Letters – July 2012

Family Visitation

Re: Pages 7, 11 and 22 in February AACN Bold Voices and page 33 in March

As a consultant I often work to influence visitation policies in critical care. Not just to meet federal guidelines, but to do what is best for the patient and family.

Recently, I sent AACN’s Practice Alert on visitation to a hospital, hoping to influence their vision of what is best for the patient care team. I hope they’ll respond to the challenge.

Beth Glassford
Lancaster, Pa.

Mary Stahl’s February column mentions Brynn and Kyle Ervin’s experience when Brynn suffered cardiac arrest a day after delivering her fourth child. I met Brynn and her family at Dr. John Eugene’s funeral last September.

He was my brother-in-law and the cardiothoracic surgeon who performed Brynn’s pulmonary thromboembolectomy, because he happened to be making hospital rounds despite having metastatic cancer and actively receiving chemotherapy.

Dr. Eugene firmly believed in open visitation policies and worked with the staff to implement an effective, caring one that would meet patients’ and family’s needs. Brynn, Kyle and their children benefited from the policy.

Ironically, when Dr. Eugene was a patient in a different hospital’s ICU, his wife — herself a nurse — and family struggled with barriers to visitation. What a contrast!

A dying surgeon, whose intervention gave life to a woman and enabled her family to support her during at a critical time, could not receive his family’s loving support when he was critically ill.

As a former ICU manager, I applaud AACN’s efforts to erase barriers. We all share responsibility for ensuring that we embrace the patient and the patient’s family.

Lana S. Anders
Perris, Calif.


Re: “Our Personal Catalysts” President’s Note in AACN Bold Voices, March 2012

As an experienced clinical nurse specialist and educator, I have been mentored by many great people.

As a result of my most recent experience, I fulfilled my career goal of speaking at NTI thanks to Cheryl Herrmann, whom I contacted for advice on developing a winning presentation abstract.

She told me about AACN’s Learning Connection Mentorship program and offered to mentor me. As she did, I recognized in her the traits Mary Stahl describes in her March column.

Rounding out my professional dream, Cheryl and I exemplified this year’s NTI theme, because we presented together. 

Pam Hamilton
Eutaw, Ala.


Re: “Penn Nursing Study: Nurse Burnout a Worldwide Problem” in AACN Bold Voices, May 2012

Nurses burn out when they mourn the loss of the reasons for which they viewed nursing as a viable profession. Today’s nurses are faithful to their work, but not to their workplace.

Today’s nurses need the drive and initiative to embrace the change unfolding in this technological age while allowing irrelevant standards from the industrial age to vanish. Today’s nurses must adjust to the amount of information patients can access and engage them in assuming responsibility for their own education about wellness.

Now isn’t the time to be complacent. Learn to be on the cutting edge of technology, and share this knowledge with your patients. Approach every encounter as an opportunity to involve a patient or family in self-care and what it means to their health. 

Elaine Williams
Oklahoma City


Re: “Prevention of Aspiration” in AACN Bold Voices, April 2012

Nursing 101 needs to remain prominent in daily patient care. Failure to make time for relatively simple interventions like oral care significantly increases the risk of physical deterioration. Regardless of the primary condition, we should be concerned about every patient who requires gastric feeding or drainage.

I have experienced situations where neglect of oral hygiene directly or indirectly led to longer hospital stays and/or physical deterioration. We need to re-evaluate our priorities before we allow advanced sophisticated knowledge to overshadow our early training to meet patients’ basic needs.

Nina Gervais
Port Jefferson, N.Y.

AACN Bold Voices encourages your letters for possible print and/or online publication. Please be concise. Letters may be edited before publication.

Include your name, credentials, city, state and email address (for verification).

Write to aacnboldvoices@aacn.org.

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