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November Hopkins Nursing News and Research Briefs

News Release index

Posted: 11/20/2006

First Responders Face Serious Health Risks from Methamphetamine Labs
According to an article this month in Journal of Addictions Nursing, Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing researchers Diane McFadden, MSN, MPH, RN; Joan Kub, PhD, APRN, BC; and Sheila Fitzgerald, PhD, MSN find First Responders- police officers, firefighters, and Emergency Services personnel-who come in contact with clandestine methamphetamine labs in the course of their job, are at risk for numerous health problems. Under the best of circumstances, the highly toxic atmospheres present health risks to personnel entering the premises, but because 20% to 30% of methamphetamine labs are discovered due to fires or explosions, the atmosphere becomes even more dangerous. Through a review of literature and discussions with first responders, the authors determined that too often on entering the labs, first responders who are not using protective equipment or wearing protective clothing are exposed to chemicals that can cause lung damage, eye and respiratory irritation and burns. The authors also point out that nurses and other staff in emergency departments risk secondary exposure if victims are not properly decontaminated before transport. The article, "Occupational Health Hazards to First Responders from Clandestine Methamphetamine Labs," offers prevention strategies, but cautions that even in planned raids, HazMat firefighters and law enforcement personnel cannot fully predict the chemical hazards of exposure because the ingredients and methamphetamine production methods vary.

Translating Research Findings into Clinical Practice Takes A Strategic Approach
Determining the most effective strategies for translation of research findings into clinical practice in different health care settings and for different populations is an evolving area of science. In a recent presentation at the Council for the Advancement of Nursing Science, JHUSON faculty and nurse researchers Cheryl Dennison, PhD, CRNP; Haera Han, PhD, RN; Hayley Mark, PhD, MPH, RN; and Gayle G. Page, DNSc, RN explored "The Many Faces of Translational Research: Bench, Bedside, Clinic, and Community." To begin future discussions of an innovative research paradigm that brings new research and nursing science from the lab to the clinical setting and across populations, presenters offered an overview of translational research studies that had implications for improving patient care and outcomes. Their examples included animal models to promote understanding of pain and development among children; patterns of clinical guideline implementation in acute care settings; implementing screening tests across populations; and efforts to standardize guidelines of behavioral interventions across diverse cultural groups.

In Other Nursing News:

JHUSON faculty member Marion J. Ball, EdD reports in "Patient Safety: A Tale of Two Institutions," recently published in the Journal of Healthcare Information Management, that efforts undertaken by the Johns Hopkins Children's Center and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center show both leveraging information technology to streamline and simplify the medication process and creating a better work environment for nurses can translate to safer care for patients.

Recent JHUSON graduate Erin M. Wright describes the school's Birth Companions Program in "A Doula's Unique Experience in a Baccalaureate Nursing Program" published in International Doula. She notes that doulas, women who give one-on-one support to mothers during childbirth, are now being seen more frequently in the nation's delivery rooms and-as an important component of public health nursing's hallmark of community-based care-often take an active role in the community they serve.