A half-hour before nursing supervisor Jotis Lee was scheduled to end her shift on the Friday before July 4th, the text came through: A 24-year-old who was fully vaccinated against COVID-19 had, nevertheless, contracted the virus and just been admitted to the Department of Veterans Affairs’ hospital.
That patient’s admission was another marker of the pandemic’s persistence, said Lee, who, at that Little Rock, Ark hospital, supervises a team of nurses in an outpatient clinic that mainly has done telehealth care during the pandemic.
“In many ways, the pressure has gotten worse,” Lee said, of the anxiety, depression and other stresses members of her team are experiencing. Continue reading
Photo: Medical Reserve CorpsA member of the Medical Reserve Corps of
Puerto Rico conducts a medical assessment in response to an earthquake.
Retired physicians, nurses and other health care professionals have been asked to volunteer for duty in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
However, many of these retirees fall into the high-risk group for contracting COVID-19. They face a difficult choice: stay away and stay safer, or put aside the potential risk to help care for an increasingly sick population. Continue reading
Staffing is perhaps the most important factor in a nursing home resident’s quality of care and the ability to live with dignity. Unfortunately, inadequate nursing home staffing is a widespread and persistent problem. Some nursing homes provide proper care, ensuring that their facilities have enough qualified care staff. However, many nursing homes still fail to maintain safe and sufficient staffing.
You can get staffing information from CMS’ payroll-based journal data, but there’s another tool that makes it pretty simple for reporters and consumers to find out whether nursing homes in their state meet requirements. Continue reading
It’s an easy trap to fall into: call the hospital public relations department and ask to speak with an authority about your topic. Chances are good you will end up interviewing an older, typically white, male doctor.
And while there’s nothing inherently wrong with that, if you’re only talking to one group of experts, you’re missing out on vital sources which can add rich, diverse perspectives to your stories, according to the journalists who participated in the “Finding diverse sources for your story” panel at Health Journalism 2019. Besides, diversity is just good journalism. Continue reading
In 2014, the Ebola outbreak was storming through West Africa and found its way to the United States via four patients medically evacuated to the United States for treatment. Then, Thomas Eric Duncan, a Liberian man visiting family in Texas, showed early symptoms of Ebola. Initially misdiagnosed before more severe symptoms developed, Duncan then was hospitalized and eventually died at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital. Nina Phan, a nurse who cared for Duncan, made headlines when she was diagnosed with Ebola herself.
Unless the story focused on health care workers’ potential exposure and protective equipment, American journalists rarely included nurses in their stories about Ebola before Phan came down with the disease. After that, journalists could not get enough interviews with nurses and representatives of nursing organizations. When the Ebola story receded from the headlines, press inquiries stopped. Diana Mason, a co-author of this blog, was president of the American Academy of Nursing at that time and saw the difference in media requests for interviews. Continue reading