Discussion: Life Support (Chap. 10-Conclusion)

The final round of discussion questions from our July selection! For more questions, check out:

Feel free to answer any of these, add your own, or simply discuss in the comments below. Responding to specific questions will help me take the pulse of my readers and choose topics for further posts.

And if you haven’t read the book but you still want to chime in about any of the questions below, please feel free to join the conversation!

Chapter 10 – “A Good Enough Death II”

  1. Have you discussed your health care wishes with your family members (should you be unable to speak for yourself)? If you have not, what factors are keeping you from having this conversation? Do you have a living will/advance directive?
  2. Have you ever had to stand up to a co-worker/superior regarding a patient’s wishes? How did it feel to do so? What was the result?
  3. How prepared did you feel to care for patients at the end of life after you graduated from nursing/medical school?
  4. In this age of “pain contracts” and concerns about addiction/dependence, do you think our culture prevents us from properly managing pain, particularly at the end of life?

Chapter 11 – “Unraveling the Tapestry of Care”

  1. How do you think the politics around collective bargaining have affected nursing? Are you represented by a labor union at your workplace? How does the presence/absence of union representation affect your willingness to speak out and/or “blow the whistle” when you have concerns about your workplace?
  2. Is your workplace part of a larger health care corporation? How does this affect efficiency, communication, and other issues affecting patient safety?
  3. How often do you discharge patients home when you have concerns about their safety and/or acuity?
  4. What strategies does your workplace use to identify different types of staff members (i.e. prominent name tags, different uniform colors, etc.)? If your workplace does not use these identifiers, do you think they should?
  5. Do you think your manager’s job is to “move patients through the system” (p. 279)  rather than help advance and improve nursing practice? Has this role changed over time? How does your manager’s role affect your day-to-day nursing practice?

Conclusion – “Preserving the Tapestry of Care”

  1. Do you think campaigns by professional nursing organizations to distinguish RNs from nursing assistants (see examples on pp. 289-291) help or hurt RN-CNA relations? Do you agree with models such as Hahneman University Hospital’s efforts to create RN-only units? What is the role of the nursing assistant/patient care tech in today’s health care system?
  2. How do you feel when medical assistants at outpatient clinics introduce themselves as “nurses”?
  3. Did you see examples of modeling physician-nurse collaboration during your education? Do you see examples in your current workplace?
  4. How can nurses increase the visibility of what we do/how we contribute? (See Gordon’s book From Silence to Voice for some excellent guidance about this very topic.)
  5. Do you agree with the author that nursing issues are also women’s issues? How has the increased number of men in nursing changed the culture of nursing? How about the increased number of women in medicine?
Reading this book has been a true joy. I hope y’all will join in the conversation about some or all of these topics. If you have an idea for a guest post based on these questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me at any time. In the meantime, I’ve got some reflecting and writing of my own to do!

*Note: Page numbers are based on the edition that I read.
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