1. Pearce, Angela N. MS, RN, FNP-C, ONP-C
  2. NAON President

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I hope that all of you had a wonderful holiday season with your family and friends enjoying good company, good food, and stimulating conversation. I also hope that the presents and happy occasions the season brings were heartfelt, without need for the return lines at the store. I feel very blessed to have two families on different continents and feel the love and support from both sides of the pond. We welcomed a new grandchild this year, as our family continues to grow and thrive.

Angela N. Pearce, MS... - Click to enlarge in new window NAON President

At the start of the year, it is a time for new beginnings, a time when we can reflect on areas that require some work and develop an action plan for change. So many hospitals, as they embrace Magnet status, promote mindfulness and wellness among the nursing and hospital staff. Many of us start the New Year with resolutions for better health and exercise. Last year, my orthopaedic unit decided to have a competition for 5 months to see who could lose the most weight. I came in second behind someone who beat me by 1 lb. I was really happy with the health changes that we both had made and that it was a win-win situation for both health and appearance. Maintenance is not easy and must be worked at constantly to prevent the backsliding that hits so many of us.


Without being politically driven, I would say that we live in unsettled times in which the Affordable Care Act is holding on by a thread and causing significant angst to the president. Taking care of our patients has to be a high priority but always with the caveat that there is no free healthcare.


Hip and knee replacements are the most common inpatient surgery for Medicare beneficiaries. The average Medicare expenditure for surgery, hospitalization, and recovery ranges from $16,500 to $33,000 across geographic areas. It has been decided to reduce the number of mandatory geographic areas participating in the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services innovations in comprehensive care for joint replacements from 67 to 34 in the hope that this model aims to support better health and more efficient care for beneficiaries undergoing this common inpatient surgery. It is also being changed that this procedure should move from an inpatient setting to an outpatient setting. This change drives hospitals to develop outpatient centers that will adequately care for their patients preoperatively to optimize their care and at discharge to prevent the revolving door of readmission to the hospital. In the northeast of the country, there is one hospital that has hired a physical therapist to meet the patient as they arrive at home to determine a personalized rehabilitation plan and prepare the patient for home activities. Another model of care includes home health nurses who are asked to evaluate their patients and often use telemedicine to provide quality patient care. Either way we must be prepared to take care of our patients in a manner that equips the patient and the family for safe efficient discharge.


Two years ago, I had a knee replacement for bone-on-bone osteoarthritis. At that time, we had not developed our joint camp for patients with knee replacement at the hospital. However, because of good patient education both from the hospital and from my resources from NAON, great inpatient nursing care plus the determination that I would perform the necessary rehabilitation I was able to return to work in a timely manner and be able to perform my job as an orthopaedic/trauma nurse practitioner.


To celebrate my 2-year anniversary, I was speaking at the Australian and New Zealand Orthopaedic Nurses Association (ANZONA) meeting in Perth, Western Australia, and was able to enjoy their 70s meeting party by dancing the night away. They invited a great band and know how to throw a brilliant party. Needless to say, my knee was well worked out! The long flights were hard coming back due to sitting and the jet lag is tough, but the memories will be there forever.


New beginnings means hitting the reset button to get us back on track to better health and fitness. If we cannot take care of ourselves, then we are unable to honestly care for others. Our jobs are demanding, both physically and mentally, and positive personal health gives us the tools to be able to handle those daily challenges. I encourage each of you to develop achievable goals in health and fitness to maximize your health and to be accountable to at least one other person to achieve this measurable goal. We must believe to achieve. Good luck as you achieve your renewed health and wellness goals.


Benjamin Franklin said, "When you are finished changing, you're finished!"