All posts by Kaitlin P


Aging Population

By the year 2050, the number of citizens 60 years and older is expected to nearly double from 11% to 22% (Kanasi, Ayilavarapu, & Jones, 2016). For healthcare, this means an increase in the amount of patient’s requiring medical services. Preparing for this large increase in demand for the need of healthcare may require additional education and training to health care workers. With a large increase in diabetes, hypertension, and other risk factors for the development of threatening conditions, education has been a main priority in caring for the elderly. Additionally, diseases such as dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s require a more specialized approach. In the article titled, ” Population Aging, the Needs of the Elderly and Challenges for Nursing” discusses the need for specialized courses in gerontology for nurses that need to be implemented in order to increase knowledge and skills in caring for the elderly (Savic, Zurc, & Touzery, 2010).  Additionally, a common concern is that the average lifespan is increasing, meaning individuals needs to be prepared financially for the future. We all know of the hardships many U.S. citizens undergo in receiving low cost healthcare. With the aging population, there will be many more individuals requiring higher level care and they need the financial support to allow them to receive the medications and care they require. The healthcare system needs to be prepared for the large increase in geriatric patients seen in the upcoming years.

Kanasi, E., Ayilavarapu, S., & Jones, J. (2016). The aging population: demographics and the biology of aging. Periodontology 2000, 72(1), 13-18. doi:10.1111/prd.12126

Savic, B., Zurc, J., & Touzery, S. (2010). Population ageing, the needs of the elderly and challenges for nursing. Obzornik Zdravstvene Nege, 44(2), 89-100.


Medication Education

For this assignment, I discussed medications with my boyfriend, mom, and dad. My parents both take medications for hypertension and both were unaware of the actual name of the drug they take. I educated them about the importance of knowing which drug they were taking and what side effects to look out for. A few months ago, a family friend began taking a medication for hypertension. He woke up in the middle of the night to use the restroom, and he stood up too quickly and collapsed. I always wonder if he received the proper education about the possibility of orthostatic hypotension while taking a medication for hypertension. He unfortunately hit his head and did not make it. This showed me how important it is to educate our patients about medications. I made sure to tell my parents about this side effect as soon as they let  me know they were both on medication. My mom was also recently diagnosed with diabetes. I was surprised with the amount of knowledge she gained about the disease process and medications. They started her on a low dose of metformin, and after changing her lifestyle and diet, she no longer needs medication. I think it is great that diabetic education has improved and she had the resources available to learn about diabetes and how to control it. My boyfriend uses and inhaler in the morning and at night. I watched him administer the medication, and it was great to see that he knew how to properly inhale the medication. He also takes OTC Nyquil and Mucinex. I had to educate him about the correct dosage of Nyquil and how dangerous it can be to his liver if he overdoses or takes it with alcohol. Although I believe they all have a decent grasp on the medications they take, I will continue to educate them about the medications they are taking or begin.


Endotracheal Suctioning Practices

An article I found regarding respiratory care was titled, Endotracheal suctioning practices of nurses and respiratory therapists: How well do they align with clinical practice guidelines? This article compared practices of nurses and respiratory therapists, specifically regarding endotracheal suctioning of patients in the ICU. A survey was provided the the staff regarding their current practice in respiratory care, and the survey had a 96% response rate. They found that despite current EBP, both nurses and respiratory therapists utilized normal saline instillation prior to suctioning. Further, they reported that patients exhibited signs of decreased oxygen saturation, increased agitation, and increased volume of secretions. Many of the respondents reported that they were unaware of the current protocols regarding suctioning of patients in the ICU. Additionally, some respondents reported suctioning on a routine basis, rather than on a PRN basis. I thought this article would be good to share, especially since we will be looking into policies and actual practice in the hospitals. It is important to try and stay up to date on current policies and EBP. This article discussed that NSI is not best practice and can actually be harmful to patients. Additionally, they discussed that mechanically ventilated patients should be suctioned on a as needed basis, rather than routinely.

Leddy, R., & Wilkinson, J. M. (2015). Endotracheal suctioning practices of nurses and respiratory therapists: How well do they align with clinical practice guidelines?. Canadian Journal Of Respiratory Therapy, 51(3), 60-64.


Friends/Family CPR/MI Interview

After being in nursing school for nearly three years, it is easy to forget that the phrase “Myocardial Infarction” or “Cardiopulmonary Arrest” may not be common knowledge to my friends and family. I asked my two roommates if they knew what a Myocardial Infarction was. They both replied that they did not, and furthermore, they could barely pronounce the word infarction and had no idea what I was saying. I explained to them that basically this is the medical term for a heart attack. I also asked them if either of them had been CPR certified. One of my roommates explained that he took the class a few years ago, but was rusty on the new guidelines. I asked them if they knew how many compressions to breaths they were supposed to give during CPR. One replied that you should give 35 compressions and 10 breaths. I quickly had to educate him on the proper ratio of compressions to breaths, and explain the importance of compressions during CPR in providing circulation throughout the body. Lastly, I asked them what cardiopulmonary arrest meant to them. They responded by saying they believed it is when a clot is formed in the heart. I explained to them that cardiac arrest is an electrical problem in the heart and results in a loss of consciousness requiring immediate CPR and defibrillation. After asking these questions, it seems apparent that we need to educate the public on these different aspects of cardiac care. I provided them both with information regarding CPR and how they should respond if they are ever in a situation where someone is in need of medical help.


Heart Healthy?

This month I have been trying to pay closer attention to my eating habits and attempting to eat healthier. I noticed that once I began nursing school I was either skipping meals or grabbing fast food to try and save time in the kitchen. For the month of January I have cut out bread, tortillas (the hardest part), alcohol, and sweets. I kept track of what I ate on Thursday 2/2. I do season my chicken and eggs with salt and pepper. My fat and carb intake comes mostly from avocado, milk, creamer, black beans, brown rice, and starchy vegetables. This change has not been easy and I could imagine how difficult it would be to cut sodium and fat intake for a long period of time. Additionally, it has been more expensive to eat healthier and if an individual does not have the resources to go to the grocery store and spend extra money on healthy food, it may be difficult to maintain a restricted diet. It takes a lot of motivation and support to maintain a low sodium and low fat diet. Prior to this month, my daily food log would not look like this and would include more snacks, bread, dairy, and fast food. The website gives a lot of information on lifestyle changes, grocery shopping, and guides to healthy eating. I also think the dining out section is helpful in guiding people to be mindful while eating out and understanding that there are healthy options on almost any menu.

Breakfast: 1 cup of coffee; shake with protein powder, strawberries, raspberries, and almond milk; 1 green apple

Lunch: 2 hard boiled eggs; bowl with chicken, black beans, brown rice, brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, pico de gallo, avocado, and carrots; Iced green tea

Dinner: Salad with chicken, almonds, red bell pepper, avocado, mozzarella cheese, cucumber, and vinaigrette dressing