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Healthcare News

Hospital Infections – Understanding MRSA, VRE, and C-Diff

by Howard Gerber on September 26, 2013

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hospital infectionsIf you work in a healthcare facility, you have likely heard of hospital acquired infections. Infections, such as MRSA, VRE, and C-diff, can be both common and serious in some patients.  Educating yourself on what the infections are and how to prevent spreading them helps keep both you and your patients healthier. [continue reading…]

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Siri, Do I Have the Flu?

by Howard Gerber on March 7, 2013

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Science fiction to science fact is not a new concept. Many of the technological devices and medical advances common today were first envisioned by science fiction writers with big imaginations, including the Internet, described in 1904 by Mark Twain as global communication where people can see and talk to each other in real time. Sound familiar? [continue reading…]

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Chances are when you think of natural disasters, the first things that come to mind are hurricanes, notably Katrina and Sandy. And well they should; they’re huge, frightening, devastating, and affect large swaths of populated areas. But hurricanes are not the only catastrophes you might have to deal with during your career. During any kind of a disaster, from a snowstorm to a large-scale natural disaster on the level of a wildfire, tornado, flood, or hurricane, nurses are always in great demand. [continue reading…]

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Transitional Care is Now Billable to Medicare

by Howard Gerber on February 14, 2013

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Beginning in January, Medicare now covers Transitional Care Management (TCM), the services necessary to move patients from inpatient care to home care or other healthcare environments. While some will surely question the cost of administrative services not directly involved in patient care, RNs and APRNs charged with making arrangements know how crucial transitional care is to patient outcomes.

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Being a Special Needs Advocate for your Students

by Howard Gerber on February 7, 2013

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Being a Special Needs Advocate for your Students

When you walk into classrooms, you can see that the dynamics have drastically changed over the last decade or two. Teachers and other educational professionals are faced with students that often have multiple special needs who were not previously integrated into mainstream classrooms. Whether referring to children who have difficulty talking, keeping up with social skills, kids on the Autism Spectrum, or sensory concerns, the items must be addressed. Each individual child with special needs may be entitled to services to help them function within the educational setting. As individuals working with these children, it is often necessary to become an advocate for them to get the services that will help them to be successful within the classroom.

Special Education Referral Process

If you suspect that a child you work with needs to be evaluated, it is time to do a little research. Not every school, district, or state has the same protocol. Typically you will need to ask the principal of the building what is done. Most of the time the principal, will be in charge of starting the Special Education referral process. Once the process begins, the school psychologist will often be in charge of making sure all of the paper work is given to the families, teachers that work with the child, and the Committee on Special Education (CSE) of the district.

Communication with Families

It is extremely important to have open communication with families that you work with. They should be aware of accomplishments the child is making, along with concerns that you may have. Remember it is never acceptable to suggest that a child may have a certain medical condition. As educators, it is fine to give examples of where the child is struggling. Be sure to take notes, observe, and explain exactly where the child is having trouble. You may want to make a portfolio of work to share with the parents and also use when you have the CSE meeting. Be willing to share how accommodations have been made, along with any attempts to assist the child in that area. In great detail.

Your Role in the CSE Meeting

When all of the testing has been finished and the reports sent to the CSE Chairperson, a group of individuals from the school, along with the family of the child, will meet. If you are going to be present at this meeting, be sure to have details about how the child is doing. Strengths and weaknesses should be given. Be comfortable discussing testing results, along with items you may have in a portfolio of work. As an advocate, it is extremely important to explain exactly what you have seen when working with the child. Do not be afraid to share details that may be hard for the families to hear. Assuming you have told them about this before, you are working together to get the right services to help their child.

Going to a CSE meeting may seem intimidating for educational professionals, but remember you are part of a team. Together you are trying to help that child to qualify for Special Education services and then later draft an Individualized Education Plan (IEP). If they do not qualify for an IEP, then you may also be asked to help draft a 504 Plan that will be utilized within the school.

Have you attended CSE meetings in the past? What were some of the challenges you experienced?

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Social Media – Hospitals Getting into the Act

by Howard Gerber on January 3, 2013

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Social Media – Hospitals Getting into the Act

Last year, a patient at Seattle Children’s Hospital had a bright idea that caught fire. Patients and staff joined in a fun project, to lip-synch and dance to Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger.” The idea for the project came from 22-year-old leukemia patient, Chris Rumble, who wanted to send a message of strength and hope to his hockey team after they sent him a video for his birthday. With help of film students from Seattle University, the project came together. The finished product was uploaded to YouTube in May of 2012, and it quickly went viral. Today, millions of people have seen the video.

The video was part of an ongoing project at Seattle Children’s Hospital called Not Now. The project gives a voice to adolescents and young adults struggling to cope with cancer; a chance to tell their story in a creative way and connect with peers. Today, there are many videos attributed to the project, including a video about the making of “Stronger,” “Chemo Barbie,” and “The Bieber Bet.”

St. Jude’s raises the stakes
Just recently, St. Jude’s entered the fray with “Hey St. Jude’s,” a video set to the Beatles “Hey Jude.” The video features patients, nurses, doctors, and staff, heavily interspersed with a wide variety of singers and celebrities singing the words. While not as spontaneous or as joyful as Seattle Children’s effort, it’s sure to be a hit.

What’s the point?
Many hospitals are in financial trouble. They are squeezed between government restrictions, insurance companies trying to maximize profits at patient expense, and the rising cost of specialty care for long-term diseases like cancer. Jumping on the social media bandwagon with an appealing video that might go viral puts a face on tragedy and raises awareness, but it also raises money. When bloggers, Tumblrs, Facebookers and Twitterers share the video with their friends and fans they often include a call to donate and a link to the donations page, which helps offset the costs of those things that make the hospitals affordable and special. Social media is a powerful tool…and you can use it.

Leveraging social media savvy
By now you’re asking…how does this apply to me? I’m not a hospital. You’re right. You’re not. But huge successful projects start with a person and an idea. Imagine your career marketability if, in your background, you started a project that raised $100k for a medical facility. Who wouldn’t want you on their staff? To get started, build your social media presence. Choose a look –colors, artwork, and tone—that represents you, your work, and your audience. Repeat that look and feel across several key social networking sites, and build an audience. Don’t take on too many, there are a million social sites, and you probably need to save some time to actually work. People will follow you if you post interesting, provocative, useful material. The more powerful your social network, the more influence you’ll have when the time comes to launch a money-making effort of your own.

In the meantime, here are the links to donate to Seattle Children’s and St. Jude’s

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How Employers are Narrowing the Field

by Howard Gerber on December 27, 2012

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How Employers are Narrowing the Field

So there you are, brand new nursing degree in hand, ready to start your first job or take your experience to a new job. You should be aware, though, that hiring isn’t what it used to be. HR departments are high-tech and savvy, and they are looking at more than just your resume to make a decision.

Even in a field with plenty of job openings, the competition can be fierce. As an applicant, it’s up to you to make sure your resume is not only up to date, but properly formatted…and that a web search won’t turn up reasons not to hire you. [continue reading…]

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