RSSArchive for June, 2010

Charge Nurse Exemplary Roles: The Icing on the Cake

Charge nurse is a term that has been around since the early 1980s and has often been used interchangeably with other terms, such as unit supervisor or shift supervisor. Charge nurses are accountable to the organization, direct care providers, and patients. They must be sufficiently trained in regulatory requirements such as The Joint Commission’s standards, and they must be adequately familiar with and trained in organizational policies and procedures so that the delivery and coordination of patient care meet organizational expectations.

Aside from the traditional roles charge nurses hold, here is a list of a few of the exemplary roles they also take on:

Educators: The educator role is more than just acting as a resource for the patient care staff. Charge nurses who develop skills as an educator can help bring the patient care team to another level by assisting with staff orientation, equipment, and procedural in-services, updating team members about new clinical practice changes, and helping plan for new education programs based on needs assessments. [more]

President Obama thanks nurses for their commitment

On June 16, President Obama spoke in front of more than 1,000 cheering nurse delegates and RNs at the biennial American Nurses Association (ANA) House of Delegates to thank ANA and nurses for all their hard work and commitment in the journey to passing healthcare reform.

“Nurses are the beating heart of our healthcare system,” said President Obama in a press release from ANA. “Because you know our healthcare system so well, that is why you have become such fierce advocates for reform.” [more]

Seven strategies to prevent nurse burnout

In a recent post, I discussed the issue of nurses being double at risk for a heart attack. This statistic comes from a study conducted by Danish researchers (the full study can be found here) and was conducted over a 15-year period. In addition to this finding, a British study tracked 6,000 workers for 11 years and found those regularly working more than 10 hours per day had a 60% higher risk for heart disease than those who only worked seven hours daily.

A recent column on HealthLeaders Media discussed seven strategies to reduce nurse burnout that I want to share here.

The strategies come from a study conducted by Milliken, Clements, and Tillman in a 2007 study called Nursing Economic$ (free login required). The study says to prevent burnout, organizations need to employ a nurse-centered stress management program AND an executive support system. Too often, stress reduction programs fail because they aren’t relevant for bedside nurses or because bedside nurses do not receive support for such programs from leadership.

The following strategies were found by this study and others to be effective:

1. Stress reduction classes: Offer live classes and computer-based sessions about self-care stress reduction techniques. Be sure to tailor the sessions so they make sense for busy staff nurses. For example, a session filled only with strategies that aren’t applicable to the nurse environment won’t be as helpful as one that includes easy-to-implement techniques such as deep breathing that can be performed during a quick meal break. Encourage nurses to participate by raffling off gift certificates for massages.

2. Create a space for relaxation: Social support has been shown to reduce the effects of stress, and senior leadership can help foster opportunities for nurses to interact by providing a place for them to meet. The break room can be more than a place to scarf a quick sandwich and managers should encourage staff to take breaks together when possible to build a sense of community.

3. Mentor and buddy programs: Having someone to vent to and engage in joint problem-solving can mitigate the effects of stress. Encouraging mentor and buddy programs also boosts nurse engagement and helps in long-term retention and professional development. [more]

Facebook posts could cost five California nurses their jobs

A few years ago, hospitals did not have to worry about patient information being posted on the internet, as social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook were not as popular as they have become today. Tri-City Medical Center in CA may be wishing for the days before computers, as five nurses’ jobs are in jeopardy and a sixth will be disciplined for allegedly posting patient information on Facebook. [more]

A picture is worth 1,000 words: Tell your nursing story in photos

In a continuing effort to recognize nurses, the Center to Champion Nursing in America (CCNA) is requesting high quality photos that depict nurses’ work and the relationships they form with patients and families. The winning photograph will be featured in an AARP print and/or web publication.

CCNA hopes to gather images of nurses across all healthcare settings in professional practice and leadership roles, as well as in recruitment and retention activities, and nursing education.

The contest is running through June 25, 2010, and all rules can be found by clicking here.

Even if your submission is not a winner, all qualifying photos will be featured in the CCNA’s new public repository of images.


The Maddeningly Difficult Patient

The maddeningly difficult patient presents a maddeningly difficult challenge —almost daily.

Oops. I said “difficult patient” and I vowed never to use that term. I think it’s much more constructive to talk about “difficult situations” and the “difficult-for-me patient”. The fact is, because patients and families are so anxious during healthcare experiences and so out of their element, many people do not behave at their best. They are not inherently difficult. The situation is difficult for them. (Click here to read more about “The Difficult-for-me Patient”)

Yet, since challenging patients and families produce so much stress for service providers, I am constantly trying to learn about ways to help. Recently, at a large medical group, I ran a focus group with nurses, billing reps, registrars, phlebotomists and others known for dealing with difficult situations well. [more]

June 1 nursing strike postponed; National Nurses United prepare for June 10 strike

June 10 could mark the largest registered nurses strike in U.S. history if nurses from California and Minnesota cannot reach an agreement in contract negotiations. Originally scheduled for June 1, nurses in Minneapolis and St. Paul, MN, rejected pension and labor proposals from the hospitals, and believed there was no other option but to strike the day after their contracts ended.

Now, as many as 25,000 nurses are set to strike on June 10 over patient safety in U.S. hospitals. Thirteen thousand nurses in California and 12,000 in Minnesota are set to strike, even though each strike was not coordinated to fall on the same day. All of the nurses are members of the National Nurses United, the nation’s largest professional association and union for nurses. The nurses are also members of the California and Minnesota Nurses Association.