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Melissa Mills BSN

Nurse Case Manager, Professor, Freelance Writer

Hi there! I'm Melissa and I'm a skilled writer, editor, and content manager and I would love to help you with your next project. I specialize in healthcare and women's content

Content by Melissa Mills

  1. Melissa Mills

    What is One of the Most Memorable Moments in Your Nursing Career?

    As an on-call hospice nurse on 2nd and 3rd shift, I often went to patient's homes when they were having extreme pain, agitation, or other symptom management issues. One night I was called to the home of a 40-something woman who had fought a hard fight with breast cancer. Her family had filled almost every space in the house and was offering the best care you can imagine. Her mom greeted me at the door to let me know what the concerns were and how she was doing since we spoke on the phone. I went to the bedside to find her two young children lying in bed with her. She was minimally responsive, and at first glance, I knew she was getting close to the end of life. I did a thorough assessment to confirm what my gut told me. Then I sat down with the adults in the family to discuss what she wanted and needed at this point. Next, I sat on the floor with her children and talked to them about what their mom was going through. As a young mom myself at the time, my heart was breaking and aching with every word I told this family. I stayed with them for many hours and started care that would keep a nurse at her bedside until she passed. I ended up back there for the next 3 days and had the honor to be with her when she took her last breath. This family welcomed me into one of the hardest moments of their lives. While I was breaking inside, I worked with compassion and cared like never before because I could see my children and me in that bed since the first night. After her death, I received a letter about how much my care meant to them. What they didn't understand was how much they blessed my life during one of the most challenging time of theirs.
  2. Melissa Mills

    Work From Home: Nurse Case Manager

    Many nurses have the dream of working from home. But, how? There are several different types of work at home nurse positions. One of the most common work from home nursing positions is a nurse case manager. Case managers work for insurance companies, hospitals, home care, hospice and managed care organizations to name a few. Some nurse case manager positions are a combination of work from home and onsite duties. While others are 100% work from home, telephonic positions. Each individual type of case manager will have specific job duties based on the industry and type of patient or client. There are specific tasks or duties that all case management positions will complete: Caseload Management Case managers have a caseload of clients to manage. Average caseload size varies depending on the industry and acuity of patients. Managing a caseload of clients includes managing the flux of admissions, discharges and changes in care that requires revisions to the case management plan. You will likely have an average daily production or number of visits or calls you will need make each day. At first, managing a large number of cases over months or even years may seem overwhelming. Over time, you will become more comfortable with the art of caseload management. Conduct Assessments All nurses who provide care or services to patients conduct assessments. Working in a telephonic environment is certainly no different. Conducting assessments over the phone can be challenging. You have only one sense to rely upon, your hearing. You must become very attuned not only to what the patient or client says, but how they say it. Just as nurses in hands-on care positions, you will collect a health history, medication assessment and create a list of current problems. With each assessment, the case manager uses critical thinking and clinical skills to ensure the patient receives the education needed to make sound health decisions. Care Coordination All case managers assist their patients with coordination of care or services. You will be assessing the patient's primary care needs, education needs and the need for other support services. You will become familiar with providers within the client's service area. If you would for an insurer, you will likely need to have working knowledge of their policies and products so that you can easily coordinate covered and noncovered services. Patient Advocate Nurses advocate for their patients.The role of the case manager can oftentimes come with a few tricks in the department of advocacy. For example, if you feel that a patient needs to have an MRI of their shoulder, but the insurance company does not cover this test, how should you proceed when you work for the insurance company? Do you advocate for the patient and attempt to get the test approved? Do you advocate for your employer and simply accept that the test is not covered? This can be a tough situation for case managers to navigate. A general rule of thumb is to always advocate on the behalf of the patient. Even if services are not readily available, there will be a way to get the patient the care they need. You may have to reevaluate the situation and brainstorm for another answer. Create and Update a Case Management Plan The Case Management Plan is a tool. This tool helps you to collaborate with the patient to create goals they want and need to accomplish. The means by which the goals are achieved are interventions. The interventions will likely be items that both you, as the case manager and the patient will need to complete in order to meet the goals. As the patient achieves goals, you will create new goals. Most case management plans will have specific types of goals required base on the industry or specialty of the patients' needs. For example, if you work with injured workers, you will always create a goal specific to their plan to return to work. If you work with diabetics, you will likely have a goal that is specific to their medication management and daily glucose monitoring. Case Managers may not provide direct hands-on care, however, they are performing nursing tasks. They use their nursing knowledge to assess the patient's needs and create a plan. They work one on one for longer periods of time with their clients to achieve better overall health outcomes. If you think that case management may be for you, research the role of case managers. Below is a list of resources to learn more: Case Management Society of America: CMSA Home - Case Management Society of America American Case Management Association: ACMA : American Case Management Association Commission for Case Management Certification: Commission for Case Manager Certification (CCMC)
  3. Mark Twain once said, “The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter - ‘tis the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.” This is precisely how you must think of people first language. While it isn’t wrong to say, “the asthmatic,” “the stroke patient,” or “the autistic child,” It indeed isn’t correct or the best use of your written or spoken words. Here’s a quick review of using people first language and how you can put it to work in your documentation, reports, and other healthcare-related writing and speech. What is People First Language? It might sound simplistic, but people first language means that you put the person before the disability or diagnosis. When writing or speaking about a person, you should use words that describe what a person has, not what the person is. A few examples include: Say - "I’m caring for Michael, a child with autism." Don’t say - "I’m caring for Michael, an autistic child." Say - "Jane uses a wheelchair." Don’t say - "Jane is wheelchair bound." Say - "I work with people who have disabilities." Don’t say - "I work with the disabled." History of People First Language The fight for equal treatment of people with disabilities began in the 1970s. Public Law 94-142 was enacted in 1976 to include children with disabilities in public school systems. The next notable change for people first language came in 1990, with the passing of The Americans with Disabilities Act. This law prohibited discrimination based on disability in jobs, transportation, and schools. It offered protection to more than 40 million children and adults with disabilities. Language in previous laws changed from “handicapped” to “people with disabilities,” too. While we have made significant strides to limit the disparities for people with disabilities, we still have more progress to make. Understanding the Power of Language Words are powerful. They boost spirits, cut barriers, and connect people. When used in the wrong way, they can cause others to disconnect and withdrawn from their surroundings. Without even knowing it, healthcare providers can create barriers with their written or spoken words. Consider these two ways to document the same information: Non-People First Language: Stroke patient, 61 years old arrived to the floor at 801 am. He is myopic and has a cancerous history. He is handicapped with left-sided weakness of upper and lower extremities and emotionally disturbed. The patient will likely be wheelchair bound during the hospital stay. People First Language Mr. Jones, a 61-year-old male with recent stroke symptoms arrived to the floor at 801 pm. He wears eyeglasses and has a history of prostate cancer. The assessment revealed left-sided weakness of upper and lower extremity. He is tearful when discussing his condition. Due to the weakness, he will be using a wheelchair when out of bed. These two passages conveyed the same information. However, by applying people first language, the second example expresses compassion, empathy, and inclusion. Here are several tips that will help you use people first language in your daily practice. Offer Respect When communicating about people with a disability, think about how you would want that person to be described if they were your mother, father, child, or close friend. Would you want someone to say “the deaf boy in room 3 needs help,” or would you prefer to hear someone say, “the boy who is hearing impaired in room 3 needs help.” It’s not difficult to use people first language, but it might take a little effort. Remember the Person Always lead with who the person is first. Use words such as person or individual to remain politically correct. You could also use their name, such as “Mr. Jones” or “Richard.” By using their name or a term like “person” you are removing the idea that their diagnosis is more important than who they are as an individual. Avoid Pity When you use words like “handicapped” or describe that a person is “suffering from” a diagnosis, it suggests pity. Invoking this emotion indicates that the person living with a disability is living a life of less quality. Talk About It If you are uncertain how to refer to a person - just ask. It might be uncomfortable the first time or two, but once you do this a few times, it will come easier. Imagine that it is similar to asking a person their name - you want to know because you care. Describing a person who has a disability is the same. Ask them how they prefer you discuss their unique qualities with them and about them with others. You can also find a People First Language Style Guide that offers guidance on how populations of people with specific disabilities prefer to be described. Focus on Abilities Emphasize what your patient can do, instead of focusing on what they can’t do. Instead of saying, “Mr. Jones is unable to ambulate.” Consider saying, “Mr. Jones can independently go from lying to sitting and needs assistance with ambulation.” In both examples, you’re saying the same thing, but the second describes Mr. Jones’ abilities, not his disabilities. Do you have experience with people first language? Do you find it difficult to use? Leave your comments below so that we can discuss this critical topic further.
  4. Melissa Mills

    5 Tips For Using People First Language in Your Daily Practice

    So glad you enjoyed it, VivaLaViejas! It is important that we bring awareness to how our words can make someone feel!
  5. Melissa Mills

    6 Tips for Working with a Chronic Condition

    I’ve had asthma since I was 18-months old. Through the years, I coughed and wheezed my way through sports, school, and other activities. I struggled my way through nursing school and was even forced to leave clinicals a few times because I was too stubborn to know that a sick nurse (or student nurse) isn’t much good to anyone. It wasn’t until I was in my early 30s and was diagnosed with a second chronic condition that I realized it was time to care for myself or I simply wouldn’t be around to provide care to others. With maturity and knowledge, I developed strategies that kept me healthy so that I could care for patients and those who reported to me when I was in a leadership role. Without having a plan and sticking to it, I wouldn’t have been able to fulfill all the functions I held at work and at home. Here are 6 tips I’ve used for many years when working with a chronic condition. Be Honest With Yourself Nurses tend to put everyone’s health and wellness before their own. When you have a chronic illness, you have to place yourself in the rightful position of most important. This might mean that you have to acknowledge symptoms at work and confront them with the same care and compassion you give to your patients. You might also need to schedule time off for yourself or ask for a bit more help at home during times of exacerbation. Being honest with yourself might also mean knowing when it’s time to look for a job that isn’t as mentally and physically taxing as being a bedside nurse. Consider other roles where you change your workspace to fit your needs better and possibly work a Monday-Friday schedule without weekends and holidays. Control Your Stress A good case of too much stress is sure to send almost any chronic illness into a tailspin. Find stress management methods that help you cope both on and off the job. If you’re having a particularly stressful day at work, take a mindfulness break. You can practice mindfulness alone by taking five slow, deep breaths while silently saying “breathing in” with each inspiration and “breathing out” with each expiration. This simple exercise helps to connect your mind and body. Just being in the moment can help reduce stress and restore balance. Or, you can download an app like breethe, calm, or headspace to get guided medications that help with anxiety, stress, and other symptoms. Find Work-Life Balance Every nurse needs work-life balance. However, when you struggle with a chronic illness, leading a balanced life is of utmost importance. Be sure to take off time when it’s needed and schedule intentional rest on your days off. Other ways to find work-life balance include: Stick to your set schedule. Don’t pick up extra shifts or stay over. Find a hobby. Having something you love to do outside of work can help you relax and connect with who you are other than being a nurse. Take your vacation days. It’s estimated that 52% of Americans leave unused vacation days each year. Don’t be one of these people. Take your vacation, even if it’s rest. Find a Trusted Provider You know the importance of having a trusted provider. Find someone who specializes in your condition and be sure to establish a healthy provider-patient relationship. As hard as it might be, try not to be the nurse when you go to appointments, but collaborate with your provider to create a holistic plan of care. Be Mindful of Disclosing Your Condition This one can be a real struggle. As a nurse, you know that everyone gets sick, but as an employee and co-worker, you understand that not everyone empathizes with those who have a chronic illness. This means that if you’re going to disclose to your boss and co-workers that you have a long-term condition, you must have a plan and do it with intention. Here are a few tips that can make disclosing a long-term illness a bit easier: Never tell others before you tell your boss Don’t overshare. No one needs to know the details of your test or treatment. Just tell them what they need to know. Remember to tell Human Resources after you’ve discussed the condition with your direct supervisor. You’re not obligated to tell anyone. However, being honest with your supervisor is as much about your self-care as it about them. Know Your Rights The Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law in 1991. This act requires your employer to make reasonable accommodations (when possible) so that you can perform your job. Of course, what’s reasonable at a desk job might not be remotely plausible as a floor nurse. Request information about your company’s FMLA policy if you must be off work for appointments or treatments. Chronic illness takes its toll on your life. When you’re trying to work a fulltime job, participate in home life, and stay healthy - it can be a challenge. Use these tips to help you manage. What other tips do you use to manage your chronic illness while having a job?
  6. Melissa Mills

    6 Tips for Working with a Chronic Condition

    Thanks for sharing Daisy4RN! It is very challenging some days, and you have to learn to balance. You are right that FMLA is a federally mandated law, however, every employer has some flexibility in how they apply the law for their employees. I've worked for employers who offered paid FMLA and others who didn't cover any FMLA time, but you could pay yourself if you had vacation or sick time. It can be quite different from one employer to the next. Hope you are staying well, too. Melissa
  7. Being a nurse leader is challenging. You might often feel like you are performing an impossible balancing act between management and the staff in your department. You want staff to respect you and bring concerns to you first. You hope your hard work and dedication is noticed by your supervisors, peers, and employees. You work to seize opportunities, rally the troops, and achieve or even exceed company expectations for safe and quality care. All of this pressure, whether part of the job or self-imposed, can place you right in the middle of difficult to navigate circumstances. Maybe you said too much or not enough. You might be in a situation you’ve never been in before, and you aren’t quite sure how to handle it. Or - and, we’ve all been here - you stuck your foot in your mouth in a big way. These are times that call for a few phrases that need to be on your “speed-dial” of things you need to learn to say when you work in leadership. And, they can be used regardless of your nursing leadership style. I’m Sorry Apologies restore relationships. However, no one ever said that apologizing is easy. You might even consider apologies as a sign of weakness or fear that saying “sorry” will shine a bright light on your own imperfections. But, saying you’re sorry (and actually meaning it) is a sign of strength and character. When you apologize, it starts the process of bringing the matter to an end. It demonstrates your own humility, transparency, and humanness. No one wants to work for someone who can’t admit that they make mistakes. When you allow those who report to you to see you at your worst, they will respect you even more when you’re at your best. How Can I Help You? It’s critical that nurse leaders remember their humble beginnings. You might have a fancy office with a shiny nameplate on the door, but your first role in the hospital was that of a nurse or maybe a nurse aide. So, when the you-know-what hits the fan, it’s essential that you head out on the unit and ask your staff if they need help. Even when life is good, and everyone showed up for their shift, stopping by the nurse’s station to check on the crew just means a lot. If you have new staff or nurses in new roles, schedule one-on-one meetings with them at 30, 60, and 90 days to see how things are going and ask them how you can help. If you have a nurse that’s struggling with a particular skill, patient, or even life at home - take five minutes to ask this question. It shows you care and will encourage employees to come to you when they need help. What Do You Need From Me as a Leader? This is my personal favorite. When I was working in leadership, I used this phrase often. I always used this as an interview question. I was fascinated by the answers. Some individuals would say “nothing,” but most people could give great insight into how they worked when they answered this question honestly. Typical responses ranged from clear expectations to independence to specific equipment or workspace considerations. When an employee tells you what they need - listen. This is an excellent time for you to engage and elicit more information from those on your team. They will likely provide more insight into what motivates them to do a good job than what they even realize. Here’s Why No one wants to be given the “because I said so” answer, especially not adults. Being a nurse leader isn’t a dictatorship. It’s called leadership because you have qualities that make others want to follow you. One of your most important functions is to educate staff on why things are done a particular way. Give them the rationale behind big decisions, especially unpopular ones. They might not like the answer, but if they know that you will always provide the “why” they can probably come to live with the solution a little quicker. Thank You This phrase should come out of your mouth lots! Again, be sure you mean it and that you give it the space that it needs. Don’t say “thanks” on the fly. Fully engage with the person that has done something that you noticed or went above and beyond. Keep blank notecards in your desk drawer and write a note of thanks to one staff person each week. This works well if you work in a facility with multiple shifts that you don’t always see. However, the best way to show gratitude is to say it directly to the person. Great Job Everyone likes to receive praise. They might not want trinkets, cake, or a party to make over them for every single accomplishment, but they will enjoy an honest acknowledgment of when they did a good job. If you’re feeling a little adventurous, you can even combine “Great Job” with “Thank You” and watch staff members flourish. Being a nurse leader isn’t always easy. However, if you invest in those around you by using these phrases and matching your actions to your words, you will likely be successful. Do you have other phrases you use as a leader? Or, maybe you’ve worked with a leader who is exceptional and isn’t afraid to say they’re sorry or use other phrases like these. Share your experiences in the comments below.
  8. Melissa Mills

    6 Phrases Every Nurse Manager Must Learn to Say

    I agree, Klone! Setting expectations upfront is the sign of a great leader. Thanks for sharing. ~Melissa
  9. You enter the exam room to get Jane checked in before she sees the Cardiologist for her annual visit. As you’re reviewing her meds, Jane pulls out a medical marijuana card. She tells you that she takes it for chronic pain caused by Fibromyalgia, but that it hasn’t been working quite as well lately. Jane starts asking you questions about dosages and if you think she can increase what she is currently taking. She also tells you that she is getting ready to go on a trip to Kansas to visit a childhood friend and asks if she can take her marijuana with her there. Jane has lots of general questions about how the drug works. You silently think to yourself that you’re not prepared to answer her questions. Medical Marijuana Overview If you’re not sure what you need to know about medical marijuana and your patients, you’re not alone. As several states continue to develop and pass legislation and others change laws, it can be challenging to stay up-to-date. The National Council of State Boards of Nursing published the National Guidelines for Medical Marijuana. Here are the essentials you need to know when caring for a patient using cannabis or other medical marijuana drugs. Current State of Legalization Marijuana is currently classified as a Schedule I Controlled Substance by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) which prohibits physicians from prescribing cannabis, pharmacies from dispensing it, and limits the amount of research that can be done about the long term effects and benefits. While the federal government doesn’t provide guidelines for use, many state medical marijuana laws do. Currently, thirty-three states and the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam have comprehensive medical marijuana laws. Another thirteen states allow for the use of low tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), high cannabidiol (CBD) products for medical use. The federal government under the Obama administration discouraged prosecution of people who distribute or use cannabis for medicinal purposes. However, this was rescinded in January of 2018, and federal prosecutors are now encouraged to decide which cases to prosecute. Principles of a Medical Marijuana Program (MMP) States create their own MMP rules for their jurisdiction. These rules vary from one state to the next. However, there are a few general concepts that exist regardless of the state: Health providers do not prescribe the drug Physicians certify that the patient has a qualifying condition under state law Qualifying conditions and the certifying process are described in each MMP, including the type of healthcare provider that can certify a qualifying condition Pharmacies do not dispense medical marijuana products Each state gives provisions for dispensaries that can sell the drug to those with a medical marijuana card Once a patient has a physician who will certify a qualifying condition, they can register with the MMP and then obtain cannabis from an authorized cannabis dispensary. Administration is generally limited to the patient or their designated caregiver. Some states allow employees of a hospice provider, nurse, or home health aide to act as a designated caregiver. Endocannabinoid System Overview Did you know that you have a body system named after cannabis? The endocannabinoid system is made up of a series of cannabinoid receptors that lie deep in cell membranes. You have naturally occurring endocannabinoids in your body that trigger this system. Plant substances like marijuana can trigger it as well. Endocannabinoids stimulate your system, promoting balance or homeostasis. The most well-known cannabinoids are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol, (CBD), and cannabinol (CBN). Pharmacology of Cannabis Because marijuana remains illegal under federal law, there is a limited amount of research available to help you better understand the use, indication, and dosage of the drug. Placebo-controlled trials that have been done have determined a few conditions that medical marijuana can help. A current list of qualifying conditions include: Nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy Body wasting related to some severe chronic illnesses Pain caused by cancer or rheumatoid arthritis Chronic pain associated with fibromyalgia Neuropathies resulting from HIV/AIDS, diabetes, or multiple sclerosis (MS) Muscle spasticity from MS or spinal cord injuries As with all drugs, medical marijuana can cause some side effects. However, it’s important to note that a few of the side effects are desired for some patients. For example, if you have a patient who is experiencing weight loss and body wasting, medical marijuana might be prescribed for its ability to increase the appetite. Potential side effects include: Sleepiness Rapid heart rate Decreased blood pressure Dry mouth and eyes Increased appetite Hallucinations Paranoia Anxiety Decreased urination Safety Considerations for the Patient It’s essential you fully understand your facility policy for patients taking medical marijuana. The only people with the authority to administer the medicine is either the patient or their designated caregiver, so you should not give the drug. As with any other medications, medical marijuana must be kept in a locked area out of reach of children and others in the patient's room. Drug disposal should be done following the DEA Disposal Act. Approaching the Patient Social acceptance of the use of these products is still evolving, and scientific evidence continues to be obtained. Nurses are expected to provide care without personal judgment. Consider your own biases about the use of medical marijuana for pain and other conditions. However, regardless of your personal opinions, you must remain non-judgemental and understanding of the patient’s decision and right to use the drug. Have you had any personal experience caring for those with a medical marijuana card? Share your experiences below to get the conversation started.
  10. adventure_rn, You raise some valid points. I hadn't thought about the implications of breastfeeding moms. Do you notice any anecdotal side effects in these infants? Just curious. I might have to research this. I'm a nerd! LOL Thanks for sharing!
  11. BarrelOfMonkeys - So glad this was helpful!
  12. You enter the home of Mrs. Jones to do her start-of-care OASIS assessment. You chit-chat with her before diving into your nursing care. She tells you that she was just released from the local hospital yesterday. She was admitted three days prior for a respiratory infection and exacerbation of her COPD. While in the hospital they started her on steroids, which increased her blood sugar. She tells you that she’s not even sure what medications she is supposed to be taking any more. As you get out your stethoscope and other necessary equipment, you ask Mrs. Jones to gather the pill bottles of all of her medications -prescription and nonprescription - that she is currently taking. She shuffles off to the next room and comes back holding a box of pills that date back to the Obama administration. You silently ask yourself where you even start. You pull up the discharge papers to see what medications the hospital instructed Mrs. Jones to take. However, when you compare this to what she hands you in the box - it’s almost an entirely different list. Every home health nurse has experienced some version of this scenario. Transitions of care provide many opportunities for medication discrepancies. In fact, a 2014 study published in the Lippincott Nursing Center reports that up to 94% of patients transitioning from the hospital to home care experience at least one medication discrepancy. To combat these issues, all patients being admitted to home care services must have a thorough drug regimen review and medication reconciliation. What is Medication Reconciliation and Why is it Important? Medication reconciliation is the act of identifying the most accurate list of all medications a patient is taking. The list should include the name of the drug, current dose, frequency, and the route of administration. This list of medications must be shared with the primary physician to ensure that the patient is taking the correct medications per physicians orders. Patients are living at home longer than ever before and managing multiple chronic illnesses. Many times, this means they are on several medications and require frequent titrations or drug regimen changes. Without proper medication administration patients are at risk of exacerbations of their health conditions, admissions to the hospital, and even death. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 3.8 billion prescriptions are written each year in the United States. One of every five new prescriptions are never filled, and of the ones filled, only about 50% are taken correctly. Non-adherence to medication regimens results in approximately 125,000 deaths due to cardiovascular disease each year. It’s also estimated that about 23% of nursing home admissions and 10% of hospital admissions could be avoided if patients took their medicines as directed. Because many home care admissions happen directly after discharge from a hospital or other inpatient facility, the risk of medication non-adherence is high. Home care nurses are in an ideal position to help patients get on the right track with their medications following discharge. Assisting patients with their medications starts with reconciliation. Reconciliation: A Three-step Process To complete a thorough medication reconciliation process, you need to follow this three-step process. While it might seem simplistic, in home care many times, this process can take a few days and several phone calls to get straight. The diligence of home care nursing staff is essential when rectifying medications with one or more providers. Verify the List of Medications In the story above, you took the first step to verifying Mrs. Jones medications. By asking the patient to bring you the bottles of all prescription and non-prescription medicines they take, you’re initiating the process of obtaining the most accurate list. Be sure to specifically ask for non-prescription medications like headache relief pills, vitamins, and other supplements as some of these drugs can interact with other medications they might be taking. Elderly patients might not consider vitamins or herbs as part of their “medications,” so be specific that you want to see everything they take. Clarify the List Once you’ve created a comprehensive list of all medications the patient is taking, you need to check for any possible drug issues. Pay particular attention to: Duplicate Drug Therapies - Some patients require multiple prescriptions for the same condition. This can place them at an increased risk of experiencing severe side effects. It’s critical that you note examples of duplicate drug therapies and how it might be affecting the patient during your assessment. For example, if you’re performing medication reconciliation and notice that a patient is on three pills for high blood pressure, you want to dig a bit deeper. Some patients need this type of duplication in therapies to get a combination effect. However, if your patient tells you that they were put on the medication three years ago and since then have lost 60 pounds and that they experience dizziness with position changes - you’re going to want to communicate this with the care provider right away. Potential for Interactions - Most electronic medical records have a built-in medication interaction checker. If you don’t have an electronic documentation system, you can use an online drug interaction checker like those found on Drugs.com or Rxlist.com. Enter all of the medications and check for adverse, major, moderate, and minor drug interactions. Educate the patient on the signs of a drug interaction and what to do if they think they are having one. You need to communicate any potential serious interactions with the prescribing and primary physicians, too. Reconcile the Medications Once you have a comprehensive list, it’s time to reconcile. If there are no duplications or potential drug interactions, the list can be sent to the physician usually via fax. However, if you identify any potential issues you need to notify the physician within 24 hours of finding the problem and have it resolved. This means that the doctor needs to respond to you so that you have an accurate list of medications for the patient. If you fax or email this communication to the provider, be sure to communicate clearly and concisely what you need from the physician. For example, instead of sending a list of meds and expecting the physician to find the potential issues, send the list and then add in a few bulleted items that clearly state what the problem is and what you need from the doctor or their staff. Fulfilling Your Essential Role The role of the home health nurse is crucial for the health and wellness of their patients. You might be the only person who is taking the time to review medications and answer questions for your patient about their medication regimen. Take the time to do a thorough medication reconciliation with every OASIS visit to keep your patients on the path to health.
  13. Melissa Mills

    The Essentials of Medication Reconciliation in Home Care

    I agree with you completely, Kaisu. I think where we often run into problems as a nurse is having the time to dedicate the time to reconciliation that it needs truly. When you do have that patient who shows up with meds in a bag that should have been tossed years ago - it can take a significant amount of time in the home and then you still need to call each prescriber and clarify what the patient should be taking. But, when you know, you have five more patients to see and 50 miles of ground to cover - this process can get pushed to the side. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!!
  14. Continuing education - these two words either excite you or send you into a state of boredom-induced slumber unmatched by pretty much anything else in life. Nurses are required to complete continuing education to maintain their licensure. However, experts tell us that there are more significant benefits to continuing education than just keeping our ability to practice the craft of nursing. Here are a few reasons you should spend your time and money investing in your future. Maintaining Licensure Every state in the U.S. has a different set of expectations for nurse continuing education requirements. Some states mandate a certain number of continuing education. Others have specific courses or topics they require to address issues that happen in the state, such as child abuse, domestic violence, or laws governing your practice. Providers of continuing education courses must meet specific rules to ensure that information is current and meets laws and nursing practice as it changes. This safeguards you from completing materials today that was outdated years ago. Be sure your up to date on what you need to know about nursing licensure. Improving Safety Your patients expect to be safe when in your care. No one wants to be responsible for adverse drug events, falls, or other unsafe patient situations. While it is impossible to eliminate errors altogether, it should still be your goal. When nurses participate in continuing education that focuses on best-practices, patient-centered care, and safety prevention - errors lessen and patient satisfaction increases. Fostering a culture of lifelong learning in nursing is one of the pivotal practices that keep patients safe. In fact, when the 1999 To Err is Human: Building a Safer Healthcare System was published by the Institute of Medicine (IOM), it showcased some scary numbers about patient safety: Up to 98,000 patients die each year due to preventable medical errors Medical errors cost up to $29 billion each year nationwide You might think that the IOM would have been looking for high-tech ways to rectify these numbers. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the IOM joined forces to establish eight recommendations with goals for the next 20 years. Half of the strategies created to fix the issues found were based solidly in education. The four learning strategies included implementing nurse residency programs, increasing the percentage of nurses with a baccalaureate degree, doubling the number of nurses with a doctorate, and engaging nurses in lifelong learning. I believe that this study illustrates the strength of continuing education in nursing. When nurses are empowered to increase their own understanding of the profession, patients are safer and more satisfied with their care. Meeting Certification Requirements Have you considered becoming certified in a nursing specialty? Accrediting bodies often have their own requirements you must meet to maintain your certification. You might need to complete courses on specific topics or areas to achieve the necessary requirements. For example, if you’re like me and have a certification in Case Management, you’ll need to show that you’ve completed 80 hours of approved continuing education specific to being a case manager. Many courses will meet the requirements you need for your certification while also keeping you compliant with your state board of nursing. Gaining New Skills and Meeting Changes Healthcare is becoming more innovative every day. From new drugs and treatments to the use of artificial intelligence and virtual reality, there’s so much to learn. Instead of waiting for hands-on training opportunities to come to you on the job, consider enrolling in a CE course that provides an overview of skills you know you’re going to need. It’s essential to remember that not all new skills are technical. While learning how to use equipment or how to assess for specific diseases is necessary, sometimes the skills you need most are interpersonal. If you’re struggling at work with communication, time management, or you’re considering moving up the career ladder, there are courses to help you gain the knowledge you need. Advancing Your Career Whether you’re considering certification, returning to school, or just want to stay up on the latest research - all of this learning will help to advance your career. Continuing education is an excellent place to start if you’re considering changing your specialty. You can choose a few courses to take to learn the basics of just about any nursing niche out there so that you can find out if it might be right for you. Continuing education might be mandated. However, if you can flip the script on how you approach continuing education requirements you might find that there are many reasons to invest in your professional development. How you do feel about mandated continuing education? Do you enjoy it or do you just complete it because it’s required to maintain your certification?
  15. Melissa Mills

    4 Reasons Ghosting an Employer is a Bad Idea

    Ghosting is a term that’s commonly used in online dating to describe “standing up” a date or connection. You just disappear from the person’s life and end all contact without giving any explanation. In June 2018 LinkedIn, a social network of professionals published an article about ‘ghosting’ at work, and why it’s driving companies crazy. Amanda Bradford, CEO, and founder of the League, a dating app told LinkedIn that ghosting has “almost become a new vocabulary” in which “no response is a response” among people in the younger generations. She pointed out that ghosting used to be limited to dating but has moved to the job market in recent years. How Do Employees Ghost an Employer Ghosting at work can happen anywhere along the career journey, from an applicant, job candidate, to employee. Some potential candidates start speaking with a recruiter or hiring manager only to disappear without a trace. However, it’s not just in the early stages of an employee relationship when this happens. Employees have been known to pack up for the night and never show up again. Nurses have been ranked as the most trusted profession again, for the seventeenth year in a row. How can those who wear badges as the most trusted profession just skip out on an employer, co-workers, and patients? Well, it happens. When I was managing a group of case management nurses, I learned first hand what ghosting is all about. I had hired nurse A, who had several years of experience as a case manager. She was doing well in the role. However, she seemed to struggle a bit in the environment and with peers. We talked about how to acclimate to the work environment, and I helped her make a few changes to her work schedule to get her more time with a mentor. With extra support from me and a mentor, she seemed to be doing a bit better. One day, I was sitting at my desk when a fellow manager called to chat. She said, “Hey, what happened to nurse A? I saw her leaving with a box of what looked like personal belongings.” Of course, I had no response because I thought everything was improving. I walked over to Nurse A’s desk to find that all of her belongings were gone. There was no note, no email, and no phone call. The only thing she left was an empty desk and a full queue of clients that had to be transferred to a few already overloaded case managers. I tried calling and emailing to get a better an idea as to what happened and to make sure she was okay, but even my attempts at contact were ghosted. 4 Reasons Ghosting is Bad There are a few reasons that ghosting your employer is just a bad decision. Here are four reasons you shouldn’t ghost an employer. 1 ) Puts Your Reputation at Risk If you walk out without any notice or communication, you need to understand that no one will likely get a warm, fuzzy feeling the next time you see any former co-workers. Nursing is a hard profession, and when you leave your employer and fellow nurses in a lurch, it stings. You won’t be remembered as the employee that was great at patient care, even if you were. You will forever be the nurse that walked out without notice. 2 ) Shuts Down Networking Opportunities Managers, recruiters, and human resources professionals talk. They network at conferences, meetings, and other events. They will name drop or ask about potential employees. And, if your name and the phrase, “he ghosted us” comes up in a convo, there is a good chance you might not move forward in the hiring process. You might also find that your lateral networking system goes dark after ghosting your employer. Nurses who you thought were your “friends” might decide that they don’t like the way you left and not reach out or respond. This can hurt your future prospects at networking events and jobs 3 ) Adds Stress to Your Coworkers and Employer Nursing units across the country are faced with staffing issues and high nurse to patient ratios. When you’re name is on the schedule to work 7a-7p, everyone from the hospital administrator to the patient relies on you showing up. Ghosting can increase safety issues on the unit where you were to work and skyrocket the stress levels of everyone there. 4 ) Burns Bridges Many hospitals and other healthcare facilities are affiliated. So, if you ghost hospital ABC, you are likely to be placed on a do-no-hire list for the entire organization. This could limit your job opportunities at skilled nursing facilities, surgical centers, and home care and hospice agencies. If you live in a rural, small, or even moderate size city, you could find yourself having a difficult time getting hired again. Try This Instead While ghosting isn’t a good practice, accepting a new job or staying in a current position that isn’t a good fit isn’t a good idea either. You have to learn a few good strategies for speaking up for yourself and letting employers know what you’re thinking and what you need. Here are a few simple ways to communicate your needs without ghosting: Learn how to say ”no” gracefully. You can tell a future employer that you don’t think the job is for you in a courteous manner that doesn’t burn bridges. If you are unhappy with your current job and are ready to walk way - give the minimum amount of notice needed. If you don’t think you can handle another two weeks on the job, talk to your manager to see if there is a possibility of being able to step out gracefully before the two weeks are up. If you’re having an issue on the job, talk to your supervisor. If there is a situation that makes talking to your manager tense, request that you have another member of management or human resources present for any discussions. If you do ghost and then feel bad about it, reach out by sending an email and explaining the situation. It probably won’t build any bridges with that employer, but it does show that you are thinking about your reputation for the future. Have you ever ghosted a recruiter or interview? Have you ever left a job without notice? Or, maybe you’re like me, and you were ghosted by an employee. Share your thoughts about the subject below.
  16. Hi, Juan de la Cruz - I completely agree with you that all patients receiving care have a certain level of vulnerability. Even when my mother who is 100% capable of making her own decisions is in the hospital - a family member is always there to offer an extra level of protection. However, I do believe with experts who consider specific patient populations more vulnerable to harm. Those who can't make their own decisions regardless of age are left at our mercy and when in the wrong hands can be injured not just by a mistake, but by intentional acts. This is when the level of vulnerability is placed on a different plane than those who are cognitively capable of making decisions. Thanks for your thoughts and engagement. Melissa
  17. Melissa Mills

    5 Reasons to Invest in Your Continuing Education

    Susie2310 - You much some excellent points. If nurses take the path of least resistance and complete basic courses to get the CEs, then they certainly won't get much out of the process of completing CE's. As nurses, we must embrace the idea that we are and will always be life-long learners. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. ~Melissa
  18. Melissa Mills

    8 Best Apps for Patient Self-Care

    According to a New York University School of Medicine study of 1,604 mobile phone users in the U.S., over half (58%) downloaded at least one health-related mobile phone app. The most popular categories of apps were fitness and nutrition, with users accessing these apps daily for self-care management. What does this mean for your nursing practice? Nurses must be aware of this trend. Your job hinges upon educating patients about important self-care behaviors that will keep them healthy and out of the hospital. An article in Nurse Journal reports that patient education must be comprehensive and easily understood because more than 50% of Americans are health care illiterate, meaning they don’t understand the health care information given to them or what to do with it. This is where the mobile phone app trend can help you and your patients. When you are no longer there to educate, these apps can help your patients remember, search, track, and learn about their illness to better manage at home. Glucose Buddy for Diabetics This app has been ranked the #1 diabetes app for over 9 years and allows the user to track blood sugar, medication management, and Hemoglobin A1C results. Glucose Buddy can also track carb intake through the food database, weight, insulin, blood pressure, and provides daily and long-term trends. It integrates with the Apple Health App and has the option of purchasing premium features. Clinical Trial Seek for Cancer Research Studies If you have a cancer patient seeking to enroll in a clinical trial in the U.S. for their cancer care, Clinical Trial Seek is just the app. It allows them to search by location to find studies in their area and by cancer type, clinical trial phase, study sponsor, and inclusion criteria to see the trial that is right for them. CDC App for Flu Season The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has several apps that can help just about any patient with self-care activities. A popular one for this time of year is the FluView Interactive app gives the latest flu outbreak data to keep your patients safe during the flu season. Click here for a full list of general public CDC health apps available on iOS and Android. WebMD App for Overall Wellness Just about every patient uses WebMD to check symptoms. But, did you know that you can point your patients in the direction of the WebMD app to help with healthy living including a physician directory, pill identifier, medication reminder, and the ever-popular symptom checker for when they’re on-the-go? This app is highly rated by users and available in the Apple Store, Google Play Store, and on Amazon. What to Expect Pregnancy and Baby Tracker for Future Moms Just like the book, the “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” app is chock full of details about exactly where your patient is in their pregnancy and offers week-by-week videos showing the development of their baby. It also has loads of general pregnancy information including tips for nutrition, exercise, and how to prepare for labor. Mango App for Tracking Self-Care Habits If you’re looking for a general health app to help patients with medication management and creation of health habits, check out Mango Health. Patients can track their weight, medication compliance, and even get regular reminders to help with self-care behaviors. SmartBP App for Healthy Hearts Many patients could benefit from an app that helps with blood pressure management and tracks progress towards healthy heart goals. SmartBP uses an iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad to record, track, analyze, and share blood pressure readings. It connects with Apple Health to keep all health information at the patient’s fingertips. Saebo VR for Stroke Recovery Many stroke patients need assistance with activities of daily living after having a stroke. The SaeboVR app was designed to engage patients in physical and cognitive rehab to simulate everyday tasks. It uses a virtual assistant to offer guidance when performing self-care activities with the affected extremity like picking up transferring, or picking up and manipulating objects. Sample activities include grocery shopping, preparing breakfast, and putting away clothes. Do you have a go-to patient app that you recommend? Comment below and let us know the name of the app, the population of patients you use the app for, and why you like it.
  19. Melissa Mills

    4 Reasons Ghosting an Employer is a Bad Idea

    JadedCPN - No offense taken at all! I hear you that sometimes trying to use the "hip" or new terms can feel a little odd. But, using the words that people search for online is very important when trying to get articles out there. So - I went with it!
  20. Melissa Mills

    Understanding the Power of Nursing Specialty Certifications

    Congrats, YuHiroRN, BSN! It is a great accomplishment! :)
  21. Susan had been a nurse for ten years. She worked on the same unit for nearly five years as a staff nurse and a floating charge nurse. She was recognized on and off for stellar patient care and leadership skills. When the unit manager position became vacant, Susan applied and was hired. She received on-the-job training and was quickly given the reins to work independently. After a few months, Susan started feeling a bit overwhelmed. She noticed that nurses she was once friends with were no longer showing her the respect she had received from them in the past. Susan often felt ill-prepared to deal with budgetary and human resource issues, but she continued to try her very best. By the time she reached her first anniversary as the manager, Susan had wondered if management was for her. She considered asking for formal training or stepping down because she just wasn’t sure she wanted to continue. A Common Story Most nurses can think of someone who has been in Susan’s shoes. Alternatively, you might be living Susan’s life right now. Many nurses are quickly recognized not only for stellar clinical skills but leadership and administrative abilities that bode well for leaders. Possessing these skills can promptly lead to advancements into management positions. However, without training, could we be doing a disservice to future nurse leaders? Nurses as Leaders According to The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health, the public isn’t used to viewing nurses as leaders. Not all nurses start their careers with the intention of becoming a leader. However, nurses are leaders in every phase of their career in some capacity with patients and co-workers. As nurses transition into formal leadership roles, they must be ready to take on new responsibilities, learn policies, and work on committees. We must remember that leadership isn’t innate. Some nurses can learn on the job and fulfill leadership positions at various levels well. Other nurses need help developing their leadership skills by attending formalized training or going back to school for administrative or business degrees. Does Promoting From Within Work? A 2014 Becker’s Hospital Review article lists the pros and cons of promoting leadership from within the organization. They report that one survey found that two-thirds of respondents felt that promoting from within was a bad idea. The other one-third thought that it was a good idea to promote from within as long as there is a mentorship program to help the candidate be successful. The survey of 400 hospital leaders found the below list of pros and cons: Pros Loyalty and retention grow when you promote from within Morale among staff increases when they see opportunities for growth within the organization A manager promoted from within has relationships with other staff, which can help in their success Cons Transitioning from being a peer to being a manager is difficult An outside perspective may be better able to recognize issues and implement change Possessing good clinical skills does not translate into being a good leader A newly promoted leader might find it challenging to deliver criticism or negative evaluations to those they used to work beside Peers might have a hard time recognizing the person and their new authority Old peer networks can hold animosity toward new bosses Newly promoted leaders may have difficulty remaining objective when dealing with staff whom they consider friends From Great Nurse to Great Nurse Leader No matter if you’ve had good or bad experiences with internal promotions, it happens and we need to understand how to support one another in our roles from the bedside and beyond. Here are a few easy ways organizations and co-workers can help support nurse leaders. Recognize that being a great nurse leader is an entirely different set of skills than being a great nurse. Organizations and new leaders should seek training through an endorsed program such as the American Association of Critical Care Nurses or the American Organization of Nurse Executives. Provide a mentor program where successful nurse leaders train and support other leaders in their new roles. Mentoring could be through formal meetings and workshops or informal support that provides opportunities to share stories and ask questions. If you work with someone who has recently taken a leadership role in the same unit, offer support and understanding. Recognize that everyone will go through a learning curve as one of your own becomes part of the leadership team and learns to bridge the gap between an old peer group and a new one. Be open and honest with the new leader, while keeping in mind that they are now your boss. Do you support promoting nurses into leadership roles within the same unit? Is their success solely based on their skills or the unit and organizational support? Have you made the transition into leadership only to discover it wasn’t for you?
  22. Melissa Mills

    Nursing Uniforms: From Skirts to Scrubs and Beyond

    Love this!
  23. Melissa Mills

    Nurse Leaders: Is Promoting From Within a Disservice?

    Emergent - I agree. I think having support from upper management can make or break a nurse manager in just about any role. Melissa
  24. Melissa Mills

    Recognizing the Red Flags of Sex Trafficking

    You work in the ED. Tina, a young woman in her early 20’s, has just been brought back to Exam Room 8. You go in to introduce yourself and see that she has come with complaints consistent with a UTI. Tina is lying in bed, appears malnourished, and doesn’t make eye contact. She is with another woman who is around the same age and an older woman who Tina calls “ma’am” and introduces as her friend, Miss Rhonda. You notice that the older woman does most of the talking, and reports that Tina lost her driver’s license a few months ago and hadn’t gotten a new one. She also tells you that she will pay in cash today for any treatment Tina might need. As you do your admitting assessment, Tina gives you a sketchy health history and says she just doesn’t know about her health when she was younger. You ask the other two women to step outside while you do your physical exam, but Miss Rhonda refuses and says that Tina has no secrets. Tina just looks away. During your exam, you notice several bruises on Tina’s back, chest, and inner thighs. When you ask how she got the bruises, Tina quietly says that she often falls for no reason. Once you are done with your assessment, you go to leave the room, and Miss Rhonda tells you they don’t have much time and need to be treated quickly. As you walk out of the room, you wonder to yourself just what the real story is with the patient in Room 8. Trafficking by the Numbers Human Trafficking is an umbrella term that includes sex trafficking, forced labor, and domestic servitude. The Department of Homeland Security defines human trafficking as an act that involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain labor or a commercial sex act. Human trafficking is the fastest growing crime in the world and is often silent, happening in homes and business around the country. Most victims never come forward for fear of the traffickers or the potential for legal consequences. The International Labour Organization estimates that there are nearly 40.3 million victims of human trafficking around the globe with 75% of these victims being women and girls. Trafficking is a $150 billion industry that not many people want to talk about or recognize. Nurses need to know what sex trafficking is and how to recognize the signs of a potential victim. Sex Trafficking Defined Victims of sex trafficking are manipulated or forced to engage in sex acts for money. They might be pushed into sexual acts through the use of manipulation, violence, threats, or even the promise of love and affection. Human Trafficking Search reports that the most common recruitment tactic used is an intimate partner/marriage proposition, followed by familial, posing as a benefactor, job offers, and false promises. Signs of Sex Trafficking Nurses are in a unique position to recognize possible victims of sex trafficking. However, studies have reported that as many of 50% of trafficking victims in the U.S. encountered a healthcare professional while in captivity but were not recognized. This statistic is eye-opening and demonstrates the critical need for every nurse to be trained to have a keen awareness of the signs of sex trafficking, which can include a patient who: Displays signs of physical or sexual abuse Has another person speaking for them during the visit Engaged in sexual activity at an early age Reports having a pregnancy or an abortion at a young age Has trauma to the genitalia Presents with advanced health problems that aren’t treated Has frequent emergency room visits Displays anger, depression, or anxiety Has suspicious tattoos or branding Runs away from home or foster care Inappropriately dresses for the weather or situation Reports a high number of sexual partners Has multiple urinary tract infections Has been diagnosed with multiple sexually transmitted infections It’s vital to remember that not all of these signs alone are indicative of sex trafficking. However, when a patient presents with several of these signs during a visit, you should be considering the possibility that something else could be going on in this patient’s life. Let’s revisit Tina’s story from above. Now that you know the signs of sex trafficking, you can quickly see that Tina is a patient you might want to consider as a potential victim of sexual trafficking. Have you ever encountered a victim of sex trafficking? Did you recognize the signs quickly or did it take awhile? How did you respond? Comment below.
  25. Nurses understand stress. From the time your feet leave the comfort of your home until you head back at the end of your shift, you can experience a smorgasbord of stressful situations. You might practice mindfulness, yoga, pilates, or even have an active prayer life to combat stressful feelings. And, while these are all excellent ways to deal with stress, you might be surprised to learn that adding in certain foods can help lower your stress levels too. Before we get to the list of foods to try, let's review the basics of stress. Stress 101 Some situations trigger a biological process when you feel threatened. This reaction causes chemicals and hormones to surge throughout your body, which is the first thing you notice during times of stress. Your body responds to stress by initiating the fight-or-flight response where you either stay to fight the fear or run away. Not all stress is bad, but you need to recognize stressful situations and create an action plan. Nurses and Stress It's no secret that patients are sicker today than ever before. The demands of the bedside nurse can make you feel like your crawling down the hall of the unit with the weight of the world on your shoulders. A few factors that increase stress levels for nurses include workloads, lack of social support, exposure to workplace violence or threats, and understaffing. So what's a nurse to do? Here are five foods you can add to your diet to help alleviate your stress at the end of a long day. Go Green If you're anything like me, stress causes you to crave all things bad for you! But, before you get that double-order of cheese fries, you might want to think again and choose green leafy vegetables instead. Leafy greens, like spinach, contain folate, which produces the "pleasure" chemical, dopamine. Folate, also known as folic acid has been shown to improve cognitive function and lower symptoms of depression. Yield to the Benefits of Yogurt Bacteria in your gut might be contributing to your stress levels and feelings of anxiety. When your stress levels are up, the brain stimulates the gut, which is why you might experience gastrointestinal symptoms during times of stress. According to Psychology Today, probiotics and foods high in these good bacteria have been shown to alleviate psychiatric symptoms. So, instead of running through McDonald's on your way to work for a McGriddle, pack a yogurt loaded with probiotics. Some brands that contain high levels of probiotics include Fage, Dannon, and Noosa. Look for The National Yogurt Association's Live & Active Cultures seal to ensure you're getting at least 100 million active starter cultures per gram of yogurt. Break With Some Blueberries These tiny fruits are full of stress-fighting nutrients. Vitamin C has been shown to help people not show the mental and physical effect of stress during acute challenges. And, they might be able to bounce back quicker than those who don't consume high levels of vitamin C. Blueberries also contain phytonutrients and antioxidants which helps you to improve your responses to stress. Try adding blueberries to yogurt, oatmeal, or cereal. You can also pack a small bag full of blueberries and eat them on-the-go. They are an excellent alternative to sugary sweet snacks. Ask for Almonds One ounce of almonds (about 23 whole nuts) contains around 75 mg of magnesium. This nutrient has been shown to reduce the level of serotonin in your brain, which helps to lower stress levels. They are also excellent at satisfying the need to crunch away while snacking and decreasing stress. Take a Tea Time Sipping a cup of warm herbal tea in the afternoon or evening is an excellent relaxation technique. You might have always thought that it was just a coincidence that you felt better after a cup of chamomile or green tea, but science has proven that these herbal teas have properties that reduce stress levels. Chamomile can calm your nerves and help you get the rest you need during stressful situations. The amino acids that naturally occur in green tea promote relaxation and might even be able to assist in the treatment of mental health conditions. What are your go-to stress relievers? Are there other foods you eat on a regular basis to minimize your stress levels?

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