Authors

  1. Borger, Angela L.

Article Content

It's that time of year again, when for many of us in North America, the Ultraviolet (UV) Index is starting to nudge upward, and our patients have a renewed interest in sun protective items-sunscreen, hats, sunglasses, protective clothing. I wish I could say that our patients care about this as much as we do year-round. But, and correct me if I am wrong, I think questions along these lines do start to pick up this time of year. What are you telling patients? Do you tell them about the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention ("National Council") and Melanoma Monday and Don't Fry Day? As you may know, the American Academy of Dermatology designates the first Monday in May as Melanoma Monday. The idea is to jump-start the beginning of summer with a day intended "to raise awareness of melanoma and other types of skin cancer, and to encourage early detection through self-exams" (American Academy of Dermatology, n.d.). Don't Fry Day, which I try to write about each year, is always the Friday before Memorial Day, as designated by the National Council. Don't Fry Day is designed "to encourage sun safety awareness and to remind everyone to protect their skin while enjoying the outdoors" (National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention, n.d.). The Dermatology Nurses' Association (DNA) is a member of the National Council and has routinely supported the activities and efforts associated with this annual event. What I really like is that the National Council has many resources available to individuals and practices interested in participating. I would encourage you to look at National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention, n.d., resources for numerous resources available to help you and your practice to promote this event; there are stickers and posters and e-cards, oh my! Available for download on this site are video scripts, Web badges, trifold brochures, logos (Figure 1), posters, and even a sun-safe packing list for vacations. Of course, there are guidelines for the use of or reproduction of the Don't Fry Day materials, which you can find available for download on the Don't Fry Day Resource page. I strongly encourage you to use these resources for you, for your patients, for your friends and family, and for your community. If you do, please consider letting me know what you did so that I can share with our readers in a future Editorial.

  
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Figure 1 - Click to enlarge in new windowFIGURE 1. Don't Fry logo (National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention, n.d.).

Speaking of sun and protection, it seems that recently I have been encountering several movie references to this topic! In case you are judgmental about my movie-watching choices, I will preface these examples with the statement, "but I saw this while on the treadmill at the gym." I think that should suffice to explain how I watch these diverse movie genres. The first reference that caught my attention was hearing the line "UV Warning! UV Warning! UV Warning!". As you can imagine, this dialogue certainly made me look up and start paying attention. Now, let me tell you more context about this line of script. The movie is a 2009 movie called Daybreakers, and Wikipedia tells me that "the film takes place in a futuristic world overrun by vampires" (Wikipedia, n.d.). As we might infer from our cultural references, the vampires in the movie are unprotected against sunlight and UV light. Because, of course, I needed to do pop culture "research" for this editorial, the Wikipedia article tells us that "various technological and architecture advances are made to adjust the populated areas to vampires' night cycle (such as UV protective cars, underground railways and paths across the cities, and UV warnings)" (Wikipedia, n.d.).

 

Clearly, the movie has a recurring theme of sun, sun exposure, and outcomes. Let's stop to think about this theme. Take away the science fiction and vampire part of the movie, and wouldn't it be valuable if we had some of these precautions in our lives? I know some of this isn't as far-fetched as one would think-didn't the car dealership ask if you'd like UV window tinting with your last new car? I may be aging myself, but this option wasn't around when I bought my first car! Wouldn't it be helpful if some immediate and automatic warning alerted us if our UV exposure was getting to be too much? But wait, aren't there UV wristbands you can wear that change colors when exposed to too much UV? Maybe life does approximate fiction in this case.

 

The next movie example comes from a 2007 movie, A Dennis the Menace Christmas. I have to admit I wasn't truly and fully watching this movie until a particular scene jumped out at me. Based loosely on Charles Dicken's A Christmas Carol, there is a point in the movie when the characters travel to a future Christmas. Again, Wikipedia tells us "the angel then takes him to the future, where it's bleak and the atmosphere requires SPF 800 sunscreen because of global warming since 2019" (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Dennis_the_Menace_Christmas). Okay, that's all I really care to explain about the plot of this movie, but the simple phrase "SPF 800" was enough to get my attention. Admittedly, this SPF was a science-fiction idea, but one that really resonated with a dermatology nurse.

 

Where do you encounter information about sun safety, UV index, and sunscreen in popular culture? Where have you heard a reference to these ideas and concepts that we deal with regularly? I am sure that, if I paid attention, there would be myriad more examples of dermatology-related themes in movies, music, books, and other cultural references. Again, I invite you to share any examples you run across.

 

My last thoughts for you today relate to the various leadership and management changes the DNA has had over the last few months. You likely know that DNA has moved to a different model of management, one that we hope serves our members well. I am also a member of the Society of Otorhinolaryngology Head and Neck Nurses and am privileged to receive their publications as well. Consider a quote from their Summer 2015 newsletter:

 

The fields that support and surround our organization are filled with little nuggets of knowledge and opportunity. I am constantly impressed by the absolute wealth of experience, talent and resources that are available within our organization. Our society is rich with leadership and vision. Mentorship opportunities are available to any and all members who are interested in putting in the time to seek knowledge and experience (Mackey, 2015).

 

Don't you think this quote is as applicable to the DNA and our members? Without doubt, we also have an absolute wealth of experience, talent, and resources. As a specialized nursing organization, we offer many of the same opportunities as other societies. During this time of organizational transition, the DNA, now more than ever, is looking for volunteers to help continue the rich and historied traditions of dermatology nursing. Would you consider joining us and the work we do? We would love to have you join us in our important work.

 

Looking forward to hearing from you,

 

Angela L. Borger

 

Editor in Chief

 

E-mail: alborger@aol.com

 

REFERENCES

 

American Academy of Dermatology. (n.d.). Melanoma Monday. https://www.aad.org/public/spot-skin-cancer/programs/melanoma-monday. Retrieved February 22, 2016. [Context Link]

 

Mackey Wendy. (2015). Nuggets of knowledge and opportunity. ORL-Head and Neck Nursing, 33(3), 5. [Context Link]

 

National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention. (n.d.). Don't Fry Day Resources. http://skincancerprevention.org/programs/dont-fry-day?q=programs/dont-fry-day/re. Retrieved February 22, 2016. [Context Link]

 

Wikipedia. (n.d.). Daybreakers. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daybreakers. Last modified January 22, 2016. Retrieved February 22, 2016.