June 26, 2020

The data behind contracting COVID-19

Short and sweet? "Surface contamination and fleeting encounters are less of a worry than close-up, person-to-person interactions for extended periods." The longer answer? First, coughing, talking, or breathing create virus-carrying droplets; second, if enough of these droplets (and passenger virus) make it to you over time, they can trigger an infection; third, the virus must make its way through your respiratory tract and use ACE-2 receptors to enter your cells and replicate. Two recently conducted studies revealed that national, wide-scale lockdowns (or stay-at-home-orders) have likely prevented millions of infections and deaths. Now armed with what we know, states can make concerted efforts to deploy targeted interventions to keep infection counts low. Specifically, providing better protections for nursing home residents and multigenerational families living in the same home, maintaining social distancing in public (and wearing masks), and reducing the number of gatherings—small or large—held in enclosed places. Read more

The future of nursing homes —

When it comes to the spread and impact of COVID-19, nursing homes—particularly those in Kirkland, Washington—served as the canary in the coal mine. From them we learned that nursing homes are especially vulnerable to people bringing in the virus in from outside — this is especially problematic as residents are not only the most vulnerable population but residents are also easy targets for quick and effective spreading of the virus. The death rate among older residents (and staff) is much higher than other age cohorts, in line with the CDC data that 80% of COVID-19 deaths in the US are of people over the age of 65. Now that we have these stark findings, what do we do with them? What comes next? A few things need to happen: the really sick and really old can't be neglected- Medicaid should focus more on home and community care; there needs to be more accountability in how nursing homes enact and monitor infection-control measures; and, the pay for healthcare workers in nursing homes must improve. Read more

Paychecks vs. unemployment checks —

Many nursing homes are struggling to stay fully staffed, as some nursing assistants (CNAs) and other staff are making the tough decision to take unemployment checks over continuing their paid work at nursing homes. Shanna LaFountain, a CNA in New England, said that the extra $600 that has been added to unemployment through the CARES Act not only offers more than her normal full-time pay but is also the only way possible to stay home and care for her three children. She said that while she misses her patients, the current pay rates don't match the risks. While many professionals are faced with a similar choice, is it truly an either-or question? Read more

1 in 3 women have had their reproductive healthcare impacted by COVID-19 —

1 in 3 women struggle to get birth control during COVID, had to skip pap smears and mammograms, and will continue to lose health coverage at a faster rate than men. Additionally, "While 29% of white women reported that the pandemic made it harder to access contraception and reproductive health care, 38% of Black women and 45% of Hispanic women said the same." This is yet another example of racial (and gender) disparity in healthcare. If there is a solution here, it doesn't look like anyone has found it yet, but we're hoping efforts are being made. Read more

Clear up the clutter —

Research backs that clutter can be catastrophic to your mental health. In a time-consuming profession like nursing, sometimes you spend just little time at home that a little clutter here and there can go unnoticed. You deserve to have a restful, life-giving environment, and studies show that having an organized, clean space at home can re-energize you and boost your overall mental health. Clear out one day this week to reduce clutter in your life and notice how you'll begin to feel lighter! Read more

Nurses: Make yourselves discoverable! —

Being discoverable simply means others are aware of you or are able to locate you. We tend to have bias toward action for this personally but not specifically or integratively for our professional presence. Being discoverable means that others are able to gain insight into your experience, perspective, passions, projects, and expertise. They’re able to understand your skills and what you’ve accomplished professionally and what you do and can offer. How can you start? Join LinkedIn, get vocal on Twitter or other social media platforms, and join groups and organizations that share your professional and/or personal mission. Networking and sharing your story isn't just reserved for folks in business, it can help you get that next position or accomplish a personal goal. Read more

Upcoming Events —

6/30, 2pm PDT: Travel Nurse Taxes 101
Tax homes, deductibles, multi-state forms, oh my! Travel nurse taxes are full of questions and we have answers. Join us to go over the building blocks of travel taxes so you can organize your documentation and file with confidence. One lucky nurse will win a fully covered travel nurse tax prep from our generous event host ($225-$400 value). RSVP

Clockin' Out ✌

"It takes no compromise to give people their rights... it takes no money to respect the individual. It takes no political deal to give people freedom. It takes no survey to remove repression." — Harvey Milk