August 20, 2021

Texas Nurse Shares Current Experience in the PICU

Rudy Martinez, an ICU nurse at University Hospital in San Antonio, says it’s painful to watch young, otherwise healthy children succumbing to COVID-19 — coming in with fevers of 103-104 degrees, weakness, shortness of breath, and trouble breathing. From age six months to teens, Martinez said the ICU is receiving the whole spectrum of pediatric patients, many of whom are reporting severe anxiety caused by a few initial bouts of shortness of breath. Martinez said that previously children were coming in for other reasons and just happened to test positive with COVID-19, albeit presenting as asymptomatic; now, they’re coming in with visible signs and symptoms of COVID-19 before testing positive. “We think maybe the fact that last year we didn’t see it as much because everybody was wearing a mask, and this year, we’re starting to see it once the mask mandate came down,” Martinez said, worried that things may get worse if we continue down this path. Read more

Why 20 seconds is the perfect handwashing duration —

We all know the general recommendation for proper handwashing is 20 seconds of scrubbing. But why 20 seconds? Physicists recently used a mathematical model to examine and explain the key mechanics behind this long-time guideline. The model showed that the wavy, tough surfaces of the hand are prime for trapping particles, and in order to remove these adhering particles from our hands, energy from water flow must be high enough to force them out. Not surprisingly, the force of water flow depends on the speed with which the hands are moving past each other, or scrubbing. "If you move your hands too gently, too slowly, relative to one another, the forces created by the flowing fluid are not big enough to overcome the force holding the particle down," said Paul Hammond, the author of the study. In other words, the stronger the flow, the more easily the particles can be removed. Read more

Having a good listener in your life may improve brain health —

Researchers recently found that simply having someone in your life who is consistently available to listen to you is associated with greater cognitive resilience. Cognitive resilience is an important measure of your brain’s capacity to function, regardless of age or disease-related cognitive changes. Other ways of bolstering this resilience that you’re probably already familiar with include mentally stimulating activity, physical exercise, and positive social interactions. Now, you can add “having a good listener around” to that list. Ultimately, says lead researcher Joel Salinas, MD, “We think of cognitive resilience as a buffer to the effects of brain aging and disease.” In fact, Dr. Salinas even recommends that primary care providers consider adding this new finding to their list of standard questions about a patient’s social history: Do you have access to someone you can count on to listen to you when you need to talk? Read more

Nintendo works with nonprofit to get game consoles into hospitals —

Nintendo is working with the Starlight Children’s Foundation (SCF) to continue sending Starlight Nintendo Switch Consoles to hospitals around the country for pediatric patients to enjoy. The system comes with over 25 preloaded games, and the entire device itself was designed specifically for medical environments: the device sits on a mounted playback monitor stand with wheels, and it can be disinfected all over. According to SCF, the entertainment system provides some much-needed distraction from a likely stressful situation and environment, and it can allow kids to relax and perhaps feel more comfortable when they have more serious discussions. Thus far, more than 800 hospitals have received gaming stations, bringing entertainment to over 11 million children nationwide. Read more

Coronavirus Updates

U.S. recommends COVID-19 vaccine booster shot for most Americans —

Last week, the FDA authorized the use of a third booster shot for individuals with weakened immune systems. This came as the Delta variant continues to spread nationally. More recently, the federal government is now recommending that most Americans receive a vaccine booster shot about eight months after receiving their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. Why is this being confirmed now? Data from ongoing studies suggest that the Pfizer vaccine has exhibited a decline in protection against severe disease for those who received their second dose in February. While the data collected consists mostly of a senior population, the U.S. government is hoping to be proactive in its recommendation for an additional boost to an individual's immune system, particularly in the hopes of slowing the spread of the Delta variant nationally. Read more

New York City to mandate COVID-19 vaccines —

On Monday, New York City’s gubernatorial office announced a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for all healthcare workers in New York City. NYC becomes the third entity, following the state of California and the Veterans Administration (VA) to do so. "We must now act again to stop the spread. Our healthcare heroes led the battle against the virus, and now we need them to lead the battle between the variant and the vaccine," said outgoing Governor Andrew Cuomo in a statement. This comes as daily cases have increased significantly over the past six weeks. This mandate includes all patient-facing healthcare providers, in addition to all other staff in nursing homes, adult care facilities, and other congregate care settings. The vaccination deadline is September 27, 2021. Read more

Upcoming Events

Monday, August 23, 3pm PDT: Travel Nursing Deep Dive: Choosing an Agency —

With all the travel nursing agencies out there, how do you pick the one? Join travel nurses Ashley Sayles and Jared Lubrico as they share what to look for in an agency, including top research tips and recruiter red flags. This event will provide you with the knowledge to choose an agency you love and deserve! All nurses are invited to this event, just make sure you RSVP!

Clockin' Out ✌️

No one intentionally wants to upset their new coworkers, but there are some things you want to avoid saying or doing when you enter a new unit. Some of them are obvious, but others might surprise you! Check them out!