3rd Door Series #2: We used to work together but now I’m the boss!

Welcome to the Third Door Column from Nurse.org with Beth Boynton, RN, MS.

In this 10-part weekly series, we’ll be navigating common conflicts in nursing and healthcare with an eye towards shared accountability and co-creative solutions. The “Third Door” concept is centered on the notion that when we think there are only two ways to look at a problem or conflict, there’s always an alternative way that can bring about understanding, open-mindedness, and individual and collective ownership of the issue at hand.

3rd Door #2:  We used to work together but now I’m the boss!

Dear Beth,

I’m a nurse manager on a med-surg floor and was promoted from my staff RN position about six months ago. I’ve been on this unit for three years and started out as a graduate nurse. One of the full-time RNs who reports to me now – let’s call her Naomi – was my preceptor during my first six months. 

Naomi’s clinical skills are superb and I owe a lot of my professional growth and confidence to her. We got along pretty well during my preceptorship, even though sometimes I felt she was a little negative. Now, as a manager, I’m becoming worried about…(full article at nurse.org)

If you’d like to have a conflict or situation considered for this column please submit to keith@fullbeaker.com.

Posted in Assertiveness, Communication in Healthcare, Complexity in nursing, Diversity, Healthy Workplaces, Listening, Teambuilding, Workplace Bullying | Tagged , | Leave a comment

The Link Between Sexual Abuse and Addiction: How to End the Cycle

Photo via Pixabay by Unsplash

by Jane Moore

Anyone can be a victim of sexual abuse, though a larger percentage have proven to be women or girls.  The American Psychological Association defines sexual abuse as “unwanted sexual activity, with perpetrators using force, making threats, or taking advantage of victims not able to give consent.” 

The Link Between Sexual Abuse and Addiction

Women with a history of childhood or previous sexual abuse have a stronger likelihood of developing an addiction to drugs or alcohol.  Long term symptoms of sexual abuse, such as anxiety, fear, low self-esteem, and post traumatic stress disorder, can all be factors in driving victims toward addictive behaviors.

Sexual Abuse can cause major trauma to the victim, both physical and mental.  Many times the victim even knows their abuser.  This abuse can cause victims to turn inward, feeling lonely, isolated, and unable to trust others.  The use of drugs or alcohol is a common way for sexual abuse victims to self-medicate or mentally escape memories of trauma. 

Addiction happens when the sexual abuse victim continues to abuse drugs or alcohol consistently, whether to escape pain or as a self-destructive behavior.  Unfortunately, addiction reinforces poor coping skills, antisocial behavior, anxiety, depression, relationship problems, self-esteem issues, and aids in future victimization. 

How to End the Cycle

If you know someone who has been sexually abused, seek help immediately.  The victim will need treatment for physical trauma as well as emotional trauma.  Therapy can aid in placing guilt where it belongs, on the perpetrator.  Therapy can also help the victim gain strength, confidence, and control of their future so that they will not have to turn toward drugs or alcohol as a coping mechanism. 

Once a sexual abuse victim is already addicted to substances, such as drugs or alcohol, they will need a much more in-depth recovery program.  They will need rehabilitation from their addiction in an environment that is safe, secure, and free from judgment.  The victim will need support and patience to recover from their addiction while simultaneously receiving therapy for the sexual abuse that was suffered.

Recovery from sexual abuse could take significantly longer than recovery from the addiction.  Sometimes victims are not able to verbalize why they feel the way they do or do not experience all the effects of the sexual abuse right away.  Therapy can help victims understand that all their feelings and responses are normal.  It can also offer more healthy ways to cope with the stress and trauma, such as writing down daily feelings in a journal. 

The effects of sexual abuse and subsequent addiction do not have to last forever. Healthy intervention for addiction and therapy to counter the effects of sexual abuse can make a major difference in the life of the victim.  The important thing is to end the abuse and addiction.  The victim can then move forward with continued therapy as long as needed and live a happy and productive life. 

–Jane Moore believes in the healing power of travel. She loves exploring unfamiliar places and writing about her experiences at FitwellTraveler.

Posted in Communication in Healthcare, Complexity in nursing, Holistic Health, Patient Advocacy, Patient Safety | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Leveraging Trust & Knowledge of Nurses! How to submit letters to the editor (LTE)!

by Peggy Ann Berry, PhD, RN

We are healthcare providers and so much of our profession, practice, and reimbursements intertwine with the laws and politics of this country. In addition, patient safety and health revolve around safe staffing and expanded scope of practice. State and United States laws are made to safe guard patients, not healthcare professionals.

So, why write an LTE? Will my words really count for something, whether I am writing about environmental concerns, like the EPA Clean Power Plan or expanded practice for nurse practitioners?

Not only do your words count, your profession also does. Registered nurses are the most trusted profession in the United States. Not only do our legislators respond when you write or call, newspapers will want you to respond to their news with LTEs. Your voice counts and matters. It is not your competence at stake here but your confidence in your own voice.

Easy submission process for letters to the editor (LTE)!

Most newspapers provide a submission form where you can directly send your letter to the editor for review. The form will typically ask for your name, address, and phone number so the paper can verify that you’re a real person. Someone may also reach out and follow up with questions regarding your LTE. Listed below are the points in writing an effective letter to the editor:

  • Keep it brief –  200 words, one point, and stick to your point
  • Make it local and original – newspapers care about what affects the people who buy their papers so the issue must have local impact
  • Keep it timely – what has the newspaper written about lately and don’t wait two weeks
  • Include your full contact information – name, address, phone number, email
  • Follow up – call the newspaper and ask if they received it (whether electronic or letter).
  • If your piece is published and there is a hyperlink to it, consider sharing with your colleagues online.
Can you imagine the web and wealth of helpful information that nurses can create? Click To Tweet

Peggy Ann Berry, PhD, RN is President of Thrive At Life: Working Solutions 

She is a dynamic and curious occupational safety and health leader who seeks organizational challenges to apply, stretch, and expand her knowledge, skills, and abilities. Dr. Berry specializes in improving performance indicators in human performance focusing on workers’ compensation cost containment, safety, health and wellness of employees. Dr. Berry works with individuals to coach through workplace dynamics and industries to improve performance indicators.

Posted in Assertiveness, Communication in Healthcare, Complexity in nursing, Diversity, Healthy Workplaces, Medical-Legal, Nurse Entreprenuers, Nurse Leadership, Patient Advocacy, Patient Safety | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment