About Diane Szulecki

Associate editor, American Journal of Nursing

New Warnings About Protecting Children from Dangerous Substances in the Home

Photo © Istock.

As we report in a June news article, findings from several recent studies have underscored the importance of educating parents on how to keep younger children as well as older adolescents safe from exposure to dangerous substances they might accidentally ingest or deliberately seek out. Nurses can talk to parents about safe storage, ask questions about the presence of potentially hazardous substances in the home, and provide information about risks and precautions.


A study of the National Poison Data System found an increase in the rate of marijuana exposure (including edible products) among children younger than six. The rates were higher in states that had legalized the use of marijuana—an implication to be aware of as more states do the same.


Another study, conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, identified health risks in young children who had ingested alcohol-based hand sanitizers. The researchers drew attention to dangers associated with inadequate safety precautions when these products are used with young children, as well as the possibility that older children might abuse them. […]

2017-06-12T09:32:38+00:00 June 12th, 2017|Nursing, pediatrics|0 Comments

June Issue Highlights: Understanding Antipsychotics, Talking to Pregnant Smokers, IBS Basics

The June issue of AJN is now live. Here are some articles we’d like to bring to your attention.

CE Feature: Mental Health Matters: Antipsychotic Medications

In recent years, more adults—and teenagers—are taking at least one type of psychotropic medication, the majority of which are prescribed by primary care and family physicians. This first article in a series on commonly used psychotropic medications for the treatment of mental illness reviews the mechanisms of action, adverse effects, and contraindications of first-generation typical and second-generation atypical antipsychotics.

CE Feature: Original Research: The Experiences of Pregnant Smokers and Their Providers

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 10.7% of women nationwide reported smoking during their last trimester. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ initiative Healthy People 2020 targets tobacco use, including smoking during pregnancy, as a continuing major health concern in this country. Yet bringing the U.S. Public Health Service’s 2008 clinical practice guideline, Treating Tobacco Use and Dependence, into routine prenatal care remains challenging.  The authors of this study conducted focus groups of pregnant smokers and their providers, most of whom were RNs, to better understand their experiences and to gain insights to help providers best deliver the stop-smoking message.

Clinical Feature: Irritable Bowel […]

2017-05-30T11:44:24+00:00 May 30th, 2017|Nursing|0 Comments

Should Adults Experiencing In-Hospital Cardiac Arrest Be Intubated?

Photo by A.J. Heightman / Journal of Emergency Medical Service / PennWell Corp.

Although it’s commonly practiced, results from a large new study call into question the effectiveness of intubating adults who experience in-hospital cardiac arrest.

As we report in a May news article, researchers analyzed data for 108,079 adult patients who experienced cardiac arrest in the hospital between 2000 and 2014—and found that patients who were intubated within the first 15 minutes of arresting were less likely to survive than patients who were not.

Among other findings, intubated patients were less likely to experience a return of spontaneous circulation and had a lower rate of good functional outcome (defined as either mild or no neurological deficit, or only moderate cerebral disability).

The researchers concluded that the study results do not support early intubation for adults who experience cardiac arrest. However, they noted that their analysis was unable to eliminate potential confounders like the skills and experience of health care professionals, the underlying cause of the cardiac arrest, and the quality of chest compressions. Additional clinical trials are needed to yield useful results and to better understand the influence of confounding factors. […]

2017-05-15T09:13:26+00:00 May 15th, 2017|Nursing|2 Comments

AJN in May: Venous Thromboembolism Update, Deep Tissue Pressure Injury Review, Much More

The May issue of AJN is now live. Here are some articles we’d like to bring to your attention.

CE Feature: Original Research: Creating an Evidence-Based Progression for Clinical Advancement Programs

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) and the Quality and Safety Education for Nurses (QSEN) project have identified six nursing competencies and supported their integration into undergraduate and graduate nursing curricula nationwide. But integration of those competencies into clinical practice has been limited, and evidence for the progression of competency proficiency within clinical advancement programs is scant. Building on the competencies identified by the IOM and QSEN, the authors of this study developed eight nursing competency domains and 186 related knowledge, skills, and attitudes for professional nursing practice, then sought to validate them and to determine their developmental progression within a clinical advancement program.

CE Feature: Venous Thromboembolism: Updated Management Guidelines

Each year, as many as 900,000 cases of venous thromboembolism occur in the United States; between 100,000 and 300,000 cases end in death. This article presents an overview of venous thromboembolism—including its pathophysiology, risk factors, symptoms, and key clinical assessments—plus a review of recommendations from an updated American College of Chest Physicians guideline related to treatment options, nursing practice, patient education, diagnostic testing, and more.

2017-04-28T09:09:57+00:00 April 28th, 2017|Nursing|0 Comments

A National Standard to Prevent Health Care Workplace Violence?

National Nurses United joined members of Congress to speak out at a press conference unveiling findings from the Government Accountability Office’s 2016 report on workplace violence prevention in health care. Photo courtesy of National Nurses United.

In 2014, health care and social assistance workers suffered injuries from workplace violence at a rate more than four times higher than that of private sector employees. What can be done to keep health care workers safe on the job?

As we report in an April news article, National Nurses United, AFL–CIO, and other unions have petitioned the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to create a federal standard for preventing health care workplace violence. OSHA issued a request in December for information on the subject, and held a public hearing in January in which health care workers spoke about their experiences of workplace violence and their ideas for improving safety and protection policies. Through early April, the agency collected comments from the public on a federal standard—but uncertainty surrounds its direction under the Trump administration.

Nine states have enacted measures against workplace violence in health care settings. The toughest of these is California’s Workplace Violence Prevention Health Care standard, which was enacted last year. It requires health care facilities to implement a comprehensive program with multiple components for addressing workplace violence.

See more news stories from our April issue, which are free to access through April 21:

2017-04-14T08:49:22+00:00 April 14th, 2017|Nursing|0 Comments