Touted for its many health benefits, CBD is
growing in popularity every day.
CBD (Cannabidiol) is one of the 100+ chemical
compounds, known as cannabinoids, that are produced by the cannabis plant.
Several years ago, very few people knew what
the acronym CBD stood for let alone know its benefits. However, this narration
has changed as rarely a day passes without the mention of CBD in connection to
its many natural health benefits.
WHY IS CBD SO POPULAR?
As already mentioned, the cannabis plant
boasts of more than 100 chemical compounds that interact with each other to
bring about the various effects in the human body. However, CBD and THC are the
most prevalent and well-understood of the cannabinoids.
THC, short for tetrahydrocannabinol is the
main psychoactive chemical compound in the cannabis plant. It is the main
reason we get high after consuming cannabis.
CBD, on the other hand, won’t get you high.
This makes it an ideal option for marijuana patients who want to enjoy the
super-healing power of the cannabis plant without experiencing mind-altering
Although more research still needs to be done,
preliminary findings have portrayed CBD as a helpful compound in the treatment
of many health conditions. In this post, we will look at some of the benefits
and uses of Cannabidiol, as shown by research.
1. CBD CAN RELIEVE CHRONIC PAIN
Did you know that the use of marijuana for
pain dates back as far as 3000 years ago? However, the exact
components responsible for its pain-relieving effect have just been discovered
a few years ago. CBD is one of these compounds.
Our body is composed of a specialized system
known as the endocannabinoid system (ECS). This system
regulates various body functions such as sleep, appetite, pain, and immune system response.
The human body produces endocannabinoids
(neurotransmitters) that naturally bind to cannabinoid receptors in the nervous
According to studies, CBD may help remedy chronic pain by
either, interacting with neurotransmitters, reducing inflammation, or impacting
the normal functioning of endocannabinoid receptors.
In a study involving 47 multiple
sclerosis patients, it was discovered that those who received
Sativex (a combination of CBD and THC) experienced considerable improvement in
walking, muscle spasms and pain as compared to those who received a placebo.
Several studies have shown that a combination
of THC and CBD can help treat pain in multiple sclerosis and arthritis
In another study involving people suffering
from rheumatoid arthritis, it was discovered that
Sativex helped improve sleep quality, pain at rest, and in movement for all the
CBD HELPS REDUCE ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION SYMPTOMS
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more
than 300 million people suffer from depression. According to WHO, more than
800,000 people die due to suicide every year. Further, WHO states that
depression is the largest single contributor to disability
across the globe. Anxiety disorders are the sixth largest contributor to
These simple statistics show that anxiety and
depression are common medical disorders. You should therefore not feel alone
since, as you have seen, more than 300 million people have gone through the
same or similar things that you are experiencing right now.
Although most people still rely on
pharmaceutical drugs to deal with these conditions, some of these drugs are not
only ineffective but may also have severe side effects or lead to substance
abuse. It is for this reason that most people have opted to take relief in
A group of 24 people suffering from social
anxiety disorder were either given a placebo or 600 mg of CBD just before a
public speaking test.
It was discovered that the group that received
CBD experienced less discomfort, cognitive impairment, and anxiety in
their speech performance than their
counterparts who received a placebo.
Several animal studies have also shown CBD to
have antidepressant properties.
Researchers credit these properties of CBD to
its ability to impact the brain’s receptors for serotonin. Serotonin is a
neurotransmitter responsible for regulating social behavior and mood changes.
CBD MAY HELP REDUCE ACNE
According to research, more than 9.4% of
the global population suffers from acne. This is a skin condition that can be
caused by several factors such as underlying inflammation, bacteria, genetics,
and over secretion of sebum.
Researchers believe that due to its ability to
reduce sebum secretion and its anti-inflammatory properties, CBD may help treat
According to a study on the effects of CBD on human sebocytes, it was
discovered that the compound helped prevent the secretion of excessive sebum.
It was also discovered that the compound inhibited the activation of pro-acne
agents such as inflammatory cytokines.
A 2016 review highlighted the antifungal and antibacterial effects
of the cannabis plant. It is believed that these properties may help reduce or
prevent infections from pollutants or dirt on the skin.
Although the initial findings are promising,
more study is still needed to verify the effectiveness of CBD as a natural
remedy for acne.
CBD MAY HELP ALLEVIATE CANCER-RELATED SYMPTOMS
We can never talk about the health benefits of
CBD without mentioning its effects on cancer symptoms. It is still too early to
make claims about CBD for cancer, but preliminary findings show that the
compound can help alleviate the side effects of various treatments associated
with cancer treatments.
Another way through which CBD can help cancer
patients is through its pain relieving properties. Both cancer and its
treatment can lead to severe pain, mainly due to the inflammation, nerve
injury, or pressure on internal organs. Too much pain can become resistant to
powerful pain relievers such as opioids.
A study was conducted to find out the effect
of both THC and CBD on cancer-patients who could
not react to the standard pain-reducing techniques. It was discovered that
those who received a combination of both THC and CBD experienced improved
symptoms than those who were treated with THC only. By indirectly acting on CB2
receptors, CBD may help reduce inflammation, hence reducing the pain.
Another common effect of cancer treatments,
such as chemotherapy is nausea and vomiting. Although you can always use
pharmaceutical drugs to treat these symptoms, some of these drugs are
ineffective hence prompting people to seek alternatives such as CBD.
In a study involving 16 people undergoing
chemo, it was discovered that a combination of both THC and CBD helped reduce
chemo-related vomiting and nausea better than the
standard treatments alone.
Some animal and test-tube studies show that
CBD may actually have anticancer
properties. In one of the test-tube studies, concentrated CBD helped
castigate the death of cancerous breast cells in human. In another study, CBD
was seen to inhibit the growth and spread of aggressive cancerous breast cells
However, more studies and research is needed.
If you are a cancer patient and planning to use CBD for the symptoms, it is
crucial that you talk with your doctor first as he will be able to advise you
Other health benefits of CBD include improved
heart health, a remedy against arthritis, muscles spasms, Crohn’s disease, etc.
It is clear that indeed, CBD can benefit human
health in different ways. Pet owners are also turning to CBD for the health and
well-being of their dogs and other pets.
Whatever you use CBD for, make sure to follow the right dosage instructions, this compound is after all a drug like any other. Seek professional advice if you have concerns about side effects of adding CBD to your treatment plan.
The day has finally come, and you’re about to embark on your long-awaited journey as a nurse. You’re excited and nervous as ever. After all those years of school and then searching for a job, the moment has come at last: Day 1 as a nurse. As you pull up your compression socks in the morning and put on your freshly ironed scrub set, your stomach is filled with butterflies, your mind has a million questions marks, and your hands are shaking from nervousness. How will you get through the first day?
Yet, somehow, you did. You made it through the first day! And yet, you may have come home with a splitting headache, and feeling more worried and nervous than ever. You are ready to quit. Sound familiar?
This uneasy feeling you are experiencing is called anxiety. You may have heard that anxiety is on the rise, but don’t worry! Almost all new nurses suffer from this. It is almost abnormal not to have some sort of anxiety. And great news to you — it will pass! It usually peaks at the beginning, but goes away after about a year.
Anxiety is a condition that causes obsessive thinking, along with feelings of tension, restlessness, and the inability to set aside a worry or fear.
Common symptoms of anxiety include: constant worry, excessive sweating, knots in your stomach, constantly questioning and re-questioning yourself and your decisions, racing thoughts, unwanted thoughts, and insomnia.
It mostly comes from a lack of confidence, which comes from a lack of experience. You are thrown into a new environment with a new routine that you are totally not used to. Besides a few clinicals and beginning orientation, you are utterly on your own. You have to care and provide for sick patients while being overwhelmed by all the tasks you are required to finish while learning the ropes. This is all a huge challenge, and the fear of messing up on a patient just tops it all off. From time to time, you will have to deal with Code Blue situations, which require rapid response and your brain has to quickly remember all those critical skills you learned. Your lack of experience and the fear of the unknown can make anxiety-provoking situations even more stressful.
How to Deal with New Nurse Anxiety
To avoid experiencing burnout, it is crucial for you to deal with this almost unavoidable anxiety. You have spent so many days and years working for this stage of life — don’t let all that work go to waste!
When you are aware of your problem and how normal and common
it is, you’ve discovered half the solution already! If you are reading this,
chances are that you know the problem and are looking for the second half of
the solution. Read on…
2. Ask for Help!
Plain and simple as that. Although you might feel
self-conscious at the beginning to constantly ask for help, just find yourself
one go-to nurse. Explain to her you need someone to fall back on for all your
questions and ask her if she minds. Most of the time, nurses understand how you
feel and will be glad to help if they can. Just knowing you have someone to
depend on will help your anxiety rate go down. When you need to scramble every
time, trying to figure out who to ask your questions to this time, it can add
much unwanted stress.
3. Find a Mentor and Support Group
The benefit of talking to peers who are going through the same thing as you can be two-fold. Firstly, you can vent your heart out. Sound foolish? But let me tell you: if you have a lot bubbled up inside you, it increases your anxiety. You feel alone, lost, and drowning in your own self. Talking it out will take lessen that uneasy feeling inside of you. Secondly, your mentor and support group will then be able to validate your feelings, and you will realize that what you are experiencing is normal. You’ll realize you are not alone, and together, you can come up with solutions. A mentor can give you tried and true tips for your specific nursing career, and can walk you through the beginning rough times.
4. Eat, Sleep, and Relax
Eating and sleeping well is a must! If you don’t eat and sleep well, you will simply not be able to focus and remember all of those skills you worked so hard to master. You will not have energy to deal with your patients and to stay awake during your shift. Make sure you take the time to take good care of yourself. Find the time to relax. Breath in and out a few times, and remember that this difficult time will pass. Repeat that over and over. It will calm your mind (and nerves) down.
If necessary, do it in front of a mirror. Breathe in, breathe out, and feel your whole body relax. Let your shoulders drop, and your fingers go loose, and repeat in your mind, “This too shall pass.”
In addition, limit caffeine intake since caffeine is a
stimulant that causes the “fight or flight” response, and leads to unwanted anxiety.
Although nurses are known to live on coffee, scrubs, and rubber gloves, avoid the
coffee until you are used to nurse life and your anxiety has gone down.
5. Separate Work and Home Life
“One time I woke in the middle of the night panicked because I thought I had forgotten to give my husband insulin (he’s not diabetic),” recalls nurse Mack Marie. When at home, you should forget you are a nurse. Like I said before, focus on relaxing, eating, and sleeping well. Get in some exercise, and sweat out all the stress. Go out and spend time with loved ones, and forget all your work problems. Do the things you love, and leave your work at work.
6. Keep a Diary
Research has proven that writing
helps alleviate stress and anxiety. Pour out your feelings and frustrations
in your diary until you feel like a weight has been lifted from your heart. Initially,
writing may upset you and cause you to get worked up, but eventually it will
calm you down, and help get you through this difficult time period.
So, to conclude, you are human, and you will make mistakes.
It will happen inevitably. Embrace your mistakes and don’t let them overwhelm
you. You will grow and learn a tremendous amount from them. Realize what you
are experiencing is so super normal. Try the tips, get yourself a support group,
try to keep calm, and nurse on!
I knew something was wrong when she was late for work. She hadn’t called out and hadn’t texted anyone where she was. I peeked into her office. I wasn’t looking for any clues about where she was or anything; I was looking for her in an empty room. What struck me was how neat the otherwise messy work place was. It was as if she was going on a trip and wanted to leave the office orderly in case anyone came in while she was gone. The loose ends were tied up. Thankfully, she was not successful in her suicide attempt.
Everyone claimed to not know anything, but we knew the whole story, pieced together from social media posts. We were all quiet and looking at each other like we were examining each other to see if anyone else was at risk for committing suicide. One nurse said, in typical off-color nursing humor: “We know what we are going through ourselves, but you never know if the person next to you is circling the drain.” We all nervously giggled. The comment hurt to hear…but it was accurate, stripped down to the basic cutting truth. We really don’t listen to the answer of a tossed out “how are you”? We are so concerned with ourselves and our own issues that we rarely take the time to reach out to someone else.
Prompted by what happened, the hospital presented education on suicide prevention. I didn’t want to attend. Why bother? I’d been depressed after my mother died, I’d been through treatment, and you couldn’t tell me anything I didn’t already know, but a friend of mine did attend and she was very moved by what she had heard. She shared with everyone on the unit what she felt was the most important takeaway: do not be afraid to ask someone if they want to harm themselves or commit suicide.
During a private conversation, this friend came right out and asked me if I ever thought of commiting suicide, if I’d ever been depressed. I didn’t look her in the eye when I said that in the past I had thought of what the world would be like without me in it, particularly after my mother had died. I told her that I had felt like I was surrounded by blackness, like I was sitting in the bottom of a well and I couldn’t get out. I had sought help and was diagnosed with depression. When I saw tears in her eyes I immediately regretted what I had said because I didn’t want anyone to know that I had been depressed—that there was a chink in my armor. She told me that she had learned that people who are depressed verbalize that they are in a very dark place, feeling like they are surrounded by nothingness and blackness with no way out. My friend kept looking at me like she was really seeing me and asked me to make her a promise. She made me promise that if I ever felt like that again, that I would tell her. My mental fingers were crossed. Strong people don’t reveal weaknesses and we certainly don’t share feelings—we just tamp them down, deny them, and keep going. I didn’t need help and besides, I was thinking, what could you do for me? But the concern and the tears in her eyes really stayed with me.
The truth was that I was sitting at the bottom of that well. Work and life and just the energy required for living were becoming too much again, but my friend had opened the door to the darkness and a little bit of light had shone in. Several weeks went by and we were talking on the unit about work related issues and I causally asked my friend if she remembered making me promise to tell her if I ever felt like I was sitting in the blackness. Tears filled her eyes again when I told her that I was back in the well again. I watched as she went to the computer, made an entry, and handed me on a piece of paper: the link to the employee assistance program at our hospital. She stayed with me while I contacted them and I was seen by a counselor the next day.
am aware that we all do not know someone we feel comfortable talking to, but in
our busy days of being a nurse and caring for patients and caring for ourselves
and our families, we need to be able to recognize when one of our colleagues is
reaching out, however silently, for our help.
Last month, Washington state Senator Maureen Walsh argued
against a legislative action that would provide mandatory, uninterrupted rest
times for nurses. Senator Walsh stated that such a provision could negatively
impact patient outcomes in certain circumstances, and further insisted nurses had ample downtime, and claiming that
they “probably play cards for a considerable amount of the
Her statement did not go over well within the nursing
profession. The sound bite traveled fast and the senator’s office was quickly
inundated with protesting phone calls and decks of playing cards.
Although Sen. Walsh was speaking strictly about specific nurses in specific facilities, one
takeaway from professionals across the country was clear: nurses are
overwhelmed and they need their concerns to be heard instead of dismissed by
However, serving this need is more difficult than may be
evident at first glance. My company recently conducted a nationwide study of
the challenges facing modern nurses, and learned
that nearly half of all respondents (49%) had considered leaving nursing in the
past two years.
This surprising and problematic statistic has many drivers,
but one of the most pressing is a need for better mental health care for
nurses. More than 35% of respondents reported that the state of their mental
health had a negative impact on their work, with an equal percentage (35%)
believing it is taboo to discuss mental health struggles with other nurses.
Far from enjoying idle time playing cards, nurses face heavy workloads and significant stress. Here are three factors that contribute to mental health struggles for nurses, as well as where the industry should focus its efforts to improve mental health care.
Burnout has long been a significant issue in the medical profession, and in our study, 62% of nurses reported feeling regularly burned out. Nurses typically work long hours with heavy responsibilities, a demanding formula that can harm anyone’s mental health. Nearly a quarter of nurses (24%) reported taking medication for job-related anxiety and depression, with three percent of nurses reporting suicidal thoughts.
Burnout also affected work performance for 44% of respondents, which was a contributing factor for the 49% of nurses who contemplated leaving their profession. If even a modest fraction of those nurses had actually abandoned their careers, the impact on the country’s already-understaffed health care system would have been catastrophic.
2. The Nationwide
The problem that compounds all other issues is the
persistent nationwide shortage of registered nurses. The Bureau of Labor
Statistics predicted 1.2 million vacancies would emerge between 2014 and 2022,
and 91% of nurses reported that their hospitals were understaffed.
In 2016 we issued our first study on the welfare of modern
nurses. At that time, 62% reported that the growing shortage had negatively
affected their workloads. In our recent study, the number had skyrocketed to
88% of nurses.
This widening gap continues to progressively harm nurses’ mental health, with more than half (54%) reporting that the increased workload negatively affected their mental health. Patient care is also impacted, with 62% of nurses reporting that the shortage is diminishing the quality of care they could provide.
Administrators and government can do more to help alleviate the shortage, according to nurses. Responding nurses recommended using temporary staffing, offering government subsidies for schooling, and creating new nursing programs. Temporary staffing and travel nursing, in particular, were highlighted as a potential source of immediate relief in areas of greatest need.
3. Harassment and
Workplace harassment and bullying are a significant and widespread problem in nursing, just as they are in many industries across the country. Almost 40% of nurses reported experiencing harassment during the past year, a stunning number that demands a need for immediate attention.
Nurses battle this abuse in all areas of their work. Bullying and harassment come from other nurses (30%), patients (25%), physicians (23%), and administrators (22%). Reports of sexual harassment were less common than other forms of harassment, but 21% of nurses still face it, with the majority of incidents coming from patients.
If there is a silver lining, it is that incidents of
workplace hostility may be decreasing for nurses: In 2016, 45% of nurses reported
bullying and harassment, compared to 40% today. As the medical industry
continues to address and eliminate this damaging behavior, the efforts will pay
off in significant benefits to nurses’ mental health.
Senator Walsh’s comments may have come across as ill-informed, but they did spark a nationwide conversation about the heavy workload nurses carry and the negative impact on their mental health. Even as the senator retracted her comments, there were productive and crucial conversations taking place about improving work conditions and mental health care.
Reducing burnout, addressing the nursing shortage, and stopping harassment and bullying are issues that require attention from individuals and organizations across the entire medical industry. If we all work together to create solutions, we will take much-needed steps toward improving mental health for nurses.
Compassion fatigue and burnout—it’s a popular topic in nursing. It’s tough to know how to maintain a good work/life balance and show compassion for patients while still preserving your own mental and physical health.
Vidette Todaro-Franceschi, PhD, RN, FT, Professor, The College of Staten Island & Graduate Center, both of the City University of New York, is also the author of Compassion Fatigue and Burnout in Nursing. As the second edition of the book recently published, we asked her questions about how things have changed.
What are some of the
biggest changes that you’ve observed regarding compassion fatigue and burnout
in nursing since the first edition of the book?
Since the first edition in 2012, a greater emphasis is being
placed on the relation between nurse well-being and patient care, as evidenced
by the growing body of research and practice literature. There are more studies
being performed in the area of professional quality of life, and the
significance of having a “happy” as well as “healthy” workforce is finally
getting proper attention.
A number of nursing organizations have advanced various programs to foster a healthy work environment and promote work-life balance. For example, in 2013 the American Nurses Association (ANA) launched an initiative with the development of a professional issues panel to address nurse fatigue. Since then other professional issues panels have been formed to focus on moral resilience and workplace violence, among others. In 2017, the ANA began a critical initiative called the Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation Grand Challenge(HNHN GC), which is geared toward enhancing both nurse well-being and the health of the nation—a win-win for all.
Lastly, years ago I would have been tarred and feathered for
saying that no one coming to work should be asked to leave their baggage at the
door, or that it was ok for a nurse to say, “I need a mental health day” or “I
just cannot do it.” Today, I think,
there is recognition that we—nurses—are human beings; we feel, we hurt, we cry,
and it’s ok.
What are the
biggest challenges for nurses experiencing poor professional quality of life?
Mindful awareness is the key to acknowledging how one feels (the A of ART). However, this
can be challenging, since the majority of nurses work in fast-paced, chaotic
places and are not paying much attention to how they feel as they go about their
work. In fact, coworkers, friends, or family members may identify that there is
a problem before the suffering nurse becomes aware. Hence, nurses should engage
in mindfulness at work (and at home) in order to acknowledge both the good and
the bad feelings associated with their work (with the goal to maximize the good
and minimize the bad).
Once a problem has been acknowledged, it is essential to
figure out what choices one has and what actions can be taken to fix whatever
needs fixing. This can be another difficult hurdle for some nurses. A nurse might
think that she/he has no choice(s), or may be fearful of change. Nurses need to
recognize that there are always choices
(doing nothing is a choice), and then intentionally choose and take action to change
their work circumstances (the R of ART).
The last part of ART is turning toward self and other(s) (the T of ART), which entails connecting and/or reconnecting with the things that contribute to health and happiness, whatever those things might be. Nurses need to put the oxygen mask on their own faces first, figure out what makes them happy, and what will contribute to their well-being. Of course, this is easier said than done because nurses are typically self-sacrificing and altruistic. But nothing good can come from self-sacrifice that results in an unhealthy, unhappy person, especially one who is responsible for the health and well-being of others.
Making changes in eating, drinking, sleeping, and
exercise habits can be difficult. Motivating oneself to go out with friends or
family, or even to go out for a walk around the block may seem incredibly daunting
when one is physically or emotionally exhausted and unhappy. Turning towards
self and other(s) has to be taken one small step at a time, mindfully. Eventually,
new good habits can replace old bad ones.
have occurred for nurses who experience professional quality of life issues
such as compassion fatigue and burnout?
With greater awareness of the importance of nurse well-being
for patient care quality, in many settings, health care administration is focusing
efforts on creating a healthier, happier workforce. For example, many
workplaces now have wellness, meaningful recognition, and resiliency programs.
What do you think is
most surprising to people and/or nurses regarding compassion fatigue and
The fact that many individuals are compassion fatigued or burned
out (or other things), without realizing it. Whenever I teach and/or talk about
it, there seems to be this reverberating AHA!
People who work with all
living beings (humans and animals)
should be educated about professional quality of life issues. They should know
how to identify compassion fatigue, moral distress, death overload, PTSD, and
burnout as well as the effects these things can have on their health/well-being,
work productivity, and patient safety.
Compassion Fatigue and Burnout in Nursing
In this second edition of her seminal text, Dr. Todaro-Franceschi offers new insights on professional quality of life, incorporating current practice, research literature, and examples to show how contentment and happiness of the nursing workforce is related to quality of care. The book provides practical strategies for dealing with a myriad of issues, including compassion fatigue, burnout, moral distress, caring for the dying, PTSD, and workplace violence. This resource will help empower nurses so they can create a more compassionate work environment.
From New Years’ Day 2019 through April 11th, the United States has reported 555 cases of measles in 20 states—the second largest measles outbreak reported since the disease was eliminated in 2000. Keep reading to learn the 10 things nurses need to know about the measles outbreak:
1. Measles is brought into the U.S. by travelers who’ve been in foreign countries where the disease is prevalent—countries in Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Pacific. It is then spread in U.S. communities via contact with pockets of unvaccinated populations.
2. Measles outbreaks, defined as three or more reported cases, are currently ongoing in Rockland County New York, New York City, New Jersey, Washington state, Michigan, and the counties of Butte County California. In addition, new cases have recently been identified in New York’s Westchester and Sullivan counties.
3. Once a person is exposed to the measles virus, it may take up to two weeks before symptoms begin to show. A person is contagious four days before the tell-tale rash appears and for four days after. Measles is an airborne virus that can be shed by those infected long before the symptoms arise.
4. There is no available antiviral therapy to cure measles—only supportive therapy for the symptoms, among which are those similar to the common cold: fever, cough, runny nose, sore throat, followed by conjunctivitis and body rash. Measles can sometimes lead to more serious and life-threatening complications such as pneumonia and encephalitis.
5. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has declared a health emergency in the neighborhood of Williamsburg, Brooklyn and is mandating unvaccinated residents to become vaccinated. Those not complying could receive violations and fines of $1,000.
6. Mayor de Blasio has sent a team of “disease detectives” into the Hasidic Community in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, where nearly half of the U.S. cases reported are identified.
7. Coincidentally, the New York State Nurses Association just reached an agreement with the NYC Hospital Alliance to hire more nurses to fill vacancies and add new positions.
9. The role of nurses in these outbreaks is education and the promotion of vaccination.
10. It is critical that frontline health care professionals are vaccinated themselves in order to prevent the further spread of the virus, particularly when treating those patients infected by the disease.