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In the wake of disaster, nurses answer the call

While most people were running away from Hurricane Harvey, a team of nurses from the Christus St. Michael Health System flew into the storm to help others.

With just two hours’ notice, the 13 nurses boarded a plane to San Antonio, arriving shortly before Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas. Word had spread throughout the health system that patients from around the state were being transferred out of the hurricane’s path into hospitals in the San Antonio area, and they would need more nurses to handle the influx of patients.

By the time the nurses reached the Christus San Antonio Medical Center and Christus Santa Rose New Braunsfel hospital, an additional 70 patients were transferred to these facilities and needed care. One of the nurses, Kelli Thompson, BSN, RN, WCC, SCRN, ended up working the night shift in the MICU with other volunteers. “We helped with admissions, started IVs, cleaned up patients. We did whatever they needed us to do,” Thompson said. “They had patients who were very sick and needed a lot of care.” The MICU had a significant increase in patients, over 150% of its regular capacity. “It was a big difference from what they were used to,” Thompson said.

The volunteer nurses slept in empty patient rooms on cots and hospital beds; flooding concerns meant that they stayed in the hospital for four days straight so they wouldn’t miss a shift. Though the experience was trying, the volunteers felt welcomed by both the patients and the staff nurses. “The nurses who were based there were wonderful and very appreciative of us being there,” Thompson said.

Micah Johnson, MSN, RN, director of nursing at Christus St. Michael Hospital-Atlanta, was also one of the volunteers; for him, the biggest take away was how nurses were able to rally together in a time of crisis and help patients in need.

Source: Nurse.com

Nurse’s controversial arrest sparks outrage and reform

Last week, body-cam footage was released of a Salt Lake City detective arresting a nurse for refusing to let them draw blood from their unconscious patient. Alex Wubbels, RN, the head nurse at the University of Utah Hospital’s burn unit, was following hospital policy and state regulations by refusing consent, but she was still handcuffed and arrested despite protests from the hospital staff.

Shortly after footage of the incident was released, The American Nurses Association (ANA) issued the following statement, “The ANA is outraged that a registered nurse was handcuffed and arrested by a police officer for following her hospital’s policy and the law, and is calling for the Salt Lake City Police Department to conduct a full investigation, make amends to the nurse, and take action to prevent future abuses.”

In the video, Wubbels consulted with her supervisors and presented details about the hospital’s policy, which states that that blood could not be taken from an unconscious patient unless a warrant was issued for the blood draw or the patient consents. The officer stated that they had implied consent to get the sample; however, implied consent has not been Utah law for over a decade, and the Supreme Court ruled against warrantless blood tests in 2016. When Wubbels and the hospital staff continued to refuse, the officer grew irritated and made the arrest.

“It is outrageous and unacceptable that a nurse should be treated in this way for following her professional duty to advocate on behalf of the patient as well as following the policies of her employer and the law,” said ANA President Pam Cipriano, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN.

In a press conference last week, Wubbels’ lawyer Karra Porter called her arrest unlawful: “The law is well-established. And it’s not what we were hearing in the video,” she said. “I don’t know what was driving this situation.”

In the same conference, Wubbels gave the following statement: “I want to see people do the right thing first and I want to see this be a civil discourse. If that’s not something that’s going to happen and there is refusal to acknowledge the need for growth and the need for re-education, then we will likely be forced to take [legal action]. But people need to know that this is out there.”

The mayor and police chief of Salt Lake City have apologized to Ms. Wubbels, and have agreed to perform an investigation of the incident. The police officer involved and his supervisor have been suspended as well.

Because of this incident, facilities throughout the country are reassessing their policies. The University of Utah has already changed their policy so that nurses will no longer have direct contact with the police, and other facilities are hoping to do the same.

Nurse takes on the role of Surgeon General

Rear Adm. Sylvia Trent-Adams, a registered nurse, becomes one of the first nurses to serve as Attorney General.

Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy was replaced on Friday by his deputy, Rear Adm. Sylvia Trent-Adams. Serving on an interim basis, Admiral Trent-Adams becomes the second nurse to have served in this position, and the first non-physician to take the job.

Admiral Trent-Adams worked as a nurse officer in the Army, and served as a research nurse at the University of Maryland, where she received her PhD. In 1992, she joined the Commissioned Corps of the Public Health Service, where she served in the HIV/AIDS bureau of the Health Resources and Services Administration before joining the surgeon general’s office.

Surgeons general have limited staff and direct influence, but they often use their position to call attention to important public health priorities. Dr. Murthy, Adm. Trent-Adams predecessor, used his platform to speak out against gun violence, labeling it as a threat to public health. It is unclear why Murthy was relieved of duty; the Department of Health and Human Services said that the Trump administration asked him to step down after “assisting in a smooth transition,” but Dr. Murthy’s wife, Alice Chen, said that her husband was fired after he refused to resign.

Nurses are once again named the most trusted profession

For the 15th year in a row, the Gallup’s annual honesty and ethical standards poll has named nurses as the most trustworthy profession.

Released last week, the Gallup poll shows that 84% of respondents said they rate nurses’ ethical standards and honesty as very high or high. Pamela Cipriano, PhD, RN, the president of the American Nurses Association, said that trust plays a vital role in the relationship between nurses and their patients, and because nurses are at the frontline of healthcare, they offer a unique point of view to their patients and the facilities they serve.

Healthcare professions took the second and third rank as well, with pharmacists receiving a positive rating and medical doctors receiving a 65% rating.

Read more here.

End of summer nursing roundup

Nurses are finding new and innovative ways to help those in need around the world, but not every nurse can live up to that standard. Here are some of the best and worst stories in nursing this summer.

The Good:

University of Victoria researcher Kelli Stajduhar, a palliative care nurse, is leading the charge on healthcare for the homeless in her community. Because of the many barriers for homeless people to get healthcare, Stajduhar wants to go to them and provide healthcare where they are: downtown, in shelters, or in a housing complex. She thinks that outreach can improve the lives of the homeless, and get them the care they need. (Source: CBC)
Another nurse is looking for new ways to help the most vulnerable: Dawn Bounds, a nursing professor at Rush University College of Nursing, has published her extensive research on sex trafficking in the U.S. This research has the potential to save lives of at-risk young girls, and Bounds is planning to use this research to implement a runaway intervention program in Chicago. (Source: Nurse.com)

The Bad:
A New Jersey nurse broke the cardinal rule of healthcare when she was caught on video stabbing a disabled child with a needle six times. The nurse used physical abuse to control the autistic boy’s behavior, threatening him with the needle and other physical violence according to reports. (Source: The AP)
Nursing is often considered the most trustworthy profession, but this story might undermine that reputation. A nurse manager at St. Richard’s Hospital in the UK pled guilty to the theft of a dying man’s watch. The man’s Submariner Rolex was a family heirloom, and the nurse manager plead guilty to the stealing the watch after them man was admitted to the ED after suffering a heart attack.  (Source: The Argus)

Nurses bring layers of diversity to hospital leadership

In just about every field, there are discrepancies between leadership positions and the population they represent; health care is no different. The American Hospital Association’s Institute for Diversity conducted a national survey that found that minorities made up 31 percent of the patient population, but only 17 percent of first and mid-level management positions. There’s even less representation in upper management roles, with 14 percent of hospital board members and 12 percent of executive leadership roles filled by minorities.

As the hospitals’ population get more diverse, so should its leadership. This doesn’t just mean racial diversity, but gender, experience, and cultural diversity as well. Hospitals that have a multitude of perspectives will serve their population better and make the hospital more successful.

In terms of diversity of experience, nurses can bring a useful perspective to executive leadership. Many hospital executives come from a business background and don’t have the kind of on the ground experience nurses can bring to the table. Medical staff generally prefer leadership that is familiar with their experience, that can relate to how big-picture decisions can effect day-to-day practices in hospitals. Additionally, nurses have more racial diversity compared to executive leadership, so they would bring that experience to the table as well.

However, there are a lot of barriers to nurses trying to obtain leadership positions. As a nursing student, nurses are much more focused on learning patient care than management techniques. Nurses don’t get much formal training in finance or business, so staying competitive might mean seeking a time-consuming and expensive degree on the side. There is also a possible stigma against nurses from executives, so much so that the American Nursing Association reports that RNs seeking executive work often leave that off their resume. As one nurse told them: “Well, I don’t want to put RN after my name because some people might not think that I know as much about business, or that might be a detractor when I’m competing with others in the C-Suite, especially men in the C-Suite.”

While perspectives are slowly shifting, along with diversity numbers in hospital leadership, nurses taking on larger leadership roles can help hospitals and their patients.

Winter Nursing Roundup: The best and worst of nursing

As the winter winds down, I thought I’d round up some of the best and worst stories from the world of nursing to celebrate the arrival of spring.

Braving the cold

During a winter storm that called for a state of emergency, one brave nurse made the trek to get to her overnight shift at Hebrew Home. Chantelle Diabate, a licensed practical nurse, waked an hour and a half in blizzard conditions to make her shift; she was the only nurse that made it in that night. “As long as my daughter was safe [with a baby-sitter], I knew I had to come back and take care of my second family,” she said. “I knew they needed people and it was an emergency.” (via: The Source)

When winter weather hit the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Maryland, the nurses there were faced with a different problem. The children of the hospital were eager to get out and build an Olaf of their own, but unable to leave due to their health conditions. One nurse took it upon herself to fill up tubs with fresh snow so the kids could play. The kids were able to build and color their own snowmen, and enjoy the benefits of snow without leaving the comfort of the hospital. (via CBS News)

Feeling the heat

The director of nursing services at Kindred Transitional Care and Rehabilitation Center in Columbus, Indiana was arrested last month. It turns out, she had allegedly been posing as a registered nurse after stealing the identity of another nurse. She oversaw nurses at the center for over a year before being caught, fired and arrested. (via Becker’s Hospital Review)

Meanwhile, a Pennsylvania nurse was arrested for reckless endangerment after showing up to work intoxicated. The nurse spent the afternoon drinking at the casino, forgetting he was on call later that night. He was called for an emergency surgery after 10 p.m. and went to work intoxicated. He was seen on security footage stumbling, and staff members reported that he was having trouble punching in and had slurred speech. He has also been charged with DUI and public drunkenness. (via Outpatient Surgery Magazine)

Do you have a great nursing story that you’re dying to tell? Feel free to send them in to kmichek@hcpro.com, and we might report on it here!

Let’s send Kathleen Bartholomew to Oz!

Editor’s note: The below post is authored by Kathleen Bartholomew, RN, MN, who is hoping to represent the profession of nursing as the nurse expert on the Dr. Oz show. Dr. Oz is conducting a nationwide search to find the perfect nurse to join his team and is accepting nominations. Visit the webpage at the bottom of this post to nominate Kathleen.
Kathleen Bartholomew RN
I am on a journey to make healthcare better.

For 15 years I have dedicated my life to empowering nurses and understanding the hidden forces that threaten our identity and potential. What would happen if your patients understood not only their pivotal role in healing, but also the real work of nursing? The trajectory of illness and disease in this country would be radically altered.

As a mother of five children, I have the life experiences that resonate with the general public at a gut level. As an author of five books on the healthcare culture, I have the understanding and expertise to be a voice for this noble profession. And as a seasoned public speaker, I have collected stories from across this nation that poignantly reflect not only nurses’ reality, but the experiences of many of our patients as well.
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Help us send a nurse to Dr. Oz!

Kathleen Bartholomew RNDr. Oz is searching for a nurse to join his core team of experts on his television show and we think we know the perfect nurse!

Kathleen Bartholomew, RN, MN, is a nationally recognized expert on healthcare communication and patient safety. She is the author of the groundbreaking books Ending Nurse-to-Nurse Hostility: Why Nurses Eat Their Young and Each Other and Speak Your Truth: Proven Strategies for Effective Nurse-Physician Communication. She’s extremely well respected by other nurses, is considered a thought leader, and has spoken to tens of thousands of nurses and healthcare leaders in speeches, conferences, and seminars across the world.

If you’re interested in nominating Kathleen, copy and paste the link below into a web browser. Kathleen’s email address is kathleenbart418@gmail.com.

http://www.doctoroz.com/page/nominate-your-favorite-nurse-nursesearch?utm_source=Campaign+Created+2015%2F10%2F03%2C+2%3A34+AM&utm_campaign=Dr+Oz+Promo&utm_medium=email

Free tool from Ending Nurse-to-Nurse Hostility

As promised last week, we’ve added a free download downloadicon3from Kathleen Bartholomew’s Ending Nurse-to-Nurse Hostility, Second Edition, in honor of being the only book chosen by the American Nurses Association as a recommended bullying and horizontal hostility prevention tool.

To access the download site for a tool you can use to evaluate the health of your workplace as regards bullying, lateral violence, and other undesirable behaviors, click here.

To read last week’s story the ANA position statement on workplace violence and the nursing profession, click here.