Insights Blog

When you hear your peers tell their own nursing stories, you gain insight into how you may want to handle your professional growth, patient care, self-care, patient advocacy, and more. You may also want to share your own stories by submitting a blog for possible publication.

December 8, 2017

By: Roric P. Hawkins MBA, BSN, RN

In today’s nursing practice, varying opinions about how to best implement safe patient handling (SPH) programs exist. Some nurses offer suggestions based on personal experiences, which is both common and to be expected. Others are passionate and steadfast regarding the successful strategies they may have created.

Although these contributions are important as we move this injury prevention initiative forward, we must be cautious about our personal successes making us rigid in our thinking so that we begin to believe that our way of doing things is absolute. Nor should we allow our strong opinions to lead us to believe that all SPH processes should be standardized to be successful. Instead, we need to understand that others need the option to choose from our strategies and apply those that best fit with their practice situation. This approach also helps inexperienced SPH coordinators to develop decision-making skills related to implementing SPH programs: The more confident coordinators become, the more they learn to trust their abilities to make sound implementation decisions.

Stay flexible

Though it’s true that SPH programs are built on a foundation of evidence-based research that identifies how to reduce clinical staff injuries related to manually lifting . . .

December 1, 2017

By: Jon Templeman, BSN, RN

Unless you’re from Salem, Oregon or have read USA Today lately, you likely have not heard the story about what happened 75 years ago at Oregon State Hospital. In the midst of World War II, this psychiatric hospital experienced a tragic November night when 47 of its patients died horrific deaths due to a botched ingredient in the scrambled eggs.

The assistant-cook needed powdered milk to add to the egg yolks, so he sent one of the patients who was assisting him down to the basement to fetch it. The patient went to the wrong storeroom in the basement and came up with sodium fluoride, a powerful roach poison. The assistant-cook then unknowingly added this poison to the eggs and served a lethal dinner to the hospital residents. Within minutes, the first sign that something terrible was taking place was observed as patients began vomiting blood and having respiratory paralysis. Within a few hours, dozens of patients were dead, and by the time it was all over, 47 were dead and hundreds more were ill.

The subsequent investigation revealed that the assistant-cook had broken a rule by handing the basement keys to the patient who was . . .

November 24, 2017

By: Jon Templeman, BSN, RN

I have been a hospice nurse for 5 years. I have been treading water in an ocean of grief that is compiled of the collective tears of my community. In my relatively short time as a hospice nurse, I feel like I have seen enough suffering, pain, and sadness to put to shame any fictional work that has ever come out of Hollywood or been written by the greatest of authors. If art imitates life, it’s failing miserably and can’t hold a candle to what I have seen play out, from the most complex to the beautifully mundane.

I’m now at a point where my identity as a hospice nurse has overshadowed my previous identity as a U.S. Marine. With each patient that I connect with and work towards getting comfortable, there is a change that occurs within me. It draws my heart closer into this field, even as my mind tells me sometimes that I can’t take much more of this.

One thing that I retain from my military days is a fighting mentality, and that I believe is of absolute necessity. I was never deployed to a combat zone, so I won’t . . .

November 17, 2017


In 1885, a young nursing student at Cambridge Hospital in Massachusetts was going through her studies; her brightness and positive attitude quickly earned her the nickname “Jolly Jane.” While there were some concerns with her occasional propensity to tell fibs and her seemingly bizarre interest in patient autopsies, by all accounts Jane was well liked by her colleagues, competent in her skills, and adored by her patients. Her patients thought she showed extraordinary compassion and was eager to help them beyond the call of her duty.

Because of her popularity with patients, after Jane was terminated from her position at Cambridge Hospital for being reckless with opiate administration she was able to quickly obtain a new position at the prestigious Massachusetts General Hospital. She later lost her position because of her liberal dispensing of morphine to her patients. Yet because she was so well liked by her patients, a physician recommended her for a position as a private duty nurse to take care of his wealthy patients. Jane became financially well off as a private duty nurse, until she was discovered to have murdered dozens of patients, associates, and even family members over about 10 years.

Jane Toppan was one . . .

October 13, 2017

By: Roric P. Hawkins, MBA, BSN, RN

Safe patient handling (SPH) is a much-needed solution to address widespread injuries occurring among nurses performing patient care. Injuries that result from manually lifting human beings often happen because of many factors, but nevertheless remain an existing problem in need of a committed focus. Though there are a variety of injury prevention programs in patient-care settings intended to address the safety of those who function within these spaces, it has become ever-more important to remember that the foundation, processes, and incorporation of patient-lift technology were developed to target specifically the safety of healthcare workers.

In defining SPH as a program, it’s important to ensure that the intent remains committed to minimizing injuries in healthcare staff related to manually lifting and moving patients first. Combining these programs with other hospital injury prevention initiatives run the risk of assuming SPH to be an “extension” or an “addition to” resource, opposed to an evidenced-based program created to address a specific objective.

 Safe patient handling is assistance

When considering an injury prevention program such as SPH, it’s reasonable to attribute some positive patient care outcomes to processes that include use of patient-lift technology. For instance, equipment . . .

October 6, 2017

By: Mary Robinson Prody, RN

Yearly, millions of women and men in the United States return home from the hospital, with one or more drains inserted in the surgical site. The drains are placed during certain surgeries to carry fluids away from the surgical site, a process that helps with healing. A drain may need to stay in place for several days to several weeks. Unfortunately, traditional ways to secure these drains, such as use of safety pins, have significant drawbacks, such as tube punctures, which can frustrate patients.

After years of working with patients, and witnessing their frustration, discomfort, and anxieties with post-surgical drains, as well as the clinical complications that occurred related to not having a universal way to secure drainage bulbs, I decided it was time to find a safer, easier to use, alternative. Despite an extensive search, I could not find one, so I developed a belt-like surgical drainage bulb holder. Patients can wear the holder under clothing, while sleeping, and in the shower.

The Surgical Drainage Bulb Holder (SDBH), patented in 2003, meets the clinical criteria for maximizing drain function and preventing complications, and is used in 155 nationally recognized hospitals.

Filling a need

Traditionally, most drainage bulbs . . .

September 28, 2017

By: Mary Janette Sendin, MSN, CNS, CCNS, PCCN

This patient could be us, our family, or other people we love. Vulnerable, scared, helpless. Do we listen to our patients? How can we support them and their families while they are under our care? The bottom line answer is patient advocacy.

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, advocate used as noun is defined as one who pleads the cause of another, one who defends or maintains a cause or proposal, one who supports or promotes the interests of a cause or group. Advocacy used as a verb is defined as the act or process of supporting a cause or proposal.

All nurses are patient advocates but the clinical nurse specialist (CNS) advocates at an advanced practice level. According to the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) Scope and Standards for Acute Care Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) Practice, CNSs are influential in enabling an organizational culture of caring. They work with patients and families to establish an environment where caring is supreme. They also work to create an environment for patients and families where patient advocacy is one of the groundwork in achieving optimal outcomes for patients, families, and the organization.

Here is an example of patient advocacy by . . .

September 22, 2017

By: Jennifer Gentry, MSN, RN, NEA-BC

Jennifer Gentry, MSN, RN, NEA-BC, is the chief nursing officer at CHRISTUS Spohn Hospitals Corpus Christi–Shoreline & Memorial in Corpus Christi, Texas. She’s also a member of the American Nurse Today editorial advisory board.

Jennifer spoke with American Nurse Today about her experiences during Hurricane Harvey, noting the teamwork and sacrifice of her nursing colleagues and other healthcare team members.

American Nurse Today: What did you and your family do to prepare for Hurricane Harvey?

Jennifer Gentry: My husband, 17-year-old son, and I live just east of Corpus Christi in Portland, TX. As soon as it was predicted that the storm had advanced to a potential Category 2 at landfall, we sent our son to Victoria, TX, to stay with his grandmother. My husband stayed in our home because he didn’t want leave me behind to evacuate.

On Tuesday evening I knew that, depending on the storm’s progression through the night, the hospital would begin aggressive preparations the next day. On Wednesday morning, I packed my hurricane go bag, said goodbye to my family, and headed to work.

ANT: Before Wednesday, how did you and the rest of the CHRISTUS Spohn Shoreline &amp . . .

September 14, 2017

By: Lisa Blumer BSN, RN, CHPN

I am afraid…..Every time I read a new hospice referral.

I am afraid…..Every time I walk into a dying patient’s room.

I am afraid…..Every time I start a conversation about hospice care.

I am afraid…..Every time I assess a dying patient.

I am afraid…..Am I missing something?

I am afraid…..Am I going to meet the patient’s needs?

I am afraid…..Am I going to say the wrong thing?

I am afraid…..How are they going to react?

I am afraid…..Every time I hold a patient’s hand

I am afraid…..Am I going to cry?

I am afraid…..Will I be confident enough?

I am afraid…..Will someone know I am afraid?

I do it anyway because someone needs to go into the room.

I do it anyway because someone needs to talk about the hard things.

I do it anyway because they need to know someone cares.

I do it anyway because patients need to know they are not alone and they can still get care.

I do it anyway because it makes me a better nurse.

I do it anyway because it makes my assessment better.

I do it . . .

August 26, 2017

By: Roric P. Hawkins MBA, BSN, RN

Achieving the values associated with an injury prevention program such as safe patient handling (SPH) is rooted within the confines of its ability to gain end-users’ commitment to use patient-lift equipment. Commitment is at the core of what it takes to accomplish the program’s evidenced based outcomes, which include reductions in employee injuries, lost production work days, and restricted or light duty work days.

The very premise of what makes an SPH program successful is the willingness of the end-user to use patient-lift technology in everyday clinical practice. It’s up to the facility coordinator to implement program processes and methodologies in such a way that end-users understand that this innovative technology is capable of producing quality outcomes equivalent to or even better than traditional practice processes—and safer and without the physical risks for injuries.

Implementation is challenging

The success for which program outcomes are achieved depends on the program coordinator’s ability to effectively transition the injury prevention’s program design into existing clinical practices and processes. Coordinators must be able to overcome the challenges that are presented, because those same existing practices and processes are firmly established as professional nursing practice . . .

July 28, 2017

By: Roric P. Hawkins MBA, BSN, RN

Many hospitals strive to achieve Magnet® designation to highlight the clinical accomplishments achieved within their organizations. One evidenced-based practice that can be used to demonstrate what Magnet considers Exemplary Professional Practice (EP) is a comprehensive safe patient handling (SPH) program.

In the 2014 Magnet Application Manual under EP18EO: Workplace safety for nurses is evaluated and improved, facilities are asked to provide two examples with supporting evidence of improved workplace safety for nurses resulting from the safety strategy of the organization. The structural components of a comprehensive SPH program are made up of many of those necessary strategies, which at my facility, we were able to include as examples of our Sources of Evidence.

Should a SPH program be implemented and followed as recommended, it’s likely to systematically generate the staff empowerment required to produce the kind of quality outcomes, which can help in making the case for Magnet designation.

Starting the process 

At the inception of the decision made to create an SPH program, employee injuries related to moving and handling patients are identified, validating the need to implement mechanical patient-lift devices into clinical practice. In choosing a patient-lift vendor, deciding the types and quantities of . . .

July 10, 2017


outfit nurse clothes attire work

Wives are partly to blame for the fact that men won’t take ‘female’ jobs, professor says.
These days, jobs are plentiful, but good jobs — the ones that offer benefits and protection from income volatility — are scarce.

The trouble is that a lot of the good ones are in traditionally female, or what are often referred to as “pink-collar,” professions. And it’s not just that some men don’t want to be nurses. According to some experts, their wives don’t want them to be nurses either.

Nursing as a field remains about 90 percent female, and the American Nursing Association sees only “modest progress” when it comes to diversity. An analysis in the New York Times suggests that might be because old-fashioned gender roles can matter as much to women as to men.

Ofer Sharone, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, has studied middle-aged white-collar professionals who have lost their jobs. He found that some men who might have been willing to consider lower-paid jobs in typically feminine fields encountered resistance from their wives, who urged them to keep looking.

Sharone tells the Times that work, especially the . . .

July 9, 2017


fund funding research nursing

On June 22, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell released a 142-page draft of the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 (BCRA). The measure was drafted in secret over the course of several weeks by 13 male, Republican Senators. BCRA is the Senate’s answer to the House of Representatives’ American Health Care Act of 2017 (AHCA), which passed by a vote of 217 to 213 on May 4. Subsequent polls have indicated that a minority of the public support the AHCA (30 percent support in a recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll).

Sen. McConnell pushed for a vote on BCRA before the Senate took its July 4 recess. Insufficient support among colleagues led to a postponement.

The legislation is quite complex with some measures taking immediate effect, while others are deferred for years. Health care accounts for more than one-sixth of the U.S. economy and involves federal and state programs, individual and work-related insurance and a matrix of regulations that address the needs of women and children, elderly, disabled, poor and other vulnerable populations. Without extensive, public hearings that include input from economists, providers, insurers, individual states and patient advocacy groups, there is little prospect for public . . .

July 8, 2017


ana nurse world

There is a lot of controversy surrounding the health care bill pending in the Senate. Where can someone go to find the truth, with so many conflicting claims?

I go to the experts in health care who are dedicated to helping the sick and protecting the aged. Professional organizations that have spoken against it now include the American Nurses Association, American Medical Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Family Physicians, Association of American Medical Colleges, American Hospital Association, and Children’s Hospital Association, among other physician groups and all major hospital groups.

AMA says the bill “will expose low- and middle-income patients to higher costs and greater difficulty in affording care.”

The nurses say, “This bill will result in millions of Americans losing critical coverage for mental health and substance-use disorders.”

The CBO says 23 million people will lose coverage.

The New England Journal of Medicine says, “This research suggests that we would see more than 24,000 extra deaths per year in the U.S. if 20 million people lost their coverage.

AARP says, “This bill would weaken Medicare’s fiscal sustainability, dramatically increase health care costs for Americans aged 50-64 and put at . . .

By: Nancy Urrutia, EdD, MSN, RN, CNE

Nursing is a job where exposure to grief and loss may be a frequent occurrence. The nurse is challenged with the difficulty of how to cope while working in a chosen career that continues to create these healthcare encounters, which can be draining to the spirit. The terms coined to help describe these phenomena: burnout, compassion fatigue, and more, only scratch the surface.

Nursing articles describing how to address these issues are abundant, but little attention has been paid to nurses who experience grief in their personal lives while balancing the emotional demands of daily practice. What happens to nurses who experience a personal loss at home and then resume a career that continues to challenge their grief work? I had that experience first-hand and want to share my thoughts.

A fundamental loss

The immediate work environment is an opportunity for nurse colleagues to support one another as friendships emerge. However, those individuals who are not necessarily part of the everyday work team may experience marginalization when faced with encounters in the clinical setting. For example, I work in academics and teach students in clinical settings. My clinical specialty was neonatal intensive care, but I currently teach fundamentals of . . .

July 7, 2017


interview leadership cno chief nurse

The International Nurses Association is pleased to welcome Denise M. Linton, DNS, FNP-BC, to their prestigious organization with her upcoming publication in the Worldwide Leaders in Healthcare. Denise M. Linton is a Board Certified Family Nurse Practitioner and Nurse Educator currently working as an Associate Professor and Nurse Practitioner within the College of Nursing and Allied Health Professions at University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Featuring over three decades of experience in nursing, she is a specialist in family practice, distance nursing education, and perianesthesia nursing.

Dr. Linton gained her Diploma in Nursing in 1986 from the University of the West Indies School of Nursing in Kingston, Jamaica, becoming a Registered Nurse. An advocate for continuing education, she earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree, Summa Cum Laude, in 1996 from Medgar Evers College in New York, followed by her Master of Science in Nursing Degree and Family Nurse Practitioner Certificate from Columbia University. Dr. Linton then obtained her Doctor of Nursing Science Degree from Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center  in New Orleans.

Throughout her long and successful career Dr. Linton has worked in many areas of nursing, in increasingly senior positions. She is a distinguished member of . . .

July 6, 2017


commitment service graduate

WASHINGTON, DC – What was billed as a briefing by immigration and justice department officials to provide the Filipino community here accurate information on current US immigration policy inevitably turned into a forum on President Donald Trump’s attitude towards immigrants.

The Philippine Embassy’s recent “Talakayan sa Pasuguan” (Community Forum) featured representatives from the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Department of Justice-Executive Office for Immigration Review (DOJ-EOIR).

It came about following a conference call organized by the National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA) last March, in which the Philippine Embassy and other civil rights organizations participated.


Darell Artates, public diplomacy officer of the Philippine Embassy, the call saw the need to give the Filipino community accurate information on the current administration’s immigration policy and enforcement guidelines.

Artates notes that ICE and the DOJ-EOIR are two of the major implementing agencies and, therefore, the authoritative sources of this information.

“Our Consulates across the US have also been hosting similar dialogues with the Filipino community leaders and ICE community affairs officers in their jurisdictions to serve this purpose,” Artates adds.

As expected, presenters from ICE and DOJ-EOIR, using slides and prepared talking . . .


nurses week

The International Nurses Association is pleased to welcome Katherine Greene Davis, BSN, RN, to their prestigious organization with her upcoming publication in the Worldwide Leaders in Healthcare. Katherine Greene Davis is a Registered Nurse currently serving patients within Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. Now in her fourth year in nursing, she is a specialist in adult emergency medicine, HIV, and infectious disease.

Katherine’s career in medicine began in 2013 when she graduated with her Associate Degree in Nursing from Baltimore City Community College in Maryland. An advocate for continuing education, two years later she gained her Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree from Kaplan University. Katherine holds additional certifications in Basic Life Support and Advanced Cardiac Life Support, and is also certified in Transgender Patient Care.

To keep up to date with the latest advances and developments in nursing, Katherine maintains a professional membership with the American Nurses Association and the Maryland Nurses Association. She attributes her success to the supportive environment she has found at Johns Hopkins Hospital, and when she is not working, Katherine enjoys traveling, hiking, and bird watching.

Learn more about Katherine Greene Davis here: . . .

June 11, 2017

By: Jennifer L. Farrell Burns, MJ, BSN, RN-BC

The December 2016 Gallop Poll announced that once again, nurses were rated the highest for honesty and ethics among professions for the 15th straight year! As we graciously accept this honor (again) and receive congratulatory “likes” on our Facebook posts, let’s discuss the Code of Ethics for Nurses (2015), presented by the American Nurses Association.

The Code of Ethics is the nursing professions’ document that expresses “the values, duties and professional ideals” central to the core of nurses’ behaviors (ANA, 2015, p. viii). The Code began as the “Florence Nightingale Pledge”, written by Lystera Gretter in 1893, and remained the informal standard until 1950 when the “Code for Professional Nurses” was adopted by the ANA Delegates. The Nightingale Pledge by Gretter reads;

“I solemnly pledge myself before God and in the presence of this assembly: To pass my life in purity and to practice my profession faithfully. I will abstain from whatever is deleterious and mischievous, and will not take or knowingly administer any harmful drug. I will do all in my power to elevate the standard of my profession, and will hold in confidence all personal matters committed to my keeping, and all family affairs coming to my . . .

May 31, 2017

By: Roric P. Hawkins MBA, BSN, RN

There are two things that I have often thought to be consistent with modern day nursing program’s focus of emphasis: teaching students how to write state boards and preparing students how not to “kill” or injure someone when they first begin nursing practice. I’ve often reminded nurses of this because not only does it merit some truth, but also partly to solicit a laugh to certain truths that applies to most of our nursing experiences. Nevertheless, the reality for most professional nurses throughout our careers is that everything we’ve ever learned about nursing practice and taking care of patients was actually learned by showing up for work every day.

As I reflect on my earlier days as a nurse, not only was I nervous during those days, but recently it occurred to me that there was one other point of emphasis particularly stressful about learning how to take care of patients. It involved learning to time-manage. Being able to manage tasks so that all patients are cared for responsibly and timely require not only learning the task or the skill at hand, but also executing the steps within the process efficiently. As I gave this idea . . .

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The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the contributors, authors and/or advertisers on this website and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or recommendations of the ANA the Editorial Advisory Board members, or the publisher, editors, and staff of American Nurse Today.

American Nurse Today attempts to select contributors who are knowledgeable in their fields.  However, it does not warrant the expertise of any contributor, nor is it responsible for any statements made by any contributor.  Nurses should not use any procedures, medications, or other courses of diagnosis or treatment discussed or suggested by contributors without evaluating the patient’s conditions and possible contraindications or dangers in use, reviewing any applicable manufacturer’s prescribing or usage information and comparing these with recommendations of other authorities.