May is a month of celebrations! It includes National Nurses Month, National Nurses Day (also known as Nurse Appreciation Day) on May 6, National Nurses Week, and International Nurses Day (today May 12), which also commemorates Florence Nightingale’s birthday. We also celebrate Mother’s Day and Asian Pacific Heritage Month in May, making it a joyous month throughout!
First and foremost, we want to extend our sincerest appreciation to all of our nurses! Without you, there would be no Night Nurse. Nurses are special people. In our profession, you must have deep compassion, high aptitude, an amazing work ethic, and a dose of patience. Triaging over the phone requires an additional set of skills, such as great listening abilities and the skill of deducing symptoms without being able to see the patient.
In some ways, telephone triage RNs are an elite group within our vocation. We consider ourselves very fortunate to have each and every Night Nurse RN on our team. May is your month, and today is your day. We salute you, our heroes amongst nursing heroes!
In this edition of the newsletter, we will learn some interesting facts about nursing, meet more than a dozen of our new colleagues, and read a profile story on RN Colleen McLeod. We think you’ll find Colleen’s advice to our new RNs invaluable, and our seasoned nurses may be able to pick up a few tips as well. The newsletter also includes updates on NLC legislation, nationwide COVID trends, and more.
Tami and Stu
HAPPY INTERNATIONAL NURSES DAY!
A heartfelt THANK YOU to our wonderful triage RNs for their outstanding contributions to our patients and to the nursing profession. We wish you all a Happy International Nurses Day, part of our month to honor nurses.
Some key milestones in National Nurses Month include National Nurses Day, also known as Nurse Appreciation Day, which occurred on Friday, May 6, and began National Nurses Week. The week culminates today, May 12, with International Nurses Day on which also commemorates Florence Nightingale’s birthday.
Nurses Appreciation Day initiated in 1953 when U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare’s Dorothy Sutherland proposed the concept to President Eisenhower. The first official observance happened in October 1954. Then in January 1974, the International Council of Nurses (ICN) proactively decided that every May 12 would be celebrated as International Nurse Day.
In 1982, the American Nurses Association (ANA) proclaimed every May 6 as “National Nurses Day,” one week prior to the May 12 date that was previously determined by ICN. President Ronald Reagan then proclaimed May 6 as "National Recognition Day for Nurses." Then in 1991, the ANA formalized “National Nurses Week” from May 6 through 12 each year.
The ANA selected the 2022 theme of “Nurses Make a Difference” for National Nurses Month. The ANA recommends the following weekly topics for nurses to focus upon in May:
Our Chief Nursing Officer, Tami Regan, shares the following poem to celebrate our own nursing heroes:
CELEBRATING ASIAN PACIFIC HERITAGE MONTH
This month, we recognize Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) that have done so much to enrich our country. The contributions are innumerable, covering the areas of science, medicine, arts, athletics, literature, government, and every other facet of our society.
The campaign to create Asian Pacific Heritage Month was initiated to celebrate the early Japanese settlers in 1843, and also the important work by Chinese immigrants to complete America’s vast railroad that connected both coasts for the first time. President Bush passed a law in 1992 making Asian Pacific American Heritage Month an official holiday, also known as AAPI Heritage Month.
Today, more than 22 million Americans identify as Asian or Pacific Islander descent. The AAPI community most often includes those with ancestry from anywhere on the Asian continent, which includes South Asia, East Asia, and Southeast Asia, as well as those with ties to the Pacific Islands of Polynesia, Micronesia, and Melanesia.
We wish our Asian American and Pacific Islander colleagues and friends a joyful month celebrating such a rich heritage!
HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!
For most babies, the first sound the vocalize is a “ma” sound. Not surprisingly, the word for mother begins with the letter “M” in nearly every language around the world! We all begin honoring our mothers from a very young age, and especially on Mother’s Day!
Ann Reeves Jarvis created “Mothers’ Friendship Day” as an occasion for mothers from both the north and south to get together and work toward peace near the end of the Civil War. Her daughter later acquired support for a formal holiday, recognized in 1914 by the White House. President Woodrow Wilson officially declared every second Sunday in May to be Mother’s Day. Today, Mother’s Day is celebrated in one form or another in more than 40 countries around the world.
Like so many other holidays, Mother’s Day is on a different date most years. It occurs on the second Sunday of May, so in 2022 it’s May 8 here in the USA. Other countries have their own versions of the holiday, such as Mothering Sunday in the UK, observed the fourth Sunday after Lent. Moms in Portugal and Spain are celebrated on December 8.
We hope everyone enjoyed a wonderful Mother’s Day on Sunday, May 8! We extend our best wishes to all moms, to our own mothers (here or passed), to stepmothers, adoptive mothers, foster moms, mothers of four-legged fur babies, and to all other mothers- who step up with nurturing care, and help others’ children.
RECOGNIZING MEMORIAL DAY AND ARMED FORCES DAY
Memorial Day is coming up on Monday, May 30 to honor the brave men and women who lost their lives fighting for our country. Originally named Decoration Day, the holiday originated in the 1860s when families participated in the centuries-old tradition of bringing flowers to the graves of fallen Civil War soldiers.
Decoration Day became a formal nationwide holiday in May 1868 in a proclamation by GeneralJohn A. Logan. It was observed on May 30 every year until 1971, when Congress moved the holiday to the last Monday of May and re-named it to Memorial Day.
Armed Forces Day is a companion day to Memorial Day. Celebrated on the third Saturday each May, Armed Forces Day salutes those who currently serve in the military. It is celebrated on Saturday, May 21 this year.
Our many thanks to all current, past, and deceased members of the US Military. This includes many current Night Nurse team members, their families, and several members of our own family. We appreciate your courageous service to our great country!
OUR TEAM! A WARM WELCOME TO OUR NEWEST NURSES!
Great news: We have many new nurses on our team! Spring call volumes usually drop a bit, but we’re busier than ever this year. We’re happy to have these talented RNs join our team to help make sure every patient receives the timely care they need.
Jennifer Nicole Green
Tammie Parker Dail
SAY HELLO TO OUR NEWEST PEDIATRIC PRECEPTORS!
We’re excited to add two preceptors to our team. Corri Cudmore has been a triage RN with Night Nurse since September 2016, and Renee Spring-Prince has triaged with us since October, 2019. They are helping us onboard new nurses and set them up for success. Thank you, Corri and Renee, for sharing your wisdom and experience with our new RNs!
MEET OUR WEEKEND LEAD
Weekends are our busiest time. We have more patient calls, more nurses nursing, and more dispatchers dispatching. We needed a calm, cool, collected leader to manage all of these complexities, and we’re happy it’s Cheryl Brown.
Cheryl joined Night Nurse in 2020 to help manage practice data, such as on-call schedules. Now, she’s the captain of our weekend operations. Cheryl monitors weekend call volumes and finds extra help, when needed. You can reach Cheryl at email@example.com and at extension 219.
TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS
We’re busier than ever, so we’ve brought Cathy Jatkola and Kathy Battista in to help manage the administrative aspects of Night Nurse.
Cathy Jatkola has been a pediatric triage RN with Night Nurse since October 2016. Now, in addition to covering a few remaining shifts, Cathy has taken on an exciting new role that includes recruiting new RNs, conducting interviews, creating reports, and supporting the nursing team with a variety of responsibilities. Cathy reports to Chief Nursing Officer Tami Regan, Director of Pediatric Nursing Karen Holland, and Adult Nursing Manager Tammylee LeBouef. You can reach Cathy at firstname.lastname@example.org and at extension 434.
Kathy Battista joined Night Nurse in April 2022 as the Operations Specialist at our headquarters in Framingham. Kathy was previously an administrative professional at Norwood Hospital since 2002. Kathy supports the business needs of our Scheduling Manager, Finance and Human Relations Manager, Director of Provider Relations & Diversity Affairs Coordination, Chief Operations Officer, and the Chief Executive Officer. Kathy can be found at Kathy.Battista@nightnursetriage.com and at extension 203.
WELCOME THE NEW MEMBER ON OUR DISPATCH TEAM
We’ve also grown our hard-working dispatch team. Please welcome dispatcher Sue Vespa who helps manage our triage workflow!
We’re Excited to Welcome All New Team Members to Night Nurse! Thank You for Joining Us!
DID YOU KNOW?: FUN FACTS ABOUT NURSING
♥ Nurses are the most trusted! Gallup, the well-known national survey company, conducts its annual Honesty and Ethics Poll to ask Americans which professions are most trusted. For the past 20 years in a row, nursing is ranked #1!
♥ The first nursing school in history was established in 250 BC in India.
♥ According to the American Nursing Association (ANA) there are more than 4.3 million nurses in the USA. That’s approximately three times more than MDs.
♥ Becoming a nurse is very challenging! Only 74% pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Nurses (NCLEX) exam the first time.
♥ Hospital RNs walk an average of 4-5 miles in a 12-hour shift, according to this survey data. The most-reported RN work injury is back pain, often from moving patients.
DID YOU KNOW?: NURSE LICENSURE COMPACT UPDATES
We’re keeping a close eye on states considering Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) legislation. NLC or “compact” states remove geographic boundaries and allow out-of-state nurses to care for their patients, regardless of location. To date, 38 states are in the NLC.
Here’s the current status of new additions to the NLC:
• Here in Massachusetts Senate Bill 2542 cleared the Joint Veterans and Federal Affairs Committee. Governor Charlie Baker is supportive of joining the NLC if it arrives at his desk.
• Compact legislation was introduced in Maryland through Senate Bill 154
• Illinois has initiated House Bill 4269 and House Bill 4531
• Minnesota legislators authored NLC laws through House Bill 2184 and Senate Bill 2302
• Rhode Island congresspeople have proposed House Bill 7155 and House Bill 7268
• New York is working to advance Assembly Bill 9007 and Senate Bill 8007.
• Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signed the NLC into law in July 2021 for enactment on
January 1, 2023.
• Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf signed NLC legislation in July 2021. An enactment date has not
yet been established.
• U.S. Virgin Islands Governor Albert Bryan, Jr. signed the NLC into law, implementation date TBD
• California, Illinois, and Michigan began actively considering NLC legislation in 2021
• Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy re-introduced NLC legislation in October 2021
DID YOU KNOW?: THE ONGOING PANDEMIC AND OMICRON SUBVARIANTS
The nation’s chief medical adviser, Dr. Fauci, recently said that our country has finally exited “out of the full-blown explosive pandemic phase.” This is welcome news after the last two years. Dr. Fauci went on to clarify his statement, noting that we’re in a “deceleration” phase compared to the high infection rates of the autumn and winter. He noted, “The world is still in a pandemic. There’s no doubt about that. Don’t anybody get any misinterpretation of that. We are still experiencing a pandemic.”
Here at Night Nurse, we track call volumes very closely. COVID encounters are up again, however, we might be at a plateau. The CDC estimated that Omicron subvariant BA.2.12.1 is responsible for approximately 30% of all new cases. This strain is believed to be about 25% more transmissible than BA.2, which was markedly more contagious than the original version of omicron.
Fortunately, COVID-based hospitalizations and deaths are down significantly. CNO Tami Regan and our medical directors frequently review the most updated Schmitt-Thompson COVID protocols so you will be up to date on the latest after-hours guidance. Please keep your eye out for updated COVID protocols coming in the next few weeks.
GETTING TO KNOW YOU: COLLEEN MCLEOD
Legendary First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “Life is what you make it.” She’s also known for saying, “Do one thing every day that scares you.” Sometimes it’s hard to be fearless and take on new challenges, but not for RN Colleen McLeod. She’s also a very inspirational person, often saying things such as “I never back down from a good challenge, and give it your all.”
In choosing an RN to profile for our 2022 Nurses Month edition, we couldn’t have a better example than Colleen. We hope you find her “can do” attitude as exciting as we do.
Colleen, a New York native, began her nursing career at Northshore University Hospital. It was at this 12-acre facility in Long Island that she was inspired to pursue her first area of specialization: oncology. Colleen was right out of school and ready to fearlessly take on her first challenge.
She often heard doctors talking about the excellent nurses at Memorial Sloan Kettering, a world-class cancer care facility. Colleen said, “I wondered, what’s so great about these nurses? I needed to be in that environment and find out. So I packed myself up, moved to New York City and got myself a job at Sloan. It was challenging myself. I wanted to be one of those amazing nurses.”
At Memorial Sloan Kettering, Colleen worked in the bone marrow transplant unit and developed expertise in oncology. After about a year, she was ready for her next challenge in oncology. She relocated to Boston and began a five-year career at the Dana Farber Institute, another world-renowned cancer treatment and research facility.
“Dana Farber was a perfect fit for me. It’s a very hopeful culture, very focused on the pursuit of a cure. It was such an uplifting experience! They had very few in-patient beds, and about half were bone marrow transplant cases. I was well-prepared to make an impact there.”
After Dana Farber, Colleen moved to Connecticut and worked for about a year at Stamford Hospital, again in the bone marrow transplant clinic. Then she was ready for her next big challenge: Starting a family.
Colleen took the next 13 years to raise three wonderful children, but always knew she would return to nursing when the time is right. That opportunity appeared one day when she heard about an opening for a school nurse. She aced the interview and began a 12-year stint as the elementary school nurse in Redding, Connecticut. “It was an ideal job for me. I was able to get back to my nursing career while also being on the same schedule as my kids.” This also marked Colleen’s pivot to pediatric nursing.
As her children grew older, Colleen picked up a second job as the Assistant Director of Nursing at an assisted living facility in Shelton, CT. For many years, she held the two jobs and worked seven days each week. She didn’t get a lot of time at home. That’s when she looked for other options with better work/life balance.
“I was ready for my next challenge, and I needed something new. I hoped to locate an at-home nursing job, but I didn’t know if such a role existed. I was very happy to find Night Nurse, since it would allow me to leave the assisted living facility and enjoy more time at home.”
Colleen interviewed with Stu Pologe, now the CEO of Night Nurse, for a role on our pediatric nursing team. “It was the toughest interview of my life, and I’ve had some difficult interviews before. I really had to sell myself.” That experience only motivated Colleen even more. “I never back down from a good challenge, and I knew I would have to push myself.”
At the beginning of the pandemic, Colleen took a role as the Director of Nursing at an assisted living facility. After two years, she received a call from the middle school nurse. She was retiring and wanted Colleen to take her place. So now Colleen is back in the same town where she was a school nurse for so long, seeing the same kids, who are just a little older now. “It was a very nice transition for me since I know all the kids and I love the staff. But all along, NN has been my constant over all these years.”
Colleen will celebrate her four-year anniversary with Night Nurse next month. “I love the fact that I can do this job in my slippers with my cats on my lap. Hospital nursing puts such wear and tear on our bodies. I wanted a nursing job that I can do well into my later years, and this is it.”
Colleen also recently began precepting for Night Nurse, helping to share her extensive knowledge with our new nurses. “I absolutely love precepting, it’s been so enjoyable for me!”
Based on her experience triaging and training, we asked her to provide tips to our new nurses. Lucky for us, Colleen gave us so much more than we expected. Below, she shares her playbook for success and pays tribute to the specialized art of telephone triaging.
Listen. As a telephone triage nurse, one of the most important skills you need to develop is to listen. Not just to the caller’s words, but to what you hear in the background. As a pedi nurse, Colleen is listening to the child sitting on the caregiver’s lap. How are they breathing? What is their level of distress? These are all important factors as you assess the situation.
Follow the Protocols.Night Nurse only hires well-experienced RNs, but that doesn’t mean you can triage off the cuff. In particular, never give advice based on your personal experience. Just because you or a loved one had a mild experience with an illness doesn’t mean your patient will. “Confidence is important, but you can’t get cocky. Trust the protocols to deliver the best care advice.”
“Night Nurse has helped us a lot by providing the protocol books. Never veer off the protocols, and you’re less likely to have problems.” Colleen adds, “read through the entire protocol, even if you know it by heart. Go line-by-line and understand each step.”
Not sure which protocol to use? Colleen has tips for that as well. “When I first started at Night Nurse, I remember being in tears, not knowing which protocol to use. Ask yourself, what is the worst symptom? That could be the protocol you need. When in doubt, use this simple trick to help you decide. In Night Nurse Client, use the drop-down menu to quickly scan every protocol. It’s faster than going through every page of the book. Then, once you have an idea which protocol may be right, open the book and see if it’s the right fit.”
Also, you’ll find that you use many of the protocols more often than others. Colleen has a simple tip for this as well. “Mark your most commonly used protocols with sticky notes. That will help you jump to the right page quickly.”
Stay Calm and Be Patient. This is a busy job, with a lot going on. You will have difficult times in the beginning, even if you are a well-experienced RN. Just be patient and follow the procedure. It works, and you will learn a lot in the process. It may take you several months to become proficient, but you will get there.
Colleen noted a recent precepting student that quit before the training was completed. “I was training a new Night Nurse RN recently, and she was doing really well. Unfortunately, she gave her notice on the final night of training. I noticed that she was nervous during our training sessions, which is normal. I was just disappointed because she didn’t give herself a chance. I think she would have been a really good triage nurse, if she just stuck with it. So, I encourage you all to stay calm and patient. You will find this job to be incredibly rewarding.”
Stay Alert. Being a telephone triage RN means you have to stay sharp on your entire shift. Be attentive to the patients so you don’t have to ask questions twice. Stay on your toes so you can give outstanding care to each patient.
Remember that You’re Part of a Team.You may have questions or doubts from time to time, and you may feel like you’re all alone at home. Don’t forget that we have many resources at our disposal. Colleen offers a simple solution: “When in doubt, shout it out. You can always call the on-call nurse manager, your nurse manager, or even the on-call MD for the particular practice. Don’t be afraid to contact the doctor if you need second-level triage advice. The dispatch team can also help with some things, and I know Jill is always there for me.”
Set Yourself Up for Success.Arrange your desk to make everything easier for you. Colleen organizes herself at an L-shaped desk. “I have my drug book on the left, my computer in the middle, and my protocol book on the right.” Colleen also keeps a count of her own work on each shift. “So many things are happening at once, and I don’t want to miss a thing. I keep a personal list of all calls I’m expecting from MDs and anyone else I need to keep track of.”
Stay on Top of Your Documentation. Make sure to submit each call when you’re done. Don’t document on paper and try to type it in later, it will slow you down and delay the end of your shift. Just get everything into Night Nurse client and hit the Submit button, unless you’re waiting for a call-back.
Embrace the Challenge and Enjoy Every Moment. Telephone triage is unlike any other aspect of nursing. It’s an opportunity to accept the challenge and take your nursing skills to a whole new level. “I love triaging over the phone. It has sharpened my skills in every area and given me a new level of confidence. I’m not only a better triage RN than I was when I started, but I’m also a better school nurse, too.”
“It’s one of the hardest jobs I’ve ever had, but it is also one of the most rewarding. Several pediatricians have said, I don’t know how you triage RNs do it.”
While her career is very important, family is Colleen’s top priority. She is very close with her three children, and she has instilled her drive for excellence into each.
Colleen’s 30-year-old son, Brendan attended West Point. He spent five years in the Army, including a deployment in Afghanistan. Brendan was then stationed at Fort Campbell in Nashville, and loved it so much he stayed in Tennessee. Colleen is looking forward to his wedding in October.
Colleen’s 25-year-old daughter, Claire, will graduate from Boston College Law School this month, then she’ll begin her career at an education law firm in Boston. Colleen’s youngest, 22-year-old Maeve, also recently graduated from Boston College and works for Teach for America in Rhode Island.
Colleen gives her children all the credit for their accomplishments, saying “they have all been self-starters since the day they were born.” We have a feeling that mom is more of an inspiration than she realizes.”
There are two more beloved family members, Max and Moony. Colleen received these one-year-old black rescue cats for Christmas. Harry Potter fans will recognize that both of their names are derived from J. K. Rowling’s classic tales.
Colleen also plans to get a dog sometime soon. She loves the Corgi breed, in particular. Her longtime Corgi just passed away about a year ago, and she’s ready for the next. Not surprisingly, the dog was named Prince Harry Potter, a combination of Harry Potter and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex. Colleen also enjoys following the British royal family, which produced the cute mash-up name.
Colleen’s other personal interests include cooking, especially for holidays and parties, knitting, and counted cross stitch. She’ll occasionally put on PBS or food and home improvement shows, but her first choice are English television channels such as BBC America and Acorn TV. Colleen also enjoys music, particularly Radiohead or classic older Coldplay albums. She has been to 15 Coldplay concerts over the years.
Thank you, Colleen, for sharing your experience and passion with us all. We are so happy to have you on our team of excellent nurses!
WE’RE HIRING GREAT NURSES JUST LIKE YOU!
Spread the news! We have adult and pedi nursing positions open, so we’d love to meet your friends or colleagues interested in joining our at-home triage team! You could earn cash incentives for referring a new nurse. Please invite your experienced RN, APRN, or NP friends to contact our Human Resources and Finance Manager Stella Price (email@example.com) or visit our online Careers Center here.
100% FICTIONAL FUNNIES
Patient: I think I caught a cold riding on the merry-go-round.
Nurse: I’m not surprised, I heard it was going around.
I still don’t understand acupuncture. What’s the point?
Nurse: Remember to sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice when washing your hands.
Patient: I had to stop. My kids always expected me to walk out with a cake.
Here’s one more joke contributed from our overnight dispatcher Lori Winchester!
Q: Why did the nurse use a red crayon?
A: She needed to draw blood.
Do you know a funny nursing joke? Send us your best one that we can publish, and we’ll give you an Amazon gift card, just like Lori received!
We hope you enjoy this special month devoted to honoring nurses. We’d love to hear about your experiences, and we welcome your suggestions. Please reach out to us anytime. We’d love to hear from you and we welcome the opportunity to connect!
With Our Gratitude,
Tami (extension 206) and Stu (extension 201) at 508-875-9760