For Parish Nurses

Parish Nurse Research Update

Dear Parish Nurses - How did 2019 get here so quickly - It was just a few weeks ago that we were celebrating summer sunshine and then Christmas was upon us.  I hope your New Year's Resolutions included reading up on the current research that might pertain to faith community nurses.  Here are some articles that I found interesting:

1.  Two articles in the Morb Mortal Wkly Report (2018), 67(31), 845-9, 850-3, address the opioid use by pregnant women stating that there is a fourfold increase use of opioid use by pregnant women.  The data indicated that the use in the United States increased from 1.5 per 1,000 deliveries in 1999 to 6.5 per 1,000 deliveries in 2014.  The highest increase use by pregnant women was found in Vermont, West Virginia, Maine, and New Mexico. The lowest rates were found in Washington and Nebraska.  These reports were based on discharge data from 1999-2014 Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project, a comprehensive source of U.S. hospital data and was the first look at opioid use by pregnant women by state.  Preterm birth, stillbirth, and maternal death are linked to opioid use during pregnancy.  Babies born to opioid useres may experience withdrawal symptoms, known as neonatal absintence syndrome.  

Parish nurses - do you practice in one of the states with the highest opioid use by prengnant women?  Could a pregnant woman in your congregation be using an opioid because of some past injury and is now addicted?  Be on the alert - know the symptoms of opioid use - know the resources in your community to help people with this addiction.

2.  Bombard, J. M., Kortsmit, K., Cottengim, C., and Johnston, E. O. (2018). Infant safe practices in the United States.  AJN, 118(12), 20-212.  Since the Back to Sleep campaign was begun in the 1990s, sleep-related infant deaths sharply declined.  But now these types of deaths have been slightly increasing to approximately 3,500 sleep-related deaths per year.  Three recommendations from the American academy of Pediatrics include "(1) placing the infant in the supine sleep position on a firm sleep surface in a safety-approved crib or bassinet; (2) having infant and caregivers share a room but not the same sleeping surface; (3) not using soft bedding, such as blankets, pillows, and soft objects in the infant sleep environment" (p. 20).  In a CDC survey of mothers with recent live births two to six months after delivery (2009-2015), the authors found that unsafe infant sleep practices were common in 2015:  22% of mothers reported not placing infant on back to sleep, 61%  reported bed sharing with their infant, 39% reported using soft bedding in their infant's sleep environment.  "Unsafe sleep practices were most commonly reported by younger, less educated and racial/ethnic minority mothers" (p.21).  The authors concluded that health care providers play an important role in educating new mothers on the Back to Sleep recommendations.

Parish nurses - when you visit a new mother in your congregation do you review the Back to Sleep practices?  What about the grandparents who might practice their "old ideas" about infant sleeping?  Education is the key and continued follow-up with questions for the new mother on her practices are key to preventing an infant death.  If your congregation serves a low income or culturally diverse population, you might consider providing free or low-cost safe cribs.

3.  Baiocco, R., el al. (2018). No detrimental effects in children of same-sex parents." J Dev Behav Pediatr, 39(7), 555-63. (Reviewed in AJN, 118(11). p. 55) Numerous studies have been conducted comparing children of same-sex parents with children of heterosexual parents with essentially the same results: with few exceptions, there has not been found any differences in psychological adjustment or in parenting quality or relationships.  This current online study examined numerous variables and concluded that this study added weight to the previous studies  that there were not significant differences in the children raised by same-sex parents versus heterosexual parents.  One interesting finding was that family cohesion was greatest among families with gay fathers, followed by families with lesbian mothers.  The basic conclusion was that "parents' sexual orientation did not have a direct effect on a child's psychosocial well-being" therefore, policymakers should not make assumptions about parents' suitability based on sexual orientation.

Parish nurses - the information in this study can help you educate members of your congregation if the issue comes up in your practice.  You may have same-sex parents as members.  This study supports the issue of suitability of these parents in providing a home environment conducive to a child's well-being.

4.  An Editorial in the November issue of AJN caught my eye. ( Kennedy, M., (2018). To be a nurse. AJN, 118 (11), 7) Maureen S. Kennedy, editor-in-chief of the journal, wrote about what it means to be a nurse.  The article outlined the various arenas that nurses practice in and the technical skills and knowledge needed for nursing.  But the most important concept Kennedy wrote about was how a nurses moves from just the technical skills and knowledge into embracing those attributes into the formation of a professional identity.  "A professional identity creates a sense of belonging to a group that holds the same values; it can provide colleagues to touch base with when decision-making guidance is needed in stressful situations.  For those in our care, it can foster confidence that they will be dealt with in a professional manner by someone who adheres to a code of ethical conduct" (p. 7).   She quotes Virginia Henderson discussing nursing in a 1969 AJN article: "It seems hardly possible to me that an excellent nurse can be at the same time an indifferent or socially inexperienced citizen".  Think about that - is 2019 any different thatn 1969 when I was just in the early stages of my nursing career?  What about you?  How have you embraced the attributes of nursing's professional identity?  Being a member of a professional organization, like ELPNA, helps meet those attributes mentioned above.  Thank you for being a member.

Research helps us move forward in providing the best possible care to those whose lives we impact.  If you plan to attend Westberg next April, please consider registereing for the Faith Community Nurses Internation Pre-Conference on Research in Faith Community Nursing.  Westberg is April 8-10, the preconference is Monday, April 8 morning so would require you to travel on Sunday.  There is an additional registration necessary.  The pre-conference is from 9 am to 1 pm with lunch included.  The link for registration is on the Westberg Symposium page.  Hope to see you there.

Andrea West, FCN

amwestrn@yahoo.com