Can Your Fitness Tracker Save Your Life?

Megen Duffy, RN, BSN, CEN, works in hospice case management. She occasionally writes on nursing and digital health topics for AJN.

Fitness trackers and ‘wearables’ are becoming ubiquitous.

Fitness tracker “wearables” have become mainstream, with sales projected to reach $19 billion by 2018. If you don’t have one, many of your patients probably do, particularly this time of year when fitness goals are at the forefront of many New Year’s resolution lists. Wearables can track a lot of things, and people are claiming that they save lives. Are they all that? First, here’s a brief overview of wearables types and their uses.

Popular wearable brands include Fitbit (with 79% of sales), Jawbone, Nike, Apple (Apple Watch is a smart watch that has fitness tracker functionality), Garmin, and Misfit. Prices run from about $50 to as much as you want to spend: an Apple Watch costs from $275 to more than $10,000, depending on the model.

Increased functions. Wearables have far surpassed their pedometer function. They do all count steps, but now they also track sleep and heart rate and have increasingly more bells and whistles. The newer Fitbits and the new watchOS operating system for the Apple Watch even have “breathe” functions, intended to remind the wearer to take a few minutes several times a day and breathe to promote relaxation.

Wearables (including smart watches) now have extra features such as […]

January 12th, 2017|digital health, personal health practices|0 Comments

Health Care Terms and Words To Retire and Replace?

This week, two bloggers posted lists of words or terms they felt should no longer be used when referring to health professionals or patients.

  • Harrison Reed, a physician assistant who writes for In Practice, a blog at NEJM Journal Watch, wrote “Seven Medical Terms to Ditch in 2017.” On his list was LFTs (liver function tests); regular rate and rhythm (RRR): little old lady (LOL); AAM or AAF (other potential objections aside, these are often taken to mean African-American male or female, but can just as easily mean Asian-America male or female); and nauseous when one actually means nauseated. He also would like to see an end to the use of the modifier “midlevel,” as when it’s used to refer to NPs or PAs as “midlevel providers.”
  • Over at KevinMD.com, physician Pamela Wible published “Stop saying these 7 shaming words in medicine. Right now.” Her list included phrases to abandon, along with replacements that she believes to be more accurate and/or respectful. For example, she advocates replacing “is bipolar” with “has bipolar […]

2016: An ‘Unbelievable’ Year

“When I think about 2016, one word that keeps coming to mind is ‘unbelievable.’ It’s a word I’ve found myself using many times over the past year, often while shaking my head in disbelief.”

That’s the opening of AJN editor-in-chief Shawn Kennedy’s January editorial. In it, she lists serious public health challenges facing this country and the ways political considerations get in the way of acting in the public’s best interest—whether in relation to gun violence, funding to fight infectious disease threats, the ever-increasing cost of essential medications, or health care reform. Too often lies and distortions are now treated by people who know better as the equals of truth and fact.

But you probably have your own list of ‘unbelievable’ things that happened in 2016, perhaps some of them hopeful. Click the above link to read the article, which is free.

January 6th, 2017|Public health|0 Comments

Stop the Eye Rolling: Welcoming Future Nurses to the Profession

Rosemary Taylor

One perennial topic that comes up among nurses on social media is the extent to which many nurses have been treated unkindly by colleagues at some points in their careers. New nurses and nursing students are, for obvious reasons, particularly vulnerable to rudeness and other forms of unprofessional conduct. The Viewpoint in the January issue of AJN,Stop the Eye Rolling: Supporting Nursing Students in Learning,” by Rosemary Taylor, PhD, RN, CNL, assistant professor of nursing at the University of New Hampshire, makes the case that nursing students often face an “unwelcoming introduction” to the profession when they venture out of the classroom for clinical instruction.

Writes Clark:

Nursing students are often targets of the kinds of incivility that can be classified as vertical violence. The majority of these incivilities are “low risk,” as described in Cynthia Clark’s “continuum of incivility,” with eye rolling (“low risk”) just below sarcasm on one end of the spectrum and threatening behaviors and physical assault (“high risk”) on the other.

Citing her own students’ sometimes disheartening experiences, as well as Cynthia Clark’s book Creating and Sustaining Civility in Nursing Education, Taylor makes a convincing argument that “eye rolling, a seemingly trivial gesture, is in fact a particularly hurtful form […]

AJN in January: Triglycerides, HPV–Related Oral Cancers, Year in Review, More

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

CE Feature: Triglycerides: Do They Matter?

In light of the increasing incidences of obesity, insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes, lowering triglyceride levels has been getting renewed interest. In addition to the focus on lowering low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels in cardiovascular disease (CVD) prevention, clinicians need to be aware of the role of triglycerides—their contribution to CVD, and the causes and treatment of hypertriglyceridemia. In this article, the authors discuss the importance of lowering triglyceride levels and review the lifestyle changes and pharmacologic treatments that can help achieve this goal.

CE Feature: “Human Papillomavirus-Related Oral Cancers: The Nurse’s Role in Mitigating Stigma and Dispelling Myths

The prevalence of human papillomavirus (HPV)–related oral cancers has been rising, with the cancers occurring in adults at a younger age than HPV-negative oral cancers typically do and in men more often than women. Because HPV is sexually transmitted, diagnosis with an HPV-related oral cancer may prompt feelings of shame and guilt. It’s essential for nurses to educate patients on HPV transmission and HPV-related oral […]

December 30th, 2016|Nursing|0 Comments