RSSArchive for June, 2009

Keeping new graduate nurses happy and on the job

Within the first two years of becoming a nurse, more than 60% of nurses end up leaving their first job. In this economy, nurse managers have to find ways to keep morale up and nurses in their positions. To make the transition between the classroom and hospital setting easier, many facilities are turning to residency programs.

Nurses, let your voice be heard and vote today!

New Jersey licensed nurses are being asked by the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute and the Monmouth University Polling Institute with the cooperation of the Institute for Nursing, to register their opinions on doctors to help select the state’s best physicians.

Nurses were invited to participate in the program, “Nurses’ Choice”, through the quarterly Institute for Nursing newsletter, which is distributed, free of charge, to every licensed nurse in the state of New Jersey. Andrea Aughenbaugh, president of the New Jersey State Nurses Association, tells the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute, “We believe that the data provided by nurses on the best doctors will provide New Jersey healthcare consumers with a new and trusted source for the best practicing physicians.”

Recognize the Everyday Stuff Too!

Quint Studer, a well known healthcare leader who has led hospitals to breakthrough results, is a huge proponent of consistent and frequent employee recognition. One point Studer repeatedly makes in his publications is that many leaders never grasp hold of how vital recognitiofirst-place-ribbonn really is to employee morale.

Here is a sampling of Studer’s argument for giving compliments to staff, from Results That Last (2008): “So why don’t we give more compliments? For one thing, you’ve got to really watch for what someone is doing right and most of us haven’t mastered that art … leaders need to develop the skill sets for noticing incremental improvement because rewarded and recognized behavior gets repeated.” (p. 217).

Sometimes it helps us recognize best practice if we examine the flip side, what Studer calls “myths.” This is Studer’s list of common myths and excuses often cited for not giving staff compliments. Maybe you’ve heard some of them:

  • “If I compliment them too much, they’ll get a big head”
  • “If I tell them they’ve done a good job, they’ll get complacent”
  • “I don’t need any compliments – why should they?”
  • “They should just be happy with a day’s work for a day’s pay – in fact, they should be grateful to have a job at all!”
  • “I can give out only so many compliments in a week.”
  • “This is hokey”
  • (And my all-time favorite) “That’s just fluff-stuff”

Studer says it’s okay if we feel uncomfortable as we begin to recognize and compliment staff. Like the Nike slogan says, Just Do It … and know that it will feel more natural with time. Remember,  recognized behavior gets repeated.

Studer, Q. (2008). Results That Last. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Physicians to share notes with patients

As more hospitals use electronic medical records, a new question has arisen: should patients be allowed to view their physicians’ notes and comments online? Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center believes so. Beth Israel has begun a project called “open notes” that will allow 25,000 to 35,000 patients to read their physicians’ notes online for a year as part of their online medical record. The project will include 100 physicians at the hospital and two other sites.

Portrayals of nurses in television series on the rise

As medical dramas such as Grey’s Anatomy, ER, and HOUSE conclude for the season, a new breed of medical programs are beginning to fill their slots on television. For years, the public has witnessed love affairs, drama, and cliff hangers on existing medical shows, giving the public a false understanding of what nurses really do. These series “make people think that nursing doesn’t take much skill, and that nursing is mostly about getting stuff for physicians,” says Sandy Summers, author of Saving Lives: Why the Media’s Portrayal of Nurses Puts Us All At Risk, in the St. Petersburg Times.


Remind nurses to watch for CAUTI risk factors

Healthcare facilities are placing ever more attention on reducing incidence of catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTI) now that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has placed them on the non-pay list as preventable hospital-acquired conditions.

Encouraging nurses to recognize patients who are at risk of developing CAUTIs can help your prevention efforts. The following populations have increased risk factors for developing CAUTIs:

  • Gender (e.g., women are more likely to have UTIs than men)
  • Advanced age
  • History of urinary tract problems (e.g., enlarged prostate or urologic surgery)
  • Neurologic conditions (e.g., spinal cord injury) causing neurogenic bladder problems
  • Previous UTIs
  • Previous and/or current abnormal voiding patterns
  • Current catheter history
  • Incontinence
  • Comorbid conditions such as diabetes
  • Immunosuppression

What other strategies are you using to combat CAUTIs?

Farmers markets becoming growing trend at hospitals

Fast food establishments have come to a halt at several hospitals in the U.S. Farmers markets, on the other hand, are in full bloom.

Kaiser Permanente, the biggest not-for-profit health system in the country, is offering 30 farmers markets at its organizations in Western states such as California, Washington, and Oregon. The markets, which take place in the hospital parking lots, allow patients, families, and employees to purchase locally grown fruits and vegetables. [more]

Create positive energy when speaking with your manager

We have all been in the situation where we are talking with a manager or supervisor about something and what we hear are all the reasons our idea won’t work.

We may hear:

“Oh, we tried that here a couple of years ago and that’s just not going to happen here.”


“Oh, yes, I think that’ a great idea, but that’s just not going to work here.”


“Do you remember so-and-so? He tried that here and he doesn’t work here anymore.”

When we walk away from the conversation, we feel defeated. We feel shot down. We need to think about how we can respond to the negative energy. [more]

Nurse reflects on Haiti medical mission trip

Along with sorting through the emotions and memories from her medical mission trip to Haiti, Bonnie Clair, MSN, RN, had another tall task: She had to sort through the pictures. “I took about 400,” she says. “I took pictures of Haiti and the Haitian people as well as the people I went with. I didn’t want to forget anyone.”

Clair, the retention project manager at Cox Health in Springfield, MO, went on a medical mission trip to Haiti for a week in March. It was seven days she’ll never forget. After a few weeks of letting the experience sink in, she candidly shared her thoughts, images, and memories with us. Her story, in three parts, will appear on our site Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Here are links to Part I and Part II. And here’s Part III, the aftermath:


A report on nursing and the economy

This week, we released a report on the state of nursing in the current economy on Our newest benchmarking report is available to subscribers here. The results from the survey, conducted in April, reveal the thoughts and opinions of 163 nursing professionals from across the country. The survey included questions on a variety of topics, including staff morale, cost-cutting measures, retirement, staffing levels, stress, quality of care and the perceived future.

Here are some of the highlights:

  • More than 90% of the respondents said the economy was affecting their organization
  • [more]