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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?


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 That out-of-date certification raises doubts about [more]

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Best practices for filling out incident reports

Incidents reports are a pain to fill out, but vital for documenting what happened and protecting yourself and your staff. This week, Patricia A. Duclos-Miller, MS, RN, CNA, BC, provides some best practices.

You and your staff may think that incident reports are more trouble than they are worth-but think again.

We work in high-stress, fast-paced environments. It is your responsibility as a member of the nursing management team to understand not only the importance of the incident report, but also how to ensure that your staff completes them and how to investigate incidents to avoid any further occurrences. Your investigation will also provide possible defense if during your investigation you identify a system failure and take the necessary corrective action(s).

The purpose of the incident report is to refresh the memories of both the nurse manager/supervisor and the staff nurse. While the clinical record is patient-focused, the incident report is incident-focused. The benefit to you and your staff is that years after the event, the incident report will help you and the persons involved remember what happened. [more]

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.


Improve nurse satisfaction in a time of uncertainty

Improving nursing satisfaction is tough in bad economic times, when many hospitals are experiencing census dips and cost cutbacks that are forcing reductions in work force, benefits, hours, and pay. But the state of the economy doesn’t need to bring your nursing satisfaction scores down—there are ways to boost morale immediately.

For example, you can:

  • Begin nursing staff meetings by asking, “What was the best thing that happened to you today or during your last shift?” The meetings should focus on improving care and team-building.
  • Focus on improving the image of nursing by gathering a group of nurses to volunteer with a community or organization project.
  • Ask creative nurses to develop banners or posters that showcase nursing excellence and hang them around the unit or facility.
  • Thank nurses for their fortunate choice of profession. In Gallup’s annual honesty and ethics professional survey, nursing has been rated No. 1 for the past seven years.
  • Ask a nurse to create helpful hints on how to deal with stress and print them in your nursing or hospital newsletter.
  • Ask the CNO to visit each nursing unit to listen and discuss why he or she is encouraged and hopeful about the future. Now is the time for leadership to paint an accurate but hopeful picture for nurses.
  • Keep up the budget-friendly celebrations and recognitions for staff nurses. You can celebrate by handing out coffee coupons or recognizing a staff nurse during every unit meeting for his or her excellent patient care.

Hone your hiring skills

by Shelley Cohen, RN, BS, CEN

Selecting new staff to add to the team is one of the most important roles nurse managers play in relation to recruitment and retention, yet their interview skills are typically lacking. In order to improve the interview and hiring process, nurse managers must be educated and provided with the right resources: [more]


In the current thrust for ANCC Magnet Recognition Program

Help! It’s my first month on the job!

A nurse manager’s first month on the job is often a hectic time. Adjusting to a new set of responsibilities, new issues that demand your attention, and new coworkers make it hard to stay focused and productive. Still, you need to.

Make the theme of your first month “meet and listen.” Each week, take time to plan a schedule of meetings to acquaint yourself with those who are in key positions supporting you and your unit. This can include:

  • Members of the unit-level management team (including the interim manager, charge nurses, educators, house-wide supervisors, staffing office clerks, etc.) in group meetings or one-on-one
  • Key department directors, such as pharmacy, materials management, admitting, etc.
  • Nurse managers responsible for units that work collaboratively with yours
  • Medical director of the unit or a physician who frequents the unit
  • Employee relations manager in human resources or the nurse recruiter

Keep these meetings to 30-45 minutes each, and use lunch or breakfast meetings as needed to expedite the scheduling process. Attending the shifts and making rounds two to three times a week to visit with patients is another way to get to know staff and begin your assessment of practice issues or system problems.

You also might want to take notes at these meetings and use a consistent format for them. This format could be initiated with questions, such as, “What’s working or not working, and what do we need to do differently?” or an open-ended question like, “What do you see as priorities for me relative to the needs of patients or staff working with me?”

How do you get acclimated to a new position?