Animal Therapy In Hospitals?

There are service animals, emotional support animals, and animals that are your best friends at home. Wouldn’t it be amazing if you could have a little mixture of all of them and they could come visit with patients at the hospital, as well as give staff a little mid-shift morale boost? Granted, not all people like animals, but those who do, really, really do, and how great would it be to get them a few minutes with man’s best friend?

Che at home

There have been lots of articles about animals at Nursing Homes and long-term care facilities, but there isn’t a lot out there about animals brought to the in-patient setting. Animals are almost always allowed when they are working service animals, which are animals trained to perform a specific duty task for a person in need of assistance (like a seeing eye dog, seizure alert dogs, etc.) as part of maintaining Americans with Disabilities (ADA) requirements. However allowing therapy pets, is a little more controversial.

 

Read more here at AllNurses.com

Yours in Good Health!

Peer Support: How much do I really need it?

This is for my fellow healthcare colleagues!

If you are a nurse, or any kind of health care practitioner, you have had a shift where you walk out of the hospital and you dread ever having to walk back through those doors. It doesn’t matter if it is because you had a really heavy assignment, an unexpected death of a patient, or bad news you had to break to a long-term patient, the end result is the same: you dread going back. What if there was a way to debrief your feelings before you walked out, throwing your stethoscope out the window?

Due to the burnout rates of our profession, and because administrators are starting to realize the impact of the everyday physical, emotional, and ethical issues that we deal with daily, some hospitals are trying different methods to support staff nurses’ emotional health and well being. The good news is that the hard work that we do is noticed and being appreciated, and that administrators are trying to help and assist with some of the stress that we endure due to our jobs. I know that most people think, if we get more staff, that will decrease our stress, and maybe it would, but shy of reimbursement costs changing, and staffing ratios dramatically increasing, what are some things that your hospital can do to help support you?

Read more here at AllNurses.com

Can we all work together? Generational Differences in the Workplace

4-generationsFor my nurse readers:

Generational differences in staff are something to think about when working or even changing jobs. Baby Boomers, Generation X’ers, Generation Y/Millenials are all working together on various units/areas of hospitals. Are we all working together as a cohesive staff? Or are we all just together working on the same shift? There is a huge difference between working together and just working at the same time. Generational differences are real and apparent in the hospital setting, and we hope that they aren’t impacting patient care!

Read more on allnurses.com

Boogie Wipes: To Wipe out Kiddo Cold and Flu Germs

Knowing that I am both a nurse and a mom, the folks over at Boogie Wipes® sent me some samples to use with my little one, which is awesome because I actually already used Boogie Wipes for her, and now I was just able to stock her diaper bag with all of their goodies we could take them on the road, but I also get to share how they can help keep your child healthy also.

Boogie WipesWinter is always a time when we are indoors more because it’s cold (especially for those of us who live on the East Coast) breathing in re-circulated air, which put us at a higher risk for contracting the common cold and flu viruses…and spreading them to others. And just like for adults, there are some pretty easy and key tips for trying to keep our babies as germ free as possible too. We had a cold ravage our house recently, but miraculously, the baby didn’t get more than a few sniffles, and I have to thank breast milk and Boogie Wipes for that! I know that the power of antibodies in breast milk rather speaks for itself, but why Boogie Wipes? Boogie Wipes are not only wipes for stuffy and crusty little noses, that helps to gently soften and dissolve the boogies away with a gentle normal saline infusion and fresh scent, but there is also Boogie Mist, a gentle saline mist that can be spritzed up the nose to help break up and soften mucous crusts in the nose, and also dissolve it. Boogie Mist can help to keep nasal passages moist and yet clear of mucous (boogies) to prevent post nasal drip, which is one of the leading causes dry coughs in the winter. And for my little girl, it gave me piece of mind that her nasal airways were free and clear so she could suck on her pacifier to soothe herself to sleep, feed without breathing issues, and she would be able to breathe freely and sleep all night, so she could fight off any bugs. The fresh scent of the Boogie Wipes (there is also a grape scent) made it more enjoyable for my baby, who actually liked getting the little spritz up her nose, and she loves the wipes as well, and knows them by scent…I get a big smile when the Boogie Wipes come out, as opposed to a head turned to the side!

Even if you don’t have any illnesses spreading through your home, the use of Boogie Wipes and Boogie Mist can help to prevent colds and illnesses and keep your child healthy. Boogies in the nose, are one of the bodies first line of defense in preventing viruses into the body, and by wiping them off and dissolving them away, we are assisting our children in gently removing the risk of a virus right at the source before it has a chance to infect. Also, if a stuffy nose is keeping your small child from breathing properly at night, they will not sleep well, and that is a benefit to no one (and I am sure a crabby baby is the last thing anyone wants, if you can prevent it!) so Boogie Mist can help to open up those nasal passages and allow for improved breathing. Plus, normal saline is so gentle on the skin, that it has no negative side effects, it is one of the most gentle substances you can put in or in your body.

Also, one of the hardest (near impossible) way to prevent colds is keeping your kids hands away from their mouths and keeping them clean (and I am saying that as the mother of a 6 month-old who is teething and shoving everything she sees in her mouth). It is inevitable that kids will be kids and they explore with their hands by touching things, and that stuff always seems to make it to their face to rub something (an eye, nose, mouth). One great way for a quick clean, especially if you don’t want to put an alcohol based cleaner on your childs hands, is to use a Boogie Wipe, as it is infused with normal saline, which won’t damage the skin, and is safe for them to then put into their mouths: it’s a win/win!

Between the safeness, effectiveness, and the great scents that my baby loves, I think that every mom should stock up on Boogie Wipes and Boogie Mist to try to ward off those nasty winter bugs!

Yours in Good Health,

 

Placenta Pills: Do they live up to the hype?

Mostly I tackle topics from my readers (and I promise that I am going to start on those ASAP!) but I had a little experiment I was running myself that I wanted to share with you all. Eight weeks ago I had my amazingly beautiful baby girl, and in preparing for her birth, our new life together, I wanted to make sure that I was as ready as I could be for the challenges I was about to face, both mentally and physically. One of my biggest fears was postpartum depression, I have no idea why because I was not really at risk, but I wanted to limit my risks and ensure that the three months of maternity leave with my baby girl were the best possible three months for all of us, so I looked into taking placenta pills. It sounds gross, but it was one of the best decisions I made for post birth planning.

What is postpartum depression?

Postpartum depression effects around 11-20% of women annually (its around 600,000 in the US alone). It’s normal to have some mild symptoms of feeling sad, anxious, and mood swings after giving birth because you have so many hormonal changes going on in your body once that baby comes out, and it should stabilize in a few days to week or so after birth. Postpartum depression lasts longer than two weeks and can have more extreme symptoms of: severe mood swings, severe anxiety (anxiety attacks), excessive crying, inability to bond with your baby, inability to sleep, lack of eating, irritability and anger, feelings of worthlessness, a lack of enjoyment in activities you used to like, and more severely thoughts of harming yourself, your baby, or suicide. If you ever have any thoughts of harming yourself, your baby, or others, please call your local emergency services immediately (911 in the US). These symptoms can last a few months, and even longer.

Can anything increase my risk?

Unfortunately, because of a lack of sleep during labor (possibly) and after having the baby, along with hormone changes, every woman has a risk of falling prey to postpartum depression. There are a few factors that may increase your risk of postpartum depression such as:

– Family/personal history of depression

– Previous postpartum depression

– Stressful events during pregnancy: illness, loss of job, change in relationship, or pregnancy complications

– Health problems with your newborn (including colic)

– Difficulty breastfeeding

– Lack of support from partner/friends/family postpartum

How can I prevent it?

Having a baby is not easy, and it is an amazing experience, but you need support of others to help support you, and if you don’t have that support to keep you and your baby healthy, you can easily fall into a depression. Being aware of the signs of depression, as well as having supporters that are also aware of your needs and the signs of postpartum depression is key. Sometimes you need to just get a few minutes to yourself or nap, and it can make you feel like a new person, so having someone who can help you to get you some time alone, when you know your baby is safe and being cared for, is key. But there is another thing you can try: placenta pills.

What are Placenta Pills?

Placenta pills (encapsulation) are a bit controversial in the medical world, but animals, tribeswomen, and now celebrities alike all eat their placenta in some form. The placenta is the organ that forms for your baby to live and grow inside of your uterus, and it is delivered after the baby. The placenta is filled with your own hormones, iron, and other nutrients, so ingesting it help to gently lower your oxytocin hormone levels, thus decreasing the risk of postpartum depression, mood swings, and insomnia related to abrupt hormone changes, and it can even release a hormone that helps to reduce stress. Placenta pills can also help to increase your energy levels and increase breast milk quantity by supplying optimal nutrients to support it, including replacing your iron lost through the birthing process. You can eat your placenta raw, cooked, or encapsulated in pill form; whichever makes you most comfortable.

What’s the science?

So, there really is no research to support placenta pills either as beneficial or detrimental to your health. As a practice throughout the animal kingdom and since the beginning of man, essentially, which is still practiced in rural tribes throughout the world, it truly cannot seem harmful and I felt that it could only be helpful.Placenta Pills

My experience: I worked with Kristin Lynch of Placenta Therapeutics to help encapsulate my placenta. We discussed various options for the encapsulation process (the placenta can be encapsulated raw or steamed) and the benefits of each process, and she helped to walk me through it, along with the dose of the pills. I had her make half raw and half steamed pills, so that I could slowly wean down my hormone levels to normal. Once I got over the fact that I was ingesting one of my own organs, the results were amazing: I had absolutely no signs of postpartum depression, my milk came in right away (and I have actually been an over producer of milk), I’ve had energy (much more than other postpartum women that I have seen), and my sleeping has been great (I admit it helps that my baby is a fabulous little sleeper and eater). I truly believe that the placenta pills helped to calm me and stabilize my hormones throughout this postpartum time; I normally react to my own hormonal changes (I get very crabby monthly) but I really had minimal, if any, changes/reactions after giving birth. Kristin was amazing and checked in on me to make sure I was feeling well and she was available to answer any questions I had, but there were no issues, the pills were a complete success.

I would highly recommend anyone to try the encapsulation, especially if you have had issues with postpartum depression previously, or if you are at risk, to try to prevent it. It cannot harm you, as long as you handle the placenta appropriately (if you have certain infections, or an abnormal placenta you might not be able to use it for encapsulation). If you are in the greater MA area, I highly suggest Kristin Lynch at Placenta Therapeutics (I was in no way given any goods/services for free, I just really think she is amazing), but look here for encapsulation services by reputable services (i.e. they follow blood-born pathogen protocols and ensure that your placenta isn’t exposed to anything infectious!)

Yours in good health

B

 

 

Nurses Unite: In Response to “The View”

Normally I stick to topics related to questions asked by my readers, and give scientific answers, but today I want to step on my soapbox and make my own response to support the #NursesUnite cause. I love reading all of the stories of the nurses in different roles explaining to Joy Behar why they need their stethoscopes…and they aren’t just a part of a costume and they are certainly not only for doctors, but there is another side of being a nurse too. Let me explain what I mean, by telling you MY story:

Currently, one of my stethoscopes is in my office, and it has been lonely for a while as I am on maternity leave from my ‘nursing’ position (ironically nursing my baby somewhat non-stop) but my other stethoscope is right at home with me. Why would I need a “special” nurses stethoscope (because it HAS to be different from a doctor one, right?) outside of the hospital? Well let me tell you, just because I have traded my “nurses costume” for some nursing tops covered in baby spit up for a couple of months doesn’t mean that I haven’t helped to treat friends, family members, and neighbors! Not a day goes by that I am not asked to “just look” at someone’s rash, help a neighbors or friends child with a bump/bruise/cut, give health and wellness advice, let them know the proper dosing of over the counter (OTC) medications, suggest OTC remedies for common ailments, or check someone’s blood pressure that thinks it might be high, but they aren’t sure. Do I mind? Nope. I love helping people, and it is a relief for my friends and family to know that they can count on me and I am there to help with medical needs and advice (which can be confusing and scary!) I will do anything in my power to help others, whenever I can because I am a nurse.

IMG_8843I am always a nurse, even outside of the hospital, and I will always be a nurse. Every single nurse is a nurse every day, with or without our “costume” and stethoscope. We care for people, we help people, and even when they quite literally shit on us, we support and assist them and let them know it is OK. We give all we have to help people at their lowest times and when we cheer them on at their highest. We don’t ask for praise; we do what we do because we love it, despite working long hours, holidays, weekends, and countless days/nights away from our families. Who chooses to work a job where you might get a full lunch break, time to empty your bladder in a 12 hour shift, covered in bodily fluids, or help to save a life/help a family as they lose a loved one all in one day? A nurse.

In short, thank you Miss Colorado for bringing our profession and hard work to light, and a big thank you to the ladies of ‘The View’ for your ridiculous comments and “apology” because we all heard you…we just choose to educate you on your ignorance and rise above.

Nurses Unite!

Yours in Good Health,

B

Am I On Camera? No Paparazzi Please!

In a time where technology seems to be the common theme throughout the world, and the majority of people have smartphones with video and camera capabilities at their fingertips, it is most certainly changing healthcare. Have you ever thought to ask a nurse if you could use a camera to record them during standard care for you or a loved one…or even secretly taped by them?

We are living in interesting times….Read more and join the discussion here on allnurses.com

camera

For my Nursing Readers on Allnurses.com: Nursing Advancement

For everyone who is in the nursing profession, you have heard of a clinical ladder, clinical or professional advancement, etc. and it is an interesting how people respond to changes, even when they are for the positive to make processes to increase consistency and accountability. Have you clinically advanced and feel supported by your hospital? Read more on allnurses.com

Smoothies to start your day in 2015

There is no doubt that starting your day by doing something healthy for your body, not only makes you feel good, but it leads to you making healthy choices throughout the day. One of the best ways to start your day on a healthy note is to drink your morning meal in the form of a smoothie. They are also great for an afternoon pick-me-up snack, or sometimes, as an alternative for a calorie-heavy dessert because there are so many different “recipes” to make your smoothies that meet your dietary needs. If you are someone that normally buys your food instead of making it, there are smoothie places all over the place, but make sure that they aren’t adding calorie heavy ingredients to your smoothies (like ice cream!), and you may want to invest in a blender and make your own so you know what is going into them and you can experiment with your recipes, and save yourself some money along the way. You can cater your smoothies to your dietary needs: high protein, Omega-3 supportive, heavy on fruits, a green veggie power pack, or whatever else you might want to add in. Here are some options for smoothies for specific dietary needs, but feel free to mix and match, to make it the consistency you want (adding ice might make it colder and thinner versus adding fat free yogurt can help to thicken it up), and taste the way you want (adding agave can add a low glycemic index bit of sweetness). Also, remember that if you live in an area where fresh fruits and veggies aren’t readily available all year round, as I do, the best option is to buy fresh frozen fruits and veggies as they are usually flash frozen and still full of vitamins and nutrients that canned or less than optimal fruits and veggies won’t have.

 

The top 10 trends to optimize your smoothies:

  1. A focus on nutrition, instead of calories (i.e. higher calorie smoothies with avocados, nut butter, yogurt are OK as long as we are using them as a meal replacement)
  2. Packing smoothies with various veggies (think: spinach and kale)
  3. Chia seeds should be an for protein
  4. Oatmeal addition for fiber, flavor, and antioxidants
  5. Nut butters as protein boosters
  6. Maximizing antioxidant ingestion through a mix of veggies and fruits
  7. Keeping a mix of fiber, fat (the good kind!), and protein in each smoothie
  8. Flaxseed should be a staple addition for fiber, antioxidants, and Omega-3 additions.
  9. A little agave or honey can sweeten your smoothie with health benefits and they will be easy on your waistline
  10. Don’t be afraid to be creative to meet your taste AND nutrition needs!!

A few of my favorite smoothies are below, to give you some to try, and you can always get fancy and make additions.

For a Protein Boost:

Nut Butter, Oat, and Banana:

1 ½ cup Milk

¼ cup peanut butter (or almond, cashew- whichever you choose)

1 banana

2 teaspoons rolled oats

*1 teaspoon honey (optional for added sweetness)

*1 teaspoon chia seeds (for added protein)

Add all ingredients to a blender, add water or milk to change the consistency, and you have a power packed protein punch!

Citrus and Blackberry Protein Smoothie:

1 cup blackberries

1 banana

1 orange (peeled)

¾ cup Greek yogurt (I use 0% Fage because I think it has the nest consistency)

Put all of the ingredients in a blender, and you can add some orange juice or more yogurt to change the consistency to your liking. This is a great morning smoothie and a way to get protein without a nut source if you have allergies or just don’t wanted the added fats!

Get Your Daily Fruit Fix:

**To add a bit of extra Vitamin C and some protein, a good base is 200ml of Orange Juice and milk (whichever type of milk you prefer- soy, cow, almond, etc.) and then start to add your fruits and fiber on top of it!

Mango Berry Mix:

Create the base (from above)

Add mango pieces (1/4 mango)

4 strawberries

1/4 cup blueberries

2 teaspoons ground flaxseed

4 teaspoons oatmeal

Blend until smooth and drink up the fruity and fiber filled blend!!smoothie 2015

Antioxidant Mix:

¼ cup pitted sweet cherries (frozen are easiest)

¼ cup strawberries

¼ cup raspberries

¼ cup blueberries

1 cup pomegranate juice

Blend them all together, and you can add water or more pomegranate juice to adjust the thickness, to get an antioxidant packed start to your day…or to make the most of your afternoon snack as a yummy pick-me-up!

Add Veggies to Your Daily Routine:

Green Power:

1 granny smith apple cored and sliced (leave the peel on)

1 ½ cup green grapes (you can go with red, but it makes the color a little funky)

½ cup apple juice

1 cup baby spinach or baby kale (packed tightly)

½ cucumber

Throw all ingredients into a blender, adding more apple juice for a thinner consistency, and drink your veggies down.

Carrot Cucumber Smoothie:

1 cup carrots (I use baby carrots….but if you don’t have a Vitamix or a Ninja, you may want to opt to use carrot juice to save your blender from over working it’s blades and motor!)

1 cucumber

1 cup apple juice

Mix them all up until smooth, adjusting the consistency with apple juice, water, or carrot juice and get your days servings of veggies all in one delicious drink!

Added tip: Think about adding some flax seed or chia seeds to any recipe to add Omega-3’s for heart health, and you can also think about adding a scoop of protein powder (think: whey) to any of the smoothies to add protein, especially if you have had a hard workout to help and support muscle re-growth.

From start to finish, making a smoothie, to cleaning up your blender, is about a 15-minute process that can add loads of nutrition to your diet, in a simple and delicious way. Whether you are trying to stick to a healthier diet, looking to lose weight, or support a healthy pregnancy, smoothies are the best way to add a power boost of nutrition that is filling and satisfying. Start adding a smoothie into your daily routine, and omit a high calorie snack or meal (like breakfast), and start to feel the healthy difference!

Yours in Good Health

B

Nurse Empowerment

For all of you dedicated readers, I have taken a small break, and I appreciate you all checking to make sure I am alive and still in the blogging world- fear not, your questions will be answered!!

I have taken a small break, as I have had a TON of stuff going on in my world, which you all will learn about very soon, but one of the really exciting things is a collaboration with a bunch of great innovative nurse leaders on a book about nurse empowerment.

I wrote a chapter about something very near and dear to my heart, as I spend a LOT of time every day working on this project and helping nurses improve their skills with cardiac and respiratory emergencies, through running a Mock Code program. Screen Shot 2015-03-22 at 10.11.43 AM

For all of you interested in learning more about the book, Form Frustrated to Fulfilled: The Empowered Nurses’ System please check it out here.

And for those of you interested in my free giveaway to help others start a program just like mine, which I am so passionate about, please feel free to download my PDF right from here:

mock code tips

I appreciate all of your support through this process!!

In Good Health

B