Jump to content
Lynda Lampert, RN

Lynda Lampert, RN

Freelance Medical Writer
advertisement

Activity Wall

  • Lynda Lampert, RN last visited:
  • 101

    Content

  • 22

    Articles

  • 48,847

    Visitors

  • 0

    Followers

  • 0

    Points

  1. In case you missed it, a "comedian" on the talk television show The View has some very misguided notions about what it takes to be a nurse. Joy Behar, long-time member of the all women panel on the social commentary show, made her ignorance about nurses very clear with some of the comments she made regarding the profession. It all started with the very brave actions of Miss Colorado in the Miss America Pageant. The contestant appeared on the show during the talent section dressed in work scrubs with a stethoscope around her neck. She explained how her talent was for nursing, helping people, and caring for others when they are at their worst. Being fashionably feminist, Behar and the other women on the panel are against pageants, but that is an opinion for another site. She began mocking Miss Colorado saying that she was wearing a "doctor's stethoscope" and was dressed in a "nurse's costume." Her comments showed no respect for the profession and what we do on a day to day basis. The next day, after much public backlash, Behar "apologized" by saying that she was only making fun of the pageant and the comments against nurses were only jokes. Nurses have been outraged all across the internet, and rightly so. In fact, a Facebook group called "Show Me Your Stethoscope" has over 600,000 members and hundreds of stethoscope selfies in just the few days since the comments. Although Behar's comments are surprising, what is not is her ignorance. As a nurse, I am not surprised that someone in the spotlight knows very little of what nurses actually do. In fact, I was not aware of it until I put on those scrubs and slung a stethoscope around my neck. No one knows what it is like to be in those shoes, enduring the soaring rush of saving a life and the devastating blow of losing a patient. Traditionally, nurses are seen as doctor's secretaries, and this fueled Behar's comments. Of course a nurse wouldn't need a stethoscope: she -- always a she -- would only need a clipboard to take notes for the doctor. It doesn't occur to the media or the public that nurses are just as involved in hard core medicine as doctors are. As I've always said, give me a nurse with 20 years experience over an intern any day. I believe that this ignorance arises from how nurses are portrayed in the media. When the public thinks of nurses, they think of Florence Nightingale. Nursing has changed considerably since then! What other nurses can stand up as role models, though, that could inform the public of the very serious work done by nurses? Take entertainment. Nurse Jackie, though well known among nurses, has a cult following. She isn't exactly a role model, either. Another nurse show that aired on TNT didn't earn enough ratings, even though it still didn't show nurses in their true light. Grey's Anatomy and House focused so much on the lives of the doctors that they never showed what nurses do. And that's the problem. No one knows what nurses do because no one has shown them. What Behar said was deplorable, ignorant, misinformed, and uneducated, but not surprising. A media talking head would have no idea what goes on in the trenches of a nursing shift. How could they? No one has told them and no one has shown them. More education is needed for the general public about what nurses do. We don't just pass pills. We don't just take orders from the doctor. We don't just wipe behinds. We listen to lung sounds. We assess if someone is dying. We make the call whether to call the doctor or not. We are at the bedside for eight to 12 hours, and we see more of the patient than the doctor ever will. We are the thin white line that exists to protect and serve the patients who need us. Nursing skills matter. Fire away at Behar and get the media's attention. Eradicate this ignorance, but don't be surprised. Don't think they should know better. Nurses are misrepresented in nearly every sphere. It just took one supposedly funny person's ignorant comments to cast light on that fact.
  2. Lynda Lampert, RN

    Hurt Back? Here Are Some Options

    That's a good point. The spinal surgeon would be likely to give injections. Our conversation never strayed to it, as we were comparing the three. However, I do agree that injections, either steroid epidural or trigger point, are a great intermediate step between PT and fusion. By the way, I've also heard of some people finding PT caused more pain. The back is so complex that it really depends on the individual.
  3. Lynda Lampert, RN

    Solutions for Tired, Achy Feet

    Nurses deal with plenty of nagging pain problems. If it isn't your back or neck, it is likely your feet that are causing you pain. This is usually the result of standing from eight to twelve hours, moving constantly, and sometimes wearing less than supportive shoes. In honor of National Foot Care Awareness month for April, it would help to know a bit more about the mechanics of standing, what common foot problems nurses face, and strategies for overcoming the pain. If you don't take care of your feet, then you will probably wind up limping through the hallways of your facility. In fact, there are many ways to take care of your feet other than buying the most expensive shoes you can find. Some of the expensive shoes are not supportive enough, and you should go with the ones that make your feet feel best. The main condition that arises in nurses' feet is plantar fasciitis. This is a stretching of a ligament in the foot that causes heel pain. It is often mistaken for bone spurs. Treating it can be difficult, but not impossible. The topic of foot health for nurses is a large one, but knowing a little preventative medicine can help you stay on your feet without pain. The Problem with Standing Your foot is affected in different ways depending on if you are standing or walking. Standing in one place is often worse for your feet than moving around. Standing takes on the forces of the heel to ground contact and the vertical weight of your body on the structures of your feet. It can also cause blood to pool in the feet and lower extremities, causing pain and stiffness. The veins can become inflamed, and these appear as varicose veins. Obviously, the constant pressure can lead to misalignment of the foot and degeneration of the joints. Usually, rubber standing mats help to decrease this problem. Walking has a different set of mechanics associated with it. The part of the gait cycle that concerns foot researchers the most is the contact portion. This describes the time that the foot comes in contact with the ground and accounts for 27 percent of the cycle. The pressure of walking coupled with standing all day can lead to a very common foot problem called plantar fasciitis. The condition is a straining of the ligament that spans the length of the foot and helps to support the arch during the contact phase. As the fascia cushions the forces of standing and walking, it can lead to inflammation, tears, and pain. Plantar Fasciitis The plantar fascia is a long ligament that spans the length of the foot. It originates from the medial tubercle and the anterior portion of the calcaneus. The fascia actually arises from the Achilles' tendon where it inserts into the calcaneus. This tough, fibrous material leaves the heel bone, extends down the foot, across the arch, and inserts just below the phalanges. The mechanics of this ligament are important to understand. With contact and compression, the band stretches as the arch is depressed. When the pressure is off, the fascia contracts and restores the arch to the foot. This phenomenon is more common in people who have low arches, flat feet, are on their feet all day, are overweight, or those who overpronate their ankle laterally. Symptoms of plantar fasciitis are rather simple but extremely painful. Most patients experience a stabbing pain in their heel or across the bottom of their foot. Usually, the pain occurs most acutely upon waking or after sitting for long periods of time. It tends to ease as you walk around, but it can still cause a nagging achiness. When plantar fasciitis isn't treated, it can lead to a rupture of the ligament, but this is very rare. Diagnosis is usually determined by history and examination of the foot. One way to tell if you have plantar fasciitis is to dorsiflex your foot to see if the pain increases. The limited dorsiflexion often means that the calf and Achilles' tendon are tight, causing pressure on the flexion of the plantar fascia. Sometimes x-rays or MRIs are used to determine if there are structural problems with the foot. Bone spurs at the heel are often found in this imaging, but they are not the cause of plantar fasciitis. It is the tearing of the ligament that is causing the pain and the presence of the bone spur is incidental. Foot Pain Strategies It is easy for nurses to go to extremes to make their feet feel better. From high-tech shoes to wild inserts, the pain is often so bad that a nurse will try anything to make it go away. The first detail you need to attend to is the shoes themselves. If you have flat feet, you likely need an arch support to absorb the shock on the plantar fasciitis. For those who have high arches, an arch support can actually make the problem worse. These feet need soft, cushioned shoes. If you are unsure of your arch, find a podiatrist to help you. Knowing this, you need to find shoes that meet your needs. Shoes come in a variety of types now, and it can be confusing to decide which is going to help your foot problem. Do you need a running shoe or a cross training shoe? Actually, the best shoe is probably a shoe designed for walking, since that is what you are going to be doing on the job. Research different shoes to determine which have arch support and which are cushioned or help with overpronation. Once you have a pair of shoes that meet your needs, you may want to consider inserts or orthotics. Again, if you have flat feet, you absolutely need an arch support. Of course, soft and cushy inserts don't hurt, but that isn't as important as the support. Although department stores sell a wide variety of inserts, it is very easy to pick the wrong one. The best way to handle orthotics, especially if you have an existing problem with plantar fasciitis, is to get a custom insert from a podiatrist. They cost more, but they are likely to better support your feet. Socks are another important consideration when attempting to protect your feet. As you age, the fat pads on your feet can wear away, and this can cause pain to the ball of your foot or your heel. You should wear cushioned socks that help protect these pads or make up for their absence. In addition, if you can, you should change your socks at least once per shift. If possible, have two pairs of shoes and alternate them every other day. This will cut down on smell, keep your skin intact, and protect your feet from the effects of sweat. Another piece of equipment to consider is compression hose. This will not affect plantar fasciitis, but it will help you if you develop tired, achy, heavy legs by the end of the day. Standing in one place for long periods can mean the blood will collect in your lower body, and compression socks help to keep your legs from swelling. Although walking does tend to move the blood back toward the heart, compression stockings can assist this natural side effect of flexing the calf and thigh. Finally, exercising and soaking can help prevent the effects of foot pain. You should stretch your foot via dorsiflexion, and stretch the calf to help to loosen up tight muscles. Massage is another great way to help your feet feel better. Take a tennis ball and roll it under your foot for a quick and easy massage. Soaking your feet in Epsom salts is another common recommendation, and it can help to make your feet feel better. Even if it doesn't, a nice foot soak is a great way to unwind from a stressful day. References Mayo Clinic; Plantar Fasciitis; Feb 27, 2014 Institute for Preventive Foot Health; How to Practice Good Foot Hygiene Medscape; Plantar Fasciitis; Craig C. Young, MD; November 20, 2014
  4. Lynda Lampert, RN

    Hurt Back? Here Are Some Options

    Are you part of the 52 percent? According to the American Nurse Association, 52 percent of nurses report experiencing chronic back pain. Unfortunately, 12 percent of nurses report they are leaving the profession due to back problems, further exacerbating the nursing shortage and short staffing issues. Making the matter worse, 38 percent of nurses reported taking time off due to back and musculoskeletal injuries. Since back problems in nurses are so prevalent, you may wonder what the options are for treatment. Are you going to need back surgery? How effective are chiropractors? Can physical therapy really help? To answer these questions, three experts in each field weighed in with their opinions on how they treat back injuries, how they can help you, and how you can use their skills to help you get back on your feet again.. Physical Therapy "Physical therapy is the best way to treat back pain," stated Dr. Adrian Miranda by phone interview. Adrian Miranda, PT, DPT, OCS is a physical therapist, Orthopedic Certified Specialist, Director of Clinical Residency Education TOURO College, Doctoral Candidate at Texas Tech University, and host of Move Well TV, available on Roku, YouTube, and his website, adrianmiranda.net. The causes of back pain in nurses are multifactorial. "Nurses are on their feet all day long. The spine is an accordion and standing squeezes all the fluid out of it. The discs get compressed. The facets joints are affected, and supporting muscles get shortened," explains Dr. Miranda Back pain can actually be caused by several issues in the mechanics of the lower body. Dr. Miranda states, "Weak core muscles are a chronic problem we see in lumbar back pain. We also see weak ankles and gluteal muscles. These other muscles share responsibility and help protect the spine. If the supportive muscles are weakened, the muscles available will be used, such as spinal muscles.". He recommends some ways to combat this situation. "First, get into a horizontal position whenever you get the moment. Second, perform a cobra stretch whenever you can." This stretch comprises laying flat on your stomach and resting your body on your elbows. As you become more flexible, you can move to your hands and give the lower back a full stretch. You can perform a few other stretches, as well. You can carefully bend backward as much as is comfortable and then rock forward as much as you can. In addition, side to side bending, when not overdone, can help stretch the lumbar muscles, as well. Dr. Miranda has seen many nursing patients, and this is his experience: "Usually, something else is causing the lower back to be painful. The other muscles are not pulling their weight, and the lumbar spine is often the victim of weakening muscles elsewhere in the lower body." Physical therapy is often considered conservative treatment for back problems, but Dr. Miranda thinks it should be given more time. "Spinal fusions and conservative measures do not show significant difference after five years. I feel spinal surgery should only be used when a tumor or fracture is present. When the patient can't move their leg or peripheral neuropathy is involved, surgery may be called for. Chronic back pain can almost always be treated with conservative measures." Chiropractors Lots of legends, mysteries, myths, and outright lies surround the profession of chiropractic. From the voodoo cracking monster to the doctor who tells you to ignore all advice but their own, chiropractors have gotten a bad rap unnecessarily. In fact, chiropractors and physical therapists often work closely together, though there are distinct differences. Chiropractors are known for "adjustments" to the spine. Dr. Sarah Jacobs of HealthSource Chiropractic explains it this way in a telephone interview: "Chiropractic is about looking for bones that are stuck and fixated. We try to get them moving, also looking at the pelvis for balancing the lower body. Adjustments are like WD-40 into a rusty hinge. The crack you hear is like breaking a vacuum seal on a jar." Dr. Jacobs sees many nurses in her practice. "There are two types of problems. First is lower back pain that occurs after standing for long periods of time, causing hip pain, and then upper back pain. Second, lower back pain can occur due to bending over, lifting, and straining." She continues, "More times it is repetitive and cannot be isolated to one instance of moving someone. Being on your feet all day, standing over beds, and bending are often major causes of chronic back pain." How do chiropractors help with lower back pain? "Typically, we use chiropractic adjustments, physical therapy modalities, electric stim, cold laser treatment, spinal decompression, traction, and progressive rehabilitation. We also use exercise to stabilize the core and study the patient's biomechanics," relates Dr. Jacobs. Another problem is something Dr. Jacobs calls muscle amnesia. "Researchers are finding that with lower back pain, our brain inhibits the latissimus muscles. This inhibition doesn't come back unless they are rehabilitated, The same can happen to the core and glut muscles. Glut amnesia occurs when they are inhibited. Since these are muscles that support the lower back, there are muscle imbalances all the time. It's about reprogramming the brain-muscle connection." As with most back pain specialists, Dr. Jacobs has some opinions about spinal surgery. "There is a time and place for surgery. Chiropractic is a gateway to see if we can get patients functioning better, but some need something more aggressive. I think it is best if we can avoid surgery. Fusion causes segments of the spine above and below to take a beating. Sometimes, though, surgery is really needed. We want to try everything conservative first, and then patients can go to surgery. My goal to keep them out of the surgeon's chair." Despite the differing opinions of the experts, Dr. Jacobs says there is a sense of collaboration between the providers. "We often refer between medical professionals. We want them to seek out the best treatment for them because they want to get back to doing what they love. Once a patient starts feeling better, we can focus on exercise, nutrition, supplements, strength training, and flexibility." Finally, there is a mental component, too. "Mindset is very powerful. If you are experiencing low back pain or are going through a preventative route, remain optimistic. It easier to help make people well when they are invested in the treatment." Spinal Surgeon Spinal surgeons are often feared by anyone who has a back injury. Some patients feel that they will jump directly to fusions or other surgeries, and some fear the results of those surgeries to their back. Surgery on the spine, particularly spinal fusion, is a controversial topic, and each expert has weighed in with their opinions. But what about the surgeons themselves? Dr. Ty Thaiyananthan, neurosurgeon and founder of BASIC Spine in Newport Beach, CA, is a nationally known expert in the treatment of the spine. During a telephone interview, he stated his opinion this way, "Surgery is the option of last resort. Every patient requires different strategies. It depends on what the patient has and the treatments that have been pursued. A herniated disc with foot drop might mean that you need surgery or it will get worse. There is no universal algorithm, and surgery is completely the option of last resort. We use every other reasonable method to heal the back." Unfortunately, Dr. Ty sees a great deal of nurses in his practice. "The majority of nurses suffer from acute back issues, such as from transferring a patient. They will present with musculoskeletal pain or an acutely herniated disc. These usually result from transferring a patient from one bed to another bed, flexing forward, or straining." He states, "Nurses' spines are often comparable to those of professional athletes." He adds, "Nurses tend to work through the pain to get the job done. The collateral damage is that they injure their spine. They need to understand to take care of themselves to prevent injury." Fusions are probably what most patients think about when they consider surgery on their spine. However, new research has found that it may cause more harm than good. Dr. Ty explains, "The trend now is toward motion preservation. We want to alleviate pain without doing surgery. For nurses, this may mean refraining from duty for 6-8 weeks. Fusions aren't a perfect surgery, and we now tend to use decompressive procedures. You are never 100 percent again after fusion, and you will need to be monitored over time. There will always be residual pain." The thinking about spinal surgery has definitely changed in the past 10 to 15 years. Dr. Ty says, "The focus is not to alter the biomechanics of the spine. We want to decrease pain while not changing the spine. Minimally invasive surgery, such as a foraminotomy can relieve nerve root compression. Like high blood pressure, changing your lifestyle is important, too. I would rather focus on a treatment plan to physical therapy and chiropractic to maintain spine health." Fortunately, there are now decompressive and minimally invasive surgeries available that can reduce pain without changing the spine. Dr. Ty is a leading surgeon in these procedures. "We go after extruded fragments with decompressive surgery. With microdiscectomy, there is a chance of herniation after the fact, and you still need to limit activity. The tear in the disc is still there until it scars over, which is usually over a few months." Non-invasive forms of spinal decompression are helpful, as well. Back specialists can use traction beds controlled by a computer that gently pull the vertebrae apart, improving the health of the disc, and getting it back into alignment. These treatments help to rehydrate the disc, avoid surgery, and usually show improvement of the problem on follow up MRIs." Even with decompression, though, problems can arise. "Spinal decompression helps to reabsorb disc, but in some cases, the discs don't reduce with treatment. The herniations can dry out, and serial MRIs show that the disc is receding because it is dehydrating. During this process, the disc can calcify, causing sciatica. It may need to be removed if symptomatic." In the end, no matter what type of back specialist you choose, be sure to choose one that is dedicated to conservative measures first. From stretching to adjustments to decompression therapy, the solution for back pain isn't always spinal fusion surgery. In fact, it very rarely is the answer. Other specialists are also trained in healing the back, and you may find them on the staffs of your back specialists. For instance, massage therapists, sports medicine doctors, and osteopaths can also provide valuable insight and assistance with your back pain. Many nurses experience pain in their back, and the solution is to not ignore it. If you are feeling achiness after a shift, go to one of these specialists. Most of them have preventative measures that can keep you pain-free and at the bedside for as long as you want to be there. References American Nurse Association; Handle with Care Fact Sheet
  5. Lynda Lampert, RN

    50 Things New Nurses Need to Know About Calling Doctors and Other Providers

    This is such a good post that I wish it was in the original article. New nurses -- and experienced! -- take heed, because this is how you do it.
  6. Lynda Lampert, RN

    50 Things New Nurses Need to Know About Calling Doctors and Other Providers

    As someone who worked almost exclusively on 3rd shift, I've found that 1st shift can get annoyed when you do this. They shouldn't, but I can see their point that I am pushing my work into their shift. Now, I suppose it would depend on the patient, doctor, problem, on coming nurse, and so on. So do this with caution if you work an off shift. If it is truly something a doctor will cover during rounds, you can keep it in your pocket. Just make sure you have a good reason for asking your following coworker to handle it. That's been my experience, anyway.
  7. Few things give a new nurse more stress than having to call a doctor or other provider. Other providers include advanced practice nurses and sometimes physician's assistants. It is far easier to ask a coworker for help or even a manager, but calling a provider is often fraught with feelings bordering on terror for some. Most nurses can remember the first time they called a with an inward shudder. It's part of the job, and you do get used to it after a while. It also depends on when you call the doctor or provider. If you are calling in the middle of the night, your breath is more likely to hitch than if you are calling on day shift. Even better is having a hospitalist or APRN on call who is usually awake during the nighttime hours, though that isn't possible in every nursing setting. With that background, here are 50 helpful hints for new grads when making calls to doctors and other providers. Use the SBAR method: situation, background, assessment, and recommendation. Know the patient's code status. Always have a set of vital signs and allergies, no matter what you are calling for, including patient weight, especially in pediatrics. Access the chart and open to the last set of orders that were written. Also know the medications the patient is on, the IVs that are running, and drip rates. Pull up the latest blood work, most importantly the CBC and BMP. Know your patient's history in case the provider on call isn't familiar with them. Get straight to the point, and do not engage in chit chat. Ask around to other nurses before you call because they may know the answer. Realize that you are only doing your job and protecting your patient. Realize the doctor or provider has a duty to the patient, and they need to help you. Don't take a cranky provider personally. It has nothing to do with you. Clarify orders specifically before hanging up the phone. Always read back the order, even if they are in a hurry. Most hospitals require "read back" to be documented. Call doctors or providers with any condition change, no matter how silly it may seem. Don't let your fear keep you from confronting a doctor or provider. It is okay to give your opinion on what should be done. Your assessment is just as valid as theirs is. Take orders from doctors or APRNs, not medical assistants. Also, confirm the credentials and spelling of the provider's name prior to hanging up. Try to find somewhere quiet to make your call. Don't wait for the doctor or provider to respond to you. Get your work done while you are waiting. You may need to interrupt patient care to answer a call, unless it is an emergency. Everyone's time is precious. Don't make them wait on hold forever and don't stay on hold forever. If the provider is talking too quietly, don't hesitate to make them speak up. If they have an accent that throws you, don't be afraid to make them repeat themselves. It is for your patient's safety -- and yours! If a doctor or provider recommends a questionable course of action, take it to your charge nurse and up the chain of command. Providers can be wrong, and we are the last check between them and the patient. Politely excuse yourself from taking care of another patient before answering a call. Don't run down the hall because a provider is calling. If a provider's earlier written order is too difficult to read, call for clarification. Try to develop professional relationships with doctors and providers so calls are not so awkward. Always be polite, even if they aren't. Be assertive and firm if you need to, but don't become aggressive. Always thank them for their time. It is their job, but thanks go a long way. Don't develop attitudes about certain doctors or providers because of their reputations. Take them as they are at the moment you call them because the rumors may not be true. If the rumors are true, remember that you are a professional and deserve respect. Don't let a provider's treatment of you carry through the whole shift, making your work time miserable. If a doctor or provider is very out of line, document with an incident report, tell the charge nurse, and be sure your nurse manager is aware of their behavior. Talk to the provider like your equal. You are. Organize yourself so that you can address all problems at once and avoid multiple phone calls. Give on call doctors and providers the benefit of the doubt because they are often clueless about someone else's patient. Don't make nervous jokes on the phone, no matter how charming you may think it is. Execute orders as quickly as you can and report if that causes problems. Vent to other nurses if you are upset over how you were treated. Don't always expect the provider will be hostile. In many situations, they aren't. If you don't know something, don't be afraid to admit it. Offer to call back with the information. Don't allow coworkers, patients, or family interrupt you while talking to a provider. Politely ask them to wait a moment until you are done. Try to talk to doctors and providers on land lines as cell phones can drop calls or make it hard to hear. If your cell phone is malfunctioning, don't be afraid to ask them to call you back or offer to call them back. Don't allow a provider to make you take informed consent from a patient. It is their job to inform the patient and yours to witness -- even with blood products. Always have a clean piece of paper and working pen on hand. Don't put the order directly into the chart or the computer as it may change or be transcribed incorrectly. If the provider has the capability of sending electronic orders, ask them to do so. When in doubt, call. Nothing is silly or bothering them if it keeps the patient safe. Calling doctors and provider is one of those skills that get better with experience. If you are a new nurse, hopefully these tips will help you. If you are an experienced nurse, please share your tips that you've learned over your years in nursing. Put them in the comments so other nurses can benefit.
  8. Lynda Lampert, RN

    Nurses: You've Been LIED to about your Back and Body Mechanics

    True enough, and perhaps I will leave it at that. I hope you don't hurt your backs. I really do. That's the whole point of this, to protect nurses. If you choose body mechanics over mechanical lifts, then you know the consequences now. Happy thoughts to all, Lynda
  9. Lynda Lampert, RN

    Nurses: You've Been LIED to about your Back and Body Mechanics

    Hi there, Thanks for the constructive feedback. The tone of the article was mine alone. I used this language to: 1. Get the attention of the most people possible 2. Draw attention to the NPR article 3. Start a discussion that would lead to further nurse education 4. Educate nurses on a little-known fact about their practice If you find it melodramatic, well, then, that's really great. Good for you. However, we accomplished our goals of reaching nurses, and that's what counts. The points brought up in the article have been proven over and over again, though many don't want to believe them. It's a win regardless of what you think about the "articles" on this site. Also, the nurse I interviewed, Susan, said that she was a dinosaur because she was from a diploma program. No, there aren't many left, in any state, and ADNs may be on the way to that. I was mirroring what my interviewee was expressing. You can feel free to take it up with her, if you like, about her gross underestimation of how the diploma programs have decreased in usage.
  10. Lynda Lampert, RN

    Nurses: You've Been LIED to about your Back and Body Mechanics

    Dr. Powell-Cope has researched, published, and been peered reviewed on the topic of body mechanics. This is what she says: If you haven't been injured yet, anon, you will be. Your discs are damaged by moving that much weight, whether you feel it or not, whether you do it "right" or not. There is no evidence that body mechanics protects your back any more than just flailing away. If you are serious about back safety, you would use those Hoyers more often and not gamble with your health.
  11. Lynda Lampert, RN

    Nurses: You've Been LIED to about your Back and Body Mechanics

    This is a great article about how to start a safe lifting program in your hospital. The first step is education, and the second is action. Thanks again, Dr. Powell-Cope!
  12. Lynda Lampert, RN

    Nurses: You've Been LIED to about your Back and Body Mechanics

    I think lifting under weight lifting circumstances is different than the lifting we do as nurses. You have a strong core. You work one group of muscles at a time. You are not working under awkward body positions. Safety equipment is in place for heavy lifting. Your ability to lift 90 percent of your body weight is under particular circumstances. It isn't the circumstances of a nurse moving a patient from cart to bed. In addition, I'm sure you are 100 percent fit, and not all nurses are. Even fit, you are still doing harm to your discs. In fact, you may have a disc rupture that is asymptomatic. Lifting in a gym and lifting as a nurse are two different things, and the latter is dangerous. It is a lie because we are told body mechanics is the best way. Not the guaranteed way, but the best way to protect you back. Mechanical devices are only given a cursory mention, and everyone is taught body mechanics that DON'T have any scientific backing. As for the 35 pound rule, I'm not sure where it comes from. I believe looking into the origin of that number would be beyond the scope of this article, but it has been confirmed by two experts who have published research on this issue. It would be safe to assume that they know what they are talking about, despite how unbelievable the number sounds. I thought it was unbelievable, too, until I did the interviews and it was confirmed. Again, maybe body mechanics are better than nothing, but that doesn't make them safe. They are a placebo, a lie, and something that facilities are ignoring because it will cost them money. Hasn't anyone wondered why 11 states have laws against manual lifting in health care facilities? It's because it is a problem and the way we are doing it now isn't safe.
  13. Lynda Lampert, RN

    Nurses: You've Been LIED to about your Back and Body Mechanics

    The nurse I talked to who went through so much with her back had a terrible time with Workmen's Comp. That's another article, too. She was basically bullied into going back to work when she didn't feel 100 percent about her back. Unfortunately, she can't work the bedside anymore, and she was likely replaced with someone younger and cheaper. Newer nurses are not as willing to stand up for their rights and their health, though. Susan, the nurse I talked to, said that she eventually stopped jumping in when lifts were in progress, choosing to take a leg rather than the upper body. It's a widespread problem, and facilities would rather replace nurses than put out the money for mechanical assistive devices.
  14. Lynda Lampert, RN

    Nurses: You've Been LIED to about your Back and Body Mechanics

    Thank you for your time, Doctor! I was wondering if you could speak to initiating the conversation about safe lifting in your facility? That's a great question!
  15. Lynda Lampert, RN

    Nurses: You've Been LIED to about your Back and Body Mechanics

    Hi all, Just woke up, so I thought I would address some of the ideas expressed here overnight. The idea of 35 pounds is the maximum weight limit came from my expert at the CDC and was confirmed by Dr. Powell-Cope. It is the maximum for all jobs. Incidentally, I asked my husband the same thing, as he works in a factory, and he said that they lift far more than that, too. I guess that is the safe lifting threshold, but I didn't come up with it. It was quoted to me by experts, and I believe I read it in some literature, as well, though they said 51 pounds. As for taking care of your back, that will be in part two of this article series, hopefully, to be published next week. I feel I was lied to because I was taught to lift that way and not taught how important it is to lift with assistive devices. I was taught we didn't need them, but they were nice to have. According to evidenced based research that has been available since at least 2000, that's not true. I wasn't guaranteed, but I don't think that it is beyond logic to make the leap that the way I'm being taught is the best way. Nice to hear of the lifts above the bed. You must work in a good facility. Even Dr. Collins at the CDC said that there was no way to go total hands off. Nurses will still put their backs in danger, but it will be far less danger when mechanical assistance is used. The problem is that many nurses are unaware that they are in this danger because schools and facilities don't tell you -- or you're aren't up on the current lifting research. As for getting upper management to listen, I would say that you should start talking to lower management first. Come armed with evidenced based materials, proof from the CDC, possible reports to OSHA. Unfortunately, right now, there is nothing to force them to help you. You can try, but it is money that will decide the issue. Money and politics, unfortunately, will determine our safety. But it isn't the first time and it won't be the last. Lynda
×