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National Time Out Day

Today is National Time Out day! For the 12th year in a row, the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN) want to remind medical professionals to take a moment before every procedure to make sure they are “operating on the right patient, the right site and the right procedure.” The Joint Commission reports that wrong site surgeries occur five times every day in the United States, and AORN hopes to raise awareness of the issue and improve patient safety.

For more information or to see how you can participate in National Time Out Day, visit AORN’s official website.

Animal therapy not just for patients

We hear all the time about how nursing is one of the most stressful professions in the country. This combined with the struggles with nurse retention has led a few hospitals to get creative with helping out their stressed-out nurses: Animal therapy sessions.

Animal therapy has been used with patients for years, particularly to help patients with trauma and mental health disorders. Inspired by these results, executives at University of Pennsylvania hospital and Rush University Medical Center (RUMC) instituted regular animal therapy sessions for their employees. Penn’s “pet a pooch” program was instituted by ER nurse Heather Matthew, brought in dogs from local shelters to spend time with their employees. In addition to helping the stressed-out staff, over a dozen dogs have been adopted since the program started three years ago.

After seeing the positive effects of Penn’s program, RUMC started their own program called “Pet Pause.” Hospital staff immediately reported feeling less stressed after their animal therapy sessions, and an internal study confirmed that the sessions lowered participants blood pressure and increased staff morale. Studies elsewhere have shown that animal therapy reduces stress hormones, and management researchers have found improvements in employee satisfaction and productivity when dogs are allowed in the workplace.

Do you have paws program at your facility? Let us know in the comments!

For more information, check out the Chicago Tribune article.

Rock Your Health: Top 5 Reasons Why SUGAR RULES When You Can’t Lose Weight and What You Can Do About It


Getting CLEAR about solutions!

C – Create a Relapse-Proof Environment

This is the first step when you are trying to stop your “sugar madness”.  If you feel you are addicted to sugar and can’t get away from it, clean up your environment and remove all these highly-processed carbohydrates from your home, your office, your car, and anywhere else you may be tempted to eat them.  If they are right there when you become hungry, you will make a poor food choice every time.  But, if you have good quality, low-glycemic food and snacks available when you are hungry, it really is not that difficult to eat correctly. You must not only protect your environment but also plan ahead so that you have healthy food choices available at all times.

Ask yourself – What do I need to do to create a sugar-free zone to support my efforts to reduce my sugar intake?

L – Learn About Sugar

Carbohydrate-rich foods are the primary source of energy for all body functions so we must eat some daily in addition to protein and fat.  Sugars are simple carbohydrates that can be easily digested by your body and include foods like cake, soda, sweets and highly processed foods.  We call them “fast” carbs.  Over 80-90% of carbohydrates consumed by adults and children today are simple-sugars, also called high-glycemic.

Complex carbohydrates take longer to be digested and include foods such as whole grain products, fruits and vegetables. We call them “slow carbs”. Both types of carbohydrates are broken down into sugar for the body to use and both cause blood sugar to rise, however complex carbohydrates raise the blood sugar slowly and simple carbohydrates raise it quickly.  It is that fast rising blood sugar called “spiking” that causes all the health problems.

Ask yourself – What facts about sugar do I need so I can make wise decisions about my intake?

E – Examine Your Relationship with Sugar

Do you think you might have an addiction to sugar?  You probably think sugar addiction is about lack of willpower or discipline or motivation. It is not. It is about your biochemistry. You were born with a body that responds to sugar, alcohol and refined carbohydrates differently than other people. You are sugar sensitive. Sugar acts like a drug in your body. In fact, it affects the very same brain chemicals that morphine, heroin and amphetamines.

Ask yourself – What is my experience with sugar and how would I like it to be now?

A – Appreciate How Sugar Effects Your Body

Everyone needs to eat carbohydrates which are digested and then changed into sugar in the blood stream and carried – with the help of insulin – into our cells to produce energy.  Blood sugar or blood glucose is the main source of energy for our organs, muscles and tissues. This is a normal healthy process for our bodies to function correctly.  However, too much of the wrong kind of sugar, can create problems.

Ask yourself – What is my body’s response to sugar? Should I get my blood sugar checked to find out if it is normal?  And if it is not, what am I willing to do to correct it? 

R – Realize Your Body is Under Stress from Too Much Sugar

We all know how stress affects our bodies.  I hear the complaints every day – headaches, neck aches, back aches, upset stomach, insomnia, and on and on.  There is another type of stress that we may not be aware of, and that is called Glycemic Stress.  When your body is bombarded with too much sugar from all the high glycemic foods mentioned previously, your insulin is over-producing to cope and an internal stress cycle occurs of spiking and dropping blood sugars.  This leads to Insulin Resistance, Metabolic Syndrome and then possibly Heart Disease and Diabetes. Not a pretty picture, is it.  But these are the facts.

Ask yourself:

  • Where am I in all of this?
  • Where do I see myself with my health in the future?
  • What part am I willing to play in moving forward with a healthier lifestyle?
  • What steps do I need to take?

Need some support?  Email me at carol@carolebert.com and let’s talk!

Nurses uniquely qualified for hospital design

The role of nurses has expanded greatly over the past few years, as nurses are moving from the bedside into all facets of healthcare. Hospitals have started to use nurses’ expertise to help design their facilities, with impressive results.

Hospital design can have a profound impact for both nurses and patients, but facilities are just starting to include nurses in the design process. Health Facilities Management (HFM) reports that involving nurses in design planning can help executives and contractors keep patient-care priorities in mind during construction. Seemingly small decisions, like the placement of sinks, computers, or wall outlets, can lead to an increase patient satisfaction. Nurses have been behind some of the pioneering new hospital designs, such as single-occupancy maternity rooms and the acuity-adaptable patient rooms. As one nurse told HFM, “Nurses spend the most time with the patient… we have a responsibility to be the voice of the patient, family and each other.”

Looking out for each other is another great reason for involving nurses in hospital design. A study published by Hassell and the University of Melbourne found that hospitals designed to accommodate nurses have a better chance of attracting and retaining nurse staff. The researchers identified a link between hospital workplace design and efficiency, health and safety for staff and patients, and staff morale. These factors play a significant role in staff retention, and who better to ensure a facility is attractive to nurses than nurse leaders?

Nurse-led design choices improve conditions for patients and nurses, but they can also help the bottom line. Nurses are involved in many different areas of the hospital, and their input can make operations more efficient and affordable. In one example reported by HFM, nurses saved the Parkland hospital project millions of dollars by eliminating unnecessary equipment and cabinetry in emergency rooms.

Both the survey and HFM article note that despite these benefits, nurses don’t always get a voice in hospital design. But as nurse-designed hospitals flourish, perhaps more facilities will involve nurses in design plans.

For more about Nursing and hospital design, check out: Take Five: How renewal rooms revive stressed out nurses

Rock Your Health: Gluten-Free for You and Me?

How much gluten are you consuming daily and it is affecting your health?  Just look around at work at how much is staring in your face daily.  Check out these facts.

G – “Gluten” refers to proteins that occur naturally in wheat, rye, barley and cross-bred hybrids of these grains

- Labels on foods using the claim “gluten-free” now must have a gluten limit of less than 20 ppm (parts per million)

- Until now, celiac patients did not know what the words ‘gluten free’ meant when they saw them on a food label

T – Three million people in the United States have Celiac Disease which is 1% of the population

- Eliminating Gluten from the diet is a big challenge for those with Celiac Disease

- Now the FDA has set guidelines for the use of the term “gluten-free” on food labels to help people with celiac disease maintain a gluten-free diet.

 

F – Foods that contain gluten trigger production of antibodies that attack and damage the lining of the small intestine which limits absorption of nutrients and leads to other serious health problems, including nutritional deficiencies, osteoporosis, growth retardation, infertility, miscarriages, short stature, and intestinal cancers.

- Removing Gluten from the diet is the only way to manage Celiac Disease

- Eliminating Gluten from the diet will also improve life for many others who are gluten intolerant or gluten sensitive.

E – Eliminating the following from food will allow food manufacturers to use the label “gluten-free”

  1. an ingredient that is any type of wheat, rye, barley, or crossbreeds of these grains
  2. an ingredient derived from these grains and that has not been processed to remove gluten
  3. an ingredient derived from these grains and that has been processed to remove gluten, if it results in the food containing 20 or more parts per million (ppm) gluten

Want more support around this issue on how to live a gluten-free lifestyle?  Email me at carol@carolebert.com

Women executives face more criticism than men

There are many hurdles for women pursuing executive roles. Normally a male-dominated field, many women struggle to get the opportunities and resources they need to obtain leadership and executive positions. Unfortunately, things don’t get much easier once they get there, according to a new study.

The Harvard Business Review published a study by the Yale School of Management that investigated gender stereotypes in executive evaluations. The study gave participants a scenario where a police chief misused resources and let a protest get out of hand. In one scenario, the police chief was male, in another the chief was female. The female chief received significantly more criticism than the male; some participants suggested that she get demoted, while none of the participants suggested that for the male chief. This pattern continued: “A decision that backfired led to harsher scrutiny for female leaders.”

The study concluded that women in positions that are traditionally occupied by men—which are often leadership roles, unfortunately—were criticized because they were going against gender stereotypes. For nurse leaders looking to transition to executive positions, this is yet another hurdle to overcome.

For more articles about women in health care, check out some of our articles in the Strategies for Nurse Managers Reading Room:

Women in healthcare want to find a healthy work-life balance

Nurses bring layers of diversity to hospital leadership

Rock Your Health: Are your joints starting to act up?

As the Nurse of Wellness that I am, my belief is that I am unstoppable and will live forever. Can you relate? But the mechanics of my body have a different story to tell. Over-use syndrome of doing too much, in too much of a hurry, and not honoring the fact that my body might need to slow down a bit to move safely and not get hurt  took its toll on my knee.

Yes, I was on crutches with a swollen left knee from just squatting down briefly.  Go figure! But I have learned from this experience. YES – ONCE AGAIN – another learning experience!!

  • I had to ask for help, even when it pains me to do so
  • I had to do less and the world didn’t end because I’m not scurrying about
  • I had more time than I thought and could catch up on reading and making calls to reconnect with others – you know; all that old-fashioned stuff we don’t always seem to have time to do.
  • I became more efficient with my movements because I had to rest my knee more often instead of being in perpetual motion
  • I received visitors who brought me great food and great conversation
  • I discovered how valuable friends are who will rally around me when I am down and out
  • And finally, I learned that my joints need more respect as I age so I don’t injure myself needlessly.

So as I healed with ice, elevation, powerful anti-oxidants, essential oils, relaxation, ibuprofen and crutch-walking, I realized we are all on this journey of aging so I hope you give your “joints” a chance to serve you to the best of their ability. Respect them and they will carry you through.

Be well on your journey!  Would love to hear your story about how nursing can be tough on your joints!  Email me at carol@carolebert.com

Kathleen Bartholomew’s “Lessons from Nursing to the World”

Enjoy this Ted Talk given by HCPro author Kathleen Bartholomew. Listen to Kathleen discuss the importance of dismantling the nursing hierarchy that can devalue and shame caregivers and creating an atmosphere of open communication and respect between caregivers which ultimately improves patient care.

 

Rock Your Health: 6 Daily habits you should definitely steal from history’s greatest “Creatives”

Are you exercising your “creative juices” as you move forward with your latest challenges? Did you know that being more creative makes life more fun and improves your health too!  Apparently famous creative people over history use “wellness strategies” to improve their creativity. Check it out!

Napping: Charles Darwin took a nap every day. Studies show that “sleeping on it” really does work. And while the idea of catching a few moments of rest midday may be perceived as lazy, it can actually be way better for productivity than trying to soldier through a particularly sleepy afternoon.

Wellness tip – I do something similar by taking 30 minutes to groove on my Chi Machine for relaxation. Not only do I get a great BUZZ when my Chi (energy) is flowing freely, but I often fall asleep as well!

*How often do you take time for a nap and what benefit do you receive when you do take one?

 

Being social: Lots of history’s greatest thinkers regularly visited and dined with their friends, which can help fend off the loneliness of being a creative entrepreneur.

Wellness tip – I am attracted to others with creative minds and when we are together we are “in the flow” where ideas come easily, they bounce back and forth and we have great fun. And feeling good doing what you love in the company of others like you is good for your heart and soul.

*How often do you tap into the creative juices of your naturally creative employees?

 

Exercising: Charles Darwin took 3 walks per day. Charles Dickens took “strenuous walks” through the countryside. Victor Hugo took long strenuous walks on the beach. Milton walked up and down his garden. Freud walked around Vienna at “terrific speed”.

Wellness tip – Exercise really kicks in my creative juices so I not only receive cardiac health benefits from my Jazzercise class and walking outside, but I also come up with even more ideas I can use. I often have to stop in mid-exercise to write down something brilliant I just thought of.

*What is your exercise routine and what creative thoughts occur when you are doing it?

 

Taking breaks: Giving themselves a chance to do something other than work in the middle of the day, whether it be a lunch with family or a quiet project, was popular with many of the greats. W.H. Auden did the crossword. Charles Darwin played backgammon with his wife.

Wellness tip – Breaks are hugely important for optimal health but I have to schedule them in or they don’t happen. We can work hard, but we need recovery time just like with exercise. So every 2 hours I stop and take a walk, have a cup of tea with a snack, or do a relaxation exercise.

*How often do you take breaks in your day – and make sure your employees do the same thing – to give the body/mind a chance to recover?

 

Decompressing at the end of the day: René Descartes and Charles Darwin both regularly allowed themselves time in bed at the end of every day to think about their day and come up with ideas, and, it’s safe to say, they didn’t do it with the TV on.

Wellness tip – I declare an end time every day or I will not stop working. The computer gets turned off and stays off, then off to exercise class followed by down-time eating and visiting with my husband to wind down for the day.

*What is your plan for decompressing from the day?

 

Sleep: Tchaikovsky, Hugo, Beethoven slept 8 hours each night, Dickens, Franklin, Darwin and Milton slept 7. And the majority prepared for sleep by winding down with reading, playing cards, conversation, listening to music, taking a bath.

Wellness tip – And today the old adage of sleeping 7-8 hours each night for rejuvenation still stands. I make sure the bedroom is dark, the windows are letting in fresh air and because I easily awaken to outside sounds I have a setting on my clock that creates the sounds of rain to block that out.

*What are your sleep rituals and how well are you doing with them?

 

Hopefully these “creative” ideas from past and present will be just what you need right now! And if you need a “Life Coach” who can help you sort it all out, contact me at carol@creatingwellnesscultures.com

Sample Chapter from Nursing Professional Development: A Practical Guide for Evidence-Based Education

sdms_265x265To continue our Nurses’ Week celebration, we are offering a free chapter from Nursing Professional Development: A Practical Guide for Evidence-Based Education. The chapter will help nurse educators and leaders engage with nurses of all levels of expertise, from new grads to veteran nurses.

To download the chapter, click here.

To purchase the book, visit the HCPro marketplace. Don’t forget to use the Nurses’ Week discount code NRSWK2016 for 20% off!

Continue reading for a preview of the chapter.
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