RSSArchive for September, 2010

Behind every healed patient is a critically thinking nurse

A recent opinion piece published on the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s website brings to patients’ attention what nurses already know to be true. It asks the question: What does it mean to think like a nurse? And the answer is an important one. The article educates readers that it doesn’t take just a degree and a few acronyms behind your name to make a good nurse, it takes critical thinking—using the perfect blend of feeling and fact—to provide proper care to patients.

The article says it’s really a mixed bag. That education, training, experience, intuition, being able to adapt to different situations, and the ability to navigate all of these under pressure, are at the heart of being a good nurse.

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New nonfiction book encourages nurses to live healthier

As a nurse, it’s your job to take care of people. But, with the stress of long hours and the additional exposure to diseases, it’s important to ask:  are you caring for yourself with the same expertise you give your patients?

A new nonfiction book written by Julia Buss, RN, MS, attempts to motivate the three million registered nurses in the United States to lead a healthier lifestyle. The book is titled Your Care Plan: A Nurse’s Guide to Healthy Living, and is designed to help nurses make a difference in their own lives.

The book provides in-depth discussions on the basics of eating, digestion, and exercise, and is full of tools for nurses to assess their current health and lifestyle, tips on how to improve, and information backed by statistics and professional studies.

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In-room computing: 5 tips to enhance patient-caregiver communication

When hospitals and medical groups transition to an electronic health record (EHR), many caregivers view the computer as interfering with, not helping communication with patients. I spent a big chunk of time reviewing the myriad studies about the relationship between bedside and in-office computer use and patient satisfaction. Based on all I’ve read, I’m convinced that EHR systems at the bedside and in medical offices can greatly enhance the patient experience of care and satisfaction.

Years ago (in the 90s), in-room computer use by caregivers was indeed a barrier to communication. Caregivers weren’t used to it and many resisted it. The systems were much less user-friendly, so caregivers struggled to access and enter information as the impatient consumer looked on.  Also, far fewer consumers used computers themselves, so few patients realized the benefits of the computer for their care.

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Diane von Furstenberg designs hospital gown for Cleveland Clinic

Fashion has made its way into hospitals! Fashion designer Diane von Fursternberg is lending her expertise to the Cleveland Clinic on the design of a new hospital gown.

The hospital had been working to upgrade the notorious open-backed gown for the past three years, and several creations have been turned down after being deemed no more attractive than the original. But, a chance encounter between the clinic’s CEO, Toby Cosgrove, and von Furstenberg at a medical conference provided a fresh perspective.

The new gown will have sides that tie and the Cleveland Clinic logo in the fabric design. It’s also required that the gown be lightweight and comfortable, accessible for medical procedures, and durable enough to withstand multiple washings.

Visit latimes.com to view a picture of the new gown.

Source: HealthLeaders Media

Most powerful in healthcare list includes nine nurses

Congratulations! Modern Healthcare has named nine outstanding nurses on its 2010 list of Most Powerful in Health Care, with seven of them ranked in the top 50.

Among the nurses are Sister Carol Keehan, DC, RN, MS, president and chief executive officer of the Catholic Health Association (CHA)—the highest ranking nurse on the list, and the fifth most important person in healthcare overall—American Nurses Association immediate past president Rebecca M. Patton, MSN, RN, CNOR, and Beverly Malone, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, chief executive officer of the National League for Nursing (NLN).

All of them share the same vision and passion for nursing, a keen interest in patient care, and encourage all nurses to get more involved in healthcare decisions, join boards, and be active participants in places where opinion and decisions on healthcare are being shaped and discussed.  Each of them believes nurses play a critical role in shaping the future of healthcare, and that their influence can have a large impact.

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A tough economy forces nurses to make hard decisions

There’s no denying it’s hard out there on the job front. As companies nationwide are continuing to cut budgets, thousands of Americans are still bidding farewell to steady employment, and life doesn’t seem to be any different in our hospitals. It’s no shock that hospitals aren’t excluded from the pool of organizations that need to tighten their financial belts, but the question is whether these institutions are asking their nurses to sacrifice too much in order to make ends meet.

Chained by large budget restrictions, hospitals are cutting back in areas that put strain on nurses. Earlier this year, Cambridge Health Alliance in Boston gave nurses the option of an early retirement to maintain full benefits, or otherwise be subject to a 40% cut in their retirement health benefits.

Nurses at the Charlie Norwood VA Hospital in Augusta, GA, are planning a protest next week because of an $8 million budget deficit. The hospital’s budget problems, they say, have forced nurses to work 16-hour shifts, and have slowed the rate of hiring and cut back on equipment budgets. This leads to tougher working conditions, a higher nurse turnover rate, and could ultimately decrease patient care.

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