1. Walker, Cathy

Article Content

Meds and Cell Phones: A Winning Combination

Students at Massachusetts Institute of Technology have developed a way to use cell phones with patients who have TB. Patients test their urine using a strip that states a numeric code if it detects TB medicine, they text message the code to their healthcare provider, and receive credit toward free minutes. The system allows doctors to see if patients are taking their medications.


While the system is creative, personal visits are still needed. -Wisconsin State Journal, A4, June 15, 2008.


Track Diseases Using an Online Map

Using an online map, worldwide disease outbreaks can be traced. The map is updated daily and displays markings of wildlife diseases such as West Nile virus, avian influenza, chronic wasting disease, and monkeypox. Users can browse the latest reports of nearly 50 diseases and other health conditions, such as pesticide and lead poisoning, by geographic location. Filters make it easy to trace different disease types, affected species, countries, and dates.


The Global Wildlife Disease News Map, developed jointly by the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the U.S Geological Survey, can be accessed at -/ Accessed 5/5/2008.


Nurses Trained to Care for Victims of Sexual Assault

Female nurses from the Dr. Everett Chalmers Regional Hospital and the Oromocto Public Hospital are among 16 nurses from New Brunswick, Canada, trained to perform sexual assault examinations and collect forensic evidence. Sheila Early, a Canadian authority on forensic nursing, helped develop one of Canada's first sexual assault nurse examiner programs.


Often, physicians are busy with other emergencies in the ER that retain them. Early said, "Sexual assault victims need kind, compassionate care where someone can be with them for three to five hours." Having the nurse examiner as a constant care person for the victim sends a strong message. "The nurse's role is to care for this particular patient-and if that patient has chosen to report to police, then it is important for the continuity and chain of evidence to have one person overseeing that," reports Early.


Nurses taking the class have been educated about gathering evidence and testifying in court. They've also received information from organizations that provide referral services. - / Accessed 6/11/2008.


Help: Ask for It

Diane E. Scott writes, "Nurses are not accustomed to nor do they enjoy being in a position of needing assistance or guidance." However, asking for help has advantages for you and for your patients. Scott suggests using a direct rather than indirect approach when asking for help. These are examples of direct phrases, as noted in her article: "I need your assistance with[horizontal ellipsis]," "Here's how you can best help me now[horizontal ellipsis]," or "Please show me how to[horizontal ellipsis]." Avoid passively asking for help and be sure to thank those that assist you. -Imprint, A/M 08, pgs 50-51.


Prayer for a Person in Pain

"Lord, (name) is in pain. This discomfort is one of the most important experiences of his (her) life today. We have tried many ways to relieve the pain. We ask You now to do what You can to minimize this discomfort and to help (name) cope with the pain. Pain is powerful, Lord. But help us to remember that You are stronger than pain, and that You can give hope and comfort in all experiences, even pain." -From Reflections on the Hands of a Nurse, p. 77, Mark Darby, RN,


Search Engines: A Medical Reality in 21st Century Healthcare

Jennifer Thew, RN, MSJ, editorial director of the Greater Chicago and Heartland editions of Nursing Spectrum/NurseWeek, encourages nurses to educate patients regarding sources of online health information. Healthcare professionals must know what's legitimate and what isn't regarding online information. She writes, "The education of patients often falls to their nurses, which means we must help patients find valid medical information. When it comes to helping patients find their way online, nurses should share suggestions on evaluating information from the California Medical Association and the FDA." Thew recommends these questions to patients when evaluating medical Web sites:


* What organization sponsors the Web site? Are political or marketing goals a factor in providing the information?


* Is there a list of people who review information on the site? What are their credentials?


* Are there links to other sources of medical information? Reputable associations never claim to be the only source of information on a topic.


* When was the last time the site was updated?



Nurses should be aware of the search engine Organized Wisdom Health (http://www.organizedwisdom. com), developed to search medical information. All of the search engine's content is reviewed by health professionals.


Patients using online sources are encouraged to discuss the information they find with their healthcare providers. Thew states, "For the most part, well-informed patients are a welcome experience because they work with healthcare providers for successful outcomes. With a little guidance from RNs, patients can feel empowered and participate more actively in their care." -ANA SmartBrief, 1/30/2008.