1. Walker, Cathy

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Help for the Hearing Impaired

SilentCall Communications provides personal communications and life-enhancing systems for the deaf, deaf/blind, and hard of hearing. Some devices warn the deaf resident when someone is trying to gain access to their home. Another useful application is for home office use to prevent workers from being interrupted by the telephone or doorbell. Instead the worker receives a less intrusive visual or tactile alert that the doorbell or telephone is ringing.


The Sidekick II features a bright, flashing strobe, and the front indicator panel alerts users quickly to visitors, calls, and emergencies. If a fire or smoke alarm has a low battery or malfunction, Sidekick II notifies the user so corrective action can be taken. The monitor has a night dimming backlight display so it doesn't interfere with sleep at night and provides alerts 24/7. The Sidekick II can be attached to a vibrating pad placed under the mattress to wake even the soundest sleeper. For more information visit, e-mail, or call (800) 572 5227 (voice/tty).-3/9/2009 e-news release


Nurse-led Discharge Helps Patients Stay at Home

Boston Medical Center established a program to ensure discharged patients don't return to the hospital. Nurses use a personalized booklet to teach patients about their conditions, explain medications, and arrange future physician appointments. A pharmacist calls patients 2 days after discharge to check on their medications.


Patients who got the extra help were 30% less likely to return to the hospital, saving an average of $412 per patient. Dr. Brian Jack, who led the Boston Medical Center team, said, "The intervention showed a remarkable effect, much more than any of us ever imagined." - Accessed 4/20/2009.


Adding to the Nursing Shortage

A recent study from the Florida Center for Nursing finds that 44% of qualified applicants to Florida nursing schools were rejected in the 2007-08 academic year. The study cites program capacity and graduation data compiled from 98% of the state's pre-licensure nursing programs. According to the data, 12,563 nursing program applicants were turned away, largely due to a shortage of clinical training sites and faculty. However, during the same time period, the number of Florida nursing school graduates increased 17.4%, and enrollment at state nursing schools increased 9%. The report specifies that most of the growth occurred in 2-year associate degree programs, but that the more advanced programs needed to train nursing administrators and educators were nearly stagnant in graduates and enrollment. The shortage of nursing faculty needs to be addressed amid growing evidence of the problem. -Orlando Business Journal, Accessed 4/20/2009.


Children and Thyroid-New Information

Medical researchers are warning doctors to stop prescribing a common thyroid drug to children with Graves' disease, the most common cause of an overactive thyroid. The drug, known as PTU, is used to treat adults and children but new tests show it can cause liver failure in children. Dr. Donald Mattison and Dr. Scott Rivkees noticed the connection between the drug and liver failure. They found that complications from PTU claim the lives of 5 to 10 children a year and that most physicians wouldn't know about the danger of using the drug. In a recently published letter in the New England Journal of Medicine, they're urging healthcare providers not to prescribe PTU as the initial treatment for children with overactive thyroids. The condition also can be treated with radioactive iodine and surgery.


-The Associated Press, Accessed 4/20/2009


Cracked Pot or Broken Vessel?

"The metaphor of the woman with an alabaster jar demonstrates the contemplative caregiving that the Bible calls us to as nurses. Whenever we welcome a new admission, give a drink to a thirsty post-op patient, feed a frail elder, or care for a dying person, we are doing it to and for Jesus. In these actions, we become contemplative caregivers; we become nurses with alabaster jars." -From The Nurse with an Alabaster Jar: A Biblical Approach to Nursing, p. 37, Mary Elizabeth O'Brien, 2006. Available at or


Staff Nurse Google Group

Are you interested in joining a discussion forum designed especially for Christian nurses? Each month a new topic is introduced and there is opportunity for online group members to post/start their own forum topics, ideas, and concerns for discussion and feedback with peers. For more information or to join the group, go and click on "Nurses in Practice" and "NCF Nurse Google Group," or go directly to


Cathy Walker


JCN Associate Editor