If you are White, no one is saying your life is not hard or that you have not struggled. It means that your life is not even harder because of the color of your skin. An excellent systemic racism video.
*NEVER FORGET THAT RACISM. IS. A. PUBLIC. HEALTH. ISSUE (as is police brutality).You are treated differently in the healthcare system based on where you live and the color of your skin, whether you want to believe it or not. It happens consciously and subconsciously. It is called implicit bias. –> Here is some US healthcare disparity info. <– *Black women are still DYING more than White women during childbirth even when SES, job, education level, and all other factors are equal. Read How America is Failing its Black Mothers.
Support BLM & Educate Yourself
*Black-Owned Etsy shops found here *Black-Owned Businesses found here *How to find black-owned businesses
*Nurses & HCP: move beyond cultural competency to cultural humility!! You must now be actively ANTI-racist. Challenge your racist family members and/or coworkers. Stop saying “all lives matter” when they clearly don’t. Take a stand or this world won’t ever change. #BlackLivesMatter #NoJusticeNoPeace
I recently volunteered to exclusively work in our main adult COVID ICU (on my old general care peds unit). There are multiple COVID-19 ICUs and moderate care floors throughout the health system. It is terrifying to see two critically ill adults in each room when there used to be one isolette or crib for relatively healthy children. Every night I learn how to do more and more ICU care to help the primary nurses as much as I can. My first night I helped get a bagged body ready for the morgue. My second night I saw family come to the bedside of a man in his 30s to be with him before he passed. Most patients are intubated and several are on continuous renal replacement therapy (CRRT). None of this is fair. None of it seems real. It is very surreal to see room after room with patients maxed out on ventilator settings, sedation, pressors, and barely surviving. In some rooms you can hardly move with all of the IV pumps, machines, supplies, and equipment. I cried the first time I walked the RICU halls, but now feel somewhat immune to the trauma we see at work or watch on TV every day. Then, I find out patients I helped bathe, turn, or draw labs for died that next day and I break down again. My emotions, probably like yours, are all over the place. I can’t always label them but I do know a lot of what I’m feeling is grief. Grief from what our lives were supposed to be like this spring, grief from cancelled events or missed trips, grief from not seeing friends/family, grief from actual death around us, and grief from our old way of life as we transition to a ‘new normal.’
I am thankful however, to have all of the PPE I need to safely enter patient rooms. The entire unit is negative pressure too. This is NOT the reality for many nurses across the US and now some are even getting fired for refusing to work without N95s. While we did sign up for this job to help others, we did NOT sign up to do it without the equipment needed to protect ourselves. Our country was completely unprepared for this pandemic and its essential workers are feeling its detrimental effects the most. The good news is that the curve is flattening thanks to successful mitigation. Please continue to do your part by STAYING HOME until it is deemed safe to leave. You are helping save the world by doing so and the frontline can’t thank you enough. The next time you venture out don’t forget to thank our other crucial frontline staff ~ grocery store employees, postal carriers, truck drivers, bus drivers, chefs, janitors/EVS, and more! Stay strong, we will get through this.
African Americans represent 40% of COVID-19 deaths in MI but only represent 14% of our state’s population. The reasons for this can be attributed to multiple social determinants of health such as having a job that doesn’t allow ‘work from home’, lower income, fewer community resources, comorbidities etc. (this is Nursing 101)!
Proud of our Governor for creating a task force to help understand why these racial disparities are occurring and how we can remedy them.
Please remember you don’t have to be productive during quarantine. We are experiencing a trauma and your only job is to stay home and take care of yourself. Mental health is as much of a priority as physical health so don’t feel pressured into doing anything you aren’t comfortable doing right now. Two articles helped me understand this:A Trauma Psychologist Weighs In & Don’t Feel Like ‘Getting Things Done’?
Throughout my life I have been both overweight and underweight. I have loved how I looked and hated how I looked. If you’re like me, the holidays are an especially difficult time for body image and food guilt. You might be exercising a little more or plan to immediately start dieting in January. However, I just want to send a gentle reminder that food is not the enemy. What you eat fuels your body and mind. What you say to yourself about your body fuels your soul. You are not what you eat, not how you look in a bathing suit, and you are not defined by your clothes size.
To be completely honest, I never cared about my weight until college. I was a competitive swimmer since I was eight years old and on three swim teams during the year in high school. I grew up in a bathing suit and never gave my body shape too much thought. I didn’t grow up with an older sister telling me how I looked or what to wear. My parents never said anything about my weight. I also had practice five to six days each week so I felt like I could eat whatever I wanted. Every Sunday morning after practice I had McDonald’s for lunch as a treat. Whatever I ate was pretty much burned off the next day. Michael Phelps ate over 10,000 calories/day while Olympic training so whatever I ate didn’t compare in my mind haha. I still eat fast food at least weekly and don’t diet. However, I want to make it clear that I never struggled to be an average weight. According to 23andMe (which has been ~95% accurate), I am predisposed to weigh less. I point this out to say that it is not miraculous for me to be average or on the thinner side. I don’t have a great weight loss story and don’t intend to.
My body image journey began around the time I was applying for nursing school. I was struggling with some classes and began seeing a therapist for inattentiveness and OCD-like behaviors. Like Meghan Edmonds recently said, I too am a “stress non-eater.” In combination with a new med I started that had ‘loss of appetite’ as a side effect and drinking coffee for the first time in my life, I began losing weight quickly. I didn’t notice or care at first. However, I decided I was going to try out for the dance team, so I started wearing a leotard again. I would regularly look in the mirror and began enjoying seeing the ribs in my back show. My thighs were thinner than ever and I loved how my leggings looked. The following fall, a friend in my dorm had a scale in her doorway. I truly never tracked my weight until then. I began weighing myself several times a day and panicked if I was over 105. My dorm also had the calories listed for every meal and food item. While this a University initiative to be more transparent, it actually made it a lot easier for me to eat less. I tried to make sure I wasn’t eating more than 1,000 calories a day. This is about half of what someone in their twenties should consume. In addition, I was going to the gym every few days, something I previously hated to do. I tried to wear bigger clothes and hide it as much as possible. My friends and family would make comments about my slim figure, but I usually blamed it on the stress and the questions stopped.
Then, I started dating and began what would turn into a four-year relationship. I slowly put the weight back on. I was eating out a lot, snacking, drinking wine, and pretty much just enjoying life. I didn’t have time to go to the gym and didn’t want to. I started a nurse assistant (tech) job and had a bagel and an Iced Cap every morning before work. I didn’t have my calories listed in front of me anymore, so I lost track of how much I was eating. However, I did have access to a scale. One day at work I decided to look and see. At my highest that summer, I was up to 127. It was surprising, but not enough for me to do much about it. My self-esteem was probably better than at my thinnest. Yet, this weight was not a healthy one for my height. I had a few extra pounds than a “normal BMI” but I was happy. Interestingly, it was the end of this relationship that threw me back in the opposite direction again. I stopped eating, as many people experiencing a trauma do, and lost over 20 lbs. I did not have the intention to lose this amount of weight and I acknowledge that large weight shifts in a short period is not healthy. This is especially true for someone barely over five feet. However, I started to like how I looked in a bathing suit again. I was getting compliments and I felt my self-esteem come back after what was a truly traumatic summer.
As of today, my weight is somewhere in between. I still have my self-conscious days of course, but I am happy with how I look right now. I still occasionally weigh myself, only because I have such easy access to do so at work. I don’t own a scale and never plan to. I don’t think knowing your weight is a bad thing. What is bad, is fixating on the number and affiliating your self-worth with what it says. If weighing your self is good for your own personal goals, then go for it. We all know how to calculate a BMI, so I encourage you to diet or exercise if reaching a healthy BMI is your goal. I don’t belong to a gym but do go to yoga every few weeks. I also have a personal home exercise routine that I do every few days. I try to limit my sweets but treat myself whenever possible. I have been lucky to be able to eat whatever I like since I AM predisposed to weigh less. However, I still try to eat healthy and exercise because it makes me feel strong, healthy, and confident. That is my goal now.
In nursing school, we are taught basic nutrition. In grad school, we have honed in on specific nutritional needs for newborns through young adults. I could tell you all about different formulas, enteral/parenteral nutrition etc. What we have not been taught enough is how to respect your body’s own nutritional needs: how to love and care for yourself in a way that enables you to care for others. We must take care of ourselves before we can effectively take care of our patients. Nurses and other healthcare workers neglect our bodies the most. This has to change or our patients suffer. You have to eat because your brain needs food. Read that again. Your brain cannot survive without food. If you are thinking about skipping a meal because you don’t like what the scale says, don’t. Your body is your prized possession. You will only be hurting yourself, and ultimately your patients, in the long run. Enjoy your holiday potluck without guilt, it’s the best gift you can give yourself.