1. Olympia, Aura May RN
  2. C., J.

Article Content

Let's go green

Nurses are at the front line when it comes to environmental sustainability. As an RN I see how much waste hospitals generate. The facility where I work has a "macerator" pilot program in place to help cut down on the use of plastic. This is a great innovation and should be adopted by all hospitals.


A colleague of mine proposed another great idea: the replacement of glutaraldehyde, used to disinfect various healthcare-related equipment, with a more environmentally friendly product. Glutaraldehyde is considered hazardous waste and must be neutralized prior to sewer discharge.1


I truly believe that hospitals are headed in the right direction by conserving resources, eliminating waste, and pursuing environmental sustainability.


-Aura May Olympia, RN


Concord, Calif






Chicago, Ill






1. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Best practices for the safe use of glutaraldehyde in health care. [Context Link]

Too much sharing?


I was disturbed by the response to the nurse who shared a personal story with a patient undergoing cancer treatment. (Oncology Nursing: "What Would You Do?" Ethical Problems, June, 2012.)* The author cautioned nurses against sharing personal opinions, impressions, or experiences with their patients. I think the nurse should be commended for providing another point of view for a patient with a terminal disease. I believe this patient needed to hear a real answer to all the questions in his head. All too often clinicians go through the motions of "compassionate care" and give canned answers that give no more insight than reading the disease's definition in the dictionary. Nurses are patient advocates and the voice of the patient when it goes unheard. I commend this nurse and all nurses who put themselves into their work every day, not only physically but emotionally.


Susan A. Salladay, PhD, RN, responds: Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I appreciate your concern for this patient, but it's never right for nurses to share personal stories or opinions with patients. Giving advice to patients is a boundary violation. It doesn't show compassion and caring because it shifts the focus from the patient to the nurse. When a nurse shares personal stories or gives advice, patients can interpret these as professional recommendations rather than private opinion. They may be swayed to do what was right for the nurse or the nurse's relative, not what's right for them. By simply listening and letting patients talk through their feelings and fears, nurses respect patients' rights, honor their individuality, and show true compassion.


Editor's note: For more on this topic, see "Don't cross the line: Respecting professional boundaries" on page 40 of this issue.


* Individual subscribers can access articles free online at [Context Link]