‘She’s Alive Because Of You’: A Nurse’s Advocacy Pays Off

Katie L. George, DNP, RN, AG-ACNP, CCRN. Photo courtesy of Katie L. George. Katie L. George, DNP, RN, AG-ACNP, CCRN

While attending this year’s American Association of Critical-Care Nurses National Teaching Institute meeting, AJN editor-in-chief Shawn Kennedy heard a story that she felt all nurses needed to hear as a reminder of the impact a nurse’s advocacy can have on a patient.

Critical care nurse Katie George, just a few years into her career when the events in the story took place, was caring for Ms. A., a young woman whose spinal cord had been nearly severed in a car accident.

Faced with a prognosis suggesting that Ms. A.’s quality of life would be poor and that she would have to remain on a ventilator, Ms. A.’s family made what they felt was the humane decision to have her removed from life support. But Ms. A.’s fiancé—and her nurse Katie George—were convinced that Ms. A., who seemed to be able to communicate by blinking in response to questions, should at least be given the chance to make the decision for herself.

Ms. A. was suffering from locked-in syndrome, a condition in which the patient is conscious and eye movement is functional despite full body paralysis. Giving her a chance to decide her own fate would require finding a way to legally validate Ms. A.’s mental capacity, although her physicians felt that this might not be possible. […]

October 20th, 2016|Nursing, nursing perspective, patient experience|0 Comments

The Primary Care Confessions of Traumatized Patients

drawing of patient in waiting room Illustration by Hana Cisarova. All rights reserved.

In this month’s Reflections essay, “The Traumatized Patient,” family nurse practitioner Margaret Adams delves with sympathy into what she calls the “primary care confessions” of a challenging subset of patients. Writes Adams:

I’ve come to recognize patients like you—sometimes by your disturbingly long and detailed allergy lists, but more often by the frequency with which you come in for the same constellation of symptoms: fatigue, headaches, dizziness, general malaise. Something happened to you— maybe years ago, maybe recently—and it left its mark on you in irredeemable ways, . . .

While symptoms often do have underlying physiological causes, Adams is likewise attuned to the emotional subtext behind certain seemingly fruitless patient encounters. And with many specific examples, she makes the case here that the life of trauma plays itself out over time in the body and mind. […]

October 18th, 2016|Nursing, nursing stories, patient engagement, Patients|0 Comments

AJN News: Veteran Suicide, Older Drivers, Job Turnover Among New RNs, 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 (news articles in AJN are free access):

President Obama signs the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act on Feb. 12, 2015. Photo © Associated Press.

About 20 Veterans Died Daily from Suicide Between 2001 and 2014

A new report from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs analyzes the data and details aggressive preventive measures.

Improving Safety in Older Drivers

In the United States, nearly half of all drivers are older than 65 years—and this age group has the highest accident rate per mile. As the proportion of older drivers continues to increase, nurses can play a role in assessing and educating patients at risk for unsafe driving.

Predicting Job Turnover Among Newly Licensed Nurses

According to a recent study of internal job turnover, 30% of new RNs in U.S. hospitals changed their job title, unit type, or both within a year; the study’s authors also identified five variables that influence new nurses’ decision to stay on a unit or transfer.

Army medics, NHS nursing staff at unveiling of Mary Seacole statue, St Thomas’ Hospital, London. Photo by Pete Maclaine / Zuma Press / Newscom.

Britain Honors Mary Seacole with a Memorial

A newly erected statue of the notable nurse, who tended to soldiers during the Crimean War, is the first UK statue dedicated to a named black woman.

October 14th, 2016|Nursing|0 Comments

10 Lessons Learned from Clara Barton’s Life and Work

By Jean Johnson, PhD, RN, FAAN, professor and founding dean (retired) at the George Washington University School of Nursing, member of the Red Cross National Nursing Committee, and Linda MacIntyre, PhD, RN, chief nurse of the American Red Cross

Clara Barton at desk in Red Cross headquarters Clara Barton at desk in Red Cross headquarters

This is the final post in the Clara Barton Study Tour series. There have been many lessons learned during the tour. All of the participants have agreed to take what we learned and reflect on how our lives have been changed by this trip and what we are going to do to use what we learned to further the humanitarian work of Clara and the Red Cross.

For reasons mentioned in previous posts, this tour was very emotional, as well as informative. Here are ten lessons we learned from our investigation into Clara Barton’s career and its continuing implications for ongoing efforts in the U.S. and internationally.

  1. Clara Barton was resilient and a renegade, transforming some of her biggest fears and bouts of depression into constructive humanitarian action.
  2. Clara was a superb logistician, gathering goods and transporting them during the Civil War and during disasters in the U.S. and internationally, such as her relief work in the Franco-Prussian War.
  3. Clara was tenacious. If she did not get what she wanted, she kept at it. When trying to meet with President Lincoln about establishing the Missing Soldiers […]

In Geneva, a Wider Perspective on Clara Barton’s Humanitarian Vision

By Jean Johnson, PhD, RN, FAAN, professor and founding dean (retired) at the George Washington University School of Nursing, member of the Red Cross National Nursing Committee, and Linda MacIntyre, PhD, RN, chief nurse American Red Cross

To Geneva, Oct. 2-3: The Red Cross Mission Is International

Red Cross and Red Crescent Symbols Outside ICRC Museum, Geneva Red Cross and Red Crescent Symbols outside ICRC Museum, Geneva

The Clara Barton Study Tour was the idea and passion of Sue Hassmiller. As you may know from the most recent post in this series, Sue and her husband Bob were prevented from coming on this trip due to Bob’s tragic bicycle accident. Sue had insisted that Geneva needed to be part of the tour because it’s where she learned of Henri Dunant’s work to create the international Red Cross in Geneva. With Bob’s steady support in the planning phase, Sue had somehow made the trip a reality, with the second leg of the tour taking place here in Geneva.

The study tour in Geneva and the organizations we visited on our first two days there were in complete harmony with Bob’s commitment to the Red Cross. While Bob gave his time and energy to the American Red Cross, his spirit of giving clearly crossed international borders into war-torn cities where the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) brings humanitarian aid to victims of conflict—both to the civilian population as well as wounded fighters. The ICRC is led by the dynamic and caring director-general, Yves Daccord (in group photo below), who not only plans for current needs but looks to the future to plan for the future type of war that will be shaped by new technologies such as robots and artificial intelligence. […]