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This blog was written by Brad Synder, FNP-C – NP & Education Coordinator, who has worked at FAME Medical hospital and clinics in Karatu, Tanzania for several years. He now travels back to volunteer his time. I consider Brad a friend and have learned so much from him about how to listen and how to work with and learn from colleagues who care for people 1/2 way around the world.
It’s being a chameleon, becoming whoever the person you’re with needs you to be. It’s waking up everyday knowing that undoubtedly you will change a life and in return have yours changed. It’s pushing yourself to new limits, frequently on the edge of comfort as you try your best to fix and heal the person in front of you. It’s brainstorming at the bedside with a team of gifted clinicians trying to figure out the cause of a man’s internal bleeding as his blood counts continue to drop. It’s checking on a 1 day old then suddenly grabbing the oxygen and performing a resuscitation when he changes without any warning. It’s coming together in a moment’s notice and becoming one skilled unit, fighting the battle to keep a little life alive. It’s winning the battle.
It’s watching a doctor’s skill as he diagnoses cardiac anomalies with an echo or saves a woman from bleeding out during a complicated C-section. It’s opening books and crunching numbers as you try to solve a medical mystery alongside other uncertain fighters pulling deep on dusty knowledge and experience. It’s coming to a solution while vulnerably admitting that you’re not 100% certain of this plan, but it’s the best we can do with what we have. It’s feeling the slight relief of a definitive partnership amidst ambiguity and uncertainty. It’s seeing a nurse take peanut butter and a spoon into the room of a patient with severe burns and watching her patiently give one spoon at a time. It’s looking into her determined eyes as she says, “I know I can’t fix the burns but this is what I can do, so I’m doing it.” It’s feeling a rush of compassion flow through your body.
It’s a nurse’s poignant assessment as she picks up danger signs in pregnancy and prevents a catastrophe. It’s giving a woman a chance to be a mother, one of life’s greatest gifts. It’s a counselor gently comforting a suicidal woman buried deep in a cloud of depression with the fear of no way out. It’s giving her a glimpse of light and the possibility that this doesn’t have to last forever. It’s walking into a room as a midwife with experience twice as long as you’ve been alive turns the breech baby of a woman in active labor. It’s hearing the cry of a healthy baby and taking a collective sigh of relief. It’s feeling grateful to have such skilled, passionate people on your team.
It’s hearing the gentle humming of a mother who just lost her 6-year old to a battle against sickle cell disease. It’s walking outside with a father as he holds back tears surrounded by family and friends and giving him a safe space to feel whatever he needs to feel. It’s being a quiet presence as he sobs in your arms in a moment of utter grief and disbelief. It’s realizing that pain like this can only be felt by others who have experienced such a profound loss.
It’s staying up through the night diligently monitoring two premature babies as they struggle to survive in an incubator instead of the safety of their mother’s womb. It’s reading neonatology articles, emailing colleagues and adapting guidelines to what we can do here. It’s watching mothers give their babies life-saving breast milk to keep their tiny bodies growing. It’s praying that it all works out. It’s going home and preparing to wake up and do it all over again tomorrow. It’s holding onto hope. It’s who we are. It’s why we’re here.
In the midst of a steamy summer season, many of us, understandably, flee the heat of the kitchen. For older adults, though, the heat is especially problematic, as it can leave them lethargic and with little appetite. Without proper nourishment, they don’t get the nutrition they need to stay healthy and active. Dehydration can also result, an especially common and dangerous condition for older adults, one that often results in emergency room visits.
Chef Tania Collazo addresses these problems everyday as the Health Supportive Chef at JASA, one of New York’s largest and most trusted non-profit organizations dedicated to serving the city’s older adults. She oversees the kitchens at JASA’s senior centers throughout the city and also serves as a private chef, caterer and culinary coach. Her tips for creating appetizing and easy summer fare will keep even the most kitchen averse seniors sated.
Chef Collazo’s Tips:
Hydration Concentration– Over the age of 50, our bodies are not as adept at letting us know when we’re thirsty, so it’s important to consume foods high in liquid content. A Smoothie made in the blender with watermelon, cucumber, mint, watercress and ice is a quick, cool and refreshing way to hydrate.
Don’t Trash That Banana – When your bananas start to feel a tad mushy, don’t throw them out. Make ice cream instead! Peel the bananas, cut into pieces, put them in a baggie and stash in the freezer. When they’re good and cold, toss the pieces in a food processor or high-powered blender with a bit of vanilla, almond butter and 2-3 strawberries. Voila, you’ve got a healthy, fruity, cold concoction. (more…)
Today, there are close to 4 million nurses in the US alone. This is about four times the amount of doctors residing in the country. About 55% of these nurses work in hospitals. Nurses also work in nursing care facilities and physician offices. And about 5% of nurses work in home health care, which is in high demand.
Although there are many nurses in the US, you might be surprised to find that the United States of America is actually experiencing a nursing shortage. With the aging population increasing steadily, nurses are needed more than ever with the biggest opportunities in home health care. Nursing is a profession that lends itself to some flexibility with about 25% of nurses working part time hours. So if you were looking for a career with a wealth of opportunity – it is a good time to be a nurse.
But let’s not stop here. Check out the following 10 essential facts about nursing you need to know.
You may be surprised to learn that people who receive chemotherapy and radiation treatments from the El Camino Hospital Cancer Center are greeted with encouraging smiles, hugs and warm blankets when they step through the doors. Those little, yet important things are combined with healthy, energy-boosting complimentary snacks and encouragement delivered by cadre of volunteers, who are cancer survivors themselves. All of this, plus a track record of survival rates that rival and sometimes exceed those of other oncology and academic centers add up to create a nurturing, encouraging and most importantly, healing and curing environment.
Patient centered care isn’t just a phrase for the staff, at El Camino Hospital’s Cancer Center. In fact, their innovative programs and patient outcome data was evaluated by the National Cancer Data Base and resulted in a commendation and a three-year accreditation from the Commission on Cancer from the American College of Surgeons. I recently had the opportunity to interview some of the staff to find out more about what makes the Cancer Center so special.
On my 2nd day, here at FAME, I saw something, extraordinary. I was privileged to be at the right place at the right time and witnessed a jaw dropping display of talent and knowledge in a most unexpected place. Pauline Diaz, the volunteer coordinator was giving me a tour and suggested that we bring the new donated baby hats from the US and the brand new Tanita baby scale to the maternity ward. Sure! Why not?
Here in Africa, many people come to see the Big 5 animals on safari. Yes, I know there are birders out there and plenty of people who love the cheetahs, warthogs, jackals, hyenas, antelopes, giraffes and zebras. Thousands of dollars are spent, and thousands of miles traveled to catch a glimpse, or perhaps get close enough to see the elephant, cape buffalo, lion, rhino, leopard, all of whom belong to the exclusive group of the Big 5.
However on that 2nd day at FAME, within seconds of arriving in the maternity ward and setting up the new baby scale, what I saw was Mama Evelyn, a 62 year-old experienced midwife, who delivered a baby, kept traction on the cord, and then resuscitated the new infant.
By Martie L. Moore, RN, MAOM, CPHQ, CNO, Medline
Twelve hour shifts. Too many “Cup a Joes.” Olympic hurdles across the unit. And, of course, the requirement to keep calm and nurse on in a professional fashion.
Welcome to the life of a healthcare professional.
There are a lot of barriers that nurses may be faced with on a daily basis; it comes with the job of being a “Superhero in Scrubs.” Finding work wear that can stand up to the daily obstacles, allows nurses to feel comfortable during that 12-hour shift and help them radiate confidence should not be one more thing to worry about. In order to keep up with the lifestyle of a nurse, having the right fit available is crucial, and here’s why:
Guest post from Martie L. Moore, RN, MAOM, CPHQ, CNO, Medline
Can you really achieve balance between your work and your life? To quote Shakespeare, “That is the question.”
Some specialists argue that you never actually achieve balance between the two pulls of your focus and energy; balance is something that you instead, continually pursue. By accepting that you never fully achieve a balance, you are then better able to cope with the competing areas that demand your attention. Think of a playground seesaw: It’s never 100% perfectly balanced and level. One side goes up while the other side goes down, demonstrating that there is always give and take necessary to make it work.
I have a dear friend who is the queen of the work / life juggling act. When work is demanding, she lets up on the demands of her personal life. Then, she works to refocus back into her personal life and lets up on the demands of work. She laughingly calls it her endless cycle of living. She also has learned to give herself permission to let things go.
In an emotionally charged work environment such as nursing, laughter, tears and other emotions are going to be at an all time high, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. These physical reactions of the body in consequence of emotional feelings lead to a renewed state of mind and provide release of tension and emotional healing. Check out the infographic below to see what happens biologically during these two reactions, the after-effects, and how to positively incorporate them within a health care setting.
As many of you know, I’ve been helping care for a friend with advanced leukemia, who requires blood and platelet transfusions every 1-3 days, chemotherapy and a range of other services. The physical and emotional toll on him, his family and all of his supportive friends and loved ones has been tremendous.
One aspect that has been particularly frustrating for his family is trying to make sense of all different information they’re hearing from the 12+ doctors that are constantly rotating through the clinics. I just wish that the new Cancer Center at El Camino Hospital with its long list of patient centered amenities all designed to care for patients and families had been available to them when they began this journey.
Before the Center begins serving patient needs, El Camino Hospital invites you for a tour of the new facility at a special open house on March 7th. This is a great opportunity to meet the Cancer Center staff and physicians, and learn
more about the expanded and personalized services that will be available in one convenient location. Stop by and enjoy some light refreshments and entertainment provided by our Healing Arts program, and see how we’re building on our foundation of physician-directed, patient-centric, seamless care. (more…)