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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

Nurse educator takes to Instagram to help new nurses

Many new nurses have trouble acclimating to their new roles, but one nurse has found new and exciting ways to help them adjust.

Jannel D. Gooden, BSN, RN struggled with her first job in nursing; the first six months were traumatic, confusing, and isolating. After leaving her position, she decided to focus on guiding other novice nurses through the difficult process.

In addition to being a travel nurse in pediatric critical care, Gooden started an Instagram account to teach novice nurses and provide them with a sense of community. Gooden makes videos on the @NoviceisTheNewNurse account, sharing advice, recalling her own experiences as a novice nurse, and answering questions from new nurses.

Some of Gooden’s videos include perspectives from physicians as well. She argues that nurses of all specialties work with physicians every shift, and it is vital that nurses learn to communicate with physicians effectively and develop healthy working relationships. By sharing physician perspectives, Gooden hopes to soften their image for novice nurses, giving them a safe space to hear advice out of the workplace.

To read more about @NoviceisTheNewNurse, access the full story here.

Injured Nurses, Part 2: OSHA has your back

Attention nurse leaders in organizations
without designated “lift teams” or assistive
devices for moving patients

Your business case for investing in a cutting-edge, osha2safe patient handling program has been made clearly and indisputably by OSHA, with the help of results from numerous case studies, research reports, and collected data. The benefits are exceptional, and the financial ROI is achievable in one to four years.

Take a quick trip to the OSHA website for wealth of tools, including a form you can use to evaluate your organization, a checklist for designing your safe patient handling program, illustrative case studies, and more.

One more note: NPR plans a fourth installment on the Injured Nurses series, so keep checking the NPR website. Here’s what they’re promising:

Part 4 will explore how the Department of Veterans Affairs implemented
a nationwide $200 million program to prevent nursing employees
from getting injured when they move and lift patients.

And, finally, I’ve uploaded the PDF of Table 18 (promised in my previous post), which you can download from our Tools Library.

Injured Nurses: Who has your back?

In 2013 your nursing staff faced a
15% greater chance of spine injury
than firefighters.

Check out the Bureau of Labor Statistics Table 18 for the spine injury picfinal tabulated 2013 rates of musculoskeletal injuries for FT workers, compared by occupation. Firefighters—who lug heavy ladders, people, and equipment daily—had a rate of 232 per 10,000. For nursing staff, the total was 264 per 10,000 full-time RNs and nursing assistants. A spine injury can end a career in the blink of an eye. But how can these injuries be prevented?

Your mother’s admonition to “bend your knees” while lifting something heavy may not be enough to protect the backs of your nursing staff. In an ongoing article series entitled Injured Nurses, NPR takes a look at what can happen when nurses depend solely on proper body mechanics (essentially, keeping your back straight while following mom’s advice) for moving patients. As of this writing, you’ll find three installments on that explore the problem, possible solutions, and how some hospitals may or may not “have your back.”

On a positive note, the Baptist Health System reports that the Transfer and Lift with Care program it introduced in 2007 has reduced patient-handling injuries in their organization by 81%. One important factor in their success? Investing in assistive equipment and devices in each of its five hospitals.

If I can get specific statistics and practices from Baptist, I’ll post them here for you to share with your peers and hospital administrators. I’ll also post a link to a PDF of Table 18, which should be a little easier on the eyes than the official version.

In the meanwhile, if you’d like to share ways your organization has your back, feel free to comment below.


UPDATE> 4/4/2015. Here’s a highlighted section of Table 18, with the RN/nursing assistant and firefighter statistics highlighted.table excerpt

Facebook photos lead to jail time for nursing assistant

How would you respond to disturbing images or posts by an employee on Facebook? The Regency Pacific Nursing and Rehab Center in Portland, OR, did not like the pictures posted on Facebook by nursing assistant Nai Mai Chao, and fired her following a conviction of invasion of privacy. Images of elderly or disabled patients using bed pans and the contents of the bed pans, dating back to April 2011, appeared on Chao’s Facebook wall; Chao admitted to posting the photos but denied taking them. In addition to losing her job, the 26 year old nursing assistant spent eight days in jail, surrendered her nursing certificate, has been ordered to write a lengthy apology to a patient, and is forbidden from working at any job caring for children or the elderly in the next two years.

Social networking sites can be wonderful tools for nurses looking to connect with others in their profession or stay informed with the latest news about nursing. However, these sites also blur the line between one’s personal and professional lives, and people tend to forget that they are sharing pictures, information, and comments not only with their friends but also with the rest of the online world. There’s a good chance the majority of your staff participates in some form of social media, and addressing appropriate and inappropriate uses for these sites is crucial to prevent not only outrageous incidents like the one involving Chao, but also more innocent-seeming posts that still put patient privacy in jeopardy.

Talk with your nurses about privacy policies and how Facebook posts about their jobs or their patients can lead to trouble, no matter how innocuous the information may seem. Remind your nurses that although they may utilize the maximum privacy settings to prevent information or photos from spreading, their Facebook friends could still “share” content with their own networks and reach unintended audiences. Develop and enforce a social media policy that clearly states what is considered inappropriate use and outlines the consequences of violating the policy. As social media permeates all aspects of personal and professional spheres, taking these actions and being proactive about Facebook and social media use is a must for nurse leaders.

What are your policies on social media? How do you address concerns about privacy when it comes to Facebook and other sites? Leave us a comment and let us know your thoughts!

Technology and healthcare: nurses’ use of mobile devices

New technology has been steadily working its way into all aspects of daily life, and healthcare is no exception. More organizations are adopting electronic medical record systems and incorporating tablet computers into those systems. Individuals are also bringing technology into their work day, which can have positive and negative effects. Last week we posted about a nursing app that allows nurses to quickly access relevant information, a seemingly useful tool, but there have also been stories of technology distracting physicians and nurses from performing their jobs effectively and safely.

A recent poll on asked nurse leaders to weigh in on how often nurses use smartphones and tablet computers to perform their duties. The responses were split almost evenly between nurses who use these technologies on a daily basis (46%) and nurses who never use these technologies for work purposes (44%). Other respondents answered that nurses on their units used technology weekly (6%) or monthly (3%).

How does your organization compare? Do nurses on your unit use smartphones and tablets as part of their jobs? Does your organization have a policy in place to address the growing use of mobile devices in the healthcare setting? Leave us a comment and let us know!

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?


Facebook posts could cost five California nurses their jobs

A few years ago, hospitals did not have to worry about patient information being posted on the internet, as social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook were not as popular as they have become today. Tri-City Medical Center in CA may be wishing for the days before computers, as five nurses’ jobs are in jeopardy and a sixth will be disciplined for allegedly posting patient information on Facebook. [more]

Virtual nurse aids with patient discharge

As medical records turn from paper to electronic only, and simulation training aids in nursing education, it is not hard to believe a virtual nurse is helping patients at the bedside with discharge information. Timothy Bickmore, a computer scientist at Northeastern University in Boston, MA designed the virtual nurse “Elizabeth” to help nurses and patients during the discharge process.

Elizabeth is a computer-animated character created from combining the facial expressions and gestures of doctors and nurses Bickmore taped. With the help of an animator, Bickmore was able to create all the animation segments the nurse delivers which Elizabeth will mimic when interacting with a patient. [more]

Sim Man 3G becoming more common in nursing education

Many facilities across the nation are investing in state-of-the art technology that allows students and staff members to gain real life experience without the fear of killing a patient.

The high-tech mannequin, Sim Man 3G, costs roughly $27,000, but can cost up to $60,000 with additional accessories and programs available for download onto the mannequin. Even though many facilities have been forced to cut back on their programs and spending, the price of Sim Man 3G has not deterred facilities from purchasing the state-of-the are technology. [more]