3 Ways to Jump Start the New Year

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The days before the New Year are a reflective time for a lot of people. Many of us decide we are going to start off the year with a clean slate and a few well-intentioned resolutions - which usually fall by the wayside before the end of January, leaving us with a nagging sense of guilt. This holiday season, why not launch the new year by making time for three small tasks: Thank someone. Sit down and hand write a note or pick up the phone to tell someone you're grateful for knowing them. Maybe it's the math teacher who tutored you through sophomore year, or your Aunt Ruth, who loaned you the down payment for your first car, or your parents, a co-worker, or a friend. You'll probably come up with a whole slew of people you'd like to thank. That first note or call is a great way to roll into the new year.

Forgive someone. Been harboring resentment or irritation toward someone? Does your blood pressure go up every time you think about the incident or exchange that ticked you off? It's amazing how many of the events that raise our ire occurred ages ago, and have often been long-forgotten by the person who offended us. Whether or not you forgive someone directly or in the privacy of your own mind, making the conscious decision to release lingering anger and resentment is a healthy and liberating step and also reduces stress.

Perform a secret act of kindness. Be creative and enjoy your mission. Leave an elderly neighbor a gift card, with a note that says, "Treat yourself today." Donate clothing or toys to a local shelter. Brush the snow off the car next to yours. Send flowers to someone who might least expect them. Leave a book at the coffee shop for someone else to enjoy. Give up your parking space to a stranger. Then savor the notion of knowing that your simple kindness made the start of the New Year happier for another person, too.

Article by Kim Washetas, contributing writer and enthusiastic whole health advocate.

Nurses know things about health and disease that they wish they didn’t.

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Sometimes being a nurse isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Mostly by that I mean that you find out things you wish you didn’t have to know. And once you learn it, the idea sticks in our brain like flypaper.

So, here are five things I wish I didn’t know. But I do know them anyway.

  1. Women whose index fingers are shorter than their ring fingers may be twice as prone to osteoarthritis in the knees. Those with this predominately male characteristic tend to have lower levels of estrogen, which may also play a role in the development of osteoarthritis. You can attack this issue by strengthening the muscles surrounding your knees. While sitting, straighten each leg parallel to the floor 10 times; hold each rep for 5 to 10 seconds.
  2. I really hate this one. Linear wrinkles in one or both lobes may predict future cardiovascular events (heart attack, bypass surgery, or cardiac death.) A crease on one lobe raises the risk by 33 percent; a crease on both lobes increases it by 77 percent. Why? Who knows for sure? Maybe a loss of elastic fibers causes both the crease and the hardening of arteries.
  3. If your legs are on the stocky side, take better care of your liver. Women with legs between 20 and 29 inches tend to have higher levels of four enzymes that indicate liver disease. Avoid exposure to toxins your liver has to process, which will keep it healthier, longer. Wear a mask and gloves while cleaning or working with any type of harsh chemical.
  4. Older adults who couldn’t identify the scent of bananas, lemons, cinnamon, or other items were five times more likely to develop Parkinson’s disease within 4 years. The area of the brain responsible for olfactory function may be one of the first affected by Parkinson’s disease—somewhere between 2 and 7 years prior to diagnosis. Take fish oil supplements. Omega-3 fatty acids can boost your brain’s resistance to MPTP, a toxic compound responsible for Parkinson’s.
  5. Have a hard time touching your toes? Women with the shortest arm spans are 1 1/2 times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than those with longer reaches. (Find yours by spreading your arms parallel to the floor and having someone measure fingertips to fingertips; the shortest spans were less than 60 inches. There’s an answer. Put your appendages to good use with a hobby such as painting or pottery. Adults who spend the most time engaged in engaging leisure activities are more than 2.5 times less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than those who spent less time challenging their brains.

Copyright © Christine Hammerlund – 2010.Christine Hammerlund is a registered nurse and the owner of Assured Healthcare, a healthcare staffing service headquartered in Gurnee, Illinois.

Peace and Ease...

...At Assured Healthcare, that's what we are all about.  Offering peace and ease to our patients, our customers, our employees and our staff.  It's the philosophy we live by every day, as we go about the business of providing our customers with staffing solutions and our employees with job opportunities.  As we celebrate the return of Spring, we also want to recognize some exceptional people who are specialists at bringing peace and ease into the lives of others.

May 6 - 12 National Nurses Week

National Nurses Week is coming up, from Wednesday, May 6 (National Nurses Day) through Tuesday, May 12 (Florence Nightingale's birthday).  We are pleased to extend our thanks to all the nurses who work with us, and are proud of our association with them and all the dedicated medical professionals who are employed with Assured Healthcare!  Click to learn more about National Nurses Week.

May 10 - Mother's Day

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Time to celebrate the women who have made our lives so much easier!  Raising children means that mothers serve not only as moms, but as nurses, teachers, mentors, homemakers, chauffeurs, coaches, chief cooks and bottlewashers, working professionals, and so much more.  At Assured Healthcare, we count many mothers among our ranks, and wish each of them and mothers everywhere a day of peace and ease to celebrate all the things they do for us.

Copyright © Christine Hammerlund – 2009.Christine Hammerlund is a registered nurse and the owner of Assured Healthcare, a healthcare staffing service headquartered in Gurnee, Illinois.

Four Fave Healthcare Tech Advances

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At one of my networking group meetings, someone recently asked what I considered to be the four most important advances in healthcare technology over the past twenty or thirty years.   Considering the huge leaps in knowledge, daily bio-medical discoveries and amazing technology breakthroughs, that would be a very time consuming task.  But, off the top of my head, I did come up with a list of four personal favorites: Computer software that supports the needs of the staffing industry - specifically, full service medical staffing.  In order to make the best, most efficient and safest matches of healthcare professionals with the people who need them, we process a lot of critical information.  The specialized software programs we now have access to enable us to rapidly query, sort and filter extensive database records to quickly fill a staffing need.  This ability is a far cry from the pull-out drawers of color coded candidate file cards that were still the norm for many staffing agencies well into the 1990s.

New glucometers and sugar testing devices used by diabetic patients.  What a relief and convenience for people who often need to test multiple times a day.  The devices now used can test from various parts of the body, patients can use them on their own, there is less scar tissue and higher accuracy, and these devices are far more specific and reliable than the urine sticks used way back in the past.

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Publically accessible defibrillators.  It may take a while for them to be in common use before we fully realize the value of these devices, but that day is coming.  With the growth of an aging and highly mobile population,  the number of lives saved by defibrillators can only increase.  The technology of these devices has been streamlined and simplified to walk the person providing aid through the process, further increasing the odds of survival for someone stricken with a cardiac-event while in a public or private venue.

The migration to electronic medical recordkeeping, or EMR. Let's face it, this one is a no-brainer.  Anything at all that helps to minimize risk to a patient caused by illegibly scrawled prescriptions, diagnoses, instructions, chart notes and medical records is a blessing.  Other advantages are the same as the computer software benefits described above - patient diagnostic and treatment records can be queried, accessed, reviewed, and properly routed to the patient and multiple treatment providers quickly and ACCURATELY!

This list is sure to grow with the blog - keep an eye out for future tech faves!

Copyright © Christine Hammerlund – 2009.Christine Hammerlund is a registered nurse and the owner of Assured Healthcare, a healthcare staffing service headquartered in Gurnee, Illinois.