About Jacob Molyneux, senior editor/blog editor

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

A Dream of Horses: An Aging Veteran’s Healing Encounter

“Let’s go for a ride,” I said to Joe as he lay expressionless on his bed, covered in blankets and staring at the ceiling. The room was stuffy with hot, stale air. No bigger than a walk-in closet, the space held the lifetime possessions, many of them scattered on the bed, floor, and windowsill, of a 75-year-old veteran residing in an assisted living facility. Joe appeared frail and bored in the silence of the room.

Illustration by Janet Hamlin for AJN.

That’s the start of the Reflections column, “A Dream of Horses,” in the January issue of AJN. Written by a nurse at the Department of Veterans Affairs, the short, moving essay describes a series of healing encounters between a frail older man, who seems to have given up on life, and the horses at a therapeutic equestrian barn.

The here and now.

The story told here reminds us how much we humans can cocoon ourselves against the more elemental forces of the natural world, and how healing it can be to encounter a magnificent animal that asks only that we be present in the here and now. The senses awaken. We look beyond our own habitual ways of thinking and feeling and acting. Maybe, something […]

The Top 10 AJN Blog Posts of 2017

As is our tradition in the final weeks of the calendar year, we’d like to share the 10 most popular AJN blog posts of 2017. Most of these posts are by nurses who somehow find time to write in the midst of busy nursing and personal lives. One or two are by AJN editors. Not all, but most, are written by nurses.

What are the posts about? A few discuss aspects of notable health care topics covered by AJN in the past year. But most tell stories from personal experience or explore issues of importance to nurses in their careers. The nurse’s daily enounter with the physical and emotional needs of patients is a frequent subtext, as might be expected.

How to Support the Nurse in Your Life
“A job this intense isn’t so easily contained in a separate professional box. For nurses to live healthier, more integrated lives, we need space for our experience, and this is how our friends and family can help.”

A Nurse Takes a Stand—and Gets Arrested
“Nurses everywhere can draw inspiration from Alex Wubbels and her confidence and use the incident as a lens for self-reflection on our own behavior in difficult circumstances—and as a model for how to behave in the future.”

A Closer Look at the Joint Commission’s […]

A Crucial Public Health Lesson: Let the Women Speak

” . . . people have their own hope and power which they need to discover.”

Illustration by Gingermoth for AJN.

Do some public health projects fail to live up to their ambitions because they were conceived in a conference room rather than in dialogue with those they are trying to help? It seems possible. Terms like client or community “buy-in” are now fashionable, but maybe what’s really meant by such terms is that people are given a chance to state their needs and their concerns ahead of time. And that someone is listening.

In this month’s Reflections essay by nurse practitioner Mark Darby, he remembers a valuable lesson once imparted to him through example by a Dominican priest. “Shut Up and Let the Women Speak” doesn’t flatter the younger version of the author who once visited the Dominican Republic on a medical mission. […]

Through Song, a Nurse’s Renewed Connection to An Ailing Mother

Illustration by Barbara Hranilovich for AJN.

Millions of Americans are now acting in some capacity as caregivers for an ailing parent. This month’s Reflections column is by a nurse who describes a moment in time as she helps to care for her home-bound and dying mother. Her mother remains, on occasion, as judgmental and offputting as the mother of her childhood.

But in such cases, there’s little to gain by dwelling on old disappointments and hurts—and in this instance, there are good memories as well.

The common language of song.

These good memories are primarily associated with her mother’s love of and talent for singing. “Moon River and Mom” describes this nurse’s experience of tending her mother’s leg wound as the Meals on Wheels man visits, and what happens afterward when the author prompts her mother to sing. […]

Easy to Judge Patients for their Choices, Harder to See Them as Individuals

This month’s Reflections essay, “Someone’s Son,” is by Jami Carder, now an RN case manager at the Visiting Nurse Association of Cape Cod. In it, she looks back to a formative nursing experience.

I started my nursing career as a floor nurse. Our patients were complex, and though it seemed we never had enough time or staff, it was important to give them the care they needed and deserved…. [I]t was frustrating to feel that any time was being ‘wasted’…. I remember complaining, at such times, about not being able to take care of my other patients who were ‘really sick.’

By Eric Collins/ecol-art.com.

Who ‘deserves’ care?

Wasted here is meant as code for spending valuable patient care time on patients who are sick because of unhealthy behaviors: in this essay, substance abuse. But we might also then include smoking, overeating, lack of exercise, and so on.

The potential list of unhealthy behaviors is long. And the question of choice is slippery, to say the least. It’s always before us in our personal lives, moment to moment—and by extension, for nurses at the bedside, and in how we as a society think about health care and who ‘deserves’ it. […]

2017-10-11T12:17:07+00:00 October 11th, 2017|Nursing|0 Comments