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Nursing advocate makes list of top 20 people who make healthcare better

Each year, HealthLeaders Media selects 20 people who are making a difference for good in healthcare. The selections range from high-profile people who foster big changes to people who may not be household names, but whose contributions to healthcare have inspired positive change. This year, one of the winners is a nurse from Iowa.

For more than three decades, Barbara “BJ” Hannon, MSN, RN, CPHQ, has dedicated her life to the nursing profession and helping others strive toward excellence. It was not until the facility she was working at decided to apply for ANCC Magnet Recognition Program® (MRP) designation, that she became involved with educating other Iowa organizations about MRP.

“One of the reasons that I will go anywhere and talk to anyone about MRP, is that I really want every hospital on the face of this earth to get designated,” she says. “Designation requires that hospitals have participatory scheduling, no mandatory overtime, that they involve nurses in shared governance, that they help nurses use evidence in their practice. All the things that MRP requires make life better for nurses in the hospitals. And because I’ve been a nurse for 34 years, I know the way it used to be; and it used to be terrible.” [more]

General Test-Taking Guidelines

Successful test-taking is a learnable skill. Some people freeze up when faced with taking a test and find themselves forgetting facts that they knew well only hours before the exam. Others become physically ill or very nervous. However, there are specific strategies for taking tests, which sometimes depends on the nature of the test themselves. There are also general strategies for preparing tests. These often pertain to ensuring learners’ general health and well-being.

The following are some general strategies to suggest to nursing students and staff members to avoid test panic and to do their best on examinations: [more]

Create positive energy when speaking with your manager

We have all been in the situation where we are talking with a manager or supervisor about something and what we hear are all the reasons our idea won’t work.

We may hear:

“Oh, we tried that here a couple of years ago and that’s just not going to happen here.”


“Oh, yes, I think that’ a great idea, but that’s just not going to work here.”


“Do you remember so-and-so? He tried that here and he doesn’t work here anymore.”

When we walk away from the conversation, we feel defeated. We feel shot down. We need to think about how we can respond to the negative energy. [more]

Join an online journal club

Starting a journal club is a great way to read articles that will help update practice. Journal clubs consist of groups of nurses who meet regularly to discuss and critique research articles appearing in scientific journals. Creating one is a good way to get started in evidence-based nursing practice.

An alternative to forming a journal club at your facility is to join an online club that is already established. Some nursing associations and nursing journals offer journal clubs in which a journal article—whether published in that journal or not—is critiqued. [more]

Help your nurses assess how they spend their time

The first step to mastering time management is to assess how you spend your time. One way to do this is to use a time management tracking tool.

Thanks to our recently published book, Quick-E! Pro Time Management: A Guide for Nurses, we have a template you can pass along to your staff. Check it out here. During the course of several shifts, ask them to note how they spend their time. Once they have collected the data, have them look for patterns. For example:

  • Are they routinely skipping breaks?
  • Do they spend more time looking for supplies than conducting patient assessments?
  • Are they spending a disproportionate amount of time on one activity versus another?

After they give the tool a try, let us know what discoveries they make.

Poll taps into time frames for new grad orientation

Orientation is a critical, and often stressful, period for new graduate nurses. Adapting to a new facility, trying to remember everything from nursing school, and applying the knowledge learned in nursing school at the bedside are all tall tasks in themselves. But a supportive work environment, and some time, can ease the transition for new grads. [more]

Hone your hiring skills

by Shelley Cohen, RN, BS, CEN

Selecting new staff to add to the team is one of the most important roles nurse managers play in relation to recruitment and retention, yet their interview skills are typically lacking. In order to improve the interview and hiring process, nurse managers must be educated and provided with the right resources: [more]

Quick Retention Tips!


1. Your Laughter is contagious – let them hear you roar! Good moods affect others in a positive way and bad moods infect others negatively. (From Love ’em or Lose ’em!)


2. The more information you put into your brain, the more likely you are to come up with new ideas! Continue your own learning journey by attending at least one conference a year. [more]

Legislative lessons from school

Many of you have been following my intermittent posts on my journey, at the age of 54, to pursue my MSN degree. In just a few weeks, I will have completed course No. 4 on healthcare delivery systems. One of our assignments was to interview a person in a legislative position and discuss the many facets of his or her role as it relates to how healthcare is delivered to his or her constituents. The legislator I selected happened to also be a family practice doctor. I just couldn’t resist. Oh sure, I could have picked a female legislator, or one whose name has been in a headline more often than deserved, but not me. I went straight for the jugular-a doctor who is my state rep, which brought me to an interview that was more of one as a constituent that that of a master’s level student.

The interview was a grand opportunity to better understand not only how the state process works, but how and why many decisions are made regarding healthcare bills. In the state of Tennessee, our legislature had been handed a bill that would make it optional for adults to wear helmets on motorcycles. Being an ED nurse, I am sure you can guess what my vote would have been on this! This motorcycle-riding physician, father, and state legislature felt otherwise. He strongly felt his job was to represent all of his constituents who wanted the helmet option. We agreed to disagree on this issue and I left the interview feeling our county/district was in good hands.

As we look to the last quarter of this year, by the end of December, I will be halfway through the program. I feel like my brain is packed with so much information, I will have to upload more GB to store any new lessons for 2009!

Are you still wrestling with whether or not you should go back to school? Are you having an argument with yourself over what to specialize in?

Help! It’s my first month on the job!

A nurse manager’s first month on the job is often a hectic time. Adjusting to a new set of responsibilities, new issues that demand your attention, and new coworkers make it hard to stay focused and productive. Still, you need to.

Make the theme of your first month “meet and listen.” Each week, take time to plan a schedule of meetings to acquaint yourself with those who are in key positions supporting you and your unit. This can include:

  • Members of the unit-level management team (including the interim manager, charge nurses, educators, house-wide supervisors, staffing office clerks, etc.) in group meetings or one-on-one
  • Key department directors, such as pharmacy, materials management, admitting, etc.
  • Nurse managers responsible for units that work collaboratively with yours
  • Medical director of the unit or a physician who frequents the unit
  • Employee relations manager in human resources or the nurse recruiter

Keep these meetings to 30-45 minutes each, and use lunch or breakfast meetings as needed to expedite the scheduling process. Attending the shifts and making rounds two to three times a week to visit with patients is another way to get to know staff and begin your assessment of practice issues or system problems.

You also might want to take notes at these meetings and use a consistent format for them. This format could be initiated with questions, such as, “What’s working or not working, and what do we need to do differently?” or an open-ended question like, “What do you see as priorities for me relative to the needs of patients or staff working with me?”

How do you get acclimated to a new position?