‘Micro’ and ‘Macro’ Strategies for Nursing to Thrive as a Profession

At last month’s annual convention of the Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses (AMSN), nurse and health care economist Peter Buerhaus received the Anthony J. Jannetti Award “for extraordinary contributions to health care.” Buerhaus, a professor of nursing at Montana State University College of Nursing, is widely known across health care disciplines for his research on health care costs and value, especially in regard to nurses and nursing. In his keynote talk, Buerhaus shared some of his recent research findings and offered some “micro” and “macro” nursing strategies for thriving amid today’s health care challenges.

Nurses maintain status as highly trusted professionals.

Click to expand. Most trusted professions, Gallup 2017 poll.

He began by reminding the group of some of the reasons that nurses are respected and trusted in America. People believe that nurses ensure quality of care, protect patients and maintain safety standards, and provide advice on personal health issues.

Studies show that we maintain this trusted status even when the media reports on the mistakes of individual nurses. And after good media attention, as when Alex Wubbels protected her patient or when nurses play key roles in disaster relief efforts, our approval ratings soar.

Accomplishments of NPs have reinforced good reputation of nurses.

2017-11-17T10:20:27+00:00 November 15th, 2017|Nursing, nursing research|0 Comments

Are There Veterans Among Your Patients?

When vets get non-VHA health care, some issues may be missed.

Most U.S. veterans—and in 2014, there were approximately 19.3 million—do not get their health care from the Veterans Health Administration (VHA). Overburdened facilities with long waiting times and the fact that many veterans live considerable distance from a VHA facility mean that many get their health care from local and private organizations.

And while this may mean more convenient and timely care, it also might mean that health issues related to their military service might be missed by providers who do not have experience providing care to service members and veterans.

This Saturday, November 11, marks another Veterans Day. It’s been our tradition to include content related to health care for veterans or active duty military in November. This year, we have an original research CE article, “Primary Care Providers and Screening for Military Service and PTSD.”

Few providers screen for military service.

The authors of this article sought to examine whether non-VHA primary care providers were screening patients for military service and PTSD. Based on their survey of providers in western Pennsylvania, they found that most did not ask patients about a history of military service—and of those providers who did, few screened patients for PTSD. […]

Becoming a Family Caregiver

Photo by Judith E. Bell, via Flickr.

For me, the saga began six years ago, when I offered to help a family member with some spring cleaning. I knew his place was a mess, but attributed this, stereotypically, to a single man’s lack of interest in housekeeping.

When I dove into the work, I was first puzzled and then fearful at what I found: hundreds of pieces of unopened mail, years old, randomly stacked around the apartment; threatening letters from the Internal Revenue Service; correspondence from the city about a tax lien on his condominium. This, in the home of a man who, as an actor and writer, memorized scripts in two languages, had served on the national board of his union, and could solve complicated math problems without using a calculator. Clearly, something was wrong well beyond the state of his apartment.

In AJN’s September original research article, “The Experience of Transitioning to a Caregiving Role for a Family Member with Alzheimer’s Disease or Related Dementia,” Kathleen Czekanski notes that “caregivers often assume the role of caregiving before they quite realize they are doing so.” In this qualitative study, Czekanski set out to gain an understanding of the caregiver’s experience in taking […]

2017-09-01T08:54:00+00:00 September 1st, 2017|nursing research|0 Comments

Nurses vs. Computers: Predicting Risk of Patient Harm

Not All Signs of Potential Harm Are Quantifiable

From chego101, via Flickr

Hospital nurses have many, many responsibilities and tasks, but one of the most important is to ensure patient safety by assessing patients for changes that can signal worsening of a condition or a new potential harm. Creating special units like ICUs, recovery rooms, and step-down units; flags on charts; various alarmed monitors; and safety huddles are a few of the ways hospitals have tried to identify potential problems. Now we have computerized tools to do this—or do we?

The complaint I have heard most from nurses about the electronic health record (EHR) is its inability to capture all the nuances of patient care or various patient problems, especially those that don’t involve easily quantifiable measures like heart rate or lab values. (For more detail, read our November 2016 report on nurses’ concerns with EHRs.)

One cannot accurately use a check mark to convey certain patient behavioral parameters or the “can’t put my finger on it but something’s going on with this patient” assessment that experienced nurses often make. In the April issue of AJN, we published an important study that investigates just this issue: “Identifying Hospitalized Patients at Risk for Harm: A Comparison of Nurse Perceptions vs. Electronic Risk Assessment Tool Scores

Deciding Whether to Implement an Electronic Risk Tool

Researchers […]

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 if you want to know more about an awesome diet check out one guy’s review to get more info, 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 […]

2017-06-16T18:54:08+00:00 March 22nd, 2017|Nursing, nursing research|11 Comments