The Nurses Week Prizes We Really Need

Amanda Anderson, formerly a graduate intern at AJN, is now a contributing editor

Culture_of_Safety_2016My first Nurses Week as a nurse, my mother sent me a card and a small gift. When I opened it, I was surprised by its message—no one had ever given me anything for Nurses Week during nursing school. I had no idea that the holiday even existed.

As an English Literature major–turned nursing student, I was pretty clueless about the world of nursing when I launched my career. I spent most of my first year fumbling around in the dark, looking for Florence’s light.

As years passed, I learned more about nursing, claimed it as my own, and became versed in the industry secrets. I started to take pride in Nurses Week, seeing it as a venue for speaking out about nursing.

One year, for the thirty days preceding the holiday, I wrote to Google about 30 living nurse legends, in hopes that they would post a nursing-themed Google Doodle for our week. On another, I penned (and never sent) a scathing letter to a hospital president who had sent a kitschy card I took offense to.


Staffing and Long Shifts – Some Recent Coverage

By Shawn Kennedy, AJN editor-in-chief

by patchy patch, via flickr by patchy patch, via flickr

The March issue will soon be published and be featured on the home page of our Web site, so before the February issue is relegated to the archive section, I want to highlight two articles. Knowing that some readers of this blog may not be regular readers of AJN (I know, hard to believe), I wanted to bring them to your attention.

I don’t usually blog about my own editorials, but the February editorial (“It All Comes Back to Staffing”) has apparently resonated with many readers. I’ve received several letters and a request to reprint it from a state nursing association. (The editorial includes a portion of a poignant letter I received from a reader in response to an editorial I’d written for the December 2013 issue, “Straight Talk About Nursing,” in which I discussed missed care—that is, the nursing care that we don’t get to but is often at the heart of individualizing care.)

The February editorial ties in with a special report, “Can a Nurse Be Worked to Death?”, by Roxanne Nelson from Van Insurance, which addresses the recent death of a nurse who was killed in a car accident while driving home after a 12-hour shift. It’s a […]

A Physician Finally Gets Nursing

RelmanArticleCaptureBy Shawn Kennedy, editor-in-chief

Earlier this month, the New York Review of Books published an article by a patient who described his hospital stay following a life-threatening accident. This was no ordinary patient—the author, Arnold Relman, is a noted physician, emeritus professor of medicine at Harvard, a former editor of the New England Journal of Medicine, and along with his wife Marcia Angell, well known as a critic of the “medical–industrial complex.” His account is very detailed and gives a good example of how it can look when the system works (and when one has access to it).

His understanding of his condition and treatment, his knowledge of the system, and also his relative prominence as an individual, all undoubtedly helped him avoid some pitfalls and make a remarkable full recovery. However, as a number of others have pointed out recently, one comment in his account was surprising.

In reflecting on his hospitalization and recovery, he wrote, “I had never before understood how much good nursing care contributes to patients’ safety and comfort, especially when they are very sick or disabled. This is a lesson all physicians and hospital administrators should learn. When nursing is not optimal, patient care is never good.” After all his years in medicine, he only realized the value of nursing as a 90-year-old trauma patient.

This week, Lawrence Altman, another physician and author, wrote an excellent post […]

Voice of Dissension: When Nurse Teamwork and Patient Safety Diverge

ParadisiIllustrationDissension Dissension (from the series Pareidolia), charcoal & graphite on paper, 12″ x 9,”
2012 by Julianna Paradisi

Julianna Paradisi, RN, OCN, writes a monthly post for this blog and works as an infusion nurse in outpatient oncology. The illustration of this post is by the author.

The term “voice” gets thrown around a lot these days, usually in reference to creative content. Visual artists, writers, musicians, and actors rise to their unique place in the art world on the originality of their voice, not merely for mastery and talent.

In nursing, voice is important too. Hospitals spend a small fortune in paid staff hours for team-building meetings or retreats for nurses to smooth the rough edges of staff members, reducing friction among unit nurses with the ultimate goals of nurse retention and improved patient care. While these are admirable goals, I’m beginning to wonder if too much emphasis on team building may also diminish a nurse’s unique voice, thereby inadvertently interfering with patient safety? A team is only as strong as its individual members. […]

Nurse Ethicist Weighs in on Nurses Who May Have Helped Merck Hawk Vioxx

By wonker, via Flickr. By wonker, via Flickr.

According to a story in The Australian, the drug company Merck has been accused of paying nurses to sift through patient medical records in search of potential candidates for the drug Vioxx.  Here’s what nurse ethicist Douglas Olsen, who recently wrote a two-part article (here’s part one; part two is here) for AJN on nurses and the pharmaceutical industry, wrote to us about the story:

The news report demonstrates the public’s visceral sense that the Merck program in Australia was unethical. Nurses, as well as doctors and pharmacists, can anticipate righteous indignation whenever their clinical deliberations appear compromised by a company’s desire to sell a particular drug. […]

2016-11-21T13:28:15+00:00 May 19th, 2009|Ethics, Nursing, patient safety, Public health|0 Comments