The Toronto Teen Survey Report on teen sexual health, released Tuesday, said the young women and men were most likely to seek sexual-health information from friends, but that both groups would prefer to get it from professional sources, such as doctors, nurses and teachers.

As one province grants parents the right to pull their kids from classes on controversial topics of sex and religion, a major new study is calling for more — not less — sex education to keep teens from risky behaviour.
A survey of 1,250 teens from diverse backgrounds in Toronto found that what youth want more than anything else is information, said lead researcher Sarah Flicker, a York University professor of environmental studies.
The Toronto Teen Survey Report on teen sexual health, released Tuesday, said the young women and men were most likely to seek sexual-health information from friends, but that both groups would prefer to get it from professional sources, such as doctors, nurses and teachers.
The study, one of the country's largest surveys of young people's sexual health, also found both young men and women said they fear feeling judged when they access sexual-health care.
"I think access to sexual-health education is a basic human right," Flicker said.
"We know, through research, that lots of young people are sexually active, and many of them don't ask their parents' permission."
Their fear won't be lessened, she said, by legislation such as Alberta's Bill 44, which passed a tense vote in the provincial legislature early Tuesday after hours of heated debate.
The bill, which writes protection against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation into Alberta's human-rights law for the first time ever, also gives parents a controversial escape clause for classroom discussions that clash with their religious or moral beliefs. The bill enshrines parents' right to withdraw their children from classes on sexual orientation, sexuality or religion.
Critics said the bill could force teachers and school boards to defend themselves before quasi-judicial human-rights commissions for discussing sexual orientation and religion in the classroom.
A "chill" against discussing controversial issues might set in among teachers, opposition parties alleged.
The Conservative government of Premier Ed Stelmach insisted the bill would not stifle casual classroom discussion of sexual or religious topics, and offered to head off frivolous complaints against teachers to the provincial human-rights commission.
Flicker said any law that throws up walls between kids and the sexual information they need will only lead some to make uninformed, risky choices.
"It's clear that one-size-fits-all prevention strategies don't work; we need to be tailoring our health-promotion and prevention strategies to meet the needs of diverse young people," she said.
"We need to be addressing issues of racism, of sexism, of homophobia, in our curriculum, and talking about how these harmful messages can often impede our ability to make really good choices."
Among other things, the survey suggested that what most youth want is information about how to have healthy relationships.
Flicker said the challenge now is to figure out how to provide that information.
"It's really about starting with open, honest and clear communication with young people — about their bodies, about their rights, about their choices and opportunities," she said.
Offshoots of the study are focusing on exactly how youth define "healthy relationships." Researchers have just finished 18 focus groups on the matter, and are now analyzing the data.
Flicker said she's hopeful changes are coming in Ontario, where the health-education curriculum is currently under review, but worries that teens across Canada may not have access to the services they need.
"Even in this great urban centre, where we have amazing services for young people, we're still seeing these challenges," she said. "It's got to be that much worse in rural or remote environments."
The Toronto teen survey report on sexual health found:
- 83 per cent of respondents, ages 13 to 18, said they had never visited a health-care provider for any sexual health-related reason;
- Healthy relationships, HIV/AIDS and sexual pleasure were the areas in which teens thought the current curriculum is lacking;
- 69 per cent of participants reported kissing a partner, 25 per cent reported giving or receiving oral sex, 27 per cent reported vaginal intercourse, seven per cent reported anal sex, and 24 per cent per cent said they had never engaged in any sexual experience;
- Youth who were less likely to engage in higher-risk sexual activity were younger, female, not born in Canada, or identified as Muslim, Asian or East Asian;
- Those who were more likely to engage in higher-risk sexual activity (vaginal/anal intercourse) were older, male, not exclusively heterosexual, and received sex education in multiple locations;
- Young women who have accessed sexual-health care are most likely to go for birth control, pap smears and pregnancy tests; and
- Young men who have gone to services are most likely to go for free condoms, information about safer sex, and HIV or STI testing.

Dying Trenton woman granted honorary nursing license

Katie Viger, a 23-year-old who is dying of brain cancer, has been granted an honorary nursing license by the Michigan Department of Community Health.

The license is expected to be signed today by the Michigan Board of Nursing and could be delivered to the Viger family at their home in Trenton as early as tonight, according to state Sen. Ray Basham (D-Taylor).
“We are thrilled,” said Cathy Wakefield, who was Viger’s nursing instructor at Henry Ford Community College. “It’s exactly what we wanted.”

Viger graduated from the Henry Ford nursing program in May. She was diagnosed with a brain tumor in August but was unable to take the test to become a registered nurse. Over the last two weeks, Wakefield has led a push to get Viger an honorary license.

With the help of Basham, Wakefield has campaigned to enact Katie’s Bill, which would change state law to allow the nursing board to issue honorary licenses in situations like Viger’s, where there are extenuating circumstances like an illness.

Friends and supporters started a Facebook group called “Give Katie Viger her honorary nursing license.” Forty-eight hours after it was started, 800 people had joined. After the Free Press told Viger’s story on Wednesday, the group swelled to 4,350 members. Many readers called their state lawmakers, expressing support for the bill.

Basham said the Department of Community Health agreed to grant the honorary license because there is pending legislation with strong bipartisan support, and because of the need for urgency. Viger is now in the hospice care.

“How can our family ever thank everyone for all the love and support you have shown to our very, very special daughter?” Viger’s mom, Cathy Viger, said in a post this morning on Facebook. “I have never seen our government work so fast and it is because of all of you! Everyone will forever be in our hearts. Again, we can never thank you all enough. Love, The Overjoyed Viger Family.”

Joe Viger said the license is a wonderful, symbolic gesture.

At the same time, he and his wife are living the horror of watching their daughter go through extreme pain.
“She just can’t get comfortable,” he said. “We are maxed out right now on what we can give her. We are getting ready to call hospice to see what we should do.”

When the Nurse Is a Bully


It was the end of my shift, and I listened as one of my co-workers was being hassled over the phone for the second time that day. The computer wouldn’t release a patient record, and a nurse in another department was blaming her.
“Why are nurses so mean to each other?” I blurted out.
“Well yeah,” my co-worker said, “It’s that whole ‘Nurses eat their young’ thing.”
Nurses eat their young. The expression is standard lore among nurses, and it means bullying, harassment, whatever you want to call it. It’s that harsh, sometimes abusive treatment of new nurses that is entrenched on some hospital floors and schools of nursing. It’s the dirty little secret of nursing, and it needs to be publicly acknowledged, and just as publicly discussed, because it’s keeping us down.
The phrase was on my mind that shift, because earlier in the day, a nursing student on the floor had told me about the time she had to make an emergency room visit because of kidney stones, which made her late with a class assignment. Despite a doctor’s note, her nursing instructor didn’t accept the excuse, telling her, “You need to make better life choices.”
I’ve heard similar stories coast to coast, and I’ve experienced hostile treatment myself. In my first nursing job, some of the more senior nurses on the floor lied about work I had or hadn’t done, refused to help me at times when I really needed it, and corrected my inevitable mistakes loudly and whenever possible, in public. By the time I left, I felt like I had a huge bull’s-eye on my back, and once I became a target, it was difficult to be an effective nurse.
The Seattle nurse and consultant Kathleen Bartholomew explores the back-stabbing, intimidation and sabotage that are all too common on some nursing floors in her book “Ending Nurse-to-Nurse Hostility: Why Nurses Eat Their Young’’ (HCPro, 2006).  Ms. Bartholomew notes that because nursing “has its fundamental roots in caring,” it’s often hard for nurses to admit that they could be hurting one another. But studies show that 60 percent of new nurses [pdf] leave their first position within six months because of some form of verbal abuse or harsh treatment from a colleague.
The nurses in my present job treat one another with respect and compassion, and I couldn’t get through my shifts without their support. But in my hospital and in others where I’ve worked, I have seen a petty meanness in how some nurses interact with one another, and with other hospital staff members.
The technical term for such behavior is “horizontal violence.” We all know that nurse. It’s the one who picks a fight with an I.C.U. nurse in front of a patient who, frightened and suddenly struggling to breathe, is on his way to intensive care. It’s the nurse who insists on calling repeatedly to ask why you haven’t done something — given a drug, started a transfusion — a task that, for a number of valid reasons, you haven’t been able to complete. It’s the nurse who boasts about giving a hard time to the interns — the doctors in training — and makes clear how enjoyable it was to pick on them.
Are most nurses like this? Of course not. But it’s a common enough problem that a search in Google or the medical journal database PubMed will turn up academic studies on the phrases “nurses eat their young,” “bullying in nursing,”  and “nursing and horizontal violence.”
Floor nursing is a hard job, in part because shifts are so unpredictable. Stable patients can become unstable in the blink of an eye. The portable phones we carry ring constantly and insistently. The timing of tests, procedures and scans is rarely coordinated with other aspects of care. And a staff absence requires the nurses on the floor to pick up the slack by taking extra patients.
Doctors, I have to admit, can also be rude. Phrases like, “Why are you calling me?” “We’ll get to it when we get to it,” and “That’s not important” are undermining and disheartening because they shut down doctor-nurse communication. I don’t hear such phrases often at work, but I have heard them, and they make coordinating patient care difficult.
Spending our shifts feeling pulled in an impossible number of directions, day after day after day, can in the end be too much. A lot of nurses find a way to regroup and stay, while some burn out and quit. But a few nurses will, like cornered animals, bare their teeth and fight back.
The problem is that they don’t fight back against the people who put them in the corner. These overwhelmed and angry nurses take their frustration out on the rest of us stuck in the corner with them, or on anyone — like interns — they perceive as being less powerful than they are.
The nurse researchers Cheryl Woelfle and Ruth McCaffrey speculate on why nurses attack their own in their article “Nurse on Nurse.” “Nurses often lack autonomy, accountability and control over their profession,” they write. “This can often result in displaced and self-destructive aggression within the oppressed group.”
A big problem with remedying nurse-on-nurse hostility is that although it happens, nurses don’t like to talk about it openly.
“It is embarrassing and so remotely removed from our idea of the perfect nurse that we shudder to think it may be true,’’ writes Ms. Bartholomew. “There is an unspoken fear, warranted or not, that acknowledging the problem will make it worse.’’
Ms. Bartholomew argues that the best antidote is open discussion, and I agree. A majority of nurses do not bully on the job, and that majority needs to set a new tone. We have to come out of the corner, stop allowing our co-workers to tear at one another’s flesh and instead speak up. We obviously have a lot on our minds.

Fewer Filipino nurses sought work in US in ‘09

MANILA, Philippines—As the United States still had to allow the massive influx of foreign nurses to its shores due to a severe lack of nurses, the number of Filipinos that sought to enter America’s nursing profession plunged by 26 percent in 2009, the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) said in a statement Sunday.

A total of 15,382 Filipino nurses took the NCLEX for the first time from January to December 2009, a decrease of 5,364 compared to the 20,746 that took the examinations in the same 12-month period in 2008, according to former senator and TUCP secretary general Ernesto Herrera.

The NCLEX refers to the US National Council (of State Boards of Nursing) Licensure Examinations.
Compared to the record number of 21,299 Filipino nurses that took the NCLEX for the first time (that is, excluding repeaters) in 2007, Herrera said the 2009 figures were also down 28 percent or by 5,916.

TUCP’s disclosure came shortly after the Philippines' Professional Regulation Commission bared the results of the November 2009 eligibility examinations for nurses. Only 37,527 or less than 40 percent of the 94,462 nursing graduates that took the licensure test passed—the poorest performance since 2000.

To build up the competitiveness of Filipino nurses in foreign labor markets, Herrera pushed for:

* The immediate shutdown of 152 nursing schools previously classified as "substandard" by the Commission on Higher Education;

* The annual rating of the remaining 308 nursing colleges (net of the 152 to be closed down), based on the performance of their graduates in the local licensure examinations over the last five years, and the yearly publication of the rating of every college so that buyers of nursing education may be guided accordingly;

* The provision of free intensive second foreign language training, via the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, to nursing graduates seeking employment in non-English speaking countries such as Japan and the Middle East; and

* The strengthening of the capabilities of all state-owned hospitals, whether run by the Department of Health or by local governments, to provide superior clinical training to junior and senior nursing students.

On account of the overwhelming number of Filipino nursing students, Herrera lamented that many of them are not getting adequate clinical training or "related learning experience" in hospitals.

"Hospitals can no longer accommodate all our nursing students in emergency rooms, operating rooms, intensive care units, and delivery rooms. There are just too many of them waiting in line to observe procedures," Herrera said.

RP, Canada to renew job accords

Canada is set to renew existing agreements with the Philippines that seek to provide training and employment opportunities to Filipino nurses and other workers, the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) said Wednesday.
Director Salome Mendoza, head of the Canada desk of DoLE, said that the provinces of Skatschewan, Manitoba, Alberta and British Columbia, all in the Western part of Canada, are reviving its memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Philippines along with its implementing guidelines this year.
“The MOU for Manitoba is scheduled to renew this month, while Skatschewan and British Columbia are set to revive their MOUs within the first quarter of the year,’’ Mendoza said in an interview.
“For Alberta, although the MOU will expire on October, the implementing guidelines are already set for approval within the year as well,’’ she added.

FEWER PINOY NURSES SEEK WORK IN U.S.

MANILA, FEBRUARY 9, 2010 (STAR) By Sheila Crisostomo  - For the last three years, the number of registered Filipino nurses taking the US National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) has been declining, indicating that fewer Filipino nurses are seeking work in the United States, a labor organization said. Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) secretary-general Ernesto Herrera said only 15,382 took the US licensure exam for nurses in 2009, compared to 20,764 in 2008. In 2007, 21,299 Filipino nurses took the NCLEX.
The former senator said there is a need to “build up the competitiveness of Filipino nurses in foreign labor markets.” One way is to shut down the 152 nursing schools previously classified by the Commission on Higher Education as “substandard.”
Herrera also proposed that nursing schools publish their passing rates in the annual licensure exam “so that buyers of nursing education may be guided accordingly.”
He said the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) should also provide free second-language training to nurses seeking employment in non-English-speaking countries.
Herrera also said that many nursing students do not get proper clinical training in hospitals because there are too many of them.
“Hospitals can no longer accommodate all our nursing students in emergency rooms, operating rooms and delivery rooms. There are just too many of them waiting in line to observe procedures,” he said.
“The capabilities of all state-owned hospitals, whether run by the Department of Health or by local governments, to provide superior clinical training to junior and senior nursing students (must be strengthened),” he added.

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