act as sentinels.

The authors reviewed 1,086 AJN articles from 1900 to 2015 and conducted a content analysis to identify patient safety themes. Aside from uncovering many fascinating (and sometimes alarming!) details of former health care practices, the authors drew this general conclusion:

“Emphasis on patient safety increased as patient care became more complex. As nurses developed a professional identity, they often put a spotlight on safety concerns and solutions.”

Here’s a quote from a nurse who wrote in 1908 about nurses’ duties: […]

The Role of Prevention and Standardized Care in Improving CKD Outcomes

Slowing Chronic Kidney Disease Progression

Most nurses have worked with patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD). Their condition may have been related to diabetes, high blood pressure, an acute infection, or other assaults on the kidney. I’ve tended to see a diagnosis of CKD as the beginning of an inevitable decline. Certainly, “prevention” didn’t seem a relevant concept at this point; my role was to assess and monitor, teach and support, and hope for the best.

Fig. 1. The Nephron. Blood flows into the nephron through the glomerulus. Filtrate from the glomerulus flows into Bowman’s capsule, then through the proximal tubule, the loop of Henle, and the distal tubule, a series of tubules that modifies the filtrate primarily by reabsorbing water and needed electrolytes into the bloodstream. The modified filtrate (urine) then flows into the collecting duct and eventually drains into the renal pelvis. Courtesy of National Kidney Disease Education Program and the NIDDK.

However, the authors of the February CE feature, “Improving Outcomes for Patients with Chronic Kidney Disease,” make it clear that many of us (nurses as well as physicians) aren’t up to date about what we can do to slow the progression of CKD. As authors Norton et al. note:

“The greatest opportunities to reduce the impact of CKD […]

February 15th, 2017|Nursing, Public health|0 Comments