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Free And Convenient Flu Vaccines Increase Vaccination Rates In Healthcare Workers

Far more health care workers got flu vaccines this year than at the same point last year, according to a survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, although rates are still far less than ideal.

While flu vaccination rates among health care professionals have risen slowly over the past decade, less than half this group were vaccinated until the 2009-10 season, when an estimated 62% of health care workers received seasonal flu vaccines and an additional 2% of workers got only the H1N1 influenza vaccination, the report said. In the 2010-11 season, 63.5% of health care professionals reported flu vaccination.
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends that all health care professionals get the flu vaccine every year, and the national Healthy People 2020 objective for health care professionals influenza vaccination is 90%. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at ACP Hospitalist*

Healthcare Homicide: Safer To Work In A Prison Than In A Hospital?

There’s been a lot of stories in the news lately about homicides committed in hospitals. Just out of curiosity, I went to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) website and pulled some data from their Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries. It confirmed what I suspected — that homicides of workers in hospitals have increased at twice the rate as correctional facilities, where worker homicides have remained stable. Here’s the graph I was able to make from the BLS data:

The red bars (hospital murders) are up to six and seven homicides per year while the blue bars (correctional facility murders) have remained stable at about three per year. This is only for the employees who have been murdered, not all murder victims.

When we consider the cost and repercussions of increased hospital security, think about this trend. We people wonder if it’s safe to be a forensic psychiatrist in corrections, and I will bring out these numbers. It does seem to be safer to work in prison than in a hospital.

*This blog post was originally published at Shrink Rap*

Healthcare Staff: Please Hold The Snark

Every once in awhile I have the distinct “pleasure” of being a patient. This week I was reminded about how awful it is. I didn’t mind the blood draws, poking and prodding, injections, or interaction with my physician, but it was the rudeness of the ancillary and administrative staff that really got under my skin. I had forgotten how unfriendly people can be, and how especially hard it is to deal with when you’re not feeling well. Context is everything when it comes to rolling your eyes and sighing heavily. Let me explain.

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When Doctors And Nurses Don’t Get Along

What do you do when doctors and nurses don’t get along? A reader asks for my advice:

Hi Happy,

I have this problem and wanted some advice from someone with more experience dealing with this.

I have been bashed by nurses because they expect me to know all the bureaucratic issues, when you don’t have more than a month in the hospital. I have noticed that nurses get mad, when you give them an instruction  they don’t understand, or they aren’t used to, not because you are wrong, but instead, their lack of ignorance, or their narrow process of thought. One example of this is when they laugh at me cause i prescribed a generic medication of a common drug that they weren’t familiar with the generic name.

Days ago, a first-year family doctor was yelled at badly by some nurse because she filled in the prescription chart where she shouldn’t — she didn’t know because no one told her. I have seen that attitude several times from different nurses — they yell in a very unproper manner. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at The Happy Hospitalist*

The Epidemic Of “Compassion Failure” In Patient Care

Intueri (Maria) has it. Go read. Really. I’ll wait. Go read then and come back here, because I have something to say, too. She writes beautifully, and it’s a hard read. I almost stopped before I finished it, and I did flinch more than once. The man she writes about was in my ER today, or at least someone very like him. 

He was rolled onto a hallway gurney, given a cursory inspection, and left to sleep it off before being given the “bum’s rush out” when he became more sober and obnoxious. He was viewed by the staff as an irritation, a burden, an annoyance. Smelly, dirty and creepy. Scaring the children as they walked by to their rooms. Nurses were short-tempered and brusque to him, and the doctors avoided him as much as possible. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Movin' Meat*

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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