About Amanda Anderson, RN

I’m a nurse with a critical care background who works in administration in Manhattan. My blog is This Nurse Wonders. I also blog for Off the Charts and Healthcetera, and tweet as @ajandersonrn.

International Health, Nurse Staffing, the Power of Social Media

I previously posted on this blog in anticipation of attending my first international nursing meeting—the  2017 International Council of Nurses Congress in Barcelona—and wrote about it later in a joint post with AJN‘s editor-in-chief Shawn Kennedy. There will also be a full report in the August issue of AJN.

Based on subsequent reflection, here are some lasting takeaways:

International health is an American nursing problem.

“Shamian asked what American nurses do for their fellow nurses around the world.”

There was a lot I didn’t know about global health. I was thankful that I’d taken some time to study a few key concepts, especially the sustainable development goals (SDGs).

In the opening session, ICN president Judith Shamian charged all nurses to take seats at policy tables and draw upon their expertise. Through her passion, I began to see a part I could play in policy making simply by keeping abreast of issues and sharpening my nursing voice.

From the plenary speech by former Secretary of U.S. Health and Human Services, Mary Wakefield, I began to see the necessity of grounding policy work with reliable, relevant evidence. And in our interview with Shamian, policy and evidence met collaboration as Shamian asked what American […]

2017-07-10T07:54:39+00:00 June 30th, 2017|Conference reports, Nursing|6 Comments

Nursing as an International Profession

For much of my nursing career, I functioned as a 100% American-minded nurse.

Even though the Ebola epidemic had trickled right into my city, before I attended a global health day at the United Nations (UN) during Nurses Week in 2015, I’d neglected to really consider nursing at the international level.

Until I listened to non-governmental organization (NGO) subject matter experts’ briefings and toured the restricted areas at the UN where global decisions were made, my view of nursing had been largely consumed with understanding things in my own backyard: my day-to-day struggles as a new nursing leader at work, the evolving Affordable Care Act (ACA), and finding ways to apply the IOM Report on the Future of Nursing to my own clinical and academic practice.

My mono-continental nursing mind began to open that day.

The briefings, and most importantly, the subsequent friendships I kindled with nurses involved in international policy work through NGOs like Sigma Theta Tau International (STTI) and the Nightingale Initiative for Global Health, began to help me realize how interdependently we all practice together on a global stage and how attainable international involvement actually is.

Earlier this winter, a new nursing friend, Holly Shaw, PhD, RN, chair of the UN Advisory Council for STTI, asked me if I was attending the

2017-06-07T11:48:26+00:00 May 23rd, 2017|Nursing|0 Comments

The Nurses Week Prizes We Really Need

Amanda Anderson, formerly a graduate intern at AJN, is now a contributing editor

Culture_of_Safety_2016My first Nurses Week as a nurse, my mother sent me a card and a small gift. When I opened it, I was surprised by its message—no one had ever given me anything for Nurses Week during nursing school. I had no idea that the holiday even existed.

As an English Literature major–turned nursing student, I was pretty clueless about the world of nursing when I launched my career. I spent most of my first year fumbling around in the dark, looking for Florence’s light.

As years passed, I learned more about nursing, claimed it as my own, and became versed in the industry secrets. I started to take pride in Nurses Week, seeing it as a venue for speaking out about nursing.

One year, for the thirty days preceding the holiday, I wrote to Google about 30 living nurse legends, in hopes that they would post a nursing-themed Google Doodle for our week. On another, I penned (and never sent) a scathing letter to a hospital president who had sent a kitschy card I took offense to.

[…]

Recognizing and Managing Late or Long-Term Complications in Adult Allo-HSCT Survivors

By Amanda Anderson, a critical care nurse and graduate student in New York City currently doing a graduate placement at AJN.

Everybody, myself included, thought he was going to die. Another nurse on another floor had administered his stem cell transplant a few weeks prior, but as his primary nurse I was now in charge of managing its aftereffects.

Ben (not his real name, and some details have been changed) was one of the many young patients I’d cared for who suffered from a violent course of complications following allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplant (allo-HSCT). Intractable diarrhea and skin sloughing led to graft-versus-host-disease’s usual sequelae: wounds, drug-resistant infections, looming sepsis. The walls of his bladder, scarred and irritated by the myriad of toxic drugs he’d been given, bled. One day, while I slept at home between night shifts, he lost so much blood that they rushed him to the OR. The treatment—never before performed—stopped the bleeding. But it left him in excruciating, around-the-clock pain.

Between regular doses of Dilaudid and PCA pump pushes, he cried out to me, “I can’t do this. I don’t want this anymore.” I couldn’t blame him—his cancer fight raged on endlessly. Watching his boyishly handsome face grimace with so much pain, I remembered other young allo-HSCT patients’ faces, some of them peaceful only in the postmortem.

As it turned out, Ben survived his ICU stay. I heard about his discharge to the bone marrow transplant unit after I returned from a vacation. I lost touch with him, in the […]

2016-11-21T13:01:46+00:00 November 17th, 2015|Nursing, nursing perspective, Patients|0 Comments

Catheter Ablation of Atrial Fibrillation: Essentials for Nurses

By Amanda Anderson, a critical care nurse and graduate student in New York City currently doing a graduate placement at AJN.

A postablation case was a rarity for me, even as an experienced ICU nurse. While floating to the cardiac ICU one day, I received a patient from the cath lab who had just undergone the procedure for recurrent atrial fibrillation.

My colleagues, experienced in electrophysiology care, gave me a heads up—“Just watch her rhythm. That’s the most important thing.” But no one could provide a standard protocol for me to follow in her care. While I had the usual critical care protocol for monitoring patients, and the orders given to me for this patient, before she arrived I did a little online searching to determine how to tailor my care for her needs.

The catheter ablation procedure involves electrical ablation of tissue around the circumference of the pulmonary veins, the most common site for atrial fibrillation triggers (A). Lesions are created through the use of an irrigated radiofrequency ablation catheter (B). Illustration by Anne Rains. The catheter ablation procedure involves electrical ablation of tissue around the circumference of the pulmonary veins, the most common site for atrial fibrillation triggers (A). Lesions are created through the use of an irrigated radiofrequency ablation catheter (B). Illustration by Anne Rains.

I set my patient’s alarms, and myself, on high alert for arrhythmias and treated my […]

2016-11-21T13:01:50+00:00 October 23rd, 2015|Nursing, nursing perspective|1 Comment