Scrubin Uniforms Newsletter

Sunday, August 13, 2017

National Health Center Week reminds us of the vital services these facilities provide

Here’s a sobering statistic: One in every 15 people living in the United States depends on services provided by a health center. These places do some amazing work in our communities, so it’s time to stop and think about their value during National Health Center Week.

In addition to delivering high-quality, cost effective and accessible care, health centers often are the economic hubs of their neighborhoods. Other businesses spring up around them, and the local economy benefits.

For more than 50 years, health centers have been improving (and saving) the lives of millions who otherwise might not be able to access medical care. They provide services to everyone who walks through the door, regardless of their ability to pay or insurance status.

This year, let’s dive a little deeper and look at some of the specific, and innovative, programs and services health centers provide, as well as ways we can all engage:

Aug. 13: Elected Officials Day. Contact your member of Congress, state legislator and city/county officials to express your support for health centers, and ask them to be more vocal when it comes to support and funding.

Aug. 14: Public Housing Health Center Day. Many health centers are near public housing, where residents are in great need of primary and preventive care. Often, they host health fairs and other events where you, your coworkers and friends could volunteer.

Aug. 16: Healthcare for the Homeless Day. Many health centers are in areas with large homeless populations in great need of care. They can always use donations of small items — socks, soap, feminine hygiene products — that they can give to patients who are being cared for.

Aug. 17: Agricultural Worker Health Day. Seasonal agricultural workers face many challenges, and getting appropriate, needed health care is high on the list. Health centers who work with these populations always need help and donations to cover mobile screening fairs and other outreach efforts.

Aug. 18: Consumer Board Member Day. Health centers have governing boards which include the very patients they serve, among other community members. Reach out and engage with a board member, if you can, to see what the center’s greatest needs are.

Aug. 19: Children’s Health Day. At-risk communities mean at-risk children. Health centers stand in the gap between kids and illness, and rely on community support so that they can see as many children as possible, especially for preventive care such as vaccines.

As you can see, there’s no shortage of ways to get involved. If you’re not sure where your local health center might be, reach out to the National Association of Community Health Centers, which was founded in 1971 to “promote the provision of high quality, comprehensive and affordable health care that is coordinated, culturally and linguistically competent, and community directed for all medically underserved populations.”

Thursday, August 3, 2017

National Immunization Awareness Month reminds us to be ready

So, you’re one of those people who faithfully gets a flu shot every fall. Well done! When’s the last time you had a tetanus shot or booster? A-ha!

Don’t feel bad, most of us fall short when it comes to staying on top of our immunizations. That’s why, when National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM) rolls around every August, it’s a great opportunity to sit down and see what we, or our family members, are missing — and then schedule a trip to the doctor to get those squared away.

NIAM is sponsored by the National Public Health Information Coalition, and they have a ton of great, downloadable info if you’re looking to put an awareness campaign together for your workplace, or anywhere else you think people need to be reminded about the importance of immunizations. The information (and it’s all free) incudes vaccine information, news releases and articles, social media messages and links to resources at the CDC and more.

While NIAM lasts for all of August, it can be broken down into weeks so that various at-risk groups can be targeted. Here’s how the coalition does it:

• Month of August: Ready for school?  Make sure those vaccine records are up to date!
• First Week: Babies and Young Children: A healthy start begins with on-time vaccinations.
• Second Week: Pregnant Women: Protect yourself and pass protection on to your baby.
• Third Week: Adults: Vaccines are not just for kids.
• Fourth Week: Preteens/Teens: Ensure a healthy future with vaccines.

Remember, immunizations aren’t just for kids at back-to-school time. We all need to be as proactive as possible so we can maintain our own health, as well as not pose a danger to vulnerable people around us who, for health or other reasons, can’t be vaccinated.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Antimicrobial scrubs: What’s the story?

Nurses, clinicians, doctors and other healthcare workers know all about germ transmission, and the steps to avoid it. They can’t help but be aware — they are surrounded by reminders to wash their hands with antimicrobial soaps and sanitizers dozens of times throughout the day as they come into contact with patients.

So, wouldn’t it be great if the scrubs and lab coats they wear pitched in and helped cut down on the spread of germs? It sure would, and that’s why when antimicrobial scrubs came on the scene a few years ago everyone got pretty excited.

The idea is fairly simple: Embed the cloth with various chemicals and/or substances (everything from proprietary chemical agents to silver and copper is used, and most every brand has its proprietary formula), and that agent will act as a barrier for germ transmission.

But — do they work? And are they worth it? If your area of the hospital is more prone to a MRSA outbreak, for example, would antimicrobial scrubs be a sound investment? Let’s look at what these scrubs are, what they’re supposed to do, and come to a conclusion or two:

There appears to be evidence that scrubs can carry bacteria, and some antimicrobial models were released in 2012 (and others may have been available before) to answer the problem. In 2014, The Association of periOperative Registered Nurses released a report saying that antimicrobial scrubs might “prevent bacteria and fungi from adhering to the fabric” and thus help protection patients.

The science about how these scrubs work is as varied as the companies producing them. There are different antimicrobial agents being embedded into the scrub material fiber by each manufacturer in order to differentiate their product, with some going after bacterial organisms and others targeting bacterial protein. Some are also fluid repellant, which is touted to add another layer of protection by keeping bacteria-laden material from soaking into scrubs in the first place, with the antibacterial agent acting as a second defense.

The jury is still out on whether or not they work effectively. Manufacturers can (and do) tout studies that show how these scrubs can prevent, or limit the spread, of MRSA, but the Antimicrobial Scrub and Transmission (ASCOT) study, a Duke University clinical trial that, among other things, evaluated whether antimicrobial-impregnated scrubs could help reduce bacterial contamination vs. regular cotton-poly scrubs, didn’t show a significant decrease in clothing contamination.

There are also other points to consider, such as price, because antimicrobials can be more expensive. Also, what’s your level of exposure? Anyone working in a hospital or clinical environment is going to come up against bacteria — that’s part of the job. But if you’re not around patients that much, or in a low-exposure area (primary care practice vs. ICU or ED), then you may not want to add in the extra layer of protection. In the end it’s up to you, but erring on the side of caution, especially when it comes to keeping patients, and yourself, safe from bacteria and infection, is never a bad idea.

Check out available Antimicrobial Scrubs here on our website! Happy Shopping! 

Monday, June 12, 2017

Celebrate Men’s Health Week & Month Throughout June

Make it all about the fellas during June, when Men’s Health Month takes center stage — an especially June 12-18, when Men’s Health Week takes over the calendar.

The purpose of the week and month are simple, and laudable: heighten the awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys.

Men aren't always the best about taking care of themselves. Sure, plenty are good about diet and exercise, but when was the last time your dad, husband, brother, son (you get the idea) went in for an annual physical? If the answer is “I have no clue,” then do a little nudging to get that doc visit on the calendar right away.

A regular doctor’s visit, even if there’s nothing wrong, is a great way for men (and women) to make sure they’re staying on top of screenings. For men, especially those over 50, that’s the time to make sure that testosterone and Prostate Specific Antigen, or PSA, levels are checked through bloodwork (the best way to get early signs of prostate cancer or other trouble), schedule a colonoscopy if one’s needed and even keep tabs of little, but important things, like tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough boosters.

Still on the fence? Use this handy checklist to see where you’re all caught up, and what might need some attention.

Since it began in 1994, Men’s Health Month has been out there trying to get men to take care of their physical and mental health through screenings, health fairs and other education/outreach activities. A big part of Men’s Health Week is Wear Blue Friday, which takes place this year on June 16, the Friday before Father’s Day. Break out those blue scrubs!

Men (and women) often put the health of others before their own, or as we mentioned earlier think they’re doing great because they’re crushing it at the gym and eat clean. But cancer and other killers strike the young and healthy, so it’s important to get that annual physical take care of, and pay attention to little signs that the body may be sending out. Good health is as much about prevention as it is about diet, exercise and work/life balance. Do your part, and it’ll all come together!

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Nurses Week reminds us all to salute our favorite caregivers

Once again, we find ourselves at May 6, Florence Nightingale’s birthday and the kickoff for Nurses Week 2017!

The American Nurses Association has, as usual, lots going on including a free webinar, “A Nurse’s Guide to Preventing Compassion Fatigue, Moral Distress, and Burnout,” which is a great way for those who spend so much time and energy providing great care to learn about stepping back and making sure their own needs are met as well.

This year’s theme is the “Year of the Healthy Nurse,” so in addition to the webinar, nurses (and those who love them) are encouraged to explore all the ways to maintain the proper balance with body, mind and spirit.

First up, it’s good to be aware of all the things that can cause nurse burnout. Even the most devoted caregiver can, if not careful, get run down quickly. You know what they say, nurses are the worst patients! Here’s a few tips to avoid getting worn thin:

Take breaks. No one, nurse or otherwise, can run full steam for 8+ hours. Meals are essential — and sit down for them, don’t grab something and gobble it while running from one task to the next. And take 5 minutes every so often to just relax; maybe even do some short breathing or relaxation exercises.

You can’t do it all. No matter how great the intention, no one person can heal a hospital full of sick people, make all the family and visitors happy, or make HCAHPS scores magically rise. A positive attitude and a willingness to work hard will see you through the day, but know that you’re only one person. Rely on the team!

Decompress. And speaking of the team … make sure to talk to people. Whether it’s a supervisor, coworker, spouse, therapist or friend, have someone (or a group of someone’s) available as a friendly, nonjudgmental sounding board. Sometimes your best answers to ongoing problems come when you speak the issue out loud, and get some input.

Being a nurse is more challenging than ever before — but also more exciting! From nursing informatics to assisting with in-hospital clinical trials, as well as the growing number of CNO and supervisory positions throughout healthcare, there are more ways than ever to find success in the field of nursing. Just make sure that you’re taking care of yourself as much as you would any patient in your charge, and from all of us at Scrubin Uniforms, have a wonderful Nurses Week!