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ANA voices opinion on healthcare reform repeal attempts

The American Nurses Association (ANA) has sent a letter to all members of the House of Representatives stating its opposition and disappointment in the House’s efforts to repeal the healthcare reform law, and voicing its affirmative support of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Prior to the vote, the ANA also joined more than 150 organizations in a press conference on Capitol Hill to restate its firm support for the ACA.

In the letter, ANA President Karen A. Daley, PhD, MPH, RN, FAAN, expressed hope that lawmakers would focus on accomplishing a fully funded healthcare reform law, and said that the ACA provides much-needed reform in the healthcare industry— one that turns its attention to wellness, prevention, and greater access to care.

To view the letter, visit the ANA website, and to learn more about the ANA’s efforts on healthcare reform, click here.

Nurses refuse raises in the name of patient care

Newspapers and websites have been inundated this year with protests, strikes, and complaints of nursing staff shortages affecting patient care. It’s the same old story that’s being told everywhere, and after a recent poll that asked nurses whether they’d turn down a pay increase to hire more nurses on the floor received an 83% response of “Yes, we need more help,” it’s a story that seems to be evolving into one for the ages. Type “nurses strike” into your browser and enjoy the show of headlines from 2010 that pop up before your very eyes:

  • Early in 2010, 18 nurses at Washington Hospital Center, the largest non-profit hospital in the DC area, were fired for not reporting to work during a snow storm, in what was dubbed the Blizzardgate firings. The move was protested by National Nurses United who said such a move was unprecedented in the hospital’s history and brought decreased morale to the hospital’s staff members. Ramifications of the issue were still being felt as of early November, when National Nurses United sent a 19-page report to the DC Health Department informing it that Washington Hospital Center is understaffed and compromising patient safety.  The report contained more than 50 different allegations of incidents related to patient care in hopes that the Health Department will investigate.
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Joint Commission announces revisions to medication reconciliation goal

As reported on our AHAP blog, medication reconciliation has received a facelift: revisions to the medication reconciliation National Patient Safety Goal (NPSG) have been approved for implementation as of July 1, 2011. The Goal, NPSG.03.06.01 (formerly NPSG.08.01.01) has been altered based on feedback The Joint Commission has gathered that indicated the Goal was too prescriptive and detailed to be implemented effectively.

The changes effect the ambulatory, behavioral health care, critical access hospital, home care, hospital, long term care, and office-based surgery accreditation programs.

Intent to update or improve medication reconcilation requirements began in at the beginning of 2009, when The Joint Commission announced it would begin an analysis and review of the NPSG, and would not include medication reconciliation findings into survey results.

Medication reconciliation remains under the National Patient Safety Goal chapter of the Comprehensive Accreditation Manual, but has been moved under a new number (NPSG.03.06.01).

For more information, visit The Joint Commission’s Web site.

Effective precepting: Giving feedback to orientees

Whenever I conduct a preceptor workshop, I always ask the question, “What is the most difficult aspect of precepting?” I usually get a range of answers, but at least one nurse will always say, “Providing feedback to orientees.” Providing feedback can be difficult, especially if it is your first time doing it.

In a preceptor-orientee relationship, the best type of feedback to provide is constructive feedback. Constructive feedback focuses on improving orientees’ performance by reinforcing desired behavior, and correcting poor performance. It allows orientees to maintain their motivation for learning, and enables them to experience at least partial success.

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Karen Hill: Image of nursing in leadership

Each year, HCPro’s Nursing Image Awards recognize nurses who have helped elevate the image of nursing. One of the categories, the Image of Nursing in Leadership award, recognizes nurse leaders who embody a positive image of nursing through leadership excellence. The award honors leaders who serve as inspiring mentors and outstanding role models to nurses as they strive to be professional in all they do, whether by overcoming challenges, spearheading change, or fostering teamwork that results in the achievement of operational goals and objectives.

This year, the judges bestowed their accolades on Karen S. Hill, DNP, RN, NEA-BC, FACHE, a visionary vice president and chief executive officer at Central Baptist Hospital in Lexington, KY. Hill began her career at Central Baptist Hospital as a teenage candy striper. Twenty-six years later, Hill is a source of empowerment and support for other nursing professionals.

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Who’s making the most money?

According to the recently released 2008 National Sample Survey of Registered Nurses, a nurse’s salary is most highly correlated with his or her level of education. Typically, nurses in an advanced practice specialty or higher-level management position are the ones with the highest earnings.

Survey results show the top 10 nursing salaries as follows:

1.      Nurse anesthetist: $154,221
2.      Management/administration: senior management: $96,735
3.      Nurse practitioner: $85,025
4.      Nurse midwife: $82,111
5.      Management/administration: $78,356
6.      Consultant: $76,473
7.      Informatics nurse: $75,242
8.      Management/administration: middle management: $74,799
9.      Clinical nurse specialist: $72,856
10.   Management/administration: first-line management: $72,006

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Survey results show salary declines for nurse leaders

A survey published in a recent issue of Nursing Management revealed nurse leaders say they’re being paid less these days than they were three years ago.

The survey of about 2,000 nurse leaders indicated that the annual salary in 2010 is $80,170—about $4,000 less than the $83,930 they were making back in 2007—and nurse leaders are not happy about it. Almost 60% said they felt they weren’t being appropriately compensated for the level of responsibility they had within the organization.

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What is a preceptor?

Ask a new nurse what preceptors are and they may reply “teachers.” At first glance, I agreed with the definition. Preceptors spend a large amount of their time teaching orientees the clinical skills related to their specific role. But as I reflected upon my experience as a preceptor, I realized that preceptors are much more than just teachers or tutors. Preceptors are also:

  • Leaders. A leader is someone who inspires and influences others. Preceptors must be leaders in order to inspire and influence their orientees to learn their new role. This can sometimes be a difficult challenge as conflicts arise. However, a true leader can put differences aside and continue on the orientation journey.

Most powerful in healthcare list includes nine nurses

Congratulations! Modern Healthcare has named nine outstanding nurses on its 2010 list of Most Powerful in Health Care, with seven of them ranked in the top 50.

Among the nurses are Sister Carol Keehan, DC, RN, MS, president and chief executive officer of the Catholic Health Association (CHA)—the highest ranking nurse on the list, and the fifth most important person in healthcare overall—American Nurses Association immediate past president Rebecca M. Patton, MSN, RN, CNOR, and Beverly Malone, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, chief executive officer of the National League for Nursing (NLN).

All of them share the same vision and passion for nursing, a keen interest in patient care, and encourage all nurses to get more involved in healthcare decisions, join boards, and be active participants in places where opinion and decisions on healthcare are being shaped and discussed.  Each of them believes nurses play a critical role in shaping the future of healthcare, and that their influence can have a large impact.

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The importance of succession planning and training nurse managers

By Betty Noyes, RN, MA

The management gap in healthcare is a real and increasing issue of concern. We do not seem to have enough talented managers to meet the goals of our organizations.

Without sufficient skills, first-line managers do not benefit an organization. The first step to increase the number and education of managers is to provide effective training designed to specifically improve organizational performance.

Currently, healthcare costs are high. When all elements of healthcare reform are implemented, higher costs may ensue. There will be a demand for more change and greater resilience from our management teams. Unless we have managers who are resourceful in their management skills, we will not achieve new and improved ways to succeed in the goals of safe, high-quality care at a reasonable cost.

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