Too Tired to Nurse

By Shawn Kennedy, AJN editor-in-chief

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

Just about every nurse I know has been “asked” (or “guilted” or “mandated”) to work an additional shift on top of a grueling one. The worst such experience I ever had was having to work from midnight to 8 am after working a straight week of 4 pm to midnight shifts. I was exhausted, but someone had called in sick, leaving only two RNs and one aide for the 11-bed ED trauma unit.

I was so tired that at one point I found myself falling asleep while I was standing by a patient’s bed charting vital signs. I couldn’t remember the blood pressure reading I had obtained just moments before. It was good luck that I didn’t make an error—and had the good sense to have a colleague double-check medications I was readying (these were the old days, before unit dosing). […]

December 8th, 2014|Nursing, nursing perspective|7 Comments

AJN’s February Issue: New Nurses, Children’s Posttonsillectomy Pain, Medication Errors, More

AJN0214.Cover.Online

AJN’s February issue is now available on our Web site. Here’s a selection of what not to miss, including two continuing education (CE) articles, which you can access for free.

With high hospital turnover rates, keeping newly licensed RNs (NLRNs) continues to be a priority for hospitals. This month’s original research article, “Changing Trends in Newly Licensed RNs,” found that new nurses considered themselves to have fewer job opportunities and to be less likely to work in hospitals and more likely to have a second job than new nurses who were surveyed six years earlier. Earn 2.5 CE credits by reading this article and taking the test that follows.

Tonsillectomy is effective at treating a variety of pediatric disorders, such as sleep apnea and frequent throat infection. But it often results in prolonged, moderate-to-severe pain. “Posttonsillectomy Pain in Children” reviews the causes of posttonsillectomy pain, the efficacy of various treatment interventions, and the recommendations for patient and family teaching regarding pain management. Earn 2.3 CE credits by reading this article and taking the test that follows. If you’re reading AJN on your iPad, you can listen to a podcast interview with the author by tapping on the podcast icon on the first page. The podcast is also available on our 

January 31st, 2014|nursing perspective, nursing research|0 Comments

Health Technology Hazards: ECRI’s Top 10 for 2013

hazard/jasleen kaur, via Flickr hazard/jasleen kaur, via Flickr

It’s a new year and with it comes new health care technology hazards to keep in mind, as listed in the most recent ECRI Institute report, 2013 Top 10 Heath Technology Hazards. While some risks from last year’s list made a repeat appearance, a few new topics made the cut for 2013.

Alarm hazards still posed the greatest risk, topping the list at number one. Other repeat hazards included medication administration errors while using smart pumps, unnecessary radiation exposure, and surgical fires. For an overview on these, see our post from last year.

Several new opportunities for harm seemed to involve new information technology (IT) that is making its way into health care facilities, such as smartphones and mobile devices. Here’s a snapshot of several of these, and some suggestions the report gives on how to prevent them.

Patient/data mismatches in electronic health records (EHRs) and other health IT systems

The risk:
One patient’s records ending up in another patient’s file may not be a new phenomenon—it happened in traditional paper-based systems as well. But newer, more powerful health IT systems have the capability to transmit mistaken data to a variety of devices and systems, multiplying the adverse effects that could result from these errors.

Some suggestions: The report suggests that when purchasing health IT systems, facilities should consider how all the connected technologies facilitate placing the right patient data into the right record. […]

January 4th, 2013|digital health, Nursing|1 Comment

That Acute Attention to Detail, Bordering on Wariness…

By Kinsey Morgan, RN. Kinsey is a new nurse who lives in Texas and currently works in the ICU in which she formerly spent three years as a CNA. Her last (and first) post at this blog can be found here.

It seems that nursing schools across the world subscribe to certain mantras regarding the correct way to do things. Different schools teach the same things with utmost urgency. Hand washing is one of the never-ending lessons that comes to mind. How many times do nursing students wash their hands while demonstrating the correct way to perform a procedure? I vividly remember actually having to be evaluated on the skill of hand washing itself.

Another of the regularly emphasized points of nursing school is double-checking. One of my first clinical courses required students to triple-check patient identification before giving medications. We were to look at the medication administration record, the patient’s wristband, and then actually have the patient state their name.

As a new nurse learning several new computer systems for charting, etc., I’ve noticed that the old attention to detail, ground into my soul during my school days, now seems easy to overlook, since computers do so much of the work. Of course, computer charting and electronic MARs* have simplified tasks and made time management much less daunting. But sometimes I worry about the hidden cost of such improvements.

I intend, vow, resolve to make an effort to remain aware of how […]

November 21st, 2011|Nursing, Patients|2 Comments

Memorial Day Weekend Notes from the Nursosphere Blog Roundup

As I walked into the exam room and introduced myself as a nurse practitioner, the patient announced she was “forced” to come to our clinic and “wasn’t allowed to see a real doctor” downtown. I was slightly taken aback. Here I was, running on time, in a pretty good mood and ready to assess and treat to the best of my abilities, and then WHAM. I took a deep breath and realized she wasn’t slamming NPs; she had a grudge against military providers, regardless of education background.

That’s from a recent post by a U.S. Air Force family nurse practitioner (NP) who’s been blogging from Afghanistan. She’s home now, and the post, about being discriminated against by a patient—not because she’s an NP, but because she’s a military provider—is worth noting as we prepare for another Memorial Day Weekend.

Are you a nursing student, or just ready for a change in your nursing career? Curious about various nursing specialties and what they really involve? Codeblog has been running a helpful series of posts, each of which focuses on an interview with a particular type of nurse. The latest is with a cardiac catheterization lab nurse.

Nothing like a medication error to ruin everyone’s day. Lisa at In the Round has a useful post that lists the eight “rights” of medication administration.

“So there is very little, in the end, I won’t share. There are some things, however, that […]

May 27th, 2011|nursing perspective|3 Comments