Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Reasons Why Nurses Should Limit their Coffee Intake

Do you know that professionals in nursing scrubs are considered most dependent on coffee at work? Yes, that’s true! Based from the previous survey conducted by CareerBuilder.com and Dunkin Donut, it revealed that the workers most dependent on their cup of coffee are nurses. Next to them are the doctors and then the hotel workers.
No wonder if professionals in nursing scrubs, especially those who are assigned to work on graveyard shift, are so dependent on coffee because for sure their prime reason for drinking such type of brew is to take advantage of the caffeine present on it. Coffee is just one of the many drinks out there that contain high levels of caffeine, which act as stimulant. And when we speak of stimulant; it is a substance that causes reaction in the body by speeding up the central nervous system and make the person feel more awake and alert. Not only caffeine in coffee keeps the person feel more awake and alert but also reduces women’s risk of depression.
However, despite the good benefits that professionals in nursing scrubs might get from drinking coffee while on duty, recent findings of the Nurses’ Health Study also reveal that caffeine aficionados like persistent coffee drinkers who consume more than 10 cups a day could also compromise their health condition because of large amount of stimulant in the body.
I feature below some of the health conditions that constant coffee drinkers might experience once their body is exposed to excessive caffeine.
  • Caffeine can precipitate a panic attack – According to studies, too much intake of caffeine can provoke panic attacks because the said substance increases anxiety at the same time causes insomnia. Anxiety and insomnia are two conditions that can provoke panic attacks.
  • Caffeine can increase blood pressure – Caffeine could cause a short but dramatic increase in blood pressure because it has the capacity to block a hormone that helps keep the arteries wide. Aside from that, caffeinated drinks French press or boiled coffee is found to contain chemicals that can raise cholesterol.
  • Caffeine can aggravate heart arrhythmia – Since caffeine is a stimulant, it speeds up the heart rate. Large consumption of caffeine could irritate the heart conduction system and/or aggravate heart arrhthymia.
  • Caffeine causes jitters and tremors – Ingestion of too much caffeine could lead to jitters and tremors because the said substance can stimulate hormones like adrenaline. An increase in adrenaline makes the person to experience the jitters.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

All Girl Power Wiped Prizes in Inaugural Google Science Fair

It all starts small. But for the three young girls who won the first ever Google Science Fair, it’s not at all small. Lauren Hodge, Naomi Shah, and Shree Bose all started making name in the world of medicine with a great wave of notable intellect. We have at hand another group of great minds that would proudly wear nursing scrubs and lab coats to make great discoveries in the future.

Lauren Hodge won with her study on the effects of different marinades based on levels of potentially harmful carcinogens in grilled chickens. Naomi Shah proved that asthma patients can become less dependent on medications by achieving an improved indoor air quality. Grand prize winner Shree Bose treaded a much complicated issue, in which she laid her discovery of how to improve ovarian cancer treatment for patients resistant to certain chemotherapy drugs.

Another thing that was amazing about the discoveries of Hodge, Shah and Bose was that they’ve all shown simple solutions to the health problems plaguing the society today. They’ve proved that ways as simple as changing the cooking habits and removing toxins from home can make a lot of difference. And as for Shree Bose’s discovery, it can actually make immense implications on how doctors and researchers deal with cancer.

Aside from the prestige they are enjoying now, all three received great prizes. “The winners took home prizes furnished by Google and our partners CERN, LEGO and National Geographic. Shree received a $50,000 scholarship, a trip to the Galápagos Islands with a National Geographic Explorer and aninternship at CERN. Naomi and Lauren each received $25,000 scholarships and internships at Google and LEGO. All three were awarded lifetime digital subscriptions to Scientific American.” – google blog

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Quiet Time is Elusive to Bullied Nurses

We surely treasure valuable times with our loved ones, but we also cherish those times that we have spent alone. As for nurses, though, besides charting and routine rounds, non-compliant patients, and bullies could also be making them busy even during their day off. Perhaps, even before sleeping, such issues suddenly pop in the mind and continuously linger there for several hours, disrupting your precious resting time.

“It came to me before that even on bath time, bullying scenes would start on me just like that. And it takes a lot of effort to really set the mind in a calm and quiet mood once more. In such a time, I would wish for a travel to the suburb and get my self some quiet time for meditation, enjoyment of the beautiful sceneries, maybe a plunge a soothing hot spring, or simply be able to relax with nature. But I cannot simply own a quite time.

Because a quiet time seems to be too elusive, I try not to chase or look for it at all. When something or someone makes me all too bothered, annoyed, or down, I try to turn that time into something more constructive and valuable by seeking for the light behind their dark auras. It gives me that relieving feeling that I know there is always a way around to any issue. It helps me develop patience and empathy better. And when I succeed in luring away literal noise and psychological echoes, I try to focus on every little and big thing that I think would improve my personality and career. They seldom work, though.”

What can you do?

Aside from reporting the incidents of bullying and trying to handle the bullies by yourself, seeking support of a trusted friend is also important. Although, most of the time, our old friends and loved ones are the ones who give the greatest support, it would be best to also get it from somebody who works with you. Immediately reaching their shoulders and hearing their kind words will do enormous relief.

Making a journal of the bullying incidents and how were you able to handle the situation without stooping down to their level can also make great difference. While you read through your notes, you could still find some effective and rational ways on how you can better deal bullying, how you can avoid bullying, and how you can defend yourself from bullies.

What hospitals can do?

Treat these bullies like burglars or even terrorists by setting up CCTV cameras. These would not just provide proofs to the claims of nurses who are being bullied and protect them from getting bullies, but prevent the bullies from becoming all too comfortable with what they do as well. I personally feel that it's an obligation of hospital administrations to not just provide quality health care for patients, but also safe and happy working environment for employees.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Eat Blueberries, Fight Weight Gain

If you badly want to get back in those 2XL nurse scrubs of yours, you probably have considered enrolling in a gym and a diet plan already. But because you can’t simply squeeze in your schedule the gym thing, you first try to make your diet as healthy as possible. Perhaps, you have listed the healthiest of all veggies and fruits, calculated the amount of calories that you should consume, and cherry picked meat and dairy products that would complete your nutrition needs.

Before you head to the grocery, though, here’s one discovery that will surely interest dieters. Blueberries may help fight obesity, a recent study finds. Shiwani Moghe, a researcher from Texas Woman’s University in Denton, Texas, found polyphenol levels may affect fat cell development among humans. The dose that would effect on people will still have to be figured out, though. But lab mice responded quite positively, and that’s promising enough.

Well, I guess you should’ve gone to the grocery already. You would have probably been able to wear your slim-fit nurse scrubs by the time the study confirms blueberries benefit on fighting obesity.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Wis. Doc Notes on Investigation

An article in the opinion section of Texas Insider by George Scaggs bashed teachers and doctors with disgust, questioning their honorable profession. It is just one of many reactions against the protesters rallying against a Republican-backed state bill that would eliminate collective bargaining rights for most state workers and doctor’s handling notes in that Wisconsin protest, most of which angry and profane.

Dressed in lab coats, alleged doctors handed out doc notes to protesters. The scene is pretty much like there’s a scrubs sale, free mens scrubs, womens scrubs and lab coats, actually. Physicians stood on a street corner, offering excuse notes to absentees, thousands of teachers who skipped work days to join the protest. They carry placards saying “I’m a doctor. Need Note?” And they hand these medical notes to whoever asks without any questions. And just like when there are mens scrubs and women’s scrub being given out many take advantage, so as teachers on doc notes that could save them.

The motive of the alleged doctors seemed legitimate when Lou Sanne, 59, practicing family medicine at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, one of the doctors who handed doctor notes, told AP that "Some people think it's a nod-and-a-wink thing but it's not. One of the biggest stresses in life is the threat of loss of income, loss of job, loss of health insurance. People have actually been getting ill from this, or they can't sleep." Obviously, though, those teachers weren’t sick, but marching to the Wisconsin Capitol.

What seemed to be a genuine move of extending help has put these doctors in much criticism, and with their act put under investigation. Wisconsin officials are conducting investigation on the matter as well as organizations with physicians allegedly involved in the issue, like the UW.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Long Wait for More Competent Physicians, Nurses and Midwives Nears End

As was mentioned in the speech of Dr. Margaret Chan, WHO Director-General, at the WHO/PEPFAR consultation on transformative scale up of medical, nursing and midwifery education, the need for transformative change in the health care education has long been overdue. It’s enclosed in the opening remarks delivered by Dr. Chan, wherein emphasis was largely given to the huge disparity of physician-patient ratio as well as 20th century standard of education.

The long wait must be over, and it’s about time for effective reforms to become reality, not just in the developed and developing countries, more so in the poor lands where there is a greater need for practitioners wearing lab coats and scrubs uniforms. Sub-Saharan Africa is hit most hard by this problem, the places where there is also the greatest need for care because the disease burden in these places is also the greatest.

What could the educational reform for physicians, nurses and midwives do for Africa? The goal is to improve education for these groups of health care workers in order to bring the physician-to-population ratio, at least, in near balance for better health care. How to retain the products of such improved educational system is but another issue.

Currently, some of the new policies are already under way in Africa. Community-based education allows students to have hands-on experience in the community work. Schools also use problem-based and multi-disciplinary team-based learning. But such competency trainings remain short in matching priority domestic health needs. These problems are made more burdensome due to the low quality graduates that resulted from the weak systems in secondary education, not enough number of students can enroll in nursing and medical schools to wear their dreamed nurses uniforms. Many students who have the abilities and brain to pass face financial difficulty, further cutting the number of enrollees. Africa is also left far behind when it comes to information technology, putting the learning capacity of students in a very limited area.

Moving into the mainstream, overloaded work and low salary rate are the biggest blockages. The incentive program done by some companies is far from being enough in order to keep graduates in the sub-Sahara. For instance, the salary of a registered nurse working in for acute care is R120,216, which equals only to $17,634. An acute care nurse practitioner in the U.S., though, receives an average of 78,000 USD or 531,733 ZAR, the total amount of salary for almost four and a half months of an acute care RN in Africa. The difference is clearly huge. These problems are also the most probable reasons why many students, who go to Europe or North America for specialized post-graduate training, never return to serve the countries that invested in their basic trainings.

In her opening remarks, Dr. Chan mentioned about financial support and partnering of African schools with U.S. institutions, and the need to upgrade infrastructures and laboratories. Specific plans of the committee plans to help solve the problems in health care education in Africa and in other poor and vulnerable countries are yet to be revealed.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Shorter Work Hours for Rookie Doctors Approved

Once doctors are dressed up in medical scrubs and lab coats, it means having to rip themselves again for the rest of the day. Those uniforms are usually soiled when the clock strikes the last minute of the shift. They won’t have much time for snacks and naps, let alone find new Cherokee uniforms or even clearance scrubs so they’d have extra medical scrubs and lab coats whenever work gets tough on their uniforms. But the real problem goes beyond having hardly any time for rest and some other things that employees necessitate. It goes all the way down to patient safety and health care workers’ health. And there goes the rules for work hours that rookie doctors should have.

The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education’s board or directors approved on Tuesday, 27th of September 2010, new rules devised for 110,000 new doctors currently being trained in the U.S. hospitals. First year residents will be given 16 hours of work and strategic napping. Those in their second year of residency and beyond will be given 24 hours at most. The new rules are believed to improve patient safety by reducing medical errors committed by the juniors due to exhaustion from extremely long hours of work. This is also aimed to ensure employees’ health and safety rights are protected.

Other changes in the new rules will also include the following:

Hierarchy spelled to patients. New medical residents must tell patients that they are new and are still being supervised by more experienced physicians. Somehow, this would serve as warning signal for patients, suggesting they must be more vigilant about their health condition and about how the rookie is working with treatment procedures they are receiving.

Strengthen supervisory requirements. The rules speak of specific type of close supervision the first-year residents should receive from their superiors. Subsequently, tasks to be given must accord one’s demonstrated skills. Superiors must carefully assess the rookie’s skills before he or she is given additional new tasks.

Second-year residents and beyond should be on-call only once in every 3 nights on-call. This rule can be averaged over four weeks or one month, which means can be on call every other night. This makes for a high probability of disrupted sleep that may develop into chronic sleep deprivation.

The newly approved rules provide shorter work shifts and stricter supervision for rookies, but the American Medical Student Association seeks for more, wanting stronger limits not just for first-year residents but for others too.