Happy Nurses Week -SMYS Cruise!

By | Nurses Week | No Comments

SMYS is all about bringing together the Nation of Nurses both online and offline to build a stronger profession of Healthcare Professionals. We love to work hard for our patients, and advocate for our profession,  but this Nurses Week we have to remember good self care and take time to relax!

This year SMYS members from around the United States gathered together on a cruise to Costa Maya and Cozumel. After years of connecting with each other online, they spent time together, formed deeper friendships, and bonded over all of the things that only nurses really understand. We’re so excited for the Next SMYS Cruise.

 

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Thank you Massachusetts Nursing Association

By | Advocacy, Healthcare Policy, Nursing, Unity | No Comments


This year more nursing unions joined with their brothers and sisters at NursesTakeDC, the frontline nurse led grassroots movement fighting for safe staffing. The Massachusetts Nurses Association (MNA) was one of the unions rallying in DC and deserves special recognition. Specifically, we’d like to acknowledge MNA president Donna Kelley Williams RN for her tenacious leadership and advocacy in Massachusetts. The MNA leads the fight for ‘safe patient limits’’; a term they developed that perfectly describes what we are fighting for.

Thanks to the tireless push from the MNA, Massachusetts voters will have a ballot question this November 2018 that decides if ‘safe patient limits’ will be written into state law. Nurses overwhelmingly support safe patient limits. However, the voters of Massachusetts will determine if this becomes a law or not. So far the polls suggest that voters will choose ‘yes’ to safe patient limits, but the fight isn’t over yet!

Massachusetts policy is often viewed as forecast of future national policy. This ballot question is monumental as several states have legislation that has been introduced but has yet to reach committee or the house floor for a vote. A win for Massachusetts nurses could tip the scales in the favor of nurses.

We’ve watched the MNA support the nurses of Massachusetts in their fight for safe patient limits. Now it’s time to do more that watch them work. Now we must support the nurses of Massachusetts in their push for safe patient limits in Massachusetts. We must gain public support and momentum to vote ‘yes’ on this ballot question. At SMYS we believe nurses should support nurses; nursing organizations should support each other; and all nurses in all settings, practicing at all levels should support policy that benefits nurses. Leading up to the November vote, we encourage every nurse to support the nurses of Massachusetts in any way they can.

Social media is a powerful tool. Every nurse can help this cause by sharing information about the ballot question online via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. If you live in Massachusetts or one of the neighboring states (Main, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, New York, Rhode Island), please consider showing up in person to support the Massachusetts nurses. A win for safe patient limits in Massachusetts is a win for all nurses and patients.

 

Thank you for being here and helping nurses unite,

Jalil A. Johnson PhD, MS, APRN, ANP-BC

Show Me Your Stethoscope Foundation I CEO

NursesTakeDC | Organizer

 

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When A Mystery Outbreak Strikes, Who You Gonna Call?

By | Blog, Public Health | No Comments

NPR’s Morning Edition did a fantastic report on a mysterious disease outbreak in Liberia that was spreading rapidly and was potentially deadly.  Read the excerpt below:

In April 2017 about 150 people had gathered for the funeral of a Christian minister in the small port city of Greenville, Liberia, in West Africa. The memorial spanned April 21 and 22 and included a wake that extended late into the night of the first day.
Just one day after the minister was buried, ten people arrived at the local hospital violently sick. Most of them were vomiting and had severe stomach cramps. Some had diarrhea as well. A few ran a fever, but most did not.
The symptoms came on rapidly.
But it was unclear what the patients were suffering from.
What was clear was that it could be lethal.

Head on over to the NPR Morning Edition website to read the rest, and see how they figured out what the disease is and how they figured it out, but before you do comment below with what you think it could be!

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Late to the game:What can China and South Korea teach America?

By | Blog, Healthcare Policy, Kathleen Bartholomew, Public Health | No Comments

 

This is the third in a series of guest posts by Kathleen Bartholemew, author of The Dauntless Nurse.  Don’t miss her first two blog posts, “It all comes back to staffing” and “How much weed is to much for Nurses“.  Check out all of Kathleen’s posts and leave comments below!

In 2008 both South Korea and China declared that gaming addiction was their number one public health problem. Today, these countries have sixteen treatment centers, a school internet screening tool, two week detox program and over 5000 counselors trained in internet addiction. In contrast, the CDC does not list internet addiction as even one of its top ten public health concerns – despite the fact that the screen time for America’s youth is over 7 hours a day, and that our children today only spend 4 to 7 minutes a day outdoors.

As a country we have failed to adequately acknowledge this crises as well as the impact it will ultimately have on our society. Most people do not even know that gaming in excess causes physical changes to the brain’s very structure at a time when it is still evolving. According to Dr. Hillarie Cash, founding member of ReStart Life, the signs and symptoms of addiction are:

  • Attention, learning and self-control problems
  • Impaired social skills
  • Emotional problems, anxiety, low self-esteem and depression
  • Aggression and indifference to human pain
  • Physical problems – eye strain, weakness, carpal tunnel
  • Strong correlation with sex and porn

Concerned, I paid a visit to the first digital addiction treatment center in the nation. Dr. Hillarie Cash  gave me a tour of the group treatment center at ReStART, but most enlightening were the personal conversations with the residents themselves who could barely make eye contact with me. Emphatically, these young men relayed what parents should NOT do:

  • Don’t tell kids its bad – tell them and show them the impact gaming has on their lives
  • Don’t get help until children admit there is a problem (it’s usually an event)
  • Don’t act like being on the internet is a reward
  • Don’t say “as long as you do what you are supposed to do (like good grades) then I don’t care

What should parents do? Unanimously these men wished that their parents had put parental controls on with explanations about the power of digital addiction – and they also wanted their parents to sit down and eat dinner with them. Real human connection appears to be a good antidote.

Pass this information along. Educate yourself on the powerful pull of digital media. Bring up the subject in PTA meetings, churches and social gatherings to help raise awareness in our society of the insidious damage of digital media addiction and inform your loved ones- in person! Or maybe download the APP “Moment” to monitor your own screen time (a reality check for my husband and I). As adults, set a good example. Over 60% of adults sleep with their cell phones at night, and half of adults read their emails during the night.

There has been a two year waiting list for ReStart Life for quite a while now – which clearly demonstrates the need. We may be late to the game, but there is still time for us to rally together to preserve the personal connections that make us human, and to protect our children from danger that they cannot see.

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It all comes back to staffing

By | Advocacy, Blog, Kathleen Bartholomew, Nurse Politics, professional, Workplace Safety | No Comments

This is the second guest blog post in a series of blog posts by Kathleen Bartholomew, author of The Dauntless Nurse. Make sure you check out her first blog post, “How much weed is too much weed for Nurses?“.

It’s been 14 years since the Institute of Medicine recommended that nurses not work more than 12 hours within 24 hours.

It’s been 8 years since the Joint Commission issued a sentinel event alert based on the evidence that connected extended work hours, fatigue and decreased patient and worker safety.

It’s been 4 years since Elizabeth Jasper was killed driving home after a 12 hour shift and Editor-in-Chief Maureen Shawn Kennedy wrote an editorial in the AJN pointing out that “Best practices” should also cover the health and safety of those who practice.”

What’s changed? If you listen to the voices of thousands of nurses on the front line, the answer is “Nothing – in fact, it’s gotten worse”. What is staffing like where you work? And how do you normally cope with short staffing situations?
Negative repercussions can be very subtle. One example would be the manager telling you that she can’t approve your time off (when she/he had previously agreed.) It’s difficult, but important, to still act professionally in all of these situations and to find common ground. One nurse approached her manager and began the conversation by saying, “I know you care about the patients and nurses here as much as I do….”

Do you ever feel retaliated against for standing up for safe staffing? Here is a list of some things you can do because so often we feel hopeless and underestimate our power:
• Make a report to the Joint Commission patientsafetyreport@jointcommission.org
• Never skip a meal or break – call your manager or house supervisor to step in for you and then keep going up the chain of command. File a missed break/meal report.
• Don’t feel responsible for your organizations failure to hire an adequate number of nurses – travelers, temporary nurses and a float pool are options they know they have
• Advocate for a resource pool to your Board of Directors by using specific examples from your daily practice of how unsafe staffing effected both nurse and patient safety
• Contribute money to your state’s Nursing Political Action Committee
• Stay connected to your 675,000 peers in Show Me Your Stethoscope!

But remember, the day that the profession of nursing is respected will be when nurses have the power to decide for themselves how many nurses they need. And that day is long overdue.

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