A Strong Case for the Professional Introduction in Nursing

nametagDo you always introduce yourself by name to your patients? Or do you simply say, “Hi, I’ll be your nurse today?”

In their Viewpoint essay in the June issue of AJN, Raeann LeBlanc and two colleagues at the University of Massachusetts Amherst College of Nursing make a strong case for the professional introduction, in which “a nurse states her or his full name and role in the patient’s care.”

The authors argue that professional introductions are “a powerful way to make clear the centrality of the nurse’s role in the care of the patient.” When nurses use professional introductions, we make our knowledge and expertise more visible and help patients better understand just what it is that nurses do.

The authors also address potential safety concerns nurses may have about disclosing their full name to a patient, and they offer some reasons why the importance of professional introductions may not be taught in nursing school.


Food is Medicine: An Oncology Nurse’s Lunch Break Walk

IMG_3900 (002)On a beautiful spring day I took a walk during my lunch break through the urban neighborhood surrounding the hospital, wishing for a convenient place to buy a piece of fruit.

I discovered, as if conjured, a vintage trolley tucked in a driveway between medical office buildings. A table laden with apples, carrots, potatoes, and leafy greens leaned against it, creating the ambience of an open-air market. Charmed, and curious about its purpose, I climbed the two steps into the trolley.

Inside, a refrigerated case contained meats and dairy products. The walls were lined with shelves containing packaged goods such as bulgur, brown rice, beans, and more fresh fruits and vegetables. I plucked an orange, noticing it was priced by the piece, not by the pound.

I had multiple questions for the clerk as I handed her a quarter to pay for the orange.

A food prescription program.

The trolley, it turned out, is a mobile grocery store in partnership with the hospital, piloting a “food prescription” program. It arrives weekly, traveling to other sites the rest of the week. Cash, cards, and food stamps are accepted. Outside, a caseworker seated on a camp chair gave food vouchers to qualified customers below a specific income level. A dietician also provided budgeting assistance, with tips on healthy food choices and simple food […]

When Patients Ask About Palliative Chemotherapy

Photo © Associated Press. Photo © Associated Press.

Nurses repeatedly witness the suffering of people with advanced, metastasized cancer who are undergoing chemotherapy. These drugs often seem to diminish rather than enhance the quality of the remaining weeks of their lives.

In the first article in a new AJN series on palliative care, author Marianne Matzo points to research indicating that chemotherapy in end-stage cancer does more harm than good. So what should we do when patients ask (as in this article), “Is the chemotherapy going to help me? And if it’s not, why are they offering it?”  […]

Not a Nurse but Her Mother Was, and Now It Really Matters

June_Refl_Illustration Illustration by Lisa Dietrich for AJN

The loss of Emily Cappo’s mother, a competent and supportive parent and an accomplished nurse, leaves an enormous gap in her daughter’s life. Then her own son gets sick.

Cappo writes about these events in “I’m Not a Nurse, But My Mother Was,” the Reflections essay in the June issue of AJN.

Without her mother to turn to for help and guidance, Cappo has no idea how she’ll handle the situation. “There I was,” she writes,

the nonmedical person in my family, the person who hated blood and needles, being thrown into a situation demanding courage, stamina, and role modeling.

But we rise to the situation that presents itself, if the stakes are high enough. Cappo discovers what many nurses already know: the nurses who care for her son make all the difference in his care, and provide her with essential support as well. […]

Psychiatric Nursing: The Seemingly Unreachable Patient

By Jennifer Rodgers for AJN. Illustration by Jennifer Rodgers for AJN

In many fields, we must keep doing the same thing over and over without any apparent results. Nurses, for example, may find that their efforts to make a patient safe, to reach a patient, to ease a patient’s suffering have little visible effect. This is just part of the work, but some patients will inevitably pose a greater personal challenge than others.

Five Words,” the Reflections essay in the May issue of AJN, written by former psychiatric nurse Tania Renee Zayid, is about one of those patients and the feelings of hope and disappointment his nurse experiences in his presence. In it, she writes:  […]