RSSArchive for July, 2009

Providing culturally competent care at the end of life

As with all healthcare decisions, ethnic and cultural groups have different beliefs and opinions regarding end-of-life decisions.

Among healthcare professionals, nurses have been leaders in recognizing that cultural factors influence healthcare practices and disease processes. It is useful for nurses to be aware of the beliefs and understandings of various patient populations when discussing end-of-life care and recognize that end-of-life decisions are made within the cultural context.

The significance of autonomy, informed decisions, and control over the dying process are understood differently by different ethnic or cultural groups in America. Autonomy, to the level often expected by European Americans, may not be expected in many cultures that have a long tradition of family-centered healthcare decisions. 

For example: [more]

Improve nurse satisfaction in a time of uncertainty

Improving nursing satisfaction is tough in bad economic times, when many hospitals are experiencing census dips and cost cutbacks that are forcing reductions in work force, benefits, hours, and pay. But the state of the economy doesn’t need to bring your nursing satisfaction scores down—there are ways to boost morale immediately.

For example, you can:

  • Begin nursing staff meetings by asking, “What was the best thing that happened to you today or during your last shift?” The meetings should focus on improving care and team-building.
  • Focus on improving the image of nursing by gathering a group of nurses to volunteer with a community or organization project.
  • Ask creative nurses to develop banners or posters that showcase nursing excellence and hang them around the unit or facility.
  • Thank nurses for their fortunate choice of profession. In Gallup’s annual honesty and ethics professional survey, nursing has been rated No. 1 for the past seven years.
  • Ask a nurse to create helpful hints on how to deal with stress and print them in your nursing or hospital newsletter.
  • Ask the CNO to visit each nursing unit to listen and discuss why he or she is encouraged and hopeful about the future. Now is the time for leadership to paint an accurate but hopeful picture for nurses.
  • Keep up the budget-friendly celebrations and recognitions for staff nurses. You can celebrate by handing out coffee coupons or recognizing a staff nurse during every unit meeting for his or her excellent patient care.

Supporting nurses through those terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days

It comes with the job of being a nurse: dealing with the injured, the sick, and the dying; constantly trying to do the best for your patients with limited time; and always asking “How are you feeling?” But nurses are rarely asked that question. Peers, patients, family members, physicians, and even the nurses themselves are too concerned about the health of the patients to take a step back and make sure those giving the care are doing all right.

In a study of 1,215 nurses conducted by the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing  published in the journal Social Science and Medicine, 25% said moral distress made them want to leave their position. Moral distress can leave nurses feeling powerless because if they feel they did not carry out their duty to the best of their ability, even after exhausting all possible options. [more]

Generational dress code gaps: Tattoos and piercings uncovered

In the nursing world, first impressions are everything. How patients perceive their nurses affects how patients interact with them throughout their entire hospital stay. But what happens when a 23-year-old female nurse with visible arm tattoos and a nose piercing walks in to a patient’s room to take vital signs and the patient is obviously uncomfortable by the body art?

Such interactions and concerns are increasingly common. Body art and piercings are no longer the preferred form of expression solely for rebels and misfits. A study recently conducted by the American Academy of Dermatology found that 48% of American workers ages 18 to 29 have a tattoo or something other than their earlobe pierced. [more]

2.0 Web technology integrates a nursing program near you

As the terms “podcasts”, “wikis”, and “blogs” fill the vocabulary of nurses, physicians, students, and hospitals nationwide, more and more facilities are finding ways to integrate these new technology tools into the everyday hustle and bustle of the healthcare world.


In a recent study published in the Journal of the Medical Library Association, 53% of nursing schools and 45% percent of medical schools are now using Web 2.0 tools in their curricula. Also, 58% of nursing schools and 50% of medical schools intend to include Web 2.0 tools in the curricula within the next year. Web 2.0 is a term defining the second generation of Web development that allows users to do more with Web sites. Rather than just passively retrieving information, Web 2.0 technology allows users to own and exercise control over the data.

Schwarzenegger replaces most of California’s State Nursing Board

On Monday, July 13, Californian Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger replaced most of the members of the state’s Board of Registered Nursing after reports of potentially dangerous nurses continuing to work even after being accused of egregious misconduct.

Correlating study tips with learning styles

It can be helpful for adult learners to identify their own learning style so they can determine study strategies that work best for them. The main types of learning styles are:

    • Right brain
    • Left brain
    • Auditory
    • Visual
    • Tactile

What kind of learner are you? Visit to download a free tool to assess your auditory, visual, and tactile learning preferences. You can also use this tool to assess others’ learning styles as well.


Let’s talk: Twittering nurses connect us all

Twitter, the social networking site that allows users to keep friends, family, and colleagues up-to-date on everything that is happening in their lives, is taking the world by storm. Healthcare providers are commenting on surgeries in real time, nurses are reaching out for experts on the latest clinical care best practices, and there is a constant flow of information and advice.

The information you can share is never ending and Twitter is starting to become a useful tool in the nursing world. Here are some ways nurses and nurse managers are using Twitter:


Time management tips for beating stress

Everything comes down to time management. You have to make sure there is enough time for your job, your significant other, your family, your friends, taking the kids to soccer practice and ballet lessons, the dog has to go to the vet, and somewhere in between all of that you are supposed to breathe and have time for yourself. In all this commotion, it can be hard to remain calm and stress free, especially for busy nurse managers struggling to keep track of other staff members and daily tasks. Exhausting!

Here are some helpful tips to remember while trying to manage your time and remain stress free:


Nurses and their relationship with patients

As writers and editors for healthcare, there is a great deal of time spent writing about the realities of being a nurse today. But sometimes, our personal and professional lives cross paths and we get to experience the realities of nursing today from a firsthand perspective.

Recently, my personal and professional life intersected when I spent the day in and out of the hospital, interacting with nurses and physicians on different levels than I had expected.