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Thankfulness. November Blog post by Avalon Medical Educators

Thankfulness.November Blog post by Avalon Medical Educators

“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

As we prepare to celebrate our ten-year anniversary as a medical education provider, we wanted to take the opportunity to share a few things to help us all focus on being thankful.

A 2012 study that was published in Personality and Individual Differences reports that grateful people experience fewer aches and pains as well as feeling healthier than other people. They found that these “grateful” people were more likely to attend regular check-ups and even exercise more often, which contributes to a happier and longer life.

Another highly respected researcher on gratitude reports that gratitude decreases the effects of toxic emotions like envy, resentment, frustration and regret and seemingly increases an overall sense of well-being. This same study by Robert Emmons, states that quite simply, gratitude increases happiness and reduces depression.

These studies that emphasize the importance of gratitude on health and happiness go on and on; like the 2012 study by the University of Kentucky that states that gratitude enhances empathy and reduces aggression. Maybe you would prefer the 2011 study published in Applied Psychology that reports grateful people actually sleep better by writing in a gratitude journal nightly.

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In the Pursuit of Health October Blog by Avalon Medical Educators “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of happiness…” While we all share in these unalienable rights, we also have to be careful not to step on other people’s right to these very same rights. Todd was 38 when his life took a sudden and very unexpected twist. It was at 38 when he found what he referred to as “an annoying lump” in his right chest wall; it annoyed him enough that he eventually made an appointment to share this with his practitioner. After many tests and weeks of waiting, Todd received the life-changing news…it was breast cancer. The next months would be full of appointments to the oncologist, various other doctors, labs, and a host of others tests and procedures. The thing that he didn’t expect was the reactions of his friends and family. Over and over again he heard people joke with him about having a “woman’s cancer” and “wow Todd, we knew you were feminine, but who knew you’d go this far”. Todd didn’t laugh at the joking, but instead became insecure about sharing his diagnosis with people around him and became more and more withdrawn as time marched by. And time did in fact march by, the following Winter, Todd had got to the point in his treatment where none of the traditional therapies were working and depression began to set in. Although a man’s lifetime risk of breast cancer is only about 1 in 883, who knows who that one will be. We are all aware of the extremely high risks of breast cancer in woman, about one in eight U.S. (12%) will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of their lifetime and that in 2019, an estimated 268,600 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed, that along with 62,930 new cases of non-invasive (in situ) breast cancers. Although the incidence of breast cancer has begun to decrease since 2000 (more than 7%) and mortality rates have also dropped from 1989, there is still so much work to do as this remains one of the largest killers among woman in the United States. Men, woman….err, maybe not children…remind each other to do your self exams, get your appointments made to get the mammograms done. Let’s encourage each other to stay healthy! Sources: U.S. Breast Cancer Statistics. (2019, February 13). Retrieved from https://www.breastcancer.org/symptoms/understand_bc/statistics. Statistics: About 1 in 8 U.S. women (about 12%) will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. In 2019, an estimated 268,600 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in women in the U.S., along with 62,930 new cases of non-invasive (in situ) breast cancer. About 2,670 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in men in 2019. A man’s lifetime risk of breast cancer is about 1 in 883. Breast cancer incidence rates in the U.S. began decreasing in the year 2000, after increasing for the previous two decades. They dropped by 7% from 2002 to 2003 alone. One theory is that this decrease was partially due to the reduced use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) by women after the results of a large study called the Women’s Health Initiative were published in 2002. These results suggested a connection between HRT and increased breast cancer risk. About 41,760 women in the U.S. are expected to die in 2019 from breast cancer, though death rates have been decreasing since 1989. Women under 50 have experienced larger decreases. These decreases are thought to be the result of treatment advances, earlier detection through screening, and increased awareness. For women in the U.S., breast cancer death rates are higher than those for any other cancer, besides lung cancer. Besides skin cancer, breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among American women. In 2019, it's estimated that about 30% of newly diagnosed cancers in women will be breast cancers. In women under 45, breast cancer is more common in African-American women than white women. Overall, African-American women are more likely to die of breast cancer. For Asian, Hispanic, and Native-American women, the risk of developing and dying from breast cancer is lower. As of January 2019, there are more than 3.1 million women with a history of breast cancer in the U.S. This includes women currently being treated and women who have finished treatment. A woman’s risk of breast cancer nearly doubles if she has a first-degree relative (mother, sister, daughter) who has been diagnosed with breast cancer. Less than 15% of women who get breast cancer have a family member diagnosed with it. About 5-10% of breast cancers can be linked to gene mutations inherited from one’s mother or father. Mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes are the most common. On average, women with a BRCA1 mutation have up to a 72% lifetime risk of developing breast cancer. For women with a BRCA2 mutation, the risk is 69%. Breast cancer that is positive for the BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations tends to develop more often in younger women. An increased ovarian cancer risk is also associated with these genetic mutations. In men, BRCA2 mutations are associated with a lifetime breast cancer risk of about 6.8%; BRCA1 mutations are a less frequent cause of breast cancer in men. About 85% of breast cancers occur in women who have no family history of breast cancer. These occur due to genetic mutations that happen as a result of the aging process and life in general, rather than inherited mutations. The most significant risk factors for breast cancer are gender (being a woman) and age (growing older).


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Worth Dying For?

Worth Dying For?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Written by: Colleen M. Garcia, BSN, RN, CLC, CCE.

Sarah was well known among her peers to be punctual. I mean, you could set your clock by her, kind of punctual. She was always willing to help her co-workers and very well liked on her unit. One morning, the extremely punctual Sarah was late…very late. Talk began among her co-workers, questioning what might have happened. After many unanswered phone calls and no appearance to her scheduled shift after many hours, calls were made to the local police department.

Later, during that same shift, the staff was gathered together by the management team and informed that Sarah had been located in her house alone, we were told that she was unconscious and that every effort was made to resuscitate her but that the paramedics were unsuccessful. Tears immediately began to flow among staff member as we all stood there shocked. The managers continued. Sarah left a note behind they told us, and we would all have access to on-site counselors if we felt we needed that.

For the next hours, every staff member on the unit walked around in a stunned silence. No one wanted to verbalize the truth that had happened. The truth, Sarah had chosen to take her own life.

As staff members struggled to make sense of things, memories of Sarah started to emerge. Bonnie, one of Sarah’s co-workers and a close friend, reminisced about how Sarah always had a kind word for others. Bonnie remembered how Sarah was having a hard time with a patient whom she had bonded with and cared deeply for. The patient was in end stage renal disease and having a very hard time coping with the progression of his disease. The patient was only 46 years old and Sarah was often heard cheering him on and lavishing encouraging words on him and his family. Slightly before her death, Sarah came out of this patient’s room and was visibly upset. Bonnie said that she had asked her about it and Sarah just sloughed it off saying “It doesn’t even matter”.

Bonnie had the hardest time with Sarah’s death and said over and over that she should have seen this coming. In reality, do any of us really see “this” coming? Do we just set up our own set of coping techniques to get us through the difficulties that we face every single day at work?

Nursing is an incredibly stressful career choice. From the first days of clinicals to the very day of retirement, nurses face difficult situations and stressors on a daily basis. In fact, stress and burn out affect 10-70% of nurses. The sources of the stress vary from the cases that they observe, the time constraints to get the work completed, conflict with co-workers and leadership, or a lack of control over their work environment. Stress can then lead to fatigue, exhaustion, and detachment from their work which, in turn, may lead to patient safety concerns. Therefore, one could conclude that, successful management of stress is essential to the well-being of not only the nurse, but to the patients as well.

September is National Suicide Awareness Month

This month is so important for all healthcare professionals to take a few moments and really assess where they are, share stories and shed light on this highly forbidden topic. It is crucial to ensure that individuals, friends and families have access to the resources they need to discuss suicide prevention. YOU, my healthcare co-workers, ARE SO VERY IMPORTANT!

Crisis Resources:

  • If you or someone you know is in an emergency situation, call 911 immediately.
  • If you are in crisis or are experiencing difficult or suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273 TALK (8255).
  • If you’re uncomfortable talking on the phone, you can also text NAMI to 741-741 to be connected to a free, trained crisis counselor on the Crisis Text Line.

http://avalonmedicaleducators.com offers an online course Trauma and Burnout in healthcare and How to Manage it

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Welcome to Our New Website!

Avalon Medical Educators is happy to launch its new website. We hope it will be a better and more useful experience and resource for you!

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