RSSArchive for December, 2015

Rock Your Health: Avoid New Year weight gain with a clean sweep!

Weight gain is common during the first months of the year despite our New Year’s resolutions to lose weight. Small yearly weight gains of one to two pounds may be a significant contributor to the high rate of obesity in America, and weight gain over the holiday period may be responsible for much of this yearly weight gain.

A study published in PLOS ONE shows that despite people’s best intentions to eat less in the New Year, they may actually be taking in more calories during the first three months of the year.

Our good intentions may be resulting in us buying more healthy foods, but we are also buying the same unhealthy foods and therefore eating more of both. For me, that means we need to do a clean sweep of all the unhealthy stuff before re-stocking with the healthy choices.

This clean sweep needs to happen at home and at work. A good first step is to team up at work and re-start the New Year with new food choices that support healthy lifestyles and focus on using healthy foods for celebrations and not always cakes!

Contact me if you want for find out how to do a Clean Sweep. carol@carolebert.com

Trust your nurses, everyone else does

Nursing has once again been named the most trustworthy profession in America. In their annual, “Honesty and Ethics rankings,” Gallup Polls found that 85% of Americans rated nurses’ honesty and trustworthiness “very high,” or “high.” The runner-up, pharmacists, only received a “highly trusted” score of 68%.

As a manager, you should take confidence in the fact that the general population places more trust in your nursing staff than they do physicians (67%), high school teachers (60%), police officers (56%), or even clergy (45%).

“It’s essential that we leverage this trust to lead and implement change in the healthcare system,” said Pamela F. Cipriano, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN, president of the American Nurses Association (ANA) in response to the poll, “Hospitals, healthcare systems and other organizations are lacking an important perspective and can’t make fully competent decisions if they don’t have registered nurses at the board table or in the C-Suite.  That’s why ANA is a member of the Nurses on Boards Coalition, working to place 10,000 nurses on boards by 2020.”

This is the 14th year straight that nursing has taken the top spot since being added to the list in 1999. The only thing that’s ever interrupted nursing’s winning streak was the one-time inclusion of firefighters to the list in the wake of 9/11.

Side note: it shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that car salespeople (8%), telemarketers (8%), Congress members (8%), and lobbyists (7%) were voted the least trusted professions in the country.

Rock Your Health: Asleep at the wheel?

Are you and your nursing staff ready for a nap after lunch? Why do we get so sleepy after we eat and can’t seem to think straight? And what did we eat that causes this feeling?

The latest information might interest you. Low glycemic food has a positive effect on brain function after a meal. In a recent study of normal weight adults, a meal consisting of low-glycemic carbohydrates improved cognitive function after meals better than a high glycemic meal. (A Nilsson et al. Effects on cognitive performance of modulating the postprandial blood glucose profile at breakfast. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2012) 66, 1039-1043.)

Looks like the guilty party is eating high glycemic foods. The whites: White bread, white pasta, white rice, white potatoes, and, of course, the usual processed fast foods and sweets.

Want some help finding low glycemic tasty alternatives? Check out this website www.glycemicindex.com.

What to get your nurses this year

The holidays are well and truly upon us, which means across the world people are panicking as they realize they haven’t bought any presents yet.

The holidays are a busy time of year for healthcare professionals, with nurses trying to balance an increased workload with holiday obligations. A few simple gifts can do wonders for morale and show nurses that they are appreciated for their work.

And if you miss the holiday deadline? Hand out presents on New Year’s. It’s a federally recognized holiday and gives you more time to buy.

  1. Keep Calm I’m a Nurse T-shirt

So nurses can go off the clock and still let the world know who’s boss. You can buy them on an individual basis or buy them in bulk for your staff.

  1. Coffee

Give the gift of caffeine. Either gift cards to Starbucks or (if you have $100 to spare) a Keurig brewing system for the nurses’ lounge.

  1. Scrubs Season One

Good for some laughs and to remind everyone that you work in a much less dysfunctional hospital. Or that you do, but at least your janitors aren’t actively conspiring against you.

  1. Chicken Soup for the Nurses Soul by Jack Canfield

Stories from the frontlines of nursing. Some are funny, some are uplifting, and some are moving. A good read for both new and veteran nurses.

  1. “Do not disturb: Nurse sleeping” sign

Need I say more?

  1. Things that they would like

This is your chance to show your nurses that you really know them. A running joke in the hospital, fixing something that’s been broken a long time, or something particular to your area. Be creative! And always leave the receipt in the wrapper.

Rock Your Health: Retirement: When your star is finally born!

I thought being in the retirement zone meant I was done with a lot of things, including being a student. I never thought I would ever have the desire to start all over again. But I was wrong!

And here is why. I love to work! (Are you like that too?) It feeds me, energizes me, brings me joy, allows me to give back by helping others, brings structure to my day, and creates money so I can do more of the pleasurable things I want to do like travel more. So guess what. I’m a student again! But it’s a new way of learning for me, while being at home and managing the wellness business of which I dreamed.

What are your thoughts about your own retirement? Have you given it any thought? [more]

More nurses mean fewer heart attack deaths

It turns out nurses are good for the heart. Provided they aren’t overworked and underappreciated.

A study published in The Journal of Medical Care found that 85% of patients who suffer an in-hospital cardiac arrest (IHCA) die before being discharged. This is despite the fact that 80% of IHCA cases are witnessed and 88% of patients were on cardiac monitoring equipment when the attack happened.

Nurses are typically the first to witness and respond to IHCA cases, making them crucial in a patient’s survival. It was found that each additional patient per nurse decreased a patient’s chances of surviving an IHCA by 5% and that a poor work environment dropped a patient’s chances of survival by 16%.

Researchers suggest improving nurse staffing in general medical-surgical units to increase IHCA survival rates. Medical-surgical units have the most variable staffing levels and would benefit the most with more nurses. Improving staffing may be difficult for some hospitals because of costs, though some of the pressure can be alleviated by hiring temporary nurses.

Rock Your Health: Self-sacrifice no more!

Are you caught in a web of putting others ahead of yourself? Nurses have a tendency to be codependent—admit it—and we thrive on giving it all to our patients, our colleagues, our families, our parents, and even to our worthy causes. Consequently, we’re spent and have nothing left for ourselves.

I challenge you to try a new way of being for this next phase of your fabulous life. It is an opportunity to reprogram that self-sacrifice tendency into a new, improved you who is focused on self-care. It might be awkward at first, but this is your time to shine and the quality of your life may depend on it. [more]

Temp is not the same as terrible: Study finds supplemental nurses have no negative effect on quality

What do you do when you don’t have enough nurses on staff and don’t have the funds to hire additional staff? A possible solution is to hire temporary nurses to fill the gaps made by retiring staff, seasonal needs, or new medical programs.

The Department of Health and Human Services found that there are 88,495 temporary nurses working in the U.S., making up 3.4% of the total nursing population. Most temporary nurses are experienced travel nurses who work with a hospital on three- to six-month contracts before moving on.

Yet many nurse managers are leery of using temp nurses because of a longstanding stigma associating such nurses with lower quality care. This belief has been reinforced by media exposés on shoddy temp agencies skimping on background checks and allowing temps to jump from hospital to hospital to avoid misconduct charges. [more]

Rock Your Health: My favorite wellness tips for the holidays

1. Determine the primary health goal that you want to keep alive and well during the holidays.

Write it in BIG LETTERS on BIG PAPER so that you can see it every day and so that it will keep you on track. Don’t give up on yourself and all the great work you’ve been doing to stay healthy by caving in to over-indulgence.

2. Stay nourished while you are on the go so you will avoid fast food temptations.

I love a smoothie to go that is packed with nutrition. Let me know if you need recipes.

3. Have a healthy snack before you go to a party to avoid overindulging. [more]

When nurses get sick, a culture of toughing it out can put patients at risk

A woman comes to the hospital lobby asking to visit a friend who has recently had surgery. The visitor is coughing heavily and appears to be sick. Do you let her in to see her friend? Most hospitals would say no; a well-meaning but sick friend or relative could have a devastating effect on an immunocompromised patient.

Meanwhile, a nurse arrives for his shift with the exact same cough as the sick visitor. Do you let him go to work, potentially treating the exact same immunocompromised patients you’re trying to protect?

According to a study published this July by The Journal of the American Medical Association, the answer is yes. [more]