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Another way to avoid the legal hot seat

Keep certifications and trainings current

How often do you review staff certifications and trainings to make sure they’re current?

checklist2

Now choose the best answer: continually, very frequently, or every week.

If certifications and trainings have lapsed and a patient is injured, those records become evidence against the hospital. And you will find yourself in the hot seat.

Let’s look at how expired certifications and unaddressed competencies can come home to roost. Imagine that your unit is sued in a wrongful death action after unsuccessful emergency resuscitation efforts. The attorney for the patient’s family discovers that one of the nurses working the code wasn’t current in CPR. That out-of-date certification raises doubts about [more]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]

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.

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

[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.

And the survey says… Staff retention (try to break these 20 habits)

This week I have the pleasure of reading the incredible responses we received to our Nurses Week 2015 survey. So many of you shared your insights, challenges, and hopes for the coming year—thank you! We’ll be emailing the winners of copies of Kathleen Bartholomew’s Team-Building Handbook: Improving Nurse-to-Nurse Relationships in the next couple of days. Keep your eyes peeled for our email.

Your generous responses help us understand your needs and aspirations, and we will try to return the favor by covering those important topics in this blog and in our upcoming books, webinars, and e-learning. For starters, I’ve revived a popular post from the past that deals with retention, identified by many of you as a top priority. Let me know if you recognize any of the 20 bad habits in yourself!

Retain staff by breaking these 20 bad habits

Peter Druker, often called the Father of Modern Management, made the following observation, “We spend a lot of time teaching managers what to do. We don’t spend enough time teaching them what to stop. Half the leaders I’ve met don’t need to learn what to do–they need to learn what to stop.” We simply need to [more]

Save yourself: Tips for protecting your valuable time

First, a couple of brief items:

Better Meetings, Better Outcomes: You can download the PDF I promised a few days ago, “What am I doing here? Tips for being accountable in meetings,” here.

Nursing Survey Ends 5/27: Our 2015 nursing survey is still open if you want to share your thoughts and (not incidentally) participate in our drawing for Team-Building Handbook: Improving Nurse-to-Nurse Relationships. Here’s the link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/hcpronurses2015

Next, my confession.

I’ll admit it, I peeked—I couldn’t resist the temptation to look at the results of our ongoing 2015 nursing survey to find out the biggest issues facing nurses today.

Would you be surprised if I mentioned that time (not enough of it) is as common a concern today as it was in the 2013 survey? To relieve some of your pain, I’ll share some great tips from Sharon Cox, [more]

What am I doing here? Tips for being accountable in meetings

We’ve all been in meetings where everyone nodded and appeared to agree to something, but a few months later, nothing had changed. Why does that happen?

Because all they’ve agreed to is that they’ve come up with a good idea.

No one committed to a specific plan to make that good idea happen. The meeting organizer most likely didn’t set proper expectations and didn’t ask for specific, measurable commitments. The people attended the meeting, but didn’t have enough context to actively participate. They didn’t have the tools to make a commitment to action, and to hold themselves accountable for real results in a few weeks or a few months.

Great meetings that result in action, improvement, or resolutions are a joy to attend.

The next time you’re invited to a meeting, follow these suggestions so you’re prepared to be engaged and contribute rather than sitting for an hour as a passive participant. If the invitation didn’t explain the purpose of the meeting, if it included only a sketchy agenda, or if it didn’t include one at all, ask the organizer the questions in the following table prior to or early in the meeting.

Meeting questionsAgreeing to a good idea
just isn’t good enough.

Try using these questions to create a structure for great meetings that result in a better understanding, clarity of purpose, and positive outcomes.

 

 

 

 

Note: I’ll have the table as a download for you in a few days. Look for a link in a future blog post to share the tips with your colleagues!


Excerpted from Team-Building Handbook: Accountability Strategies for Nurses and Accountability in Nursing, both by Eileen Lavin Dohmann, RN, MBA, NEA-BC, and published by HCPro.

BOGO: Buy one, get one discount on nursing books

Take advantage of HCPro’s Nursing BOGO event: Buy one nursing book at full price
and get the second one at 50% off* now through May 18, 2015.

second bookClick here to download HCPro’s 2015 Nursing Catalogue,
or go straight to our online store to start shopping.

To receive the discount on your second book, please enter
discount code EO323822 at checkout.

*50% off lesser or equal value product.

 

——RECENT POSTS——

⇒ 5/4: Who inspires you? There’s still time to submit your favorite quotes in posted comments, here.

⇒ 5/6: You can still use the 20% Nurses Week discount offered in this post (though it can’t be used in combination with the BOGO discount).

⇒ 5/8: Enter our 10 question survey here for a chance to win a copy of Team-Building Handbook: Improving Nurse-to-Nurse Relationships, by Kathleen Bartholomew.

Enter our nursing survey: You could win a team-building handbook!

Our mission is to provide you with essential tools, articles, tips, and books to support your practice… and we want you to tell us what you need. What kind of challenges do you face? What subjects excite you? Please take a few minutes to answer our 10 question survey, and give us your wish list!

THINTN coverTo thank you for participating in our Nurses Week survey, you also
have an opportunity to win a copy of Kathleen Bartholomew’s
Team-Building Handbook: Improving Nurse-to-Nurse Relationships.
Just complete the survey between now and midnight on May 27, 2015, and provide your contact information on the last page.

Click on the link below to begin the survey:
https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/hcpronurses2015

All of your answers are confidential and anonymous, and your contact info will only be used to let you know if you won a handbook. If you have questions related to the survey, please contact cmoore@hcpro.com.

Thank you!

——RECENT POSTS——

⇒ 5/4: Who inspires you? There’s still time to submit your favorite quotes in posted comments, here.

⇒ 5/6: You can still use the 20% Nurses Week discount offered in this post.