AJN in April: Nurse Perceptions of Risk for Harm, Climate Change and Mental Health, More

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

CE Feature: Original Research: Do Nurses or Electronic Assessment Tools Better Predict Risk for Harm?

In many hospitals, nurse-led “safety huddles” are used to relay patient safety information, although whether this effectively identifies patients at risk for harm has not been determined. New electronic risk assessment tools are designed to identify patients at risk for harm during hospitalization, based on specific markers in the electronic health record. The authors of this study compared the results of both methods, finding statistically significant differences in the way nurses and data mining software identify risk of harm. In many instances, factors that the software captured had been anticipated by the nurses or were already addressed in the plan of care.

CE Feature: Overactive Bladder in Women

This article provides an evidence-based review of the screening, assessment, and management of overactive bladder in women, many of whom do not seek help for the condition and try to self-manage its symptoms, which may inadvertently worsen them. Those with overactive bladder often experience related physical and psychological symptoms and report a poorer quality of life than other women. However, many […]

2017-03-27T09:34:06+00:00 March 27th, 2017|Nursing|0 Comments

Nurses Try Out Plant-Based Diet, Report Health Benefits

            If you don’t take care of your body, where will you live?

Photo from Shutterstock.

This adage, sometimes attributed to Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu, reminds us that the personal choices we make are important. Drugs and procedures are unlikely to ensure continuing good health, especially if we don’t first attend to the basics. And when it comes to personal choices, nothing is quite as personal as food.

Maybe this is why some nurses and physicians are so quick to dismiss decades of promising research on the effects of meatless diets. “People will never change the way they eat; it’s not worth talking about.” But as Michael Greger, a general practitioner specializing in nutrition and an advocate for plant-based diets, once said in a lecture I attended, “That attitude may be one of the true leading causes of death and disability.”

In “A Plant-Based Nutrition Program” in this month’s AJN, Joanne Evans and colleagues describe the results of a “personal experiment” in which nurses at three faculty-led community health clinics associated with George Mason University followed a plant-based diet for three weeks. Their goals were to

  • improve their nutritional expertise and understanding,
  • prepare themselves to effectively advocate for patients’ positive lifestyle changes, and
  • increase their awareness of […]
2017-03-23T07:17:38+00:00 March 22nd, 2017|Nursing, nursing research|10 Comments

Worked at Home During the Blizzard? Not Nurses

Photo: MTA New York City Transit / Marc A. Hermann/via Wikimedia Commons

We’ve come through another blizzard here in New York. Many people worked from home that day (we did, at AJN, since the office was closed), or enjoyed the luxury of spending the day safe at home with family. But most nurses had to find a way to get to work.

Long Slog to the Bronx

Many years ago, I worked the evening shift at a hospital for the terminally ill. I was assigned to work on the day of a blizzard. I love my work and had no one to worry about at home, so I was determined to get to the hospital. I usually took a bus across the Bronx to work, but the buses weren’t running. My only option was to take the subway south to Times Square in Manhattan, then shuttle underground across town and switch to another subway line to go back north, to the east side of the Bronx. With luck I could […]

2017-03-20T09:40:52+00:00 March 17th, 2017|Nursing, nursing stories|3 Comments

Women’s History and Nursing’s History

This year’s theme of Women’s History Month, which we celebrate each March, is focused on women’s achievements in business and the labor force, but we don’t need this reason to take time out to remember the strong women who have shaped nursing. We certainly have many of them.

As I wrote in an editorial marking women’s history month in 2015:

Most people still don’t understand all that nurses have done—and continue to do—to improve health care. Most would likely recognize the name of Florence Nightingale. But I wonder if any other nurses would come to mind. I wonder how many nonnurses know that Lillian Wald developed the community health system (she founded New York City’s Henry Street Settlement), pioneered public health and school nursing, and helped establish the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People; or that Florence Wald (no relation to Lillian) brought hospice care to the United States; or that it was Kathryn Barnard’s research that established the beneficial effects of rocking and heartbeat sounds on premature infants, which is why most neonatal ICUs and newborn nurseries contain rocking chairs.

Lillian Wald and other notable nurse pioneers, 1923 March 2015 cover showing Lillian Wald and others at Henry Street Visiting Nurse Service, 1923.

Despite gains in professionalism and education, nurses still are not well represented on governing boards—and we should be. Our proven record of innovation and creative problem-solving and our intimate knowledge […]

2017-03-29T11:15:38+00:00 March 16th, 2017|Nursing, nursing history|0 Comments

When a Family’s Faith in Healing Collides with a Busy Hospital Unit’s Pressures

Illustration by McClain Moore for AJN/all rights reserved.

What happens when a family of strong religious faith is determined to continue praying for a young father’s healing even after he dies of a terminal brain tumor in the MICU? The room is needed for other patients; a nursing student and her preceptor cared for the patient during his final hours of life and are now expected to provide postmortem care.

It’s a tricky, somewhat tense situation, and initial reactions among the nurses in the hospital vary. Melody Sumter, the author of this month’s Reflections  (“A Place for Faith: My First Experience of Cultural Competence in Nursing“), was the nursing student assigned to the patient, who left behind a young wife and 10-month-old child.

Looking back on the event, Sumter recalls her competing sympathies at the time, and the way she was gratified to learn that the nursing staff at last found a way to honor the wishes of the patient’s family and also see to their responsibilities to other patients. Writes Sumter:

Seeing this family practice their faith was encouraging for a young nursing student like myself—as was the nursing staff’s acceptance and support of a belief that most of them didn’t understand.

The author […]