The Together While Apart Art Project

The Together While Apart Art Project

The Together While Apart Art Project

The Together While Apart Project is a project made for nurses. Being a nurse in this pandemic is undoubtedly trying. We’ve been placed in a situation that most of us are unprepared for. No matter how good you are in your job as a nurse or anywhere in the world, the pandemic tested our strength, knowledge, skills, patience, and mental health. 

As frontliners, we trudge on to battle like soldiers, fighting this invisible enemy to help protect the community and country we serve. It is why we are so grateful for the people who rallied and supported us, nurses, all the way. We thank the community for sending their help and for people like Deane Bower, artist, founder, and creator of The Together While Apart Project. 

What is The Together While Apart Art Project?

The Together While Apart Project is a collaborative art project and fundraiser for the American Nurses Foundation, created in 2020 at the height of the ongoing pandemic. It features the fantastic artworks of 19 artists from across the country, representing nine states and coasts.

The painting represents Hope, Healing, and Light, the characteristics that Healthcare Professionals so beautifully epitomized in such a complex and unprecedented period. It also describes the love and support of all healthcare workers, especially nurses. 

The Campaign

After its completion, the artwork traveled around the country for ten months. By June 2022, it finally found its home in the halls of The University of Virginia Medical Center, which now hangs in the lobby of their Main Hospital. It also received national recognition from the Smithsonian Institute, ChannelKindness.org, and NOAH (National Organization of Arts in Health), among many other well-known organizations. 

The American Nurses Association has established a fund in the name of The Together While Apart Project as part of ANA’s Foundation and Wellness Initiative Programs to give back to all nurses. It will provide nurses throughout the country free services such as mental and physical wellness, job enrichment programs, and financial planning. The goal is to reach $20,200, where funds raised are already up to $12,000.

In light of this campaign, Cup of Nurses encourages everyone to help our fellow nurses. Let us all find a way to honor nurses and thank them for their tireless efforts in serving everyone during this pandemic here in our country and across the globe. 

To learn more about this campaign and fundraising or if you would like to donate to this cause, click on the link below 👇

https://bit.ly/togetherwhileapartproject

You can also Google the American Nurses Foundation, Inc. – Together While Apart Fundraiser for more information. 

We believe that we can fight this pandemic together. So, let us help each other. Now is the best time to show our love and support to our heroes in healthcare; let us give back to our nurses! 

 

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Everything We Need to Know About Autism

Everything We Need to Know About Autism

Everything We Need to Know About Autism

Many are aware of autism in children but have little understanding of its real nature. But what do we know about autism? Can it be corrected?

What can we do to help children or people with this condition? In honor of April as World Autism Day, this post will talk about autism and what you need to learn about it. 

 

What is Autism? 

Autism is also known or called ASD or Autism Spectrum Disorder. It is a condition that includes problems with behavior and communication in children, which involves a wide range of symptoms and skills. 

ASD can be a minor problem that can be corrected through therapy or a disability that needs full-time care within a particular facility that specializes in patients with autism. 

Many people with autism have difficulty with communication. They don’t understand what other people think or feel, which makes it hard for them to express themselves through words, facial expressions, touch, or gestures. 

Difficulties in learning are a problem among people with autism. One example is their skill sets that do not develop within the proper age range. They do not meet the developmental milestone that their age has. 

They also have trouble communicating, making it hard to verbalize how they feel. However, many people with ASD are unusually brilliant at math, art, science, or memory. Because of this, they do well on problem-solving and tests of analysis. 

Today, more children are diagnosed with autism than a few decades ago. And understanding this condition is crucial in terms of caring for them. 

 

Early Signs of Autism

The signs and symptoms of autism usually appear before two or three years old. In some cases, signs of autism can be identified during the first 12 months of their life or as early as 18 months. Early intervention can lead to a much more favorable outcome for people with autism later in life.

Recognizing the signs and symptoms as early as possible can help you understand autism. Here are the most common symptoms of autism you should watch out for:

  • There is a lack of eye contact. 
  • The child has an intense interest in a specific topic or has a narrow range of interests. 
  • Repetitive activities like repeating phrases and words, rocking back and forth, or flipping an item repeatedly. 
  • Not paying mind or listening to other people. 
  • Highly sensitive to sounds, smells, touches, or sights that may seem ordinary to normal people. 
  • Does not want to be held or cuddled. 
  • Not looking at things when being pointed to them. 
  • Talking in a robotic, flat, or sing-song manner. 
  • Has difficulty adapting to changes in routine. 
  • Has problems understanding facial expressions, gestures, speech, or tone of voice. 

Seizures may also occur in children with autism. However, this might not start until they reach adolescence. 

 

Diagnosing Autism

Diagnosing autism spectrum disorder can be difficult. There is no medical test that you can do to diagnose the condition. Doctors must look at the child’s behavior and development first to confirm a diagnosis. 

ASD can be detected during the first 12 months of a child’s life. A diagnosis can be given when the child is two years old if all the classic signs are present. In some cases, many children do not receive a final diagnosis until later. 

There are also cases where one is diagnosed with ASD when they reach adolescents or adulthood. When the diagnosis is delayed, it could mean that they might not get the help they need during the early stages of their life. Correcting the condition may be more challenging around this stage. 

 

How to Diagnose ASD

Diagnosing autism can be a challenge, but your doctor will focus on your child’s development and behavior. There are two steps in diagnosing children:

First, a developmental screening will tell your doctor if your child is on track. Basic skills like behavior, speaking, learning, and developmental delays are monitored during regular checkups at nine months, 18 months, and 24-30 months. Children are checked for autism around 18-24 months during these checkups. 

If there are signs of autism during these screenings, they will evaluate the child through hearing and vision tests or genetic tests. Doctors will work with specialists like a developmental pediatrician or a child psychologist. A test called Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS) is given to children to conclude a diagnosis further. 

 

Causes of ASD

There is no clear origin as to why autism happens. But, it could stem from a couple of problems in the parts of the human brain that interprets the sensory input and processes language. 

As studies show, autism happens more often in males than in females. However, it can occur in any ethnicity, race, or social background. In short, anyone can be affected by this disorder. Among the risk factors include: 

  • A child born to older parents has a higher risk of having autism. 
  • Autism runs in the family, so a combination of genes may also increase the risk of having a child with ASD. 
  • Pregnant women exposed to certain chemicals, drugs, alcohol, or anti-seizure medications while in term are more likely to have autistic children. Medications like valproic acid and thalidomide that were taken during pregnancy can also cause autism. 
  • Metabolic conditions like obesity or diabetes during pregnancy can also contribute to this condition. 
  • Having a sibling with autism. 
  • A researched has linked autism to untreated phenylketonuria or PKU. It is a metabolic disorder caused by the absence of an enzyme and rubella or German measles. 
  • Experiencing complications at birth. 

Contrary to popular belief, autism is NOT caused by vaccinations. There is no evidence supporting this claim. Make sure to get your information about autism from a credible source. 

 

The Different Types of Autism

ASD is not limited to one type. There is more than one kind of autism, and they fall under different spectrum:

  • Asperger’s syndrome – children with Asperger’s have no problem with language. They are even above the average range on intelligence tests. However, they have a narrow scope of interest and issues with social interaction.
  • Childhood disintegrative disorder – this typically develops for at least two years. Children with this disorder tend to lose some or most of their social skills and communication. 
  • Pervasive development disorder (PDD), or atypical autism – is the term physicians use if a child has some autistic behavior. These behaviors are likely displayed as delays in communication and social skills but don’t fit within the ASD category. 
  • Autistic disorder – refers to children who have problems with social interactions, playing with other children younger than three years old, and communication. 

 

How Do You Treat Autism? 

As far as a cure is concerned, there is no “cure” for autism. However, several effective interventions can help improve the quality of life for a child with this disorder. It is used to create a structured behavioral plan to help improve their adaptive skills and decrease inappropriate behaviors. 

Most treatments for ASD seek to reduce symptoms to reduce the symptoms of autism that interferes with their quality of life. Treatment plans usually involve multiple professionals and are catered to the individual. If you think that your child has ASD, consult your doctor as soon as possible. 

Two types of treatment can help a child or person with ASD. They are: 

  • Communication and behavioral therapy to help with the structure and organization – applied behavioral analysis is a therapy that promotes positive behavior and discourages negative ones.
    • Occupational therapy is given to help them with life skills, eating, and relating to people.
    • Another is speech therapy. It is given to help them with their communication skills and sensory integration therapy to help those with sensory problems like sensitivity to sound, light, or touch. 
  • Medications – depending on the severity of the ASD, meds are given to help with the symptoms and control hyperactivity, anxiety, or attention problems. 

There are also complementary treatments that can help boost the individual’s communication and learning skills. These include:

  • Music
  • Art
  • Animal therapy like horseback riding etc. 
  • Swimming

 

An Advice for the Parents

Dealing with an autistic child makes parenthood even more challenging. The good news is that many healthcare facilities and specialists can help you with this condition. If you have an autistic child or suspect that your child has autism, it is recommended that you:

  • Learn as much as possible about ASD. Read books, research online, watch videos, and talk to experts. 
  • Connect with people who are also parents of children with autism. 
  • Provide a consistent routine and structure for your child. 
  • Seek out the best professional help for any specific concerns that you might have. 
  • Take time for yourself and the family members involved in caring for your child with ASD. 

Autism does not only affect the child born with it but the whole family too. Taking care of an autistic child is undoubtedly stressful, expensive (talk about therapy sessions), and time-consuming. But keeping your family’s emotional health is also as important.

Don’t forget to include this in your treatment plan. 

 

In Closing

A child with autism is not a burden; they’re extra special. The truth is, they are some of the purest people in the world! All you need to do is love them and extend your patience. And they will surely give it back.

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Nursing Shortages During Covid-19

Nursing Shortages During Covid-19

Nursing Shortages During Covid-19

The pandemic has affected all of us; countries closed their borders, traveling is kept to a minimum, being in contact with people is limited, lockdowns, and most of all, the ever-increasing number of deaths.

While the world struggles to hold on and survive, healthcare professionals and frontliners are situated in front, serving all of us.

Nurses, in particular, have been called to work, assigned to different places, and worked tirelessly and diligently to give their best to patients suffering from Covid-19.

But like their patients, the number of nurses dying from Covid and exhaustion has also become an alarming concern to the healthcare world. It is also among the reasons why there are nursing shortages in hospitals

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), nurses represented the most significant number of healthcare workers involved in this pandemic.

The year 2020 marks the 200th year since Florence Nightingale founded nursing, and it also became the year when nurses had to face the biggest challenge of their lives as the pandemic spread across the world. 

What is Covid-19?

The World Health Organization defined Coronavirus (Covid-19) as an infectious disease where the infected people will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness. Older people and those with medical problems like diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and others are more likely to develop serious infections.

The transmission mode of Covid-19 is primarily through droplets of saliva or nose discharges of an infected person when they are coughing or sneezing. 

To slow down the transmission of Covid-19, protect yourself and others by frequent handwashing, using an alcohol-based rub or sanitizer, and wearing facemasks. Practicing social distancing and getting vaccinated also helps in slowing down the spread of this disease. 

9 Reasons for Nursing Shortages During Covid-19

Nursing shortages have always been an issue, even before the pandemic set in. However, it’s been given more light during the pandemic. But what are the most common reasons why nurses are short-staffed these days? Here’s what we gathered [1].

1. Overworked and exhaustion

While nurses’ wages have improved over recent years, there are still nurses who struggle with lower pay. Add the long hours of work and dealing with covid cases, and many nurses become burned out with work. 

2. Older nurses are about to retire

As the years go by, more and more elderly nurses are retiring. Studies showed that about one-third of the nursing force aged 50 and above would quit in a couple of years. 

3. Nurses are quitting their jobs

A study conducted in December 2020 by the NNA (National Nurses Association) showed that heavy workloads, stress, insufficient funds, and burnout are among the concerns of many nurses quitting and leaving their jobs.

NNA also surveyed a 20% increase in nurses leaving their jobs because of the pandemic.

4. Nurses considering a career change

Many nurses considered working a different career besides nursing so as not to be involved with Covid patients.  Others quit because handling Covid-19 cases has become too much for them. 

5. The trauma of the pandemic

Another good reason why there are plenty of nursing shortages in hospitals these days is the trauma that the pandemic caused [2]. In January 2020, the ICN (International Council of Nurses) raised their concern about the mass trauma experienced by nurses during the surge of Covid-19.

They also took note of the medium to long-term effects of this trauma on the nursing workforce. The issues and risks combined with the stress and overworked nurses threaten the already vulnerable nursing community. 

6. Burned-out nurses

As the pandemic continues, the number of nurses reaching their point of burnout increases as well. Because of this, many nurses are considering the idea of leaving their jobs.

If this happens, nurses leaving their jobs because of burnout could potentially damage the healthcare system in the years to come. 

7. Depression and anxiety

Besides being burned out at work and working long hours handling covid patients, many nurses reported experiencing depression and anxiety. Research conducted in the Philippines shows that prolonged distress from the pandemic has developed stress among nurses.

On the other hand, Egypt and Pakistan showed that the pandemic threat has prompted 95% of their nurses had intentions to leave their present jobs involving Covid-19 Triage Hospitals, and 25% want to leave the profession for good because of the stress, anxiety, and depression that they’re experiencing. 

8. A limited supply of new nurses

There are plenty of new nurses graduating each year, and it’s not enough to cover up for the deficit caused by those who will be retiring soon.

New nurses are helpful, but not so they can fill in for those who are already experts in the field. In short, they need time and experience to become fully capable of handling difficult situations like Covid patients. 

9. Not enough pay 

Another reason nurses leave their current jobs is to search for better opportunities. Nurses who have been on the front lines working in nursing homes are not making livable wages. So if they can find another hospital that offers higher incentives and better compensation, they will leave.

 

How Can Hospitals Avoid a Shortage of Nurses During Pandemic?

There are millions of registered nurses in the United States, yet there are still shortages in the workforce [3]. How can this be resolved? 

Dr. Joanne Spetz, Ph.D., a professor at the Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies and associate director for research at the Healthforce Center at the University of California, San Francisco, suggested these tips to help our nurses get back into work:

  • Offer financial incentives. Higher salaries or student loan repayment programs will encourage nurses and future nurses to serve in different areas where the pandemic hit the hardest. 
  • Create quicker ways of speeding up the license application for nurses living in other states and authorization of immediate license reactivation. 
  • To expand their scope of practice and oversight rules. The best example of this is to loosen regulations that require physicians to oversee nurse practitioners. Allow nurses to do jobs that do not necessarily require the presence of a physician. 
  • Create a law or rule that nursing students and those scheduled to graduate soon to help and provide support in hospitals during the pandemic. 
  • Provide new child care options to nurses, especially pregnant or those who have small children. 
  • Provide nurses with their personal needs like lodging. This way, they don’t put their families at risk of being exposed to the virus. Supporting their mental and emotional health are also important. Providing them with activities to de-stress can help reduce their anxieties as well. 
  • Provide nurses with adequate access to personal protective equipment, especially those working in critical areas or handling Covid-19 patients. 

 

How Can Hospitals Overcome the Nursing Shortage?

In addition to that, hospitals can also overcome nursing shortages in hospitals by the following:

  1. Provide a flexible schedule for nurses so they can juggle their work and family life. Flexible schedules allow them to decompress between stressful and emotionally demanding shifts that can drain their energies. A flexible schedule keeps nurses happy and more positive in their working environment. 
  2. A chance to develop their careers through promotion also helps in retaining nurses. Hospitals must help their nurses to obtain the highest education possible. It will encourage nurses to stay within the organization and feel more satisfied with their accomplishments professionally. 
  3. Give your nurses a voice by listening to their concerns. Nurses who can voice their concerns to supervisors and managers are most likely to stay within the company. Implementing their suggestions and ideas also show nurses that the hospital managers are serious about their inputs and that they are also an essential part of the company. 

 

Nurses Will Stay 

Nurses are among the best workers globally, and they will stay working as long as they can handle the situation. However, the pandemic changed all that. 

It’s not a secret that many of our nurses are exhausted these days, and there’s no certainty as to when this pandemic will end. The only certainty we can give is to protect our nurses by supporting them, providing them with their needs, and hearing them out. 

If every nursing company provides their nurses with these, there will surely be no nursing shortages in hospitals. So support your nurses whenever you can; we still need them!

 

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EP 119: Should You Move Out After Nursing School

EP 119: Should You Move Out After Nursing School

Moving Out After Nursing School

How soon did you move out after nursing school? 

There is no ideal time frame. Some nurses do it a few weeks after landing their first job, some wait a few years and build up their finances, while others have already been living on their own.

Moving out is a big part of your life, so make sure to think it through.

Why do you want to move out after nursing school? Is it because everyone is doing it? Do you want more space? You want more freedom, etc.

While it sounds good, you may think, what are the benefits of moving out after nursing school?

Things to Consider Before Moving Out

Finally, getting to move out of your parent’s home is one of the greatest and most accomplished things you will do in your lifetime.

It puts you at a point of optimal growth. You’re going to experience life on a different level.

These are some steps to take before you move out.

  1. Figure out your financial situation
      • If you want to move out you first have to make sure you have enough money. There’s a thing called rent or mortgage for everyone still living at their parents’ home. You’re going to be paying for the place you are living in and it is going to be your most costly expense.
      • The average cost of rent in the US is a little over $1,000 a month, depending on the location you will most likely be paying more. For example, a 2 BR condo in LA will run you around $3,000 – $5,000, in Chicago $1,800 – $3,000.
      • You also need to incorporate groceries, utilities, Netflix, phone bills, and personal expenses. It all adds up and it’s usually a lot more expensive than you initially thought. 
      • Consider your loans. What are your monthly loan payments? You might be better off living at home for a few months or years longer to get them paid off quicker. 
  2. Where do you want to live
      • Location, location, location, one of the biggest real estate owners is McDonald’s. You need to think about where you want to live, city, suburb, local, or out of state. Is there a particular spot you always go to or really like? Do you want some views, or maybe live close to your parents?  
  3. Why do you want to move out
      • Moving out is a lot of work and increases your responsibility. Are you moving out for the right reasons or are you mindlessly doing it because everyone else is? 

Benefits of Moving Out

      • More freedom: You will not have a room anymore, the whole place will be your temple. You can do whatever whenever walking naked from your bedroom to the kitchen kind of freedom.
      • More responsibility: You will now be a fully functioning adult with complete control of your life and future. You are going to learn all the things associated with living in your own place; decorating, cleaning, fixing, maintaining, etc… It is a new sense of being. 

Should you move out after you graduate from nursing school? Click here for the full episode 👇😃👇

TIMESTAMPS:

00:00 Intro
00:10 Thank you for tuning in
00:45 Episode topic
01:05 Should You Move OUT after Nursing School?
02:22 Things to consider before moving out
02:57 Consider your financial situation
03:50 Rent or Own?
10:34 Where do you want to move to?
12:52 Why do you want to move out?
19:05 A giant opportunity for growth
20:16 Pets
22:35 A good routine
23:42: Meal prepping and cooking
31:46 Take your time, don’t rush!
33:25 It’s a wrap
33:40 End of show

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EP 113: Nursing School vs Nursing

EP 113: Nursing School vs Nursing

Nursing School vs. Actual Nursing

We are going to be discussing the difference between nursing school vs. nursing. Nurses always say to their students or orientees “Nursing is a lot different than clinical.” We even say it quite often. Nursing school and nursing are 2 separate things [1]

 

G-tubes, catheters, and IV pushes

1. G-tubes

Remember how we were told to check placement and patiency then flush. Our clinical testing consisted of our instructors observing us put each medication in a separate small cup,  add a little flush in between each ned.

Then you let it all go in by gravity? 

There is no time for that. 

Mix the meds together, dilute with water, and push it in. Everything’s going into one place anyways: the stomach. However, remember to always check for placement. 

 

2. Foley catheters

Foley catheters can be some of the hardest things to insert. In clinical, you were taught to find a landmark. Spread this labia. Locate this, half-a-finger length up, insert, and you’re golden! Smooth and easy.

It’s a bit harder than that. 

The best advice is to get some experience. Walk in with a determined attitude, get some help, put on the lights, and always bring 2 kits and extra gloves.

Try to minimize distractions but there’s usually something going on. 

 

IV Pushes

IV pushes in nursing school and clinical were a long process. You stand there in front of the patient and instructor, pushing the med for 5 minutes. It’s your first time and the patient’s because no one pushes meds that slowly. 

Don’t get us wrong. We still push meds like Lasix slowly, but not 5 min. 

 

Physician’s Orders and Patient Compliance

1. Doctor’s orders

As nursing students, nurses were strictly never to change or discontinue a physician’s order without expressing over the phone, verbally, or written consent from the doctor’s physician. Another one was to call and notify the doctor of the refusal of medication by the patient. 

In the real world, we do not call the doctor and say a patient refused a med unless it’s something serious like a pressor or inotrope. We use our judgment. If you aren’t sure, then ask around first. 

 

2. Patient compliance

In a theoretical textbook scenario, the patient always seems to be compliant. Mr. Thomas, have you been adhering to your heart-healthy diet, yes and I’ve never felt better.

That’s too perfect of a world; you are going to see the frequent fliers that come for the same thing over and over again.

 

Double Gloving and Wet-to-Dry Dressing

1. Double gloving

We were never allowed to double-glove in nursing school. If I remember it correctly, we were strictly not allowed to do it and had to always re-apply new gloves.  

In the real world, some situations call for double gloving. This is in attempts to clean up c diff, and before changing a betadine dressing are good times to double glove.

 

2. Wet-to-dry dressing changes

How many times did you do a sterile wet-to-dry dressing change at home, before lab, during class, and at your lab practical?

In the real setting, we do not do as much as the nursing school made you think you would. We have better ways to properly clean and heal a wound.

 

Short Staffing and There’s No Black and White

 

1. When there’s short staffing

Short staffing and nurse-to-patient ratios have never been fully enforced in the US, and California comes first on the list with the best nurse-to-patient ratios. 

In the textbook world, you always have enough staff, equipment, and medication. You learn nothing about short staffing and how it will affect you physically and mentally.

Due to staffing, mistakes are unfortunately made. Medications are late, labs take longer than expected, and patients become agitated. It isn’t a perfect world with perfect staffing. 

 

2. Nursing Isn’t Black or White

Nothing in nursing is black and white–not even lab results. Everything is gray. Textbooks make it seem simple, but it isn’t.

The human body and mind are very complex, and nursing and medicine are too. Keep an open mind and learn to think critically [2]

What are your nurse expectations vs. reality experience? Check out ours here 👇😎

TIMESTAMPS:

00:00 Intro
00:53 Unwinding for a little bit
03:13 Today’s Episode
04:17 NG tubes
08:00 Foley Catheters
12:02 Do not discontinue a physician’s order without speaking to them
18:16 Patient Compliance
20:26 Double loving
22:05 Wet-to-dry dressing changes
24:52 Short staffing
30:44 Nursing isn’t black or white
35:20 Recap
35:39 End of show

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