The HHS Office of Minority Health (OMH) is hosting a virtual symposium on Thursday, September 17, 2020 to highlight state, tribal, territorial and community-based efforts to address COVID-19 among racial and ethnic minority populations. The Advancing the Response to COVID-19: Sharing Promising Programs and Practices for Racial and Ethnic Minority Communities virtual symposium will feature national, state, tribal and local experts leading these efforts and is developed for public health leaders at all levels and community organizations confronting the pandemic.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a history of systemic health and social inequities have put racial and ethnic minority groups at an elevated risk of contracting COVID-19 or experiencing severe illness, regardless of age. CDC data suggests the prevalence of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and other underlying conditions also contribute to disparities in health outcomes within communities of color.
The OMH virtual symposium aims to support the dissemination of promising practices, programs and strategies for combating COVID-19, especially in racial and ethnic minority communities.
It is an unprecedented time in the lives of nurses working in hospitals worldwide. Nurses face evolving obstacles on a daily basis. They must contend, as always, with complications that include last-minute shift cancellations, extended work hours, continuing education needs, and other established practical considerations. At the same time, COVID-19 illnesses have brought a host of historic challenges for those in the profession.
Consequentially, it is easy to lose sight of nursing’s essence: it stands as one of the most dynamic, stimulating, fulfilling, and important career-choices in 2020; nursing means taking part in a noble pursuit dedicated to healing the sick and providing a personal touch to the vulnerable. If you are considering joining the ranks of hospital nurses, you can hold on to that ethos even as you focus energy toward dealing with day-to-day working challenges. By taking the following actions you will thrive in the field.
Practice What You Preach
Projections show that nursing employment should increase at a faster rate than the combined average of other professions. If you are employed where supply does not yet meet demand, you may face long shifts with large patient loads. Combine this scenario with a job profile that includes your continually facing the unexpected, and you will see that you have to take care of yourself around the clock.
Practicing good sleep hygiene may be one of your greatest challenges, yet you need to make this a priority. Sleep deprivation is a leading cause of working errors and job burnout. Unfortunately, when you experience multiple nights of reduced slumber you build sleep debt, a condition that compounds mental and physical fatigue.
You must also pay attention to your nutritional needs. The job’s unpredictability means that finding the time to eat well can be unpredictable too. As a health professional, you are aware of what constitutes a good diet, particularly for you. While you may not be able to sit down to a relaxing lunch or dinner, you can prepare good snacks ahead of time that you grab throughout the day. Also, you may find you have gone a whole shift without drinking. Pack a water bottle, since hydration is important.
Dress the Part and Fit in the Fitness
Working in a hospital, you will find yourself on your feet far more than behind a desk, and some of your duties will involve moving and lifting patients and equipment. You must work to prevent injury and wear to your body.
While you may not be able to choose your uniform top and pants, you can wear the most comfortable shoes for your situation. They will need to fit well, of course, but they also must provide support, stability, and traction. They should be durable, too, so that they do not shed pieces in the middle of rounds, and you don’t have to waste valuable time looking for replacements several times a year.
You must be fit to handle the job’s physical demands. Developing a workout routine consisting of strength, flexibility, and aerobic conditioning will reduce your chances of spending off days in the hospital’s rehab department. Also, the better your conditioning, the better you will feel when you settle in at home at day’s end. As part of your healthy-lifestyle approach to the job, try to eliminate smoking and reduce your alcohol consumption, if either is a significant part of your day.
Be a Lifelong Learner
Your learning begins when you prepare to enroll in an accredited nursing program. It continues throughout your time taking classes, but knowledge acquisition does not end when you receive your certificate or diploma.
For example, the continual growth of advanced technologies for use in medicine is one of the bigger changes to nursing in recent years. If you are not comfortable using technology, you will become a liability. You need to be able to keep up with the revolution by continuing your education every year of your career.
Be the Part and Be in the Moment
Patients can create their own challenges. You may not be certain of a patient’s mood, mental state, or overall temperament as you enter the room. It can be difficult at those times to face upset or frustrated ones. However, it helps to be open to your patients’ points-of-view. Many are understandably anxious and uncertain, and in a bureaucratic hospital setting, they can feel particularly dehumanized.
Your own mood and behaviors go a long way toward easing a patient’s fears. To put on your optimistic game face, remind yourself of the importance of your role in the whole care of each person in every room on your floor. This is backed up by polls that show nurses rate highest in areas of honesty and ethics among professions. Your patients trust you and, they rely on you to be partners in their care.
Your ability to step back and take stock of your worth is an asset you should bolster throughout your career. By being proactive in facing and addressing the expected and unexpected challenges nurses face, you can be certain to enjoy a long, successful career.
The University of North Texas Health Science Center is honored to host Dr. Ernest Grant, President of the American Nurses Association to offer the preamble for their free Nurses Month Webinar, presented by HSC nurse leaders and faculty. Join HSC nurse leaders and faculty, Dr. Stephan Davis, and Dr. Kayla Fair, on Thursday, May 28th at 12:00 pm (CST) for a free Nurses Month Webinar on “Become the Future of Nursing Leadership: Educational and Professional Pathways to Leading Change and Advancing Health.”
In this session, participants will learn about:
The Changing Healthcare Landscape
Increasing Educational Standards for Nurse Leaders
Competencies for Nursing Leadership in Public Health and Health Administration
Pathways to Advanced Credentials
Integration of Personal Mission, Vision, Values and Strengths to Career Strategy
Date: May 28th, 2020
Time: 12:00pm (CST)
Location: Zoom Webinar
In rapid response to the national emergency and to better combat COVID-19, the Society of Nurse Scientists Innovators Entrepreneurs & Leaders (SONSIEL) launched an immediate national call-to-action requesting that non-hospital inventories of personal protective equipment (PPE) be shared with hospital and healthcare facilities via community dialogue.
The call-to-action, deemed SHARE (Strengthen Healthcare Ability to Respond to Emergencies), seeks to quickly raise awareness about the need for PPE on the front lines of care, and to spur, at the grassroots level, an immediate community dialogue regarding available supplies of urgently needed equipment.
Non-hospital healthcare organizations and commercial businesses use PPE and other needed equipment in day-to-day activities. Nursing and medical schools, pharmaceutical labs, veterinarians, dentists, and simulation centers, even construction, cleaning, and landscaping companies, may have PPE access and inventory.
SONSIEL is asking hospital and healthcare facilities to look to these other entities for possible additional supply in order to help keep staff caring for COVID-19 patients and the patients themselves safe. The type of equipment needed, that commonly is used by other entities and in other industries, includes respirator masks, eyewear (goggles, shields, visors), and gloves (latex, latex-tipped, protective). Non-hospital healthcare providers also may have available inventories of gowns, caps, or other items.
Remarked Rebecca C. Love, SONSIEL President & Co-Founder, “Today, as this COVID-19 crisis unfolds, we’re launching a grassroots campaign, SHARE, to help ensure adequate supplies of equipment are available to healthcare workers tending to our most vulnerable population. At this time, many of our hospitals are facing a critical shortage of protective equipment; there are not enough gloves, masks, or gowns to safeguard our frontline healthcare workers. Healthcare workers must be protected—to enable them to continue to provide care, for their own well-being, and to prevent transmission to others. At present, there is this global shortage of equipment, a several-month delay, however we believe SHARE is an innovative, community-based solution that can help swiftly back-fill this temporary deficiency.”
“Please join SONSIEL in this vital effort. We are asking you and everyone across the country to get out the word and start a dialogue. Think innovatively about where appropriate and needed supplies might be found to SHARE. If you’re a business or scholastic institution, please consider how donations of any already available PPE within a community might help your local hospitals and healthcare providers. While particular region and facility needs may differ, coming together, directly, in a conversation, locally, helps all of our communities target, identify, and triage supplies and equipment, so that what is in stock is made available to healthcare providers as soon as possible.”
Ms. Love concluded, “I’d like to thank the entire SONSIEL Board of Directors, who acted quickly and completely in supporting this initiative at a critical point in time. Together, I know we will get through this challenge, all of us, one community at a time.”
Northeastern University and Massachusetts General Hospital are the first to engage in SHARE. SONSIEL hopes many organizations, businesses, and hospitals around the country will do the same.