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Nurses file for collective action over lunchbreak dispute

Nurses at Methodist Health claim that the hospital docks lunch pay for breaks they aren’t able to take.

Robert Straka, a nurse at Methodist Health in Dallas, filed a collective action lawsuit in August against his employer. The issue in question is the hospital policy that dictates that nurses should be allotted 30 minutes every shift to take an uninterrupted break. He argues that nurses are still expected to care for patients during their break, and would often get pulled away to perform duties. Straka filed on behalf of almost one thousand nurses across Methodist’s five facilities.

Meanwhile, Methodist argues that this is not the case, and questioned the plaintiff’s interpretation of the rules. They’ve requested that the charges be dropped in a response sent last week. The judge in the case has mandated that each party meet and produce a report next month, that would outline settlement options and hopefully come to a resolution.

Do you get a dedicated lunch break in your hospital? Send me an email at kmichek@hcpro.com and I’ll share the results (anonymous, of course) with your colleagues.
Read more here.

Nurses bring layers of diversity to hospital leadership

In just about every field, there are discrepancies between leadership positions and the population they represent; health care is no different. The American Hospital Association’s Institute for Diversity conducted a national survey that found that minorities made up 31 percent of the patient population, but only 17 percent of first and mid-level management positions. There’s even less representation in upper management roles, with 14 percent of hospital board members and 12 percent of executive leadership roles filled by minorities.

As the hospitals’ population get more diverse, so should its leadership. This doesn’t just mean racial diversity, but gender, experience, and cultural diversity as well. Hospitals that have a multitude of perspectives will serve their population better and make the hospital more successful.

In terms of diversity of experience, nurses can bring a useful perspective to executive leadership. Many hospital executives come from a business background and don’t have the kind of on the ground experience nurses can bring to the table. Medical staff generally prefer leadership that is familiar with their experience, that can relate to how big-picture decisions can effect day-to-day practices in hospitals. Additionally, nurses have more racial diversity compared to executive leadership, so they would bring that experience to the table as well.

However, there are a lot of barriers to nurses trying to obtain leadership positions. As a nursing student, nurses are much more focused on learning patient care than management techniques. Nurses don’t get much formal training in finance or business, so staying competitive might mean seeking a time-consuming and expensive degree on the side. There is also a possible stigma against nurses from executives, so much so that the American Nursing Association reports that RNs seeking executive work often leave that off their resume. As one nurse told them: “Well, I don’t want to put RN after my name because some people might not think that I know as much about business, or that might be a detractor when I’m competing with others in the C-Suite, especially men in the C-Suite.”

While perspectives are slowly shifting, along with diversity numbers in hospital leadership, nurses taking on larger leadership roles can help hospitals and their patients.

Ask the expert: Switching nurse specialties

Changing specialties has become an integral part of a nurse’s career growth. We spoke with Elaine Foster, Ph.D., MSN, RN, Associate Dean, Nursing Graduate Programs at American Sentinel University about this trend and what nurses should consider when making a change.

“Nurses have a powerful thirst for knowledge and a stron­g desire to learn and grow, and this often translates into motivation to make a career change. Many will reach a time when they would like to experience different professional opportunities,” says Foster. “In the nursing world, we need to actually help people plan out their career strategies, and it would help new nurses if they received more guidance; we don’t spend a lot of time painting the overall picture of healthcare.”

So where should a nurse considering a career change start? Foster advises that a nurse should start by researching their areas of interest and finding a specialty that fits them. “Read articles, talk to nurses in that field, assess the job market in your area, and learn everything you can about the specialty you are interested in.”

Another important factor to consider is education: does the specialty require more education or certification? Foster notes that in the past, it was more common for nurses to receive on-the-job training and end up in management positions without formal training, but in recent years, nurses require formal education and credentials to advance their careers.

After conducting your research, Foster suggests talking to people currently working in the field. Networking is crucial to making a career shift, and making a connection with an experienced nurse in your field provides plenty of benefits. Shadowing a nurse in your field gives you first-hand experience with the day-to-day demands of the position, and if you do end up pursuing the new specialty, your contact could provide job leads or even become a preceptor in the future.

Finally, before you make a career change, Foster advises that you reflect on the benefits and consider the costs. “Think about how this change will impact you in the future and what you might have to give up now to get that future five years down the road,” she says. “It took ten years to get my PhD; I had to give up a few things, but I’m grateful that I did.”

For more career-shift strategies, check out American Sentinel University’s guide.

Join our nursing book review group

HCPro is seeking enthusiastic nurse managers, nurse leaders, and nurse educators to join an ad-hoc group interested in reading and reviewing prepublication drafts of books and training materials in your areas of interest and expertise.

Our editors will send you periodic emails listing upcoming projects available for outside review. If you’re interested, just let us know. We’ll send reviewing guidelines and give you an idea of our timeframe. If it works for you, we’ll send the draft chapters as they’re available, and a printed copy of the book when it’s complete. In addition, you will be recognized as a reviewer inside the printed book.

Please have a minimum of five years of nursing experience and be in an educational, supervisory, or leadership role within your organization.

For more information or to sign up as a reviewer, please send an email including your areas of interest and expertise to Rebecca Hendren at rhendren@hcpro.com.

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.

Survey says male nurses are paid more than female nurses on your units

Recently, we posted a poll on www.StrategiesForNurseManagers.com and asked whether on your unit male nurses earn more than female nurses for the same role.

Seventy-three percent responded that they do. Only 24% said no, while 4% admitted they don’t know.

Click here to take the poll if you haven’t already done so.

Nursing research: Understanding whistleblowing

Last week I promised a downloadable version of the whistle imagewhistleblower flowchart. For those who are interested, you can access the file here.

When I read about the fallout on Kim Cheely, the nurse whistle-
blower I wrote about last week, I had to ask myself:
Why do nurses risk their jobs to blow the whistle? Why speak out, when there is danger of ostracism, marginalization, and damage to one’s career? I did a bit more research on the subject, and ran across a thought-provoking study published “down under” a few years ago in the Journal of Advanced Nursing. You may find it interesting also.

Using a qualitative narrative inquiry design, the Understanding whistleblowing: Qualitative insights from nurse whistleblowers study looked into the reasons nurses decided to become whistleblowers, and gathered insights into nurses’ experiences of being whistleblowers. I doubt any nurses reading this will be surprised to learn the primary reason behind the decision to blow the whistle.

It’s simple, nurses are patient advocates. Of course there’s much more to the study, and it makes interesting reading for many reasons, not the least of which is that it used face-to-face data collection methods, and based queries on real experiences and not hypothetical scenarios.

In other words, the questions didn’t ask “what would you do” if you faced with wrongdoing. The subjects of this study had worked through the tough decisions and lived through actual whistleblowing events. You can access the report on this study here.

 

Change agent: Download your action plan for new staff

preceptor package

Yesterday I promised you a free tool adapted from
The Preceptor Program Builder, by Diana Swihart
and Solimar Figueroa.


If you’d like to download their Action Plan for New Nurses, you’ll find it here

Men earn more than women in nursing

Men typically earn around $5,000 more than women in the nursing profession, according to a recent study published in JAMA.

Even adjusting for factors such as experience, education, shift, or clinical specialty, the salary gap between men and women is around $5,000.

The Huffington Post quotes lead study author Ulrike Muench from the University of California, San Francisco: “Nursing is the largest female dominated profession so you would think that if any profession could have women achieve equal pay, it would be nursing.”

What do you think of this report? Share your comments below.