Monday, June 30, 2014

My Quest for Patience and Calm

My mind runs constantly. Nothing too important really; all that gets lost in the minutiae that litters my mind. I’m endlessly fascinated by fascinating things. What do I find fascinating? Quantum physics, nursing, health, nature, photography, religion, puns, spirituality, psychology, rhetoric, ethics, history, science, the universe, compassion, anger, emotions, people, art, plants, words, animals, rain, beaches, oceans….well you get the picture. There is so much in this big beautiful world to see and experience that it makes me sad and reluctant to have to go to sleep at night. In fact, it makes it a downright chore. Like most modern people I want things yesterday. I expect to sit down and read about the Crimean War or astrophysics and come away able to discuss the various aspects of each with perfect clarity.

Friday, June 27, 2014

My Ironic and Hypocritical Disillusion

Anyone who knows me knows my love-hate relationship with technology, particularly technology that allows one to multitask in an effort to get more done for whatever reason (competition, compulsion, boredom, etc.). I’m an old school fan of doing one thing at a time with undivided attention, but that’s another story.

My thoughts today are about technology in general and how we misuse that technology, especially social media technology. I’ll use Facebook as an example since I just logged off of it (don’t judge me!).

My understanding is that the original intent of Facebook (and subsequent social media and communication types like texting) was to keep friends better connected when life scatters them to wherever. The aim was to be a tool with which to augment our organic social interactions – that is social interactions arising from physical connections. Unfortunately, these tools are being misused and have ended up substituting or, worse, replacing our organic social interactions. Further, technology such as smart phones and texting are deposing our genuinely organic social exchanges.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Multitasking is a Myth

Ours has become a society of multitaskers under the delusion that they are completing more and becoming more successful. The image of the multitasker is a memorable one: frazzles, distracted, tired, and detached. Their accessories include cell phone, lists, pens, datebooks, and coffee. They believe they get more done in a day than most people accomplish all week, but is that really the case?

Friday, June 20, 2014

Are Kids Today Less Resilient than their Parents?

A quick glance at headlines on any given day lends credence to the belief that children today are less resilient than previous generations. The headlines tell stories of kids who are bullied to the point of suicide, smoking and drinking whatever they can get their hands on, and behaving in all sorts of unbecoming ways. The more notorious headlines reflect the hatred and disillusion these kids have toward society, so much so that they choose the path of mass murder.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Friendly Neighborhood Nurse Practitioner

Even as many nurse practitioners are opening their own clinics and are taking active roles in patient care, too many people are still unaware of who the nurse practitioner is and what he or she can do.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Nutrition Labels 101

A lot of hoopla is put on the use of nutrition labels, but the prevailing fact is that most people don’t know how to use the information on these labels. We're going to talk about the basics today.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Prescription Drug Use on the Rise

If you follow statistical numbers from healthcare at all, you've known what is quickly becoming apparent to others in the United States: prescription drug use is on the rise. According to the CDC, in 2007-2008 the percentage of Americans who took a prescription medication in the past month jumped up from 44% to 48%. This translates to 1 out of every 5 children or 9 out of 10 older adults.

Some other interesting numbers from the CDC:

1. Based on data, women were more likely to take prescription medications than men.

2. Prescription drug use increases with age

3. Non-Hispanic whites had the highest rate of prescription medication use while Mexican-Americans had the lowest rate of use.

4. Americans with access to medical care, insurance, and insurance with prescription drug benefits had higher rates of prescription drug use.

5. The most commonly used prescription medications among adolescents 12-19 years old are central nervous system stimulants.

What do you think about these numbers? Are they problematic or troublesome?

Do Americans rely too heavily on prescription medications? 

Monday, June 16, 2014

Resource Spotlight: Interactive Meal Planner

The National Heart and Lung Institute's Obesity Education Initiative has available online an interactive meal planner. According to the institute, the meal planner is designed to help guide users in their meal choices based on calorie guidelines.

Using the planner is easy:

1. Choose your total number of calories for the day, and then choose a meal. For each meal you are provided options of food choices according to the foods groups included in the American Dietetic Association (ADA) exchange list. 

2. Once you select a specific food item, you will also need to choose the number of servings consumed. The servings are based on the ADA exchange list. For example, if you consumed 3 oz. lean beef, you would enter 3 servings. 

- From About the Menu Planner

You can access the Interactive Meal Planner here

Friday, June 13, 2014

I Need Some Sleep Part 2

In the last post we established:

  • Insomnia is a common sleeping disorder that affects up 40% of adults each year
  • It is the difficulty initiating or maintaining sleep or experiencing non-restorative sleep
  • Symptoms include: tossing and turning, nighttime arousal, racing thoughts, daytime sleepiness, fatigue, moodiness
  • Insomnia causes are many, but include and are not limited to: late night eating, emotional stress, and illnesses
  • A general consensus is that the average adult requires around 8 hours of sleep, but this has become more a frame of reference than anything else as we all could require different amounts of sleep in order to function at our optimal level

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Resource Spotlight: Find a Provider who Accepts Medicaid

One of the most time consuming and frustrating parts of a nurse's job (particularly in a family practice or urgent care setting) is attempting to locate a specialty provider who will accept Medicaid or accept new patients with Medicaid when the time comes that a patient may need to be referred. If you're a patient, I imagine the frustrating part is locating primary care that is not an emergency room.

Well, Medicaid in Mississippi has a delightful provider search web tool that users can use to locate providers in Mississippi who accept Medicaid. They thoughtfully hid it deep on their "Envision" website for providers.

You may visit it directly here

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

I Need Some Sleep Pt 1

We all have trouble sleeping from time to time. In fact, the National Center on Sleep Disorders Research reports that 30-40% of adults in America will experience symptoms of insomnia. That makes insomnia the most common sleep disorder health care providers treat.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Doctors and Patients Blame Each Other for Long Waits

In what seems to be lately a war of attitudes, you can be a doctor/nurse or you can be a patient - both literally and figuratively. Let me explain: wait times are getting to be pretty long these days and patients are understandably irked about this. They take to the Internet and lash out at whatever facility made them wait more often than not placing the blame for the wait time squarely on the shoulders of doctors and/or nurses.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Great Resources to Pay for School if You're a Health Pro

If you're a health professional, and you're wanting to go back to school here is a link to HRSA or the Health Resources and Services Administration. They offer loans, scholarships, etc to individuals going to school to be nurses, nurse practitioners, and doctors.

You can find more information here: