Friday 30 July 2021

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

My family and I have been enthralled by the Olympics–every night, my kids clamor to switch on the TV to see what sports are on. (I have my suspicions that their love is largely due to the fact that the Olympics are the only screen time I’ll allow without a protest, but I digress.)

My son, in particular, announced that he is particularly eager to watch rowing, which surprised me, but after doing some digging into what athletes were competing in rowing this Olympics, I was shocked to see that one of the athletes was none other than a fellow RN. 

Meet Joan Poh, a 30-year-old rower competing for Singapore in this year’s Olympics and a proud dialysis nurse. 

Heeding the Call

In a profile of Poh for the New York Times, writer Tiffany May described how the rower actually decided to return to her post as a nurse in response to a call from the government for frontline medical personnel in the midst of the pandemic. Despite the fact that she had been training full-time to compete as a rower, she decided that serving her country outside of the water was important too. 

So, she put aside her rows and donned her scrubs once again. 

Actually, instead of just stashing her rows away, Poh decided that she could do both: work as a nurse during the pandemic and continue her training. Nobody ever called nurses lazy, am I right? Well, okay, minus that one card-playing snippet. 

When you realize that Poh battled some very challenging circumstances to have a chance to row, it makes her dedication so admirable. She came from a background with two lower-class working parents who didn’t have time or the financial means to support their children in extracurriculars, but she still made it work. In 2019, she had elected to take a leave from the hospital and train full-time in Australia–which she was doing when the pandemic hit. 

What makes Poh’s story so remarkable is that when she made the elective decision to return to work as a nurse, it was only April of 2020. In other words, she signed on at the very beginning of the pandemic, when tensions and stress and fears and anxieties were high. Although it could be argued that Poh is somewhat familiar with wading into murky waters, I’d say it’s a safe bet that even she had no idea what she was getting into by plunging straight into the ocean that was COVID-19. 

Pulling Double Duty

While frontline nurses in COVID wards were busy tackling everything that came with the novelty of the pandemic, Poh used her skills as a dialysis nurse to support her fellow healthcare worker colleagues in the best way she could. 

But she didn’t stop training, combining both her dreams and her feeling of duty to help. 

In order to pull off her training and her shifts as a dialysis nurse, Poh would wake up at 5 AM to fit in a quick training session before starting work as a nurse at Tan Tock Seng Hospital. Then, once her shift was over, it was back to the gym for a (masked) exercise session. 

The dedicated nurse faced many challenges on the job and in her training, from being forced to miss meals and sleep thanks to the brutal demands on all healthcare workers during the pandemic to the fear of being exposed to COVID-19 herself. Many COVID-19 patients needed dialysis, so Poh worried about potential infection for herself. 

However, she made it through, and out of only 23 Singapore athletes that were sent to the Olympic Games this year, Poh is the only female rower. 

“I understood from when I was young that sport is a luxury,” she told The New York Times. “To be able to pursue your dream is a luxury. And therefore, if you can, then you must.”

Redefining Winning

Now that Poh has officially taken another leave from the hospital in order to compete in the Olympics, it hasn’t stopped her from letting her nursing background shine. For instance, she told the NYT that she frequently sanitizes her seats, bags, and even tables while traveling––ignoring the occasional weird looks she gets. 

She’s also displayed her supportive spirit by organizing a team of amateur female rowers, working with the Singapore Rowing Association to develop the team and show them the literal and figurative ropes of rowing. 

So far, Poh has completed three out of four events without a medal (You can follow Poh’s Olympic schedule and competitions, along with rankings and scores here) but just as you might expect a nurse to feel, she is staying focused on the true measure of success: teamwork. 

“How we define success is always about medals, but it’s not just about winning,” she said in the New York Times. “Yes, winning is important and I sure hope to come close to that in the next cycle, but seeing this team we’ve built is one step in the right direction. It’s also the way I’d like to define success.”


Monday 26 July 2021

Nursing Schools, Nursing Career, Nursing Responsibilities, Nursing Degree, Nursing Professionals

During my senior year of nursing school, life suddenly got a little busy for me. And by a “little busy” I mean I found out I was pregnant, I started planning a wedding with a deadline of three months, and I was still working night shift as a nurse tech.

Honestly, I don’t know how I survived that time in my life, although I do hazily recall a lot of puking and a lot of ice cream consumed. One thing that I remember clearly, however, is that I didn’t have the energy or time to focus on studying as I had during my early days of nursing school.

Heck, I barely could make it through class without having to run out and throw up in the nearest trash can, so you had better believe I didn’t have time to take pages and pages of notes.

If you’re anything like me and looking for a little help studying (probably minus the pregnancy part), I’ve rounded up some of the best nursing study tips and nursing school survival tips that won’t leave your hand cramping from taking notes.

Top 10 Study Tips for Nursing Students 

1. Take a break when you need a break

If you’re feeling like you need a break from studying and memorizing, don’t fall trap to the thinking that you need to power through and keep cramming. You might think more = better, but studies have shown that taking a break can actually make you more productive

2. Know your learning style

Many students may make it to the college level without even knowing what their unique learning style is. Some people learn best by reading, some by writing out notes in a study guide, others by listening, and still others by seeing or doing.

The important thing is that you realize that no way is the “right” way, but there is a right way that will work for you, so experiment to find out what works best for you. 

Instagrammer Maddie K. explained in a post that for her, being a visual learner means that she learns best through videos and pictures instead of just reading. So, for her, watching YouTube videos about the topics she will be tested on has been a life-saver. No, really, she said it herself: “YouTube videos have literally saved my life (heading in a different way can really help),” she wrote. 

3. Reward yourself

A year out of school, 26-year-old labor and delivery registered nurse Danielle Smith’s biggest tip is to set rewards for studying. For example, she suggests that if you want to watch the new episode of “This is Us”, you should tell yourself you must first finish your flashcards for a chapter or complete at least 25 practice questions, etc. 

“Other rewards could be a date/night out, or even a treat like your favorite candy bar, but not unless you accomplish something for school first,” Smith says. “This worked wonders for me!”  

4. Avoid cramming for nursing exams

My biggest tip is to make sure you give yourself enough time to study all the content before your nursing exam!” advises second-year nursing student Kaylee Fenslau, 20.

“Cramming is never good. I normally like to start studying a week before my class and I always do a little bit every day no matter what. I also use a planner, so I know exactly when my assignments and tests are due! Another tip I have is to do a lot of practice questions. That’s helped me immensely in knowing how to answer NCLEX questions—always make time for yourself so you don’t overload yourself with the stress of the assignments and studying!” 

5. Schedule that study time

Second-year BSN student Kelly Carson, 25,  says that time management and prioritizing are everything. And the real key? Scheduling out a time to study—don’t just leave it until you feel like it. 

“Coursework is never-ending so make sure you have a place whether it’s on the computer or an old fashion planner to write down your assignments for the entire semester,” she notes. “Also, getting a head start at the beginning of the semester has helped me to not get behind on readings and assignments!”

6. Diffuse oils to help increase concentration

If you need a little pick-me-up before studying, try some essential oils. Lavender, rosemary, and peppermint oils have all been studied and have been shown to increase concentration and retention.

Try diffusing the oils or dabbing a little on your wrists before sitting down to a study sesh.

7. Try the 45-15 study strategy

If you’re having trouble focusing on your study sessions, try mixing things up with the 45-15 study strategy. The strategy is simple: set a timer for 45 minutes, then take a break for the next 15.

The key is really, really focusing during those 45 minutes (no social media, folks!) and then really, really taking a break. Get up, get moving, talk a walk, and then get back to it.

This strategy is a good way to prep and take advantage of the natural ebb and flow of concentration in your brain. 

8. Form a study group

RN Ashley Cloutier, 31, knows that just like nurses out in the field depend on their coworkers to survive, so too do nursing students. “You develop an odd little family with your peers because you are together more than anyone else,” she explains.

“Find a few people who you mesh well with and form a study group, this is what got me through nursing school. Support each other, encourage, and hold each other accountable. 

We used each other to study, quiz, vent, give a different perspective and discuss how nursing school was affecting our families, therefore us as well.

People who have never experienced nursing school cannot relate to what you’re going through. The stress, demands, assignments, working for free, being away from your family, and when you are home, doing nothing but read or study.

These guys will know exactly how you feel because they are going through it, too. Nursing school is one of the hardest things I’ve accomplished. I couldn’t have done it without my nursing crew.” 

9. Create a study ritual

Pay attention to how you feel when you sit down to study—are you dreading it before you even begin? Groaning internally? Exhausted just thinking about it? It may be time to reevaluate your study environment.

There is no reason to make study time something you absolutely hate; instead, try to set up little rituals for yourself before and while you study to make it more enjoyable. Try setting up a special corner, lighting a candle or even stashing your favorite snacks nearby for a little treat.

And on the flip side, if you’re a creature of habit while studying, you could also try mixing up your environment. Get out of your house or apartment and visit a new coffee shop or deli to get some new sights and sounds while you study. 

10.  Prep before class

Chances are, your typical study style might look something like this: go to class, take notes, review the study material, study, take test, right?


Friday 23 July 2021

The Nursing Process, Nursing Career, Nursing Certification, Nursing Professionals, Nursing Responsibilities, Nursing Skill, Nursing Exam US, Nursing Code of Ethics

According to the American Nurses Association (ANA), the nursing code of ethics is a guide for “carrying out nursing responsibilities in a manner consistent with quality in nursing care and the ethical obligations of the profession.” Ethics, in general, are the moral principles that dictate how a person will conduct themselves. Ethical values are essential for ALL healthcare workers, especially nurses. 

There are 4 main principles that are part of the nursing code of ethics. They are,

1. Autonomy

2. Beneficence

3. Justice

4. Non-maleficence

These principles are ideally what every nurse should be aware of in their daily nursing practice. While ethical principles are sometimes confusing and often taught briefly during undergraduate nursing -- they should be constants in nursing practice in order to provide the best, safest, and most humane care to all patients.

History of the Nursing Code of Ethics

Interestingly, the nursing code of ethics is suggested to have been founded in 1893 and named the “Nightingale Pledge” after Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing. As a modification of the Hippocratic Oath, taken by medical doctors, the Nightingale Pledge has been recited by nursing students at graduations with little changes since inception. 

The formal code of ethics was developed in the 1950s by the American Nurses Association (ANA) and has undergone numerous modifications since. The most significant recent change was in 2015 when 9 interpretative statements or provisions were added to the code of ethics to help guide nursing practice in a more definitive way. 

Many states include the ANA’s nursing code of ethics in their practice statements. Even though the code of ethics is primarily ethics-related, it also has legal implications. Given the importance of the code to the nursing profession, revisions continue on a regular basis.

4 Principles of Ethics for Nurses

1. Autonomy 

Autonomy is recognizing each individual patient’s right to self-determination and decision-making. As patient advocates, it is imperative that nurses ensure that patients receive all medical information, education, and options in order to choose the option that is best for them. This includes all potential risks, benefits, and complications to make well-informed decisions. 

Once the patient has all relevant information, the medical and nursing team can make a plan of care in compliance with the medical wishes of the patient. 

It is important that nurses support the patient in their medical wishes and ensure that the medical team is remembering those wishes. Sometimes, nurses will need to continue to advocate for a patient despite the wishes being verbalized because the medical team might not agree in those wishes.

Many factors may influence a patient's acceptance or refusal of medical treatment, such as culture, age, gender, sexual orientation, general health, and social support system.

2. Beneficence

Beneficence is acting for the good and welfare of others and including such attributes as kindness and charity. The American Nurses Association defines this as “actions guided by compassion.”

3. Justice

Justice is that there should be an element of fairness in all medical and nursing decisions and care. Nurses must care for all patients with the same level of fairness despite the individual's financial abilities, race, religion, gender, and/or sexual orientation. 

An example of this is when working at a free flu clinic or diabetes screening clinic. These are open to all individuals in the community regardless of the previously mentioned factors.

4. Nonmaleficence 

Nonmaleficence is to do no harm. This is the most well known of the main principles of nursing ethics. More specifically, it is selecting interventions and care that will cause the least amount of harm to achieve a beneficial outcome

The principle of nonmaleficence ensures the safety of the patient and community in all care delivery. Nurses are also responsible to report treatment options that are causing significant harm to a patient which may include suicidal or homicidal ideations. 

Nursing Code of Ethics Interpretive Statements

Revised in 2015 to include 9 provisions, the ANA’s nursing code of ethics now includes interpretative statements that can provide more specific guidance for nursing practice.

9 Provisions of the Nursing Code of Ethics 

The Nursing Process, Nursing Career, Nursing Certification, Nursing Professionals, Nursing Responsibilities, Nursing Skill, Nursing Exam US, Nursing Code of Ethics

Currently, the nurse’s code of ethics contains 9 main provisions:

1. The nurse practices with compassion and respect for the inherent dignity, worth, and unique attributes of every person.

2. The nurse’s primary commitment is to the patient, whether an individual, family, group, community, or population.

3. The nurse promotes, advocates for, and protects the rights, health, and safety of the patient.

4. The nurse has authority, accountability, and responsibility for nursing practice; makes decisions; and takes action consistent with the obligation to provide optimal patient care.

5. The nurse owes the same duties to self as to others, including the responsibility to promote health and safety, preserve wholeness of character and integrity, maintain competence, and continue personal and professional growth.

6. The nurse, through individual and collective effort, establishes, maintains, and improves the ethical environment of the work setting and conditions of employment that are conducive to safe, quality health care.

7. The nurse, in all roles and settings, advances the profession through research and scholarly inquiry, professional standards development, and the generation of both nursing and health policy.

8. The nurse collaborates with other health professionals and the public to protect human rights, promote health diplomacy, and reduce health disparities.

9. The profession of nursing, collectively through its professional organization, must articulate nursing values, maintain the integrity of the profession, and integrate principles of social justice into nursing and health policy.

The aforementioned nine provisions were implemented to help guide nurses in ethical decision-making throughout their practice. 

Making Ethical Decisions as a Nurse

Unfortunately, nurses are often unable to make complex ethical decisions based solely on the four principles and nine provisions. In these instances, it is important to consult the ethics committee before making any major decisions. Often, other resources are needed when making major ethical decisions.

How Nurses Use the Nursing Code of Ethics

Knowing the nursing code of ethics is essential for nurses because it will help guide everyday practice and navigate the daily complexities of the healthcare profession. Nurses often use the four major ethical principles throughout a shift, even if not fully aware of it. 

This may include,

◉ Providing pain medication to a post-operative hip replacement

◉ Holding the hand of a dying patient who is alone

◉ Advocating for the patient that wants to end chemotherapy and enter hospice care

Nursing is consistently regarded as the most honest and ethical profession and practicing with the nursing code of ethics is essential to ensuring that patients and their families receive the care they have come to know and expect. Utilizing the ethical codes of justice, nonmaleficence, autonomy, and beneficence on a daily basis allows nurses to provide the safest and most compassionate care for their patients. 


Monday 19 July 2021

Nursing Schools, Nursing Career, Nursing Certification, Nursing Degree US, Nursing Exam US, Nursing Responsibilities, Nursing Professionals

The beauty of choosing a nursing degree is that having your credentials as an RN opens up an entire world of career paths for you. You can choose to work at the bedside, you can explore travel nursing or you can opt for a non-clinical role–no matter which path you choose, your education as a nurse prepares you in invaluable ways. 

And one career path that some nurses may be interested in exploring is medical device sales. A career in medical device sales offers many benefits, such as the opportunity to focus on a condition you’re passionate about, high-income potential, and a fast-paced and dynamic environment. chatted with Meaghan Saelens, RN, a recent nursing school graduate and new medical device sales rep with Zimmer Biomet, to learn more about how she has combined her nursing degree with a medical device sales career. 

Nursing Schools, Nursing Career, Nursing Certification, Nursing Degree US, Nursing Exam US, Nursing Responsibilities, Nursing Professionals

What is Medical Device Sales?

First things first, what exactly is medical device sales? A career in medical device sales means that you will be acting as a product expert to both deliver product information, sales and in many companies, pre and post-sale support as well. That means that your job will involve,

◉ Establishing relationships with other healthcare professionals who can benefit from the company’s products

◉ Serving as an expert on how the product can support them and their patients 

◉ Providing guidance on how to actually use the product

What Does a Day Look Like in Medical Sales? 

As a medical device sales rep for spinal products, Meaghan explains that no two days ever look quite the same. (Hey, sounds a lot like nursing, right?) She splits her time between,

◉ Professional education

◉ Establishing relationships with surgeons

◉ Attending surgeries in the OR and providing product support

She notes that this is definitely not a 9-5 career pathway–some days she’s logging long hours in the OR, while others may have more flexibility. 

“One of the benefits to being a medical device sales rep is that every day can be a little bit different,” she says. “That’s a pro to me, but I know it could be a con for others. One day, you could be doing sales calls or setting up for your next surgery and the next day you may have a full surgery day. It really just depends on the day. “ 

How Much Do Medical Device Sales Reps Make?

Although the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) doesn’t keep exact salary data on medical device sales representatives, according to Glassdoor, the average salary for a medical device sales rep is around $56K. That is lower than the BLS average of $75K for RNs, but you do have to keep in mind that sales rep salaries are highly variable and Glassdoor notes that some reps make near $100K. 

And as Meaghan tells, the income potential you have as a medical device sales rep can be extremely high. “The great thing about medical device sales is that you can make as much and as little as you want,” she says. “If you put in the time and work then you have the potential to make great money. It all comes down to your work ethic and how much time you are willing to put in to build your business.”

Why Nurses Make Ideal Medical Device Sales Reps

Although you technically don’t need a background in healthcare to become a medical or pharmaceutical sales rep (typically, all that’s required is a Bachelor’s degree), nurses are definitely ideal candidates for the career for several reasons including:  

◉ Possessing critical thinking skills

◉ Excellent communication abilities

◉ The ability to think on their feet and thrive in a fast-paced environment

◉ Nurses have specialized knowledge about healthcare, disease processes and patient populations that translate well into the medical device field. 

For instance, Meaghan has found that her preparation as a nurse has been especially helpful in taking on her new role working with surgeons and specialized spinal surgical products. “Being an RN is definitely helpful because I have an understanding of human anatomy and pathophysiology, can use appropriate medical terminology when speaking to surgeons and feel comfortable in an OR environment,” she notes. 

In fact, Meaghan actually first became interested in medical device sales specifically because of her surgical rotation during nursing school. “I first became interested in medical device sales because there was a sales rep in one of the surgeries I was watching and I thought it seemed like a very interesting job,” she explains. “I liked the idea of being able to be involved in the surgeries and I really loved being in the operating room.”  

In addition to the technical aspects of the job that nursing has helped prepare her for, Meaghan also has found that her experience of going through nursing school helped her see the bigger picture of healthcare–and provided her with the valuable perspective of how vital teamwork is, no matter what aspect of patient care you are involved in. 

“Being a nurse has helped me a lot seeing what healthcare workers go through on a day to day basis,” she points out. “It really makes you appreciate that everyone in the hospital plays a role in helping every patient that comes through the door.”

How to Start a Career in Medical Device Sales

If you’re a nursing student potentially interested in a career in medical device sales, you can definitely start researching future opportunities while you’re still in school. In fact, Meaghan was able to score her first interview with a medical device sales company while she was still in her last semester of nursing school. 

She encourages current nursing students to reach out to a current rep in the field to try to learn from them and get guidance on their career pathway as well. “There are a lot of different medical device fields to choose from, so figure out what might interest you the most,” she suggests. And she points out that a career in device sales isn’t just about money; there are a lot of factors to consider such as the time that goes into the job, what kind of travel may be involved and what role you will play in the company. 

“I think a lot of people get into this field because there is a potential to make a good amount of money but this job is not as easy as it may seem,” she says. “Gather as much information about the field as you can and weigh out the pros and cons before making a decision.”

In the end, Meaghan hopes that other nurses and nursing students considering a career in medical device sales stay curious and committed to the path of learning they first embarked on during their education. 

“Medical device sales definitely requires stepping out of your comfort zone,” she says. “You need to be willing to put in more time studying even when you are fresh out of school and thought you would be done studying. You’ll learn something new every day in this field.”


Tuesday 13 July 2021

Nursing Certification, Nursing Responsibilities, Nursing Career, Nursing Professionals

It probably comes as no surprise to anyone to hear that nurses are under unprecedented levels of stress, but a new study by the Ohio State University College of Nursing has confirmed that the critical care nurses in particular are reporting alarmingly high levels of stress–and that stress is translating into medical errors with their patients.

The study, Critical Care Nurses’ Physical and Mental Health, Worksite Wellness Support, and Medical Errors, published in the American Journal of Critical Care, was specifically designed to investigate the connections between critical care nurses’ physical and mental health and perception of workplace wellness support with self-reported medical errors. And the results revealed, more than ever, how crucial supporting nurses' health and well-being is to patient care.

Stress in Nursing is More than Personal

By gathering responses from 771 critical care nurses on their overall health, symptoms of depression and anxiety, stress, burnout, perceived worksite wellness support, and self-reported medical errors, researchers were able to show that the stress nurses face at work extend far beyond the personal. 

For instance, crucial care nurses who identified themselves in poor physical and mental health reported significantly more medical errors. And on the flip side, the results also showed that workplace support can translate to better physical health in nurses: nurses who perceived that their worksite was very supportive of their well-being were twice as likely to have better physical health. Who would have guessed that treating nurses as humans could translate to better health outcomes overall? 

The study comes at a time when nurses need more support than ever. Anna Dermenchyan, MSN, RN, CCRN-K, Director of Quality in the Department of Medicine at UCLA Health, Los Angeles and Director, National Board of Directors, American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) tells that it’s clear that the pandemic has added additional work and mental health stressors to nurses that were already overwhelmed. She notes that experts are attributing many increased incidences of fatigue, stress, anxiety, depression, PTSD, moral distress, compassion fatigue and suicide as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“During the peak of the pandemic, nurses were asked to work extra shifts, with little regard to their own well-being. Many have worked 60+ hours a week continuously and have had no time for self-care for more than 14 months. Before, there was some balance between work and personal life, but the pandemic introduced additional stressors at home for our colleagues who have children and elderly parents,” she points out. “Many nurses have been stretched thin in all their roles as caregivers.”  

She adds that it’s the dangerous combination of nurses feeling overwhelmed and overworked or practicing in unhealthy work environments while also lacking support from colleagues and leadership that leads to things like extreme burnout and nurses wanting to leave the profession altogether. 

Beating Back Stress with Support and Solutions

While the study painted a bleak picture for how stress levels in nursing can translate into risks for potentially poor patient care as well as a higher rate of nurses leaving the field, it also offered solutions. For instance, the study authors concluded that hospital leaders and health care systems need to prioritize the health of their nurses through actions such as resolving system issues, building wellness cultures and providing evidence-based wellness support and programming. 

Dermenchyan tells that practical action steps could include:

1. Limiting the number of overtime shifts 

2. Encouraging nurses to schedule time to sleep and rest, listen to music, read, spend time with your loved ones, or do something that brings them joy

3. Educating RNs to feel comfortable to ask a colleague to double-check their work and process if they feel something is off 

4. Adding an additional resource staff on units to  give nurses break relief. In this role, she explains that a full-time employee of the unit works a full shift as a designated resource nurse to help the unit with clinical duties such as conducting quality checks, giving breaks to other nurses, or helping with admissions. They can also be added on for a short shift or changing their full shift to a break shift based on the unit census. 

The Resource Nurse

The resource nurse, which is a best practice at UCLA Health, is an interesting concept that could definitely be a game-changer. I had the opportunity to witness a resource nurse in action when my daughter had a stay in the NICU–as a former floor nurse and new parent without child care who worked night shift chronically sleep-deprived and well over safe patient ratios, I was amazed when I saw a nurse regularly check in on our baby’s nurses throughout the shifts. It clearly made a difference in the work culture at the hospital when RNs could know they were fully supported and able to access help or even a bathroom break when they needed it. 

Dermenchyan explains that resource nurses are usually individuals who have been on the unit for a couple of years and are in informal leadership roles like precepting new nurses or involved in unit governance work. While providing breaks, the resource nurse can also perform quality and safety checks to support the primary nurse and provide peer coaching, if needed. If you’re a nurse reading this who knows exactly what it’s like to feel totally alone and overwhelmed at 3 AM, you know how vital a resource like this could be. 

Leading The Way Through Leadership

Along with practical steps, Dermenchyan advocates for supportive steps from healthcare leadership that can make a difference in supporting nurses, especially in times of crisis like post-pandemic. She suggests several ways that leaders can support nurses at work such as:

1. Being present during rounding and daily communication. “Areas where leadership was present through rounding and daily communication updates provided visibility and support for nurses,” she notes. “People didn’t feel alone and isolated.”

2. An information hotline. She explains that a hotline or an expert pool who knows the latest science/evidence can provide nurses much-needed information on the most up-to-date work guidance, as well as peer support and referrals to mental health resources. 

3. On-site wellness support. Programs such as UCLA Health’s “Tea for the Soul” from the pastoral care department, which offers support and a sense of teamwork to the units facing stress, loss or difficulty through one-hour sessions to unwind. Plus, there’s tea and cookies. 

4. Schwartz Center Rounds. As opposed to rounding that focuses solely on the patient’s updates, Schwartz Center Rounds are focused on staff discussing the stressors surrounding their role as a healthcare professional. Dermenchyan notes that UCLA Health is among the many healthcare organizations that do Schwartz Center Rounds as a structured way to provide a safe forum to discuss the distressing experiences that nurses, and other members of the healthcare team are going through. 

5. Crisis housing. For example, during the pandemic, some organizations provided on-campus or nearby housing and complimentary hotel accommodations to allow COVID+ nurses a safe place to rest and recover without the fear of getting family members infected. 

6. Childcare support. HR solutions for childcare provide help for nurses who have school-aged children and need childcare support. It’s no secret that the lack of childcare and school for families has affected women in healthcare especially–and with three-fourths of healthcare workers identifying as female, that’s a really big problem. 

It almost seems revolutionary to think of nurses getting something like childcare support, but workplace support translates into wide scale benefits, such as increased nurse retention, improved health and improved patient care. 

“Organizations should provide a safe and healthy work environment where nurses feel like their physiological and safety needs are met,” Dermenchyan points out. “When the basic level of needs is met, nurses can have a sense of belonging and feel more ownership to contribute to their work. When all needs are met, nurses can engage more fully and function at their highest level.”   

And when you think about it from a practical standpoint, nurses are the people we rely on to take care of us all, especially in a crisis. So maybe it’s time we start taking care of them. 


Sunday 4 July 2021

COVID-19, Nursing Responsibilities, Nursing Career, Nursing Skill

The US Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) for COVID-19, covering health care workers.  This ruling comes after extensive lobbying since March last year by the National Nurses Union (NNU) and other representative organizations.

COVID ETS covers health care workers

These federal temporary emergency workplace safety rules apply to most settings where health care services or health support services are provided, including home health services. Some settings are excluded, including retail pharmacies and medical and dental offices. Some employers may qualify for an exemption, for example, ambulatory settings where all staff has been vaccinated and non-employees entering the premises are screened.

Jim Frederick, the acting administrator of OSHA, estimated that compliance with the rules would protect around 10.3 million employees. This is the first binding requirement issued by OSHA relating to workplace safety during the COVID-19 pandemic, although it had previously issued various recommendations.

There has been considerable criticism that the ETS applies only to health care workers, but OSHA had determined that a healthcare-specific standard would have the most significant impact.  An ETS is only issued after OSHA has determined that workers are in “grave danger” from exposure to toxic substances or a new hazard.

Provisions of the ETS

Some of the provisions of the ETS are:

◉ A COVID-19 plan for each workplace, with input from non-managerial employees and the appointment of workplace COVID-19 coordinators to implement and monitor the plan.

◉ Supply of PPE and frequency of replacement, appropriate for the hazards to which the employee is exposed. For example, respirators and other PPE must be provided for those working in close contact with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients. The employer must also provide training and ensure proper fit and use of PPE.

◉ Enabling physical distancing whenever feasible could include providing barriers, telehealth services, and planning staggered work times and breaks.

◉ Employees must be notified of exposure to confirmed cases and receive full compensation and benefits while in isolation or quarantine and for required tests.

◉ Full support for employee vaccination. This includes time off for the vaccination and recovery time if there are side effects.

◉ Ensuring that ventilation systems are working correctly.

 ◉ An anti-retaliation clause, protecting employees who lodge complaints against their employer not meeting the standards.

NNU Reaction

For the past 15 months, through lobbying, petitions, and protests, National Nurses United had been at the forefront of calls for OSHA to issue an ETS. They have welcomed the eventual issuing of the standard as a highly significant message to employers.

While the ETS has been issued at a very late stage of the pandemic, NNU President Zenei Triunfo-Cortez explained that nurses and other frontline health care providers were still in danger, especially with the relaxation of safety measures across the country.

“This standard is a testimony to the advocacy of registered nurses and our allies across the country who have fought with employers to demand safer workplaces,” said Bonnie Castillo, Executive Director of NNU.  “We now have an additional legal sanction for employers who continue to put their profits and budget goals over worker and patient safety.”

Castillo further believes that this emergency standard, a first in many respects, has laid the groundwork for a permanent OSHA standard on infectious diseases to cover future epidemics. The current emergency standard is valid for six months after which it could be made permanent.




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