Fifty years ago, I sat with parents in the gallery of the United States Senate the night that the first Medicare legislation was voted on. We sat in the front row of the center gallery, directly above John F. Kennedy, the junior senator from Massachusetts, and directly across the chamber from Richard Nixon, vice president of the United States, both of whom were running against each other in the presidential election of 1960.
At the time, both of my mother’s parents were aging, her mother with a catastrophic medical history (she had suffered a massive stroke that left her unable to move, to talk or to eat solid food). Both of them really needed Medicare.
They didn’t get Medicare that night; the bill went down to defeat, not to be passed until 1965, too late for my grandparents, who had died.
So I watched the vote last night in the House of Representatives with a friend who had worked for many years in the Nation’s Capital for an organization lobbying for home health care. Although I know that the politics of the issue are still not settled, I was gratified to see this reform occur in my lifetime (and in my parents’ lifetime)
Now that the Nobel Prize news has exhausted itself, it’s time for the Ig Nobel Awards, given annually for research that makes you laugh, and then think. Hmmm . . .
Among this year’s awardees in health-related research:
MEDICINE PRIZE: Donald L. Unger, of Thousand Oaks, California, USA, for investigating a possible cause of arthritis of the fingers, by diligently cracking the knuckles of his left hand — but never cracking the knuckles of his right hand — every day for more than sixty (60) years. REFERENCE: “Does Knuckle Cracking Lead to Arthritis of the Fingers?”, Donald L. Unger, Arthritis and Rheumatism, vol. 41, no. 5, 1998, pp. 949-50.
PUBLIC HEALTH PRIZE: Elena N. Bodnar, Raphael C. Lee, and Sandra Marijan of Chicago, Illinois, USA, for inventing a brassiere that, in an emergency, can be quickly converted into a pair of protective face masks, one for the brassiere wearer and one to be given to some needy bystander. REFERENCE: U.S. patent # 7255627, granted August 14, 2007 for a “Garment Device Convertible to One or More Facemasks.”
As flight attendants might remind us, Please don your brassiere mask first before assisting others with theirs.
Today we honor our forebears in the labor movement (and the legislators and other leaders who supported them) for making possible:
- The 40-hour work week.
- Child labor laws.
- Equal pay for equal work.
- Occupational and workplace safety.
- Disability insurance.
- Community colleges and other workforce development providers.
- Anti-discrimination laws.
- The right to organize and bargain collectively.
- The weekend.
You are welcome to add your own favorites in the comments section of this blog post.
Daniel J. Myers, professor of sociology and associate dean for research, graduate studies, and centers in the College of Arts and Letters at the University of Notre Dame writing in the Chronicle of Higher Education, says that the peer-review system (both for journals and book publishers) is not working, overwhelming many faculty with excessive review requests. He concludes:
All of the above issues are contributing to an overload of reviews, and we aren’t dealing with them. . . . For the journals [that professional organizations] control, they should impose standards that editors and reviewers must follow. These should include: (1) a proportion of papers that must be rejected without review, (2) a limit on the number of reviews solicited for each paper, (3) a substantial reduction in the percentage of authors invited to resubmit, and (4) a requirement that authors who have published in, or submitted to, the journal must review manuscripts.
The article is available to subscribers on the Chronicle‘s Web site.
NursingWriting has just surpassed its six-thousandth visit since its July 2008 inauguration, thanks to you.
We are grateful to the many journal editors who have submitted calls for submissions to us and to the many nurse writers (both scholarly research writers and creative personal writers) who have visited and commented.
Usage stats for the past quarter are interesting.
By far the most visited and read blog posting: a call for submissions from Ars Medica, a Canadian journal of creative writing about health and healing (126 visits).
By far the most frequently “clicked” external link: Ars Medica, a Canadian journal of creative writing about health and healing (57 clicks).
By far the most frequently used search term: some version of “ars medica,” a Canadian journal of creative writing about health and healing (used 66 times).
We look forward to discovering more personal and creative writing by nurses in the future!
Yesterday, May 31, marked Walt Whitman’s birthday. Whitman served as a nurse in military hospitals in Washington, DC, during the Civil War. Here is an excerpt from his poem, “The Wound Dresser.”
On, on I go, (open doors of time! open hospital doors!)
The crush’d head I dress (poor crazed hand tear not the bandage away),
The neck of the cavalry-man with the bullet through and through I examine,
Hard the breathing rattles, quite glazed already the eye, yet life struggles hard
(Come sweet death! be persuaded O beautiful death!
In mercy come quickly).
From the stump of the arm, the amputated hand,
I undo the clotted lint, remove the slough, wash off the matter and blood,
Back on his pillow the soldier bends with curv’d neck and side-falling head,
His eyes are closed, his face is pale, he dares not look on the bloody stump,
And has not yet look’d on it.
I dress a wound in the side, deep, deep,
But a day or two more, for see the frame all wasted and sinking,
And the yellow-blue countenance see.
I dress the perforated shoulder, the foot with the bullet-wound,
Cleanse the one with a gnawing and putrid gangrene, so sickening, so offensive,
While the attendant stands behind aside me holding the tray and pail.
I am faithful, I do not give out,
The fractur’d thigh, the knee, the wound in the abdomen,
These and more I dress with impassive hand (yet deep in my breast a fire, a burning flame).
The complete poem may be found at: