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A Psychologist's Thoughts on Clinical Practice, Behavior, and Life

Let All Praise The School Nurse

School can be distressful time for students caused by social discrimination or bullying or when family-based issues overwhelm. Then the normal symptoms of anxiety may arise: feeling restless or tense and impending doom; breathing rapidly (hyperventilating); sweating or trembling; feeling tired or weak; headache or stomach distress. All being quickly remedied in the school nurse's office who, in addition to her medical skills and counseling ability, offers juice and respite from stress. Thus, let all praise the school nurse, whose critical role is too-little appreciated despite she being a student's first line of defense when their parent isn't available.

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Why Nurses Leave VA Hospitals

Research on why nurses leave VA hospitals, by Dongjin Oh' and Keon-Hyung Lee, was reported in the October, 2022 issue of Armed Forces and Society (pp. 760-779). The biggest factor was emotional burnout and stress caused by the sense of loss, grief, and powerlessness over the frequent deaths of patients who they had long cared for. Far more patient deaths occur after VA hospitalization than in civilian hospitals since VA patients are older with many having been exposed to harmful environments during their military service. An excessive workload from the VA's policy of having nurses work overtime because of staff shortage reduced their ability to recover from grief. Being ordered to do time-consuming non-nursing tasks, and the lack of flexibility in work scheduling which would enable a healthy work/personal life balance, were other factors.
The same could be said of nurses who struggled through the COVID crisis at other hospitals where patient workloads were high and critical medical equipment and masks were often lacking.

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