Linda Leekley's blog

CNAs: Do You Feel Beaten Down, Belittled or Bullied at Work?

Is incivility at work making you sick? If so, you’re not alone. Chances are your workplace is infected! In fact, an epidemic of incivility has spread to most healthcare workplaces. Some episodes of incivility are easy to spot. For example, you may actually witness a co-worker yelling at or berating another—or you may be a victim of such behavior yourself. But, other forms of incivility are more subtle and difficult to pin down.  read more »

Spotlight on Blood Pressure

Have you heard of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)?  It is a government agency that (among other things) collects statistics about the health and wellbeing of Americans. Would it surprise you to know that, according to the AHRQ, more than 55 million Americans are being treated for high blood pressure? That breaks down to one out of every four adults!  

If you lined up 100 random people who are being treated for high blood pressure, at least 30 of them would be African American, 25 would be Caucasian, 15 would be Hispanic and the rest would be from other races.
Among those same 100 people, 57 would be senior citizens. That’s no surprise, right?  If you work with the elderly, you've probably noticed that a number of your clients have high blood pressure. But, it might shock you that 5 of those people would be young adults, age 18 to 40. The other 38 people would be middle-aged, ranging from age 40  to 64. 
What about gender? The AHRQ says that our 100 random people would be split fairly evenly—about 52 women and 48 men. It seems that women are a bit more likely than men to seek treatment for their blood pressure.
So, what does hypertension cost our health care system? The amount is a staggering $47 billion! The bulk of that money (more than $21 billion) goes to prescription drugs—with the rest going to doctor and ER visits, hospitalizations and home health care.  And all that money is being spent on a condition that, in many cases, is preventable by making healthy lifestyle choices.
As startling as the above facts may be, the real truth is even worse. Remember…that “one in four adults” statistic refers to the number of people who are being treated for their hypertension. In reality, experts guess that one out of every three Americans has high blood pressure—and that includes children! This means that millions of Americans live with untreated high blood pressure. And that boosts their risk of heart attack and stroke.
How is your blood pressure? Remember that a blood pressure is considered normal if it is below 120/80. Anything higher than that is a risk factor for heart disease and stroke.  
Here are some sources for more information about hypertension:

The Mayo Clinic

The National Institutes of Health

In the Know's Hypertension Inservice

Remember...high blood pressure is called the silent killer because it causes few--if any--symptoms.  If it's been a while since you had yours checked, how about asking a co-worker to take your blood pressure?  And, if you are concerned about your blood pressure, please see a physician.

What's So Bad about Smoking Anyway?

Did you know that tobacco use causes more deaths each year than HIV, illegal drug use, alcohol use, suicides, motor vehicle injuries, and murders combined?  Here is some information that may give you a new perspective on the dangers of smoking.

What Can Smoking Do to You?
For many years, the American public has known about the very harmful effects of smoking—from bad smelling breath and hair to more serious health issues such as cancer and strokes. The latest U. S. Surgeon General report states that it's even worse than anyone knew. "The toxins from cigarette smoke go everywhere the blood flows." Smoking harms almost all of the body's organs, even the skin.
Is Tobacco Really So Bad?
All forms of tobacco are hazardous to the body-even chewing tobacco and snuff. Believe it or not, there are more than 4000 chemicals in tobacco and around 400 of them are harmful. At least 63 of these chemicals are known to cause cancer in people.
Here are just a few of the ingredients found in tobacco--and the smoke it creates:
  • Acetone-a chemical used in nail polish remover.
  • Hydrogen Cyanide-rat poison.
  • Carbon Monoxide-an odorless, colorless toxic gas.
  • Arsenic-a fatal poison.
  • Formaldehyde-a chemical used to preserve the dead.
  • Nicotine-the chemical that makes cigarettes so addictive.
  • Lead-a poisonous metal.
Many Americans Are Kicking the Habit
If your client is a smoker, it's very important to encourage him not to smoke in bed, near drapes or to fall asleep in a chair while smoking. Cigarette smoking is a major cause of fire-related deaths in the home. Smoking causes about 30% of fire deaths and causes over 2,400 injuries each year in the United States.
If you are a smoker as well, think about quitting with your client so that you can help each other "kick the habit." But, remember...it takes most smokers several attempts to quit before they are successful. So someone should never give up after only one try. And, while withdrawal symptoms can be uncomfortable, they are temporary, lasting only one to two weeks.
It isn't easy to quit smoking, but it's not impossible either. More than 3 million Americans quit every year! Overall, nearly 47 million Americans have kicked the habit—and the popularity of smoking has dropped 42% in the last 20 years. 
Many state governments have gotten involved, banning smoking from certain areas. Even here in North Carolina (the heart of tobacco country), smoking is banned in most public indoor areas. How does your state stack up? Find the map on this web page and click on your state to find out.
And, consider completing our inservice: The Effects of Smoking. This inservice discusses the negative effects that smoking has on the body—from mild side-effects to smoking-related diseases. It includes the hazards of secondhand smoke, why it's so difficult to stop smoking, various methods for stopping, benefits of quitting the habit, tips to help your clients, and much more.


CNAs: What's Your Stress Level?

There's no doubt about it...working in the nursing field is stressful.  So, how is your stress level these days?  Try taking this quick little "Stress Test" (developed by clinical psychologist Dan Johnston) to see if you could use a little stress management.  

Remember...when stress becomes a way of life, it can lead to health problems--from tension headaches to heart attacks, ulcers and even cancer.  In fact, up to 75% of disease may be stress-related!

So, if the results of your Stress Test show that you could use some tips on how to reduce and/or manage your stress, consider completing our Stress Management Skills inservice.  It might be the best thing you do for your health this month!

Take good care,


CNAs: Are You Bored?

Are you feeling bored? Well…did you know that July is National Anti-Boredom Month? It’s true! So, here are a couple of brainteasers to shake things up a little:
Look at this photo.  Which of the three men is tallest?
And what about this one:  Johnny's mother had four children. The first was April, the second was May, and the third was June. What was the name of her fourth child?
Have you got them figured out or do you give up? Keep reading for the answer.
And, here are some tips for helping you fight boredom at work:


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