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 disorder.” She also wants to replace the phrase “is the […]

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 of nonverbal aggression.”

Yet, says Taylor, these and other forms of incivility […]

Speaking Publicly ‘As a Nurse’: Case in Canada Highlights Risks, Responsibilities

Douglas P. Olsen, PhD, RN, associate professor, College of Nursing, Michigan State University, writes about ethical issues for AJN.

Recently, a disciplinary committee in Canada found a nurse in breach of the Canadian Nurses Association’s Code of Ethics for Registered Nurses for posting negative comments on Facebook and Twitter about the care given to her grandfather in a long-term care facility before his death. The nurse was accused of violating her grandfather’s confidentiality, not using proper processes for noting complaints about his care, and potentially harming the institution’s reputation. She was found guilty of professional misconduct but not guilty of violating his privacy. The ethical breach was based on her public declarations about the nursing care.

Key to the Saskatchewan Registered Nurses’ Association decision to find the nurse guilty appears to have been the fact that the nurse prefaced remarks with the phrase, “As a nurse . . . ” Adding this phrase to one’s communications confers the authority of scientific and experiential expertise. It further implies that one is versed in the proper procedure and standards for evaluating accuracy and relevance of clinical information and that one’s conclusions are communicated honestly for constructive purposes. The credibility added by identifying the nursing credential is deserved—and therefore carries responsibilities.

What are the conditions for an ethical response when speaking publicly ‘as a nurse’?

The voice of nursing—because of […]

December 16th, 2016|Ethics, healthcare social media, Nursing|0 Comments

A Thanksgiving Note on Thankfulness from AJN’s Editor-in-Chief

cranberriesI’m looking forward to Thanksgiving. After an emotional and sometimes divisive election year, I welcome the opportunity to turn my thoughts to something positive for a bit. Whatever our allegiances, we’ve come to a watershed moment in our country and we need to find ways to regroup as a nation, examine how we came to this place, and find ways to move forward in a way that benefits all of us. This may mean something different for each of us.

For now, it’s important to stop to think about the good things that are in our lives and not dwell solely on what distresses us.

Here are some reasons I have to be thankful:

I’m grateful for a year in which I have not lost a close friend or family member.

I’m grateful to be working with people I like who are committed to doing good work.

I’m grateful to all those folks who make life work for all of us—the mail deliverers, the sanitation workers, police and fire departments, the people in the grocery store—all who show up and do their jobs.

I’m grateful to all the nurses who show up every day, including Thanksgiving, and provide the care that every patient depends on.

And yes, I’m grateful to live in a great country that has faced many challenges, reconciled many differences, made so many great contributions to the world, and always eventually found a way to preserve our core freedoms while adapting to the one constant, […]

November 21st, 2016|Nursing|0 Comments

Remembering a Tough NYC Detective on the 41st Great American Smokeout

Photo of AJN editor-in-chief Shawn Kennedy AJN editor-in-chief Shawn Kennedy

My uncle Joe embodied the persona of the old-time tough NYC Irish detective—he was over six feet tall, had piercing blue eyes and white hair, always wore a tan raincoat, and always had a cigarette in his hand. As a child, my siblings and I were always a little bit afraid of him. That image faded, though, and my last image of him was hunched over, with an oxygen cannula, trying to breathe. All those cigarettes added up, and after a lifetime of smoking, he died from chronic lung disease. This was before the landmark report on smoking and health issued by the U.S. surgeon general in 1964. Tiffany, 35, Louisiana; quit smoking at 34; smoke-free since January 2012. (CDC) Tiffany, 35, Louisiana; quit smoking at 34; smoke-free since January 2012. (CDC)

Today is the 41st annual Great American Smokeout—the day created by the American Cancer Society (ACS) to help encourage smokers to quit smoking. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), smoking is the leading cause of preventable death and is responsible for “more than […]