RSSArchive for June, 2017

ANA continues to oppose Senate health care bill

The American Nurses Association (ANA) weighed in last week on the potential cuts to Medicaid and Essential Health Benefits in the proposed Senate bill.

In a press conference on June 22, ANA President Pamela F. Cipriano, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN outlined the harmful effects of eliminating the Essential Health Benefits used by millions in the U.S. The draft health care proposal from Senate GOP would make drastic cuts to Medicaid and increase the number of uninsured Americans by 22 million, according to the most recent Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimate.

“In addition to eliminating the (essential health) benefits, the Senate Republican draft health care bill’s changes to Medicaid would be disastrous for our nation’s most vulnerable,” Cipriano said. “Medicaid is the safety net for tens of millions of children, as well as the poor and disabled. We’re nurses, and we’re here because we are very worried about our patients. We won’t stop fighting for them. We can do better and Americans truly deserve a better plan.”

The ANA has consistently spoke out against cuts to health care and Medicaid, voicing strong opposition to the American Health Care Act passed by the House of Representatives in May. ANA members, area nurses, and nursing students also participated in an “Emergency White Coat Fly-in,” and hopes to meet with Republican senators from key states that would be hurt the most by this bill and persuade them to protect health care.

Find more information on the ANA’s official website.

Nurse managers and the importance of documentation

As a nurse manager (also known as unit leader), regardless of clinical setting, it is your responsibility to assist staff in adhering to both clinical and documentation standards. It is also your responsibility to provide continuing education, ongoing feedback, and input into policy and documentation changes. It is to your advantage to fulfill these responsibilities, because if your staff is involved in a malpractice case, then your ability to manage and meet the quality and risk management standards will be called into question. You may be asked if the staff were following the standards of care based on organizational as well as accreditation or regulatory standards.

As a member of the leadership/management team, you must demonstrate that you have a commitment to providing safe quality patient care. It is your responsibility to ensure that nursing staff comply with up-to-date standards and organizational protocols/policies. The proof for this will be in the medical record. Your role is to support an efficient and effective documentation system and create an expectation that the documentation standards will be followed.

Demonstrate support for this by:

  • Developing or revising an efficient system that meets the requirements of regulatory standards.
  • Analyzing whether the documentation system allows for documentation of critical thinking and the nursing process.
  • Involving the end users in the development or analysis of the system.
  • Emphasizing the importance of documentation through written guidelines, policies, and performance evaluations.

Source: Improving Nursing Documentation and Reducing Risk

Educating staff about compassion fatigue

While many nurses know about compassion fatigue, they might not know exactly what it is, why it happens, or how to identify it in themselves. In a recent blog post, Jennifer Lelwica Buttaccio tackled some of the most common myths associated with compassion fatigue.

Not me!
One of the most common misconceptions about compassion fatigue is that your compassion is a limited resource, and if you can still feel compassion for a patient, it must not pertain to you. More likely, you will experience symptoms in other aspects of your life, such as physical or mental exhaustion, dreading going to work, worrying and dwelling on possible errors, or becoming easily frustrated with coworkers. So even if you feel empathetic while you’re with a patient, you could still be suffering from compassion fatigue.

Work harder! Nurses tend to throw themselves into their job head-first, but that approach can be detrimental when dealing with compassion fatigue; your instinct to work harder to overcome challenges at work will not help you here. It’s important to maintain a work-life balance, and compassion fatigue is often caused by overwork and neglecting yourself.

Patients first! Nurses take great pride in the care they give to their patients, but it should not come at the cost of caring for yourself. The best way to provide consistent and outstanding patient care is to take care of yourself first, by taking time for yourself, away from alarms, patients, and colleagues. Make sure that both you and your staff take their breaks and use their time off.

Check out the articles below for more information about compassion fatigue and solutions to your health and wellness problems.
Preventing nurse fatigue
Take Five: How renewal rooms revive stressed out nurses
Worker Wellness: Fatigue and Burnout

Study: Patients embracing telehealth, video conferencing

A new study suggests that patients are becoming more comfortable with telehealth solutions like video conferencing.

Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia published a series of qualitative interviews with telehealth patients, and the results were overwhelmingly positive. All participants indicated that they were satisfied with their telehealth visit, citing the convenience of receiving consultations from home, skipping office wait times and transportation costs.

One of the study’s authors, Rhea Powell, M.D., M.P.H., said that the video consultations could open up new opportunities for those who face barriers to medical care, and could be particularly useful for patients with chronic conditions such as diabetes and depression. Chronic conditions often don’t require a full exam, but they do require frequent short check-ins, which would be ideal for video conferencing.

The most surprising finding? Patients indicated a preference to receive bad news via video conference from their own homes. This goes against most clinical training, which teaches providers to deliver serious news in-person.

For more information about telehealth and nursing, check out the articles below from the Strategies for Nurse Managers’ Reading Room:

California Program Uses Telemedicine to Reach Medically Underserved

Telehealth provides opportunities to learn, educate and lead

Time Out Day for Patient Safety

June 14 is National  Time Out Day http://www.aorn.org/timeout2017, a Joint Commission and Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN) campaign to promote patient safety before, during, and after surgery. The organizations also implore healthcare facilities to commit to conducting a safe, effective time outs for each and every surgery.

This year’s theme calls on surgery staff to be a Time Out SUPERHERO; an acronym standing for nine elements of a surgical time out:

Support a safety culture
Use The Joint Commission’s Universal Protocol and AORN Surgical Checklist
Proactively reduce risk in the OR
Effect change in your organization
Reduce harm to patients

Have frank discussions about hazardous situations
Empower others to speak up when a patient is at-risk
Respect others on the surgical team
Openly seek opportunities for improving patient safety

“National Time Out Day is a powerful tool that supports surgical nurses’ ability to speak up for safe practices in the operating room,” AORN wrote in a brief. “It provides an opportunity to educate your community about this practice and become better informed patients (read more about this in Periop Insider). Time Out also demonstrates your role in patient care and commitment to patient safety as the perioperative nurse who cares for them.” http://www.aorn.org/timeout2017

Wrong-site, wrong-procedure and wrong-person surgeries happen every day and surgical time outs are key to preventing adverse and never events. Everyone on the surgical team has to be  fully engaged, accountable, and empowered to speak up during the time out process to prevent never events.

The Joint Commission has a list of free tools and resources available on surgical time outs. https://www.jointcommission.org/national_time_out_day_2017/

Top RN to BSN Releases 50 Best Online RN to BSN Programs for 2017

Top RN to BSN, an independent online guide that ranks higher education and career options for current and prospective nurses, released their 50 Best Online RN to BSN Programs 2017.

From their press release:

“With the demands of contemporary nursing–some due to an aging and booming population, some from the complexities of the healthcare system, and some from a critical nursing shortage that results in long, stressful hours–many working RNs are returning to school to develop their skills and improve their credentials for promotion. Of course, the extremely demanding hours of most nurses make night school challenging, much less taking an absence to go to an on-campus program full-time. Online RN to BSN bridge or degree completion programs have emerged in recent years to give busy nurses the opportunity to earn their bachelor’s degree on their own time, from every kind of higher education institution. Top RN to BSN has used the most current data and statistics to put together an authoritative, unbiased guide to the best opportunities, combining quality, affordability, and career success to guide prospective BSN students to the best choices for their needs.

Top RN to BSN ranks online programs using three data points: reputation according to US News & World Report ranking; graduate salary according to College Scorecard data; and affordability based on the school’s non-resident tuition rate.

The top three Best Online RN to BSN Programs for 2017 are: 1) CUNY School of Professional Studies in New York, New York; 2) University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, Arkansas; (3) University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Massachusetts.”

You can find the full list here.