Nurse On the Move: Donna White

NOTM-Donna-White-(1).jpgDonna J. White, CRNA, MS is an accomplished nurse anesthetist working and living in Rhode Island. She started her nursing career in the 1980’s with a nursing diploma degree from the Shadyside Hospital school of nursing in Pittsburgh, Pa. After testing her skills in a number of settings, White determined she wanted to challenge herself more, both in her professional and personal life. 

White earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Pittsburgh. She also decided to spend six months hiking the Appalachian Trail with her husband, where she went back to basics and discovered what she really needed to survive in the wild and to thrive in her nursing career. On that trip, she decided to earn her degree as a nurse anesthetist from Southern Connecticut State University, and now, she makes her career work with her active and involved lifestyle as a mom.
 
For January’s Nurse On the Move, White talks about her experiences as a busy nurse and how she makes time for herself in between her family members’ schedules. Learn what her New Year’s resolution is for 2016 and her number one piece of advice for nurses looking for a balance between work and home.

Q: What made you interested in becoming a nurse and what was it like starting out with a nursing diploma degree?
A:  I was 17 when I graduated high school, and I spent a few years fumbling. I was earning college credits, and my mother kept saying, “You should be a nurse.” I did always love the sciences, so finally, I decided to go into nursing because I knew I would always have a job. My motivation was to get a job right away – I needed to work. I was in a hospital-based diploma program, which was excellent. It was a 24-month program that was year-round. At that time when I got my first job, I was better prepared than the baccalaureate nurses to care for patients. In the 80’s, BSNs went through a period where they were very book oriented and you could tell the difference between us, but I believe that has changed. 

Q: Why did you decide to go back to school and earn your bachelor’s degree and eventual master’s degree to become a nurse anesthetist?
A: As I was working, I found myself moving around a lot. I think it was because I needed more of a challenge. Changing setting brought a challenge, but after six to nine months, I was already getting bored. I knew that the only way I was going to advance was to continue my education. I preferred clinical care rather than management, so I knew I wanted to work with patients and not manage other nurses.

Q: You’ve held a number of different roles, such as staff nurse, advice nurse, home care nurse, and emergency nurse. Which setting did you enjoy working in the most and why?
A: As part of being a staff nurse, I worked in the ICU. Definitely, working in the ICU or in my position now as a nurse anesthetist in the OR I’ve enjoyed the most. You have more independence and make more critical decisions in a collaborative way. As an anesthetist, it gives me satisfaction to have the patient feel better by easing their pain.

Q: You’ve also accomplished many things in your person life. In 1990, you hiked the Appalachian Trail for six months with your husband. What was that experience like and did your skills as a nurse come in handy?
A: The experience was phenomenal. I’m not an extreme sports person, but I’ve always enjoyed being outside and hiking. What hit home the most about being out there is it came down to what you need in life to survive. The basic necessities for survival are water, shelter, and food. Being a nurse, I took hygiene seriously. We filtered all of our water; we never drank directly from a stream. We were very healthy. I had been a nurse for about six years at the time and while on that trip, I thought about going to anesthesia school. I worked with my husband on how we could make this work.
 
Q: You now also hold the role of a busy wife and mother. For other nurses trying to find a balance between work and their home life, what would be your number one piece of advice?
A: You need to take care of yourself so you can take care of others. For me, sleeping well and exercising every day for at least an hour keeps me sane. If you’re not well, nobody is well. 

Q: Nurses are caregivers and many often put the needs of others before their own. With your busy schedule, how do you factor in time for yourself?
A: The main thing is whenever you find a gap in your day, use it wisely.  Do not wait until you feel like exercising or the day will be done as you fulfill other priorities.

Q: How has nursing changed since you began your career? Do you find the expectations and technologies of today help you or hinder you when trying to manage your time?
A: Technology has definitely helped in the care of the patients in terms of diagnosing and the speed of treatment. Today, the expectations related to payment, reimbursement, and the expectations from management and the hospital to turn over things quickly can leave room for error at times. They may say you have 15 minutes to turn over, but they want it in five minutes. Patients are still people and they are not going to behave the way the statistics say they should every time. Mistakes happen because of the pressure to produce. 

Q: You currently work part-time as a nurse anesthetist at Guardian Brockton PC, Good Samaritan Medical Center, where you are scheduled for a 24-hour shift every Friday. What is the most challenging part of this job and how do you work through it?
A: I’ve always been a worker bee. If I can go in and continue to work throughout the shift, that’s fine. The challenge becomes when the cases are done, your mind tells you to relax and then suddenly another emergency requires you to be focused and do your best for the patient.

Q: Do you have any New Year’s resolutions for 2016?
A: I would like to start working more this year. The trick is finding the day that I can do that without affecting my girls. I really enjoy my part-time schedule, and being home in the mornings and the afternoons with them. I do hope to work more as my kids get older. I feel very fortunate for my schedule now.

 
Posted: 1/21/2016 8:00:35 AM by Cara Gavin | with 0 comments

Categories: Leadership


Reaching milestones on social media!

As we get further into the New Year, it’s exciting to reveal some milestones that we’ve reached already in 2016!

20,000+ likes on Facebook
13,000+ followers on twitter
14,000+ connections on LinkedIn
400+ followers on Google+

 
In 2016, we want to deepen our relationship with you, our members! Make sure your profile is up-to-date so we can personalize your NursingCenter experience in the coming months. You can get to know us better by viewing these Behind the Scenes videos, just published on our YouTube channel!  
Thank you!
 
Posted: 1/18/2016 9:56:30 PM by Lisa Bonsall, MSN, RN, CRNP | with 0 comments

Categories: InspirationEducation & Career


Is there a Cure for Gun Violence?

gun-violence.pngThere’s no doubt that gun control is a hotly debated topic today. Supporters of tight gun control argue that access to guns is too easy. Those on the opposition believe it is unconstitutional and that despite a rise in gun ownership, gun homicide rates have dropped. Irrespective of this debate, the statistics are staggering. There have been over 200 mass killings (defined as four or more victims) in the United States since 20061. The rate of people killed by guns in the U.S., is almost 20 times higher compared to similar socio-economic countries in the world. It is clear that Americans experience too many senseless deaths associated with firearm violence and that we need to work harder to find a solution to this devastating problem.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2013 there were 33,636 deaths attributed to firearms or 10.6 deaths per 100,000 Americans2. That same year, there were 33,804 motor vehicle traffic deaths or 10.7 deaths per 100,0002.  Auto accidents have declined over the last several decades largely due to mandatory education and government regulations. You cannot drive without first taking a driver’s test, acquiring a license and paying for car insurance. In addition, your car must pass emissions and inspection testing on a regular basis. Guns manufactured in the U.S. do not need to pass federal safety standards.

Last week President Obama proposed “executive actions” on gun violence, a set of recommendations to close loopholes in gun control legislation in an effort to prevent future mass shootings. A few of the initiatives include increasing mental health treatment, improving universal background checks, requiring gun dealers to be licensed and keep formal sales records, and advancing technology on safety locks and “smart guns” that can only be fired by the registered owner. The presidential proposal will likely meet resistance and possible reversal should Americans elect a Republican in the upcoming election.

Regardless of the outcome of the new gun control initiatives, what role can healthcare providers play?  Nurses, who often treat victims of violent crimes and their family members, are uniquely trained to promote safety, public health and education. Several nursing organizations have issued position statements on gun control, including the American Nurses Association (ANA) and the National League for Nursing. In addition, over 30 nursing organizations signed a call-to-action letter to national, state, and local governments requesting better access to mental health services, a ban on assault weapons, and other gun control reforms.

The following recommendations could help us come closer to finding a cure for gun violence.

 

  1. Increase access to mental health programs for individuals, families, and students from elementary school through college:

    a. While the majority of people with mental illness are not violent, serious psychosis and schizophrenia combined with substance abuse could lead to erratic behavior. Funding should be increased to train nurses and health professionals to recognize signs of violent tendencies, as well as community and hospital based psychiatric care, housing, and access to medications.3

  2. Include a gun safety assessment as part of routine health screenings for all patients:4

    a. Several states continue to propose legislation to ban practitioners from documenting gun ownership in the patient’s record. However, the American Academy of Pediatrics endorses counseling parents on gun safety measures.This philosophy is also supported in adult dementia and elderly patient populations.

  3. Develop and implement Evidence-based Hospital Violence Intervention Programs focusing on:

    a. Intimate partner violence

    b. Behavioral health including anti-bullying

    c. Substance use

  4. Improve Community engagement/outreach and education programs with initiatives targeting:

    a. Life skills

    b. Anger management

    c. Conflict resolution

    d. Suicide prevention

    e. Violence prevention programs: successful research-based community programs that have proven to decrease homicide rates include Cure Violence, Aim4Peace and Wraparound Project.6

  5. Gather more data, conduct research and educate families on how to best protect themselves and their families from gun injuries:4

    a. Keep guns away from household members who would not safely use them such as children or people with dementia.

One measure alone is not the answer. Rather multiple strategies implemented in our local communities, within the mental health system, and ultimately at the federal level are needed to make an impact on the number of gun-related fatalities. We as a society need to strike a balance between maintaining individual constitutional rights and protecting the lives of each and every American. Perhaps by focusing on empathy, public health, and education we can change our culture, protect our freedoms, and save lives.

 


References:
  1. Overberg, P., Hoyer, M., Hannan, M., Upton, J., Hansen, B., & Durkin, E. (2013) Behind the Bloodshed: The Untold Story of America’s Mass Killings. USA Today. Retrieved from http://www.gannett-cdn.com/GDContent/mass-killings/index.html#title
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2016) FastStats; All Injuries; Motor vehicle traffic deaths; All firearm deaths. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/injury.htm
  3. The American Nurses Association. (2016) Call to end violence. The American Nurse. Retrieved from http://www.theamericannurse.org/index.php/2013/03/01/call-to-end-violence/
  4. Domrose, C. (2013) Nurses debate their role in firearm safety education. Nurse.com. Retrieved from https://news.nurse.com/2013/04/08/nurses-debate-their-role-in-firearm-safety-education-2/
  5. Graziano, M. & Pulcini, J. (2013) Policy & Politics: Gun violence and the role of healthcare: A confusing state of affairs (2013). The American Journal of Nursing. 113(9). Retrieved from http://www.nursingcenter.com/JournalArticle?Article_ID=1590663&Journal_ID=54030&Issue_ID=1590611
  6. Jacobson, J. (2015) A cure for gun violence. The American Journal of Nursing. 115(4). Retrieved from http://www.nursingcenter.com/JournalArticle?Article_ID=2794833&Journal_ID=54030&Issue_ID=2794782

 Myrna B. Schnur, RN, MSN


 

Posted: 1/12/2016 10:08:21 AM by Lisa Bonsall, MSN, RN, CRNP | with 2 comments

Categories: Patient Safety


How to Write for Our Nursing Journals

writing-and-nursing.jpgWriting for a nursing journal is a great way to advance your nursing career, get your voice heard, and share your particular nursing perspective on topics important to you. Lippincott NursingCenter hosts more than 50 nursing journals and we want to hear from you! 

As a digital editor for NursingCenter, I’ve really enjoyed learning more about the nursing profession and sharing my thoughts and ideas with our members. I frequently get asked by nurses how they can share their writing with NursingCenter. Getting published in an established, authoritative, peer-reviewed nursing journal is a great way to get involved.
 
Many of our journals are looking for talented nurses to write for their publication. Some of these journals include:

•    American Journal of Nursing
•    Computers Informatics Nursing
•    Home Healthcare Now
•    Journal of Christian Nursing
•    Journal of Forensic Nursing
•    Journal of Pediatric Surgical Nursing
•    Journal of the Dermatology Nurses’ Association
•    Journal of Trauma Nursing
•    Nursing2016 Critical Care
•    Nursing Research
•    Nutrition Today
(See specific instructions for this journal in our blog, Consider Writing an Article for Nutrition Today)

You can see all of our nursing journals on our Journals page. Follow their Information for Authors instructions, and you will be well on your way to getting published. With our Editorial Manager system, the online submission and electronic peer review process is a breeze. There’s always assistance available for those who need it; most journals have production editors and managing editors who are very helpful. 

As a bonus, I’ve compiled some resources for getting published in a nursing journal from us and around the Web:

•    How to Get an Article Published in a Nursing Journal
•    Tips for Getting Published in a Nursing Journal
•    Author Guidelines: Writing for the American Journal of Nursing
•    Writing in the Digital Age
•    The Editor’s Handbook, 2nd Edition

•    Writing for Nursing Publication

Establish yourself as an expert in the nursing community and spread that nursing knowledge around by writing for our nursing journals.  

 
Posted: 1/8/2016 10:34:34 AM by Cara Gavin | with 1 comments

Categories: Education & Career


Celebrate Nursing in 2016

calendar-1081660_640.pngHappy New Year! Here’s the list of nursing recognition days, weeks, and months for 2016*. Please let me know if you know of others!

*Note that some dates are from 2015. I will update dates and links as they become available.

 
January February March April May June September October November
Posted: 1/4/2016 9:05:44 AM by Lisa Bonsall, MSN, RN, CRNP | with 5 comments

Categories: Inspiration


Three inspirational gifts for nurses

In addition to the traditional gifts of stethoscopes and pen lights, here are a few of my favorite items that you may want to consider gifting to the nurses in your life. This past fall I spent some time reading recent books by some of my favorite nurse authors and I really enjoyed them. I’ve also already shared my strong feelings about a certain documentary, but I have to include it here on this list too. Take a look…

Becoming Nursey

becoming-nursey-sm.jpg
Becoming Nursey by Katie Kleber, BSN, RN is a must-read for nursing students, new nurses, and those nurses who need to be inspired by that new-nurse feeling that they had in the past. Miss Kleber, also known as Nurse Eye Roll, is someone I’d like to work with! You can tell from the personal experiences that she shares in the book that she is a team player, organized, and compassionate and respectful to patients, their families and caregivers, as well as her colleagues in nursing and other disciplines. The discussion on time management is spot-on. Another favorite aspect of this book is how Miss Kleber keys in on preventing medication errors, and the importance of owning them so that we can learn from them. Consider Becoming Nursey as a gift for nursing students and new nurses – they’ll definitely relate to Nurse Eye Roll’s experiences and benefit from her advice.

 

The Shift

The-Shift-sm.png
Theresa Brown, RN, has been a favorite nurse author of mine for a long time. She is a frequent contributor in the New York Times and American Journal of Nursing, and in 2011, wrote Critical Care: A New Nurse Faces Death, Life, and Everything in Between. In The Shift, Miss Brown takes the reader through her full 12-hour shift in a busy oncology unit. In addition to learning about the patients she cares for with such knowledge and skill during this shift, what strikes me is how Miss Brown illuminates her decision-making. We know that as nurses, critical thinking comes with experience, yet Miss Brown truly explains how she prioritizes care without the reader even realizing that is what’s happening. Read the book – you’ll see what I mean! This will make a perfect gift for hospital nurses who understand just how  much can happen in one 12-hour shift. 



The American Nurse Project

This film…I could watch it over and over again! This is truly a treasure for the nursing profession. In the American Nurse Project, the director, Carolyn Jones, captures the passion of several nurses as she shares their unique stories. This year, at Nursing Management Congress, I actually got to meet Miss Jones, which was such a highlight for me. The book is on my wish list this December – I’ll keep you posted if I receive it! Think about sharing this film with all nurses who are passionate about the care they provide and the people they touch.

What’s on your wish list this holiday season?


 
Posted: 12/15/2015 5:48:04 AM by Lisa Bonsall, MSN, RN, CRNP | with 0 comments

Categories: Inspiration


New NursingCenter YouTube Channel

We are excited to share the launch of Lippincott NursingCenter’s YouTube Channel! Our first nursing videos are compilations of inspiration from nurses at the ANCC National Magnet Conference® this past October. Learn how your nursing colleagues keep up with new research, information and evidence. Also, discover what inspired them at this year's meeting and their plans for sharing this inspiration with their colleagues.

Take a look: 


 

We are looking forward to sharing more nursing videos as we move into the New Year! Stay tuned for Clinical Resources, Training Guides, webinars, and more nursing videos as we delve into this platform. Go ahead and subscribe today to stay up-to-date and inspired. 

 
Posted: 12/7/2015 11:25:21 AM by Lisa Bonsall, MSN, RN, CRNP | with 1 comments

Categories: Leadership TechnologyInspiration


Consider Writing an Article for Nutrition Today

Nutrition is a huge component of health and well-being. Our bodies are amazing machines that need fuel – the correct types in the correct amounts – to function, grow, and heal. My colleagues in dietetics and I have been working for decades to ensure that nutrition is recognized as a vital sign in assessing patient health and well-being and that it is incorporated into providing care, yet we haven't gotten very far. Why? Until recently, the dietetics perspective and the nursing perspective were not collaboratively integrated into day-to-day practice.
 
A goal of our editorial team at Nutrition Today is to encourage registered dieticians and nutritionists (RDNs) and nurses to co-author articles that will integrate clinical perspectives and treatment into the coordinated patient care model. This collaboration can provide effective, interdisciplinary means of resolving care issues, thereby improving patient outcomes.
 
To do this, first I encourage you to get to know our journal: 

•    Nutrition Today is a peer-reviewed journal focused on translating the latest developments in nutrition science and policy to health care providers.
•    Nutrition Today reaches key opinion leaders in the health professions and nutrition sciences.
•    Nutrition Today features authoritative articles on topics such as educating patients on conflicted science around butter, saturated fat, sugars, and meat
•    Continuing education credit is available in each issue. 
•    Our associate editor, Dr. Rebecca Couris, is both a clinical pharmacist and a nutrition scientist. Along with another colleague, she has developed a series in the past year on the management of Type 2 Diabetes and hypoglycemia, with pros and cons of medications and their nutritional implications. 
•    We enlist some of the world’s experts to write authoritative columns on hot-topic and timely items, for example, drinking raw milk, and how to explain the pros and cons to patients.
•    We cover a variety of specialties, such as gerontology, where a strong collaboration between nursing and dietetics professionals is essential. Nurses understand the importance of ensuring smooth transitions from acute care to chronic care, and the importance of avoiding or minimizing readmissions. 

Nutrition Today hopes to launch a series of articles where nursing professionals and RDNs collaborate to share their knowledge with one another and our readers. Examples include: 

•    Caring for older adults whose diseases or treatments have nutritional implications
•    Managing the nutritional needs of certain populations, especially older adults, pregnant patients, and children.
•    Transitioning patients with serious gastrointestinal or neurological problems to home care .
•    Decision-making with regards to tube feeding at the end-of-life.
•    Delivering care to pregnant women and infants at high nutritional risk.
•    Managing interprofessional approaches to care delivery. 
•    Treating individuals with chronic degenerative diseases that have dietary or nutritional implications.

We invite you to work with an RDN from your hospital, home health agency, hospice, clinic or nursing home to co-author a paper on one of the suggestions above or a topic of your choice. Feel free to send me an email at nutritiontoday@cox.net so I can answer your query or help you develop your topic.  

We welcome your comments or suggestions on how to make our journal more helpful to nurses and the readers of our sister publications in nursing. 
 
Bon appetite!
 
Johanna Dwyer, D.Sc,RD
Editor, Nutrition Today
 
 
 
 
Posted: 11/20/2015 9:29:37 AM by Cara Gavin | with 1 comments

Categories: Education & Career


Cyber Monday Deals for Nurses 2015

cyber-monday.jpgCyber Monday Deals for nurses are right around the corner! This year, NursingCenter has a number of special offerings for their members to celebrate the hard work you’ve put in so far in 2015. As a leading provider of Lippincott content, including peer-reviewed nursing resources based on the best evidence available, we strive to provide you with discounted ways to stay current in your practice.

From CE, journal articles, eBooks, and more, there’s so much NursingCenter is ready to offer you on Cyber Monday. Make sure to bookmark our Nursing Deals and Discounts page and check back on November 30th for all of our Cyber Monday deals for nurses. BONUS! We are celebrating for a whole week! From November 30th through December 6th, visit our deals page for all of our offerings. Invite your colleagues to join Lippincott NursingCenter now so that they can also benefit from these deals.

As a special addition, we’re compiling a list of other sites offering deals on Cyber Monday. Keep checking the list below this month for new deals as we find them and remember to check back with NursingCenter on the 30th.
  • Amazon (lots of different deals, check back often for their daily promotions)
  • CyberMonday.com (discounts on shoes for nurses)
  • Target  (deals for nurses, including textbooks, fiction books, and reference books)
Posted: 11/16/2015 10:53:17 AM by Cara Gavin | with 0 comments

Categories: Inspiration


Nurse On the Move: Annie Lewis O’Connor

NOTM-Annie-(2).PNGNursing “brought out this side of me that I didn’t know I truly had.” Annie Lewis O’Connor PhD, NP-BC, MPH, FAAN never planned on being a nurse. She didn’t even know if she could handle blood. But, after becoming a single mom at a very young age, one social worker gave her the opportunity to experience a new side of herself. O’Connor was able to shadow nurses, and she saw the “human, caring side of what people did when others were sick. I felt it brought out this side of me that I didn’t know I truly had. I think being a new mom brought out this caring side of me as well.”

Today, O’Connor has expanded that side of herself into an influential career. She holds faculty positions at Harvard Medical School and Boston College and received her master’s degree in nursing from Simmons College in Boston, her master’s degree in public health from Boston University, and her PhD from Boston College. She currently serves as the founder and director of the C.A.R.E Clinic (Coordinated Approach to Recovery and Empowerment) at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. Specializing in forensic nursing, maternal-child care, pediatrics, and women’s health, O’Connor cares for victims of domestic and sexual violence, human trafficking, and gender-based violence. She also serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Forensic Nursing, which makes her the perfect Nurse On the Move for Forensic Nurses Week. Read on to discover the vital work O’Connor is doing for these patients and be sure to check our Nursing Deals and Discounts page for ways to celebrate Forensic Nurses Week.

Q: How has nursing changed since you began your career?
A:
Careers are very much about a journey. I believe back in the day when I ended up in nursing school, it was sort of a calling. Today, it’s a great job, profession, and it’s a business. It didn’t feel like a business when I first started out, and that’s not good or bad. What I hope I bring to it is that people never lose sight of the honor and privilege it is to take care of people at the most vulnerable time in their life, and that’s when they are lying in a hospital bed. I get to do this every day with young nurses in the clinic where I work. I love that I am at the stage in my career where I really am feeling that “pay it forward.” I don’t want anyone to feel that nursing is just a good job. It’s much deeper than that, and I try to model that for the next generation of nurses.

Q: You founded C.A.R.E. (Coordinated Approach Recovery & Empowerment), which assists victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, human trafficking, and gender-related violence. Why is this approach important to you?
A:
Brigham and Women’s Hospital gave me the opportunity to grow and develop this clinic; I couldn’t have done it without the support of that administration. This was done through dialogue and gathering statistics on my concerns around victims of intentional violence. These patients are unique in so many ways. My research, which is published in Journal of Forensic Nursing, shows a lot of these patients who come into the emergency department (ED) just experienced a traumatic event, and they get handed a packet of information they are expected to navigate through. It’s a mess; they don’t know who to call first.

I wanted to create a follow up with these patients through C.A.R.E. that will become a national model. Within 48 hours, a victim, with their consent, will receive a text message from us. We provide phones if they don’t have one. About 98% of the victims we see agree to the follow up, and our numbers around being able to contact patients have gone from 27% up to 91%.

We also do consultations with in-patients. For example, they are admitted for a non-related issue and during their stay disclose violence and trauma. This week alone, I’ve done six in-patient consults. I have two victims of human trafficking who came in for asthma and diabetes, and we are educating the nurses on how to provide trauma informed-care for these other issues they are experiencing.

I would also like to mention that I invited 14 survivors to become my patient advisors and to name our clinic. When suggestions come from the actual survivors, the policies and procedures we develop have much more relevant and significant meaning.

Q: When a patient comes in with suspect injuries, what should nurses keep an eye out for?
A:
People want a domestic violence screening tool, which we’ve had for three decades now. But, this has not transformed well into actual health care. I think we need to have an actual conversation with these patients about their relationships and pay attention. As I’m taking the history, I am looking for the red flags, such as a partner who won’t separate or the young girl who comes in with an older man. You need to educate yourself around what those flags are and then talk to the patient. You don’t want to go in and say off the bat, “Have you been hit, kicked, or punched? Has your partner forced you to have sex when you didn’t want to?” The correct way to ask is after you’ve established a rapport with the patient to say, “What do you like about your partner or your work? What don’t you like about it? Tell me three things you would change if you could.” The next thing you know, they are telling you their whole story. Really recognize that this affects one in four women. People are always surprised by this, but the statistics are pretty solid.

Q: What is the biggest challenge related to caring for these victims and how do you combat it?
A:
The biggest challenge is really when there are mental health issues or substance abuse involved. If you look at homeless women, women with mental health problems or substance abuse, you think of it as an onion. You start peeling that onion back to get to the core, where you find that there’s a lifelong history of exposure to trauma and violence. You may be treating them for this one incident they came into the ED for, but you are really treating their whole history.

Q: Has there been a particular patient whose story has stayed with you?
A:
The real hard one recently was we had a woman whose boyfriend strangled and beat her pretty bad. The neighbors called and the police came and brought her in. He choked her so bad we could see the strangle marks. As we are working her up and getting her ready for discharge, she was calling the boyfriend to come pick her up. She just looked at me and said, “I know you must think I’m crazy. I don’t even know if I love him, but I just don’t want to be alone.” That was a “Wow” moment for me. I told her, “How about we try to work on the loneliness? So, you aren’t alone.” She left and two weeks later he beat the living day lights out of her again. She wound up in a different hospital, but called and asked for us. I was able to get her transferred and care for her and that was it. She finally left him, and now she’s soaring. If we didn’t have this follow up program, she would have walked out of there and never come back.

Q: Why is every nurse a forensic nurse?
A:
When you look at ED nurses, they see themselves as ED nurses. But, when they see an injury, like someone looks like there were whipped with a belt, they don’t see that as forensic science, they see that as the emergency care. I think that forensic nursing is not a term they are familiar with, and the more we define and share what it means, the more nurses will recognize that’s what they are doing. Nurses in all aspects of delivering health care will see that.

Q: Why is Forensic Nurses Week important to you?
A:
We get to recognize our colleagues in forensic nursing and that there’s a body of knowledge and expertise we’ve built. During this week, I also think it’s important for every nurse to reflect on their own practice and see what is in their own job that is forensic nursing. Working with the elderly or children, for example, there’s a lot of forensic nursing that goes on there.

Q: How has serving on the editorial board of the Journal of Forensic Nursing affected your career as a nurse?
A:
It’s been really wonderful. It takes me to a different level, where I can grow and develop. Reading manuscripts, providing feedback, and encouraging others to write has been great. It makes me very proud of our profession, and I’m honored to be on the editiorial board. I know that whatever winds up in print is very good quality. I’m very proud of the high standard we set in this journal. I see this journal as the flagship for forensic nursing.

Q: You are traveling to Haiti in November. What work will you be doing there?
A:
I travel to Haiti frequently, where I have two roles. One is that I work with local Haitian nurse leaders to develop nursing leadership in Haiti along with my organization, EqualHealth.org. We host a conference there and our work is very interdisciplinary. There teams need to work in harmony, so we focus on that. Second, I’ve done research on gender-related violence in Haiti.

Q: What do you envision for the future of nursing?
A:
Nurses will be allowed to practice in the full extent of their license. I would love to see all nurses continue their education in some way, shape, or form. I also think that nurses need to be at those tables where policies are being made. Nurses can play a vital role in education, practice, research, and policy, and I want nurses to recognize that.

*Do you know an inspiring nurse to be featured for the next Nurse On the Move? Email your submissions to ClinicalEditor@NursingCenter.com
Posted: 11/9/2015 9:53:48 AM by Cara Gavin | with 1 comments

Categories: Leadership


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