RSSArchive for July, 2010

Four basic rules for engaging direct-care nurses in quality improvement

To engage direct-care nurses, nurse leaders need to follow four basic rules:

1. Be transparent with your staff at all times

2. Make accountability for improvement at the unit and staff nurse levels

3. Give your staff the tools to succeed

4. Continually reward and recognize improvement

Here is a more in-depth look at each of the four basic rules. [more]

RWJF senior advisor for nursing honors 100th anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s death

Susan Hassmiller, PhD, RN, FAAN, senior advisor for nursing at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, is spending her summer vacation doing something extraordinary. She is not spending her days soaking up the sun, or taking a cruise to Alaska. Instead she is traveling in Europe, learning about the life and work of Florence Nightingale.

Throughout Hassmiller’s journey across Europe, she is blogging about her experience. Her trips marks the 100th anniversary of Nightingale’s death. [more]

Preserve the Image of Nursing: New TV series jeopardizes nursing image

For years, nurses have been battling how the nursing profession and nurses are portrayed in the media. Having to go against the nursing stereotypes on display in programs such as “Grey’s Anatomy” and “House, M.D.” makes the job that much harder, as patients and families are familiar with the popular television shows.

Now, nurses will have to add another television show to the list that puts their image in jeopardy. MysticArt Pictures has issued a casting call for the new “sexy docu-series” called “Cali Nurse.” According to the casting call, the show is looking for “gorgeous” young females (ages 21-30 only) who will experience “comedy, romance, and fun” and are all about “big hearts” and “dates with McDreamy.” [more]

Eight Ways to Drive the Complaining Patient and Family Member Nuts

One of my favorite activities is facilitating patient and family focus groups. What I love about focus groups is that I always learn something!

I’ve consistently found that patients and families are very sensitive to how they are treated when they complain and very articulate about the experience. If there’s one thing I’ve learned well it is “What drives the complaining patient and family member nuts?”

Listed here are the highlights. Consider sharing this list with staff throughout your organization so that people avoid some of the pitfalls of dealing with complaints.

1. It drives patients and families nuts when we get defensive. If we take complaints personally and say things like “I only work here” or “It’s not my fault”, we make matters worse. We need to keep calm, stay objective, and avoid judging, acting superior or making excuses.

2. It drives customers nuts when we coldly cite “policy” as our reason why we can’t do what the customer wants. Statements like “I’m sorry, but that’s the way we do things here” or “It’s our policy” infuriate patients and families, because it seems we care more about protecting ourselves than serving their needs. We need to somehow give them at least one option in line with policy or find ways to bend rules when we know we’re acting in the patient’s and organization’s best interest. And when the rule can’t be bent, we can at least listen intently and, with sincere regret and caring, explain how the rule exists for the sake of the patient. Why is there no smoking? Not because “it’s our policy.” Instead, “For the health and safety of all of our patients and staff, there’s no smoking.” [more]

Should nurses be the ones to help patients stop smoking?

Not being a nurse, I’ve never really thought about what happens when patients are admitted to the hospital and they are smokers. However, this is something that nurses and healthcare providers have to deal with all the time, and a recent survey says that many are not offering patients any help with quitting.

The survey, published in the July issue of Nicotine & Tobacco Research, finds that nurses and healthcare professionals often do not provide information to help patients kick the habit because they feel they lack of training in smoking cessation interventions and that it is not part of their professional responsibilities, among other things. [more]

Nursing reviews change across the country

Everyone has to undergo a performance review, including nurses. At some facilities, it can take place annually, maybe every six months, or even every other year. Nurses may be asked to fill out a 10-page form that helps their managers score qualities such as “leadership” or “respectfulness.” Or maybe the nurses don’t have to fill out a form, but rather have an electronic system tracking every project they do, and if a task is not completed on time, the information is logged into a performance system.

No matter the case, many organizations are changing the way performance reviews are conducted to separate top performers from underachievers. According to Hewitt Associates, 10% of managers and 11% of other employees are now judged solely on the results they achieve, as opposed to a combination of hard figures and additional behavioral characteristics. [more]