5 New Year’s Resolutions for Every Nurse We Know

“This year I’ll go back to school to learn something new.” – This is an excellent New Year’s Resolution to make for 2014. There are many courses you can take as a nurse, whether towards an advanced degree, certificate or as a continuing education student. Pick out something you’d like to learn and set the goal that you’ll take a course by the end of March.

 

“This year I’ll give something back.” – Many nurses do so much in their daily lives at work, but some feel called to do volunteer work as nurses. If this is something you would like to do, there are many organizations that would love to hear from you. There are local, regional and international efforts that need nurses desperately. A recent effort was the relief efforts following the devastating Typhoon in thePhilippines.

 

“This year I’ll really get to know my coworkers.” – This is a great New Year’s Resolution to choose. Often you can know a small group of coworkers that you work with quite well, but you may not know others who work for the same facility or even the same department. Now is the time to make the effort, and get to know others that you work with. There may be the opportunity to collaborate with them in the future or simply learning from them or even a great work friend around the corner.

 

“This year I’ll get rid of a bad habit.” – This is a very popular New Year’s Resolution, and as nurses we often feel we have to model healthy habits for our patients. Take proactive steps to help ensure that your 2014 resolution has every chance of success. If your goal is to exercise more, pack your gym bag before leaving for work and put it in the car so you’re ready to stop on the way home. If your goal is to eat healthy snacks instead of out of the vending machine, leave the quarters at home and pack string cheese, apples and yogurt, all very portable, healthy snacks.

 

“This year I’ll put myself on the path for promotion.” – This is an achievable New Year’s resolution for many. Take stock of your skills and the needs at your facility. What do you need to improve to put yourself in the best position for a promotion this year? Now is the time to create an action plan, step by step, to achieve your goal of a promotion.

 

Wishing you a Happy, Healthy & Safe New Year from your friends at Meridian Nurse Recruiters!

 

Be Aware of Seasonal Affective Disorder SAD This Winter

As a nurse and healthcare professional it is helpful to be aware of many conditions that could affect your patients. One of these that you’ll want to know about especially for the winter and cold weather months is Seasonal Affective Disorder, also called SAD.

 

People who experience Seasonal Affective Disorder become depressed during the winter, or even during the summer. They are typically affected as the seasons change. SAD was formally named and described in 1984 by Norman E. Rosenthal and other colleagues at the National Institute of Health.

 

Symptoms for those with SAD can include the following:

 

  • Trouble getting up in the morning

 

 

  • Chronic tendency to oversleep

 

  • Overeating, a craving for carbohydrates can be considered a sign of SAD

 

  • Weight gain (often related to overeating and lethargy)

 

  • Lack of energy

 

  • Trouble concentrating or finishing tasks

 

  • Withdrawing from others

 

  • Lack of sex drive

 

  • Depressive feelings including hopelessness and a lack of pleasure

 

 

A person with SAD may have some or a few of these symptoms or may have all of them. Some who are affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder also have Bipolar Disorder.

 

Treatments for Seasonal Affective Disorder that is winter-based can range from light therapy with sunlight or bright lights, taking antidepressants, therapy sessions, ionized-air administration and melatonin that is carefully timed when administered.

 

Winter months include days that get darker earlier and they are also colder. This logically may affect how often people get together and socialize, or how comfortable they feel going outdoors. Another tactic to take is to be sure that they are wearing a warm coat, gloves and taking proper precautions when they go outdoors so they are comfortable enough to still enjoy daily life during winter in your climate, whether it is mild, chilly or more severe. Doing this may help patients to become more social, but it is still critical to take a look at SAD symptoms and consider treatment.

 

If you as a healthcare professional think you are affected by SAD, seek professional help to combat this condition. Don’t go it alone or think it will just go away on its own. If you see patients exhibiting SAD symptoms, consider that Seasonal Affective Disorder may be affecting them and investigate further with a follow-up session or a referral to a mental health professional.

 

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seasonal_affective_disorder

 

Nix the Vending Machines! 10 Healthy Snacks for Nurses

Many nurses work long days – 12 hour shifts can be typical. Don’t neglect your body while taking care of others. Taking that short break to enjoy a healthy snack can revive you and keep you going, long after you would otherwise feel frazzled and run down. Few nurses we know want to risk running out of energy.

 

There are several important factors to keep in mind when choosing a good, healthy snack for a nurse. It can’t just be something tasty and healthy. That snack also needs to be portable and one that fits into your budget nicely, as nurses are going to regularly buy snacks to bring to work. So you won’t find sushi rolls on our list, even though this is a healthy snack, it is one that will drain your wallet quickly and certainly doesn’t meet the portable requirement very easily (sushi is a bit fragile, only good for a day or so). Get ready to enjoy some delicious snacks!

 

String cheese – this is one of the simplest snacks you can choose that also offers a lot of flavor. Pack 2 low-fat string cheese for about 100 calories. Or pair one string cheese with a small piece of fruit for a nice combination of fiber and dairy. (It will need to be refrigerated)

 

Greek yogurt – now this snack is a bit more expensive than your typical, everyday yogurt but we decided to keep it on our list because Greek yogurt is packed with protein and the calorie count is low – about 150 calories for a 6 oz serving. You’ll find plain yogurt as well as plain with honey and yogurt with fruit for some nice variety. Many nurses enjoy Greek yogurt because it has a creamy, thick texture and it is like enjoying a real treat.

 

Chocolate milk – if you have a sweet tooth, chocolate milk is an excellent snack to grab. You’ll find small – about 4 to 6 oz sized servings or larger. That’s about 150 calories. Look for low fat chocolate milk and this is a great way to sneak a serving of dairy into your day. Especially during the holidays when everyone is digging into tempting treats, it is nice to enjoy something sweet – like chocolate milk! You can also find strawberry flavored milk too (just check the sugar content to be sure it isn’t too high)!

 

Fresh fruit – Mother Nature offers you one of the best snacking options, with lots of colorful variety. Most servings of fruit are 100 to 150 calories or under. Filled with vitamins and fiber, this is the perfect portable snack that is easy to eat on-the-go. Try the budget-friendly banana that is also rich with potassium. Or the sunny naval orange filled with Vitamin C to keep colds at bay, this fruit is in season in winter. Or treat yourself to making a fruit salad in the start of the week and bring in a cup of fruit salad each day for your snack, don’t add sugar to sweeten, just use ½ a cup of orange juice!

 

Fresh vegetables – Another treat from Mother Nature and a terrific snacking option, especially when you are tempted to have something crunchy! Try baby carrots, snap peas, cutting up broccoli for a snack or even celery stalks.

 

Dried fruit – This can be a sweet and healthy snack filled with fiber. Remember that dried fruit can be higher in calories, so eat a smaller serving that you would have vs. a piece of fresh fruit. Otherwise enjoy! You’ll find many fruits are dried and available to eat.

 

Nuts – Experts agree that nuts in moderation are an excellent way to improve your diet. People who snack on a small number of nuts actually have fewer cravings than others who do not. Try raw or natural nuts and go for lightly salted or unsalted nuts if you can, they are the healthier option.

 

Healthy New Year’s Resolutions for 2014

According to USA.gov, many of the New Year’s resolutions people make each year are related to their health. Whether you as a nurse or nursing student decide it is time to adopt a healthy habit, or you would like to encourage your patients to improve their health, it is helpful to be aware of some of the most popular New Year’s resolutions people like to make. As a nurse you will be able to encourage that patient to make healthy choice while they are “revved up” and feel excited about making a positive change.

 

USA.gov lists the most popular New Year’s resolutions and also provides resources people can turn to. This website is an excellent one to encourage patients to visit if they are thinking about making a healthy change for the better. New Year’s resolutions can be viewed here: http://www.usa.gov/Citizen/Topics/New-Years-Resolutions.shtml

 

Healthy New Year’s resolutions according to USA.gov include:

 

Drink less alcohol

 

Eat healthy food

 

Get fit

 

Lose weight

 

Manage stress

 

Quit smoking

 

USA.gov recommends their website ChooseMyPlate.gov when you have the New Year’s resolution to Eat healthy food. The website can be viewed here: http://www.choosemyplate.gov/.  You’ll find helpful tips for weight management, exercise, calorie counting, a food tracker, information for pregnant & breastfeeding women, information for college students and children.

 

As a nurse you may want to recommend additional resources when a patient approaches you with the desire to Eat healthy food. You may refer them to a nutritionist or a registered dietician so a food plan can be customized for them. You may refer them to their physician for a physical or a consultation, especially if there is a concern the patient is not eating healthy foods or does not eat enough or in excess.

 

They say that a new habit – good or bad – takes approximately 21 days to become part of our regular routine and daily life. It can be so easy to be excited to make a New Year’s resolution and then to watch it fizzle out after a week or so. Try to encourage your patients to “push” past and reach at least the 1 month mark of 30 days. They may be surprised to discover that their healthy habit sticks with them in a pleasing way!

 

Sources: http://www.choosemyplate.gov/, http://www.usa.gov/Citizen/Topics/New-Years-Resolutions.shtml

 

Help Your Patients Make the Most of Visitors During The Holidays

Help Your Patients Make the Most of Visitors During The Holidays

 

Whether your patients are in the hospital or under your care in their homes as a private nurse, it isn’t fun being sick during the holidays. But what is most important is that a patient gets better – and visitors need to understand how to be the best type of visitor during this merry and jolly season. Some may be tempted to bring a bottle of champagne to ring in the New Year and have “just a little glass” but for someone on medication that doesn’t mix with alcohol; this can be a great risk. Your patients are counting on you – whether they realize it or not – to help guide them and their visitors to understand how to visit and what type of gifts are okay to bring.

 

Sometimes the best gift of all is not a “present” but simply to give your “presence.” Many who are sick love to have a visitor. Depending on their medical condition, they may not be permitted to have certain foods or plants. If they are ill but permitted to have visitors it may be easiest to let visitors know to just come and spend time with their loved one.

 

Share photos or videos. Today’s technology makes it so much easier to keep in touch with that soon-to-be new mom or grandma while she is on the mend. Encourage loved ones to bring photos in frames or in their phones to share, or videos to show their loved ones.

 

Offering a helping hand while someone is sick can often be quite welcomed. Many who are sick worry about their daily life, and how smoothly all is running in their absence. If you tell loved ones they could offer to walk the dog, feed the cat or take their children on a fun outing that would likely mean more to them than a box of candy they may not be permitted to eat. Best of all, this may be something that is quite convenient for them to do, something they would have done anyway out of the goodness of their heart.

 

The comforts of home are another wonderful gift a visitor can bring, as long as they are permitted, depending on someone’s condition. If a visitor can bring cozy socks or a sweater from home, this may make someone feel more comfortable and at ease while in the hospital or a rehab center.

 

If food is permitted to bring then remind the visitor to check if there are any guidelines for food. The patient may have dietary restrictions based on their current medical conditions they didn’t have before. Bringing in a small quantity of food may be the ideal choice, a selection of holiday cookies or treats if these are allowed. A storage container is suggested so the patient could enjoy them for a day or so following the visit.

 

Remind those who visit to check with the nursing station about the suggested time for a visit. Some patients may be up for a longer visit and others may need a short one. Most patients are happy to see visitors but all patients do need their rest.

 

Source: http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2009/12/24/10-ways-to-bring-christmas-cheer-to-a-friend-in-the-hospital-for-the-holidays/

 

Organ Donor

As a nurse or nursing student you may know just how important it is to be an organ donor. One nurse who decided to donate a kidney discovered that he was the perfect match for one of the children he was helping to care for on his dialysis unit! Nurses: do you donate blood or have you registered as an organ donor? http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865591416/University-Hospital-nurses-kidney-donation-completes-chain-of-three-transplants.html

 

Holidays are here – But be Healthy

The holiday season can be a busy & hectic time for everyone, especially those who care for others like nurses. Don’t forget to care for yourself and get regular exercise. A recent study has shown that daily exercise can be beneficial to your blood sugar and fat cells. Read more about it: http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/11/27/the-power-of-a-daily-bout-of-exercise/?ref=health&_r=0

 

 

University of Evansville Health Fair

15 University of Evansville nursing students chose a big project for their annual senior nursing project. They created a health Fair at a local church to serve lower income families and individuals. The nurses hope to help with topics that include depression screenings, tooth-brushing education, blood pressure checks and recipes for inexpensive and healthy meals. As a nursing student or a nurse, how have you reached out to help your community? Share with us in the comments below! http://northside.14news.com/news/health/205233-low-income-families-benefit-ue-nursing-students-health-fair

 

University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing

A Big Congratulations to the University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing‘s 15th Annual “Cameos of Caring” Awards Gala. They honored 73 terrific nurses this year from different health care facilities. This awards ceremony was created in 1999, to honor and recognize nurses for their hard work and dedication. As of this year, more than 750 nurses have received awards from the University of Pittsburgh. What makes a nurse stand head & shoulders above the rest? Who would you nominate for an award and why? http://newpittsburghcourieronline.com/2013/11/27/pitt-school-of-nursing-cameos-of-caring-awards/

 

Are You At Risk for Nursing Burnout?

Are You At Risk for Nursing Burnout?

Many go into nursing because it is a position where you can make a difference and really care about the people you serve. But this can also become a challenge for some nurses and nursing students who are vulnerable to burnout. In the fast-paced world of medicine and the hectic pace that daily life takes, feeling more than a normal amount of stress can be typical. Caring for yourself is so critical to help avoid burnout. Do you know if you are at risk for nursing burnout?

Nurses under stress may be feeling some of the following symptoms:

  • eating too much or too little
  • bullying or being the victim of bullying on your unit
  • stress related illness that can manifest in different ways – you may be more vulnerable to catching colds or flu or minor injuries or a chronic condition may feel worse, or you may feel many symptoms while experiencing stress

Nursing burnout can happen. You are spending your days and nights caring about people during their most vulnerable and often some of their most stressful moments. Even if you work in the maternity ward where you see many happy new parents and adorable babies, there will be tense moments and stressful situations where having a nurse there matters.

If you are concerned about nursing burnout, now is the time to do something about it. Take good care of your health. In order to be there to care for others, you must first care for yourself. It will be difficult to care for others if you are the patient who is most in need!

Not only should you monitor yourself, but also keep a watchful eye on your fellow coworkers for any potential nursing burnout. Reaching out a friendly hand and a listening ear could not only make you a good friend and coworker but could make a big difference during a vulnerable time.

Source: http://www.nursetogether.com/4-tips-to-prevent-over-care-syndrome-and-nu