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Improving patient adherence represents a simple way to cut costs and, more importantly, to save lives. Merck launched its "Adherence Estimator," empowering healthcare providers, including nurses and nurse practitioners, to determine whether patients might be at risk for failing to take their medicines as directed.


"The Adherence Estimator is a free tech tool that improves communication between provider and patient in the examination room. It quickly assesses the likelihood (low, medium, or high risk) of a patient remaining adherent to a newly prescribed medication. Common barriers to adherence are classified into three essential health beliefs: commitment, concern, and cost. The user-friendly tool is evidence-based and backed by research, but it's also practical enough to be easily scored and interpreted. It only takes a minute to administer. The tool serves as a great conversation starter when you're counseling on a new medication." See


Providers can also use the tool on their websites. The Adherence Estimator represents a significant tool for healthcare professionals looking to improve adherence among their patients.-Merck New Release, August 22, 2012.



Mercy Ships, an international charity operating the largest nongovernmental hospital ship in the world, needs ward nurses. "Mercy Ships spend roughly 10 months at a time in varying countries along Africa's West Coast, delivering free surgeries and life-saving healthcare to some of the world's most impoverished people. [Nearly 500] international volunteers, with a wide range of both medical and non-medical skill sets, keep the ship in operation as she carries out her mission. Mercy Ships provides free medical care and life-saving surgeries to some of the poorest people in the world, in areas where there are on average only 2 doctors per every 10, 000 people."


"Nurses who are interested in becoming involved can volunteer for any desired amount of time during the 10-month service in Guinea. They will live and work onboard the giant medical vessel that is equipped with six operating theatres, 80 hospital beds and state-of-the-art equipment, as well as dorms, lounges and even a donated Starbucks cafe."


To learn more about Mercy Ships visit To request an application visit Ships Press Release, July 31, 2012.



Anna Wroble, RN, cares for premature infants in a neonatal intensive care unit in Las Vegas. "Being a mother has made me a better nurse,' Wroble said as she stood near a table where she worked on an idea for an app for smart phones and tablets that presents videos and data on each stage of a baby's growth. 'One of my children was in a neonatal unit and another was in a pediatric intensive care unit, so I know how stressful times can be for new parents.'"


Wroble, a nurse at the St. Rose Dominican Hospitals-Siena Campus, took part in a challenge where staff and volunteers made suggestions to improve patient care. She had noticed that parents with children in the neonatal intensive care unit were very reliant on their phones and mobile tablets. Wroble realized that if a suitable app could be developed, it would help parents even before an infant was admitted.


"I know how terrifying it is to trust someone else with the life of your child, and parents feel they have lost all control. This app could give control back to them through education," Wroble stated. Parents of a child in the neonatal intensive care unit can enter the weight of their child on the app, and it's placed on a graph to show how the baby is progressing. There is a section on proper breast-feeding, and moms can track breast-feeding and pumping. They also can track appointments with healthcare providers. Other functions of the app include interviews with St. Rose doctors and staff who will be caring for babies and video tours showing where babies are cared for at St. Rose. There are mapping tools so parents can find hospitals in emergencies.


The app is yet another way to ensure each family is provided the best care possible. "I see nursing as a calling. To have found another way to help my patients and their families is an honor."- 10/17/2012



A little over 2.7 million New Yorkers are registered organ donors. That is only 18% of potential donors and is significantly lower than the 42% U.S. average. Albany Medical Center, the region's trauma center, is the area's largest source of organ donors. "However, only 1-3% of deaths at Albany Med qualify for organ donation. By necessity, most donations come after a patient suffers brain death because the patient is considered deceased but their organs are still functioning. Surprisingly, most get to that point from strokes, aneurysms, or heart attacks. The share of organ donors from traffic accidents is shrinking because of the use of helmets and seat belts. Still, the number of donors is low. So a team of nurses at the hospital has started an effort to improve the donation process and increase the number of donors."


"Nine ICU nurses have volunteered to support families that have made the decision to donate. They stay with the patient, and help families understand the process, which involves keeping the deceased patient's body functioning until the organs are collected. 'We try to make it so everybody has said their goodbyes and has no regrets,' said Joshua Malone, a nurse in the medical ICU."


The team also organized registration drives that signed up 152 new potential donors. "I am constantly awed by how strong families are in those types of situations," said Lauren Quinn, director of hospital and community services with The Center for Donation & Transplant. "They are donating to people they don't know and they may never know, and we are asking them to do it at a time that they suffering severe emotional shock, loss and grief. It's humbling. You could give someone hope and be someone's hero," Quinn stated.-



Watch this fascinating video clip from Georgia Tech BrainLab. Researchers there have developed a wheelchair that is driven by brainwaves to help patients locked in by their inability to speak or drive a wheelchair. A visual interface allows control without using a joystick or button. Eye movement focused on a specific corridor of dots determines the directional movement of the wheelchair.


"The group is focused on providing independence to people with physical disabilities."-



Doggone good news. Dogs are good for our health, find missing people, help disabled people live independent lives, and help kids improve reading skills. "Dogs not only help children learn to read, they help children learn to love reading," says Michael Amiri, coauthor with his wife, Linda, of the children's book, Shellie, the Magical Dog (


"A Minnesota pilot project called PAWSitive Readers finds that trained therapy dogs helped 10 of 14 grade-school participants improve their reading skills by one grade level, [and a] University of California study showed that children who read to the family dog improved their ability by an average of 12%.


Amiri states five reasons why dogs help kids learn to love reading:


* No embarrassment

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* Confidence boosters


* Polite listeners


* A fun approach to schoolwork


* Win-win: a canine-student reading program is a great way to help service dogs-in-training learn patience and discipline.



See a related article in JCN, (Vol. 29, No. 4), Pet Therapy: Dogs De-Stress Students-News Release/



The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a guide of infection prevention recommendations for outpatient services. Increasingly, more patients are receiving care in outpatient settings over recent decades. Such settings "have traditionally lacked infrastructure and resources to support infection prevention and surveillance activities," the CDC says.


"According to the CDC, the guide seeks to provide basic infection prevention recommendations for outpatient (ambulatory care) settings; reaffirm standard precautions as the foundation for preventing transmission of infectious agents during patient care in all healthcare settings; and provide links to full guidelines and source documents for more detailed background and recommendations."-



"Part of the reason [the Apostle] Paul was content in all circumstances [Philippians 4:11-13] is that he had allowed God to transform his mind. This enabled him to experience peace and contentment. As we learn to change our thought patterns from dwelling on negative circumstances to focusing on the blessings of God, we too will experience the peace and contentment Paul knew so well."


"Paul realized that the way a person thinks affects the way he or she feels and acts. A person who concentrates on the blessings of God will rejoice and experience God's peace. If, instead, a person dwells on everything that goes wrong, he or she will be filled with anger, bitterness, fear, hate and a multitude of other negative emotions. No one can experience those emotions and be content. Paul desired that the Philippians share the contentment and joy he knew, so he encouraged them to focus on positive things."-Excerpted from Finding Contentment, p. 45, Aglow International, 2010.


-PulseBeats compiled by Cathy Walker, JCN Associate Editor