As COVID-19 cases ramp up again, stress management is key, especially for a travel nurse. If you’re looking for new ways to manage anxiety, natural mind/body remedies can be helpful tools. To some, it might sound like some hippie witchy-woo-woo, but there is research that suggests aromatherapy and essential oils are useful in calming the mind and body. They certainly can’t hurt.
If you’re new to the essential oil game, here are seven oils that are known to help manage stress. You can rub these on your skin, diffuse them into your room, spray them on your clothes, or take a bath in them.
A study in 2013 suggested that inhaling Jasmine oil can promote a sense of well-being and even romance. The scent derived from white flowers has always been popular for it’s sweet fragrance. It even shows up in a number of perfumes. Now some scientists believe it has a calming benefit to the central nervous system, and unlike similar oils, it calms without causing sleepiness. So you can diffuse it in the mornings before work!
Lavender is one of the most common essential oils, and a familiar scent to most. But it’s ability to clear and calm the mind has also been backed up by science. A study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine asked participants to complete a memory-related task after exposing them to a stresser. Those who had inhaled a lavender aroma prior to the stressor performed better on the test than those who were given a placebo oil. It’s thought to calm anxiety through impacting the limbic system, the part of the brain that controls emotions.
Many use lavender oil as a spray. And in fact a study in the International Journal of Nursing Practice showed that using a 3% lavender oil spray reduced work-related stress for up to four days. You can also take a nice lavender bath by mixing the oil with an unscented bath gel.
Ylang Ylang Oil
Ylang Ylang, a scent derived from the tropical plant native to India, has been proven to reduce blood pressure and stress-hormone levels. It’s an oil better consumed later in the day rather than before work. One study found that while Ylang Ylang limited stress, it also impaired memory and lengthened processing speed.
Lemon Balm Oil
A 2011 study showed that taking lemon balm capsules may help people with mild to moderate anxiety disorders, as well as improve sleep. And when diffused into a room, lemon balm provides a fresh and uplifting scent.
If you’re a fan of Earl Grey, you’ll like this one. Bergamot is derived from a citrus fruit and is the featured aroma in the famous tea. It also may relieve your stress. Several studies show that bergamot can help improve negative emotions. And one study in 2015 linked bergamot to lowering saliva cortisol levels, a hormone often called the body’s “stress hormone.”
If you plan to use bergamot on the skin or in a bath, make sure you combine it with a carrier oil (like avocado or jojoba), as too much bergamot can cause irritation to the skin.
Holy Basil Oil
If flowery scents aren’t your thing, give a few drops of Holy Basil a try. It’s not quite the same basil you’d use to make garlic bread, but it has a similar smell. It contains a compound called eugenol which gives it a minty scent combined with a spicy aroma. One study in 2014 showed that holy basil has the potential to treat mental and physical stress.
Remember, just like the Italian food you’d cook with it, a little bit of holy basil goes a long way. You only need a few drops to diffuse the homey smell into your apartment.
Yuzu oil has been used in Japanese culture for centuries for its therapeutic properties. It is pressed from the fruit peel of the Citrus Junos Tree. Its scent is somewhere between a mandarin and a grapefruit. It’s also a great natural tool for stress relief.
According to a small study back in 2013, yuzu was found to decrease salivary chromogranin A, an indicator of stress. It’s also thought that the essential oil can suppress the sympathetic nervous system, which produces the body’s fight or flight instinct. So yuzu might not be best for a high stakes situation, but it’s great for relaxation.Read More
As Coronavirus cases are ramping up in nearly every state in America, it’s becoming a bit more complicated to be a travel nurse. But if you’re planning to hop on a plane in the next few weeks to your next work destination, this guide has you covered. Here’s everything you should know about how travel is changing right now, and the best tips to staying safe, whether you’re commuting in a plane, train, bus or car.
Top Tips for Traveling Safe
Start planning your “Corona Travel Kit” weeks before you leave
Hand sanitizer, Clorox wipes, and other sanitary necessities are becoming hot commodities again. If you know you’re traveling, make sure you’re stocked up well ahead of time. And think hard about what you’ll need in various travel situations.
For instance, if you’re flying, you can only carry on a bottle of hand sanitizer that contains 12 ounces or less. So stock up on mini-bottles. And also consider alcohol and Clorox wipes (get both) as a better option for flying. After all, wipes can also sanitize where you’re sitting and putting your hands on. And you can use them to wipe down your phone and wallet. Disposable gloves can be useful too, but make sure not to touch your face with your gloves on.
If you’re driving, there are a couple of other items to consider bringing with you. Keep a package of trash bags handy as your Clorox wipes and disposable gloves begin to pile up. You could also consider buying an air purifier for your car if you’re driving with others.
Avoid shopping while traveling
Whether you’re flying or driving, the most likely way you’d come into contact with strangers is through shopping. Whether it’s buying a snack at a gas station, or a water bottle at the Starbucks near your terminal, this is putting you at extra-risk of interacting with strangers and touching items that others have likely also put their hands on. Just plan ahead and avoid this altogether if you can. Bring more snacks than you think you need, and plan for a packed lunch and possibly dinner, even if you’re flying. Bring an emptied reusable water bottle if you’re flying. And if you’re driving, bring multiple water bottles (though don’t drink so much that you have to stop to pee all the time).
Speaking of peeing, do it at your house before you go!
Cover that face!
It’s human nature to want to touch your face, and it’s a habit that is incredibly difficult to crack. So the easiest way to stop yourself from doing it in a high-risk situation like traveling is to cover as much of your face as possible. Wearing a mask is a given, but also wear your reading glasses or even your sunglasses if you can. It might not take the temptation away, but if you have to take the extra step of taking your glasses off before rubbing your eyes, you’ll have time to realize what you’re doing and quickly put some hand sanitizer on.
Check in to your flight online/ use a carry-on suitcase
Another way to avoid as much human contact as possible while flying is to check in ahead of time online, and try and limit yourself to a carry-on suitcase. That way you can head straight to security and skip a step of standing in line and talking to TSA.
Take a window seat
When you travel by air, you’re actually at quite a limited risk of contracting disease from inhaling particles because of the HEPA air filters found on most planes. But still, it’s hard to abide by the 6-feet-apart social distancing guidelines when you’re crammed in a plane. While you might usually prefer the aisle seat, consider taking the window seat instead. The aisle will put you in close contact with flight attendants and any passenger getting up to use the restroom.
Also, wear a mask for the duration of your flight. We know it sucks. But it will ensure your safety and the safety of those around you.
When driving, prepare for the worst
Limiting how many times you stop during a road trip also means prepping as much as you can to avoid emergency stops. AAA isn’t always going to save you, and it will put you in contact with strangers. Also, because of COVID-19, a lot of local repair shops have limited hours. Try and be as self sufficient as you can. Make sure you have a spare tire and jack, and practice changing a tire before you go. Get new wipers, your oil changed and your fluids topped off before you leave. Maybe even have someone who knows cars pretty well take a look at your engine.
As a last resort, look up all the auto-repair shops along your root and jot down their hours and numbers.
Change your mindset
If you’ve been in one place for several months, you might start getting lax about sanitizing your hands, not touching your face, or keeping 6 feet away from others. Even if you’ve been going into a hospital every day, it’s easy to be lulled into a sense of normalcy around this virus as we’re now into month four of the pandemic. So hours before you board a plane or get into a car to travel cross-state, put yourself into a little bit of a panic mode. You don’t want to have so much anxiety about traveling that you freak out and don’t think properly, but a little bit of fear can be powerful. Read a couple articles about the dangers of COVID-19 before you leave the house, to refamiliarize yourself with the risk you’re facing.
Make a checklist
And then once you’re sufficiently scared of this possibly-deadly virus, immediately make a checklist for everything you need to be mindful of before you get into an airport or a car.
- Am I touching my face?
- Am I applying hand sanitizer every 15 minutes or so, or before I touch my face? (You could even make a timer on your phone)
- Has my phone or wallet come in contact with any surface?
- When I’m taking my mask off for any reason, are my hands clean?
- What are the conditions in which it’s okay to take my mask off?
- How can I avoid contact with strangers as much as possible?
- If I’m driving, how many times should I expect to stop?
- Have I wiped down the gas pump before using it?
Plan for after you arrive
If you’re flying into your new destination, make sure you’re thinking about how you’ll get to where you’re staying once you get off the plane. Public transportation has been shut down in many states, and shuttles can be too-close-for-comfort. If you’re going to take an Uber, make sure to keep your mask on and the window down. Also look up where the pick-up location for ride-shares and taxis is before you land.
Also, if you’re staying in an AirBnb or some other temporary lodging, go to the state website and see if they’ve placed any kind of guidelines or restrictions on lodging. Some places like Maine, require you to present a negative COVID-19 test to the owners of your AirBnB or hotel.
The best way to limit your travel and stress levels? Get tested for COVID-19 before you head out, and after you arrive. Make sure you get your test in time to have the results back before you leave, and try to quarantine as best you can while waiting for results.
Some states or workplaces ask that you get a test within 24 hours of arriving in your city. But if this isn’t your situation, try and wait four or five days after traveling to get tested. It’s more likely your test will be accurate if you wait a few days beyond when you think you might have been exposed. If you’re forced to take a test right when you get into the city, maybe take another one a week later, just to be safe.
Navigating travel restrictions
As states like Texas and Florida have begun seeing more cases than ever before, some other states are closing or restricting their borders to outside travelers coming from certain areas. If you’re traveling on assignment, these restrictions don’t necessarily all apply to you. Most states have made exceptions for essential workers, but it is still important to know all the rules before you travel. This will allow you to plan ahead and possibly arrive in a city a few weeks before your assignment starts if you are expected to quarantine. Restrictions can change week-by-week and even day-by-day, but here are some of the states that have travel restrictions as of Thursday, July 2.
Connecticut, New York and New Jersey
Governors of the tri-states all came together late in June and decided they would place restrictions on travelers coming from high COVID areas. Travelers coming from a state that has a positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents or a state with a 10% or higher positivity rate over a 7-day rolling average are expected to quarantine for 14 days.
These states as of Thursday are: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Utah. You can always check for updates here.
Each of the three states has slightly varied exemptions for essential workers and short-term travel, as well as enforcement.
In New York, essential workers, which includes almost any kind of health care worker, “should seek diagnostic testing for COVID-19 as soon as possible upon arrival (within 24 hours) to ensure they are not positive.” They’re also directed to avoid spending prolonged time in public places or congregate settings for at least 7 days. So don’t go to the outdoor patio bar until you’ve gotten your COVID test results back. If you are reported or caught violating any of these travel restrictions in New York, you’re subject to a $2,000 fine. Governor Andrew Cuomo hasn’t gone into great detail about what enforcement will look like, but you might want to have some kind of hospital or work identification with you at all times, especially in the airport. You can read the full travel advisory here.
Connecticut’s travel policy is a little more lax. It simply states that travelers who work in critical infrastructure as designated by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency are exempt from quarantine. You might want to call the helpline if you are working somewhere that is not an Emergency Room, because the CISA only designates “emergency medical services” as essential. Connecticut has no fine for violators of the quarantine. “It will be up to individuals to abide by the advisory.”
Finally, New Jersey says that anyone “traveling for business” is exempt from the quarantine rule. While vague, this should include travel nurses. And the quarantine is technically voluntary.
At the start of June, New Mexico reinstated its order that outside travelers from anywhere must self-quarantine for 14 days. Healthcare workers are excluded from this policy, but if you have friends or family traveling with you, check out all the rules related to travel quarantine here.
Rhode Island’s list of states subject to travel restrictions is even longer than the tri-state list. You can check out the current 24 states here. If you’re traveling from one of these states, you are expected to quarantine for 14 days, OR you can get a COVID-19 test and only quarantine until you receive negative results.
If you need to go to work straight away, you can also get a COVID-19 test 72 hours prior to your arrival in Rhode Island, and the restrictions will be waived when your results come back negative.
Maine requires that all travelers coming from anywhere except New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, New Hampshire and Vermont, quarantine for 14 days, or get a COVID-19 negative test result shortly before or after arriving. Maine is particularly strict with its policy, and requires non-residents to sign a Certificate of Compliance indicating either that they have received a negative COVID-19 test result or that they will quarantine in Maine for 14 days. If you’re staying in an Airbnb, hotel or any other kind of lodging, you’ll be expected to present this Certificate of Compliance to the owner of said establishment. Essential workers are exempt from this.
Florida, Hawaii, Kansas, Massachusetts
To check out the details of all these states’ travel restrictions, go to this Southwest page. Southwest, and most other airlines, keep track of all the changing travel restrictions on their home sites, so keep checking them regularly to see if any of these policies might affect you.
Itching to travel to your next destination?
Now that you’re informed about how to keep yourself safe while traveling, are you ready to pick a new nursing gig? Remember that with Stability Healthcare, you can easily find great travel nursing placements. Sign up today!
As an increasing number of people start seeing the environment (and their wellbeing) as a priority, cities have no choice but to adapt to this new mindset, and one of the main ways in which this occurs is through the creation of bike lanes.
Citizens want to switch their cars by their bikes, and in order to do so safely, they need to have the right infrastructures.
The question is, which cities are most ahead when it comes to this fast pacing trend?
Discover the answer today, as we list six of the most bikeable cities in America!
1. Minneapolis, Minnesota
In Minneapolis, you’ll find 40 miles of bike-accessible paths, which were once the abandoned railroads of the city.
However, there’s even more to come for cyclists in Minneapolis, as the city is currently working on a transportation plan that puts bike-friendliness as a number one priority.
2. Chicago, Illinois
Divvy is the second biggest bike-share system in the U.S. and guess where it comes from… Chicago!
Although it is a busy city, you won’t have a hard time finding bike lanes and parks everywhere, and hey, cycling by the beach while feeling the fresh breeze on your face doesn’t sound like a bad idea, does it?
3. Portland, Oregon
Portland has 385 miles of bike lanes, which are valued at $60 million, and that were used, in 2017, by over 22,000 people to get to work, making it a platinum bicycle-friendly community, according to the League of American Bicyclists. Need we say more?
4. Austin, Texas
In Austin, you’ll find nearly ten miles of protected bike lanes and there’ll be no shortage of people riding around in their bikes, whether they’re commuting or simply having fun.
Chances are that these lanes will grow and become even better over the next few years, as the city is expanding, so we’d say this is a great choice for any cyclist!
5. Manhattan, New York
When you think of New York, you probably picture the busiest city on Earth, which is why you might be wondering…
“How will I ever ride my bike there?!”
The truth is that it is possible, as over the past five years, the city’s Department of Transportation has built bike routes that go on for 330 miles, and the number of people biking there has been on the rise since then.
6. New Orleans
In 2005, Hurricane Katrina damaged countless infrastructures in New Orleans, forcing the city to repair and rebuild them.
During this recovery phase, the city decided to invest in roadways and parks where cyclists could ride safely, and the residents were undoubtedly big fans of this change, as New Orleans became on the most biked cities in America.
Which Bikeable City Will You Move to?
When it comes to turning its cities into more bikeable and accessible spots, America is definitely putting in the work. Now all that’s left is for you to choose where you want to move!
No matter which city you pick, remember that with Stability Healthcare, you can easily find great travel nursing placements. Sign up today!Read More
It is an important time in history for healthcare professionals to examine their own internal biases, and also look at the health care system as a whole. Studies have shown that by and large, Black Americans get less, and sometimes worse, care than white Americans. And much of this discrepancy comes from a distrust sown from years of abuse. We have a list of books you can read to gain a deeper understanding of this history. But if you want a quick overview, here are some things you should know about healthcare and racism.
The Tuskegee experiment
The Tuskegee experiment wasn’t the first time that healthcare professionals mistreated black patients, and it certainly wouldn’t be the last. But the 40 year study on syphilis that started in 1932 would become infamous among Black people in America. And it would come to represent the way white medical professionals value Black lives. So as a nurse, it’s important you know what happened.
In Macon County, Alabama, 600 Black men were chosen as subjects for a study on untreated syphilis among Black communities. But most of them had no idea they were participating in the study. It was conducted by the United States Public Health Service (USPHS) and involved blood tests, x-rays, spinal taps and eventually, autopsies of the subjects. The men chosen for this study, mostly because doctors had recognized syphilis in their lab reports, were simply told they were being treated for “bad blood.” And many received no treatment at all.
Even after penicillin was discovered as a safe and reliable cure for syphilis, the majority of men did not receive it.
On top of knowingly allowing Black men to die of a treatable disease, the experiment was rooted in pseudoscience and incorrect, racist theories of medicine. Scientists at the time believed Black men to be naturally hyper-sexual, and thus more likely to contract sexually transmitted diseases. They attributed the lower birth rate and higher miscarriage rates among black communities to STDs, without any real evidence of this being true. Many doctors and medical professionals operated under the assumption that Black men had larger genitals but smaller brains, and thus were inherently sexually perverse and immoral. This kind of pseudoscience helped reinforce the most common motive for lynching black men: accusing them of raping white women. Thus the most brutal forms of racism during the Jim Crow era were inherently linked to healthcare and to the Tuskegee Experiment itself, which in some ways existed to service sexual stereotypes about Black communities.
It was also at the root of scientists’ hypothesis that Black men and women were so unintelligent that they would not seek treatment for syphilis or other diseases. By the 1950s, though, doctors involved in the study were actively trying to stop their patients from learning of or seeking treatment for their disease. And even against their best efforts, 30 percent of subjects who survived to that point had received penicillin treatments.
None of it made sense. Saying that Black men were too “stoic” to seek out or retain treatment for syphilis was inherently flawed because their subjects were told they were already receiving treatment. But the point was to reinforce the idea that Black communities are less likely to seek out medical treatment and thus their higher death and infection rates made sense, absent of any medical malice. It’s important to note because this belief still exists in medicine today.
There’s a lot more to learn about the experiment. This site gives a great and more detailed overview. A final note on the study: It continued until 1972, two decades after the Nuremberg code was written to prohibit harmful human experimentation.
Eugenics and forced sterilization
There were 5,000 black women sterilized without their consent from 1933 to 1973 in North Carolina alone. Never heard of forced sterilization? This is how it happened.
Back in 1849, a Texas biologist and physician proposed a bill mandating sterilization of the mentally handicapped and any of those possessing genes he deemed “undesirable.” The proposed law was rooted in a growing philosophy of the time called eugenics. Eugenics was a belief, largely held by scientists, that you could improve the human species by controlling reproduction, only allowing the birth of children whose parents have “desirable” genetic traits. It was inherently racist. The bill didn’t come to a vote in 1849, but it was the first of its kind. And would come up again and again in the decades to come.
Finally by 1909, Indiana, California and Washington all successfully passed mandatory sterilization laws for the “feebleminded,” meaning mentally handicapped. In 1927, the Supreme Court ruled that forced sterilization was not against the constitution. Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes said that “It is better for all the world, if instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime, or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind.”.
By the 1960s, tens of thousands of Americans were sterilized in state-run eugenics programs, according to investigative reporters for NBC News. NBC interviewed women who had gone into the hospital for some kind of procedure, sometimes to give birth, and afterwards, without their consent, were sterilized. One woman, Elaine Riddick, discovered records that an 8-person eugenics board in Raleigh, North Carolina had deemed her “feebleminded” and “promiscuous” and recommended she be sterilized. She was only 13 years old at the time, and was pregnant after being raped by her neighbor. This was what eugenics programs did. A group of white men assessed patients they had never met and deemed whether they were fit to bear children.
This practice was all but endorsed by the White House in the 1970s, when the Nixon administration dramatically increased Medicaid-funded sterilization of low-income Americans, predominantly people of color. While Nixon’s policy required voluntary consent from patients, this restriction was largely evaded. Thousands of patients have come forward to say that they were sterilized without their consent. Almost all of them were black women, Native American women and Puerto Rican women. The last known legal forced sterilization was performed in Oregon in 1981.
Sickle Cell disease
It’s widely known among the medical community that sickle cell disease is more common among Black Americans. Sickle cell is a genetic disease that affects hemoglobin, the molecule in red blood cells that delivers oxygen to cells throughout the body, and it can cause chronic pain, multi-organ failure and stroke. Because sickle cell is genetic and scientists guess that it began in West Africa, Americans with a strong African ancestry are more likely to have it.
It’s no coincidence that sickle-cell impacts Black Americans more acutely than any other race and sickle-cell research receives far less funding than comparable diseases. There are more cases of sickle cell than cystic fibrosis, yet cystic fibrosis receives 3.5 times more funding. For this reason, there has been far less progress in treating and preventing sickle cell, even though 1 out of 13 black babies are born with the genetic trait.
While life expectancy for almost every major medical condition has increased in recent years, the life expectancy for sickle-cell has decreased. In 1994, life expectancy for sickle cell patients was 42 for men and 48 for women. By 2005, life expectancy had dipped to 38 for men and 42 for women.
It’s not just about funding and research. The way patients with sickle-cell are treated plays a large role in their ability to survive the disease. Many cases of sickle-cell get misdiagnosed, even though a genetic test will make it clear whether a patient has the trait. One medical student said that she was taught to be careful with sickle-cell testing because “they might become de facto paternity tests.” While a sickle-cell test does reveal genetic inheritance patterns, so do tests for cystic fibrosis and Tay-Sachs disease. She said there was never a concern about revealing a different “baby-daddy” in these other tests.
Sickle-cell involves dramatic episodes of pain, which need to be treated or they can result in death. But many patients are told to go home, or are left waiting in an emergency room for hours when they are admitted for a sickle-cell flare up. This connects to a pattern of medical professionals continually doubting and undermining the pain of their Black patients.
There’s a fact getting passed around the internet recently that encapsulates the problem with how Black patients are treated: Black Americans were actually spared in the opioid addiction crisis because physicians were so resistant to prescribing them pain medication.
According to MedPage Today, white patients are twice as likely to receive opioids for migraines or back pain as black patients. This is rooted in the false belief that Black patients feel pain less acutely than white patients. A study in 2016 found that half of white medical students in a 200+ person survey believed that there were biological differences between how white and black patients experience pain. And these respondents were more likely to suggest inappropriate treatment for black patients, underscoring how false ideas about race and medicine can cause physicians to act incorrectly in many cases.
This viral Tik Tok coming from white OBG-YN Dr. Jennifer Lincoln puts it best: “It’s a holdover from the days of slavery, when white people needed to feel better about abusing slaves. Black people used to be operated on without anesthesia and were used in studies without their consent, so this was a convenient lie. To this day, Black people are less likely to get the same treatment in terms of pain medication. They’re more likely to wait longer in the emergency room. They’re less likely to be taken seriously. It’s a holdover from the days of slavery.”
As Lincoln pointed out in her Tik Tok, perception of Black pain plays a huge role in the maternal morbidity crisis, one of the most modern areas of blatant racism in healthcare.
According to the CDC, Black women in the U.S. are 243% more likely to die from pregnancy than white mothers, one of the widest of all racial disparities in women’s health. Researchers also said that about 60% of all pregnancy related deaths can be prevented with better care.
Many signs of preeclampsia, a dangerously high blood pressure during pregnancy which is the leading cause of maternal death, often go ignored for black patients, as the New York Times reported back in 2018. Preeclampsia and the seizures that develop after preeclampsia are 60% more common for Black women. This quote from Times piece seems most telling:
“Black infants in America are now more than twice as likely to die as white infants — 11.3 per 1,000 black babies, compared with 4.9 per 1,000 white babies, according to the most recent government data — a racial disparity that is actually wider than in 1850, 15 years before the end of slavery, when most black women were considered chattel.”
And while some might chalk a higher infant and maternal mortality rate up to lower income and lack of education, this actually factors very little. A black woman with an advanced degree is more likely to lose her baby than a white woman with less than an eighth-grade education.
Even American exceptionalism, or the belief that we are the leader of the world in scientific and all kinds of advancement, is brought crashing down as a result of racism. The lack of care American healthcare offers to Black mothers causes it to rank at the very top among industrial countries in infant and maternal mortality rates. That’s not a list you want to come in at #1. The United States is one of only 13 countries in the world where the rate of maternal mortality is now worse than it was 25 years ago.
Doulas, or a medically trained woman who offers guidance and support during pregnancy and birth, have made a comeback in recent years, as one potential solution to improving care for Black mothers. Community-based doula groups have popped up in cities across the country aimed at providing black women in particular the care they are not getting from their doctors.
Finally, the most recent instance of racism in healthcare is happening right now. The COVID-19 death rate for black Americans is 2.33 times higher than the death rate for white Americans, according to a report put out by the APM Research Lab on June 11. The blog Scientific American put this into context: If Black Americans were dying at the same rate white Americans were, 13,000 people would still be alive.
In today’s health crisis, there’s a throughline of all the historical racism we have detailed for you above. For a century, doctors and physicians have claimed that Black people are genetically dispositioned to contract certain diseases, to die earlier, to wait too long to seek out care. And with the great racial disparity of COVID-19, you’re seeing them do it again. Louisiana Senator Bill Cassidy, who was a doctor before he was elected, said that there were “genetic reasons” for why Black residents were dying at a higher rate than white residents. He cited no evidence. Scientists writing in Lancet and Health Affairs, some of the world’s leading medical journals, have also cited unknown genetic and biological factors as a possible cause for higher Black death in COVID-19, also providing no evidence.
The widely held concept that there are genetic factors that lead Black Americans to have higher blood pressure and diabetes is dispelled pretty well here. The reality is there are environmental factors that cause Black patients to have underlying conditions like asthma, which could make their COVID symptoms worse: higher rates of pollution in black neighborhoods, lack of quality housing, limited access to healthy food, and racial discrimination in healthcare, for starters.
On top of these underlying health conditions, the care that Black Americans receive when they get sick is also killing them at higher rates. As has been proven in studies and anecdotal evidence throughout history, doctors and physicians tend to not take Black patients’ pain as seriously as white patients. And this has been displayed as many Black patients claim to have been denied COVID-19 tests despite displaying symptoms. According to a study from research firm Rubix Life Sciences, Black patients displaying COVID-19 symptoms were six times less likely to receive testing or treatment, in comparison to white patients who exhibited symptoms.
White communities are also more likely to have more testing sites than Black neighborhoods. NPR reported that Nashville, Tennessee was initially unable to transport tests and PPE to testing sites in neighborhoods that were predominantly Black. And in Chicago, Black neighborhoods had lower testing rates than white neighborhoods.
Once again, Dr. Lincoln’s Tik Tok says it best: “Doctors, nurses, anybody in the medical field, check your implicit bias. Stop yourself every time you’re caring for somebody who has a different skin color than you and check your bias.”Read More
Anti-racist reading lists have been circulating across the internet in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd. Non-black people who want to be better allies have been rushing to book stores to pick up Ibram X Kendi’s “How to be an Anti-Racist” or Robin DiAngelo’s “White Fragility.” But the backdrop of the Black Lives Matter movement is health care. The COVID-19 death rate for black Americans is 2.33 times higher than the death rate for white Americans, according to a report put out by the APM Research Lab on June 11. As the American Public Health Association has said, racism is a public health crisis.
It’s important for front-line workers, especially nurses, to take time to understand why these racial disparities in health persist. Black Americans aren’t simply dying of COVID-19 at higher rates because they make up a higher percentage of essential workers, although that’s a problem in itself. There’s a great mistrust of healthcare in the black community based on a long history of abuse that still continues today. There are great books written on this very issue. So if you’re a nurse, here’s YOUR reading list.
Medical Apartheid by Harriet A. Washington
If you really want to understand the full history of racial abuse in health care, spanning from the days of slavery to 2007, when Medical Apartheid was published, this is the book to get you started. In grade school, you might have learned about the Tuskegee experiments, in which the government experimented on black men with syphilis for 40 years, allowing many of them to die in the process. But Washington digs into lesser known experiments that date back even further. She examines how social Darwinism and the pseudoscience of eugenics were born out of strings of experiments on slaves and freedmen. Washington’s book was revolutionary at the time it was published, because it allowed public health experts to understand that a century of abuse that sowed distrust of healthcare professionals in black America has more to do with the racial health deficit than anything else.
Black Man in a White Coat by Damon Tweedy, M.D.
Once you know your history, it’s time to look at how racial bias persists in healthcare today. In this deeply personal memoir, Tweedy tells a first-hand account of both the discrimination he himself faced in becoming a doctor, and what he came to learn about race and healthcare through his patients. In medical school, Tweedy heard over and over again the phrase, “more common in black than whites” about a slew of diseases. But as he came face to face with black patients, he realized there was more to the story.
Medical Bondage by Deirdre Cooper Owens
Owens zeroes in on a specific branch of medicine: gynecology. In her book “Medical Bondage: Race, Gender, and the Origins of American Gynecology,” she examines how the advances of modern gynecology were built on the backs of poor black women exploited by doctors. This book is powerful in bringing to light and dispelling myths about blackness and medicine that doctors have been treating as doctrine for years. It’s important literature for understanding your own biases as a healthcare professional and the possible biases of the doctors around you.
Body and Soul: The Black Panther Party and the Fight Against Medical Discrimination by Alondra Nelson
While the Black Panthers are most remembered for their revolutionary and militant struggle for justice, they were also trailblazers for health advocacy surrounding racism. Nelson tells the little-known history around the Black Panther’s network of free health clinics, its campaign to raise awareness about genetic disease, and its challenges to medical discrimination. Nelson’s deep dive into how the Black Panthers addressed health care back in the 1970s could be a guidepost for solutions proposed today.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
If you haven’t heard of the name Henrietta Lacks by now, you might be living under a rock. Oprah played her daughter in a movie! But before Skloot’s book in 2010, few knew the infamous story behind the naming of the HeLa cell. If you haven’t read Skloot’s nonfiction narrative about a black woman exploited up until her death, and her family’s fight for justice, you should definitely pick it up. Lacks’ story is just one of thousands of black women whose bodies were used for scientific advancement, despite never benefiting from those advancements.
Invisible Visits by Tina K Sacks
Sacks, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, chooses to highlight middle-class black women’s experience with health care, showing that it isn’t just poor people who are treated differently in healthcare settings, rather the issue is race-specific. The book is filled with unsettling anecdotes about black women’s pain being dismissed, and the great lengths they must go to advocate for better treatment. Sacks also discusses what must happen to end racism healthcare. We must go beyond anti-bias training and get to the root of the issue, she says.
Just Medicine: A Cure for Racial Inequality by Dayna Bowen Matthew
Speaking of solutions, Dayna Bowen Matthew offers up a comprehensive one in her 2015 book “Just Medicine.” Matthew agrees with Sacks that the money our healthcare system spends on bias training will have only a small effect on the massive death toll health disparities have cost black Americans. Through a slew of research, Matthew has determined that the greatest solution to address medical racism is through an overhaul of the legal system, putting in place legal remedies that accurately address implicit and unintentional forms of discrimination.
An American Health Dilemma: A Medical History of African Americans and the Problem of Race: Beginnings to 1900 by W. Michael Byrd and Linda A. Clayton
While a little more academic, this book is comprehensive in documenting the important history, not just of how African-Americans were treated in the traditional healthcare system, but in how they developed their own kind of care and treatment. Reading this book in its entirety will give you a strong understanding of the roots of racism in health care, and the names of black medical pioneers that a traditional medical education largely leaves out.
If you’re interested in ordering any of these books online, check out this list of black-owned bookstores.Read More
If your new assignment has brought you deep into the Midwest to Milwaukee, you may be wondering how you’re going to spend your time off (and survive the cold). While the answer to the latter is simple – lots of layers, warm blankets, working heating, and staying inside when the temps go negative – finding the best things to do on your nice-weather days off may still be a puzzle. Here are tips from a Milwaukee native on how to spend your day off in and around Milwaukee.
Enjoy brunch at Cafe Benelux
The name of this restaurant, derived from the combination of Belgium, Netherlands, and Luxemburg, is just the beginning of its coolness. In warm weather, there’s probably no better place to be than the Cafe Benelux rooftop dining area, bedecked in stunning decor and complete with 360 views of the historic Third Ward. Everything on the menu is a hit, but their burgers, French toast, chicken & waffles, and frites are all beloved and exceptional.
Stroll through the Third Ward
Speaking of Third Ward views, this neighborhood of Milwaukee is inarguably the best in the city, and perfect for a walk and window shopping on a warm day. Take a leisurely walk through the historic streets, take in the river views, stop in high-end shops and make some purchases if the mood strikes. And at some point, stroll some of the well-known RiverWalk and enjoy the various sights the city has to offer.
Grab a picnic lunch from the Public Market
One of the most delicious places in the city, the Milwaukee Public Market (once again located in the fantastic Third Ward) is a must-stop destination whenever you get hungry. The long building is packed with a huge variety of food vendors and mini-restaurants, including an Italian deli (everything they make is delish), Mexican bar and grill, olive oil peddler, produce stand, cheese shop, bakeries, a fish monger, and plenty more. Walk around every vendor first, then swing back to your favorites and pick up a variety of packable foods and drinks to take with you.
Bring your picnic lunch for a walk by the lake
On a sunny or warm day, the Milwaukee lakefront is absolutely the place to be. Much of the lakefront is adorned with a paved walking trail, so you can easily stroll for quite a while, watching sailboats and birds on the lake while you select the perfect spot to sit and relax with your picnic lunch. If you’re feeling more active, rent a bike or paddle boat (for the inland pond), have a run, or join a game of beach volleyball at one of the beaches. A cone from Northpoint Custard is also probably in order – it’s a Wisconsin staple, after all.
Enjoy art and beautiful architecture
While you’re already on the lakefront, stopping at an art museum is always a good bet. The Milwaukee Art Museum is a world-renowned building in itself, and even just stopping inside to see the views from the picturesque Calatrava is worth the time. But if you’re an art lover, be sure to explore the rest of the sprawling museum. If you prefer stunning European architecture and landscaping, Villa Terrace is a better art museum selection. Located just a ways up the lakefront (in a fantastic neighborhood to explore on foot), this breathtaking building is most known for its sweeping, massive back lawn, perfectly landscaped with countless flowers, plants, and a falling water feature.
Grab a burger and drink at SafeHouse
Undoubtedly Milwaukee’s coolest and quirkiest bar, this hole in the wall spot is actually a bit hard to find. The reason is simple–it was a genuine speakeasy during Prohibition, and still maintains the various quirks and secrets that came with that purpose. The entrance can be found in an alley off Front St., right along the river. In the entryway, a staff member will ask for the password–but don’t worry if you don’t know it; they’ll just make an embarrassing request for you to enter (think hula hooping or doing a little skit). Once inside, the place is a maze of fun surprises and things to see. Ask any bartender about the different features of the spy-themed building, enjoy some delicious cocktails and surprisingly good burgers, and be sure to use the secret exit on your way out.
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New mission alert! Celebrate National Cheeseburger Day tomorrow at SafeHouse Milwaukee. We're counting on you, agents. 🍔 😎 #nationalcheeseburgerday #delicious #downtownmilwaukee #mke #foodie #greatrestaurant #spy #travel #adventure #exploremke #password #secretagent
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Does Milwaukee sound like a place you’d like to explore? See available positions at Stability Healthcare and get a start on your next adventure!Read More
One of the most appealing aspects of traveling nursing is the ability to explore. Kansas City is a quaint, mid-sized city in the Midwest, with plenty of fun activities for your day off. If you find yourself in Kansas City for your position, here are some of the best activities, restaurants, and sights the city has to offer.
Brunch at Morning Day Café
Morning Day Café has quickly become a Kansas City-staple. Not only is its home in a unique setting – specifically a tricked out shipping container in the Iron District – but the restaurants’ food is colorful too! Besides a selection of breakfast classics like house-made muffins and pancakes, Morning Day Café has a variety of filling brunch and lunch entrées, like their rosemary biscuits with bacon gravy or their walnut pesto penne. If you’re thirsty, take advantage of their cocktail selection. Morning Day Café is suitable for meat-eaters, omnivores, and vegetarians alike.
Pick up fresh flowers at the Kansas City Farmers Market
Kansas City has one of the best farmers markets in the country. Not only is the city smackdab in the middle of farmer territory, resulting in tons of fresh produce, but it also hosts a variety of self-made artists, bakers, and gardeners. Every Saturday, hundreds of people meet at the City Market to open their own booths and to see what others are selling. Spruce up your housing by picking up some fresh flowers from one of the vendors, and grab some fresh-made goods to stock your pantry while you’re at it.
Sit down for a cup of coffee at Oddly Correct
Oddly Correct isn’t only the perfect coffee shop to get some caffeine before starting your morning shift, but it’s also a great place to relax on a day off! There are plenty of tables for you to sit at, and outlets in case you need to give your phone a quick charge. Their black coffee is fantastic, but if you want something a little sweet, taste one of their specialty lattes, like their bourbon vanilla latte or berry-infused mocha. Oddly Correct is a prime spot for their prime coffee drinks and pastries, but another benefit is that you’re supporting locals, and the earth, too. Oddly Correct has been recognized for providing their employees with higher-than-average pay, and the shop has recently started using glass instead of paper cups, making it more sustainable.
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Time for coffee. Fun fact: @kylewheelock won us over by embedding the lyrics of Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up” into his letter of introduction. His love of 80s hits is matched only by his commitment to your coffee experience, and he’s pouring for you all day today.
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Cheer on the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium
Football fan? Arrowhead Stadium is a hot-spot. Known for being one of the loudest stadiums in the country, Kansas City Chiefs fans take it to the next level. The team recently won the Superbowl (their first time in decades), and with young stars like Patrick Mahomes, they’re surely on the trajectory to continue being an excellent team. One of the best ways to fully get a feel of the Chiefs atmosphere is to rally up fellow traveling nurses and tailgate before the game.
Eat some BBQ at Jack Stack
Save some room for BBQ at Jack Stack. Jack Stack is a local Kansas City chain and known for their tender and flavorful meats. Bring this place up to anyone in the KC-area, and they’re sure to claim the fame as some of the best BBQ in the Midwest.
Take in the sights at Nelson-Atkins Museum
Nelson-Atkins Museum boasts more than 35,000 pieces of art, all meticulously taken care of. And, it’s all FREE for you to see! Besides its jaw-dropping collections, the museum has a sprawling campus, decorated with quirky sculptures (namely the Shuttlecock sculpture). Fun to go by yourself or in a group with other nurses, the Nelson-Atkins Museum can entertain you for a whole day. If you don’t want to commit to an all-day outing, check out whichever special exhibition they’re currently running.
Does Kansas City sound like a place you’d like to explore? See available positions at Stability Healthcare and get a start on your next adventure!Read More
5 Ways to Make Detroit Feel Like Home for the Holidays
One of the hardest things about travel nursing might be when your assignment takes you away from home for the holidays. Even if your family travels with you, there’s still something about waking up in a strange place that just doesn’t feel quite homey.
But no matter where you are, the excitement of a new city is still one of the best things about travel nursing. And with a little effort, you might just be able to make your temporary home feel like, well, home.
Here are 5 things Travel Nurses do that make Detroit feel like home this holiday season:
1. America’s Thanksgiving Parade
Kick off the holiday season with America’s Thanksgiving Parade. Music, floats, giant balloons, and entertainment travel a two-mile route down historic Woodward Avenue. Starting at the Detroit Institute of Arts, the parade passes cultural and historical sites like the home stadiums of four of Detroit’s professional sports teams, the historic Fox Theater, the stunning Art Deco Guardian Building, The Spirit of Detroit statue, and more.
2. Ice Skating at Campus Martius Park
In the heart of downtown, Campus Martius Park is a winter wonderland in the colder months. Beginning with the annual Detroit Tree Lighting Ceremony in late November, which features a 60-foot Norway Spruce, the popular park provides fun, entertainment, and an ice-skating rink larger than another famous rink in New York City. It’s a perfect place to get your merry on.
3. Beacon Park
Partnering with Campus Martius Park to kick off the holiday season, Light up Beacon Park features the Detroit Children’s Tree, horse and carriage rides, and a heated tent dressed up inside like a ski lodge where you can warm up. Throughout the season, Beacon Park features game nights, football game watch parties, an Ugly Christmas Sweater Silent Disco, Family Fun Day, and a New Year’s Eve Kids Countdown.
4. Sounds of the Season
Music is in Detroit’s soul, and the holiday season doesn’t disappoint. A few of this year’s highlights include the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, a Mannheim Steamroller Christmas, Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas musical, Cirque Dreams Holidaze, and Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker. And nothing says “welcome home” quite like the Detroit Symphony Orchestra’s traditional Home for the Holidays concerts.
5. Holiday Markets
Detroit hosts several seasonal markets for festive shopping downtown.
Glass sheds at Cadillac Square and Capitol Park feature seasonal items, clothing, gourmet treats, handmade items, and more. And Detroit’s most loved way to spend a Saturday, Eastern Market, hosts six special Holiday Market days. They feature food, gifts, and Michigan made products, making an already magical Detroit tradition even more special.
But pack your winter boots and parka — winter is cold in Detroit! There’s no doubt, however, that it’s worth it. You’ll find enough food, entertainment, and shopping to make Detroit one of your favorite assignments.
For more on Detriot during the holidays click here
Are You Ready to Start Your Traveling Nursing Career with Stability Healthcare?
Stability Healthcare is an industry leader in travel nursing, with excellent benefits, PTO, and competitive pay. Sign up today to become a travel nurse, and get instant access to thousands of open jobs. Our representatives look forward to helping you launch your new career in travel nursing.Read More