August 7, 2020

What's it like to be a travel nurse diagnosed with COVID-19?

Claire Dimaculangan, BSN, is a travel RN that was exposed to and contracted COVID-19 while caring for recovering stroke patients for two weeks. "This [was] a time where not every patient was wearing a mask unless they had a cough or they traveled," said Dimaculangan. During the last week of her travel assignment, she noticed initial COVID-19 symptoms. Once she confirmed her suspicions with a positive test, she immediately began to self-isolate. She hesitated going to the hospital, well aware of the precarious situation there. So, she took some steps to monitor herself, including wearing a pulse ox to bed, using her inhaler regularly (she also suffers from asthma), taking Tylenol when necessary, and getting plenty of fluids and rest. She kept telling herself, "Someone else can use that bed, you're not critical yet." She was afraid of falling ill during the nights, and perhaps having difficulty breathing, but she was able to recover on her own and eventually return to work once cleared safe to do so. She said that undergoing that experience herself gave her so much insight (both fear and gratitude) for the patients she continues to care for every day. Read more

Following the recent explosion in Beirut, nurse wakes up a hero —

On Tuesday, and massive explosion—now said to have been caused by ammonium nitrate that was confiscated and held in the port back in 2013—shook the city of Beirut, Lebanon. With over 100 recorded deaths, 4,000 injured, and more than 300,000 homeless, the event was no less than catastrophic. A local journalist responded to the blast, arriving at a nearby affected hospital that suffered the loss of 12 patients, four nurses, and two visitors. The journalist then stumbled upon an unidentified nurse holding three newborns among the rubble and dozens of bodies wounded or killed in the event. The nurse said that she was in the maternity ward when the blast hit and was shortly thereafter knocked unconscious. When she awoke, she was carefully holding three newborns in her arms, all of whom are reportedly in good health. Read more

Novavax vaccine boasts positive start —

Novavax is the third US company to share positive results pertaining to its COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine's phase 1 trial showed that all volunteers developed antibodies, and on average, four times greater than people who had actually contracted and recovered from COVID-19. Better yet? No severe or significant side effects were reported. Once the study is peer reviewed by independent experts, the company will move onto the next stage of trials. Read more

Can COVID-19 bring awareness to chronic fatigue syndrome? —

Many individuals who recover from COVID-19 exhibit symptoms months after the infection resides, now colloquially diagnosed as "post-COVID-19 syndrome." From profound fatigue to the inability to effectively perform pre-virus activities to difficulty breathing and even thinking, the long-lasting effects of COVID-19 are calling attention to a pre-COVID condition afflicting many people in a very similar way: myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome, or ME/CFS. Historically, the diagnoses and treatment for ME/CFS has been too often overlooked, but now that so many are facing nearly identical symptoms from a more acute cause, research and responses to both of these syndromes will hopefully receive more priority. Read more

Nursing homes: we need to pay for what we value —

Recent studies and subsequent contact tracing have found that healthcare staff working at multiple facilities helped to spread COVID-19 between facilities. Unfortunately, the need to work at multiple facilities is largely spurred by the inadequate salaries provided to CNAs and individuals holding similar nursing positions. If facilities don't pay a competitive, livable wage, then we can't expect a singularly devoted type of care. If we want the best quality of care, facilities must compensate accordingly. “It’s mostly brown and black women that are providing that care,” says Ellen Bartoldus, consultant at Copernicus Inc., “We don’t pay them a living wage. They have to work two jobs in order to survive, and then we expect an incredible quality of care from them — and we’re not willing to really pay for what we say we value.” Read more

Biological signatures of the worst COVID-19 cases —

Immunologists are slowly beginning to understand one of the more complex quandaries of the pandemic: Why do some people get incredibly sick, while others exhibit milder symptoms and recover more quickly? Short answer: the virus makes the immune system go haywire, and for some, this is lot more damaging than others. But why? Most people, when infected, experience two waves of their immune system fighting back. First, a rapid immune response of cytokines sets off to hold the virus back while a more tailored defense is initiated (comprised of antibodies and T cells). However, for those experiencing the most severe symptoms, this second, coordinated defense isn't able to effectively reach and snuff out the threat, as the initially responding cytokines don't stop their assault, leading to an escalation of inflammation and thus symptoms. Until more research is done, the use of dexamethasone to slow the cytokine response is the best known bet. Read more

Looking for a (new) nursing specialty? —

When you commit to the nursing profession, you’re not just committing yourself to caring for others, you’re committing yourself to doing so within a specific area of nursing. Just like you chose to study nursing in school instead of the many other options out there, you must also choose what kind of nurse you want to be. We've put together a comprehensive resource that goes deep into some of the most popular and in-demand specialties to help you find the right one for you, whether you're just starting out, or you're looking to make a change. Read more

Upcoming Events —

Trusted x Outdoor Voices: Nurses First — The Wellness Series
Trusted Health and our friends at Outdoor Voices are thrilled to share Nurses First: The Wellness Series, a week-long virtual event series focused on supporting nurses in all areas of wellness. Join us for any, and all, five events to mentally reset, sweat with intent, eat healthfully, and sleep soundly. All nurses are invited to these virtual events, just make sure you RSVP!

P.S. Outdoor Voices is gifting one lucky nurse a giveaway at each event, so make sure you join us! RSVP

Clockin' Out ✌

Last week, we asked you how do you use your break time?
Last week's poll revealed that 41% of nurses reported "Eating" as the main way they spend their break time.

This week, we want to know what is the best brand of stethoscope?

Answer here!