Nursing practice is a symbiotic relationship between the art and science of professional care. One cannot exist in isolation from the other. Nurses are inclined to connect the art of nursing with terms such as compassion, caring attitudes, the therapeutic relationship, presence, professionalism, advocacy, and competence, otherwise known as the “soft or caring side of nursing”. The greatest threat to the disappearance of the art of nursing lies with the perceived “big three”: time, fiscal restraint, and failure of the system to support a full staff of nurses, so those employed are working at full capacity. It is important to recognize that different practice settings have varying needs. One size does not fit all. Yet the requirements for nursing assessments, developing a plan of care, coordinating care with other health care providers, implementing interventions, and evaluating care outcomes are a requirement of all.
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This chapter focuses specifically on nursing research program vertical infrastructure. Vertical infrastructure refers to the pillars of the program: the foundation that provides the support to build other services. Three essential components are used to develop a solid nursing research program foundation that advances the scientific foundation of nursing practice and promotes integration of evidence-based practices. The three components are nurse researchers who coach or mentor clinical nurses in nursing research, intranet website resources, and a research departmental database. A successful nursing research program is contingent on having the right nurse researcher personnel who can move research from project inception to dissemination in peer-reviewed literature and translation into practice. Nurse leadership may benefit from educational programs or a business plan that includes the benefits of a nursing research program and information about how a specific nursing research program aligns with strategic goals.
This chapter provides examples of programs and services beyond the foundational elements and global resources that can be used to overcome traditional nursing research barriers. It is assumed that at least one doctorate-prepared nurse researcher is available to facilitate research opportunities and educate nurses about research and evidence-based practice. Many clinical nurses fully understand their clinical roles but are completely unaware of opportunities and resources in nursing research within their hospital. Since contributions of nursing research are vital to the science and art of nursing and provide foundation for evidence-based practices, it is important to overcome the traditional cluster of barriers that include problems with nursing research visibility/priority, time and money, and research education. Nurses need confirmation that nurse leaders support research; when it is visible, it is valued. Moreover, nurses need time, education, and resources to complete rigorous research that leads to discoveries and answers to important clinical problems.
This chapter addresses the need for dissemination of research and focuses on dissemination both inside the hospital organization and outside. Disseminating results of research is often the most exciting phase of the process, as it is the culmination and highlight of countless hours of work. Common areas for dissemination internally include presentations to colleagues on people’s unit, as well as across hospital organization. Internal presentations offer a direct way for people to provide new evidence for practice in their hospital organization. In addition, however, it is important that results of their research reach nurses and other health professionals nationally and internationally. Thus, people want to participate in media dissemination of their research, systematically look for calls for abstracts to present at professional conferences, and disseminate their research through professional publications. Disseminating results, whether internally or externally, by media, poster, oral presentation, or publication, requires effort and attention to detail.
The medical model in psychiatry assumes medical intervention is the treatment of choice for the constellations of diagnosed symptoms that comprise various mental disorders. These treatments may include pharmacotherapy, electroconvulsive treatment, brain stimulation, and psychosurgery. Therefore, psychopharmacology for older adults can be considered palliative rather than a cure for a brain disease causing psychopathology. Older adults experience many psychopathological problems, including anorexia tardive, anxiety disorders, delusional disorders, mood disorders, personality disorders, schizophrenia, and co-occurring disorders with substance abuse/dependence disorders. Therefore, it is critical for the social worker to understand the various manifestations of psychological problems in older adults from the perspective of an older adult, rather than extrapolating information commonly taught in social work programs that neglect to focus on older adults and restrict teaching to psycho-pathological problems in younger and middle-aged adults.
The baby boom cohort brings with it multiple types of substance abuse. Bisexual older adults have more co-occurring psychological problems than heterosexual older adults, older gay males, and older lesbians. An interesting finding is that immigration is contributory to older adult substance abuse. Older adults with alcohol-abuse problems do not seek help for their problems. Rather, they are often identified as having an alcohol-use problem when seeking care for other medical or psychological problems. Social workers assessing an older adult for alcohol abuse often confuse symptoms of possible alcohol abuse with dementia. Prescribing opioids and synthetic opioids to an older adult is complicated. An older adult can suffer from many forms of inner tension. Combining motivational interviewing with cognitive behavioral therapy is shown to be more effective for treating substance abuse that either therapeutic modality alone.
For older adults, the phenomenon of death is accepted and does not induce the fear experienced by younger adults. Older adults who do not engage in end-of-life planning may receive unwanted, unnecessary, costly, and painful medical interventions or withdrawal of desired treatment. Many older people feel that the goal of palliative care is to make the best possible dying experience for the older adult and his/her family. In addition to palliative care, an older adult will most likely find himself or herself in an intensive care unit as part of his or her terminal care. Euthanasia, or hastened death, is seen by some as an alternative to palliative care. A psychological aspect of death that an older adult is concerned with, in addition to place of death, is whether he or she will die in his or her sleep or die suddenly, making the death experience an individual phenomenon.
Dorothea Lynde Dix was born into an upper-class, highly educated, intelligent, and politically connected Bostonian family. These opportunities provided the foundation necessary to propel her into a leadership role as national and international advocate for the most vulnerable groups in the mid-1800s. Dorothea utilized her Methodist father’s background to augment the teachings of her adopted religious calling, Unitarianism, which promises salvation through leading a directed life. This chapter explores her leadership role in this period of American history. It also shows how her family background, pursuit of education, personality, and religious commitment to humanitarianism enabled her to confront seemingly insurmountable obstacles to implement national and international reform of care for psychiatrically disabled and imprisoned populations. In the final phase of her career, Dorothea was chosen for a national role to lead nursing during the American Civil War, a role that she considered as within her scope of knowledge and skills.
To think today that health issues in one country are confined to that country indicates a lack of understanding of disease transmission, cultural practices, and migration patterns at the least. This chapter presents health problem or issues and policies that impact populations around the globe. To highlight the worldwide impact, the content is framed within the seven continents. The health issues are not exclusive but selected to reflect the extent of political or governmental impact. It briefly describes government structures, and presents an overview of the policy-making process of Africa, Antarctica, Asia, Australia, Europe, Italy, North America, and South America. The policy process will vary among countries depending on the type of government. Some issues may reflect cultural practices that may not be amenable to government intervention. The reader should determine the extent to which citizens, especially nurses, can be involved in the policy process as advocates and change agents.
This concluding chapter summarizes the major points regarding elder abuse (EA) presented in the preceding chapters. It concludes the chapter by taking one last opportunity to encourage exploration and initiation of system-level efforts to solve a major public health problem. The socioecological framework for violence prevention utilized within domestic and global public health work is applicable and extendable to EA. Throughout this book, the authors have argued that EA is a public health problem and that EA may well be among the most under-recognized and under-resourced population health problems of the early 21st century. Public health has frameworks, tools, approaches, relationships, structures, systems, and a variety of agents and organizations poised to address the problem of EA. The imprimatur of the growing population of older adults and the character of demographic transitions occurring globally provide the perfect rationale for action—now.