Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Designed with nurses in mind

When the Children's Hospital of Pittsburg was redesigned recently by Astorino Inc. it was done after much consideration of the aging nursing popluation.  Read below the story about this design project and how it helped with the physical burdens that we face as nurses while laboring to care for our patients.  The photo is of one of their new care team stations and was taken by Alexander Denmarsh.



Architecture firm Astorino employs unique research technique to translate needs and experiences of patients, families and staff into a world-class healthcare facility
PITTSBURGH, PA, May 11, 2009 – Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC has unveiled a new, thoughtful design that distinguishes itself as a model for pediatric healthcare for the 21st century. Astorino, the full-service architectural and engineering firm that designed the hospital, created this revolutionary facility by employing a unique process that gained insights into the hearts and minds of patients, families and staff. The result is a healing space that meets the deepest needs of all who will inhabit this 10-acre campus for generations to come.
Astorino leveraged deep design research from its affiliate company fathom to address the innermost needs of patients, families and staff. To best determine what those needs were, fathom used a market research tool originated by Olson Zaltman Associates, a Harvard University-based company. The Zaltman Metaphor Elicitation Technique (ZMET) is a unique one-on-one interview process that invites participants to find images that represent their deepest thoughts and feelings about a given topic. Through this research study, key metaphors for the ideal experience at Children’s emerged; Transformation became the overarching theme and Control, Connection and Energy were identified as supporting metaphors.
“Children and their families go through incredibly trying times at hospitals,” said Louis D. Astorino FAIA, CEO and Chairman of Astorino. “Unfortunately, most environments today do little to aid in the healing process because they are not designed with people’s deepest needs in mind. The design of Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC is intended to alleviate stress and enhance the transformative healing process that patients and their families experience when in a hospital.”
Transforming the Hospital Experience
Fundamentally, the new design is about transformation – moving from an unbalanced state to a balanced state. The theme of transformation runs throughout the hospital in an effort to guide patients and their families through the arduous process of treatment and healing. It starts before patients even see a doctor during the walk through the Transformation Corridor, a hallway that connects the parking garage to the hospital’s main lobby. Visitors begin to experience the feeling of transformation from the change in seasons represented in the floor patterns to the impressive wall mural of a cocoon turning into a butterfly.
Maximizing Energy Accelerates Healing Process
An atmosphere of positive energy is infused both inside and outside the building, giving patients, family members and staff opportunities to “recharge their batteries”. For example, the spacious waiting room – filled with movable, patterned furniture in bright colors – provides ample room for patients to run freely and offers positive distractions, such as art work, a fish tank, toys and games. The outdoor spaces, chapel, library and various medicine-free sanctuaries are calming areas where families and patients can clear their minds. Playrooms, fitness areas and sibling centers offer energy sources for higher-intensity activities and provide welcome distractions. The Family Town Square, a central gathering location, includes a two-story movie screen that can be used for showing educational and entertainment programs. The cafeteria exudes a whimsical, carnival feel complete with light fixtures that resemble cotton candy. Astorino also addressed the number one way energy is replenished – a good night’s sleep – by eliminating noise distractions, such as the overhead paging system. 
Increasing Control Empowers Hospital Users   
Hospitals today present fearful unknowns and are not designed to empower people to take control over their life and environment. Children’s new design provides increased control over variables that can normally cause stress among patients, families and physicians. For example, patient rooms were turned into kid-friendly spaces that are intimate and private, and allow children to take control over things like lighting and display of personal items. Floor plans were also organized to maximize usable space, increase productivity and reduce medical errors (i.e. care team stations were decentralized so staff is never far away from their patients; they were also designed with private and confidential areas for nurses and doctors to conference).
Creating Connections Fosters Sense of Community
Children’s design connects patients with the outside world, themselves and others and alleviates the sense of isolation often felt inside hospitals. For example, the building’s rich and colorful interior and exterior – with lively red, blue, yellow and orange colors – provides an emotional connection for children. Private rooms with separate areas for parents to sleep keep families close and connected, but also comfortable. The 4,000 square-foot Rooftop Healing Garden offers everyone a comfortable space to socially interact and rejuvenate. Windows placed at the end of each hallway also enable patients to see and connect with the outside world.
Louis D. Astorino continued, “Healthcare is rapidly changing – from the way people receive care to advances in medicine – and architects need to be more nimble than ever to be able to respond to these changes. At Astorino, we believe design can play an active role in the healing process and we hope that our work at Children’s will not just prove this, but inspire others to create designs that meet the deepest needs of users and pave the way for better care.”
About Astorino
Astorino is at the forefront of where people and design intersect. A full-service architectural and engineering firm, Astorino deploys a discovery, design, and build strategy, combining unprecedented human-centered research, design and construction services into one seamless process. Each service inspires the other, creating a final product that meets the deepest needs of people who live, heal, work and play in these environments. For more information, please visit www.astorino.com


Monday, May 18, 2009

Do I need to know?

Last night I was assigned to the CCU for the first 4 hours of my shift as they were short a nurse and getting a post-PCI patient (heart attack that just got angioplasty) along with another ER admission.  So I took the PCI patient and did her admission.  Figured that would help and then I would turn her over to the 11pm nurse. 


She came with corrections officers.  Usually they only come with 1 but for some reason she had 2.  She wasn't unusually dangerous, it just had something to do with transportation etc.  Anyway, after I got the admission paperwork that I had to do with her done and was out at the nurse's desk doing the rest one of my coworkers asked why they were in there with her.  I said cuz she is a prisoner.  She gets all excited and asks if she is shackled to the bed etc and lots of other questions.  Then she asked the one that really got me thinking......


What is she in prison for?  I told her I had no idea.  She asked if I had asked the CO.  Nope.  Is it in her chart?  Nope.  Did you ask her?  Nope.  Don't you want to know?  NOPE.  Then she asked why.  I took a minute and thought about it.......


Isn't our judgment already a bit clouded just in knowing that she is a prisoner?  Do I really want to cloud it any more by knowing what got her there?  Instead why don't I just know that she is a person that needs my care.  Sure, she's done something that a jury of her peers and our society deemed wrong but right now she is a sick person who needs my care.  This is all I want to know.  I also know that she is appreciative of my care and is respectful and cooperative.  Why ruin that? 


I'm not saying that I have never wondered the same thing my coworker did.  I have.  I even asked once.  We had another prisoner who came in quite frequently for CHF.  After the 4th or 5th time I took care of her I finally got up the nerve to ask her.  She told me that she committed arson.  She was very ashamed about it too.  She even cried as she told me.  I knew in that moment that I never wanted to know again what someone was in prison for.  Who knows, maybe I needed her to know that I don't need to know.  Maybe without her I would still be like my coworker.  I'm blessed instead to ask myself:  Do I need to know?  and know the answer is NO everytime.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

I've been listed as a top 50 blog!!

How exciting for me!!  I've been listed as a top 50 nursing blog!!!  I'm honored.  Thanks for being a reader and thanks to onlinenursingdegreeguide.org for listing me.  The entire top 50 list can be found here: http://onlinenursingdegreeguide.org/2009/top-50-nursing-blogs/  Please check it out and have fun reading the other blogs.  They are broken down into catagories to make it easier to find what type of nursing blog you are looking for even.


Thanks again both to my readers and to the list!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Nursing novellas as continuing education

I got an email the other day asking if I would be willing to put a press release on my blog.  Being skeptical of anything but my own stories I was a bit leary at first.  But I opened the press release to read it and it actually sounded like a pretty good idea.  So many states require CEUs and so many out there are certified which also requires CEUs.  I know that's the only reason I haven't yet gotten certified in critical care.  I have a 5 year old and 3 year old twins.  There is no way I'd be able to keep up with the CEUs.  But this sounds like a great way to get some of them.  Here is the press release so judge for yourself:


Pritchett & Hull Associates, Inc.

3440 Oakcliff Road NE, Suite 110

Atlanta, GA 30340

Email: kenb@p-h.com

Web: http://www.p-h.com



Amy Vega takes a Novel Approach to Nursing Education 
For more information call:

Ken Baumann


      ATLANTA, GEORGIA, APRIL 27, 2009 – When you think of continuing education for nursing, you may imagine medical textbooks, complicated graphs and loads of acronyms. Well, Amy Glenn Vega hopes to transform continuing education by taking nursing lessons and crafting them into steamy page-turners nurses can read while cozying up next to the fireplace in their favorite comfy chairs.  

      Amy is a Health Care Educator at the Southern Regional Area Health Education Center in Fayetteville, NC, who has put lots of different theories into practice to reach students over fifteen years. What’s the best way to help teach a nurse who’s in-demand, underappreciated and overworked? Amy Vega has taken the novel approach. “I’d see lots of nurses sipping coffee and taking a brief escape behind the pages of a novel. Then it dawned on me - what if learning something new was as easy as reading a story?”


      Nursing Novellas is a new series that helps nurses learn more about dealing with major interpersonal issues in health care using the fictional cast at Dogwood Regional Hospital in North Carolina. Inside a whirlwind of work, family and love-lives in crisis, the nurses of Med-Surg South find ways to come together and overcome their personal and professional challenges. Real nurses learn through reading and sharing these fictional experiences, and then through discussing them with other nurses. 

      Amy’s first novella, Lions and Tigers and Nurses, deals with the lateral violence that is so rampant in healthcare. According to the American Nurses Association, 60% of workplace assaults take place in healthcare related services. “If lateral violence continues to erode the workforce at this rate, our quality of health care will be dramatically compromised,” said Amy Vega. “In my book, I tried to illustrate some of the major learning takeaways about lateral violence in a way that is entertaining and memorable.”  

      Lions and Tigers and Nurses and the second novella, Broken Heart, which is about coping with change and loss, will be available in June from Pritchett & Hull Associates, Inc., Amazon and all major booksellers. Continuing Nursing Education credit is offered and provided by the Southern Regional AHEC. Amy Glenn Vega is an active blogger and her website, nursingnovellas.com, is a place that nurses, nursing students and anyone working in or interested in healthcare can discuss and learn about the major issues and challenges facing healthcare and healthcare professionals. 

      Amy Glenn Vega is not a nurse, nor does she play one on TV.  However, she has worked closely with nurses over the past fifteen years in her career as a health care educator and a former Emergency Medical Technician-Intermediate.  She obtained her Masters in Business Administration and Masters in Health Administration at Pfeiffer University, and her Bachelor of Science in Health Education at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.  She has served in multiple roles in health care education, to include community health, patient education, and staff development.  She is currently employed as a Director of Interdisciplinary Continuing Education at Southern Regional Area Health Education Center in Fayetteville, NC.  A gifted storyteller, Amy has combined the power of story with teaching in the educational fiction series, "Nursing Novellas."  Amy is also a North Carolina Registered Health Educator and was recently appointed as a Fellow to the Academy of Health Care Education Professionals. 

      Southern Regional AHEC is approved as a provider of continuing nursing education by the North Carolina Nurses Association, an accredited approver by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation. 

      Pritchett & Hull Associates, Inc. publishes healthcare materials for nurses & nursing students that encourage exploring and confronting the challenges of current and future healthcare through personal and staff development in fun, creative and challenging ways. The result is better teaching, better prepared healthcare professionals and better quality of care for our future healthcare challenges. P&H brings People & Health together. 


      To learn more about Nursing Novellas, please visit Amy Vega’s website at www.nursingnovellas.com. To learn more about how P&H can help bring People & Health together in fun and innovative ways, please call Ken Baumann, Marketing Director at 770.451.0602 or email Ken at kenb@p-h.com or visit www.p-h.com



Thursday, May 7, 2009

And I thought we had it bad

As a nurse I've seen a lot of gross and awful things.  I thought that my job was pretty near the top of the list of seeing bad things.  However, this night I think someone else got the worst of it.


I went down to the ER and heard some serious screaming.  Asking what was going on I heard quite the story.  Apparently in the behavioral hall there was a patient that was an older woman in her 70's that was psychotic.  According to hear daughters this was new for her.  She had always been a bit eccentric but never like this before.  Now, for the last week, she was paranoid and hallucinating.  They had a whole list of things written down that she had been saying and supposedly seeing.


The worst of it however, was what she did to the police that were called to pick her up.  When they came and knocked on her door she freaked out and greeted them by throwing a severed kitten head at them.  Yes, a kitten head.  Can you just imagine being that police officer?  And having that happen to you? 


I actually felt bad for 3 souls that night:  1) the kitten, 2) the police officer and 3) the woman. 


I never did get the chance to find out what made her acutely psychotic either.  I would have liked to have known.  They were questioning a UTI.....but seriously.......a UTI that makes you decapitate your own kitten?  She did have other issues too.  She apparently had many, many cats and didn't take the greatest care of herself, them or the house.  All around a sad, sad story.


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