Monday, April 29, 2019

10 Rules of the Education Game for Educators

10 Rules of the Education Game for Educators

By Frances Parker
A retired principal, I worked many years as an award-winning, urban, public school educator at elementary, middle, and high school levels in various teaching and administrative positions.
1. Be a standing ovation for students.

Low self-esteem, ignorance, and deferred dreams stalk many students. Commit to being an advocate for all students. Applaud their successes, no matter how small.

2. Cultivate cast-iron confidence.

Consciously nurture yourself physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Have an open mind, but believe in yourself. Set high standards. Let others help you implement your vision.

3. Know your piece in the puzzle.

Protocol is very important. Adherence to rules of professional etiquette should be routine. No matter how you perceive people, respect their positions, particularly in terms of how their positions relate to yours.

4. Remember why you’re in the kitchen.

You’re in the kitchen because you can take the heat. Nobody who understands education said it would be easy. Study your area of expertise. Keep up with educational trends. Familiarize yourself with every available resource. Take risks. Take the heat.

5. Let bruises fade.

Pick your battles wisely. Prioritize your concerns. Don’t waste time and energy struggling with something of little consequence. Deep wounds come soon enough.

6. Step in stuff you can wipe off.

Make promises you are committed to keep. Your reputation will often precede you. Be careful about burning bridges that can be costly in your future. Feelings are fine, but don’t let them dictate your behavior.

7. Work your workplace politics.

Workplace politics involving power and human interactions is a reality. Be aware of how others behave and with whom. Keep your standards high and avoid unnecessary conflict. You’ll learn most when you read, observe, listen, network, and analyze. Monitor what you say and to whom you say it. All decisions have consequences. Making no decision is a decision.

8. Tell time with your heart.

Live in the now. Really try to understand the other person’s point of view. Everybody has baggage. Be fair, firm, and consistent. Apologize when you’re wrong. Be aware of a moral boundary you refuse to cross.

9. Pick up a turtle.

If you see a turtle sitting on a fence post, you know somebody helped to put it there. Be on the lookout for turtles aiming for fence posts. You were picked up many times. Now it’s your turn.

10. Expect rainbow smiles.

Rainbow smiles hug you so tightly, you can feel ribs of joy press against your essence. Education is a wonderful profession. Every day brings opportunities for you to positively impact lives. And when you do, rainbow smiles will come.

© Frances Shani Parker,

Frances Shani Parker, Author 
Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes is available in paperback and e-book editions in America and other countries at online and offline booksellers. A chapter on school-nursing home partnerships and service-learning is included.
Hospice and Nursing Homes Blog

Monday, April 22, 2019

Organ Donations, Considerations (Video 1:34)

Would you consider donating parts of your body to help others after you have died? People have interesting ideas, both religious and non-religious about this process. In terms of religion, some say they wouldn’t donate their organs because their bodies would not be complete in the afterlife or on Judgment Day when they returned. Reasons may also be cultural. Thousands are waiting for organ transplant donations, but the donations fall short, with many dying before they receive an organ. Everyone can't be a donor, but each donor can save up to eight lives by donating eight different organs. Kidney donation, the most common form of donation, can be done while the donor is alive because only one kidney is needed to survive.

Family members also have concerns as they grieve before and after the death of a loved one being considered as an organ donor. On a positive note, however, there are several matters that make choosing to be a donor a good decision. Families who view organ donation as a means for the loved one to live on in another person may find the ordeal comforting knowing something positive resulting from their loss. Most understand that their loved one has already died before they were approached for consent.

While many have a satisfying experience participating in the organ donor process, some have troubling concerns that can impact them negatively over time if they are not resolved. Healthcare workers have to be especially sensitive to those involved with organ donations both before and after the loved one’s death in terms of support and grief management.

People are not the only ones impacted by organ donations of a loved one. The following video illustrates the loving bond between a man and a dog.

Frances Shani Parker, Author
Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes is available in paperback and e-book editions in America and other countries at online and offline booksellers.

Hospice and Nursing Homes Blog

Monday, April 15, 2019

Marijuana Use Among Older Adult Seniors (Research, Video 7:18)

What’s the drug of choice for older adults these days? You are right if you said it is different forms of marijuana.Their reasons for using it are often health-related. If you are wondering how seniors can become so informed about marijuana while living at home or in senior communities, you probably still think senior field trips are only to movies, landmarks, and popular restaurants. Nowadays seniors can go on field trips to local marijuana dispensaries.

More states are legalizing marijuana for medical or recreational use. What better way to learn cannabis lessons than shopping for products while getting high with friends who may or may not be easing their pain from chronic illnesses. The dynamics and effects of marijuana use on personal, social, and health outcomes among older adults definitely deserve our attention. Fortunately, that analysis can be done through research.

This research study examined older adults and marijuana use. A literature search using very reputable sources resulted in 18 articles reporting these results:

1) The greatest increase in marijuana use was observed among those in the older adult population 50 years or older.

2) Those 65 years or older had the greatest increase in marijuana use in the older adult population.

3) Common connections with marijuana use among older adults included being male, being unmarried, having multiple chronic diseases, having psychological stress, and using other substances such as alcohol, tobacco, other illicit drugs, and prescription drugs.

This research basically concluded that the increased use of marijuana in older populations requires more observation and research to better understand how it should be used in terms of side effects, prescription interactions, and possible addictions to avoid negative health outcomes. In addition, patients’ doctors should be informed of alternative treatments, and users should be informed about local and federal legalities.

In the meantime, while we wait for research to provide more assurances, join us on a field trip with some lively Seattle, Washington nursing home residents to a marijuana dispensary. In this video, you can learn more about marijuana products and treatments, listen to comments from active users, and draw your own conclusions.

Frances Shani Parker, Author
Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes is available in paperback and e-book editions in America and other countries at online and offline booksellers.
Hospice and Nursing Homes Blog

Monday, April 8, 2019

Nurse Staff Shortage (Video 3:27)

The context of patient care has everything to do with patients’ quality of life. Staff shortages play a major role in that context of care. Whether at home or in institutions, that context includes policy makers, staff, equipment, race, and location. That context also includes me, and that’s why I advocate for patients.

In my book Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing HomesI refer to the ongoing healthcare staff shortages I experienced in my role as a hospice volunteer in urban nursing homes: “Sometimes a shortage in staff had harmful consequences for residents. This included being left in unchanged beds, not being fully clean, and not being assisted when help was required for eating. Some residents tried to feed themselves using their hands when they couldn’t see their eating utensils. Residents waiting for help sometimes stared at their food while it turned cold. Those with depression or dementia often had little interest in food. They needed someone to motivate them throughout the meal.”

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the US nursing field will have more than one million vacancies by 2022. Healthcare providers in various healthcare environments nowadays are looking ahead to an increased need for nurses as the population ages. But it's not just new nurses that are needed. Seasoned nurses will be in short supply as well and in high demand. Even though the nationwide nursing shortage is increasing, schools across the country are turning away qualified applicants due to a shortage in nurse educators to teach nurses. This video shares more information:

Frances Shani Parker, Author
Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes is available in paperback and e-book editions in America and other countries at online and offline booksellers.

Monday, April 1, 2019

Person-Centered Death Rituals (Video 2:16)

“Rest in peace” is a common wish for those who are deceased. But this short sentence can encompass a lot when viewed from a person-centered perspective. Nowadays, peace can simply mean having a death ritual that reflects what you really want at a personal level when you celebrate your transition with family and friends.

Through the years, death rituals, including “homegoings” celebrating the "going home" of the deceased to life after death, have evolved to new heights with awe-inspiring audio and visual displays. They may include varieties of themes that showcase unique characteristics about deceased loved ones, such as their favorite sports, animals, plants, and food that would make the deceased proud. For example, a golf lover might be memorialized with decorations, services, and food centered on a golf theme. Another example would be a coffin created to look like bacon while including bacon-scented air fresheners to remind mourners that the deceased was a serious bacon lover.

Locations and procedures for death rituals have also been revised. Drive-through funeral homes similar to banks with bulletproof glass provide the opportunity for mourners and the curious to drive by or walk up from the sidewalk, view the body resting in an open casket, and sign the guestbook.

Some say that all these modern death ritual innovations trivialize death and take away from the spirituality of the occasion. Others say they customize people's feelings and include the spirit of those who have been unfastened from this life. One thing many people agree on is that relatives and friends who die should be able to have person-centered, supportive, and caring end-of-life celebrations.

That is exactly what Miriam Burbank’s commemoration gathering showcased. If she had been alive, she probably would have had a great time at her New Orleans homegoing handled by Charbonnet funeral directors. Hosting her death ritual while propped up in a chair, Miriam sat at a table in all her empowered glory holding a beer and a cigarette in her lifeless hands. Her loving family members enjoyed a festive experience in her honor. They said they knew Miriam would have wanted her send-off to be done in the special way you can view in this video:

You can read about more person-centered funerals and death rituals here:

Frances Shani Parker, Author
Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes is available in paperback and e-book editions in America and other countries at online and offline booksellers.

Hospice and Nursing Homes Blog