How Nurses and Family Caregivers Can Work Together

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Since 2012, November has been National Family Caregiver Month. In his proclamation for National Family Caregiver Month, President Obama said, “Family members, friends, and neighbors devote countless hours to providing care to their relatives or loved ones. During National Family Caregivers Month, we recognize and thank the humble heroes who do so much to keep our families and communities strong.” During this time, organizations such as the Caregiver Action Network (CAN) direct attention to issues that family caregivers face each day.

Family caregivers can receive support in many ways, not the least of which is from nurses and other medical professionals. Unfortunately, cooperating for the benefit of the patients can sometimes be difficult for family caregivers and nurses. This November, we would like to begin changing that. Here our NurseCore’s tips for nurses to work well with family caregivers:

1. Give the Caregiver Care

Like your patients, caregivers are in need of help. They may feel overwhelmed with responsibility, unsure of how to help, or uneasy about the future. Treat the family caregivers with the same kindness and respect that you show your patients.

2. Give Clear Instructions

Medical lingo often rolls off the tongues of skilled nurses; it’s natural to you. However, sometimes medical terms sound like a foreign language to those in our care. Make sure to give clear, easy-to-understand instructions to both your patient and the family caregiver.

3. Welcome Questions

Some people may feel hesitant to ask questions. After providing explicit instruction, be sure to ask if anyone has any questions.

4. Ask Your Own Questions

To understand the family caregiver better, you may ask questions. Ask about how he or she is feeling, or if there’s anything else that is needed. You may be surprised how much you can learn just by asking the right question.

5. Remember, You’re in This Together

Family caregivers may not always agree with or understand the decisions that medical professionals make. There may be disagreements. To keep things from getting heated, remind yourself and everyone else that you are trying to achieve the same goal: health and comfort for the patient.

How do you make sure to provide excellent care to family caregivers? Let us know! For more tips, follow NurseCore on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter!

Self-Care Strategies for Nurses

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When your job, or perhaps your calling, is to care for others relentlessly, serving becomes second nature. Giving others everything you have is as natural as breathing. While this is an admirable trait, this may lead you to exhaustion. This is the life of a nurse.

If this sounds familiar to you, consider the following quote from author Eleanor Brownn: “Self-care is not selfish. You cannot serve from an empty vessel.” Is your vessel empty? If so, it may be time to rethink your self-care routine. After all, taking time for yourself will make you happier, and perhaps a better nurse.

Of course, that’s easy said than done. Most nurses know they should take time for themselves, but aren’t sure how to do so. Here are a few strategies you can try for self-care success:

Schedule It

Free time doesn’t come freely – you have to make time. Put self-care time in your schedule like an appointment. Then treat this like an appointment with anyone else. Don’t miss it!

Do What Makes YOU Happy

Read, exercise, cook, do yoga, or just take a nap. Whatever it is that would make you happy in that moment, do that thing. It doesn’t have to be the same activity every time you do self-care. One day, you may need a long, uninterrupted nap. The next day, it might be a walk in nature. Listen to your mind and body and take it from there.

Be Consistent

Whether it’s 30 minutes every day or 2 hours every weekend, make your self-care time consistent. It takes time to build a habit, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll get the full benefits.

Do Not Be Disturbed

If you have children, have someone else watch them for a little while. Turn your phone and other distractions off. Remember, this is time for you – just you.

Work It Into Everyday Life

Even when you can’t set aside time for self-care, you can practice it during your everyday life. Here are some simple ways to do that:

  • Keep a gratitude journal. Every day, write down five things you are grateful for.
  • Practice mindfulness. Staying in the moment can help relieve anxiety.
  • Be kind to yourself. Stop being your own worst critic.
  • Learn to say, “No.” You don’t have to do everything that is asked of you.

How will you take care of yourself in the future? For more tips, follow NurseCore on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

Why Nurses Are Heroes with Heart

When someone says the word “hero,” what image comes to mind? A cape and spandex? Big explosions and fancy gadgets? With the popularity of superhero movies these days, this is what many people envision when they think of heroes.

Confident Nurses

However, some real heroes wear scrubs and sneakers. While they do have fancy gadgets to help save lives, they certainly don’t walk away from explosions on a regular basis. Nurses are real heroes. Here’s 10 reasons why:

  1. They never stop helping. Unlike comic book heroes, nurses can’t hide behind a secret identity. These heroes often end up providing medical assistance even when they are off the clock.

 

  1. Nothing scares them anymore. A little blood – even a lot of blood – is nothing to a nurse. They remain calm and get to work in the most chaotic situations.

 

  1. Nurses are literally life savers.

 

  1. They don’t just save lives either. Nurses provide care in many ways. They treat the whole patient by providing comfort and care.

 

  1. Speaking of comfort, nurses chill you out when an internet search has convinced you that you have a terrible disease. Trust the medical professionals!

 

  1. Maybe they don’t fly, but nurses sure walk a lot. These heroes stay on their feet for up to 12 hours at a time on a regular basis. It’s superhuman!

 

  1. Nurses have bladders of steel. They are so busy caring for people that they often don’t have a moment to take a bathroom break.

 

  1. They are smart enough to figure out increasingly complicated medical technology. As medical technology advances rapidly, nurses are hard at work learning new equipment and making it seem easy.

 

  1. They are fiercely passionate about helping. Nursing is not a job – it’s a calling. They are here to save lives and chew bubblegum – and they’re all out of bubblegum.

 

  1. They genuinely make the world a better place. As the saying goes, “We’d all be worse without a nurse.”

 

Share this list if you agree that nurses are heroes with heart. For more fun, insights, and ideas, follow NurseCore on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

 

Ready to join our team of heroes? Apply to NurseCore here.

5 Meatless Monday Recipes

Think Meatless Monday is just another passing fad? Think again. The idea of Meatless Monday, in which participants forgo meat one day every week to benefit their health, was coined in 2003 as part of the Healthy Monday initiative in association with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Center for a Livable Future. While chunky highlights and Livestrong bracelets have since fallen by the wayside, Meatless Monday lives on in kitchens everywhere.

It’s easy to see why. Some health organizations, including the World Cancer Research Fund, recommend limiting or reducing meat intake. Meatless Monday meals can also be less expensive than other meals as the price of meat continues to rise. Also, many families find that going meatless just one day a week helps them try new recipes and discover new foods to love!

Whether you’re a Meatless Monday veteran or just curious, here are a few easy, healthy, and meatless recipes that even the most carnivorous among us can enjoy:

Honey-Lime Sweet Potato, Black Bean, and Corn Tacos

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Honey, lime and tacos, oh my! Just reading the name of this dinner will get your mouth watering. Perhaps the best part of this recipe is that you can easily customize it to fit your unique tastes. Like pinto beans better than black beans? Switch them. Going for a completely vegan meal? Skip the cheese. Check out the recipe here and get inspired.

Vegetable Frittata

 

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This yummy recipe can be customized based on what veggies are left over from the end of the week. All you need is eggs, veggies, cheese, and a good skillet. Don’t be intimidated if you’ve never made a frittata before. This recipe will walk you through the simple steps and give you some ideas of what veggies you can use.

Simple Sandwiches

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So, you’ve got breakfast and dinner covered, but what about lunch? Meatless Monday doesn’t have to be complicated. You can brown bag it with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich – sub peanut butter for sunflower butter if necessary. Add some carrots, hummus, and a fruit cup for a filling, healthy meal.

If you’re cooking lunch at home, you can always opt for a grilled cheese. Add a few slices of avocado, onion, or peppers if you feel like getting creative. The point is to not get overwhelmed and just have fun with it.

Creamy Coconut Lentil Curry

 

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Ready to get out of your comfort zone and try some new foods on Meatless Monday? Curried lentils are a great place to start. Check out this recipe. Bonus: it makes a lot, so you may have leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch!

Quinoa Chili

 

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Sometimes Mondays require comfort food. But that doesn’t mean you have to give up on Meatless Monday that week. Check out this comforting, protein-packed chili and make Mondays better.

Trying Meatless Monday? Let us know how these recipes worked for you! For more healthy recipes, follow NurseCore on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

5 Funniest Things People Have Said While Coming Out of Anesthesia

Patients say the darndest things…especially after anesthesia. Even the most calm, cool, and collected patient can make you laugh as they slowly regain awareness.

Before the days of the Internet, nurses and patients could only tell these hilarious stories to real-life friends. Thanks to Reddit, however, we can all enjoy them. Because really, who among us couldn’t use a good laugh? Here are 5 of the best stories about coming out of anesthesia:

The Tale of Lord Molar

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Every healthcare professional has had a demanding patient, but have you ever had one who spoke like royalty? At least one dental practice has bowed down to such a patient.

Reddit user CrossFox42 wrote, “When I came out from having my wisdom teeth pulled I apparently shot up, looked at the doctor and said ‘Charlatan! I demand you return my teeth! They are mine and I will choose where they are to be spent!’ My dad said he couldn’t stop laughing because I wouldn’t leave without them. When I woke up at home I asked my dad why my teeth were in a plastic bag on the table, he told me everything and promptly started calling me Lord Molar for the rest of the night.”

All hail Lord Molar!

This A+ Mathematician

 

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Some people have trouble with negative numbers even when they are wide awake. Not this patient of Reddit user thefamiliarfez, who wrote, “You may know that we ask the patient to count down from 10 while we put him under? Well he woke up murmuring ‘-53, -54, -55…’ as if he’d been counting in his sleep.”

We’re sure the surgery lasted longer than one minute, but that’s still impressive!

A True Casanova

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 Reddit user Twitch_Half came out of anesthesia and his shell simultaneously. This once-shy lady’s man wrote, “After having my wisdom teeth removed I outrageously hit on three girls who were also in the recovery room with me (I’m normally quite a quiet and shy person). It wasn’t until I got home that was informed two of the three were in fact medical mannequins.”

We have to wonder how the nurses handled that one!

The Reddit Addict

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In the age of smart phones, many people wake up and immediately check Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Reddit. This patient just put a little twist on that routine.

An anonymous Reddit user wrote, “…I was laying on the bed and my brain thought that there was a giant iPhone in front of me. So I started swiping the imaginary touch screen trying to find my Reddit app. The nurse says to me, ‘you seeing things, Hun?’

‘Nope, just browsing Reddit’””

Stuck in Mom Mode

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Another anonymous Reddit user wrote, “…I was sitting in the recovery room after my girlfriend had her appendix out, and they wheeled in an older woman. The nurses were talking about nursey stuff, like what cubicle to put her in, and the older woman goes ‘HEY! Quiet down back there, or I’m turning this car around right now’” in a dopey anesthesia voice. On cue, both nurses go ‘Sorry, Mom!’ The lady smiles.”

Mom Mode never really goes away, even under anesthesia. What great nurses!

What’s the funniest thing a patient has ever said to you after a procedure? Let us know! For more stories, tips, and news, follow NurseCore on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

How Nurses Can Prevent Back Injuries

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Nursing is a distinctly rewarding and honorable career that gives you life-altering experiences and the satisfaction of knowing that you matter. However, there are inherent emotional and physical risks that come with such a gratifying career. Chief among these dangers is back injury.

Half of all nurses say they deal with chronic back pain. Unfortunately, 38% of nurses will experience back injury severe enough to keep them from work. Disorders related to back injury are the leading cause of lost work time and permanent disability among healthcare professionals.

Sometimes the pain is a result of the nurse spending long hours on his or her feet. However, injuries caused by handling patients are common and debilitating. In fact, some experts say that these injuries are the leading cause of our current nursing shortage.

Although these statistics are daunting and may feel overwhelming, there is still plenty of hope for nurses who are looking to avoid back injury. Here are some important steps you can take to protect your back and avoid injury during patient transfers and readjustments:

Follow All Procedures

The first thing nurses must do to prevent back injury is follow the guidelines and procedures that are in place. Make sure to pay close attention to any training you may receive regarding handling dependent patients. These research-based solutions are there to help set a safe foundation for both patients and staff.

Ask Questions

If at any point you are not sure how to operate a patient-handling device or how to proceed with a particularly challenging patient, feel free to ask for assistance. Likewise, if you know the procedure but simply need an extra set of hands, ask another nurse to help. Although it is sometimes uncomfortable to request help, it is what’s best for your health and the health of your patient.

Make Assessments

Before you being to transfer or reposition a patient, make a few simple assessments in your mind. Realistically evaluate how much you can safely lift, how much the patient weighs, and how dependent the patient is. For example, a fully dependent patient may require a mechanical lifting device. However, a somewhat dependent patient may only require a transfer belt.

Speak Up

If you believe your work environment may be dangerous to healthcare professionals or patients, say something to your supervisor. Nurses are on the front lines and have the most contact with patients. Often, a nurse will notice a hazard that nobody else could have seen.

Communicate with Your Patient

If possible, let the patient know what to expect during the transfer or readjustment. This can help ensure that the patient cooperates fully, which can make transfers much easier.

Do you have any questions about preventing back injury? Let us know! For more information and tips, make sure to follow NurseCore on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram.

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