International Nurses Day: Elevating the Nursing Industry

International Nurses Day: Elevating the Nursing Industry

Nurses across the globe are working together as a united front against the COVID-19 pandemic and as a much-needed support for each other. Today’s International Nurses Day honors that dedication with the motto of “Nursing the World to Health,” a theme that’s spot-on appropriate for the times.

Sponsored by the International Council of Nurses (ICN), a federation of more than 130 nursing organizations throughout the world, International Nurses Day is always held on the birthday of Florence Nightingale, long considered the founder of today’s nursing profession. The day honors nurses for all they do and helps spread the importance of support for the nursing industry all over the world.

Because nurses work with all people and treat a range of short-term and chronic conditions and health problems, they are the caregivers who address the global health problems from the very front lines. Whether it’s in the most state-of-the-art hospital facility or in a patient’s living room, nurses provide care, education, emotional support, and resources. They do this in the most dire circumstances and within the safety of structured organizations, sometimes worried about their own health and safety.

The Nursing the World to Health theme highlights some of the challenges nurses face every day across the globe. The incorrect ideas that they aren’t leading, active participants in healthcare or some of the discrimination they face on and off the job are addressed in the ICN’s report for International Nurses Day 2020 Resources and Evidence.

Promoting the lifesaving work nurses do, how involved they are in healthcare leadership, and their vital role in reshaping progressive healthcare policy worldwide is all essential to helping the public understand the value and relevance of the nursing industry.

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown the world exactly how dedicated nurses are to their patients—even risking their lives, and some losing their lives—to provide care to people who need it. It has also shown clearly that nurses need more support and that the world needs more nurses. The shocking reports that healthcare staff ran short of personal protective equipment shows glaring faults that exist and put nurses directly in harm’s way. Nurses are also called to navigate the systems in different countries that place healthcare on varying levels of importance and relevance to the greater good. And they also must work within the confines of the resources available to them where they are.

THE ICN sees hope in the growth in nursing leadership and influence throughout the world. As each nurse works to provide the best care, to maintain or exceed the nursing standards, to commit to lifelong learning, and to support their fellow nurses and healthcare teams, the nursing industry will see positive change.

Happy International Nurses Day!

Protecting Older Adults During the COVID-19 Outbreak

Protecting Older Adults During the COVID-19 Outbreak

While the nation continues to grapple with the growing COVID-19 pandemic, one fact is particularly worrisome. Older adults who contract the virus are dying at much higher percentages than younger people.

Minority Nurse turned to experts with the Gerontologic Advanced Practice Nurses Association (GAPNA) to understand the risks associated with COVID-19 and how nurses can work to protect their patients and themselves.

“The effects of aging have a major influence in the response to a respiratory virus or bacteria,” says Michelle Moccia, DNP, ANP-BC, CCRN, GS-C, and GAPNA’s past president. “As one ages the immune system is less responsive to a virus or bacteria with an inflammatory response to fight off the virus and/or tolerate the complications from the virus. The elderly have limited cardiopulmonary reserve thus a compromise in airway and breathing can lead to the inability to breathe thus predisposing individual to complications such as pneumonia.”

And as the medical community gains more understanding about this particular virus, other factors are emerging, says Deborah Dunn, EdD, MSN, GNP-BC, ACNS-BC, GS-C, and GAPNA’s president. “Some experts have theorized that in addition to the pneumonia burden there may be an increased or exaggerated lung inflammatory response to COVID 19 in older adults – leading to the severe respiratory distress and failure seen in older adults.”

What can people in those specific age categories do?  “It is best for older adults to avoid crowds,” says Moccia, noting the oft-heard advice about washing hands, staying home if you’re sick, and avoiding others who are ill holds true. And Dunn notes that if a loved one is in a facility and the facility restricts visitors, it’s going to be important to keep up communication with loved ones to keep anxiety and social isolation at bay.

“Prevention and control of the spread of COVID-19 rests on halting transmission,” says Dunn. “Nurses know that in the healthcare setting they play a key role in stopping transmission by frequent handwashing, avoiding droplet contact, and early identification, triage, treatment, and quarantine of persons who may have infection.”

Both Dunn and Moccia say nurses should be especially careful to wash their hands before and after entering a patient’s room, wearing gloves when contact with bodily fluids/blood/secretions may occur, practicing needle precautions, and wearing protective equipment if they are in contact with a patient who has or is suspected to have COVID-19.

As patient advocates, nurses can educate patients and their families. Nurses can help patients with personal hygiene like washing their hands, using hand sanitizer, and disposing of used tissues, says Dunn. Protecting their health while giving them some control also helps with the uncertainty and anxiety people are feeling right now.

“Families with older adults in care settings such as assisted living facilities or nursing homes want to know that their loved ones are being cared for and having their needs met,” says Dunn. “Nurses working in these facilities should facilitate communication about the measures being taken to protect patients from infection, why adherence to the measures is needed, and reassure families about the status of their loved ones health.”

As nurses work through this unprecedented outbreak, they can keep updated with the CDC website about COVID-19. Nurses who work with infectious and contagious illnesses know that staying current with continuing education can be life saving—for them and for their patients. “Nurses in acute care settings and other healthcare setting where they may care for patients with contagious conditions that require face masks during care should be fitted for the N-95 mask and be trained in the proper wearing of the mask,” says Dunn.

As COVID-19 works its way around the globe, the medical community is working hard to prevent the spread, educate the public, and even offer some hope.

“I’m sure we will see a lot more information from infectious disease experts,” says Dunn, “as they are studying COVID-19 underlying physiologic mechanisms closely and develop targeted treatments.”

 

NAINA Hosting 4th Leadership Conference in Maryland

NAINA Hosting 4th Leadership Conference in Maryland

NAINA Leadership ConferenceNational Association of Indian Nurses of America (NAINA) is celebrating the ‘Year of the Nurse and Midwife’ with a variety of activities throughout the year. NAINA, a professional organization for nurses of Asian Indian origin and heritage, collaborates with other national and international nurses associations in its journey towards professional excellence and improving global health. In 2019, NAINA joined the ‘Nursing Now’ global campaign. For the ‘Nursing Now’ campaign, NAINA selected three focus areas: enhancing clinical practice by continuing education, empowering nurses to become leaders at the bedside and beyond, and sharing examples of best nursing practices. In January 2020, NAINA joined the American Nurses Association’s Healthy Nurse, Healthy NationTM campaign as a champion organization to positively impact the health of its members and advance the goals of ANA.

NAINA’s upcoming national event on April 18th, 2020 will advance the goals for ‘Nursing Now’ and its commitment to the Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation challenge thereby empowering nurses to take charge of their health and the health of the nation. NAINA’s 4th Leadership conference will be held at Howard Community College, Columbia, Maryland. This conference is designed for licensed health care professionals and pre-licensure students as well. This one-day event is designed to augment the knowledge, understanding, and appreciation for self-care, workplace safety, and promote resilience in nurses. The event will promote interprofessional learning and it will highlight how nurses can lead interprofessional teams from the bedside to the boardroom and promote health for themselves and others to build a healthy nation.

Deborah J. Baker, DNP, CRNP, NEA-BC, Senior Vice President for Nursing, Johns Hopkins Health System and Vice President of Nursing & Patient Care Services, Johns Hopkins Hospital will give the keynote address. Lois Gould, MS, PMP from American Nurses Association will address the participants on the topic of ‘Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation: The Grand Challenge’. Mary Kay DeMarco, PhD, RN, CNE, past president, Maryland Nurses Association, Georgene Butler, PhD, RN, CNE, Dean, Health Sciences, Howard Community College, Maryland, and Bobby Varghese PhD, RN, CNE, Professor of Nursing, Broward College, Florida will speak on various topics related to the theme of the event: Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation: Leading from the Bedside to Boardroom. Viji George, MA, BSN, RN, RNC-NIC will moderate the panel discussion on the domains of ‘Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation grand challenge’ . Teams from several state chapters of NAINA will enact how to create joy and find meaning at work amid challenges and pressure.

NAINA is an ANCC accredited provider of nursing continuing professional development and nurses may earn up to 6.5 contact hours by completing this conference activity. Registration is open to nurses for this great educational event for an affordable price of $50.00. Please visit the NAINA website for details of the conference and other monthly NAINA webinars (www.nainausa.com).

Nurses Spread the Word About Heart Health

Nurses Spread the Word About Heart Health

February is designated as American Heart Month and lots of recognition days help bring attention to heart health. Nurses who specialize in cardiac care (and who might be celebrating Cardiovascular Professional Week this week) are in especially good roles to help people who are coping with heart disease, and they are also excellent educators to help prevent heart disease in the first place.

A recent survey by the Cleveland Clinic revealed the majority of Americans don’t know heart disease is the number one killer of women. While women might typically fear breast cancer or even the random violence that is so prominent on the nightly news, heart disease actually is the most lethal condition. The survey revealed 68 percent of respondents thought something other than heart disease was the leading cause of death. In fact, heart disease is prevalent for both men and women and actually kills one out of every four Americans.

The Cleveland Clinic study also highlighted a deep lack of understanding about heart disease, its causes, and how it can be prevented. The study showed that while “90 percent of heart disease is due to modifiable/controllable risk factors, only 8 percent of Americans know that.”

Millennials, who need to start practicing heart-healthy habits right now, are especially in the dark, according to the survey. Eighty percent couldn’t identify heart disease as a leading killer of women. The same number or respondents didn’t know people should begin cholesterol checks in their 20s.

Heart disease is often called the silent killer for the symptoms that are easy to dismiss, unrecognizable, or even not present until too much damage has been done. This is why nurses are such essential patient advocates. They can help educate patients, family, friends, and community members about how to prioritize their heart health.

The Preventive Cardiovascular Nurses Association (PCNA) is an excellent resource for nurses who want to help patients stay heart healthy. Because so many other conditions contribute to heart disease including diabetes, depression, and inherited genetics, there are many people who might not think of heart disease as an issue. Lifestyle factors also play a significant role as the cause of heart disease and the prevention of it.

Some health conditions are things people have no control over, but what nurses can do is help them understand what steps and modifications will help reduce risk. Someone with diabetes, for example, needs to pay extra attention to managing that condition with proper medications but they can also manage that condition and help prevent heart troubles with extra efforts toward heart health.

One of the best ways to begin educating people is to make sure patients have accurate information about everything from diet to high blood pressure. With correct information they can begin making changes that will work. For instance, the Cleveland Clinic survey showed that many people don’t understand that a Mediterranean diet is the most helpful for heart health or that an aspirin a day will not prevent heart disease. And with the dangers of vaping becoming more defined, and more urgent, people need to know vaping isn’t a healthy alternative to smoking cigarettes.

If heart health is especially close to your professional interests, you might want to take your expertise to a higher level with the Cardiac Vascular Nurse Certification. If you work with cardiac patients, this qualification is especially important, but it also helps in a more general practice role. With so many people at risk of heart disease, helping patients with prevention can save lives.

The Indian Nurses Association of Illinois: Taking Matters to Heart

The Indian Nurses Association of Illinois: Taking Matters to Heart

Quite often a nurse will ask me how to become engaged in the health policy arena. I frequently advise nurses to get involved with their professional organizations as a start. Many nursing organizations have an advocacy and legislative agenda and are oftentimes engaged in advocating on behalf of patients and the profession. Here, we share a conversation with Aney Abraham, DNP, RN, NE-BC, who is a founding member and current president of the Indian Nurses Association of Illinois (INAI). Abraham discusses the origins of her organization and current issues they are addressing.

With regard to legislative issues, Abraham highlights a piece of legislation that was introduced during the 115th Congressional Session. The proposed legislation “H.R. 3592 South Asian Heart Health Awareness and Research Act of 2017” aims to address the high rate of cardiovascular disease in the South Asian community. And while the proposed legislation did not gain much traction during the 115th Congressional Session, the INAI is hopeful that the original sponsors of the proposed legislation will reintroduce it and continue to seek funding to support research focused on finding solutions to the high rate of cardiovascular disease in this population. This targeted approach to improving the health and well-being of this population takes into consideration cultural factors that may influence health status and calls for early intervention and treatment through education and awareness.

As president of the Indian Nurses Association of Illinois (INAI), can you share with me a bit about the INAI, its origins, its mission, and membership?

Aney AbrahamThe Indian Nurses Association of Illinois was established in 2002. I was a nurse with about 18 years of experience at this time and among one of the few nurses that thought of this idea of forming a professional organization for nurses of Indian origin. There were many reasons for starting this organization. The first and foremost was that Indian nurses who immigrated to the U.S. faced many challenges as they transitioned in the United States.

At a Glance:
South Asians and Heart Disease

  • South Asians are one of the fastest growing ethnic groups in the United States.
  • Family origins mostly from: Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.
  • High cardiovascular prevalence not readily known due to lack of data.
  • Research examining heart disease in Asians in general lacks subgroup analyses.
  • Possible contributing factors include early onset of diabetes, cholesterol abnormalities, westernized diets, and lifestyle.

Source: American Heart Association

For a more detailed discussion of heart disease in South Asian populations, please see the American Heart Association’s Scientific Statement.

Foreign nurses become minorities overnight having little or no orientation to the country or health care facility that they worked for. We realized that many nurses were eagerly anticipating the birth of this organization and thus successfully established the organization in 2002.

The mission of INAI is to identify and meet the professional, cultural, and social needs of nurses of Indian origin. In addition to our mission, our purpose is to ensure that we provide representation and interact with other professional organizations as well as promote cultural awareness by communicating the uniqueness and diversity of the Indian culture.

What do you believe are the top nursing issues impacting our profession today?

Job safety is important to all professions; nurses are not exempt from working in unsafe environments. One of the top nursing issues impacting our profession is workplace violence. Every day, our nurses are impacted by violence perpetrated by patients, their family members, and visitors. Incidents that may start small can spiral out of control within minutes. Even though nurses are very familiar with incidents of violence, research seems to suggest that workplace violence is increasing. We certainly hear about these incidents through TV, print media, and reports from nurses.

The second issue that is impacting our nurses is stress and burnout. Nurses are on the front lines providing direct nursing care, advocating for patients’ medical needs, comforting patients/families, and working with a multidisciplinary team to ensure that patients receive safe high-quality patient care. Stress and busyness can easily escalate with the demands that are placed on nurses daily.

As nurse leaders and professional organizations, we need to work on finding ways to address awareness and ways to mitigate these issues that are facing our profession.

What are some of the top policy or regulatory issues impacting the Indian nursing community?

One of the issues impacting nurses of Indian origin is abusive employment practices. To address this, in 2008 the ANA released the Voluntary Code of Ethical Conduct for the Recruitment of Foreign-Educated Nurses to the United States. The code addresses minimum fair labor standards, civil rights, age discrimination, equal pay, and family/medical leave.

Another issue impacting Indian nurses (majority of which are of South Asian descent) is that they suffer from heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes too frequently and too early in life. Compared to other ethnic groups, South Asians are four times more likely to have heart disease, experience heart attacks 10 years earlier in average, and have a 50% higher mortality rate from heart disease. To address this, in 2017 Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA-7) proposed H.R. 3592 “South Asian Heart Health Awareness and Research Act of 2017.” This is a very specific piece of legislation targeting Asian Americans.

What is the overall purpose of this legislation, and why is it important to you as a nursing organization and to the Asian community at large?

Representatives Pramila Jaypal and Joe Wilson co-sponsored this bill to raise awareness of the alarming rate at which the South Asian community is developing heart disease.

The overall purposes of this legislation are to:1) promote heart healthy eating among Asians; 2) conduct research to understand why South Asians are at an increased risk for developing heart disease and; 3) develop educational tools about heart disease for South Asians.

This legislation is important to us as a nursing organization and to the Asian community at large. The members of the Indian Nurses Association spend a tremendous amount of time offering free community services in the Indian community. Our advanced practice nurses spend time on the weekends visiting the various churches conducting health fairs, offering lectures, and educating the community on the dangers of heart disease and diabetes. Legislation that supports research will enhance our ability to learn more about the root causes of the high risk for the Asian community and prepare us to share lifesaving information with the community at large.

Are there any updates on this given this did not pass out of committee?

We will continue to monitor where this is going as the original sponsors are committed to raising awareness and supporting research in this area.

What are some of the ways that your organization has engaged in community education regarding Asian American cardiovascular disease?

Every year we host a minimum of three community health fairs and lectures in the Indian community. Our members, many of which are advanced practice nurses, have the skills, expertise, and knowledge to effectively lead these health fairs. In addition to the health fairs, we offer free BLS and ACLS certification.

How does INAI prepare its members to be influential advocates in the policymaking arena?

INAI invites public officials and elected officials to speak at our meetings and conferences. For example, some of our guests in the past have included, at that time, Senator Barak Obama before he went on to become President of the United States and Dr. Ann Kalayil, Bureau Chief, Cook County Bureau of Asset Management. Dr. Kalyil was the former President of the South Asian American Policy and Research Institute.

Additionally, members stay informed through educational seminars and educational offerings posted on social media outlets such as Twitter and Facebook. We also stay abreast of issues by following the legislative agenda of the American Nurses Association.

Are there other policy issues that are a part of your health policy agenda?

Many of our members are advanced practice nurses. Thus, we support the policy agenda of the National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists (NACNS). Their priorities—including nursing workforce issues, health care reform, and health information technology—resonate with our legislative priorities.

The Indian Nurses Association is an organization of about 200 members. We can be more impactful when we combine our voices with other nursing organizations to enhance our policy advocacy on behalf of patients and the profession.

If you had to offer advice on why nurses should be engaged in advocacy and policy advocacy on behalf of patients and the profession, what would you say?

Nurses instinctively advocate for their patients. Equally important is for nurses to engage in legislative and political advocacy. This is needed to advance the profession and patient care. It is important for the voice of the nurse to be heard when any new legislation or bill is being introduced. An example of a recent bill is SB2151, a bill sponsored by Senator Hastings. This bill is about the Nurse Practice Act language surrounding delegation. Specifically, nurse delegation in community-based settings is of concern. Nursing has to provide the definition of what nursing practice entails, how nursing interventions and tasks can be delegated, and in what care settings the delegation can occur.

Nurses can stay informed on legislation that impacts their practice and profession by following nursing forums like @ANAnurses [and] @RN Action.

To stay engaged or not engaged in policy advocacy is a decision each nursing professional has to make, and he or she must always err on the side of staying actively engaged on behalf of the patients and those they serve.

Celebrate National Nurses Week

Celebrate National Nurses Week

The annual celebration of National Nurses Week from May 6-12 highlights and honors the incredible life-saving work nurses do all year round.

As a nurse, this week deserves your attention. There are many ways you can celebrate loudly or ways you can reflect quietly (or both!). Nurses worked hard to get this week recognized—efforts began in 1953 and slowly incorporated a national day of recognition for nurses. In 1993, the week was made official by the American Nurses Association board of directors. It was first officially celebrated in 1994.

The ANA has chosen “4 Million Reasons to Celebrate” as this year’s theme to call attention to the 4 million registered nurses in this country.

Here are a few ideas to keep your feelings of nursing pride going this week:

Revel in the Celebration

This is a big week for nurses around the nation, and it’s a time when you feel solidarity with nurses around the world. Whether or not your organization makes a big occasion out of this week, it’s a good thing to do for yourself. Seek out ways to join in the conversation. Go out to lunch with your colleagues. If you are a manager, order some goodies for your busy staff to have throughout their shifts. Share the week with your family and friends and talk about what your day is like and why you chose nursing.

Check Out What Others Have to Say

Follow Twitter conversations at #NursesWeek. Comment on the Facebook sites of some of the organizations you belong to. Raise awareness as you mark the week. Show your nursing pride and start conversations where you can. Send a letter to the editor about current news relating to nurses—positive or negative.

Learn More

Nurses never stop learning and this week offers additional opportunities to boost your knowledge in recognition of National Nurses Week. Dial into a webinar offered by the American Nurses Association. You can register for Nurses4Us: Elevating the Profession which will be held May 8 at 1 pm EDT. The webinar, which offers one contact hour, includes a Twitter chat, so follow along or add to the conversation at #NursesWeekLive.

Reflect on Your Nursing Career

Take time this week to think about why you chose nursing as a career. What started you on that path and how has your direction changed? Are you happy with the changes or would you like to get something else from your career? What can you continue doing to gain career satisfaction? What else can you do to improve your nursing skills?

Sometimes reflecting deeply about how your career has made a difference in your life and the lives of others is a morale booster that’s needed in a career where you never slow down.

Happy National Nurses Week!