Quincy, Mass. nurse who helped at finish line describes year of guilt, anxiety, pride

(The Enterprise) Bill Dockham was so close to the first explosion that the medical tent shook around him.

With no windows to look through, Dockham had to watch on a small television as chaos suddenly broke out a few dozen feet from where he stood near the Boston Marathon finish line. Moments later, the first victims started coming in.

[Read more…]

Congratulations Jill Keeney!

Congratulations to winnerJill Keeney, who is a junior nursing major (RN, BSN) at Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Jill has completed several different clinical rotations in hospitals all over the Philadelphia area.  Jill is looking forward to graduating and becoming an RN in 2015!

Jill is the winner of a brand new 3M Littmann Master Cardiology Stethoscope from our 2013 SNAP drawing! 

Nurses Save United Pilot Having Possible Heart Attack Mid-Flight

Talk about high drama.

In an emergency situation called straight out of a movie, two nurses saved a United Airlines pilot having a possible heart attack mid-flight last month. [Read more…]

Nurse’s life revolved around giving, helping

(TribReview) When Terra Welsh learned that many diabetic children could not go to a summer camp because of their condition, she helped start a summer camp for them.

“She would take two weeks of her own vacation time to be with the kids, and she did that for several years,” said her sister, Paula Fleming of Cranberry. “She always thought of other people before herself.”

Terra M. Welsh of McCandless, a teacher turned nurse, died of cancer on Thursday, Oct. 17, 2013, in Forbes Hospice in Bloomfield. She was 54. [Read more…]

Nurses not so thrilled about MTV’s Scrubbing In

MTV has released the trailer for their upcoming nursing docu-series Scrubbing In, and the initial response from the nursing community has been overwhelmingly negative.

Via the show’s “about” section:

‘Scrubbing In’ follows a group of travel nurses assigned to work at an Orange County, CA hospital for 12 weeks. Relocating from across the country, these nurses have left their hometowns and lives behind for short-term hospital contracts, with the added benefit of exploring a new city. For Tyrice, Chris and Fernando, this isn’t their first tour and they’re considered experts of the program. For first-timers Adrian, Chelsey, Michelle, Crystal, Nikki and Heather, this is a new journey they’re embarking on together, looking for a change from their nursing jobs in Pittsburgh, PA.

The first footage from the show features the girls and guys living the life while a narrator tells us they’re hell raisers, heart breakers, life savers and fun seekers. There’s bikini bodies, a serious six-pack, partying and, oh yeah, working!

We are talking about reality TV entertainment here, but folks from the nursing community have been voicing concern about how Scrubbing In will portray their profession in a negative light:

Caitlin Gardner wrote: “I am disgusted with MTV and these “nurses.” As a “20-something-year-old” RN, I have to express the shame I feel now for having to be associated with this swill! What kind of an institution would allow this to be aired, Jersey Shore Medical Center?”

Via the comments section from the trailer’s post on MTV:

Tiffanie stated: “this is absoloutely an insult to the profession!!!!! These girls are not an example of what a PROFESSIONAL is. You should be ashamed of yourselves. As a nursefor 13 years this saddens me that this is the future my profession.”

Aimee commented: “I was really excited when I heard this was going to air a few months ago. Now to see the preview of it, absolutely disgusts me. For anyone in the nursingprofession, this does nothing other than shed bad light on this particular career. Being a student nurse, scheduled to graduate in May, this show portrays NOTHING close to what my classmates and the fellow nurses I have had the opportunity to work with. This will leave nothing but a negative stigma. MTV just took a professional job such as nursing, and have dressed it down as if it is similar to the Real World. Fact…There is no “partying” after a 12 hour day. Most nurses are lucky after working a 12 or 16 hour day to make the drive home, shower the mucus, vomit and blood off of them, and crawl into bed to get a hopeful 6 hours of sleep! This show will not portray the reality of what a nurses life is really like…. because if MTV actually did just that…. it would be cancelled after the first episode! We don’t party, we aren’t “slutty”! And we would like to be treated with some respect that we worked very very hard to earn!!!!!!!!!”

Lisa: This is NOT what our profession needs….more media portrayal of nurses as sex objects. This is a disgrace to the professionalism and integrity of a job many of us are truly passionate about.

Alexis: As a young nurse, I’m dreading this shows release. I am not at all what this trailerportrays, I am a professional and my private life is kept that way. This will portray all young female nurses in a horrid way that could affect our future jobs as well as our relationships with our patients. =( =( =(

Josh: As a nurse, this makes me want to vomit. Oh wait, I just did.

Via a forum about the trailer from allnurses.com, itzvalerie suggested the following. “I saw the preview & just was talking to my boyfriend about this. It could be good & draw more people into the nursing profession. I’m just worried that the way they will show it there will be excessive drinking, the nurses will be really clique-y & a lot of drama.” Squishy LVN replied, “Whatever people this show will draw into the nursing profession I doubt are the kind of people we would want in the nursing profession.”

Reality shows from MTV often face a backlash before they air. Buckwild even made national headlines when West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin stated he was “repulsed” by the trailer and penned a letter to the president of MTV requesting that they not air the show.

Scrubbing In is set for an October 24 premiere at 10/9c.

TV may reinforce stereotypes about men in nursing

(Reuters) Fictional male nurses on television are sidelined in supporting roles, portrayed as the butt of jokes and cast as commentary providers or minority representatives, all of which makes it harder in reality to recruit men to nursing and retain them, according to a new study. [Read more…]

When No One Is on Call

(NY Times) We nurses all have stories — if we’re lucky, it’s just one — about the time we failed a patient. It’s usually a problem of being too busy: too many cases, too many procedures to keep track of until one critical step, just one, slips through our frenetic fingers and someone gets hurt.

I saw it happen the first time while in nursing school. A patient needed an escalating dose of pain medicine. Her pain eased, but her breathing slowed and her oxygen level dropped. I told her nurse that the patient might need narcan, a reversing agent for opioids.

“Narcan?” The nurse didn’t have time for that. Caring for eight patients on a busy medical-surgery floor meant that getting through the day’s tasks took up all her time. Half an hour later, though, the patient needed an emergency team to revive her. I held her hand while an anesthesiologist stuck a tube down her throat. She ended up in intensive care.

It would be easy to blame the nurse. How could she be too busy? But she was a good nurse, smart and committed. She simply had too much to do, too many acute needs to address. And then one, just one, got out of control.

Bedside nurses are the hospital’s front line, but we can’t do the first-alert part of our jobs if there aren’t enough of us on the floor. More demands for paperwork, along with increasing complexity of care, means the amount of time any one nurse has for all her patients is diminishing. And as hospitals face increasing financial pressure, nurse staffing often takes a hit, because nurses make up the biggest portion of any hospital’s labor costs.

For patients, though, the moral calculus of the nurses-for-money exchange doesn’t add up. Pioneering work done by Linda H. Aiken at the University of Pennsylvania in 2002 showed that each extra patient a nurse had above an established nurse-patient ratio made it 7 percent more likely that one of the patients would die. She found that 20,000 people died a year because they were in hospitals with overworked nurses.

Research also shows that when floors are adequately staffed with bedside nurses, the number of patients injured by falls declines. Staff increases lead to decreases in hospital-acquired infections, which kill 100,000 patients every year.

The importance of sufficient nurse staffing is becoming irrefutable, so much so that the Registered Nurse Safe-Staffing Act of 2013 was recently introduced by Representatives Lois Capps, a Democrat from California and a nurse, and David Joyce, a Republican from Ohio.

Among other things, the act would require that hospitals include their nurse staffing levels on Medicare’s Hospital Compare Web site and post their staffing levels in a visible place in every hospital.

Concerns over money will determine whether this bill has even a chance at passing. It is collecting co-sponsors, but similar legislation has never gotten very far because hospital administrators view such mandates as too costly.

It’s hard to do a definitive cost-benefit analysis of a variable as complicated as nurse staffing because health care accounting systems are often byzantine. But data suggest that sufficient staffing can significantly reduce hospital costs.

Medicare won’t reimburse a hospital if a patient is readmitted before 30 days, and a full nursing staff is one way to reduce readmissions. Having enough nurses increases patient-satisfaction scores, which also helps maintain Medicare reimbursement levels. Understaffing leads to burnout and nurses’ quitting their jobs, both of which cost money in terms of absenteeism and training new staff. Finally, falls and infections have associated costs.

What this discussion of finances misses, though, is that having enough nurses is not just about dollars and cents. It’s about limiting the suffering of human beings. When hospitals have insufficient nursing staffs, patients who would have gotten better can get hurt, or worse.

Several months ago I started a new job, and a few weeks in I heard my name being called. A patient getting a drug that can cause dangerous reactions was struggling to breathe. I hurried to her room, only to discover that I wasn’t needed. The other nurses from the floor were already there, stopping the infusion, checking the patient’s oxygen and drawing up the rescue medication.

The patient was rattled, but there were enough nurses to respond, and in the end she was completely fine.

Now picture the same events in a different hospital, one that doesn’t adequately staff, and this time the patient is you. As the drug drips in, you feel a malaise. You breathe deeply but can’t quite get enough air. Your thinking becomes confused, your heart races. Terrified, you press the call light, you yell for help, but the too few nurses on the floor are spread thin and no one comes to help in time. A routine infusion ends with a call to a rapid-response team, a stay in intensive care, intubation, ventilation, death.

This kind of breakdown is not the nurses’ fault, but the system’s. We are not an elastic resource. We can be where we are needed, but only if there are enough of us.

Portraits of Compassion: Photographer Shows Voice, Fortitude of American Nurses

(PBSTranscript: JUDY WOODRUFF: Finally tonight: the stories of those at the forefront of health care, the nurses who serve as healers in communities from coast to coast. [Read more…]

Nurse graduate inspired by memory of daughter

(Valley Morning Star) Madison Randolph was a ball of energy with an adventurous spirit.

On Friday, her mother Gina delivered the salutatorian address at the inaugural pinning ceremony for the Registered Nursing Program at Texas State Technical College. And much of the strength Gina needed to get through her speech she drew from her late daughter. [Read more…]

Nurse Charged With Assisting In Her Father’s Death

(NPR) A Philadelphia nurse has been charged with assisted suicide for allegedly providing her 93-year-old father with a lethal dose of morphine.

Authorities say Barbara Mancini, 57, told a hospice nurse and a police officer on Feb. 7 that she provided a vial of morphine to her father, Joe Yourshaw, to hasten his death. [Read more…]