Author Archives: Beth Toner

The Chronicle of Philanthropy Profiles the Pioneer Portfolio

Nov 27, 2012, 10:30 AM, Posted by Beth Toner

Beth Toner Beth Toner

Health care is one of life’s most basic needs. It’s so simple. In recent years, though, the subject of health care has also served to polarize our nation. We all need it, but who’s responsible for making sure we get it? How do we ensure it’s safe, high-quality care? What about cost? Vocal, contentious debate over the answers to these questions—and many more—continues unabated in the United States. Meanwhile, in my work as a volunteer nurse at a clinic for the uninsured, I see patients who continue to lack the means to get even the most basic of care, who struggle with chronic disease in a system that seems to throw up obstacles at every turn.

That’s the bad news.

Here’s the good news: Amidst the unproductive noise, countless innovators from all walks of life are quietly going about the work of solving some of the most intractable problems in health and health care. 

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Educating Patients—and Ourselves

Oct 9, 2012, 2:18 PM, Posted by Beth Toner

Beth Toner Beth Toner

Last week, I had a flashback to a Saturday night in 2010, when I was in my last semester as a second-career nursing student.

It was a beautiful spring night and my family was gathered around a bonfire in the backyard. I, on the other hand, was sitting at the kitchen table, still in my scrubs. My laptop open, I was staring at the blinking cursor. As usual, I was struggling to finish my “patient database”—my school’s version of a nurse’s note about what happened, clinically, with my assigned patient that day:

1430: Patient received drowsy but AOx3. MAE, equal strength. Primary nurse reports patient requires one-person assist OOB to chair; patient not OOB this shift. PERRLA. Skin is warm & dry, no bruising noted. IV site (20 g left outer forearm) is clean, dry and intact; no pain or erythema noted. Capillary refill <3 sec. Heart sounds audible and regular. Radial and pedal pulses present & equal bilaterally. No edema noted. RR 16, unlabored. SAO2 94% on room air…

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