About Jacob Molyneux

Senior editor/social media strategy, American Journal of Nursing, and editor of AJN Off the Charts.

A Nurse Takes a Fall, and Loses More than Her Mobility

The Reflections essay in the July issue of AJN, “An Inconsolable Loss,” tells the story of a traumatic event that interrupts and forever changes a retired nursing professor’s relationship with her mother, “whose gentle touch and approving smile” she had always craved. Writes author Brenda Kelley Burke:

For a number of years, I’d made daily trips after work to a nursing home to visit my mother . . . .The roles of child and mother were now reversed because of her dementia. I felt acutely aware of the mother–child bond and how it transcends time and circumstance. How could I measure up to this wise and loving woman, who so many years ago would kiss my small feet before she put on my socks and whisper, ‘God, guide them to the safe places’?

But one bitterly cold and snowy night, writes Burke, “like the famous nursery rhyme character, I too had a great fall that left me broken.” Sometimes the seemingly fixed patterns of our lives depend on the most fragile of balances—one change can lead to many others, and suddenly nothing seems the same. […]

2017-07-05T11:03:05+00:00 July 5th, 2017|narratives, nursing stories|1 Comment

Antipsychotics: Understanding These Increasingly Prescribed Medications

As AJN‘s June issue CE article on antipsychotic medications makes clear, the history of the treatment of mental illness provides many cautionary tales:

Theories about the causes of mental illness have included the belief that a person is possessed by spirits, demons, or the devil; that she or he has a weakness of character; or that the person had a “refrigerator” mother, someone whose coldness led to the child developing insanity. Those with mental health issues were treated with . . . therapies that are now considered to be questionable and inhumane: being chained . . . in institutions . . . and put into insulin-induced comas; having a lobotomy; being subjected to malarial therapy, exorcism, and prayer; being placed into ice water baths, you can check this review article to see more info . . .

Images courtesy of the estate of Bryan Charnley. Full image caption below.

In the past century, as our understanding of various aspects of mental illness has increased (there’s still a long way to go), so has the range of available treatments, from psychotherapy to a constantly expanding […]

2017-06-30T13:05:12+00:00 June 5th, 2017|Nursing|0 Comments

What Types of Articles Do Journal Editors Want to Read?

Writing is time-consuming and difficult to do—the last thing you want is to spend time working on a manuscript that has little chance of being published. There are many strategies you can use to enhance the likelihood of publication, which we discuss throughout this series, but the first and most important is writing the type of article that journal editors want to publish.

Those opening sentences from “What Types of Articles to Write,” the third in AJN‘s ongoing Writing for Publication: Step by Step series by Karen Roush, PhD, RN, FNP, speak directly to the uncertainty that besets many would-be nurse writers (and in fact, all writers). Form is intimately tied to content. Ideally, the two should support each other, but first they have to be a good fit.

What type of article should you write?

What types of articles will get journal editors’ attention? And what will hold their attention once they open your manuscript? […]

2017-05-25T11:07:23+00:00 May 25th, 2017|Nursing, writing|0 Comments

The Nurse Who Saw Me: Easing the Strain of a Mother’s Vigil

Illustration by Barbara Hranilovich. All rights reserved.

The Nurse Who Saw Me,” the Reflections essay in the May issue of AJN, is by JR Fenn, a writer and lecturer in upstate New York. The author, who is not a nurse, describes a night of uncertainty she spent in an isolation room on a pediatric unit with her sick daughter.

This is the kind of writing that helps a reader understand the perspective of a scared parent in a disorienting and uncomfortable environment. The care is efficient, and the clinicians she encounters all seem to be doing the right things for her baby. But reassurance is not immediately forthcoming, as we see in this passage from near the beginning:

The attending looks at us over her white mask when I ask if my daughter is going to be OK. ‘There isn’t the research for babies this young,’ she says, her eyes so huge I can see my terrified face reflected in them. I can’t ask any more questions because my throat has swelled closed as I fight tears.

[…]

2017-05-10T11:09:22+00:00 May 10th, 2017|Nursing, patient experience|0 Comments

The Essence of Nursing Care: A Powerful Tribute for Nurses Week

“Frontline nurses, as the health professionals who spend the most time with patients and their families, are central to ensuring that the patient experience is a positive and dignified one.”

Susan Hassmiller

This sentence from “The Essence of Nursing Care,” a guest editorial in the May issue of AJN, isn’t just rhetoric. It’s based on a recent and unforgettable personal experience of the power nurses have to recognize and sometimes ease a family member’s suffering at the very worst of times.

In this moving editorial, Susan Hassmiller, the senior advisor for nursing at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, writes about the nurses who helped her in the terrible days following her husband Bob’s tragic bicycle accident last fall. Writes Hassmiller:

“My life changed forever on Sunday, September 25, 2016, at 11:09 am. . . .That’s when I learned that Bob, my best friend and husband of 37 years, lay paralyzed in the trauma unit of a nearby hospital . . . .During those 10 brutal days, I learned anew the crucial role that nurses play in caregiving and compassion. Three nurses stood out in particular.”

I won’t attempt to summarize the rest of this guest editorial. It’s as eloquent a tribute as nurses are likely to get this year on Nurses Week. The article is free, so we […]

2017-05-08T10:15:48+00:00 May 8th, 2017|Nursing|1 Comment