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Latest Posts

New Nurses Interview A Seasoned One

I felt like an antique this weekend thanks to some medical students on my unit. Why do students seem to get younger every year, and please don’t place the blame on my chronological age. I refuse to believe that I’m getting older. I forget how we got onto the subject, but somehow I told a group of medical interns that I graduated from a three-year diploma nursing program.

One of the interns innocently asked me, “What’s that?” I felt so old when he asked me that question that I expected a museum curator to come out of the woodwork and cordon me off with a velvet rope. I answered his question. They were fascinated that they were actually talking to an “old time nurse.” They had more questions:

Question: “How did you keep you nurses cap on?” Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Nurse Ratched's Place*

Cash Strapped Universities Look For Retired Professors To Teach On Voluntary Basis

As state university systems are making budget cuts and furloughing professors while have to expand course sections to meet burgeoning enrollment, one solution may be to tap the expertise of retired professors in the area.

The Research Triangle area of North Carolina, home to over a dozen colleges and universities, is also home to at least 600 retired professors.

This morning, Eric Ferreri of the Raleigh News & Observer, one of the best higher-ed reporters in the biz, reports on the offers from very accomplished profs who want to give back to their community and the relative lack of response from the big universities:
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Why Aren’t We Worrying About HIV Anymore?

Last year the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that there were 40 percent more new HIV infections each year than was previously believed. And yet, a new (2009) survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation has found that Americans, even those in the high risk groups for HIV, are worrying less about HIV/AIDS. How can this be?

The survey suggests that:

  • Fewer Americans consider HIV an urgent health problem.
  • Only 17 percent of people aged 18-29 (those traditionally the most sexually active) reported that they were personally very concerned about becoming infected with HIV.
  • In spite of HIV rates being seven times higher among African Americans, personal concern about HIV has decreased in this population.
  • More than half of people aged 18-29 have not been tested for HIV, in spite of the fact that the CDC now recommends HIV testing for all adults.

The survey also found that misinformation and stigma about people living with HIV still exist.

  • Although 44 percent of the 2,554 adults surveyed reported that they would be comfortable with a coworker who had HIV, 51 percent would be uncomfortable having their food prepared by someone who was HIV positive.
  • One-third of the people surveyed incorrectly believed that HIV could be transmitted by sharing a glass of water; touching a toilet seat; or swimming in a pool with an HIV positive person.
  • 18 percent believed there was a cure for HIV and 24 percent believed there was a vaccine available to prevent HIV.

This is scary stuff and suggests that families, parents, schools, and medical professionals have their work cut out for them – more HIV education, please!

This post, Why Aren’t We Worrying About HIV Anymore?, was originally published on Healthine.com by Nancy Brown, Ph.D..

Passion Meets Fashion: NHLBI’s “Heart Truth” Campaign Hits the Runway with Diet Coke

hearttruth

It’s definitely not your mother’s public health campaign.

When the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) launched the Heart Truth campaign seven years ago to raise awareness of women’s heart health their partners were your typical patient groups and professional medical societies.

Not anymore.  Today, their front row partner is Coca-Cola.  Diet Coke that is.

Dr. Val and I were among a small group of women’s health advocates who met last week to hear the latest on NHLBI’s campaign with Diet Coke and how the fashion industry is bringing an important public health message to women.

Diet Coke’s commitment to the Heart Truth campaign is unprecedented, one of the “largest public awareness initiatives we have ever undertaken,” said Celeste Bottoroff, VP Living Well, Coca-Cola North America.

Leading Diet Coke’s campaign?  Endless-legs Heidi Klum and other fashion-conscious women who have revamped the little red dress campaign into a national symbol with guts, curves and most importantly results.

“In 2002, only 34% of the women in this country knew heart disease was the leading cause of death among American women,” Dr. Elizabeth Nabel, NHLBI director, told the group. “But we’re making progress.  Today, as a result of the Heart Truth campaign and others like it, 65% of the women now know it’s the number one killer.”

Nabel led a discussion of the common myths associated with women’s heart heath and recalled her own experiences as a cardiology resident when women were caregivers who supported husbands, fathers and other male family members through heart ailments but often ignored or brushed aside their own symptoms for fear that treatment would interfere with domestic chores such as childrearing, cooking, and cleaning.  “Even when older women came in with heart problems, they weren’t treated as aggressively as men,” Nabel admitted.

“Most women still need educating,” she remarked.  “80% of middle-aged women still have at least one risk factor for heart disease.  And just one, doubles your risk of actually having heart disease.”

Joining Nabel were Phyllis Greenberger, President and CEO of the Society for Women’s Health Research, Susan Bennett, MD, Clinical Director of the George Washington University Hospital’s Women’s Heart Program and Robyn Flipse, MS, RD, author and nutrition consultant to discuss the campaign’s most important messages.  First, heart disease is not a man’s disease, a point often raised by group’s such as those headed by Greenberger who cited research  indicating that only 17% of cardiologists and 8% of primary care physicians know that heart disease is the leading cause of death among women.

And it’s not just for the aged either. “When a 40 year old woman has heart disease it’s worse than a 40 year old man,” said Bennett recalling patients in their 20s and 30s in her practice.   “It’s never too late to change your lifestyle,” Flipse added.  “The body is very forgiving.  Even a 10% drop in weight can have a positive impact on blood pressure, cholesterol and other important risk factors.”

The Heart Truth campaign, thanks to the vision of Dr. Nabel and the willingness of NHLBI to partner with a highly visible, social icon such as Diet Coke is just what’s needed to cut through the feel good messaging that most public health campaigns resort to.  Having lived with heart disease my entire adult life (now well into middle age), it’s a welcome boost of energy and the visibility possible with this campaign is unparalleled.   Along with it comes some very important information that can save women’s lives.

Look for the heart truth emblem on 6 Billion Diet Coke cans, at community public forms, at American Idol, and fashion shows across the country. Diet Coke, with Heidi’s help, has even designed a new red dress label pin which strongly resembles an hour-glass.  And what woman doesn’t want that?

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

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How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

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Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

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The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

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Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

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