Zika Virus 101

Zika Virus

Before 2016, most Americans had never heard of the Zika virus. Now that the virus is spreading rapidly through certain parts of the world and threatening to spread to parts of the United States, it is on everyone’s radar. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) recently declared a public health emergency in relation to the virus.

It’s important that healthcare workers and the general public stay informed about this dangerous virus. After all, education is one of the important first steps in fighting any outbreak. Here’s a breakdown of what you need to know about the Zika virus.

How it Spreads

The Zika virus is spread to humans through the bite of two particular mosquito types called Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus. These mosquitoes are also responsible for transmitting dengue fever, chikungunya, and yellow fever. They feed both indoors and outdoors, often during the day. These insects, like many mosquitos, breed near standing water.

At this time, there is some debate as to whether the virus is transmittable from human-to-human. Until recently, experts believed that this type of transmission was not possible. However, a recent case in Dallas points to human-to-human transmission being possible via sexual intercourse.

Symptoms

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around 1 in 5 people infected with the Zika virus will experience symptoms. These symptoms are often similar to the flu and can include:

  • Fever
  • Rash
  • Joint pain
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache

Typically, these symptoms remain mild and last a few days to a few weeks. Although the virus is unpleasant, hospitalization and death due to the Zika virus are very rare.

For Pregnant Women

Although symptoms in most people are mild, the Zika virus can have major ramifications for pregnant women and their unborn children. The virus is believed to cause a serious birth defect called microcephaly.

According to the CDC, “Microcephaly is a condition where a baby’s head is much smaller than expected. During pregnancy, a baby’s head grows because the baby’s brain grows. Microcephaly can occur because a baby’s brain has not developed properly during pregnancy or has stopped growing after birth, which results in a smaller head size.”

Sometimes, the microcephaly is an isolated condition. However, it can present with other symptoms including:

  • Seizures
  • Developmental delays
  • Problems regarding movement and balance
  • Intellectual disabilities
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Hearing and vision difficulties

For these reasons, it is extremely important that women who are pregnant or may become pregnant avoid areas where the Zika virus is present. In fact, some countries that are dealing with the virus have asked women not to get pregnant for several years.

Treatment

Currently, there are no vaccines or medication available for treating the Zika virus. Patients with symptoms are advised to get rest, drink plenty of fluids, and take acetaminophen for the pain. Patients who may have contracted the Zika virus should not take any NSAIDs, at least until dengue fever is ruled out by a healthcare provider.

Prevention

 Although no locally transmitted cases have been found in the United States, some experts believe it could spread to Gulf Coast states as temperatures rise. Currently, mosquito bite prevention is the best method for stopping the spread of the Zika virus. Whether or not the virus spreads to the Unites States, it’s always a good idea to prevent mosquito bites, as the insects can carry other diseases such as West Nile virus. See the CDC’s guidelines for more information.

What are you doing to prepare for the Zika virus? For more tips, news, and industry information, make sure to follow NurseCore on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

How Nurses Can Make 2016 Great

New Year 2016

New beginnings are abundant every January, and this year is no exception. Perhaps you’ve resolved to hit the gym more often, eat cleaner foods, or be a better spouse. These are all admirable resolutions to make, but what about your nursing career?

Whether you’ve been a nurse for decades or you’re just starting out, there are plenty of goals you can make and achieve that will make 2016 the best year of your career. Not sure where to begin? Here are a few goals all nurses could benefit from.

1. Sleep More

Sleep comes up in many blogs and articles about the well being of nurses, and for good reason. Good sleep sets the foundation for emotional and physical wellness. Without adequate rest, it’s difficult to reach your full potential.

This year, vow to work toward getting 8 hours of sleep each day. You can start by going to bed just 5 minutes earlier, then 5 more minutes earlier, and so on until you reach your goal. This time next year, you’ll feel more energetic and fulfilled!

2. Say “Thank You” More

You know how good it feels when someone recognizes your effort? Spread that joy to your colleagues every day. If you vow to thank just one person each day, you’ll find that your workplace is happier in no time. Also, this practice will force you to look for something to be grateful for every day. Who couldn’t benefit from a little extra gratitude?

3. Take More Breaks

Nurses are notorious for not taking their well-deserved breaks. However, this is not what’s best for the nurses or patients. In order to stay alert and attentive, you must give yourself a few moments to catch your breath and eat. Think of it in terms of airplane safety. There’s a reason flight attendants tell you to put your mask on first before assisting others. Apply that reasoning to your career and see how things change for the better.

4. Become a Mentor

Think back to when you began nursing. Like a lot of new nurses, you may have felt overwhelmed or like an outsider. It’s very likely that someone you work with is feeling the same way. You may find that becoming a mentor to that person helps you both in a variety of ways.

While you will certainly help an up-and-coming nurse, you’ll find that being a mentor helps you just as much. Many mentors find that their career and knowledge advances after taking on such a task. Show someone the ropes this year, and you might just make it your best year yet.

When you’re making goals and plans for 2016, don’t forget your nursing career. How are you going to make this year phenomenal? Let us know. For more information, tips, and ideas, make sure to follow NurseCore on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

5 Gift Ideas for the Nurse in Your Life

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Christmas is coming quickly, but there’s still time to get the perfect gift for the nurse in your life. Whether you’re shopping for a loved one or that special nurse that helped you through a hard time, show your appreciation with a thoughtful gift. Fresh out of ideas? Here are some gifts that nurses love.

The Nurse Assist Clipboard

Nurse Goft 1

Being a nurse is hard, but this handy clipboard can make it a bit easier. The Prestige Medical 3309 Nurse Assist Clipboard comes with a clock, timer, alarm and calculator. Also, there are several helpful reference charts printed on this clipboard. After all, even the best nurses could use a hand! Order it here.

EKG Necklace

Gift 2

This simple necklace provides an elegant way for a nurse to showcase her passion. Handmade and customizable, this is one piece of jewelry that the nurse in your life is sure to love. Order it from Etsy here.

Chicken Soup for the Nurse’s Soul

Gift 3

All nurses have a story to tell. Help your loved one celebrate all nurses and their stories with this engaging book. This is an especially great gift for a new nurse! You can find it in many bookstores, or order it from Amazon here.

Blackout Curtains

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Do you know a night shift nurse in need of better sleep? Black out curtains offer the gift of rest and relaxation. These curtains keep the light out, allowing the owner to sleep better at any time of day. Visit your local home store to find some or order the ones pictured here.

A Massage Voucher

massage

Nursing requires a person to be on his or her feet for up to 12 hours at a time. That kind of physical demand can wreak havoc on the body! Reward your favorite nurse with a gift card to a local massage parlor.

What gifts are you giving your favorite nurse this year? Let us know! You can follow NurseCore on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Tips for Working the Holiday Shifts

Christmas Stethoscope

For most, the holiday season is a time to gather with loved ones and celebrate. It’s a time for cheer, joy, and relaxation. Unfortunately, the magic of the holiday season doesn’t stop people from getting sick and needing medical attention. This means that many dutiful, caring nurses and other medical professionals must work on the days that most people spend with their families.

This can be disheartening for many nurses. However, with some preparation and a few small changes, you can fulfill your duties as a nurse without sparing any holiday cheer. Here are just a few ways to keep the joy this season.

1. Celebrate on Off-Days

“A holiday is whenever a family can be together,” Diane Speranza, RN told Monster.com. We can’t help but agree. Try to plan family gatherings and traditions on days you will not have to work. This way, you won’t feel like you’ve missed out on all of the fun.

Alternatively, you can plan to celebrate major holidays, like Christmas, before you leave for your shift or when you get home.

2. Ask Your Family to Lend a Hand

As great as the holidays can be, they can get stressful at times. Don’t be afraid to ask your family for help planning, shopping, cooking, and decorating. A little delegating can go a long way for your emotional health.

3. Get Into the Spirit

If your workplace allows, wear holiday-themed clothing and accessories. Scrubs with candy canes, snowflake earrings, or reindeer antlers can help to make the season bright. This works especially well if you work with children.

4. Share the Holiday with Your Patients

Chances are, your patients aren’t having their ideal holiday. Nobody imagines spending the holidays needing medical attention. However, a little joy and some good tidings from a kind nurse can put a smile on any patient’s face. Happy patients make happy nurses.

5. Look on the Bright Side

Often, employers will pay higher for holiday work or even provide free meals on Christmas and Thanksgiving. Other times, the staff may make their own holiday cheer. It may not be the same as being with your family on that special day, but concentrating on the good things can help make the shift much easier.

Do you have any other tips you would add to this list? Let us know. For more tips, information, and humor follow NurseCore on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Energizing Snacks for Nurses

It takes a lot of energy to be a nurse. From being on their feet for hours on end to helping patients and running to the rescue, nurses put their bodies through a lot. It’s a tough job, but so worth the fulfillment that comes from helping others.

Unfortunately, many nurses tend to put their own health on the back burner while tending to the needs of others. Many healthcare providers turn to vending machine goodies for a quick burst of energy, and it’s easy to see why. When you’re working hard on a 12-hour shift with no time for a proper break, even the most lackluster candy bars begin to sound amazing.

But there’s a better way. Here are a few make-ahead snacks that are as delicious as they are energizing.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Energy Bites

Snack 1

You don’t have to give up chocolate or peanut butter to get the energy you need. These delicious bites are simple to make, easy to carry around with you, and really put some pep in your step. Substitute sunflower butter in place of peanut butter for an allergy-friendly recipe. Find the recipe here.

No-Bake Cheerio Bars

Snack 2

This no-bake recipe turns a few simple ingredients into something incredible. It calls for a winning combination of plain Cheerios, honey, almond butter, flaxseed meal, dark chocolate, and coconut oil. Better yet, this recipe will only set you back 100 calories per bar. Find the instructions here.

Superfood Gummies

Snack 3

This recipe calls for only four ingredients: water, a tea bag, gelatin, and some sweetener. You’ll get the energizing boost of a cup of tea, without taking the time to sip on it. Get the full recipe here.

Pumpkin Spice Latte Bites

Snack 4

If you prefer lattes to tea, this one’s for you. These bites are vegan, gluten free, dairy free, and paleo-friendly. Most importantly, they are awesome. Find the recipe here.

Candied Apple Granola Bars

Snack 5

These homemade granola bars are free from sugar, dairy, and gluten, but full of flavor. Make one batch of these and have snacks for the whole week. They would even be suitable for a breakfast on the go. Find the recipe here.

What’s your go-to healthy snack? For more helpful hints, make sure to follow NurseCore on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

5 Myths About Nurses that Should be Busted

On September 14, 2015, “The View” co-host Joy Behar carelessly asked why a nurse in the Miss America contest was wearing a “doctor’s stethoscope.” Many people in the nursing community were outraged by the insensitive comment. While the emotional reaction is certainly understandable, it’s important to think about why Behar would have such a fundamental misunderstanding of nurses’ role in healthcare.

The fact of the matter is that there are still many terrible myths about nursing that the general public believes. On top of the challenges nurses expect to face in their line of work, they must also deal with the fact that many people have little understanding and respect for the lifesaving work that they do. Here are just five of the biggest myths about nursing that need to be busted.

Myth #1: Nursing is for People Who Couldn’t Handle Being a Doctor

Fact: Nursing is a Deliberate Career Choice

Nursing School

It’s rare to come across a nurse who has never been asked why they didn’t become a doctor instead. This seemingly innocuous question comes from the misconception that nursing is simply a fallback for people who couldn’t make it as doctors. The truth is the decision to be a nurse is a conscious career choice that requires dedication.

This myth is further perpetuated by the idea that nursing is somehow easier than being a doctor. However, all people in the medical field face challenges that nobody else must face. Dentists, surgeons, paramedics, and nurses all take on uniquely difficult situations in their day-to-day lives.

Myth #2: Nurses Have Only One Career Path

Fact: Nurses Have Many Career Options Available

Group of nurses

Some people believe that once you get your nursing license, you are destined to stay at a hospital or doctor’s practice for the rest of your career. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Many nurses practice home healthcare, work in skilled nursing facilities, or even go on to teach.

There are also over 100 specialties for nurses to choose among. From hospice to hematology, and from neonatal to neurology, nurses can choose to specialize in a variety of areas. Throughout a nurse’s career, he or she may change settings or specialties a number of times.

Myth #3: Nursing is Only Grunt Work

Fact: Nurses Play an Important Role in Healthcare Decisions

Nurses save lives

It’s true, nurses do some of the things that nobody else wants to do. They leave work with stories that would gross out anyone else. However, that’s not all that nurses do. They are an important part of the medical team.

Nurses provide comfort, give life-saving medication, and sometimes have to make quick decisions to save a patient. There’s no possible way to boil nursing down into “just” one thing; nurses do anything and everything they can to provide exceptional medical care.

Myth #4: Only Women are Nurses

Fact: 6% of Nurses are Male

Male nurse

There is nothing about the nursing profession that requires nurses to be women. In fact, 6% of nurses are men. While that number is certainly low, it is steadily rising. As the stigma against male nurses starts to fall, more and more men are joining this honorable profession.

Myth #5: We Have Enough Nurses

Fact: Nursing is a Growing Profession

Help Wanted!

As baby boomers age, the need for healthcare staff will continue to grow. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has projected that Registered Nursing will be among the fastest-growing jobs through 2022. In fact, NurseCore is consistently looking for passionate and talented people to join our team.

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Share this with your friends and we can bust these myths together. For more information, tips, and nursing humor, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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