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What to know about New Nurses: Stuck in Place

The healthcare industry is facing a shortage of nurses as members of the baby boomer generation retire and the industry expands. The upcoming decades are going to be reliant on new nurses to fill the gaps left by their predecessors. As a manager, what do you know about the people that will make up your staff in upcoming years?

Take a map of the U.S. and point to any town with a population of 100 or more. Odds are that within 30 miles of town center you’ll find a post office, a police station, a bar, and a hospital.

Hospitals and healthcare centers are key facilities and can be found pretty much everywhere. Coupled with a growing healthcare industry and more people getting nursing degrees, you would expect that after getting their license most new nurses would flock to big cities and big states for more job opportunities.

A study done by the RN Work Project found that this wasn’t quite the case. Instead, 88% of new nurses find their first job in the same state they attended high school. In fact, 66% of nurses currently work within 100 miles of their high school, with 35% working less than 15 miles away!

There are several factors that a new nurse needs to consider when thinking about moving. There’s economic factors such as the cost of living and average nursing salary in a given state. It may be more feasible for a new nurse to live with their parents and keep their expenses low while they pay off student debt. Then there’s practical considerations like the number of job openings and competition for those openings, particularly considering the difficulty new nurses have finding work. Finally, there’s the social considerations of moving away from friends and family and starting a new career in a foreign environment.

Given the increasing needs for more nurses, this lack of mobility can be an issue for states with fewer nursing programs and smaller nurse populations. A short term solution is to target your job postings at local nurses. If you haven’t already, making inroads with nearby nursing degree programs can help drive more new applicants to your door.

As for long term, you should create some incentives to encourage out-of-state nurses to move to your area. Scholarships and internships for out-of-state nurses can help you recruit and retain new nurses. Starting an off-hours program where locals show newbies and interns around can help them feel more comfortable in a new town.

One big area to look into is tuition reimbursement. As of 2011, only 69% of healthcare facilities offered tuition reimbursement to first time nurses, down from 86% in 2005. Even offering partial reimbursement can make all the difference for a new nurse deciding where to start his or her career.

Rock Your Health: Your 10 Step Guide to a Rockin’ New Year

The word TRANSITION means the passage from one form, state, style, or place to another – CHANGE!  Some of you are cringing thinking about change, but others are thinking – BRING IT ON!  How many transitions are you experiencing right now?  From holiday over-eating to New Year reckonings about weight?  From worrying about money to wondering what else you could do to increase your income?  From working in a job that is not a fit for you to wondering what else you could be doing? From leaving the workforce to enter the world of retirement and not knowing how to adjust? Transitions are everywhere at any time and can be perceived as negative or positive.  I prefer the latter and have some thoughts to consider.

T – Trust your instincts.  Rather than be caught off guard when things change, take the high road and note what your gut is telling you about what it going on. Keep in mind the change you are experiencing might be just what you have been secretly wanting!

R – Reset your eating and exercise program.  Have you been stuck and know you want to get healthier but not sure how to make the first move? I’m sure you have dealt with this before, so reflect on what helped you be successful in the past and recreate those steps.

A – Adjust your thinking from I CAN’T to I CAN.  See yourself healthy, happy and whole.  Send time every day imagining yourself being your best and being grateful for all that you are and have.  Hang up pictures to visually represent what your goals look like so you can start living in that body even before you get there.

N – Notice what you need right now. Go outside right now for a walk.  Yes – right now!  By yourself!  Take a notepad and pen along because great ideas are sure to surface while you are walking and you may want to write them down before you lose them.  Focus as you walk on what you really need right now to move forward thru this transition. This will be your starting point.

S – Set goals in alignment with your values to create the life you love.  Have you ever taken the time to really ask yourself what you want? Yes, you know what your mother wants for you, what your kids want, what your partner wants, and what you “should” want.  But what do you really want?  Write down 3 dreams you have for a more complete life and post it where you can ponder it.

I – Integrate all your skills into a single focus.  By now you have probably acquired a lot of great life and work skills that make you the fantastic talented person you are.  During this transition, you might find that it is time to put them all to good use and see what emerges.  Write down a list of everything you are great at – write until you can’t think of anything else – at least 30 things.

T – Train yourself for new skills.  After I had acquired all the skills I thought I needed in life, I opened up myself to what might be next for me – the key – being open to possibilities.  What showed up for me was “wellness coaching”, or some people call it “life coaching”.  When I was searching for “what’s next for me”, a friend coached me and after just 2 sessions, I had a new direction, a plan, and I was on my way again.  I loved the experience so much, I was trained to be a coach as well as a coach trainer.

I – Invite new opportunities.  When I was transitioning out of the workforce and into my own independent wellness business, I needed to figure out how to earn money while still doing the work I am passionate about.  Because I remained open to new ideas, I was presented with a way to help people get healthy as well as make passive income that could grow over time.  The key was to stay open to new ideas and give them a chance to see if they could work for you.

O – Own up to what is best for you. Not sure what direction to take as you transition?  Your guide should be how you “feel” about what you decide to do.  As they say, if it feels right – do it?

N – Now is the time to reinvent yourself.  I wrote a whole chapter on this in the book Wise Women Speak – Choosing Stepping Stones Along the Path.  My gift to you is a free download of this chapter by logging on to my website http://carolebert.com/meet-carol/free-ebook/

Enjoy the process of your transition.  Remember, it’s about the journey not the destination.  Fun times ahead!  Contact me at any time for support – carol@carolebert.com.

What to know about New Nurses: Unemployment

The healthcare industry is facing a shortage of nurses as members of the baby boomer generation retire and the industry expands. The upcoming decades are going to be reliant on new nurses to fill the gaps left by their predecessors. As a manager, what do you know about the people that will make up your staff in upcoming years?  

An experienced RN doesn’t need to worry much about finding work. In 2015, the unemployment rate for RNs was a measly 2%, with the industry expected to increase 19% by 2022.

While this is great news, most of these jobs are going to nurses coming out of retirement. During the recession, many nurses came back to work as pensions lost money and family members lost jobs. The fear of financial instability also convinced many nurses who were close to retirement to keep working.

Like many high-stress fields, healthcare facilities prefer employees with prior work experience. Small mistakes like a forgotten medication or unwritten note can have devastating consequences for patients and managers like to know their staff knows the ropes and can work under pressure.

While the preference for experienced nurses is understandable, many facilities won’t even consider applications from nurses fresh out of school. The RN Work Project found that even though RNs consistently have one of the lowest unemployment rates in the county, unemployment rates for newly licensed registered nurses (NLRNs) roughly tripled between 2005 and 2011, jumping from 15% to 31%.

While job prospects for NLRNs are expected to improve in a few years, many recent graduates are still having trouble finding work. Which is crazy considering how many healthcare facilities are understaffed and that larger nursing staffs have proven health benefits for patients.

In the end, it comes down to if being terminally short staffed is better than hiring a few college grads to pick up slack. Taking the phrase “no new graduates,” out of your job posting will greatly broaden your field of potential applicants, can give a new nurse a much needed chance and ease the burden on your existing staff.

Rock Your Health: Avoid New Year weight gain with a clean sweep!

Weight gain is common during the first months of the year despite our New Year’s resolutions to lose weight. Small yearly weight gains of one to two pounds may be a significant contributor to the high rate of obesity in America, and weight gain over the holiday period may be responsible for much of this yearly weight gain.

A study published in PLOS ONE shows that despite people’s best intentions to eat less in the New Year, they may actually be taking in more calories during the first three months of the year.

Our good intentions may be resulting in us buying more healthy foods, but we are also buying the same unhealthy foods and therefore eating more of both. For me, that means we need to do a clean sweep of all the unhealthy stuff before re-stocking with the healthy choices.

This clean sweep needs to happen at home and at work. A good first step is to team up at work and re-start the New Year with new food choices that support healthy lifestyles and focus on using healthy foods for celebrations and not always cakes!

Contact me if you want for find out how to do a Clean Sweep. carol@carolebert.com

Trust your nurses, everyone else does

Nursing has once again been named the most trustworthy profession in America. In their annual, “Honesty and Ethics rankings,” Gallup Polls found that 85% of Americans rated nurses’ honesty and trustworthiness “very high,” or “high.” The runner-up, pharmacists, only received a “highly trusted” score of 68%.

As a manager, you should take confidence in the fact that the general population places more trust in your nursing staff than they do physicians (67%), high school teachers (60%), police officers (56%), or even clergy (45%).

“It’s essential that we leverage this trust to lead and implement change in the healthcare system,” said Pamela F. Cipriano, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN, president of the American Nurses Association (ANA) in response to the poll, “Hospitals, healthcare systems and other organizations are lacking an important perspective and can’t make fully competent decisions if they don’t have registered nurses at the board table or in the C-Suite.  That’s why ANA is a member of the Nurses on Boards Coalition, working to place 10,000 nurses on boards by 2020.”

This is the 14th year straight that nursing has taken the top spot since being added to the list in 1999. The only thing that’s ever interrupted nursing’s winning streak was the one-time inclusion of firefighters to the list in the wake of 9/11.

Side note: it shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that car salespeople (8%), telemarketers (8%), Congress members (8%), and lobbyists (7%) were voted the least trusted professions in the country.

Rock Your Health: Asleep at the wheel?

Are you and your nursing staff ready for a nap after lunch? Why do we get so sleepy after we eat and can’t seem to think straight? And what did we eat that causes this feeling?

The latest information might interest you. Low glycemic food has a positive effect on brain function after a meal. In a recent study of normal weight adults, a meal consisting of low-glycemic carbohydrates improved cognitive function after meals better than a high glycemic meal. (A Nilsson et al. Effects on cognitive performance of modulating the postprandial blood glucose profile at breakfast. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2012) 66, 1039-1043.)

Looks like the guilty party is eating high glycemic foods. The whites: White bread, white pasta, white rice, white potatoes, and, of course, the usual processed fast foods and sweets.

Want some help finding low glycemic tasty alternatives? Check out this website www.glycemicindex.com.

What to get your nurses this year

The holidays are well and truly upon us, which means across the world people are panicking as they realize they haven’t bought any presents yet.

The holidays are a busy time of year for healthcare professionals, with nurses trying to balance an increased workload with holiday obligations. A few simple gifts can do wonders for morale and show nurses that they are appreciated for their work.

And if you miss the holiday deadline? Hand out presents on New Year’s. It’s a federally recognized holiday and gives you more time to buy.

  1. Keep Calm I’m a Nurse T-shirt

So nurses can go off the clock and still let the world know who’s boss. You can buy them on an individual basis or buy them in bulk for your staff.

  1. Coffee

Give the gift of caffeine. Either gift cards to Starbucks or (if you have $100 to spare) a Keurig brewing system for the nurses’ lounge.

  1. Scrubs Season One

Good for some laughs and to remind everyone that you work in a much less dysfunctional hospital. Or that you do, but at least your janitors aren’t actively conspiring against you.

  1. Chicken Soup for the Nurses Soul by Jack Canfield

Stories from the frontlines of nursing. Some are funny, some are uplifting, and some are moving. A good read for both new and veteran nurses.

  1. “Do not disturb: Nurse sleeping” sign

Need I say more?

  1. Things that they would like

This is your chance to show your nurses that you really know them. A running joke in the hospital, fixing something that’s been broken a long time, or something particular to your area. Be creative! And always leave the receipt in the wrapper.

Rock Your Health: Retirement: When your star is finally born!

I thought being in the retirement zone meant I was done with a lot of things, including being a student. I never thought I would ever have the desire to start all over again. But I was wrong!

And here is why. I love to work! (Are you like that too?) It feeds me, energizes me, brings me joy, allows me to give back by helping others, brings structure to my day, and creates money so I can do more of the pleasurable things I want to do like travel more. So guess what. I’m a student again! But it’s a new way of learning for me, while being at home and managing the wellness business of which I dreamed.

What are your thoughts about your own retirement? Have you given it any thought? [more]

More nurses mean fewer heart attack deaths

It turns out nurses are good for the heart. Provided they aren’t overworked and underappreciated.

A study published in The Journal of Medical Care found that 85% of patients who suffer an in-hospital cardiac arrest (IHCA) die before being discharged. This is despite the fact that 80% of IHCA cases are witnessed and 88% of patients were on cardiac monitoring equipment when the attack happened.

Nurses are typically the first to witness and respond to IHCA cases, making them crucial in a patient’s survival. It was found that each additional patient per nurse decreased a patient’s chances of surviving an IHCA by 5% and that a poor work environment dropped a patient’s chances of survival by 16%.

Researchers suggest improving nurse staffing in general medical-surgical units to increase IHCA survival rates. Medical-surgical units have the most variable staffing levels and would benefit the most with more nurses. Improving staffing may be difficult for some hospitals because of costs, though some of the pressure can be alleviated by hiring temporary nurses.

Rock Your Health: Self-sacrifice no more!

Are you caught in a web of putting others ahead of yourself? Nurses have a tendency to be codependent—admit it—and we thrive on giving it all to our patients, our colleagues, our families, our parents, and even to our worthy causes. Consequently, we’re spent and have nothing left for ourselves.

I challenge you to try a new way of being for this next phase of your fabulous life. It is an opportunity to reprogram that self-sacrifice tendency into a new, improved you who is focused on self-care. It might be awkward at first, but this is your time to shine and the quality of your life may depend on it. [more]