RSSArchive for October, 2009

To vaccine or not! The results are in…

In a recent poll question on and readers were asked whether they were going to get an H1N1 vaccination.

The results are in, and 55% of readers said they planned to get the vaccine, as opposed to 45% who said they would not.

On the StressedOutNurses Web site, 52% of readers said they would be getting the vaccine, while 18% said they had not yet decided.

What do you plan to do? Post your comment and tell us if you’ve received your H1N1 vaccine or not!

Let your voice be heard on the future of nursing

The Initiative on the Future of Nursing was launched at the beginning of 2009 by the Institute of Medicine, in collaboration with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). The committee’s aim is to produce a report in 2010 about how nursing can evolve to fit the ever-changing healthcare system, and they are asking nurses from around the country to voice their opinions on the future of nursing.

Over the next few months, the committee will examine, debate, and review evidence submitted from around the country in an effort to develop a blueprint for change. The nursing community is being asked to submit innovations/models and barriers/opportunities for the committee to review.

To submit suggestions and comments to the committee, visit or e-mail

Officially, the committee will review the following areas:

  • Reconceptualizing the role of nurses
  • Expanding nursing faculty, increasing the capacity of nursing schools, and redesigning nursing education
  • Care delivery and health professional education
  • Attracting and retaining well-prepared nurses [more]

H1N1 flu conditions have nurses’ union ready to strike

The California Nurses Association (CNA) announced on Monday that its members may participate in a one-day strike on October 30 due to concerns regarding healthcare organizations’ inadequate safety precautions regarding the H1N1 pandemic. The strike would involve more than 16,000 registered nurses at more than 30 hospitals, targeting three large California hospital chains.

The CNA says nurses are concerned about safety preparations to protect patients, families, and healthcare workers during an H1N1 pandemic. Specific areas of concern include isolating patients with symptoms to prevent contagion and adequate supplies of fit-tested N95 respirators.

The CNA also wants California hospitals to adopt guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Occupational Safety and Health Administration. They say this would ensure that all hospitals in the California area meet the highest safety measures demanded and that they be uniform throughout the state.


Nurse liability: Keeping you and your staff educated and aware

As a nurse manager, you have many legal concerns. Not only must you be concerned with your own liability, but you must also stay alert about the liability risks of the nurses working under your supervision.

Although some liability risks are universal to all nursing practice areas, certain clinical settings also generate liability risks. As the nurse manager, being knowledgeable and educating your staff about universal liability risks and those specific to a practice area will increase the quality of care provided and reduce liability.

Some universal liability risks include the following:

  • Failure to communicate patient’s condition to other healthcare professionals
    • While a patient is hospitalized, his/her condition must be monitored continually and evaluated. Pertinent physical findings must be reported promptly to the healthcare professionals involved in the patient’s care. [more]

Interactive Web site helps determine when flu symptoms are serious and when to seek help

Trying to decide whether that cough and on and off fever is something you should go see your doctor about? Debating to wait in the crowded Emergency Room for hours to see if you have swine flu? Well, what if you could determine the severity of your symptoms and whether a visit to the doctor is necessary, without ever leaving the comfort of your own home.

Microsoft has launched an interactive Web site; H1N1 Response Center, that will help determine just that. Using an assessment tool licensed by Emory University, the Web site aims to help consumers’ determine whether or not their symptoms are consistent with the H1N1 virus and if they should seek medical help. [more]

Mandatory H1N1 flu vaccination causes controversy

The first doses of the H1N1 vaccination have officially arrived in the United States and a nurse was one of the first to receive the vaccine. Holly Smith is a pediatric nurse at Le Bonheur Children’s Medical Center, in Memphis, TN, and mother of two children. Smith reported that she chose to be vaccinated for the sake of her kids, as well as for the children she works with.

Le Bonheur has seen numerous cases of H1N1 since late August and received 100 doses of nasal spray vaccine. The vaccines were given to healthcare workers in an outdoor tent set up to treat children with flu symptoms and keep them separate from other patients.

Public health authorities in 21 other states and four large cities, Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC, have been shipped the swine flu vaccination, roughly totaling 600,000 doses.

As vaccines are shipped around the country, many hospitals, university health systems, and even some states are requiring that all healthcare workers receive the H1N1 flu vaccine, or either spend the flu season wearing a mask or risk losing their job.


Different ways peers are improving nurse satisfaction

The July 28 blog post discussing ways to boost nurse morale in a time of uncertainty has been one of the most popular recent topics. The post provided quick and helpful hints on no- or low-cost ways to boost the morale of nurses in your organizations. The post also generated a lot of discussion and many readers shared their own tips and strategies about what they have been trying.

Here are some of the highlights of the suggestions:

  • Caught red handed campaign: Recognize staff members who have been “caught” doing their job well.
  • Gift cards: Present a gift card to acknowledge a nurse who has gone out of his or her way to be an excellent nurse.
  • Strive for five: Leave small questionnaires in plain sight of patients, visitors, and hospital staff members and ask everyone to fill them out. The person can comment on a particular staff member doing an excellent job, similar to a comment card at a restaurant. Any staff member receiving a good comment earns $10 on the next pay check.
  • Hand written thank-you cards: Thank-you cards are always a great thing, but hand written ones can be the best. Instead of sending an email about a job well done to a staff member, write a thank-you card and leave it in their locker. After a tough shift, whether it’s night call or day call, the card will surely bring a smile to their face.
  • The stupid nice game: Be over-the-top nice to everyone and overly complimentary to everyone at the hospital. Laughter is contagious, and sometimes taking the compliment to the next level, or having staff members realize how over the top you are being, could make their day that much better.

What are you doing at your organization to help boost staff members’ morale?