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Posts tagged ‘Media’

Healthstyles: Unconscious Bias in Health Care

This post is by Diana Mason, founder of CHMP and co-host of Healthstyles radio show, WBAI-NYC. Diana is the current president of the American Academy of Nursing, the Rudin Professor of Nursing at Hunter-Bellevue School of Nursing, and a global leader health care policy. She tweets @djmasonrn

Photo credit, Aljazeera:

Photo credit, Aljazeera:

For this week’s Healthstyles program, co-producer Kenya Beard, EdD, RN, NP, joins co-producer Diana Mason, PhD, RN, in discussing  the importance of addressing unconscious bias in health care and how it can be addressed. The program is part of Dr. Beard’s continuing coverage of health disparities on Healthstyles.

Photo credit, Amazon:

Photo credit, Amazon:

The program begins with Augustus White, MD, Ellen and Melvin Gordon Distinguished Professor of Medical Education and Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at Harvard Medical School. Dr. White was the first African-American graduate of Stanford University’s medical school, and the first African-American  department chief at Harvard’s teaching hospitals. His book, “Seeing Patients: Unconscious Bias in Healthcare,” takes on the injustices of bias in medicine. You can listen to the interview here:

The second half of the program features Kimberly Richards, PhD, an Anti-racist Organizer for The People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond, an organization that seeks to build an effective movement for social transformation and undo racism. Dr. Richards discusses steps that people can take to reduce unconscious racism in health care. You can listen to the interview here:

Tune in to Healthstyles today, Thursday, June 11, 2015 from 1:00-2:00PM on WBAI, 99.5 FM in New York City, or online at Archived episodes are always free for listening and sharing, too:

Healthstyles is sponsored by the Center for Health, Media & Policy at Hunter College, City University of New York.

Have you found Apple’s hidden health tool?

This post is by Amanda Anderson. Amanda is a 2013 Graduate Fellow who is now transitioning into the HealthCetera editorial team. She writes for a number of health care blogs and for herself, works in hospital nursing administration in NYC, and studies at Hunter-Bellevue School of Nursing where she runs the HBSON E-Writing Center. Amanda bikes, and occasionally tweets @12hourRN


Not many twenty-somethings wear medical alert bracelets, or think much about about things like medication lists or emergency contacts. Birth control and daily vitamins don’t really call for inscribed pewter accessories, and many of my friends have even less than that to keep track of. But as a nurse, I’ve seen the complications that lack of accessible medical information can cause, and creating a way of letting providers know my info in the event that I can’t tell them myself is important to me.

For years, I slipped a business card inside my cellphone case with a few important names scribbled on it. Later, I found out that Siri could be accessed through a locked phone, so I set my iPhone to allow this, hoping whoever found me, in whatever emergency might befall me, would know enough to tell her to dial my “Moom.”

But recently, after I [belatedly] upgraded to iOS8, I realized that Apple has taken a giant step in helping me make my med info accessible: Medical ID. This function, which can be accessed while a phone is locked and an emergency call is attempted, can house everything from the name of your health care proxy to your list of meds, diagnoses, doctors’ contact info, and anything else you’d like to tell those attempting to save your life. To update this information and create your personal “emergency card,” you simply add what you want to be seen via Apple’s new Health app.

Lest you be swayed by laziness or confidentiality concerns, let me tell you why I didn’t hesitate to update my phone with my emergency contact (who knows all of my medical info), doctor’s name and blood type, as soon as I noticed the red Medical ID icon lurking in the corner of my emergency call screen:

I’ll never forget the young man that was beaten until brain dead on a street in the city I first became a nurse. His body remained in our ICU for weeks before a family member came forward to identify it. Another time, a young girl took a bad mixture of drugs at a nearby party – she arrived to my unit in the middle of the night, cell phone locked and contacts days away from finding her whereabouts. These, and my daily bike route around New York City, serve as pretty convincing personal motivators.

With that being said, I find it odd how little attention this pretty rad feature is getting in health policy news. Not only does the Medical ID allow users to store and safely share vital information about their medical care, it recognizes the life-tie we have to our phones, and the important part that they play in our daily health. If phones move past exercise and calorie trackers into the realm of care coordination, as they likely should, health care culture must shifts towards them. Coordinating your own medical records via your most-used device seems like the natural first step toward personal health promotion.

While I found a few comparable Android apps (Medical ID, ICE, to name a few), it seems that they all have to be downloaded, and some paid for, where Apple’s is part of its most recent software upgrade. The company’s commitment to health is pretty incredible, actually; you can set a Medical ID, coordinate your providers, and even participate in clinical trials via your iPhone.

To be fair, this post isn’t an Apple-sponsored advertisement. Their new health app has been criticized for many things; leaving out a period tracker for women is one that’s high on the boo-list. Further more, relying on your phone to convey your health info can be problematic – there’s always a chance that it’ll be MIA if ever your medical information is needed. Or out of battery. Nothing substitutes a card in your wallet listing your medications, contacts and history. To top that, absolutely nothing substitutes knowing them all by heart.

Media Savvy Nurses & Minnesota Sun Flakes: A Recent Nurse Messenger Training Day

This post is by Barbara Glickstein, co-founder of CHMP. Barbara is a producer and health journalist for WBAI Radio – NYC, a consultant for various health care organizations including The American Nurse Project, and a force behind nurse messenger media & leadership programs, which she leads for nurses around the country. She tweets @bglickstein.

Photo credit: Cyphunk, Flickr Creative Commons.

Photo credit: Cyphunk, Flickr Creative Commons.

Snow in April would paralyze New York. But this was Minnesota, and snow with sunshine would never be an excuse for anything.“Unusual,” Dr. Mary Jo Kreitzer said, but she and her students arrived earlier than the start time that Tuesday morning. They were eager to get media savvy, ready with ideas, all ears for the fourth annual nurse media training, “Media Relations: A Surprising Strategy in the Nurse Leader’s Toolbox Workshop,” sponsored by the Center for Spirituality and Health in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Fourteen participants came prepared with a health issue they’d focus on and craft into key, media-ready messages. Topics reflected their clinical, educational and research expertise, many bringing long-time passions left on the back burner, revived in this unique training by myself and my colleague, Diana Mason.

Examples ranged from the use of integrative health therapies to reduce pain in children undergoing bone and blood marrow transplants, teaching self-care and mindfulness practices to school-age children to build resiliency and learn healthy coping skills, patient engagement in health care decision-making, digital trends in nursing, and the role of self-care for health care providers in improving patient outcomes.

We were invited back for our annual media training by Dr. Mary Jo Kreitzer, PhD, RN, FAAN, Founder and Director of the Center for Spirituality and Healing and co-director of the Doctorate in Nursing Practice (DNP) program in integrative health and healing, a collaboration between Nursing and the Center DNP program at the University of Minnesota School of Nursing.

Dr. Kreitzer understands that media training is critical to leadership development for nurses. She’s a media maven, in addition to her penchant for commentary on the weather. Whenever the sun peaked out during the all-day media training, she’d alert me and point out the conference room window to the rays that peaked through the gray clouds. I joked with Kit Breshears, Communications Director at the Center for Spirituality and healing, and asked if the precipitation was a flurry of sun flakes, Minnesota style.

Happy to be indoors, the students were engaged, worked hard, and after only 20-minutes of team prep time, nailed their individual on-camera mock television interviews and mock press conferences. Delivered to participants-turned-journalists, the exercise is always a favorite culmination of our media training curriculum.

At the end of the workshop, we asked everyone to share a take-away.  “Developing key messages and using the message triangle. It’s going to help me with all my presentations, including one in class tomorrow night,” said a student participant, speaking about a concept that we use to teach message delivery. Another said, “It built my confidence in so many ways,” while others shared of plans to create a stronger online presence. Many shared appreciation for their new skill of crafting messages, “…on this issue[s] that I care a great deal about.”

They came ready, and with topics of interest. We trained them on message delivery, and walked them through how to develop their own media plans. Then Diana and I  asked them to commit to one post-workshop action. Commitment could include writing an op-ed, starting a blog, or reaching out to a reporter they follow to pitch a story idea to them.

Then one participant asked, “When’s the next Advanced Media Training Workshop scheduled?” A few more chimed in. “Yeah, when will you come back?” We laughed and looked over to our sponsors.“In June. When it isn’t snowing.”

For more information on Nurse Messenger Training, an evidence-based, industry-recognized program by nurse journalists with over twenty-five years in media and health care policy, please contact CHMP.

Celebrate Nurses Day With Stories: The American Nurse Screenings

The American Nurse Film LOGO

Nurses Day typically prompts the question – “What’s the point?” – among nurses. With flowers and bangles burdening both our professional image and our pride, it’s time we start asking ourselves -“How can we make it work?” Perhaps, as Shawn Kennedy, the Editor-in-Chief of the American Journal of Nursing, wrote in a blog post today, we need to start using Nurses Day as a launchpad for our stories.

Story-driven documentaries can change minds, attitudes and policies. Inspired by the nursing care she received as a cancer patient, acclaimed filmmaker Carolyn Jones created “The American Nurse” in hopes of bringing the reality of nurses’ work to the public. Showing in over 200 screenings nationwide tomorrow, the film documents the reality of what nurses do, without sugar-coating our work; one nurse off-roads to see patients, another wears a habit. The film is raw, real and dynamic.

Now, thanks to Carolyn and her work filming five professional registered nurses, we finally have a 21st century picture of what nursing in America truly is. Celebrate Nurses Day by attending a screening tomorrow, or watching our coverage of a post-screening panel with Carolyn that was filmed here in New York at the Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute at Hunter College on April 27, 2015.

What Would #ThisNurse Say? Consumers, Hospitals & Data Holes

Photo by Thomas Leth-Olsen via Flickr Creative Commons.

Photo by Thomas Leth-Olsen via Flickr Creative Commons.

As I return to my analysis of New York Times nursing coverage after a semester break in Brazil, nursing’s recent front-page spread tempted me.  But to discuss Dionne Searcey, Eduardo Porter and Robert Gebeloff’s  article would only encourage you to read it.

Instead, I’ll push past, hoping that others see nursing as different from telephone repair, and that too many folks don’t start joining the profession just for a bigger paycheck. I want to highlight content that will further the profession and its voice in the media, not journalism that sells nursing as a solution for jumping classes.

Wednesday’s editorial, “Is That Really a Five-Star Nursing Home?”, provided a perfect replacement. In it, the Editorial Board told of Medicare’s new algorithm for telling the public which nursing homes are good or not. Go figure, the data on Nursing Homes Compare (a Medicare website similar to Hospital Compare), largely based on staffing and quality, was quite inflated; a third of the facilities lost their five-star rating after these new standards launched.

What excited me most wasn’t the promise of more accurate data, though. It was the info-heavy statement at the very end of the article:

“Perhaps the most important improvement is that by the end of 2016, the government will require all nursing homes to report staffing levels — an important determinant of quality — every quarter, using an electronic system that can be verified with payroll data.”

I’m a hospital nurse, not a nursing home nurse, and I’ve often wondered why my patients and their families lacked insight into the data behind how I do my job (how many hours I spend with each patient), or with what tools (how many patients I care for, and my level of education). While Hospital Compare provides data on quality measures, it doesn’t report or link these measures to staffing, as the Times just did in this editorial’s final statement.

In comparison, Nursing Home Compare lists staffing data for consumers to view and weigh. So, if I’m looking for a nursing home for my 97-year-old grandma, I can compare the ones in my neighborhood, and see how much time nurses spend with each resident. Even though these numbers are bloated (I mixed some basic math with some basic logic), they offer a baseline for consumers to judge from. I’d venture to guess that everyone in Big Mac America knows that more time with patients is better than less.

If I’m looking for a nursing home, this data is lovely. But my grandmother doesn’t need a nursing home. I’m shopping around for a quality hospital to care for my 57-year-old mom, who might need back surgery. Thanks to this Medicare data mismatch, I have no way of obtaining hospital staffing data. Sure, I can find info on back surgeons, but after the surgery is over, my mom will rely on nurses for her recovery. And if the Times editors just said what I think they just said – staffing should be transparent because it directly affects quality – this omission of information makes me a really unhappy consumer.

Since the government does not currently mandate reporting on hospital staffing, I, as a consumer, have no way of knowing anything about this, or where to find answers. I’m in the dark as to how each hospital staffs, which hospitals hire nurses with Bachelor’s degrees, or how one hospital compares to another in nursing care hours – all data-driven measures on the road to quality. Instead, I’m left guessing about an enormous determinant to quality for a life-altering, expensive transaction. Shocking, considering the level of analysis we demand when purchasing even simple electronic equipment.

In a world where health care bankruptcy reigns and technology creates consumer transparency for everything from cars to shaving cream, omitting information on hospital staffing is pretty senseless. And so, I’m a bit encouraged by what the Times did with this little editorial: By showing what’s becoming transparent, it highlighted what is still dangerously hidden.

This post is by Graduate Fellow, Amanda Anderson, RN. What Would #ThisNurse Say? is her media project that analyzes New York Times coverage of nursing. Amanda tweets as @12hourRN


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