Comforting Our Patients: The Importance of Well-Chosen Words

‘What I Said,’ ink and crayon on paper, Julianna Paradisi 2018

Nurses and writers understand the importance of well-chosen words. Precision of language is important for both. But nurses learn the emotional impact of words, wisely or poorly chosen, on the job, directly from our patients. There’s seldom an opportunity to edit or revise on the floor of a nursing unit. Words cannot be unsaid.

As an oncology nurse navigator, my nursing practice is almost entirely based on words. My stethoscope, which rarely left my body when I was a PICU nurse, now rests coiled like a snake in a basket, nestled among the art supplies I used to illustrate this post.

Since patients rate my nursing skills by my words, the ability to pass the ‘bs test’ is more important than ever before in my career. As a navigator, I have impressed a patient or two (and helped them get proper care) by recognizing over the phone that the symptoms they described were cardiac related and not the side effects of cancer treatment. But for the most part, words are the tool I rely on to prove my value.

It’s the nature of nurses to want to comfort our patients. We understand their emotions run high when they are faced with a […]

NP’s Model Helps Prevent Mental Health Issues from Slipping Through the Cracks

Brenda Reiss-Brennan, PhD, APRN.

When psychiatric NP Brenda Reiss-Brennan started her independent family therapy practice in 1978, she began to get referrals from primary care providers who were unsure how to handle their patients’ mental health needs. Working with one patient at a time limited her ability to reach many people, so in 1984 she developed a model to train other nurses, primary care providers, and clinics in treating patients with mental illness. The model eventually caught the attention of Intermountain Healthcare, a nonprofit health care system located in Salt Lake City, Utah, which piloted a program featuring the model in its primary care settings.

The care model, which became known as Mental Health Integration (MHI), integrates the treatment of mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression, and substance abuse into the primary care system. Instead of handing out a referral to an external provider and losing patients to follow-up, the MHI model ensures that patients’ mental health conditions and general health care needs are treated in the same primary care practice. Patients receive education materials, are screened for suicide, and are provided a safe environment in which to discuss their mental health concerns. “Patients and families are treated with […]

2016-12-15T16:34:32+00:00 December 12th, 2016|Nursing, nursing roles|0 Comments

Quality: The Anonymous Superhero of Nursing

“Clark Kent has his Superman cape, while I have my spreadsheets of data and the ability to set goals and track them.”

This guest post is by Tasha Poslaniec. A registered nurse for 16 years, Tasha has worked in multiple areas, including obstetrics and cardiology. She currently works as a perinatal quality review nurse. She is one of the most viewed nursing writers on Quora, and has had essays published by the Huffington Post.

sm1018-0021In the world of comics, Superman’s alter ego is the incognito Clark Kent. But in fact, that nerdy, data-oriented, and unassuming reporter, whose mission is to “bring truth to the forefront, and fight for the little guy,” could very easily be a quality review nurse.

The comparison between the two might seem a stretch at first, but there are some parallels that are worth pursuing—especially in the context of understanding who and what your quality nurse is, what quality nurses do, and how Clark Kent’s mission isn’t far from quality nurses’ own motivation for what we do.

An anonymous nursing role.

First, let me put into perspective exactly how anonymous most quality nurses are. Do you know who works in your quality department? Do you know where your quality department is? Did you even know that you have a quality department? If you said no to all three of those questions, then I […]

2016-11-21T13:00:54+00:00 October 11th, 2016|career, Nursing, nursing roles, patient safety|0 Comments