Celebrate Nursing Assistants!

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Nursing assistants are a huge part in healthcare! Nurse aides, orderlies, and geriatric aides are other names associated with this occupation. Nursing assistants work under registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, plus other medical staff. The duties of nursing assistants seem endless! Some duties  include bathing and feeding as well as assisting with other patient needs. They also pass on information regarding their patients to the supervising nurse. Nursing assistants spend a lot of time with their patients and often build wonderful relationships with them!

Some work settings that may employ nursing assistants include hospitals, clinics, home health agencies, nursing homes, and many more. Requirements to become a nursing assistant vary. Most require a high school diploma or equivalent. Training also varies as it can be offered at vocational schools, community colleges, geriatric facilities, or by the employer.

The work that nursing assistants do is not always appreciated enough! That is why June 15-22 is Nursing Assistant Week! Although they should be appreciated regularly, take these next few days to give an extra special thanks for the work that nursing assistants do!

Sources:

http://www.mshealthcareers.com/careers/nursingassistant.htm

http://www.carepromotions.com/blog/Celebrate

Donate Blood to Save Lives!

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Blood is vital to our lives, but sometimes we need to share a little bit of it with others! Blood Donor Day takes place on June 14th. It is a day to bring awareness for the need of blood. Every year, emergencies affect over 250 million people. This fact inspires this year’s slogan: “What can you do? Give blood. Give now. Give Often.” Donating blood is very helpful for emergencies. Blood transfusions are very common in healthcare and having enough blood in stock is important to ensure that the best care possible is provided to patients.

Some benefits of blood for the recipient include helping the patient live longer, improving quality of life, and supporting surgeries when blood loss could be significant. A single donation of blood can save up to three people!

To be eligible to donate blood and platelets, you must be healthy and feeling well, be at least 17 years old in most states, and weigh at least 110 pounds. To be a Power Red donor (donating two units red blood cells and keeping your plasma and platelets), you must be healthy and feeling well, be at least 17 years old, be at least 5’1″ for males or 5’5″ for females, and weigh at least 130 pounds for males and 150 pounds for females. Keep in mind that some of these requirements may vary by case. Before you donate, you will have a mini physical to record your temperature, blood pressure, and hemoglobin to make sure your blood is safe to use. If you have any health conditions that you know of, check with your blood donor site to see if you are still eligible.

Please consider to donate blood! So many people are in need, and so many people can be saved!

Sources:

https://www.askideas.com/42-world-blood-donors-day-2017/

http://www.who.int/campaigns/world-blood-donor-day/2017/event/en/

http://www.redcrossblood.org/donating-blood/eligibility-requirements

http://www.redcrossblood.org/donating-blood/types-donations/double-red-blood-cells-donation

MSUM Students Study Abroad – London 2017

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A group of 21 graduate and undergraduate students led by SNHL faculty Brandi Sillerud, DNP and Nancy Stock, DNP recently returned from a week-long study abroad trip to London, UK. The focus of the trip was to explore healthcare and nursing in London with cultural immersion. The group left on May 20th and returned May 26th, 2017. The weather was fabulous with temps in the 70’s with no rain!! The group had a wonderful experience with an itinerary that included:

  • Guided walking and bus tours of London to places such as Parliament, Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, Shakespeare’s Theatre, Convent Gardens, etc.
  • Meeting with a Master’s prepared nurse specializing in Pediatric Palliative Care.
  • Site visit at ‘Antidote” a web-based business matching patients with U.S. clinical trials
  • Tour of the Florence Nightingale museum
  • Panel discussion on UK’s National Health System (NHS) healthcare delivery model
  • Tour of the Royal College of Physicians & medicinal garden with a lecture on medical history
  • Site visit at the Good Care Group focusing on elder care in the community setting.
  • Cultural excursions included: London Eye, River Thames cruise, Tower of London, plus others.
  • Multi-cultural dining experiences included the popular fish & chips and an Indian dinner.

Some of the comments made by students include:

  • “A trip of a lifetime!!”
  • “I learned so much about the differences and similarities between US and UK healthcare!”
  • “Where are we going next time??”

Check out more photos and comments on the MSUM Healthcare & Nursing in London Facebook Page

Submitted by : Nancy Stock, DNP, Assistant Professor

Stay Safe Outdoors This Summer!

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Summer is the time to be outside and enjoy the weather, but don’t forget to protect yourself from the sun, bugs, and traffic! Taking the time to put on sunscreen, bug spray, and protective clothing may seem unnecessary and something that you don’t want to do, but read on to find out why you should!

It takes just fifteen minutes for the sun to damage your skin, but that doesn’t mean you can’t soak up the rays! Wear sunscreen, take breaks in the shade, and cover your skin with long sleeve shirts and pants. Wearing long sleeve shirts and pants may not be your forte, so you should at least keep a t-shirt or some sort of cover-up to provide some protection. Keep a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses on hand to protect your face, eyes, and ears. When using sunscreen, make sure you are covering all exposed areas of skin and don’t forget to reapply! Applying once for being outside for more than two hours just does not cut it. Why should you follow all of these protective recommendations? The reason is skin cancer! Overexposure to the sun can cause skin cancer. The rate of melanoma is increasing faster than other cancers and is the most deadly form of skin cancer. On average, it kills one person every hour. Statistics have also shown that just one sunburn increases your risk for skin cancer in the future. If using sun protection to prevent the possibility of getting cancer isn’t enough to convince you to protect yourself from the sun, then I am not sure what is!

The sun isn’t the only thing you need to protect yourself from. Watch out for the ticks and mosquitoes! There are no vaccines or medications to protect you from vector borne illnesses such as Zika, dengue, and Lyme disease. The CDC recommends using a bug spray with at least 20% DEET. While other bug sprays can repel mosquitoes, they may not repel ticks. If you are using sunscreen and bug spray at the same time, apply the sunscreen first and allow it to dry before spraying on repellent. Wearing the appropriate clothing is a great way to keep the bugs from biting. Wear long sleeved shirts, long pants, socks, shoes, and a hat. If you are walking through tall grass or walking through wooded areas, tuck in your shirt and tuck your pants into your socks to keep bugs from crawling under your clothes. Always check yourself to make sure that there are no bugs crawling on you or trying to bite. After coming indoors, put clothes in the dryer on high heat to kill any ticks that may be hanging on. If you start feeling sick after being bit by a mosquito or tick, you may need to contact your doctor.

If exercising outdoors is your thing, then this is for you! Make sure you dress for the weather. Try to make sure your clothing is reflective so that drivers can see you. When crossing intersections, make sure you look for cars before crossing. Don’t forget to wear sunscreen and bug spray, too! If you use headphones, make sure you can still hear what is going on around you. You should also exercise in well-traveled areas and let people know where you are. Following these recommendations can increase your chances of being safe during your workout.

Take the steps to protect yourself from your surroundings. Risks are taken with everything we do, not just going outside so don’t let sunburns, bugs, and potential danger ruin your outdoor fun!

 

Sources:

http://www.sunsafetyalliance.org/bare_facts.html

https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/skin/basic_info/sun-safety.htm

https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/avoid-bug-bites

https://health.clevelandclinic.org/2013/05/9-tips-for-safe-outdoor-workouts/

http://www.ladysoda.com/the-heat-is-on/

It’s Fresh Fruits and Veggies Month 2017!

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It’s already June and summer weather is here! Growing season has kicked off, and soon we will have fresh produce! Whether you grow your own produce or check out the farmers markets, take advantage of the fruits and vegetables that go from the garden, field, or tree straight to you. It’s important to be getting enough fruits and vegetable as they are great sources of vitamins and minerals such as calcium, fiber, iron, Vitamin A, and Vitamin C. Unfortunately, only about one in ten people are consuming enough fruits and vegetables. Daily recommendations include 2-1/2 to 3 cups of vegetables a day and 1-1/2 to 2 cups of fruits a day. There are many ways to get your fruits and veggies into you diet. Have a salad with a meal and add some extra vegetables to it. You can also make smoothies or add fruit to some yogurt. Reaching our daily intakes seems difficult, but it doesn’t have to be! Be creative and find ways that you can incorporate them into your diet.

Take a look around your area and find farmers markets near you. If you live in the Fargo-Moorhead area, check out the following farmers markets:

  • Farmers Market and Beyond
  • Downtown Festival Market
  • Whistle Stop Park Farmers Market
  • Gardener’s Flea Market
  • Great Plains Produce Assn. Community FM Farmers Market
  • Community Farmers Market

Many of these farmers markets do not begin until July, but that doesn’t mean you have to wait until then to get some fruits and vegetables into your diet. Do some research to find recipes you may want to try with your fresh produce. Some produce that are in season during the summer months include radishes, cucumbers, bell peppers, carrots, zucchini, corn, rhubarb, cherries, blackberries, strawberries, peaches, tomatoes, and melons. Try to include a variety of produce into your diet. Your body will thank you!

 

Sources:

http://www.pbs.org/food/fresh-tastes/whats-in-season-during-the-summer/

https://consumer.healthday.com/public-health-information-30/centers-for-disease-control-news-120/only-1-in-10-americans-eats-enough-fruits-and-veggies-cdc-701213.html

http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/fresh-fruit-veggie-month

Make Every Day World No Tobacco Day!

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Every year on May 31st, the World Health Organization (WHO) sponsors World No Tobacco Day. The purpose is to spread awareness about the dangers of tobacco. Tobacco is the largest preventable cause of death in the United States. Around the world it is the cause of death for almost 7 million people. Cancer, heart disease, stroke, COPD, and lung disease are just a few health conditions that can be a result of tobacco use. Read the following facts to get an idea of how serious tobacco use is.

  • In the United States, 480,000 deaths per year are caused by smoking. 41,000 of those deaths are victims of secondhand smoke.
  • In the world, 890,000 of the 7 million deaths per year caused my tobacco are victims of second hand smoke.
  • Smokers die about 10 years earlier than those who do not smoke.
  • At the current smoking rate for American’s younger than 18, one in thirteen are expected to die prematurely.

Preventing tobacco use in middle school and high school students is an important part of stopping tobacco use. They are more at risk for nicotine addiction and are more likely to smoke into adulthood. Cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, hookahs, and electronic cigarettes are just a few of the tobacco products common in this generation.

What is happening to reduce the harmful effects of tobacco? Ideally, everyone who uses tobacco would quit, but that is a tedious process. One thing that has taken a step toward ending tobacco use is taxes. Higher taxes are used to discourage smokers from buying tobacco as many tobacco users are in low-income communities. Another tactic is the use of anti-smoking commercials. Have you ever seen those commercials where individuals with a stoma are interviewed? How about the ones where tobacco users have to pay for their tobacco products with some of their skin? There are many more, but the intent of these commercials is to encourage people to say no to tobacco. Laws are another tactic used to avoid smoking in public places. These laws are used to prevent harmful effects of secondhand smoking unto those who choose not to smoke.

Do you or someone you know use tobacco? Become educated about all of the health risks associated with tobacco whether you do or do not use it. There are places to go for help to quit smoking. Becoming educated about all of the benefits from quitting tobacco will amaze you. Our bodies start to heal almost immediately after quitting. Tobacco affects everyone and the best way to prevent those affects is to eliminate tobacco use all together. The benefits of quitting can begin to happen in as little as 20 minutes and continue throughout life. Encourage your friends and family to be tobacco free!

 

Sources:

https://www.cancer.org/latest-news/world-no-tobacco-day.html

http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs339/en/

 

Are You Ready to Beat the Heat?

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Summer is finally here! Now you can spend your time at the lake, going camping, attending baseball games, and going swimming! These outdoor activities are exciting and fun. It would be unfortunate if the high heat had to ruin it! Heat illnesses cause more deaths per year than the combination of hurricanes, lightning, tornadoes, earthquakes, and floods! Death can be the result of very severe cases of heat illness, but many people are victims of heat illness and are able to recover if proper action is taken. There are several factors that affect the risk of getting heat illness:

  • Climate – those who live in hot and humid environments have a higher risk
  • Exercise and Activity – these can make it even harder for the body to cool off
  • Age – the elderly and young children are more at risk
  • Pre-existing illness and conditions – these may affect how the body responds to heat
  • Drugs and Medications – Some may make a person more susceptible to dehydration

Here is a list of heat illnesses:

  • Heat Cramps: these are painful, involuntary muscle contractions that are a result of strenuous activity in high heat. Loss of fluids and electrolytes are the underlying cause
    • To treat heat cramps, rest then massage and stretch the cramped muscles. Also make sure to drink fluids.
  • Heat Exhaustion: this illness occurs when lost fluid is not replaced. Signs and symptoms include weakness, dizziness, rapid and weak pulse, heavy sweating, nausea, fainting, and more. Heat cramps can also occur.
    • The first thing you should do if you are experiencing symptoms of heat exhaustion is to remove yourself from the heat. You will then want to cool your body down by removing excess clothing, spraying body with cool water or applying cool, wet cloths to skin, and rehydrating with an electrolyte drink such as Gatorade or just drinking milk.
  • Heat Stroke: this is the most serious heat illness. The body is not able to cool itself down. The main signs and symptoms include a body temperature above 104 degrees, flushed skin, decreased level of consciousness, altered mental status, convulsions/seizures, and unconsciousness.
    • To treat a heat stroke, the most important thing to do is to seek medical help immediately. Next you will want to try to cool the body using ice water soaked towels until medical help arrives. Bringing down the body temperature helps to reduce the chance and severity of brain damage, organ failure, and death.

It is so important to understand and know how to take care of heat illnesses. Although staying out of the heat is encouraged, at least try to limit your time exposed to the heat and take frequent breaks in the shade. Limit your time outside between 11am and 6pm which is when the heat is highest. It is also important to stay hydrated. Remember to wear sunscreen and protective clothing. Don’t let the heat put a damper on your summer fun!

 

Sources:

https://toolkit.climate.gov/nihhis/

http://www.weather.gov/rah/heat

http://www.nws.noaa.gov/com/weatherreadynation/social_media/spring_heat.html

American Red Cross emergency medical response. Yardley, PA: StayWell Health & Safety Solutions, 2011. Print.