Saturday, August 30, 2008

Be SAFE Please!!!

Hoping everyone heeds the warnings, and helps their neighbors who need it, to get out of the path of Gustav! Upgraded to a Category 4 hurricane in Cuba, likely to be a Cat 5 as it hits the Gulf Coast late Sunday, early Monday. Let us NOT have another Katrina!!!

And for those celebrating the traditional "end of summer" Labor Day Holiday, please be safe. Drink responsibly and drive safely!


Thursday, August 28, 2008

Nurses Making a Difference in Someone's Life Everyday

Today I read one of the most touching stories about a nurse named Laurie Van Damme who goes above and beyond to help mothers and families deal with the tragedy of a stillborn. Even those who cannot face the possibility of having the time to make closure, have found comfort in her efforts weeks and months after the event.

Once the moment is gone, you cannot get it back again and for so many this is the most heartbreaking part of losing a baby.

Having suffered an ectopic pregnancy many years ago, I know the pain of not having a baby to make closure with. So many hospitals just whisk away the stillborn and think that it is best for the family to forget and move forward.

This is a truly remarkable nurse and she makes nursing the tremendous profession that it is. Thank you Laurie!!!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Pay Attention to the Political Conventions

The political race in the U.S. has been a long one this time around, but as the parties head to their conventions, platforms will become more clear and we'll begin to understand more about where Obama and McCain stand on health care and issues involving solving the shortage of nurses.

No matter what your political preferences, we need to pay close attention to these issues. The nursing shortage and health care crisis in this country are very important issues in this election and how the next administration approaches them.

I hope you will all take some time to listen and read about the proceedings taking place in Denver this week and in the Twin Cities next week.

photo: Steve Woods

Friday, August 22, 2008

Deadline Approaching for Kaplan Anthology Submissions

A reminder to all nurses interested in submitting a story for Kaplan's new anthology about your experiences working with babies in their first 28 days.

The deadline of September 1, 2008 is quickly approaching.

photo from

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

A Little Humor for Your Day

Perhaps you have heard this already, but it gave me a giggle yesterday. They say laughter can add 8 years to your life, so laugh a little today!

This is NOT a true story, but it's cute. (See

  • Picabo (Peekaboo) Street the former Olympic skier has become an ICU nurse now and works in an intensive care unit in a large metropolitan hospital. She is not allowed to answer the phones however, because she was causing a great deal of confusion: "Picabo, ICU."

Picabo has been the brunt of jokes her entire life, as would most anyone with an unusual name. She is not a nurse, but she has been actively involved in fundraising and raising awareness of the cause of preventing child abuse.

Monday, August 11, 2008

News for Nurses

A couple of items worth bringing to your attention:

Behavior Affects Patient Safety
JCAHO recently issued a Sentinel Alert calling for all JCAHO accredited institutions to take note of findings hat patient safety is being undermined by inappropriate and unprofessional behavior exhibited by health care professionals.

Nurses, physicians, pharmacists, therapists and support staff who demonstrate intimidating and disruptive behavior toward other health care professionals, patients and others will need to be dealt with if facilities wish to comply with JCAHO standards as of January 1, 2009.

For far too long, inappropriate behavior has been ignored, unreported and never addressed for fear of reprisal or being labeled as a "whistle blower." Research has shown that patient safety is being compromised and JCAHO has taken the lead to put an end to such issues.

You can read more about this in my post at Ultimate

Will More Foreign Trained Nurses Ease Shortage?
The Emergency Nursing Supply Relief Act (H.R. 5924) is being considered by several subcommittees in the House of Representatives. On Friday, August 1, 2008, the Judiciary Committee voted 7-2 to pass this bill.

The bill was introduced to the U.S. House of Representative on April 29, 2008, by Rep. Robert Wexler (D-FL). This legislation would increase the number of visas to 20,000 each year for three years allowing foreign born nurses to help ease the current shortage in the U.S. The bill would also authorize grants to help increase enrollment in U.S. nursing schools and develop new nursing education programs.

For more information, and to track this bill see:

Monday, August 4, 2008

Kaplan Publishing Needs Stories for Anthology

Kaplan Publishing has issued a call for nurse writers to contribute to an upcoming anthology entitled Kaplan Voices:Nurses series. For this portion of the anthology, entitled New Lives, the need is for nurses with experience working with babies in the first 28 days of their lives.

These stories would most likely come from OB-GYN nurses, NICU nurses, labor and delivery or newborn nursery nurses, nurse midwives, family practice or women's health NPs, nurse lactation or childbirth educators, pediatric nurses, and any other nurses who have had experience caring for newborn infants.

Kaplan wants you to tell the story of your experience including "the babies you have cared for, the unique clinical and emotional challenges of caring for an infant, and what you've learned along the way." They are looking for life-changing or life-defining experiences.

Stories must be true and from your own experience. Nurses must take care to protect the identity of patients with respect to HIPAA regs. The story must also be previously unpublished.

If your story is chosen to be published you will receive $100 and a complimentary copy of the book. Stories should be 1,000 to 2,500 words told in the first-person. They should be typed in 12-point Times Roman, double spaced. Email submissions are preferred, but they can be sent by mail as well.

Kaplan Publishing advises that due to the large volume of submissions, they cannot verify receipt nor issues updates. If your story is chosen, they will contact you and have you sign an agreement. You may submit more than one story.

Include your name, address, phone number and email address on all pages of your submission. Your story should have a title, as well as a beginning, middle and an end. Enrich it with details, descriptions and dialogue. Include a word count.

Deadline for submission is September 1, 2008. Email submissions to: In the Subject Line place your story's title and New Lives anthology for nurses

Paste the story into the body of the email or attach a Microsoft Word (doc.) file. Manuscripts accepted for publishing will be subject to editing. You will be given an opportunity to review the edited version.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Nurses are Calling for Change

The economy has quickly risen to the top of the list of issues facing the U.S. candidates running for office this year from local levels all the way to the Presidential candidates. No doubt that is a major issue on the minds of everyone regardless of their political party preferences. It is something that has to be addressed and fixed, and the sooner the better!

But we can't let the health care crisis be lost in the process of trying to remain afloat financially. In fact the economic downturn directly affects the health care crisis. If we thought Americans couldn't afford health care before they started losing their homes and savings in banks that are going under, they certainly can't afford it now!

The shortage of nurses certainly isn't going to improve as long as Congress continues to ignore the need for funding of educational opportunities. And unless we address the shortage of nurses, the health care crisis is not going to improve. Nurses and proper patient education are key to the success of any (improved) health care program.

Nurses and the Public Say It's Time for a Change
, a collaborative article by Teri Mills, MS, RN, ANP, CNE and several colleagues looks at the health care crisis and the shortage of nurses and discusses this need for change. It's a must read for nurses, and please be sure to voice your opinion in the poll in the second section. (You will need to register at Medscape Nurses if you aren't a member already, but it's FREE.) A National Nurse for America is a concept to explore and to grasp. Get the facts and voice our opinion.