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Letters to the Editor – November 2007


A timely expression of support
“Being with dying” in the September issue was timely for my staff and me. I am an RN Unit manager for a 46-bed dementia unit in a 166-bed long-term care facility. I have the pleasure of working with a dedicated staff of LPNs and CNAs.
This week we are in the process of supporting and saying goodbye to a resident who has been with us for 3 years. She has provided us with plenty of opportunity to laugh and learn in life and now in death.
I read some of the article aloud to the staff at today’s team meeting in an attempt to support them as they support her. Thank you for helping me find the words to express to them that it’s OK to feel what they are feeling and to provide the support they provide today and every day.
Roxanne Maines, RN
Wheat Ridge, CO

Clarification on cervical spine immobilization
I’d like to clarify a point in the article “Cervical spine injuries: Preserving function, improving outcomes” in the September issue. The article says, “Orthotic devices such as cervical collars are used…to quickly immobilize the spine.” Actually, applying a cervical collar is just one step in the process of immobilizing the cervical spine.
Manual in-line stabilization of the head is also needed to minimize movement until a long board is properly applied. The long board acts as a splint to the entire vertebral column and prevents flexion, extension, rotation, and lateral movements that could cause stress on the cervical spine.
David A. Tetley, BSN, RN, PHN, CCRN, CEN, NREMT-B
Eden Prairie, MN

Being nice
I am intrigued by the article “The importance of being unreasonable” in the September issue. As the author notes, being nice can be limiting. In my 15 years as an Emergency Department nurse, I have learned that we, as nursing professionals, can’t do it all. Setting clear limits and expectations is essential.
The description of a group-think mentality described in the article is valid to some extent, but I doubt the American people would regard nursing as one of the most trusted professions if they didn’t think we were a bit more than just “nice.”
Colleen Claffey, MSN, RN, CEN
Miami, FLUnpopular opinion on nursing credentials
In the August issue, the credentials of an author included the abbreviation “PhD(c),” meaning “PhD candidate.” Candidacy for a degree is not a legitimate credential and should not be listed with earned degree, licensure, and certification credentials.
Using “PhD(c)” is potentially misleading, and it reinforces negative connotations about nursing as an academic discipline. I don’t know of a doctoral degree candidate in any other field who would consider using “PhD(c)” as a credential.
This letter is not a criticism of a particular author. I know that many nursing doctoral candidates are encouraged by their dissertation committee chairs and members to add “PhD(c)” to their credentials, and I wish my nursing education colleagues would find some way to acknowledge the achievement of degree candidacy without having students misrepresent their credentials.
I expect that this opinion won’t be popular, but I’m nearing the end of my nursing career, and I’m getting old and cranky. I’ll accept the label of “curmudgeon” if readers think it’s justified.
Kathleen B. Gaberson, PhD, RN, CNOR, CNE
Shepherdstown, WV

Resources for disabled nurses
As an advocate for nurses and nursing students with disabilities, I was pleased to see the article “Ready, willing, and disabled” in the August issue. I’d like to mention some additional resources.
ExceptionalNurse.com is a nonprofit resource network for nurses and nursing students with disabilities. Established in 2001, the organization provides links to equipment, technology, mentors, newsletters, scholarships, employment opportunities, legal issues, research, and related articles.
Also, the book Leave No Nurse Behind: Nurses Working with disAbilities includes first-person accounts from nurses with a wide range of disabilities that support the research findings in the article.
Donna C. Maheady, EdD, ARNP
Boca Raton, FL

In “Sepsis signposts: Can you spot them?” (October issue), the last sentence on page 21 says “…administering serum lactate can be helpful.” It should say, “…measuring serum lactate levels can be helpful.”


We welcome your comments. You may submit letters to the editor electronically at www.American NurseToday.com/letters.php. Or you may send them by regular mail to: Letters to the Editor, American Nurse Today, c/o HeatlhCom Media, 259 Veterans Lane, 3rd Floor, Doylestown, PA 18901. Please include your full name, credentials, city, state, and daytime phone number or e-mail address. Letters should contain no more than 250 words and will be edited for grammar, length, content, and clarity. All letters are considered American Nurse Today property and therefore unconditionally assigned to American Nurse Today.

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