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Rock Your Health: How to stop feeling your stress in your gut

Many busy nurse leaders are dealing with digestive health problems and trying to carry on through the discomfort. Here are some simple action steps you can take right away that will help improve your digestion.

When your stomach speaks to you, LISTEN UP! Your gut is trying to tell you something. Did you know that about 80% of your immune system and half of your nerve cells and neurotransmitters involve your digestive system? Isn’t it time we gave our gut some love and respect?

Drink lemon water first thing
Start your day with the juice of half a lemon in a cup of warm water with a dash of cayenne pepper. Lemon can stimulate elimination of yesterday’s food, help destroy bad bacteria in the mouth and intestines, and does many other great things. My grandfather used to start his day this way, so it is both an old-time remedy as well as one used in Chinese medicine. [more]

Failing to protect nurses’ backs will cost hospitals $$$

A good news follow-up on my February post that focused on nurses’ on-the-job injuries.

osha2In a news release on healthcare inspections last week, OSHA put hospitals and nursing homes on notice. Inspectors will add new enforcement on some key hazards for healthcare workers, including musculoskeletal disorders, bloodborne pathogens, workplace violence, tuberculosis and slips, trips, and falls. Hospitals will be penalized for gaps in training, use of assistive devices, and low quality treatment for staff who move patients.

Evidently, OSHA was inspired by the NPR [more]

Webcast: Deadly infections caused by GI scopes

You know that the Joint Commission and other regulatory agencies have standards that require your hospital to have a plan to reduce the risk of deadly infections and make sure your medical equipment is in good working order.

So why risk incurring costly lawsuits and fines—not to mention the possibility of destroying your hospital’s accreditation and reputation—if an improperly disinfected GI scope hcpro webcastcauses a patient to contract a life-threatening infection?

It’s happening right now to Virginia Mason Hospital in Seattle (read more here), where 11 people died after contracting deadly infections from improperly disinfected diagnostic scopes, and it could happen to your facility, too.

Let infection control experts Peggy Prinz Luebbert, MS, (MT)ASCP, CIC, CHSP, CBSPD, and Terry Micheels, MSN, RN, CIC, show you everything your organization needs to know to ensure proper GI scope disinfection and protect the lives of your patients.

Register for “Proper GI Scope Disinfection: How to Avoid Becoming a Statistic,” a 90-minute webcast that will cover the critical steps of high-level disinfection that must be met each and every day. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to ensure your organization complies with requirements set by The Joint Commission and CMS.

For more information or to register, check out the HCPro Marketplace, here.

Free Download: Job Description Update Confirmation

As promised, you can now download the very practical and simple tool  I mentioned in last week’s post (Not My Job: The legal perspective on updating job descriptions). I’ve created a Word file of the standard job description update letter, which you’ll find here. Don’t let its simplicity fool you; this is useful tool for legal risk reduction.

downloadicon2About the Word file: You can customize it to include your organization’s logo, address, and such. Use it as a simple way to document that your staff members understand changes in responsibilities and duties included in their job descriptions.

When you incorporate new practices or adapt to new standards that are reflected in updated job descriptions, you’ll simply ask each staff member to sign the letter acknowledging and committing to adhere to the revised job description, and place a copy in each employee’s file.

Many thanks to Dinah Brothers for this tool…

Dinah Brothers, RN, JD, is the author of The Essential Legal Handbook for Nurses (just released), sold as a set of 10 handbooks for staff nurses,  and The Nurse Manager’s Legal Companion (release: July 2015), a book offering nurse managers guidance on everything from employment law to dealing with whistleblowers and everything in between.

Rock Your Health: Take a meditative journey into your future

What if you were free to create your own job? What would that look like?

Here’s a technique I use when I want to create something new, but don’t know where to begin. Look to the future for your answers. It’s called the Future Self experience. Here goes. Feel free to use this script with your team as well.

Get a notepad and a pen, find a quiet place without interruption, get comfy, close your eyes, and focus on breathing slowly for a few seconds until you feel yourself slowing down. [more]

Rock Your Health: The Beatles guidebook to retirement

I was recently reminded how much I love the Beatles when I saw their 50th anniversary TV show and the reunion of Paul and Ringo. They were definitely a huge part of my developmental years because of their creative music, their social consciousness, and their path to spiritual enlightenment.

herecomesthesunI am now a bit older, but their words still resonate with this next phase of life called retirement. Although I like to call it re-wirement.

See if these tunes bring new meaning to you as well!

Here Comes the Sun
Those cloudy and stormy days at work are going to soon be over and there is a bright new future ahead for you. If you’re stuck in negative thinking, start shifting to positive about all the possibilities ahead.

When I’m 64
Now is the time to look ahead toward what is next for you. It’s coming whether you like it or not, so start creating your exit strategy [more]

Not My Job: The legal perspective on updating job descriptions

As a nurse manager, how often do you review the duties and responsibilities laid out in your staff job descriptions? The human resources department may “own” the files, but you probably review them when you have an open position. From a legal perspective, though, job descriptions deserve more regular scrutiny to ensure that duties align with your organization’s policies and procedures, and meet the standard of care.

For example, if new procedures have been introduced, staff must be trained, checklist2competencies documented, and job descriptions updated to support the revised standard of care. In the event of a patient injury, one of the first things the patient’s attorney will do is look for gaps in the standard of care, so you must be proactive in this area.

Dinah Brothers, RN, JD, suggests that, at a minimum, you review your staff’s job descriptions once a year. In addition, you must revise your staff’s job descriptions whenever any one of the following occurs:

  1. When there are professionally recognized changes to the standard of care
  2. When new medical advancements are accepted and implemented at your facility
  3. When new technology is implemented in your facility
  4. When policies and procedures change in your facility that impact the nurse’s role and/or job responsibilities change


Rock Your Heath: Sync or swim

Are you starting to feel old and out of sync with your current nursing position? Before you panic, this might be the first sign that you are starting to enter the pre-retirement phase.

Here are some of the signs:

  • You are aware that you are the oldest one in the group (remember when you were the youngest?)
  • You are getting more and more frustrated with healthcare because of all the high-tech, de-personalization, and focus on making money
  • Your workplace has “lost its loving feeling” like it had in the past
  • Going to work isn’t fun anymore
  • You find yourself complaining more
  • You are taking more and more meds for stress and health issues
  • You know you are wise, skilled, and no one does it better than you, but it feels like no one cares
  • You’re starting to think you don’t fit in anymore
  • You’re wondering if the end of your career is near
  • You don’t know what to do about all of this


Rock Your Health: Rethinking your nursing career

If you’re lucky enough, there will be a moment in your nursing career where things don’t go as planned. No matter how carefully you plan or meticulously you control, your career choice starts to unravel. Instead of thinking this is a bad thing, it might be the point where the magic starts to happen and you embark on a new adventure.

I chose a nursing career based on what my college roommate was majoring in because I didn’t have a clue what I wanted to do. Even though my heritage said it was my destiny: my mother was a nurse, my grandmother was a nurse, and my great-grandmother (as the story goes) was a healer.

After all the hard work of studying to be a nurse, upon graduation I should have felt great about what I had accomplished, but what I was really feeling was “I don’t want to just sling bed pans as a nurse, there must be something more exciting for me to do.” As it turns out, my restless nature plus that wonderful nursing degree (for which I remain extremely grateful) allowed me to shift many times into many different nursing roles that provided me with great satisfaction in my long and varied career. [more]

Accountability looks good on you (and your staff)

I learn from every book I work on, but this latest one on accountability strategies really hit home. I now realize that when I say “I’ll try” to do something by a particular date, I haven’t truly committed to being accountable for the deadline. And when I hear the same words from someone else, I no longer take “I’ll try” to mean the commitment all managers want to hear from an engaged staff: the definitive YES.

I’ll try is what I say when I don’t really see how I’ll be able to I'll Trymake the commitment, but don’t stop to think about what’s in the way. Do I lack the resources, the bandwidth, or (worse) the interest? Am I just allergic to saying a simple “no” when I can’t squeeze the proverbial 10 pounds of sugar into a five pound bag?

As a manager whose goal is positive outcomes from an engaged staff, you need to train your ear to “hear” the difference between words that indicate accountability and those that fall short. Your staff can do the same, and when you’re all hearing and speaking the language of accountability, good things will happen.


accountability book and handbook togetherTo find out more about building accountability in your staff, go to the web page for the team-training handbook, Team-Building Handbook: Accountability Strategies for Nurses. For ideas on how to develop a culture of accountability starting with yourself, visit the web page for Accountability in Nursing: Six Strategies to Build and Maintain a Culture of Commitment.

Both are from Eileen Lavin Dohmann, MBA, BSN, RN, NEA-BC,  the Senior Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer of Mary Washington Healthcare in Fredericksburg, Virginia.