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jeastridge BSN, RN

Faith Community Nurse (FCN)

BSN, RN, Faith Community Nurse

Content by jeastridge

  1. Thank you, GaleSRN, for sharing! You make some excellent points--wonderful words of wisdom and insight. Joy
  2. Thanks for sharing! What a great life story about the value of a variety of experiences. Joy
  3. Thank you for your comment. I like your suggestion of talking to potential co-workers and not just recruiters as part of your research for a new position. Great idea! Joy
  4. Thanks for sharing. So glad you are happy in your new position! Joy
  5. jeastridge

    Should I Be a Nurse? 5 Things to Think About

    There is so much opportunity in being open minded. I'm betting you are going to be an awesome nurse! Joy
  6. Trevor stopped me in the hall at church. "I'm thinking about going to nursing school. I know you have been a nurse a long time. Do you think I should be a nurse?" Wow. I had to stop and focus. Thinking quickly, I answered, "If you are asking whether I would do it again, the answer is an unequivocal, 'Yes!' I love being a nurse, and it has been the right fit for my life. But, if we are going to talk about you going to nursing school, then let's meet for coffee and give it a more thorough conversation." We set up a time that week, and I started to think about what to say to him. Nursing Career Facts It's hard work Depending on the setting, it can be very physical-lots of walking, bending, lifting, long hours, inconvenient shifts. Sometimes this aspect of nursing is minimized on television shows. It can also be invisible to the average person who sees a nurse at work, whether in the ER, doctor's office, health department or surgical suite. Until you put on those shoes and do the walking yourself, the reality of the physical nature of providing nursing care can be elusive. Nursing is a flexible profession This is one of the best things about having a nursing degree. A prospective nursing student can look forward to employment in a variety of settings: inpatient, outpatient, insurance, travel-the list is long. It is also possible to start out with a basic degree and add on education, beginning with an LPN and moving to an associate degree RN to a BSN, to a nurse practitioner, MSN or even as far as a PhD. When it comes to education, the sky is the limit with nursing. While some nurses pick an area and become specialists there, it is also possible to shift direction multiple times over the course of a career, pursuing a variety of areas of interest within the profession. Sometimes interests can vary along with life stages. In my career, I started out in Pediatrics, moved to Geriatrics and then to Home Health before settling into Parish Nursing and Hospice. In my twenties, I might not have been interested in hospice, but after losing a beloved family member, I saw what those nurses did and thought to myself, "I really want to do that!" Be prepared to start out with an entry-level job After working hard in school and even excelling, it can feel like a set back to find out that the only available jobs are on the night shift in an area of nursing that is not your dream job. As with most careers, it takes time to get experience and there is simply no shortcut to good experience when it comes to nursing care. This can be an adjustment for some nurses who are trying to break into the career. It is probably worth going over this with a person who is considering going to nursing school. Additionally, nursing is like any other career: it helps to network, to be nice, to have a good work ethic, to be responsible, to be honest and to realize that the patient is always right. Having these goals in mind from the outset can help save many new nurses from disappointment. Beware of taking on too much debt to get the degree Nurses make decent money but if the ratio of debt to earnings is off, the stress can become unmanageable. So before making any decisions about loans, talk to an expert to find out exactly how much this loan will cost per month and when you would start paying. It is worth considering ways to work through school and pay as you go. This can also help if the profession doesn't turn out to be a good fit for you. Being trapped is no fun. Have an open mind as you go into nursing Sometimes people have narrow focus as they launch into nursing. This can create problems along the way. For example, if their dream is to be an ER nurse, then anything else can feel like a "less-than" job, just marking time until they are able to get to the place they really want to be. It can be truly career changing to view each position with respect and humility. We all have lots to learn, no matter where we work or how long we work there. While having a goal is a worthwhile endeavor, it should not be an obstruction as a nurse moves along a sometimes winding path toward the destination or dream job. When Trevor and I talked, he was enthusiastic about moving forward. I tried to be encouraging and realistic, sharing some of the pluses and minuses of this career that I love. What about you? What would you tell someone who is thinking about nursing as a career? Joy Eastridge
  7. jeastridge

    Should I Be a Nurse? 5 Things to Think About

    Hello dkn86! I was responding to a comment above that from "Froggybelly, BSN, RN." You might want to go back and respond to her regarding your question and need for clarification. Thank you for commenting. Joy
  8. jeastridge

    Should I Be a Nurse? 5 Things to Think About

    Thank you for your comment. You make an excellent point. When I was preparing to enter nursing school after 2 years of college, several people tried to dissuade me, but I persisted--I told them that I wanted to be a nurse, not a doctor. It's good to seek clarity before proceeding. Joy
  9. jeastridge

    Opioid Epidemic: Innocent Victims (NAS)

    We have all seen the stories on television and online: infants struggling with a complex picture of symptoms including twitching, pain, seizures, diarrhea, abdominal cramps. These are babies born addicted to opioids (and sometimes other substances). Once a relatively rare occurrence, NICUs around the country are finding themselves overwhelmed with the numbers of babies born addicted and requiring long-term care to safely wean them off of opioids. When a mother uses drugs, whether for treatment of addiction or not, babies have a 55-95% chance of being born with NAS. What is NAS? If you read the title to this article and thought, "What's that?" you are not alone. NAS, or Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome, was first described by Finnegan in 1975 (Finnegan LP, Connaughton JF Jr, Kron RE, Emich JP). Neonatal abstinence syndrome: assessment and management. Addict Dis 1975;2:141-158). Since that time, the term has come into much more common use as the incidence of NAS, also known as Neonatal Drug Withdrawal Syndrome, has continued to rise dramatically. From 2000 to 2012, the rate increased by a factor of 5. A complex picture, victims of Neonatal Drug Withdrawal are observed to suffer all the symptoms that adults suffer when in drug withdrawal including: fever, sweating, sneezing, tachypnea, projectile vomiting, weight loss, watery stools, excessive sucking, tremors, high-pitched crying, twitching, high muscle tone, etc. Additionally, the average length of stay in hospital for NAS babies is 17 days (Patrick SW, Davis MM, Lehmann CU, Lehman CU, Cooper WO). Increasing incidence and geographic distribution of neonatal abstinence syndrome: United States 2009 to 2012. (J Perinatol 2015;35:650-655). Often, the sequelae continue after discharge, although it is unknown as yet what all the long term effects of being born with NAS are. It remains to be seen what their long term needs will be, but it is safe to say that they are starting off life with some additional challenges-as are their families. So what are we to do as nurses observing a growing problem? Ashlie Harrod, RN, works at the Sullivan County Health Department in East Tennessee. Her county has among the highest rates of NAS reported (although only 5 states currently report statistics on NAS). "The incidence in our area is so high because of a combination of lack of education regarding pregnancy prevention, and a high rate of drug abuse, among other socioeconomic problems." She goes on to say, "Contraception is not common sense." She spends her workdays leading classes in jails, health departments, halfway houses and at outpatient drug maintenance clinics-basically any place she can find men and women who will listen to her sage advice on all matters of pregnancy prevention. While 45% of pregnancies are unintended in the general population, that number climbs steeply to 86% among addicts. Harrod attests to the general lack of knowledge about body functions, biology and specifically about the various methods of birth control. When she visits the various settings, she offers birth control pills, Depo Provera shots (3 months of contraception) as well as more long-term prevention, including long-acting IUDs, rings, patches and implants. Besides paving the way for implants and IUDs, she can also help get men set up for vasectomies-after careful screening. All services of the health department are offered free of charge. "Our goal is a healthy community" Harrod goes on to say that at the Health Department, "Our goal is a healthy community. We want to provide information, education, counseling, testing, whatever people need to do effective family planning." In addition to pregnancy prevention, the health department works hard to take care of women who are already pregnant, making sure they get what they need while pregnant and that they are connected with a variety of services that can help them when the baby is born. If the baby has NAS, families often need early intervention and long-term assistance, using a care team approach. NAS babies are irritable, in pain, difficult to console. During this perinatal time of bonding and attachment to their parents, these infants and their families need a lot of extra help and attention. Nurses always have a role to play. As professional health care providers, we are examples in the community. We can lead the way to finding out what is available in our area, helping to get that information out there and lending a hand through community networks. Maybe we will be the ones in the newborn nursery or the NICU, but we also might be the ones to learn first of an unintended pregnancy, or of a need for foster care. Whatever our situation, we will all be called on to answer and to serve in some way. Harrod says, "This crisis is an opportunity for all of us to put our differences aside and to stand up for this next generation of children." The time is now. As professionals, let us band together to advocate for and help these tiny, innocent victims. What is your response? Joy Eastridge
  10. jeastridge

    Fired from my first RN job after only 2 weeks.

    You can do this thing! Hang in there. It's been a rough start but learn whatever you can from what happened, fix anything you can see that you need to work on, and start over. Maybe find a smaller setting to start out and take it from there. All the best, Joy
  11. jeastridge

    What Makes YOU a Pro RN?

    I sat talking Crystal, a senior nursing student, as we wrapped up our time together. She had been following me around, learning about what it means to be a Faith Community Nurse for six weeks. I asked her a few questions about her thoughts as she processed all she had seen and learned. Then I said, "Is there anything that bothers you at this point about nursing in general?" She paused and seemed to hesitate before answering, "Well, my classmates and I have been talking about the way nurses talk in the nurses' station..." Her voice trailed off, but I felt like I knew exactly what she was referring to. She went on to tell the story of working on a floor where a loud and demanding patient tested his nurse's ability to stay cool. The nurse ended up venting in the nurses' station, just steps away from the patient, talking about how "impossible" the patient was. Crystal feared that her words could easily be overheard, not just by the patient but by others in the vicinity. I asked her what she and her fellow nursing students thought about this type of venting. "It's really hard because I realize the patient was difficult and that the nurse was frustrated. But I didn't feel like she did the best she could do. I just don't know what to think since I'm only getting started in nursing." Her comments got me to thinking. How do we help one another do our best? How do we respond when a breach of professionalism occurs? What is it that makes a "pro" nurse, [beyond the technical proficiency which is necessary]? What could I say to her to encourage this student as she launched into the profession? CHARACTERISTICS OF A "PRO" They don't "LIKE" bad behavior. In social media, "likes" equal re-enforcement and the continuation of the same line of information. Using that lingo, pro nurses don't give attention to, or reinforce unprofessional behavior. Not "liking" it means that we walk away, don't look up, don't respond, change the subject, don't join in. While this may not end the outburst, it will certainly not inflame or encourage it. Pro nurses concentrate on doing their job well They are not easily distracted by the variety of non-work related events going on around them. While they are unfailingly courteous, they don't prioritize catching up on the current events of the various co-worker's lives. True professionals don't over-share about themselves Instead, they are always mindful that it is all about the patient. When they do ask about how we are, the patients are not really interested in how we are doing. They are sick. They are in the hospital. When they ask, they are just being polite. Our job is to say we are "Fine, thank you, and how are YOU?" It is rarely appropriate to share anything about what is going on in our personal lives, even something as mundane as our commute to work. For the "Pro," it's about turning the conversation around to focus back on the patient and how we can help them. We have probably all witnessed the nurses that come in the room to do a chore for the patient-changing the bed, maybe-and then carry on a conversation with one another without ever including, and sometimes barely acknowledging, the patient. Teaching is a hallmark of a Pro Whether helping the patient with an activity of daily living, or talking with the family while positioning, or administering medication, or getting the prescriptions ready-no matter what the nursing setting- every interaction can be a teachable moment. The Pro is great at listening and learning She is observant, always assessing, using her nursing skills to the greatest degree possible to help the patient improve. The pro tries hard to be sensitive to their co-workers' needs and help out whenever possible. Pros show compassion toward their co-workers and give them the benefit of the doubt When we know each other well and care for one another, we learn to reserve judgment, to help one another through the tough days and to bring out the best in each other. I can remember working with a young woman that looked chronically fatigued. Dark circles lined her eyes and she seemed to drag around. I wondered why she didn't seem to have much energy. Then I learned she was a single mom to two little ones. The knowledge changed my perspective and also my ability to be patient and encouraging. Sometimes knowing one another can help us to maintain perspective. While our patient's needs and interests are first, we do have to work as a team and lift one another up whenever possible. Is it necessary to have a face-to-face confrontation with a co-worker that is struggling? Opinions may differ as we would all approach this differently, but the bottom line is that we have to have compassion for one another. Crystal and I talked a little longer. I shared some possible insights and asked her how she thought she might handle a situation like this when she is an employed nurse and part of the team? We talked about some different ideas and discussed at length how a pro nurse comports themselves in a work environment. When she left, we had no definite answers. What would you do? What makes a pro nurse in your mind?
  12. jeastridge

    Opioid Epidemic: Innocent Victims (NAS)

    Thank you for your comment. It will be interesting to hear from nurses that work with outpatient follow-up, with health departments, early intervention, pediatricians, etc. to hear what their experiences have been. Joy
  13. jeastridge

    Opioid Epidemic: Innocent Victims (NAS)

    Thank you, Karen, for your comment. Working on this article brought home how critical the situation is. We all--every one of us--needs to help in some way. And for a long time. Joy
  14. jeastridge

    Accidental Pill Pusher

    Thank you for your comment and for sharing your insights. I looked up "multimodal Analgesia" and found the following interesting article. http://www.iars.org/assets/1/7/11_RCL_Buvanendran.pdf Joy
  15. jeastridge

    Accidental Pill Pusher

    Thank you for sharing so personally. My sincere hope and prayer is that we won't have a "knee-jerk" response as a country but one that is thoughtful and careful. In our area, East TN, we are suffering from an unprecedented wave of addiction and overdose deaths that require a compassionate and well thought through response. Again, this article is not meant to address cancer pain. As a former hospice nurse, I am very familiar with the treatment of oncological pain in hospice and never want that approach to change.
  16. jeastridge

    Accidental Pill Pusher

    This article's discussion centers around acute pain and chronic pain, specifically, and does not address oncological pain. We will never revert to not treating pain. My hope is that we are asking questions, probing what is happening with pain treatment, and looking for new ways to address pain management. Joy
  17. jeastridge

    Accidental Pill Pusher

    Thank you for your thoughtful comment. The difficulty with narcotics is that they often do work --and quite well--but only initially. The patient feels such relief that they begin to anticipate and expect this relief as a continual state. We all hate to be in pain. And we also want very much to relieve pain whenever possible. It is beyond difficult that this class of drugs, that promise so much, simply do not deliver well over the long-term and cause a multitude of unintended consequences. That is hard for patients to see when they remember how much it helped--at first.
  18. jeastridge

    Accidental Pill Pusher

    Well said. Pain can be nearly impossible to live with and can easily take over our lives. Looking for the next thing to help is always out there. If we have come up with opioids--who knows?--we could come up with something even better. Nice thought. Thanks for sharing. Joy
  19. jeastridge

    Accidental Pill Pusher

    Thank you so much for your thoughtful comments. The intent of the article is not to "fuel hysteria" or even to suggest that the problem is a simple one. Of course, pain needs to be treated. Of course the addiction problem is a systemic societal problem and there are not simple solutions or easy answers. We need to work together to improve mental health, youth mentoring, family health, counseling services, addiction treatment, job availability, and the list goes on. The intent here is simply to say that as professional nurses we have a role to play. A role. Not the only role. But we can all do something to help. Joy
  20. jeastridge

    Accidental Pill Pusher

    Quote from jeastridge Studies show that initial dependency often happens after surgery for orthopedic problems, wisdom teeth or other "routine" procedures. Could you provide links to those studies? http://www.uky.edu/~pjsamm1/Dentists%20Role%20in%20Preventing%20Prescription%20Opioid%20Abuse.pdf Data Overview | Drug Overdose | CDC Injury Center
  21. jeastridge

    Accidental Pill Pusher

    Thank you for sharing so personally. Your post highlights the need for all of us to keep working together. The answer is not simple and does not involve a uniform approach. I hope that all of us can see that and continue moving forward together with compassion and hope. I wish you the best! Joy
  22. jeastridge

    Accidental Pill Pusher

    You do a good job of pointing out what a multi-faceted problem this is. It encompasses all of society--not just nurses or health care providers. But we all have a part to play in reversing directions. Together, we can make a positive impact and help our friends, family and patients who are addicted or who are at risk. We must work together. Joy
  23. Florence Nightingale is famous for her pioneering nursing education, her development of statistical analysis and her improvements on methods of care delivery. She is also famous because she was "the woman with the lamp," a caring nurse who walked around late at night in the barracks, amongst the wounded soldiers, dispensing comfort and a big dose of healing therapy. What in the world does Flo have to say to us today? In this world of EMRs, diagnostic testing, and multi-disciplined care, what do we has nurses uniquely offer to our patients? How can we continue to be outstanding patient advocates as well as thinking professionals who constantly look for ways to do things better? In this day of increasingly depersonalized care, how do we keep making a difference? Nightingale was born to English aristocracy. She was wealthy and travelled widely but she rebelled at following the usual roles laid out for women of her time. Instead, following what she regarded as a divine call, she dedicated her life and considerable intellect to improving the care that soldiers received as they recuperated from war, especially during the Crimean War. She observed entirely new practices of hygiene and cleanliness-despite strong opposition. In addition to saving hundreds of lives, she is credited with using scientific process to change practice. She kept careful records and published statistical analyses of her work. A mathematical prodigy from an early age, she harnessed her mind and applied it well to practical, every day problems. As professional nurses who seek to emulate Nightingale and others like her, we have a strong responsibility to continue to think clearly, to use our intelligence and training to continue to make strides in our work. What are some guiding principles we can apply? Keep our eye on the ball In athletics, players are admonished to focus on what they are doing and to selectively tune out anything besides the main event. As nurses, we too have to keep our attention focused on our patients, giving them the priority. With the fragmentation of patient care, we are often the only persons on the care team that have the big picture in mind. As team players, we need to do an excellent job of communicating the patient's story, of hearing what is said around the bedside, of connecting the dots related to the patient's care. I remember the elderly woman who came in with pneumonia. She was a very attractive older lady and in talking with her casually, I could not detect what the family later told me: although she could carry on a good casual conversation, her memory was simply "gone." This bit of information helped to guide the care team in sending her home with home health instead of to rehab because that was simply a better fit for her. Don't let the EMR rule the day With all the computer work that is required, there is often little time for face-to-face interaction and for that extra measure of comfort. Despite the limits of time, touch, attention and eye contact- all of that old fashioned "lady and the lamp" care- never cease to be critical. As professional nurses, we continue to hone our listening skills, to increase our ability to be empathetic and to use our scientific knowledge to help our patients. I remember when I had a family member in the hospital and the nurse came in to give her medication. She did what she needed to do and then-she sat down. I mean, she took a seat and sat down! She only sat for about a minute, but it was long enough to make an impression. Her act said to us: "I am with you. I can't fix it, but I want to help by being here." We have never forgotten that. Pioneer something Back in the 1850's when Flo was laying the groundwork for modern nursing, there was plenty that needed fixing. Nowadays, we all hope that we have made a little progress in terms of germ theory and modern application of those scientific discoveries. But the truth is, there is always room for improvement. We all make mistakes. We begin to see the patient as a collection of lab results and diagnostic tests, and we forget to listen to some of what they are telling us. From improvements in hand washing to basic skin care to catheter care to wound healing, there is a constant stream of new areas to be explored, documented, changed. In recent years we have seen dramatic improvements in lives saved because of cardiac and stroke protocols, Foley catheter care and discontinuance, CHF follow up, etc. As medical care has progressed, we have gone from innovative and truly astounding developments in transplantation and stenting to a point where we are now looking in the rear view mirror and wondering if we need a more comprehensive approach to death and dying-truly a new frontier awaits! Marianne Williamson wrote, "And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others." As professionals who seek to spread the light of good care and of thorough and useful knowledge, we identify with Williamson's thoughts. Florence Nightingale got us started off right, now it's up to us to not let that light go out but to instead, keep carrying it and sharing it. Joy Eastridge
  24. jeastridge

    Accidental Pill Pusher

    Thank you for sharing your story and your concerns. I tried to point out in my article that chronic pain is a separate category and that there are no easy fixes--no one size fits all--when it comes to pain management. I hope that I was clear in pointing out that one of our primary concerns as nurses is for us to begin to shift our teaching--especially with acute pain--so that narcotics become second line drugs instead the go-to answer for short term pain management. And I certainly hope that patients with chronic pain will never be the victims of judgement but instead recipients of intense compassion and professional care.
  25. jeastridge

    Accidental Pill Pusher

    You make some good points here. As with any societal problems, there are no quick fixes or "sure-fire" solutions. This is about intentionally examining our current practices and working toward change. As nurses, we all have a responsibility to help where we can. Joy
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