Healthcare social media encompasses the use of many social media platforms by both patients and clinicians, including nurses, in order to share information, stories, experience, and form communities.

Tallying Losses and Gains of Being a Nurse, and Finding Profit

I was talking with a dear friend who was telling me how she went through a period when she had wondered whether nursing was destroying her. I can’t say what she actually meant by this for her own self, but the comment stood out to me. I found myself chewing on this notion that we can feel slowly worn down by the overall experience of nursing to a point where we feel the losses are not being offset by the gains quickly enough.

A certain loss of innocence.

Given all of the random tragedy, self-sabotage, and violence that nurses may witness in their patients’ stories, nurses can experience the loss of a more innocent, optimistic perspective about people and the world. Nurses often say there are things you cannot “un-see” in this line of work. Those experiences can darken the lens through which we see the world. The loss of faith in the assured wellness in the world can feel disheartening. It can be difficult to know how to process this in a way that does not simply leave us more fearful or cynical people.

The energy drain.

On a less philosophical level, it is no […]

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 […]

Health Care Terms and Words To Retire and Replace?

This week, two bloggers posted lists of words or terms they felt should no longer be used when referring to health professionals or patients.

  • Harrison Reed, a physician assistant who writes for In Practice, a blog at NEJM Journal Watch, wrote “Seven Medical Terms to Ditch in 2017.” On his list was LFTs (liver function tests); regular rate and rhythm (RRR): little old lady (LOL); AAM or AAF (other potential objections aside, these are often taken to mean African-American male or female, but can just as easily mean Asian-America male or female); and nauseous when one actually means nauseated. He also would like to see an end to the use of the modifier “midlevel,” as when it’s used to refer to NPs or PAs as “midlevel providers.”
  • Over at KevinMD.com, physician Pamela Wible published “Stop saying these 7 shaming words in medicine. Right now.” Her list included phrases to abandon, along with replacements that she believes to be more accurate and/or respectful. For example, she advocates replacing “is bipolar” with “has bipolar disorder.” She also wants to replace the phrase “is the patient noncompliant?” with “is the treatment working?” “Noncompliant,” as she points out, conveys blame. (Nonadherence may now be the preferred term—there are many reasons someone may not be able to adhere to a treatment plan.) Wible also wants to eliminate the terms “burnout,” “provider,” and […]

Speaking Publicly ‘As a Nurse’: Case in Canada Highlights Risks, Responsibilities

Douglas P. Olsen, PhD, RN, associate professor, College of Nursing, Michigan State University, writes about ethical issues for AJN.

Recently, a disciplinary committee in Canada found a nurse in breach of the Canadian Nurses Association’s Code of Ethics for Registered Nurses for posting negative comments on Facebook and Twitter about the care given to her grandfather in a long-term care facility before his death. The nurse was accused of violating her grandfather’s confidentiality, not using proper processes for noting complaints about his care, and potentially harming the institution’s reputation. She was found guilty of professional misconduct but not guilty of violating his privacy. The ethical breach was based on her public declarations about the nursing care.

Key to the Saskatchewan Registered Nurses’ Association decision to find the nurse guilty appears to have been the fact that the nurse prefaced remarks with the phrase, “As a nurse . . . ” Adding this phrase to one’s communications confers the authority of scientific and experiential expertise. It further implies that one is versed in the proper procedure and standards for evaluating accuracy and relevance of clinical information and that one’s conclusions are communicated honestly for constructive purposes. The credibility added by identifying the nursing credential is deserved—and therefore carries responsibilities.

What are the conditions for an ethical response when speaking publicly ‘as a nurse’? […]

2016-12-20T15:09:59+00:00 December 16th, 2016|Ethics, healthcare social media, Nursing|2 Comments

Nursing Voices: The 10 Most-Read AJN Blog Posts of 2016

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As the editor of this blog, I’m often amazed by the originality, honesty, and quality of the writing that comes to us from people who are, in many cases, not writers by trade. AJN Off the Charts publishes articles about professional issues, health policy and research, and clinical topics, as well as many nurse and patient stories. Here are ten popular posts from 2016 that you might have missed. Some of the authors of the posts listed here are regular contributors, some are AJN editors, some are first-time contributors; some are established scholars, some are new to the nursing profession.

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The 10 most-read posts we published in 2016.*

What a Nurse Really Wants
“I just want some support. I just want to take care of my patients, and maybe get a lunch break on any given day. I just want to be heard.”

CDC Opioid-Prescribing Guideline for Chronic Pain: Concerns and Contexts
“These new guidelines cast a very wide net. Many patients with chronic pain will find themselves facing new hurdles to adequate relief.”