The amazing work of nurses

Nurses with a Cause
When Christine Collins isn’t busy saving lives, she’s saving the planet. This OR nurse decided that the blue plastic wrapping used to cover sterilized equipment shouldn’t be ending up in the trash. Through the program Collins instigated at Kaiser Permanente’s Roseville Medical Center in California, she and her colleagues recycled 32,500 pounds of blue wrap last year. She’s now busy getting other facilities involved to increase the amount of plastic that gets recycled.

Linda Sarna (RN, oncology nursing specialist and Doctor of Nursing Science) is concerned about the health of her fellow nurses as much as she is about her patients. A high percentage of nurses still smoke cigarettes—even though they know the health risks. It’s just really hard to quit. Dr. Sarna is making it her goal to help nurses stop smoking through her Tobacco Free Nurses Initiative.

Helping some of society’s most vulnerable citizens achieve their dreams is what inspires Carolyn Green, RN, to deliver her best every day. She’s the coordinator of the Healthcare for Homeless Veterans Program at Overton Brooks Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC) in Shreveport, La. Green helped a local nonprofit obtain a $1 million grant to provide housing for 56 working and student veterans. Green also teamed with correctional facilities to help officials create a seamless transition into community living for veterans being prepared for release. With Operation Stand Down, she arranges the volunteers and the donation of clothing, food, medical care and haircuts, as well as social and counseling services. In 2010 alone, the event served 1,000 homeless individuals, aided by Green’s ability to marshal resources and garner community support.

In memoriam: Joyce Clifford (a nurse with a PhD in health planning) passed away this year. She will be remembered for many decades to come as a strong advocate for true collaboration between nurses and doctors. Dr. Clifford is the person who first introduced and fought for the concept of primary nursing (and was the founder of the Institute for Nursing Healthcare Leadership). Putting nurses and doctors on a more equal footing and providing continuity of patient care have led to greatly improved outcomes in some of the top hospitals in the world. Here’s hoping more hospitals get on board with this trend!

Next: Nurses Keep on Giving →

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