RSSArchive for April, 2012

CAUTIs still a problem

Bit of a plug, but I think my visitors will find HCPro’s webcast on CAUTIs (catheter-associated urinary tract infections) extremely relevant, especially as CAUTIs cause 35% of all hospital-acquired infections every year, with 38,000 patient infections, and costing hospitals $400 million a year, according to an October 2011 National Quality Forum’s Partnership for Patients/ National Priorities Partnership webinar.

And don’t forget that The Joint Commission named CAUTIs a National Patient Safety Goal to be fully implemented by 2013. The Partnership for Patients also aims to reduce preventable CAUTIs by 50% by 2013.

So join nurse practitioner Mikel Gray, PhD, PNP, FNP, CUNP CCCN, FAANP, FAAN, and chief of infection prevention and 2012 APIC conference speaker Brian Koll, MD, FACP, FIDSA, for a live presentation of proven methods on CAUTI reduction, including how Beth Israel Medical Center reduced the number of CAUTIs by 83% using proven organization-wide catheter best practices such as evidence-based practice, staff education, daily need assessments, multidisciplinary teamwork, monitoring, and root-cause analysis. You’ll also get best practices to educate and train your entire staff.

Learn more here.

Just a note that now, you can buy the live audio and download the on demand version free.

Editor’s note: This blog post originally appeared on the Patient Safety Monitor Blog.

Nurse uniforms: Should nurses be required to wear prescribed colors?

According to a recent news article, Allina Health System, a Minneapolis-based hospital group, will soon enforce color-coded uniform requirements so that patients and family members can easily identify nurses from other hospital workers. Starting May 1, all RNs must wear navy scrubs, a requirement that is causing protest among many nurses in the organization. Several nurses argue that brightly colored scrubs cheer up patients and that requiring a single color eliminates autonomy. The Minnesota Nurses Association filed a grievance over the policy.

In a hospital setting where most workers wear scrubs, including nurses and specialists as well receptionists, transporters, and housekeepers, color-coded uniforms are an easy way for patients to quickly identify the people who can best assist them. Proponents of one-color uniforms also argue that it boosts the professional images of RNs. Other solutions include large name badges that identify the roles and skills of hospital workers, or training workers to introduce themselves clearly upon meeting and assisting patients.

What do you think? Do you think color-coded uniforms are helpful, or do you think it doesn’t make much difference? Do you know of any alternatives for easy identification by patients and family members?

Live webcast on staffing costs, featuring Pamela Hunt, BS, MSN, RN

Join Pamela Hunt, BS, MSN, RN, vice president of patient services and chief nursing executive at The Indiana Heart Hospital in Indianapolis, on May 9, 2012, 1:00-2:30 (Eastern), for a live, 90-minute webcast, Creative Ways to Trim Nurse Staffing Costs: Answers to the Six Most Pressing Concerns for Any Nurse Leader .  This webcast features expert advice from the coauthor of The Nurse Leader’s Guide to Business Skills: Strategies for Optimizing Financial Performance, and will focus on practical solutions to the financial challenges nurse managers and leaders frequently face.

During the presentation, Hunt will use real-life examples to explain practical solutions for meeting productivity targets, getting the most from nurse labor budgets, and ensuring high-quality patient care.  She will discuss important considerations for nurse leaders regarding employee satisfaction and staffing concerns. The webcast will conclude with a live question and answer session.

Hunt is an authority on the challenges of nursing leadership and business plan development. Her articles have been published in nationally recognized journals and she has lectured on the national and international levels.

Please visit www.hcmarketplace.comto learn more about this program.

Men in nursing remain a rare breed

An article in The New York Times last month reported an apparent trend of men who have lost jobs at factories, warehouses, and manufacturing plants entering the nursing profession, where their services are in high demand. Many of the men featured in the piece had been laid off from their former positions as autoworkers or factory employees and decided to make a career change by returning to school and training to become nurses. The article noted that men are usually a rarity in nursing but their numbers have been steadily increasing over the years.

Following the Times article, a poll on asked nurses to estimate the percentage of men on their nursing staffs. More than two-thirds of respondents (76%) indicate that less than 10% of their staffs consist of men. Of the remaining responses, 18% replied that 10%-25% of their staff includes men, and 5% responded that 25%-50% of their staff consists of men. Only 1% of respondents estimate that more than half of the nurses in their facility are male.

Nursing is a profession still very much dominated by women, but as The New York Times article indicates, men are a valuable addition to any nursing staff. One of the men interviewed for the article noted that two of his friends, both female nurses, encouraged him to enter their profession, while another man said he needed to overcome his own biases against men in nursing before becoming a nurse.

Are there many (or any) men among the members of your nursing staff? How do you encourage both male and female applicants to open positions on your staff? Share your thoughts and advice in the comments section!

Does the solution to the nursing shortage start with education?

There has been a lot of discussion in recent months of a looming nursing shortage caused by the anticipated retirement of Baby Boomer nurses and an increase in demand for RNs. Karen Daley, president of the American Nurses Association, recently appealed to a congressional committee to request $251 million in funding for workforce development and nursing education. Daley noted in her testimony that although the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 26% growth in the number of practicing nurses by 2020, a retiring nursing workforce and an aging population will create a need for more than 1 million nurses. Without the funding to train and aid the next generation of nursing students, the shortage is inevitable, according to Daley.

Support from legislators could be crucial in minimizing the nursing gap, particularly when it comes to funding for educational programs. Take, for example, the state of California, which saw its overall number of nurse practitioners double between the years 2004 and 2008 and likewise saw enormous growth in the number of RNs employed in nursing following legislation for minimum nurse staffing ratios. The number of educational programs in California also increased, but the demand for nursing education still exceeded the available spots. A survey by the California HealthCare Foundation found that insufficient funding was one of the main barriers to program expansion.

If the findings in California are any indication, it seems that Daley is correct in stating that an increase in funding for nursing education is the place to start when assessing the anticipated nursing shortage. Creating more programs to meet the demand for nursing education will lead to an increase in the number of nurses entering the workforce, minimizing the gap caused by retiring nurses and growing healthcare demands.

What do you think? Will increasing the number of educational programs address the issue of the nursing shortage, or do you feel there are more effective initiatives to be explored? Let us know in the comments section below!