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Former nurse on P.E.I. talks about burnout — and says the province needs to do more

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As the province lauds a new nursing recruitment program, a nurse who recently retired says much more needs to be done to improve working conditions.

“It’s just too stressful and too demanding,” said Linda McLaughlin, a former registered nurse.

McLaughlin worked as a nurse at the Prince Edward Home, a long-term care home in Charlottetown, for more than 25 years.

She says if she was still working as a nurse her phone would be ringing constantly — especially during this holiday time — with pleas to cover shifts.

McLaughlin said it can be tough on the nurses working during a storm when there is no backfill or support available, but the requirements for patient care remain the same. (Laura Meader/CBC)

“A lot of times you just can’t find anybody, so they end up working short,” she said. “You’re just pulling your hair out by the end of the shift.” 

‘You don’t have enough staff’

Although McLaughlin stopped working in 2015, she said she is still in touch with many nurses who are still working, and that little has changed. She says budgets needs to be increased to prevent overwork and stress.

After a 16-hour shift, you might get three or four hours off. Then you’re back again working again.– Linda McLaughlin

McLaughlin said it’s common for eight-hour shifts to turn into 16-hour shifts, with nurses simultaneously providing patient care while trying to call in staff when more people are needed because of storms or sick workers.

“After a 16-hour shift, you might get three or four hours off. Then you’re back again working again,” said McLaughlin.

The Canadian Nurses Association says it can be a vicious circle when staff become tired and sick, and then can’t get back to work, leaving the other nurses even more short-staffed. (CBC News)

​She said that during night shifts there’s often only one staff person per 12 residents. 

Nurses are supposed to be doing patient-centred care, but she says sometimes all that’s possible is basic care: feeding and changing people. “You can only do your best,” she said. “I feel badly for people who are still working,”

New recruitment program announced

The province has recently announced a new recruitment program for nursing students.

The nursing recruitment incentive program for new graduates will offer nursing students a signing bonus of $1,100 and guaranteed employment for two years with Health PEI.

It replaces some previous sponsorship and new grad programs. 

“They’ll get a guarantee of permanent status,” said Marion Dowling, chief of nursing for Health PEI. 

“Our previous programs, like the sponsorship, was limited to 18 new grads, so this is going to look at up to 50.”

Marion Dowling said Health PEI does have times when staff shortages mean staff can’t leave their worksite or take holidays. (Laura Meader)

There are currently about 70 vacant nursing jobs with the province, Dowling said, and it has been that way for about six years. 

Health PEI confirmed some staff can’t get time off, or have to work back-to-back shifts due to shortages. 

“Christmastime and the holiday time is a challenging time,” said Dowling. 

She believes the graduate recruitment will help support the other nurses.

The new nursing graduate incentive program will offer a one-time financial incentive and two full years of employment with Health PEI, while requiring the new nurses to sign a return-in-service agreement which would see them remain in the province for the two full years. (CBC )

Working conditions important, says national group

The Canadian Nurses Association said many areas — especially in rural parts of Canada — are struggling to find enough nurses and keep them. 

The group says graduate incentive programs, mentorship programs for nursing students and good working conditions with flexible work hours are important. 

It’s a vicious circle: you can become tired and then sick and then not be able to go back to work.– Josette   Roussel

Josette Roussel, a registered nurse and program lead in nursing practice and policy at the Canadian Nurses Association, said the shortages are tough on nurses. 

“It’s a vicious circle: you can become tired and then sick and then not be able to go back to work,” she said.

They hear concerns from members about being exhausted and stressed, Roussel said.

As of late December, the province says 15 nursing students have signed up for the new recruitment program and more are expected.

Officials say there are also incentive plans in the works to attract more experienced nurses.

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Post-vaccine surge? Michigan’s spring coronavirus case spike close to previous year’s autumn high

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(Natural News) The spike in new Wuhan coronavirus infections recorded in Michigan over the spring is similar to a spike seen during the 2020 fall season. According to a Wall Street Journal analysis, the state’s daily coronavirus case count averaged more than 7,000 for almost two weeks – before taking a slight dip to 6,891 on April 20. This echoed similar figures back in November and December 2020, which saw sharp rises in infections for those two months before plunging.

Back in autumn of last year, Michigan averaged more than 7,000 cases per day for a span of 10 days. New infections dropped slightly, then briefly spiked as the December holidays approached. It then fell to the low 1,000s for the succeeding two months – until ascending again in March.

According to University of Michigan internal medicine professor Dr. Vikas Parekh, the sudden increase in new infections could be attributed to several factors. Among the factors he cited was re-openings, which increased people’s interactions and mobility. Parekh said the loosened restrictions contributed to the spread of the highly contagious U.K. B117 variant.

“As the B117 variant spreads nationally, we will likely see other stats [with] their own surges – although I hope none are as bad as Michigan,” the professor remarked. He continued: “The milestone just tells us we are not yet in the clear, especially as we still have large portions of our population who are not vaccinated yet.”

Parekh also expressed optimism over the lower daily caseloads the Great Lakes State reported. He said he believes both cases and hospitalizations have plateaued and will likely decline soon. The professor commented: “[COVID-19] positivity has been declining now for one week, which is usually a leading indicator of case decline.”

Meanwhile, the state cited younger populations and youth sports, such as basketball, wrestling and hockey, to increase new COVID-19 infections. Because of this, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer called to suspend youth sports and indoor dining in the state. She also exhorted high schools to conduct remote class sessions for two weeks to curb the spread of the pathogen.

Michigan still experienced the spike in cases despite having one of the highest vaccination rates in the country

During the opening stages of the U.S.’s immunization drive against COVID-19, Michigan boasted of having one of the highest vaccination rates nationwide. A report by Bridge Michigan even noted the initial “frenzy for vaccines” that “far exceeded the state’s limited supply.” But things have appeared to turn around for Michigan, as it now struggles to reach the 70 percent vaccination rate needed for herd immunity.

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Scottish mom’s legs turn into a pair of “giant blisters” after first dose of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine

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(Natural News) Sarah Beuckmann of Glasgow, Scotland, felt a tingling sensation in her legs and noticed a rash flaring up around her ankles a week after getting her first dose of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine on March 18.

She also had flu-like symptoms right after the vaccination.

Beuckmann called her doctor to arrange an appointment the morning she noticed the rash, but by the afternoon her skin was already breaking out into blood-filled blisters. Blisters also appeared on her legs, hands, face, arms and bottom.

“I ended up asking my husband to take me to A&E,” said Beuckmann, referring to “accident and emergency,” the equivalent of an emergency room (ER). “When I got there, my heart rate was sitting at 160bpm, which they were very concerned about. I got put on an ECG machine.”

Doctors determine AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine triggers the rash

Medics carried out tests for HIV, herpes and other skin conditions to work out what triggered the rash, but all results came back negative. Doctors finally determined that the vaccine caused her rare reaction after carrying out two biopsies.

“Once they found that it was a reaction to the vaccine, they put me on steroids and that really seems to be helping my progress,” said Beuckmann. She had been advised by her doctor not to get the second dose of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine because of her reaction.

Beuckmann spent 16 days at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital. She was discharged to recover at home. The 34-year-old mother of one is currently wheelchair-bound due to the bandages on her legs and blisters on the soles of her feet. She may need physiotherapy to help strengthen her leg muscles.

“They are starting to heal and they’re looking a lot better than they were but as the blisters started to get worse, they all sort of merged together,” she said. “I didn’t know what was going on.”

With the blisters merging, her legs have looked like a pair of “giant blisters.” Beuckmann admitted that at one point she feared her legs might have to be amputated.

Dermatologist agrees COVID-19 vaccine causes the blisters

Dr. Emma Wedgeworth, a consultant dermatologist and spokeswoman at the British Skin Foundation, agreed that Beuckmann had likely suffered a reaction to the vaccine.

“Vaccines are designed to activate the immune system. Occasionally people will have quite dramatic activation of their immune systems which, as happened in this case, can manifest in their skin” Wedgeworth told MailOnline. “This poor lady had a very severe reaction, which thankfully is extremely rare.”

It is not clear why Beuckmann, who works in retail, was invited for a vaccine. Scotland’s vaccine rollout was focused on people over the age of 50 when she got vaccinated, although vaccines are available to those who are considered at risk from the virus, or live with someone considered vulnerable.

At least 20 million Briton have had AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine, which drug regulators say causes a rash in one percent of cases. They say rashes caused by the jab tend to go away within a week.

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Trojan labs? Chinese biotech company offers to build COVID testing labs in six states

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In 2012, BGI acquired Complete Genomics, a DNA sequencing company and equipment maker. The funds for the $117.6 million purchase were raised from Chinese venture capitals. The company has expanded its footprint globally. According to its website, BGI conducts business in more than 100 countries and areas and has 11 offices and labs in the U.S.

People are concerned about China’s access to American DNA data

Some said that with Complete Genomics providing an American base, BGI would have access to more DNA samples from Americans, helping it compile a huge database of genetic information. Some also worried about the protection of the genetic information’s privacy.

According to a 2019 report from the U.S.–China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC), BGI “has formed numerous partnerships with U.S. healthcare providers and research organizations to provide large-scale genetic sequencing to support medical research efforts,”

There are three main reasons why many people in the biotech community and government have expressed concerns about China’s access to American DNA data.

In the “60 Minutes” interview, Evanina discussed the very likely scenario in which Chinese companies would be able to micro-target American individuals and offer customized preventative solutions based on their DNA.

Evanina asked: “Do we want to have another nation systematically eliminate our healthcare services? Are we okay with that as a nation?”

The second concern is that China may use DNA to track and attack American individuals. As the USCC report states: “China could target vulnerabilities in specific individuals brought to light by genomic data or health records. Individuals targeted in such attacks would likely be strategically identified persons, such as diplomats, politicians, high-ranking federal officials or military leadership.”

The third concern is that China may devise bioweapons to target non-Asians. Steven Mosher, president of the Population Research Institute, discussed it in his article “What Will China Do With Your DNA?” published by The Epoch Times in March 2019.

He wrote: “We know that the Asian genome is genetically distinct from the Caucasian and African in many ways. … Would it be possible to bioengineer a very virulent version of, say, smallpox, that was easily transmitted, fatal to other races, but to which the Chinese enjoyed a natural immunity? … Given our present ability to manipulate genomes, if such a bio-weapon can be imagined, it can probably – given enough time and resources – be realized.”

An article from Technocracy said: “China’s aggressive collection of American DNA should be doubly alarming because it can only spell one ultimate outcome: biowarfare. That is, genetically engineering viruses or other diseases that will be selectively harmful to U.S. populations.”

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