Monday 28 June 2021

Nursing Skill, Nursing Responsibilities, Nursing Career, Nursing Professionals, Nursing Degree, Nursing Certification

Assembly Bill 650, also known as the Healthcare Workers Recognition and Retention Act, failed in the California Assembly on Thursday. The Bill would have mandated healthcare facilities to pay all healthcare professionals a $10,000 bonus, to be paid in quarterly payments, on top of their salary in 2022. Under the Bill, it would have been illegal for healthcare employers to lay off or fire frontline workers to avoid paying. 

Ultimately, the bill was expected to cost around $7 billion. 

Hospitals struggle to retain employees

The goal of the bill was to provide some incentive for healthcare workers to stay at their jobs. Over a year into the pandemic, frontline workers are physically, emotionally, and mentally exhausted. This is causing highly trained and skilled workers to leave their jobs. With burnout at an all-time high, lawmakers are hoping that a bonus will help retain workers in the healthcare industry.

The “hero pay” would have been awarded to qualifying frontline workers in four installments of $2,500. Part-time workers could have also been eligible for smaller bonuses. In addition, any employee who has already received a pandemic-related bonus may have that amount subtracted from their “hero pay.”

Supporters of the Bill

The bill was introduced by Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi and has the support of the Services Employees International Union California. Muratsuchi argues that frontline workers have sacrificed more than others during the pandemic and should be compensated for both their contributions and the risks they have endured. 

While most of the funding for the bill would come directly from hospitals, around $924 million will be taken from Medi-Cal, the state’s healthcare program. There is also the possibility that federal funding will be used to help cover the cost of the bill. Employers may be able to receive an exemption if they are unable to pay the bonuses.

Supporters also argue that while $7 billion sounds like a steep price tag, it is really just a fraction of what has been spent on fighting COVID-19.

Opponents of the Bill

Many hospitals and the state’s main lobbying group for doctors, The California Medical Association, oppose the bill. They argue that the bill could actually kill jobs and put a further financial strain on hospitals. Many facilities have had to make significant changes to their daily operations, which has increased expenditures. In fact, about 50% of the state’s hospitals are operating at a loss and working to recover from the pandemic. Hospitals are afraid that they will have to cut services just in order to pay for the bonuses.

While there is little argument over the invaluable role that frontline healthcare workers have played in combating COVID-19, not everyone can agree on whether this bill will help or hurt hospitals and employment figures. Potentially, the hero pay could entice more workers to stay put, but it could also place an additional burden on healthcare facilities that are already struggling. The bill is still under debate and faces a vote this week.


Monday 21 June 2021

Nursing Skill, Nursing Responsibilities, Nursing Career, Nursing Exam US, Nursing Professionals

No matter how old you are, what occupation you hold, or where you live in the world we can all agree that sleep is essential to functioning properly on a day-to-day basis.

That being said, as a Registered Nurse (RN) getting a full amount of sleep can be hard due to the constant and rigorous schedules they must endure. This is especially true for those who work swing shifts, rotating shifts, or night shifts. Losing a minimal amount of sleep can cause changes in a person’s mood, energy level, and ability to handle stress.

Shift Worker Sleep Disorder (SWSD) is a common disorder amongst nurses. It is known as a circadian sleep disorder that affects the body’s circadian rhythm and the function of the body clock that regulates time periods for sleep.

Symptoms Of Shift Workers Sleep Disorder

◉ Lack of energy

◉ Irritability

◉ Depression

◉ Increase stress

◉ Excessive sleepiness

◉ Insufficient/unrefreshing sleep

◉ Insomnia

◉ Low sex drive

◉ Wrinkles and dark circles under your eyes


Of course, the easiest and most assumed treatment for lack of sleep is to sleep, but it may not be as easy as it sounds. Here are some helpful tips to defeating your SWSD:

1. Stick to a sleep schedule (even on your days off)

Setting a proper sleep schedule can help the body get the necessary amount of relaxation and energy needed in order to function properly. Although it varies from person to person, a healthy adult needs anywhere from 7.5 to 9 hours of sleep in order to fully function at their best capability.

To maintain high-quality sleep, it's important to stick to your sleep schedule - every day. Make sure to set your alarm for the same time every day. 

2. Avoid eating heavy meals, alcohol and caffeine before bedtime

The body's GI system works very hard to digest food. If you eat too close to bedtime, you won't be getting high-quality sleep because your body is still awake working hard to break down the food. Avoid eating for 2-3 hours before bedtime. Don't drink alcohol or caffeine before bed. If you're starving and must eat, make sure it's something light that your body can easily digest - maybe something with tryptophan-rich foods like (that will actually make you sleepy), 

◉ Turkey

◉ Nuts

◉ Bananas

◉ Honey 

◉ Eggs

3. Take a warm shower before bedtime

When your body experiences a drop in temperature, it will feel triggered to go to sleep. Give it a try!

4. Add plants to your sleep space

Yes, plants will make your space feel more serene. But, they are also fantastic air purifiers and absorb the carbon dioxide we exhale during sleep. A few plants Nurse Alice recommends are, 

- Gardenia

- Aloe

- Camomille

5. Control the lighting in your room

Every wonder why you can't nap during the day? Well, your body recognizes daylight as the time to be awake. You can control this response by adding black-out shades to your sleeping space, turning off all electronic devices, and investing in a sun lamp. 

6. Exercise daily

Exercise has many benefits and sleep is one of them. Exerting a lot of energy makes your body tired and want to rest. 

7. Improve your sleep surface

The average life span of a good mattress is about 10 years. It's important to invest in a high-quality bed. Also, changing pillows about once a year is equally important - they change form quickly. Nurse Alice recommends adding a little lavender to your pillowcase. 

8. Find the right sleep environment

When you’re a nurse, schedules can change and fluctuate at any time. You can go from working morning shifts to night shifts within a week. If you live with other people, it's important to set boundaries when it comes to your sleep. Take it a step further and put a note on your front door asking others to respect your sleep schedule and NOT ring the doorbell. 

9. Incorporate noise/sounds in your sleep

Soothing sound can help with getting the sleep you need in order to feel a hundred percent ready for your next shift! Some people find it calming to have complete silence when falling asleep, while others would rather have the sound of a rainforest or white noise playing in the background. It’s all just a matter of preference and what helps you sleep at night.

10. Limit screen time

Studies show that the blue light from electronic devices (cell phone, tablet, television, etc.) impacts your body's ability to fall asleep. Turn off all electronic devices at least one hour before sleep time. 


Wednesday 16 June 2021

Nursing Responsibilities, Nursing Career, Nursing Skill, Nursing Professionals, Nursing Exam US

The U.S. has recently passed the one-year anniversary of when the world shut down due to the coronavirus, or SARS-CoV-2. As researchers and medical professionals are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel due to the decreasing number of new infections and daily deaths - COVID-19 variants are becoming more prevalent. Furthermore, the current vaccines have not proven their efficacy against the variants. 

More Info: Nursing Universities

Currently, there are four known variants but even these variants continue to change. All viruses mutate. The flu mutates every year which is why the variants the vaccine works against vary every year. It appears that coronavirus is going to do the same. Research has proven that because of the way COVID affects the cells and mRNA, the mutations might not be as prevalent and/or severe. 

In the never-ending battle to return life to some resemblance of normalcy, the COVID variants continue to throw a wrench in the plan. Nurses continue to see surges in certain areas of the country, especially from those returning from overseas travel. 

Known COVID-19 Variants

Researchers and medical professionals have identified several COVID-19 variants. The most well-known variants were first discovered in the United Kingdom and South Africa. Recently, a variant from Brazil and California has received national attention. Within these variants, there are multiple mutations. 

United Kingdom variant (B.1.1.7)

◉ First emerged in September 2020

◉ A large number of mutations

◉ Potential for increased risk of death

◉ Variant spreads more rapidly

◉ Variant reported in other countries since December 2020

◉ Vaccine efficacy is not affected by the U.K. variant

South Africa variant (B.1.351)

◉ First emerged in October 2020.

◉ Spreads more easily and quickly than other known variants

◉ Very few cases of the variant have been found in the U.S.

Brazilian variant (P.1)

◉ First emerged in January 2021.

◉ It shares some critical mutations with the South Africa variant.

◉ The variant was identified in the U.S. at the end of January 2021

California Variant (B.1.427 and B.1.429)

◉ Spreads very easily

◉ Can affect the effectiveness of COVID antibodies

◉ Moderately more resistant to antibodies from natural infection and vaccination than the original coronavirus strain

Variants and Vaccine Efficacy

Three coronavirus vaccines have been given Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. At this time, individuals do not currently have the option to pick which vaccine they would like to receive; however, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is currently the only vaccine recommended for people aged 16 years and older. 

Vaccine efficacy is still not entirely known because of the ever-changing mutations. However, all three vaccine producers have been conducting additional research on the efficacy of the vaccines against the current known variants and possible new variants/mutations. 

United Kingdom variant

◉ Studies suggest the UK variant doesn’t have a major impact on vaccine efficacy.

South Africa variant

◉ Studies are currently testing whether the current COVID-19 vaccines work just as well against this variant.

◉ Lab studies suggest the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines may have slightly reduced efficacy against this variant.

◉ Moderna is currently testing a booster shot designed specifically against the South Africa variant.

◉ Pfizer is expected to begin studying the need for a booster shot.

◉ Even if these vaccines don’t work as well at preventing mild-to-moderate disease, protection against severe disease and death is expected to remain strong.

◉ A Phase 3 clinical trial showed the Johnson & Johnson vaccine did not work quite as well at preventing asymptomatic disease. However, the vaccine was just as effective against hospitalization and death.

Brazilian variant

◉ Studies are currently testing vaccine efficacy, but it doesn’t appear to have a major impact.

    ◉ Johnson & Johnson conducted part of its vaccine trial in Brazil and reported no issues with vaccine efficacy.

    ◉ Pfizer and Moderna believe their vaccines retain high efficacy against this variant.

What Does This Mean For Nurses?

It means that in some capacity- the virus is here to stay. Nurses will have to continue to remain vigilant to protect not only themselves but also their families and most importantly their patients. It also means that the COVID vaccine may become an annual requirement for healthcare workers, similar to the flu vaccine for some. However, it is impossible to predict if that will be the case. 




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