April 16, 2021

Should you try forensic nursing?

The term forensic medicine can, in practice, encompass a variety of nursing specialities. Forensic nurses typically work in settings such as prisons, jails, or in emergency rooms to respond to patients experiencing sexual assault, domestic violence, or victims of human trafficking. We asked Sallie Albert, RN, BSN, CCHP about her experience: "The first time I entered a correctional facility to work as a forensic nurse and the door slammed behind me, I knew that was where I wanted to work. Working every day with the most dangerous criminals of society is intriguing and exciting, bringing unexpected possibilities to each day." If you think this unique area of nursing might be the right fit for you, keep reading to learn more! Read more

Parkour and fall prevention for seniors —

According to the CDC, 25% of adults 65 and older in the United States fall each year. Simple falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries for adults in the US. What's the cause? Decreased strength, balance, and flexibility due to an increasingly sedentary lifestyle that often comes with aging. Sean Hannah, president and curriculum leader of PK Move (a nonprofit based in Northern Virginia that focuses on teaching parkour to underserved populations), created a parkour-based falls prevention program called PK Silver made specifically for adults 50 and older. Hannah says that most falls happen during daily activities, so it's very important to focus on fall prevention. Many of the classes involve performing two simple tasks at once; for example, participants side-stacked against a wall while "drawing" letters in the air with their inside foot, or maintaining a squatted posture while passing a heavy book between their legs, or even trying to silently move a ring of keys in wide circles through the air in order to work on shoulder mobility. If it's true that you lose what you don't use, then keeping active as we age (safely, of course) may be one of the best things we can do to prevent and avoid falls. Read more

How to keep your heart healthy during the pandemic —

Despite all that was 2020, heart disease still remained the leading cause of death in the United States, accounting for more than 650,000 American deaths each year. While it's frightening to think that something occurring so suddenly can be so deadly, there are steps we can take to prevent and recognize risks to our heart health. First, establish a baseline and estimate your risk. This can be done by having a conversation with your general practitioner about your blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood glucose levels. Second, maintain a healthy weight and BMI for your age, and avoid highly processed, packaged foods. Third, don't forget exercise. Either 150 minutes of low-intensity, or 75 minutes of high-intensity, movement each week is enough to keep your blood pumping healthfully. Fourth, you can quit smoking — and for the sake of your heart, you probably should. Fifth, do some research into your family's heart history, and see if you're at increased risk for heart disease. Lastly, don't ignore the red flags: chest pain, feeling weak or passing out, shortness of breath or sudden pain in the arms or jaw; even mild, intermittent chest discomfort or shortness of breath with normal activities, new or severe acid reflux, sudden or unexplained nausea or fatigue. It's never too late to do something; even a small start is still a start! Read more

What does a legal nurse consultant do? —

Maybe forensic nursing doesn't seem like the right fit for you; how about legal nurse consulting? Legal Nurse Consultants (LNCs) are integral members of the legal team. They provide interpretation, feedback, and analysis of medical documents for the client and attorney. The goal is to evaluate the pieces in order to assemble the complete puzzle. Scrutiny and attention to detail are essential characteristics, in addition to quickly adapting to an ever-changing environment. Law is a fast-paced and high-energy career that requires quick thinking and swift problem-solving skills. If this sounds right up your alley, continue reading for more! Read more

Coronavirus Updates

Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine distribution paused —

On Tuesday, the single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine was paused for distribution in the United States. So far, nearly 6.8 million doses of the J&J vaccine have been administered in the US, but the CDC and FDA recommended a hold on distribution following reports of at least six cases of severe blood clotting in individuals after receiving the vaccine. All six cases were reported among women aged 18–48, with the symptoms presenting themselves about 6 to 13 days following vaccination. Although these cases were not intended results of fthe vaccine, so far, they present only in one out of a million individuals, and J&J is willing to work with the FDA and CDC to better understand this effect before continuing distribution. If you've received the J&J vaccine, recommendations are to be aware of any unusual headaches, abdominal pains, leg pains, or shortness of breath within three weeks of receiving the vaccine. Read more

New category of organ transplants spawned by COVID-19 —

Early on in the pandemic, many hospitals refused to perform organ transplants on COVID-19 patients because not enough was understood about the risks of the virus and whether these patients could survive the invasive surgeries. Jump forward about six months, and the situation has changed. COVID-related organ transplants have surged (particularly hearts and lungs), as many hospitals are struggling with the patients whose organs have been destroyed as a result of COVID-19, whether due to the virus itself or being on ventilators for prolonged periods. Dr. David Weill, former director of Stanford University's lung and heart transplant program, said, “It’s like wildfire, where centers are saying, ‘We did our first one, too.’” Ultimately, it seems COVID-19 has altered the landscape of organ transplants, as now otherwise healthy individuals are becoming appropriate candidates for transplants. Read more

Remembering healthcare workers lost during the first year of the pandemic —

Within the first 12 months of the pandemic, more than 3,600 healthcare workers died in the United States. An ongoing investigation by The Guardian, called "Lost on the Frontlines," seeks to follow these numbers in order to provide a complete accounting of US healthcare worker deaths, including by putting pressure on the federal government to undertake a more comprehensive count. The goal of this project is to provide more insight into the failings of the US's health system during the pandemic. One important finding so far is that at least two-thirds of the deceased healthcare workers identified by the investigation are people of color. This finding further reveals the systemic inequalities tied to race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status in the healthcare workforce. As more information is revealed, actions must be taken that make changes toward bettering the healthcare system in our country. Read more

Is vitamin D effective in preventing COVID-19? —

Over a year into the pandemic, many studies are still ongoing regarding the efficacy of vitamin D in preventing COVID-19. The verdict is still unclear, but there is more and more evidence out there fostering hope. Most of us are aware that vitamin D is integral to maintaining good bone health and a healthy immune system, but what researchers are interested in now is its effect in combating respiratory infections. Some data has shown that there is clear overlap between individuals low in vitamin D levels and those who've contracted COVID-19 (this is particularly true in people who are overweight, older, or have darker skin). Why? Well, low levels of vitamin D are associated with an increased cytokine count—a chemical messenger that plays a major role in inflammation—as well as a lower count of defensive immune cells. So, while correlation does not imply causation, more and more evidence is coming forward that may, in fact, support vitamin D as a true immunity booster. Hopefully, we'll gain a better understanding as more studies are concluded. Read more

Upcoming Events

Recent event highlight! —

One of our recent events, How to Win Friends & Influence Nurse Leaders, was super well received by all of you, so we wanted to highlight it again! The event welcomed Dr. Lori Armstrong, CEO & Chief Clinical Officer at Drexel University’s College of Nursing, who spoke about how nurses can best communicate with nurse leaders to effectively impact change and advocate for themselves and their patients. Watch it here

Clockin' Out ☕️

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