Friday, September 15, 2017

Community Service Match

Gamma Gamma Members
Our chapter has chosen hurricane relief as our 2017 Community Service Participation Award.
The board voted $1000 in matching funds and we are doing this through a local San Diego 501C agency.
International Relief Teams has a 30 year history of responding to disasters both national and international and has received the prestigious 4 Star Charity Award for 14 consecutive years.
Go to their website International Relief Teams and check them out.
If you are able to assist at this time, however much,
mark GAMMA GAMMA in the "how did you hear" box on the donation form.
You will receive an instant tax donation receipt before you log off the site.
And in December we will receive a total for the chapter matching funds check.
Thank you in advance for your support.

Friday, September 1, 2017

What does a hospital chaplain do?

What does a hospital chaplain do?
April 5, 2017
What does a hospital chaplain do?
Chaplain Judy Ray and her colleagues provide more than just spiritual care for patients and visitors at Sharp Grossmont Hospital.
Today’s hospital chaplains provide spiritual and emotional support to patients and staff in ways that bear little resemblance to the chaplains of years past.
Previously, chaplains were traditionally white, male and Protestant. But today’s spiritual care providers come from backgrounds that are as diverse as the patients they serve, and their responsibilities encompass so much more than just pastoral support.
Sharp Grossmont Hospital Chaplain Judy Ray personifies this new generation of clergy. She received her bachelor’s degree in psychology, and was ordained as an interfaith minister, which positions her well to care for the hospital’s diverse patient population.
The responsibilities of a chaplain run the gamut. At the heart of their work, they are purveyors of comfort, compassion and spiritual enlightenment. They minister in times of grief as well as celebrate in moments of joy.
At Sharp Grossmont, Chaplain Judy (as she prefers to be called) and her colleagues make daily rounds in the Emergency Department and throughout the clinical care areas to assist patients in need.
Spiritual care providers offer the following services:
  • Spiritual support and counseling for patients, visitors and staff
  • Daily communion from Eucharistic ministers
  • End-of-life and grief support
  • Spiritual literature and resources
  • Critical incident stress debriefing
  • Prayer, meditation and music
Chaplains also have strong ties to faith leaders within the community, and facilitate visits with Catholic priests, rabbis and imams. “We provide resources to all the major faith traditions in the community,” says Ray.
It takes a village
Providing support to a large hospital is beyond the scope of a small team, so Ray relies on volunteers for an extra layer of help. More than 35 specially trained volunteers at Sharp Grossmont provide comfort and companionship to the dying and their families in the final days of life, as part of the hospital’s unique “11th Hour Program.” To celebrate life’s new beginnings, Ray initiated a popular service called Baby Blessings, for newborns and their parents.
During her career at Sharp Grossmont, Ray has provided compassionate support to thousands of patients and their loved ones in need. When asked if there are any experiences that stand out in her memory, she speaks about the time she sat with an elderly couple while the wife lay dying and her husband reminisced about their 65 years together.
“I was able to bring comfort and listen with compassion,” says Ray. When his wife passed, the husband told Ray, “I’m OK now, because you were my angel.”
Comfort and mindfulness
Ray also recalls the time when she comforted a young mother in the ER, who experienced an unspeakable tragedy when her two young children accidentally drowned. Ray sat with the mother for hours, while supporting the physicians, nurses and staff affected by the incident.
“What helped me get through this was my mindfulness practice. I had to stay focused and balanced, and take care of myself while I was taking care of others,” she says.
More chaplains like Ray are incorporating the practice of mindfulness in their work, which has been shown to help reduce stress, lower chronic pain and improve concentration, among other benefits. In today’s fast-paced and highly charged health care landscape, mindfulness is like a welcome and calming ocean wave.
Ray leads Monday mindfulness sessions for staff, as well as ongoing series of more in-depth classes.
“Our focus has changed in recent years, in terms of taking care of staff. If we can take better care of ourselves, we are prepared to take better care of our patients,” she says.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Staying healthy when others are sick

Staying healthy when others are sick
April 5, 2017

It can seem to be a never-ending cycle. First one person in your home gets sick with a cold or flu — perhaps your school-aged child, partner or roommate. Then you start feeling that slight tickle at the back of your throat or mild ache near your temples, and you sense that you’re next in line for the illness.

During the cold and flu season, staying healthy when others around you are not sometimes feels like an impossible goal.

According to Dr. James Lin, a board-certified internal medicine doctor with Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Group, there are steps you can take to avoid being the next victim of whatever virus may be taking up residence in your home. These are his top five tips for staying healthy when others are sick:

Stock up
Before heading to the store, make sure you have appropriate over-the-counter medications, healthy foods your loved one can eat, tissues, hand sanitizer, juices and sports drinks to ensure everyone stays hydrated. Don’t forget to add disinfecting cleaning products to your shopping list.

Love from afar
Try to encourage the sufferer to stay in their bedroom. Make sure they have things to read and watch (if they are able), and that they get lots of rest. Keep the bedside table well-stocked with fluids throughout the day, tissues and a trash can to dispose of the used ones. If it’s not too cold outside, crack a window to let fresh air in the house. Keeping your under-the-weather housemate semi-secluded minimizes the spread of sickness.

Keep it clean
Disinfect the things touched by sick hands. This includes door and refrigerator handles; kitchen and bathroom countertops and sink handles; cabinet and drawer pulls; computer and TV components; remotes; and telephones. Wash towels, sheets, blankets and pillowcases often during the illness and before anyone else uses them.

Care, but don’t share
Sharing may be caring, but not when it’s a bug. Make sure that anything an unwell person has used is washed before someone else takes a turn. This includes towels, pillows, utensils, cups and toys. You might want to consider throwing out things that are easily replaced, such as pens, pencils, crayons and bars of soap. It also wouldn’t hurt to toss and replace everyone’s toothbrush.

Wash your hands!
Make sure everyone in the household — both sick and well — is washing their hands often with soap and water, and refraining from touching their eyes, noses and mouths. Also, remind your sick housemate to cough and sneeze into their elbow.

“Don’t forget to take care of yourself when taking care of someone who is sick,” says Dr. Lin. “Make sure you eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, practice good hygiene, exercise and get enough sleep — all things that can boost your immune system and help keep you well.”


Saturday, July 1, 2017

How Often Should You Change Your Sheets?

How often should you change your sheets?

March 30, 2017
On average, we spend one-third of our lives in bed. So frequent sheet cleaning seems like a no-brainer. But some bedding, like your mattress pad or comforter cover, could skip a few loads. We stripped your bed (no, not literally) to see how often you really need to clean it.


Cleaning frequency
We shed skin cells, sweat and oil every night. Keep your sleep space clean, and avoid dust mites, by washing your sheets once a week. If anyone in your household is sick, wash sheets (or at least the pillowcases) daily.
Cleaning instructions
Use the hot water option on your washing machine, and the hot cycle on your dryer. This will help kill germs, although it could shrink your sheet's fibers.


Cleaning frequency
Pillow stuffing can attract allergy-causing dust mites, so they should be washed a few times throughout the year.
Cleaning instructions
Check your pillow's label — most down and synthetic varieties are machine-washable. Use the gentle cycle, hot water and liquid detergent. Wash two pillows at the same time for balance, and put them through the rinse cycle twice. To dry, use the low setting on your dryer, and add two clean tennis balls to avoid flattening.

Pillow and mattress protectors

Cleaning frequency
Pillow and mattress protectors extend the life of your bedding, and help ward off dust mites. Even though they're covered by sheets and pillowcases, you should still wash your protectors once a month — especially if you have allergies or a pet.
Cleaning instructions
Covers and pads can have a variety of washing options, so check the label. But in general, most can be machine-washed in warm water, and dried on the low setting.

Comforter covers

Cleaning frequency
If you're washing your comforter cover as frequently as your sheets, you may be washing it too much. If you don't use a top sheet, then yes, wash the cover once a week. But if you do use a top sheet, wash your comforter cover once a month.
Cleaning instructions
As a general rule, wash your comforter cover the same way you wash your sheets — with hot water and a hot dryer. If your cover is decorative and you're worried about shrinking, use lower temperatures and detergents meant for delicates.


Cleaning frequency
As long as your comforter has a cover, you shouldn't have to wash it as often as your sheets. Instead, wash it a few times a year — as frequently as you should be washing your pillows. Without a cover, your comforter needs more cleaning. Wash it once a week if you don't use a top sheet, and once a month if you do.
Cleaning instructions
Not all comforters are built the same, so check the label. Otherwise, your washing machine — as long as it has a large enough capacity — should do the trick. Wash on the gentle or delicate cycle using warm, not hot, water. Dry it on low heat with a few clean tennis balls to plump it up.
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Thursday, June 1, 2017

The Three E’s Of The Nurse Commitment

The Three E’s Of The Nurse Commitment

The Three E's of the Nurse Commitment
Deciding to become a nurse is more than a career decision, it’s a decision about the way you’re going to approach life in general. The nurse commitment starts when you first enroll in undergrad classes toward your nursing degree, and it continues throughout your career through retirement and beyond.
The nurse commitment can be broken down into the “three E’s”: education, endurance, and empathy. Nurses are some of the most educated professionals, undergoing ongoing training and personal career development throughout most of our lives. Like the physicians we work alongside, we have extensive education and training in the biomedical sciences, including both theoretical knowledge about the workings of the human body, and hands-on practical training in administering healthcare.
We also have endurance in spades. Nursing is a profession that is mentally, emotionally, and physically demanding. Between twelve-hour night shifts, life-or-death decision making about patient care, and the emotional experience of caring for a patient and eventually losing them to their age or illness, we deal with a lot of mental and emotional stress. That takes endurance and a lot of it.
Finally, there’s also empathy. Nurses are caregivers by nature. We’re healers, people who tend to the sick and injured. We work closely with the patients we care for, cultivating a therapeutic relationship that provides emotional and medical support on their road to recovery. To be a nurse, you must have empathy. It’s not a job that’s well suited to people who are impersonal and cold.

Nurses are highly educated professionals, and most have at least a bachelor’s degree. Ongoing education is a central aspect of a career in nursing. As medical techniques and technology grow and evolve, nurses need to remain up to date with the latest new developments.
Many nurses choose to further their education partway through their career. Nurses with bachelor’s degrees often end up pursuing a master’s, and some even go as far as obtaining their PhD.

Continuing Education
There are a wealth of courses available for working nurses to continue expanding their knowledge and skill sets. Many nurses choose to pursue additional credentialing in specialized areas of nursing. The American Nurses Credentialing Center offers numerous certifications and certification renewals in a variety of areas, including (but not limited to):

  • Nurse practitioner certifications in areas like psychiatric nursing, gerontological nursing, and family practice.
  • Clinical nurse specialist certifications in areas like pediatrics, psychiatry, and gerontology.
  • Specialty certifications in areas like home health nursing, school nursing, diabetes management, community health, psychiatry, pediatrics, and mental health.

Conferences & Seminars
There are also many conferences and seminars in which nurses can participate to gain new insight into the latest new developments in the world of nursing. Many are available as webinars, meaning you don’t have to travel to participate in them. The American Nurses Association (ANA) maintains a list of upcoming conferences and webinars here.

Nurses also need a whole lot of endurance — mental, physical, and emotional. Nursing is surprisingly physically demanding, keeping us on our feet all day and moving around from place to place. We also do things like help patients from their bed into a wheelchair, which require physical strength.
Nursing is also mentally demanding. We need to make fast, accurate, informed decisions about the course of patients’ ongoing care, and in some cases, those decisions are life or death. Many of us are in leadership positions, where we also need to make decisions for our entire teams.
And then, there’s emotional endurance. We have to stay upbeat, friendly, and positive, putting our patients at ease even if we ourselves are literally having the worst day ever. And then, there’s the experience of losing a patient. Many of us, especially those of us in specialties like gerontology and oncology, have cultivated strong therapeutic relationships with patients who we ultimately lost. All of these things take emotional endurance, the form of endurance that nurses need that’s probably the least talked about.

Nursing requires empathy. This isn’t a profession for cold, mechanical people who don’t get along well with others. We have to be able to really understand what our patients are going through, mentally, physically, and emotionally, so that we can provide the best possible quality of care. Many of us work with challenging populations that can make this even more difficult, like patients with severe dementia or with disabling degrees of mental illness.

Embracing the Three E’s
As nurses, we embrace the three E’s as part of our role in patient care. We’re strong people, with endurance that others can only dream of. We’re educated to a level far beyond many other types of white-collar workers. And, most importantly, we cultivate empathy and compassion.

Monday, May 1, 2017

How to Deal With a Traumatic Experience As a Nurse

How to Deal With a Traumatic Experience As a Nurse
No matter what type of nursing you do, at one time or another in your career, you will experience trauma. Whether it's the death of a patient, the serious injury of a child or the loss of a co-worker. No two experiences are quite the same, and each one feels just as hard as another.
Recently, a colleague and I went out to visit a nursing unit. When we arrived, there was a candle lit in the conference room and a photo of a man in scrubs. As we got closer to the makeshift altar, we realized — a nurse on this unit had just died.
My colleague became very quiet, as if shutting down. I asked her what was wrong. She started to share with me, with a shaky voice and teary eyes, how, when she worked on her pediatric unit, a nurse had overdosed in the supply room. As she told me the story, it was as though she was reliving the experience all over again. This is what secondary trauma syndrome is all about.
And nurses deal with this all of the time.
A pediatric nurse loses a patient who has been battling a chronic disease for months; an ER nurse witnesses the effects of domestic violence as a battered woman comes to get her cuts and bruises treated; a forensic nurse cares for patients who are raped and tortured.
How do we continue to care when we are constantly witnessing such unsettling experiences? How do we show up at work day after day when we know the next patient we see could be to be worse off than the one before?
First off, let me say right up front, I am not a trauma expert — nor am I someone to be giving out medical or psychological advice. If you have experienced serious secondary trauma stress as a nurse, I would encourage you to seek out support and get professional help, when needed.
But there are plenty things that you can do on your own, which is what we will cover below.

Here are five tips to help ease the pain of traumatic experiences in nursing:

1. No matter what, you need to get up and moving. Experiencing trauma (especially repeated trauma) can be debilitating. We want to crawl into bed and never get out from under the covers. But this is no way to deal with the stress. In fact, it will make it worse. You need to get up and moving, even if that just means taking a shower and then a walk around the neighborhood. And, if it is a sunny day, spending a bit of time outside in nature can actually improve your mood as you soak up the natural vitamin D.
2. On the other hand, you do need sleep. Lots of symptoms related to post-traumatic stress happen at night. We can't fall asleep, or if we do, we are abruptly woken up by nightmares related to the event. If you're having trouble sleeping, you might need to get professional help from your physician. Writing in a journal, going to a support group of survivors to talk it out and limiting caffeine intake close to bed can also help. The best way to get a good night’s rest is to attempt to regulate your body's sleep schedule. Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day to get in a sleep groove.
3. Avoid negative coping strategies. Sometimes when people experience difficult situations, they turn to cigarettes, food, alcohol or drugs to cope. While these remedies may provide relief in the short-term, they will do more harm than good over time. The trauma will still be there, and if it's not dealt with, may never fully go away. Placing some sort of band-aid over it, like food or alcohol, will only mask it for a while. The stress needs to be dealt with so that it can slowly fade away.
4. Do things that you enjoy. The reason that a stressful experience creates trauma is because it's something unwanted. It's a jarring, chaotic and unpleasant experience. While the mind may want to focus on this memory (which is totally normal), we need to busy ourselves with positive distractions. Take a dance class. Go see a funny movie. Enroll in an art workshop. Do things that you enjoy and surround yourself with positive people and energy.
5. Talk about it with your team. One mistake that happens often in healthcare is that we brush traumatic experiences under the rug as ‘just part of the job’. Patients come and go all the time, so why are we having such a tough time with this particular death? Guess what? You may not be the only nurse on your unit struggling with the pain. Instead of acting as if the stressful situation didn't happen, bring the nursing team together and talk about the event. The more that these experiences can be processed, the better (and faster) the healing can occur.
Have you ever dealt with trauma as a nurse? What did you do to cope with traumatic stress in nursing? Be sure to tweet me @ElizabethScala or leave a comment below. You may just help another nurse!
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Keynote speaker and virtual conference host, Elizabeth Scala MSN/MBA, RN, partners with hospitals, nursing schools, and nurse associations to transform the field of nursing from the inside out. As the bestselling author of Nursing from Within, Elizabeth guides nurses and nursing students to a change in perspective, helping them make the inner shift needed to better maneuver the sometimes challenging realities of being a caregiver. Elizabeth received her dual master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University. She is also a certified coach and Reiki Master Teacher. Elizabeth lives in Maryland with her supportive husband and a playful pit bull.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Nurses Get It....

10 things only nurses understand

flickr | Tatsuo Yamashita
flickr | Tatsuo Yamashita

How do you KNOW you’re a nurse? Well, there are some things only nurses can understand…and these are 10 of them!
10 things only nurses understand
10. That feeling of getting a patient totally cleaned up and neat in the bed, only to have a flood of liquid stool overcome the chuck pads.
9. How useful Vick’s VapoRub can be. Put it in a mask to kill bad smells! Rub it on sore feet for pain relief! Use it as a sandwich spread when you’re really desperate!
8. What a rarity it is to give report to the same person on the same patients three days in a row.
7. How often nurses make the decisions that doctors don’t think about or are too afraid to make.
6. Just how easily most things in life can be MacGyvered.
5. How omnidirectional hearing is a learned skill. Is that beep coming from 8? No, it's coming from 21.
4. Why good health is the biggest blessing any person could ask for.
3. How much difference there is between a 12-hour and a 16-hour shift.
2. That zombies aren't a threat to the human race. They're just residents with bad skin.
1. How amazing it is to have an old patient walk back into the unit to say thanks.
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