The Top 10 AJN Blog Posts of 2017

As is our tradition in the final weeks of the calendar year, we’d like to share the 10 most popular AJN blog posts of 2017. Most of these posts are by nurses who somehow find time to write in the midst of busy nursing and personal lives. One or two are by AJN editors. Not all, but most, are written by nurses.

What are the posts about? A few discuss aspects of notable health care topics covered by AJN in the past year. But most tell stories from personal experience or explore issues of importance to nurses in their careers. The nurse’s daily enounter with the physical and emotional needs of patients is a frequent subtext, as might be expected.

How to Support the Nurse in Your Life
“A job this intense isn’t so easily contained in a separate professional box. For nurses to live healthier, more integrated lives, we need space for our experience, and this is how our friends and family can help.”

A Nurse Takes a Stand—and Gets Arrested
“Nurses everywhere can draw inspiration from Alex Wubbels and her confidence and use the incident as a lens for self-reflection on our own behavior in difficult circumstances—and as a model for how to behave in the future.”

A Closer Look at the Joint Commission’s […]

Emotional and Physical Health Consequences for Children of Jailed Parents

Michael Coghlan/Flickr

In the United States, more than half (54%) of all prison inmates are parents with minor children. As we discuss in the December AJN Reports, those children—an estimated 2.7 million, or one in 28—face physical and emotional health challenges that often go overlooked, including:

  • obesity, asthma, migraines, and hypertension
  • depression, anxiety, PTSD, and problems at school, including a higher likelihood of being expelled or suspended

Additionally, children with incarcerated parents are at an economic disadvantage due to lowered family income caused by the parent’s absence, and are more likely to experience racial discrimination, parental divorce or separation, a parent’s death, domestic abuse, neighborhood violence, and coresidence with a mentally ill or suicidal person or with a person who has a substance abuse problem. […]

2017-12-15T08:29:46+00:00 December 15th, 2017|Patients|0 Comments

What if Our Antibiotic Prescribing Practices are Wrong?

How often have you emphasized to patients, family, and friends that they must finish their prescribed antibiotics, even if they feel better? A provocative new analysis in BMJ takes a close look at why standard antibiotic protocols may promote, rather than prevent, antibiotic resistance.

The authors’ arguments center around two key points:

  • The length of a course of antibiotic therapy is not evidence based, but rather “set by precedent [and] driven by fear of undertreatment.”
  • Typical, prolonged courses of these drugs cause endogenous or colonizing bacteria to become antibiotic resistant. It is these “collateral” organisms, they argue, and not the organism that has actually caused the infection, that drive the spread of antibiotic resistance.

Individualized antibiotic courses.

The BMJ authors present a strong argument for more individualized courses of antibiotic treatment. Unfortunately, when the news media picked up this story, much of what was written and broadcast erroneously suggested that everyone should simply stop their antibiotics when they feel better. […]

A Crucial Public Health Lesson: Let the Women Speak

” . . . people have their own hope and power which they need to discover.”

Illustration by Gingermoth for AJN.

Do some public health projects fail to live up to their ambitions because they were conceived in a conference room rather than in dialogue with those they are trying to help? It seems possible. Terms like client or community “buy-in” are now fashionable, but maybe what’s really meant by such terms is that people are given a chance to state their needs and their concerns ahead of time. And that someone is listening.

In this month’s Reflections essay by nurse practitioner Mark Darby, he remembers a valuable lesson once imparted to him through example by a Dominican priest. “Shut Up and Let the Women Speak” doesn’t flatter the younger version of the author who once visited the Dominican Republic on a medical mission. […]

Integrating Strong Emotions as a Developing Nurse

Most people, I would venture to say, start off in their profession with a fair degree of idealism, and this certainly holds true for nurses. When I talk with nursing students or new grad nurses and ask their story about why they chose nursing, the most common response runs along the lines of wanting to help others in meaningful ways.

Preparing new nurse grads for nursing realities.

In fact, I will meet with such a group of students this afternoon as I speak on a panel in the ethics class at my nursing alma mater. I, and other colleagues on this panel, want to encourage and inspire. But we will also be telling the students about the challenges we have encountered in situations involving moral distress, ethical dilemmas, and personal burnout. We will present situations when we felt that what we were doing at the bedside was not meaningful because we were only prolonging suffering—or, in other cases, so full of emotion and significance that it felt overwhelming to process.

We want to present the reality of nursing to these students, not to shatter their idealism, but to push them towards meaningful self-awareness from the start of their nursing career so that they are not caught off-guard by the degree to which they will be challenged […]

2018-01-18T10:04:09+00:00 December 8th, 2017|Nursing|2 Comments