Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Wide Awake:"Acid Attacks on Women are a problem in South Asia"

"Mamata's story goes back 12 years, to when she was 14. Her crime was that she refused to stay with a husband who had decided to marry again.Over several months, while she stayed with her parents, he coaxed, threatened and tried to persuade her, but to no avail. One day catching up with her as she headed for work, he suggested she come and sit for a while in the quiet, secluded park en route.Then as she made to leave he grabbed her hands and threw acid over her face and arms, leaving her permanently scarred."

This extreme form of domestic violence is absolutely devastating. It is an act of revenge that can occur over a declined marriage proposal, jealous husband, slow dowry payments and even from a disgruntled employer. As a result, many of these women are condemned by their families and ostracized by society. The victims have difficulty finding employment and may even blame themselves for the crime committed against them. Many of these women then cannot afford the numerous and expensive surgery and grafts that are needed. Injuries caused by acid attacks are severe and require long and complicated medical treatment including reconstructive surgery, exclusive nursing care, physiotherapy and psycotherapy. According to the Acid Survivors Foundation (ASF), 68% of the victims were women and girls and the top motivation for attacks are the result of money and land disputes ( for both men and women). In addition, in 2006 only 58% of individuals were convicted for this crime. This advocacy group is housed in Bangladesh and government institutions and NGOs in India are just beginning to "wake-up" to this increasing trend.

Friday, March 28, 2008

A celebrity case for quality

In 2007, the newborn twins of actor Dennis Quaid were given potentially lethal overdoses of Heparin, in which a flush of 10 units/ml were mistakenly replaced with 10,000 units/ml an then administered by a nurse to the twins. As a result, he created the Quaid Foundation to help expose this tragic issue which has caused the preventable deaths of thousands of people. The mission of the Quaid Foundation is to advocate for patients and highlight medical (human) error which is responsible for almost 100,000 preventable deaths per year. This number is significantly more than those who die of motor vehicle accidents, breast cancer and AIDS, according to the Institute of Medicine. Additionally, the mission statement notes that the errors are the result of a flawed system, not the individual healthcare providers functioning within it. He spoke recently at the annual Association of Healthcare Journalists Conference in Washington D.C. A recent post on the Health Care Blog further discusses his speech and outstanding advocacy efforts since the incident.

This is definitely the push that the healthcare industry needs to bring this vital issue to the policy table and into the minds of consumers. All nurses are acutely aware of this issue and have witnessed the impact of a negative work environment on our patients. From a nursing perspective, errors occur as a result of long stressful hours and short staffing. Considering the current political healthcare priorities in the up and coming election, there is definitely a window of opportunity to make changes and to create legislation that will make our healthcare system run as effectively as we know it can be. Perhaps I am naive, but I have hope.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Feminisim and body image

Does political ideology effect perceptions of weight acceptance in women? Apparently it does according to a recent study discussed in the New York Times today. Researchers concluded that women who identified themselves as feminists had a wider range of female body image acceptance than their non-feminist counterparts. However both groups agreed on what was considered the most attractive body image. This is an important concept to consider when teaching young women about their health and wellness as they mature through puberty. While introduction to feminism might not necessarily solicit interest or prevent eating disorders, it might help them appreciate early on that women have much more to contribute to society than our physical attributes.

Return of the Recluse Part 2: One Year Later

Back again, and I do not really have an excuse as to why I neglected this blog. Although many times I felt inspired I just did not get the words out on page. Admittedly, I lack good time management skills and I find myself procrastinating or obsessing about all the work that I have to do. Then I meet someone with even more obligations; children, a full-time job and graduate nursing education and I realize that I really have not excuse at see you all on the blogosphere~

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Return of the Recluse...

Yes I have been gone for quite some time, but I had not forgotten my online persona entirely. Was I missed? Doubt it. But I have certainly missed y'all.

Over the past few months, most of my time has been spent diligently studying for the GRE for admission to a dual graduate program. Although the test was not that difficult in particular, I found myself re-learning fundamental mathematics that I once knew over 15 years ago! While my education as a professional nurse has taught me essential skills in critical thinking, pathophysiology, psychology, pharmacology, and a variety of life saving techniques..(to say the least), it really skimped on algebra, geometry, and pretentious vocabulary, much to my dismay. I suspect this is why many of my nursing colleagues are intimated by this essential exam for graduate school.

Well after much frustration and a sleuth of self pity, it is over and I am thrilled. I still find it puzzling that I was more intimidated by the exam than taking care of a critically ill patient.