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Nurses refuse raises in the name of patient care

Newspapers and websites have been inundated this year with protests, strikes, and complaints of nursing staff shortages affecting patient care. It’s the same old story that’s being told everywhere, and after a recent poll that asked nurses whether they’d turn down a pay increase to hire more nurses on the floor received an 83% response of “Yes, we need more help,” it’s a story that seems to be evolving into one for the ages. Type “nurses strike” into your browser and enjoy the show of headlines from 2010 that pop up before your very eyes:

  • Early in 2010, 18 nurses at Washington Hospital Center, the largest non-profit hospital in the DC area, were fired for not reporting to work during a snow storm, in what was dubbed the Blizzardgate firings. The move was protested by National Nurses United who said such a move was unprecedented in the hospital’s history and brought decreased morale to the hospital’s staff members. Ramifications of the issue were still being felt as of early November, when National Nurses United sent a 19-page report to the DC Health Department informing it that Washington Hospital Center is understaffed and compromising patient safety.  The report contained more than 50 different allegations of incidents related to patient care in hopes that the Health Department will investigate.
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Tip of the month: Guidelines for using social media as background checks

By Shelley Cohen

Custom writing sevice

The Internet has proved to be a great resource to managers with the greatest challenge seeming to be finding the time to research all that is available to us. Along with medical and nursing resources, the Internet has become a social highway for individuals as well as organizations.

As the generation gap continues to grow, managers are continuously amazed to hear of personal concerns being posted to social networks such as Facebook. On one hand, some of these sites may provide an opportunity for “pre-screening” job applicants. On the other hand, we see the benefit of looking up a prospective applicant and finding out they are a source for purchasing drugs or the real reasons they were fired from their last job.  A question raised on the other side of this is one of discriminatory action. What if you declined to hire a person based on a social networking site story about them and you later find out, the posting was unreliable?

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Survey results show salary declines for nurse leaders

A survey published in a recent issue of Nursing Management revealed nurse leaders say they’re being paid less these days than they were three years ago.

The survey of about 2,000 nurse leaders indicated that the annual salary in 2010 is $80,170—about $4,000 less than the $83,930 they were making back in 2007—and nurse leaders are not happy about it. Almost 60% said they felt they weren’t being appropriately compensated for the level of responsibility they had within the organization.

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Institute of Medicine publishes milestone report on the future of nursing

The Institute of Medicine has released a report called The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health, outlining a path for improving the nation’s healthcare delivery system and the nursing profession. The 560-page manuscript is an in-depth examination of the nursing workforce and is a blueprint for the role nurses will play in the future of healthcare.

This landmark study is the result of a two-year effort by the Institute of Medicine and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to investigate the connection between the diverse and changing patient population and the lifespan and actions of the nursing labor pool.

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Online breathing technique program helps reduce stress in nurses and patients

Nurses are well aware of the stress that comes with the job. Taking care of numerous patients at varying levels of sickness, and dealing with many competing priorities, is enough to make anyone stressed out. Now, with the help of the BREATHE technique, nurses and patients can lower their blood pressure, heart rate, and experience a decrease in stress.

The BREATHE technique was developed by John M. Kennedy, medical director of preventative cardiology at Marina del Rey Hospital in California. It’s a 15-minute computer program that helps ease the stress of nurses and patients by combining deep breathing with guided imagery.

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Four basic rules for engaging direct-care nurses in quality improvement

To engage direct-care nurses, nurse leaders need to follow four basic rules:

1. Be transparent with your staff at all times

2. Make accountability for improvement at the unit and staff nurse levels

3. Give your staff the tools to succeed

4. Continually reward and recognize improvement

Here is a more in-depth look at each of the four basic rules. [more]

RWJF senior advisor for nursing honors 100th anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s death

Susan Hassmiller, PhD, RN, FAAN, senior advisor for nursing at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, is spending her summer vacation doing something extraordinary. She is not spending her days soaking up the sun, or taking a cruise to Alaska. Instead she is traveling in Europe, learning about the life and work of Florence Nightingale.

Throughout Hassmiller’s journey across Europe, she is blogging about her experience. Her trips marks the 100th anniversary of Nightingale’s death. [more]

Preserve the Image of Nursing: New TV series jeopardizes nursing image

For years, nurses have been battling how the nursing profession and nurses are portrayed in the media. Having to go against the nursing stereotypes on display in programs such as “Grey’s Anatomy” and “House, M.D.” makes the job that much harder, as patients and families are familiar with the popular television shows.

Now, nurses will have to add another television show to the list that puts their image in jeopardy. MysticArt Pictures has issued a casting call for the new “sexy docu-series” called “Cali Nurse.” According to the casting call, the show is looking for “gorgeous” young females (ages 21-30 only) who will experience “comedy, romance, and fun” and are all about “big hearts” and “dates with McDreamy.” [more]

Eight Ways to Drive the Complaining Patient and Family Member Nuts

One of my favorite activities is facilitating patient and family focus groups. What I love about focus groups is that I always learn something!

I’ve consistently found that patients and families are very sensitive to how they are treated when they complain and very articulate about the experience. If there’s one thing I’ve learned well it is “What drives the complaining patient and family member nuts?”

Listed here are the highlights. Consider sharing this list with staff throughout your organization so that people avoid some of the pitfalls of dealing with complaints.

1. It drives patients and families nuts when we get defensive. If we take complaints personally and say things like “I only work here” or “It’s not my fault”, we make matters worse. We need to keep calm, stay objective, and avoid judging, acting superior or making excuses.

2. It drives customers nuts when we coldly cite “policy” as our reason why we can’t do what the customer wants. Statements like “I’m sorry, but that’s the way we do things here” or “It’s our policy” infuriate patients and families, because it seems we care more about protecting ourselves than serving their needs. We need to somehow give them at least one option in line with policy or find ways to bend rules when we know we’re acting in the patient’s and organization’s best interest. And when the rule can’t be bent, we can at least listen intently and, with sincere regret and caring, explain how the rule exists for the sake of the patient. Why is there no smoking? Not because “it’s our policy.” Instead, “For the health and safety of all of our patients and staff, there’s no smoking.” [more]

Should nurses be the ones to help patients stop smoking?

Not being a nurse, I’ve never really thought about what happens when patients are admitted to the hospital and they are smokers. However, this is something that nurses and healthcare providers have to deal with all the time, and a recent survey says that many are not offering patients any help with quitting.

The survey, published in the July issue of Nicotine & Tobacco Research, finds that nurses and healthcare professionals often do not provide information to help patients kick the habit because they feel they lack of training in smoking cessation interventions and that it is not part of their professional responsibilities, among other things. [more]