RSSArchive for July, 2015

Rock Your Health: Create a summer state of mind using mindful practices

Here are three strategies to help busy nurse leaders find their summer state of mind—and how to stay there!

What is mindfulness? My friend and colleague Billie Frances, who founded coaching program, puts it this way:
Mindfulness is a state of awareness of essential harmony within self, within all relationships and within all circumstances. Mindfulness reveals wholeness, balance, order, peace, justice, right action and relieves disharmony, separation, and suffering.

Doesn’t that sound great? The good news is this state of mind is achievable, doesn’t cost anything and has no side effects. It is something you can use every day to get through the stressors of work.

Here a three quick ways to achieve mindfulness.

1. Relax your mind
If you can relax your body, your breathing, heart rate, blood pressure, and metabolism all slow down. This leads to feeling more in control and refreshed. The long-term effects of inducing this relaxation response on a regular basis include improvement in concentration, energy level, self-acceptance, and inner peace. The most important long-term effect is that your body becomes less responsive to the stress hormones that are ravaging your body.

Some ways to make this happen for your body are yoga, Tai Chi, prayer, meditation, slow deep breathing, muscular activity, or repetition of a word, sound, thought, or phrase. When you engage in these activities, it quiets your mind and you can really appreciate and be mindful of how your body is feeling. [more]

Positive Pushback for Nurses

I’ve posted in the past on accountability strategies, communication techniques, and building team relationships, all of which can improve the workplace. Recently I ran across the term “positive pushback”—easy to remember thanks to those alliterative “p” words—and felt that the technique might be helpful in those potential conflict situations that arise from time to time.pushback2

The promise of positive pushback is that you can communicate your concerns in an unequivocally strong and clear manner that doesn’t damage your professional relationships. No yelling and certainly no retreating to an unassertive approach.

According to Susanne Gaddis, the Communications Doctor:

A “positive pushback” is the ability to deliver an appropriately assertive response to a potentially negative and/or harmful situation. A positive pushback is executed by looking someone straight in the eye, and saying with an even, non-stressed tone what you want or need. (If you want to be really assertive include the word “I,” such as “I really need for you to stop and review this now…”)

What resources do you need to use positive pushback? Self-esteem, self-confidence, and an ability to convey urgency without “emoting” your emotions. I highly recommend that you read this blog post from Susanne Gaddis, to see if this is a tool that you can add to your collection. As with all the “soft skills,” practice makes perfect.

If you try the techniques, please post a comment here to let us know how it worked out for you!



With thanks to Susanne Gaddis, PhD, CSP and CEO of The Communications Doctor, is an acknowledged communications expert who has taught the art of effective and positive communication since 1989.

Join our nursing book review group

HCPro is seeking enthusiastic nurse managers, nurse leaders, and nurse educators to join an ad-hoc group interested in reading and reviewing prepublication drafts of books and training materials in your areas of interest and expertise.

Our editors will send you periodic emails listing upcoming projects available for outside review. If you’re interested, just let us know. We’ll send reviewing guidelines and give you an idea of our timeframe. If it works for you, we’ll send the draft chapters as they’re available, and a printed copy of the book when it’s complete. In addition, you will be recognized as a reviewer inside the printed book.

Please have a minimum of five years of nursing experience and be in an educational, supervisory, or leadership role within your organization.

For more information or to sign up as a reviewer, please send an email including your areas of interest and expertise to Rebecca Hendren at

Rock Your Health: When letting go beats hanging on

How many times in your life have you been unable to let go of something that held you back and made you miserable? Three occasions come to mind for me when it stopped my creative energy from flowing, held me back from new opportunities, unleashed negative energy inside, and caused me to lose focus on being a naturally positive person.

1. I served as a Navy nurse for three years and after discharge couldn’t let go and wanted to get back in. The hold over me was so intense—even though that type of structured military environment did not suit my free spirit—that I still wanted to re-enlist and spent a lot of time and energy trying to figure out how to do that. Had I not let go of those efforts, I might not have found my true path, which shifted me from bedside nursing into wellness, my true passion and a lifetime of rewarding experiences. [more]

The value of nursing staff satisfaction

There is a connection between nurses’ feelings about
their work environments and nursing quality and safety

Rebecca Hendren recently posted about a June 2015 Healthleaders magazine article focusing on steps organizations are taking to measure and improve nursing staff satisfaction. For anyone who hasn’t yet read it, I just want to share my favorite quote from the article. In it, Linda Aiken, PhD, a nursing workforce researcher and director of the Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research (U. Penn) is quoted as saying that

Nursing “is the single biggest factor
in how patients rate their hospitals”

Do you agree with this statement? Have you seen the impact of improvements in nursing staff satisfaction on care quality, outcomes, and patient ratings? What tools or strategies have you used to improve staff retention and satisfaction? Please leave a comment sharing your experiences with your fellow nurse leaders.



For more details on the kinds of nursing staff surveys conducted by organizations that have received designation as ANCC Magnet Recognition Program® hospitals as well as those that have not, plus the source of the headline quote (which no one would dispute!), click here to go to the HealthLeaders article.

Another way to avoid the legal hot seat

Keep certifications and trainings current

How often do you review staff certifications and trainings to make sure they’re current?


Now choose the best answer: continually, very frequently, or every week.

If certifications and trainings have lapsed and a patient is injured, those records become evidence against the hospital. And you will find yourself in the hot seat.

Let’s look at how expired certifications and unaddressed competencies can come home to roost. Imagine that your unit is sued in a wrongful death action after unsuccessful emergency resuscitation efforts. The attorney for the patient’s family discovers that one of the nurses working the code wasn’t current in CPR. That out-of-date certification raises doubts about [more]

Rock Your Health: 8 easy ways to stop a headache

Are you experiencing headaches due to stress? Many nurse leaders find their daily stress load often results in headaches but using drugs to alleviate the pain is not a long-term solution to deal with the root cause. Here are some great tips I use. Try making these regular practice and you may actually prevent headaches from even occurring. It’s all about doing things that feel good and not expecting a quick fix.

H – Hot water, juice of half a lemon, pinch of cayenne pepper: Drink first thing in the morning to stimulate elimination of toxins, aid digestion, and calm the nerves. And stop drinking caffeine-it just keeps you in high gear and the object here is to slow your engine down. I haven’t missed coffee at all!

E – Eat every 2-3 hours to keep blood sugar level and prevent energy spikes and drops. Chew food at least 25 times per bite so when it hits your stomach it can be easily digested, important nutrients can be fully absorbed, and abdominal stress will be eliminated. [more]

Assessing nursing quality and patient safety

Interest in using a variety of nursing engagement surveys as a reportable quality indicator is growing.

This article, written by Cheryl Clark, appears in the June 2015 issues of HealthLeaders magazine.

Do your hospital’s nurses feel empowered? Are nurses’ relationships with physicians strong enough that nurses can call out errors or ask questions without fear? Do they think their hospital hires enough nurses with appropriate skills and provides enough resources to provide safe and timely care? Are nurses involved in making policy?

When nurses are surveyed on these and related questions, which they increasingly are, poor scores may indicate troublesome systemic issues that could, directly or indirectly, affect quality of care, even adverse events. A drop in scores can often be tracked down to a specific hospital unit, research has shown. And poor scores may correlate to “nursing sensitive” patient outcomes, such as patient falls, lengths of stay, pressure ulcers, and infections.

Simply put, this measure is asking nurses what they think about the organization for which they work and how well they trust the care they deliver in their work environments.

Read the full article here.

Rock Your Health: How to stop feeling your stress in your gut

Many busy nurse leaders are dealing with digestive health problems and trying to carry on through the discomfort. Here are some simple action steps you can take right away that will help improve your digestion.

When your stomach speaks to you, LISTEN UP! Your gut is trying to tell you something. Did you know that about 80% of your immune system and half of your nerve cells and neurotransmitters involve your digestive system? Isn’t it time we gave our gut some love and respect?

Drink lemon water first thing
Start your day with the juice of half a lemon in a cup of warm water with a dash of cayenne pepper. Lemon can stimulate elimination of yesterday’s food, help destroy bad bacteria in the mouth and intestines, and does many other great things. My grandfather used to start his day this way, so it is both an old-time remedy as well as one used in Chinese medicine. [more]

Failing to protect nurses’ backs will cost hospitals $$$

A good news follow-up on my February post that focused on nurses’ on-the-job injuries.

osha2In a news release on healthcare inspections last week, OSHA put hospitals and nursing homes on notice. Inspectors will add new enforcement on some key hazards for healthcare workers, including musculoskeletal disorders, bloodborne pathogens, workplace violence, tuberculosis and slips, trips, and falls. Hospitals will be penalized for gaps in training, use of assistive devices, and low quality treatment for staff who move patients.

Evidently, OSHA was inspired by the NPR [more]