2016 Nurse Faculty Scholars/AJN Mentored Writing Award Winner

AJN0916.Cover.OnlineAnd the Winner Is….

We’re pleased to announce that the winner of the 2016 Nurse Faculty Scholars/AJN Mentored Writing Award is Denise M. Eckerlin, BSN, RN, a predoctoral fellow at the University of Washington School of Nursing in Seattle. She won for her CE feature article published in the September issue of AJN,Military Sexual Trauma in Male Service Members.”

Eckerlin coauthored the article with her mentor, Andrea Kovalesky, PhD, RN, an associate professor in the School of Nursing and Health Studies at the University of Washington Bothell, and Matthew Jakupcak, PhD, a clinical psychologist and researcher at the Northwest Mental Illness Research, Education, and Clinical Center in the VA Puget Sound Health Care System, Seattle. She will receive an award certificate and $500. […]

November 21st, 2016|Nursing, nursing students|1 Comment

Helping New Nurses Find Their Way: The Art of Saying Yes

A Preceptor’s Example

Photo by Ed Eckstein Photo by Ed Eckstein

AJN’s Transition to Practice column is designed to help new nurses in their first year at the bedside. In this month’s column, “The Art of Saying Yes,” Amanda Anderson explains how as a new nurse she learned the benefits (to herself and her patients) of going the extra mile at work. She describes the surprising personal and professional benefits that come from “the times you choose to say yes when you might just as easily have deferred.”

Anderson paints a vivid picture of her first days on the job as a nurse: The fear of making mistakes, the feeling of being a useless novice, the shame of not always being able to keep up with seasoned staff. She was fortunate, though, to have an expert mentor in those early days. Her preceptor was an experienced nurse who modeled the art of saying yes—an art that might be described as a willingness to leap in to help when not required to do so: to take on a housekeeping task, for example, or pitch in unasked to help another nurse whose day is spinning out of control.

“There is no term for this concept in the literature,” writes Anderson. […]

November 18th, 2016|career, Nursing|3 Comments

Taking Skin Tear Prevention and Management Seriously

In the Past, Approaches to Skin Tears Were Inadequate

Many years ago, when I worked in a skilled nursing facility, it seemed my patients were always experiencing skin tears. We didn’t have wound care specialists then. My approach to these injuries, which I didn’t see as serious, was to cleanse them with saline and awkwardly attempt to reposition the detached flap. In retrospect, the nursing care I provided didn’t amount to much more than “a lick and a promise.”

Greater Awareness of Risks, Dangers of Skin Tears

screen-shot-2016-11-14-at-6-09-55-pmToday, we know that skin tears can evolve into serious, complex wounds. Available data indicate that in long-term care settings, these injuries affect up to 22% of residents. Wound care specialists have developed a classification system for skin tears—as for pressure injuries, specific recommendations from wound care specialists guide our nursing care.

In this month’s AJN, author Sharon Baranoski and colleagues from the International Skin Tear Advisory Panel detail the assessment and management of skin tears in “Preventing, Assessing, and Managing Skin Tears: A Clinical Review.” While the authors emphasize the need to involve wound care nurses in the management of these injuries, many readers may find the product selection guide in this article to be especially useful. […]

November 14th, 2016|Nursing|3 Comments

All Saints’ Day Blessing for Health Care Providers

Autumn Angel / photo by Julianna Paradisi 2016 Autumn Angel / photo by Julianna Paradisi 2016

November is the strangest of months. Its days are shorter, darker. It begins with All Saints’ Day, a day of remembering our dead, of loss and grief, followed late in the month by Thanksgiving, America’s celebration of abundance with gratitude.

This year on All Saints’ Day I attended a discussion of health care professionals. The audience included nurses, physicians, pharmacists, social workers, and hospital administrators. The conversation ultimately centered on the emotional difficulties of patient care.

It wasn’t a debriefing as much as collective acknowledgment that, rather than accepting help, some patients or their family members view us as the enemy, sometimes disrupting our best efforts in the name of misguided advocacy.

Nurses spoke of being labeled as “bad” and played against each other by angry patients or family members. Physicians related episodes of verbal abuse from patients or family members demanding inappropriate procedures, medications, or dosing. Some spoke of needing to take refuge to center their thoughts before ordering the appropriate care.

Like most nurses, I’ve experienced similar treatment at the hands of difficult patients, but physicians don’t generally discuss with us how they are treated. Nurses and physicians suffer silently, instead of lending support to each other.

There were no answers. We were simply a large group of health care staff with varying responsibilities, given an hour to talk […]

November 10th, 2016|Nursing, Patients|1 Comment

The Primary Care Confessions of Traumatized Patients

drawing of patient in waiting room Illustration by Hana Cisarova. All rights reserved.

In this month’s Reflections essay, “The Traumatized Patient,” family nurse practitioner Margaret Adams delves with sympathy into what she calls the “primary care confessions” of a challenging subset of patients. Writes Adams:

I’ve come to recognize patients like you—sometimes by your disturbingly long and detailed allergy lists, but more often by the frequency with which you come in for the same constellation of symptoms: fatigue, headaches, dizziness, general malaise. Something happened to you— maybe years ago, maybe recently—and it left its mark on you in irredeemable ways, . . .

While symptoms often do have underlying physiological causes, Adams is likewise attuned to the emotional subtext behind certain seemingly fruitless patient encounters. And with many specific examples, she makes the case here that the life of trauma plays itself out over time in the body and mind. […]

October 18th, 2016|Nursing, nursing stories, patient engagement, Patients|0 Comments