RSSRecent Articles

Rock Your Health: 8 easy ways to stop a headache

Are you experiencing headaches due to stress? Many nurse leaders find their daily stress load often results in headaches but using drugs to alleviate the pain is not a long-term solution to deal with the root cause. Here are some great tips I use. Try making these regular practice and you may actually prevent headaches from even occurring. It’s all about doing things that feel good and not expecting a quick fix.

H – Hot water, juice of half a lemon, pinch of cayenne pepper: Drink first thing in the morning to stimulate elimination of toxins, aid digestion, and calm the nerves. And stop drinking caffeine-it just keeps you in high gear and the object here is to slow your engine down. I haven’t missed coffee at all!

E – Eat every 2-3 hours to keep blood sugar level and prevent energy spikes and drops. Chew food at least 25 times per bite so when it hits your stomach it can be easily digested, important nutrients can be fully absorbed, and abdominal stress will be eliminated. [more]

Assessing nursing quality and patient safety

Interest in using a variety of nursing engagement surveys as a reportable quality indicator is growing.

This article, written by Cheryl Clark, appears in the June 2015 issues of HealthLeaders magazine.

Do your hospital’s nurses feel empowered? Are nurses’ relationships with physicians strong enough that nurses can call out errors or ask questions without fear? Do they think their hospital hires enough nurses with appropriate skills and provides enough resources to provide safe and timely care? Are nurses involved in making policy?

When nurses are surveyed on these and related questions, which they increasingly are, poor scores may indicate troublesome systemic issues that could, directly or indirectly, affect quality of care, even adverse events. A drop in scores can often be tracked down to a specific hospital unit, research has shown. And poor scores may correlate to “nursing sensitive” patient outcomes, such as patient falls, lengths of stay, pressure ulcers, and infections.

Simply put, this measure is asking nurses what they think about the organization for which they work and how well they trust the care they deliver in their work environments.

Read the full article here.

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