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Author: Angela Stevens

Nursing Strikes

For many workers, the most efficient way to increase their advantage at the bargaining table is by leveraging their collective ability to stop a company from being able to provide a product or service. Nursing unions are no different, as they use this tactic to obtain what they want in their contracts. One big difference between nurses going on strike and assembly line workers, though, is that nursing strikes immediately and negatively affect other people. Without nurses, patients can be in extreme danger. Even if some of the nurses stay to maintain a minimal staff, patients will have to share the already overtaxed nurses with even more people, reducing the ability of each nurse who remains to adequately care for his or her patients.

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One way hospitals and other medical facilities can deal with nursing strikes is to hire nurses from staffing companies on a temporary or per diem basis. (more…)

Who Recommends a Child for Special Education Testing?

Many people assume that special education teachers refer children for special education testing. This is an incorrect assumption. For the most part, special education teachers work only with those students who have been assigned to them. In fact, in some school districts, special education teachers are prohibited from working with any student who has not specifically been assigned to the special education program or to them directly. In a world filled with lawsuits, it is understandable that school districts feel the need to protect themselves from litigation, but if those people who are trained to work with and identify special needs are not recommending testing, who is?

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Typically, the first person to notice a possible learning problem is going to be the person that spends the most time with the student in a learning environment, the classroom teacher. (more…)

When Generic Drugs Matter

I have often been given conflicting advice about brand versus generic medications. My great aunt, who is now in her nineties, refuses to take any type of generic medication because her pharmacist once told her they are not identical to the generic versions and it was best to stick with the original. This has cost her thousands upon thousands of dollars over the years.

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Of course, I do not rely only on advice from my great aunt. There have also been numerous investigative reports that indicate that generic guidelines are not as rigorously controlled as those followed by the original patent holder. However, in all fairness, the primary differences are not in the active ingredients, but rather in the fillers and the time release mechanisms. In fact, the FDA requires that generics be the bioequivalent of the original medication, but they are not allowed to look like the original, which means the generic drugs are supposed to look different. So when do those two things really matter? To find out, I spoke with two of my doctors and my pharmacist regarding a few of my own specific questions. (more…)

What is a 504 Plan?

Parents, students, and those who are new to the field of education are not always familiar with the various plans available to students with special needs. The most commonly recognized plan is an Individualized Education Plan (IEP); however, there are actually several different options that allow children to receive the help they need to be successful in school.

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One type of plan that is gaining popularity is the 504 plan. (more…)

Music Therapy for Autistic Children

Autism has received a great deal of press over the past few years in the media. Before that, although the condition existed, it was undiagnosed and under diagnosed. Additionally, because a medical cause had not been found, many people thought it was not a “real” condition. Recent breakthroughs and extensive media coverage have begun to change the minds of people everywhere, and new resources are becoming available for those children and adults who suffer from autism, in any of its many forms.

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One of the newer forms of therapy that has been quiet effective is music therapy. This may seem counterintuitive, because music in and of itself does not necessarily teach communication skills, something many autistic children have difficulty with. But upon closer examination, it is easy to see how music does in fact help. (more…)

Physician Assistants in Oncology

I became very familiar with the field of oncology when my father was admitted to the hospital with cancer a few years ago. As I was the only person able to organize his care, I learned a great deal about the various specialties and how the doctors and nurses worked together. For the longest time, I thought the person I was seeing so frequently at first was a doctor, and it wasn’t until my father had been in the hospital that I found out “Dr. John” was actually a physician assistant.

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His primary oncologist was Dr. Butler, which I knew, I simply thought Dr. John was another doctor on the team. I saw him more often than Dr. Butler, although I liked them both equally. Throughout my father’s various treatments and hospitalizations, I would come to realize that there are numerous physician assistants in the field of oncology. (more…)

Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners

Working in the mental health field, I have been privileged to meet a number of exceptional doctors, nurses, nurse practitioners, therapists, and other mental health specialists. As health care costs continue to rise, and budgets to shrink, I’ve noticed more and more psychiatric nurse practitioners in the mental health facility. It seemed a greater number were being employed while fewer doctors were available.

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I thought this might hinder patient care at first, but after getting to know the nurse practitioners, I realized they were not only capable, they were also competent and caring. (more…)

Nursing in a Correctional Facility

When most people think about becoming a nurse, they think of working in a hospital or doctor’s office. Once they begin their training, they realize there are numerous other locations where they can practice nursing, such as schools, clinics, and nursing homes. There are also specialties within the field of nursing a nurse may wish to focus on such as geriatrics, pediatrics, obstetrics, or surgery.

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I have not yet met a nurse who began his or her nursing education with the idea of becoming a nurse in a correctional facility. (more…)

Responsibilities of a Teacher of the Visually Impaired

The biggest responsibility of a teacher of the visually impaired, or TVI, is to lead the student’s educational team. While the student will have a 504 or an IEP, and thus a special education teacher assigned to him or her, that special education teacher has not been specifically trained to meet the needs of a visually impaired student. The TVI must help show the special education teacher, classroom teachers, staff, and possibly even the parents what they will need to do in order to make the education environment as effective and enjoyable as possible.

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The specific responsibilities of the TVI will depend greatly on the degree to which the child is visually impaired. (more…)

Social Networking in a Special Education Environment

Social networking has become popular for people of all ages. Children, teens, young adults, middle aged adults, and even grandparents have all headed for the computer in an effort to connect and reconnect with the people they know. It is no surprise, then, that teachers are beginning to view social networking sites as a great way to stay in touch with students, parents, and other teachers.

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Of course, it is important for special education teachers, or any teacher for that matter, to remember that student privacy must not be infringed upon. This means no student or parent names should be used; however, this does not overly limit the usefulness of social networking for a special education teacher. (more…)

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