In Honor of Nurses Week – The Stethoscope: A Tool of Nurses’ Trade since the 1930s

By Lydia Wytenbroek, York University 

Last September, the Miss America competition’s talent portion featured Kelley Johnson, Miss Colorado, a registered nurse, who appeared on stage wearing nurses’ scrubs with a stethoscope around her neck. Johnson’s talent was delivery of a monologue about her experience caring for Joe, a patient with Alzheimer ’s disease. In a competition where the majority of contestants choose to enact a song or dance, Johnson’s performance stood out as unique. But it was comments made about Johnson’s monologue the following day by the co-hosts of ABC’s The View which hurled Johnson, and the nursing profession, into the public spotlight. Continue reading

Is poverty a crime? (The Public’s Health)

A SEPTA police officer takes Jeremiyah, 2, to CHOP after he was found wandering around LOVE Park late on Oct. 16, 2015. BILL NEWBOLD

By Cynthia Connolly, Kara Finck, Debra Schilling Wolfe and Cindy W. Christian

One story in Philadelphia recently captured a lot of attention. Just before midnight on a Friday two weeks ago, a SEPTA police officer found 2-year-old Jeremiyah wandering in LOVE Park, alone. He had no shoes and no coat, despite the fact it was one of the coldest nights of the fall season thus far. The officer contacted the city Department of Human Services; a worker took Jeremiyah to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia for evaluation and subsequently placed him in foster care. A few hours later his parents, Michael Jones and Angelique Roland, who had been sleeping in a cardboard box with Jeremiyah and his 4-year-old sister, Malaysia, woke up. The parents panicked when they realized Jeremiyah was missing and contacted authorities. Within a few hours, Malaysia, too, was in the city’s care.
Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/public_health/Is-poverty-a-crime.html#2KPUgYThqyKrTVRs.99

The Nurse Will See You Now (At Home)

Image courtesy of the Barbara Bates Center for the Study of the History of Nursing

It’s been a rough couple of weeks for the nation’s registered professional nurses. First the ladies on the popular television show The View disparaged the country’s nurses by critiquing a Miss America contestant, a professional registered nurse, who dressed as a nurse and carried one of the tools of her trade, her stethoscope. Many of the country’s 3.2 million professional nurses, quickly took to social media to correct the negative impressions the ladies of The View held about nurses. Apologies followed.

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100 Years in Nursing History- Exhibit and Open House!

100 Years in Nursing

Today, over 3 million professional registered nurses deliver essential services and power our nation’s complex health care system. Their work, critical to the smooth functioning of society, often goes unacknowledged and invisible to the public. Nursing’s history is even less well known. Yet, it’s a history worth knowing providing a fascinating look at how the US devised the reliable nursing workforce on which the country depends today.

In the spirit of Archives Month this October, the Barbara Bates Center for the Study of the History of Nursing is showcasing 100 Years in Nursing History. Images from the Center’s world-renown collections will be on display as well as other materials covering a century’s worth of nursing history. From training schools to war service to Nurse Practitioners,come learn how nursing has evolved and expanded throughout time, society, and health care.

Join us Oct 12th from 5-7pm for our Open House along with a weeklong special display of artifacts from our nursing collections. The Open House and the exhibit throughout the month is FREE to anyone and refreshments and food will be served. So please, stop in and view our wonderful collection of art and artifacts on the 12th.

Exhibit100 Years in Nursing History, curated by Tiffany Hope Collier and Jessica Clark. Ongoing Monday-Friday 10am – 4pm through Oct 30.

Special Display: Oct 12-16, Open House Oct 12, 5-7pm

Location: Barbara Bates Center for the Study of the History of Nursing, University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing. Floor 2U in Claire Fagin Hall.

RSVP: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/bates-center-open-house-tickets-18263171638 

Disasters: A Nurse’s Perspective (Interview)

Last month, the nation marked the 10 year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina reminding us of the powerful and destructive impact disasters exert on people’s lives. In a similar vein, a recently released book Nurses and Disasters: Global Historical Case Studies (Editors Arlene W. Keeling and Barbra Mann Wall), examines the role of nurses in responding to historic and recent global disaster such as Hurricane Katrina. Given the Katrina anniversary and the relevance of understanding responses to disasters, I interviewed the editors of Nurses and Disasters some questions about the book and why it should be read.

  1. What inspired you to put together a book on nurses and disasters?

The inspiration for Nurses and Disasters: Global Historical Case Studies came from three sources.  First and foremost was the success of our first book, Nurses on the Front Line: When Disaster Strikes, 1878-2010, on nurses’ roles in disasters in the United States. There was worldwide interest in that book and after its translation into Chinese, we were all too cognizant of the fact that we had only written about disasters in the US — and clearly, disasters are occurring on an almost daily basis around the world.  The second impetus for this book was the Ebola crisis and the attention that American nurses received when they succumbed to the virus as opposed to nurses in Africa. The inattention to the nurses who suffered and died from the disease in Africa was striking, and we wanted to draw attention to the race, gender, and class disparities that persist today in the health care arena.  Thus, we highlight the Ebola crisis in the preface and conclusion of the book.  The third factor that drove our decision to write Nurses and Disasters was the fact that there has long been a silence associated with nurses’ roles in the major disasters occurring during World War II.  While some attention has been paid to them for their roles as nurse anesthetists on the European front, and their heroic efforts in Bataan, little attention has been given to the actions of the British nurses during the Blitz, the nurses who attended trauma patients in Pearl Harbor, or the Japanese nurses’ courageous efforts when they too were victims of the atomic bombing.  Giving voice to these nurses was very important to us.

  1. Did you uncover any surprises about the role of nurses during disasters that you either didn’t know about or believed had been understudied or misunderstood by previous histories on disasters?

Some findings were not surprising, such as disparities that occurred in responses to the indigenous people in Alaska, who did not receive needed help during the flu epidemic. What hasn’t really been discussed much when one thinks about disasters is how nurses themselves were under attack as well, making it very difficult to implement meaningful responses to the evolving chaos. Certainly after 9-11, firefighters became the heroes because they persevered in their roles despite the risks, and many died as a result. Similarly, nurses were under attack in many of the case studies highlighted in the book. The Japanese nurses after the Hiroshima bombing who also were injured, the nurses caring for those with SARS and who contracted the disease themselves, nurses in the Bar Harbor fire – all of those nurses continued to work as the disaster unfolded. For various reasons, they saw it as their duty to continue working holding to their obligation to care. Yet the chapters point to the consequences of such duty to care. They call attention to nurses’ ethical and moral dilemmas and conflicts among their personal, family, and professional obligations. They felt compelled to “nurse.” Yes, their actions were heroic, but the price nurses paid to care were great, as some died, others became ill themselves, while others suffered lasting survivors’ guilt. These issues need further study.

  1. What would you say are the main policy implications coming from the findings of Nurses and Disasters?

The policy implications that emerge from our research and documentation of nurses’ roles in disasters are quite simple. Nurses – who serve on the front lines of disasters—should be a part of local, state and federal disaster preparedness councils along with physicians and other health care providers, first responders, fire and rescue.  Care should be coordinated; lines of communication clear; and supplies available.  Nurses should be educated as to their role and how to keep themselves safe, and should be provided the proper equipment and support to do so.

  1. Who should read this book and why?

The audience for Nurses and Disasters is huge. Of course nurses, physicians, policy makers, historians of nursing and medicine and women represent the usual audience for a book on this topic but also nursing students and students studying the health care system are finding both our books on nursing in disasters to be very interesting and pertinent. Thus we encourage faculty members to require the book for courses in public health, leadership, nursing issues, and other courses.

 

Interview of Arlene W. Keeling , PhD, RN, FAAN, The Centennial Distinguished Professor of Nursing, University of Virginia School of Nursing & Barbra Mann Wall, PhD, RN FAAN, Thomas A Saunders III Professor in Nursing, University of Virginia School of Nursing conducted by Jean C. Whelan, Editor-In Chief, Echoes and Evidence blog

 

It’s a Small World: Lessons from Ebola and MERS

CDC mock Ebola Treatment Unit (photo credit: Cleopatra Adedeji)

By Emma MacAllister, BSN

The most recent Ebola outbreak all began in West Africa with one 18-month-old boy in the remote village of Meliandou, Guinea. From there the outbreak exploded into a global crisis that claimed over 11,000 lives worldwide and counting. An inability to halt the virus’ spread left health officials alarmed. Yet, in the Fall of last year, experts in the United States were confident in the nation’s health system’s ability to control an outbreak if Ebola crossed our borders.  We possessed the ability, resources and technology to effectively treat the ill and stop the virus in its tracks.  This attitude proved overoptimistic.

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The Affordable Care Act and States’ wrong (The Public’s Health)

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Image Courtesy of the Barbara Bates Center for the Study of the History of Nursing.

July 30th marks the 50-year anniversary of the signing into law, by President Lyndon Johnson the Medicare and Medicaid legislation; legislation which profoundly opened up health care access to millions of Americans. Before we celebrate too loudly about this singular achievement which has improved the lives of our citizens both young and old, let’s remember that there are still many Americans left without adequate access to health care.

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