Tag Archives: #nursesmatter

I Am the Storm

The events which have transpired the last two days have been extraordinary. Our country, our democracy, our way of life, our fundamental beliefs have been threatened. Violence has disrupted the nation’s capital and misguided extremists have attempted to subvert our government.

We are nurses. We are tasked to take care of patients, groups, communities, and populations. The population of the United States is included. I have completed my credentialing to work with the Florida Department of Health in Lee County as a volunteer to administer COVID-19 vaccinations. It is one way I believe I can make a positive impact. I will look for other ways.

As nurses, we have a professional and ethical imperative to do what we can to heal, help, and advocate for all people living in this country. Be the warrior. A warrior for peace, truth, and health for all. I am the storm.

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Grateful for the gift of Yoga: Day 4

“Submerged in the here and now”. That’s a phrase my favorite online yogi just used during savasana, the final resting pose. Interesting concept, and a good one for today’s phrenetic world.

I was first introduced to yoga when I was competing in triathlons. My training buddy, an exercise physiologist and far better athlete, suggested that I needed to do yoga to “slow myself down”. That’s me and her in the photo, after the Copper Man Triathlon in 199? I told her I could not possibly do it, all people do is lie around on the floor and chant. Wow, was I wrong.

When my friend Mary Connor (for real, that’s her name just like in Terminator) finally got me to try a class. I was amazed. It was hard! It was physical! It was good! I was hooked! I am now a Registered Yoga Teacher and have been teaching it myself for about 5 years. As I age, and my body does not want to do the things it did when I was younger, I find that yoga offers me plenty of challenge and opportunity for growth and improvement. At 61, I can finally do a full backbend (wheel pose). This took 10 years. Pretty exciting.

But truly what yoga offers is not just a physical discipline, it is a philosophical invitation to explore spirituality and mindfulness. It is an interior journey. It’s just what people need during this pandemic! We have a videoconference meeting this afternoon for the RN staff about resiliency and self-care. I’m pretty much there already. My life has been anything but linear. If I were not resilient, I could not have worked two jobs while supporting two babies and a young husband who went back to college. Never mind myself. As the children (including my husband) learned to take care of themselves, I was able to re-focus on my own mental and physical health. Every day is a new challenge in this regard, but with the good fortune to be living in a climate where I can go out and jog most days, then follow up with a yoga practice, I am doing alright.

Now is the time! If you’ve ever thought, “I could benefit from doing yoga”, you were right. You WOULD benefit. There are a million YouTube Yogis out there waiting and ready for you to stream their videos for free. What are you waiting for? Do it today. You’ll be glad you did for the rest of your life.

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Gratitude. The Antidote to 2020.

I have not written for quite some time. Life got busy. A pandemic hit. My husband lost his job. I went back to work full-time. Each of my grown children had their own crises to sort through. I started two different non-profits – one sewed more than 5000 masks for local health care providers and the other continues to inform our local community about how to stay safe and where to get tested. I resigned from both of the organizations I started when it became apparent that trying to lead them plus work full-time plus help kids plus try to be a respectful and supportive partner was just too much. I got sick. I got better. I got tired. I resolved to return to part time work in January and that’s just what I’m doing.

I work in outpatient surgery/women’s health so, although several of our patients have admitted to testing positive after coming to our clinic, my exposure is NOTHING like that of my daughter (a hospitalist) or her husband (a critical care specialist) who lead teams devoted to caring for critically ill COVID patients all day every day at work. They both got it early on, when their hospital was short on PPE. They are young and recovered, but nothing can help you recover from the daily emotional trauma of families cut off from their failing loved ones.

It’s long. We all have pandemic fatigue. What can we do to keep ourselves healthy? Other than excellent nutrition, conscientious exercise, and appropriate precautions, it turns out practicing gratitude helps. A recent article in the online news journal MD Linx describes the multiple health benefits of gratitude including reducing inflammation, BP, HR, and improved mental health and overall well-being. Sure, I thought, that’s great but how to be grateful? Other than the election which saw the demise of the Trump dynasty, there’s not a lot to be grateful for. Thank goodness the article described in depth how to do it. Here’s an excerpt and the citiation:

“All of this raises an important question: How do you start cultivating feelings of gratitude? According to some health experts, one of the best ways to do this is through writing. In his interview with NPR last year, Dr. Fox said that journaling can help condition the brain to feel more grateful more often. Fox, who completed his PhD on the neural bases of gratitude, began his own gratitude journal while grieving the death of his mother. While it didn’t stop the pain, he said he helped make the ordeal far more manageable and changed his perception of the tough time he was going through.

Gratitude journaling can take many forms. You can write down all the things you’ve felt grateful for in the past 24 hours, or you can focus on one good event and try to write down all the details of it. You can even write letters that don’t intend to send—simply the act of writing could help train your brain to acknowledge the positive sides of life well into the future.So grab a pen, get comfy, and consider all the good things in your life—from significant long-term relationships to minor things like a nice coffee break.”

https://www.mdlinx.com/article/this-simple-habit-can-have-profound-health-benefits/zkeLybH2fx8QxwQynjDk9?show_order=1&utm_campaign=12%2F17%2F2020+Evening+Warming+Alert+-snippet+header&utm_source=iPost&ipost_environment=m3usainc&utm_medium=email&iqs=9z2zggugi9q03u3tec367qhgckotpg7roitdf8vahsg

Since my handwriting is atrocious, I grabbed my computer. Same thing. So day one I will focus on being grateful for my continued health and ability to financially withstand reducing my hours to part-time in January. These are not small things to be grateful for. In fact they are HUGE. So many Americans cannot make those statements. So, ok, your turn. Let’s take care of ourselves the best we can, and try to include gratitude every day. I am grateful to anyone out there that may be reading this, and especially grateful if it helps you.

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The “Gag Rule” – Trump’s Kowtow to the Religious Right. How we can Fight Back.

Title X provides federal funding for family planning services. Organizations like Planned Parenthood utilize this funding for services such as ;

  • Wellness exams
  • Lifesaving cervical and breast cancer screenings
  • Birth control
  • Contraception education
  • Testing and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and HIV testing.

These services are provided at affordable rates to low-income patients, thanks in part to this funding source. However, a cabal of conservatives has requested that Trump issue a rule that would  effectively ban Planned Parenthood and similar organizations from providing abortion and related services under the same roof as operations funded by federal family-planning grants, according to an administration official. This includes offering patients information and/or referrals to safe abortion providers. This rule would effectively do three things to the Planned Parenthood clientele – 2/3 of whom are below the federal poverty level in terms of income –

  1. Impose new rules designed to make it impossible for patients to get birth control or preventive care from reproductive health care providers like Planned Parenthood.
  2. Prevent health care providers across the country — including doctors, nurses, hospitals, and community health centers — from referring their patients for safe, legal abortion.
  3. Remove the guarantee that patients get full and accurate information about their health care from their doctor.

Just at the moment when historic gains are being made in Ireland regarding a woman’s right to control her own reproductive system, this rule seeks to take the  United States backward to a time when women had little to no control. Shades of The Handmaid’s Tale.

Physicians and nurses have considerable clout. Doctors because of their well-funded lobbying efforts and socioeconomic status. Nurses have two things: sheer numbers and the confidence and trust of the American People. Nurses have now been for 16 years voted the most trusted professionals in this country. It’s time to join our collective voices and advocate for those who cannot – namely the marginalized, socially, economically, and culturally disadvantaged.

OK, so maybe you don’t believe in abortion except in cases of rape or incest. Well, then you do believe a woman should have a right to an abortion, based upon the reason. Who is to judge what is a good or valid reason? If you agree that a woman who was raped should not be made to carry to term, then you believe in abortion rights. Period. You can’t pick and choose the reason. The Supreme Court has again and again reinforced the constitutionality of a woman’s right to choose.

If you believe that no women should be able to have an abortion, then you must also care for their children by providing a safe home, adequate food and health care, education, and support for the parent’s ability to obtain decent child care. Failure to do so rescinds your moral high ground. Christ implored his followers to clothe the naked, feed the hungry, take in those in need in Matthew 25:35-36, “For I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink, I was a stranger and you took Me in, 36 I was naked and you clothed Me. I was sick and you looked after Me…” I believe that is pretty clear directive – as we know he goes on to say that whatever you do for the least of his brothers is done directly unto him.

What can you do if you would like to fight the gag rule? You can submit comments to the Department of Health and Human Services via this website

https://www.weareplannedparenthoodaction.org/onlineactions/yOKxyIomxUO-EFoTcvQbHg2?_ga=2.91165785.213420659.1527432943-1212086471.1527432943

You can call/write/text/email your Representatives in congress to ask them not to support this effort to take needed health care services away from those with the least ability to pay. Please, help. So many people are depending upon Nurses to take a greater role politically. The IOM said as much in its vision for the future of health care. Now is the time.

 

 

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Diversity in Nursing, and in our Nation – We Must Protect our Greatest Strength

MULTICULTURALCAPELLAGRADSBuilding a nation of immigrants was long considered America’s greatest strength, and many of our fine Presidents have expressed this eloquently. George Washington, arguably the country’s founding father, said, “The bosom of America is open to receive not only the Opulent and respected Stranger, but the oppressed and persecuted of all Nations and Religions; whom we shall welcome to a participation of all our rights and privileges…” Woodrow Wilson is quoted as saying, ““We came to America, either ourselves or in the persons of our ancestors, to better the ideals of men, to make them see finer things than they had seen before, to get rid of the things that divide and to make sure of the things that unite.”  Franklin Roosevelt is blunt, “Remember, remember always, that all of us, you and I especially, are descended from immigrants and revolutionists.” Unless a person is a Native American, we are all immigrants. Period.

More recently, George W. Bush considered this subject and stated, “Nearly all Americans have ancestors who braved the oceans – liberty-loving risk takers in search of an ideal – the largest voluntary migrations in recorded history… Immigration is not just a link to America’s past; it’s also a bridge to America’s future.” The photo above was taken last week at Capella University’s commencement ceremony. These five women earned their Master’s of Science in Nursing (MSN), specializing in the area of Informatics. They represent President Bush’s prediction that immigrants are America’s (and nursing’s) future. Each one is either an immigrant or a first-generation American. They represent diverse heritages – Jewish, Jamaican, Nepali, Polish, and Hispanic. All are under attack at this terrible time in our country’s history – by neo-Nazis, white supremacists, racists, xenophobes, and the current administration. Why?

The politics of division. Adolf Hitler used this strategy in Germany to upend a society, brainwash and corrupt a citizenry, and murder 6 million innocent people. Because they were not considered “white enough”. Unthinkable in today’s world? Unfortunately the Dylan Roofs of this country continue the tradition of murdering innocents based on nothing more than the color of their skin or the religion they practice. President Wilson said we must get rid of the things that divide. How can we let this continue?

Nursing leaders understand the importance of culturally competent care. National standards for culturally and linguistically appropriate services in health and healthcare (CLAS) have been established by the federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Diversity in the nursing workforce is slowly manifesting, but if this photo is any indication, diversity in nursing leadership is rapidly on the rise. We are tasked to practice in a culturally competent manner. But we need to to more. We must #resist. We must work together with the American Nurses Association to advocate for health care for all, for sane immigration policies, for continuation of the Dream Act, for strengthening of the Affordable Care Act, for the health of our people and our nation.

The current administration’s efforts to build a wall are antithetical to George W. Bush’s view of immigration. This policy direction is unacceptable. It’s un-American. We must take action, and build President Bush’s bridge to the future. It’s the only way to make America great again.

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Nurses Stand in Opposition to the AHCA

The image above comes from NBC news, capturing the “Writers Resist” rally on the steps of the New York City Public Library. What does it have to do with nursing? A lot. The American Nurses Association has been against the proposed “American Health Care Act” from the beginning. The new iteration passed by the House is perhaps even worse than the original version. This has sparked protest by diverse members of society, and broad-based opposition.

So says Gregory Craig, health policy analyst for the American Nurses Association. Rather than restate what he has written, I encourage you to visit his blog at the link below.

http://anacapitolbeat.org/2017/05/10/broad-based-opposition-to-the-american-health-care-act/

As nurses, we must stand united and #resist all efforts to take health care away from the most vulnerable citizens of our country, simply to provide tax breaks to the wealth. It violates every ethical principle that we embraced when we became nurses, and undermines the efforts of our profession to advocate for health and wellness for all.

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Medicaid Expansion Fiscally Sound: Trump Policy – Not So Much…

The powerful image above is Dr. Pamela Cipriano, President of the American Nurses Association (ANA) addressing Congressional staffers. The ANA is the voice of nurses in this country, and advocates for better health and health care for all. The link below will take you to an article explaining the title of this post. Simply put, offering people primary care through Medicaid keeps them out of the Emergency Department, ultimately saving money all the way around. Trump has decided to undo his predecessor’s freeze on funding uncompensated care for states who refused to expand their Medicaid programs as offered by the Affordable Care Act. Not a good move.

States who refused federal funding to expand Medicaid did so out of political spite and fear of criticism by the extreme right wing of the Republican party. They did so not thinking or caring one bit about the people who live in their state. They did so knowing their actions were fiscally irresponsible and detrimental to the health of their constituents. Really? How much longer can we keep this farce going?

Thanks to the ANA for its continued advocacy on the part of those who are vulnerable, uninsured and clearly unrepresented. Inform yourself. Call your Congressional representatives. Be a part of the solution. #Resist !

http://anacapitolbeat.org/2017/05/02/new-study-highlights-positive-experiences-of-medicaid-enrollees/

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