Nurses Perform Heroics in Houston

Hospitals don’t take days off. That’s become more obvious as reports detailing hospital heroics come in from in and around Houston following Hurricane Harvey. At St. Joseph Medical Center in downtown Houston, some nurses and doctors worked for nearly a week, and some hadn’t even been back home after the hurricane hit, according to an NPR report. Kristen Benjamin, associate chief nursing officer, reports 15- or 16-hour shifts for some care providers. So Benjamin was figuring out how to get those workers home to see whether their houses were flooded, NPR reports. Emergency room nurse Aaron Padron was working for nearly the entire week but was able to go home Saturday night to check on his family before returning the next morning. He said the experience was transformational. “I think times of crisis, in times of emergency, in times of stress, really have a way to bring people together and create a lot of camaraderie and really can push people to excel at what they do,” Padron told NPR.

Nurses Share Rewards, Challenges of Pediatric Oncology

Pediatric oncology can be an emotionally challenging nursing specialty, but making a difference in the lives of children with cancer and their families helps relieve the stresses associated with the job. “If I can make something easier for somebody during the worst days of their lives, I have always found it very rewarding,” said one of three pediatric oncology nurses profiled in an Atlantic Journal-Constitution article. More than 40,000 children and teenagers receive treatment for cancer each year, and pediatric oncology nurses are intricately involved in their care. Under a physician’s orders, these nurses may administer chemotherapy and other treatments as well as assess the child for side effects. Pediatric oncology nurses also communicate with and support the child’s family. The nurse-to-patient ratio is typically low in pediatric oncology. For instance, one nurse at Aflac Cancer Center said she rarely cares for more than three patients in a shift. In addition, the patient-nurse relationship may last months or weeks.

Closing the Gap for the Uninsured

It can be easy for elderly patients to slip through the cracks in the health care system, especially when they’re uninsured. But one community-based nurse program, in southern Pennsylvania, has been aiming to close those gaps for nearly 100 years, the Public Opinion reports. Run by the local Shippensburg Civic Club, the program sends nurses out to individuals’ residences to help keep them out of nursing homes. Those nurses can do everything from checking blood pressure and blood sugar levels to filling up pill boxes to buying groceries, the website reports. While the nursing program mostly helps the elderly, it can also lend a hand to others who have a primary care physician and live in the area served by the United Way of Shippensburg. The nurse program is celebrating 100 years on Saturday. Dee Parson, one of the community nurses, believes it's vital to keep seniors in their own homes for as long as possible. "Nobody wants to go to a nursing home until it's absolutely necessary," Parsons said in the report. "So, I do my best to keep people independent and at home. I think they call that aging in place.”