March 6, 2020

A new threat to your heart health?

Probably not the news most nurses want to hear, but a recent study by Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston found that people who have irregular sleep patterns are twice as likely to experience cardiovascular events than those with more regular sleep habits. While the focus of sleep studies has historically been on the number of hours of sleep a night, this study highlights the negative impact of going to bed at different times and sleeping different hours from night to night. We can't all be on day shift, so what does this mean for the rest of us?

How does your nursing school debt compare? —

Ever wonder how much debt other nurses graduated with? Given that more than 70% of nursing students graduate with some amount of debt, either you or someone you know is still paying it off. For reference, the national average for all students is about $28,000 of debt. So, here's the breakdown (on average) for nurses: Associate Degree in Nursing ($19,928), Bachelor of Science in Nursing ($23,711), Master of Science in Nursing ($47,321). First steps to paying them off? Investigate loan forgiveness programs, find the right repayment plan (yes, there are options!), and aim to pay your loans off faster!

Nursing homes are bearing the brunt COVID-19 —

Of the nine deaths caused by the coronavirus, seven of them occurred in one nursing home near Seattle. This is leading officials to turn their attention to the other 15,000 nursing homes across the country to ensure they are better prepared for a potential outbreak. COVID-19 shows symptoms similar to the flu but can prove deadly in older patients and those in already poor health. On top of that, state and local officials are struggling to maintain proper training standards as well as new equipment due to ongoing federal budget cuts: "In the past 15 years, public health... lost 45% of inflation-adjusted funding for staff, training, equipment and supplies." While money is being re-allocated, it's being taken from other urgent health needs (i.e. opioid crisis).

The NP workforce is on the rise —

The nurse practitioner (NP) workforce has hit a record high of more than 290,000 licensed NPs, according to a new estimate from the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP). This is positive news for facilities experiencing increasing staffing needs as well as NPs, who are seeing an increase in pay as a result. NPs are also seeing great pay packages, with the median pay around $110,000 and increasing further with certain certifications.

Nurse with cancer continues caring for her patients —

Erika Rucks was diagnosed with cancer as a child. This inspired her to become a pediatric oncology nurse so that she could support children who are in the same position she was in. As an adult, she was re-diagnosed, but this time the prognosis is terminal. She's decided to continue working until she can't: "I try not to think about statistics... I’m going to live each day doing exactly what I love to do.”

Murse got moves! —

Introducing choreographed care! Nurse Joe Ronquillo brings the moves and has been entertaining and caring for his pediatric patients at St. Lukes in Boise, Idaho for 16 years. His family emmigrated from El Salvador before he was born, and now he, his two sisters, and his brother all work together at St. Lukes. Cause if your friends don't dance, and if they don't dance... well, they're no friends of mine.

Isn't all nursing team nursing? —

Not necessarily. It may seem intuitive, but a lot of facilities don't follow the "team nursing" approach exactly. What this typically looks like today is a charge nurse (RN), primary nurse (RN), and ancillary personnel (often a CNA or similar nursing aid) working together as team members to care for a larger group of patients. This general concept can be applied in various care settings and situations (and use varied combinations of team members). The key is to keep in mind the unique problems that unit staffing has and then cater this concept to those specific issues. While team nursing can be a great way to assuage increasing personnel demands, it also assumes that each member of a team will follow through on their responsibilites in an appropriate and timely manner. Maybe there is an "IV" in team after all.

5 songs that are way better to sing than "Happy Birthday" while you wash your hands —

Just because it's coronavirus season, it doesn't mean you have to sound like a psychopath every time you wash your hands. Try these songs out instead!

Clockin' Out ✌

“An interesting thing about touch is that the brain doesn’t just tell you how something feels, but how it ought to feel. That’s why the caress of a lover feels wonderful, but the same touch by a stranger would feel creepy or horrible" (Bill Bryson). It's also why it feels great to put a 14-gauge into a trauma patient but you scream when you get the flu shot.