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Improving the image of nursing

Every nurse can play a part in elevating the public perception of the nursing profession. The table below shows you how email, evidence-based research, reasonable work schedules, a diverse workforce, preceptorships, interprofessional communication skills, and name tags can promote the professional image of nursing. This table was adapted from the HCPro book, The Image of Nursing, by Shelley Cohen, RN, MS, CEN and Kathleen Bartholomew, RN, MN.

 imageof nursing table 2

Evidence-Based Practice: A Soundtrack for Nurses

At HCPro, we offer extensive resources designed to help the nursing community build evidence-based practice (EBP) skills and refine strategies for incorporating EBP in daily practice.

EBP Video Clip

From Viva La Evidence, James McCormack

You can find free resources here and purchase books
and videos, including Evidence-Based Practice in Nursing: A Guide to Successful Implementation, here.

What we lack, however, is a musical EBP score to accompany those resources… For that, you’ll have to visit YouTube and view James McCormack’s Viva La Evidence, a parody of Coldplay’s Viva La Vida that sings the praises of evidence-based practice. Enjoy!

Aetna’s Preceptor Program: The Proof Is in the Program

Do preceptors and preceptees benefit by moving from an
ad-hoc preceptoring program to a formal one?

Lorri Freifeld, editor-in-chief at Training: The Source for Professional Development, recently reported some exciting findings from a formal nurse preceptor program initiated by Aetna, Inc.

Following a 6-month pilot, Aetna launched a formal nurse preceptor program in January 2013. At its outset, the formal program provided 65% of new hires with preceptors, incorporated beefed-up workshop offerings, instituted weekly progress reports between preceptors and their supervisors, increased communication of best practices, created a community calendar of training events, and implemented on-demand training and follow-up with recently preceptored new hires.

The result after three months?

  • 53% of new hires were managing a full caseload
  • 100% of preceptors said soft skills training was sufficient (up from 0%!)
  • 97% of preceptors felt the tools and resources were effective
  • 67% of new hires reported having adequate time with their preceptors

And after six months?

  • Turnover was down 50%
  • 100% of new hires had a preceptor
  • 150 new preceptor volunteers had joined the program

Pretty impressive and immediate results from a new program. Kudos to Aetna for committing to a professional approach in this most important phase of a new hire’s experience.


To read the full article, click here.

To see related HCPro offerings, including The Preceptor Program Builder, click here.

Effective self-marketing is essential to a successful job search

Editor’s note: The following blog post was written and contributed by Michelle Mercurio, National Director of Career Services, Chamberlain College of Nursing.

You read the guides to a successful job search. You put in the time. You paid attention to detail, distributing your pristine resume at career fairs and professional networking events. You even practiced an elevator pitch to highlight your credentials and what you are looking for in your next opportunity.

So why haven’t you landed a new job?

If you were diligent about your search, chances are you were following a comprehensive checklist of tactics to find your next position. However, now may be the time to ask yourself if you are just running through the motions and “checking the box” on these steps, or if you are approaching your search like a true marketeer.

What’s a Marketeer?   

We know that marketers use strategies such as product placement, advertising, public relations, brand management and social media promotion to sell goods and services to consumers. Similarly, the word marketeer is defined by Merriam-Webster as “a specialist in promoting or selling a product or service.”

But there’s more to the role than the literal definition; the word marketeer conjures images of a champion marketer who stops at nothing to ensure that the product for sale is seen as a necessity by the consumer. A career marketeer applies those same strategies and promotion principles to ensure that he or she is seen as a necessity to an employer.

Be a Marketeer

Being a marketeer applies to everyone, not solely people in traditional business careers. People in all types of industries, including healthcare and education, should apply these principles to determine the next steps in a job search.

Conduct a self-analysis of all of your promotional channels – including you!

  • Audit your resume, cover letter, social networking profiles, and all personal promotion tools to ensure that they are concise and contain action words and achievements that convey the high energy necessary to drive engagement and interest from others. Clean up any imperfections, misspellings, or irrelevant information – they only serve as distractions and may detract from your credibility.
  • Analyze your job search process and identify opportunities to maximize your time. This is the strategy part of your job search. You want to reexamine those promotional activities that did not yield feedback from hiring managers. Move forward with the actions that are generating a positive response. If none of your efforts are generating a response, check in with your contacts and increase your networking.

Test the market and increase your networking.

  • Ask a few trusted contacts to spend 10 minutes reviewing your resume, cover letter, social media profiles, and in-person interview attire. Then ask them for their candid tips on how to improve your presence online and in-person.
  • Do more than just attend a career fair or networking event. Research industry topics and engage at least three new contacts in relevant discussion. Volunteer to chair an industry-related committee or lead a project. Follow up, and follow through. For example, for a nurse who is seeking a nurse manager position, this may mean volunteering to help with a community health expo in your spare time to show your business and teamwork abilities.
  • Help them help you. Ask your contacts if you can help them with a project – and then do so enthusiastically. You can strengthen your relationship with a new contact and also reinvigorate your job search by applying your skills.

Promote your brand in all interactions – and then align it with the opportunity pipeline.

  • In his 1997 article for Fast CompanyThe Brand Called You,” Tom Peters highlights the necessity of personal branding. The advice contained in this article is still very relevant for job hunters today; reference this article for ways to create and promote your brand.
  • Prepare to “wow” during your next elevator pitch and interview; instead of reciting your abilities and desires, align your communication with the available opportunity. In other words, know your audience and show how your personal brand is important to helping them achieve their goals.
  • Rally people around you by bringing energy to all of your interactions and staying positive. Infusing your interactions with excitement and camaraderie can leave a lasting impression and can increase your chances of being remembered when it comes time to hire.

Most importantly, after you do land your new career position, carry your marketeer perspective into the workplace to ensure a successful start and future growth opportunities!

 


Review finds quality of NP care equal to physician care

Care provided by nurse practitioners (NP) is comparable to care provided by physicians in terms of patient satisfaction, prescribing accuracy, preventative education, and time spent with patients, according to a literature review conducted by the National Governors Association. The group examined 22 articles and studies regarding scope-of-practice for NPs.

The review found that NPs could successfully manage chronic conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, and obesity, and rated favorably in gaining patients’ compliance with recommendations and reductions in blood pressure and blood sugar. The report notes that patients often stated a preference for a care from a physician when it came to medical aspects, but had no preference with regards to nonmedical aspects of care.

NPs are currently allowed to practice and prescribe independently in 16 states and the District of Columbia, while NPs in the remaining 34 states must have some level of physician involvement in order to practice. The authors of the report note that expanding scope-of-practice laws for NPs could help states meet the increasing demands for primary care services. The debate over whether or not NPs should be allowed to practice independently has been ongoing for several years, with many physicians groups opposing NP independence. However, those states and healthcare systems that have expanded the role of NPs have reported positive results, according to the report.

More time working with patients, less time documenting them

What would you be able to accomplish if you had one extra hour in your day? What about if you had several extra hours? Documentation, though a necessary part of healthcare, is potentially eating into hours that otherwise could be spent on patient care. Last month, MIT Technology Review wrote about a system designed by Xerox to automate and streamline some of the time-consuming tasks associated with technology, such as logging into computers, documenting details of patient care, reviewing patient files, and coordinating duties with colleagues.

According to the article, Xerox’s research into nursing documentation was spurred by a 2008 study published in The Permanente Journal that found that more than a third of nurses’ practice time was spent on documentation, with an additional 20% of nurses’ time spent on care coordination. Of the nursing practice time, only 20% was spent on patient care and 7% was spent on patient assessment and reading of vital signs.

We polled readers at StrategiesForNurseManagers.com to find out what percentage of their time was spent on documentation. Nearly half of all respondents (49%) indicated that documentation takes up more than 50% of their time, while another 22% estimated that it took 40%-50% of their time. A quarter of readers responded that 20%-40% of their day was comprised of documentation, and only 6% replied that documentation took up less than 20% of a given shift.

Given that nurses may also be working longer than their scheduled shifts to complete all documentation, and that longer shifts have been linked to nurse burnout and adverse effects on patient outcomes, is not unreasonable to connect the dots and state that less time spent on documentation could potentially improve patient outcomes and patient satisfaction. It seems that nurses would welcome any technology or system that would streamline documentation processes and allow them to get back to providing quality patient care.

Has your organization devised any methods for making documentation more efficient? Please share in the comments section!

The practitioner will see you now: Physicians oppose independent nurse practitioners

The debate about who is qualified to provide primary care rages on this week, following the release of the report Primary Care for the 21st Century: Ensuring a Quality, Physician-led Team for Every Patient  from the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP).  In the document, the AAFP advocates for a team-based approach to primary care–in which a physician leads a groups of nurses, nurse practitioners (NP), physician assistants (PA), and other healthcare professionals to provide comprehensive and high quality care –while criticizing proposals to allow NPs to practice independently.

A national shortage of primary care physicians has led to efforts to substitute independently practicing NPs for physicians, but the AAFP points out that NPs “do not have the substance of doctor training or the length of clinical experience required to be doctors.” While it is an inarguable fact that physicians receive several years of training and clinical experience beyond that of NPs, the debate centers more around whether NPs and PAs can provide the necessary healthcare services that patients require while maintaining a high quality of care, without the direct supervision of or collaboration with a physician.  Some states, such as Massachusetts, have already granted a greater degree of independence to advanced practice professionals.

While the AAFP’s argument for solving the primary care gap by instituting ideal ratios of NPs to physicians is compelling, and the model of physician-led healthcare teams does hold promise for improving the healthcare system, the report nonetheless seems to fan the flames when it comes to practitioner qualifications. NPs are referred to as “less-qualified health professionals” and “lesser-trained professionals” who are able to handle only patients with “basic,” “straightforward,” and
“uncomplicated” conditions. The language of the report does not seem to give NPs much credit when it comes to their training and education.

While the AAFP rules out the idea that two models of healthcare–physician-led teams and independently practicing NPs–could coexist harmoniously, one has to wonder whether ultimately the patient should be allowed to decide which model best meets his or her needs. Shouldn’t patients be trusted to make informed decisions about their healthcare? If a patient is aware of the amount of training an NP has received, is aware that it does not equal that of a primary care physician, and is comfortable with that concept, why shouldn’t a patient be able to seek those (potentially more convenient) services rather than hunt for a physician-led team model? The issue is complex, but a solution that allows all Americans to receive quality healthcare must be reached.

What are your thoughts on the AAFP report, and the debate about granting NPs autonomy? Share your comments with us!

Live webcast: Onboarding New Graduate Nurses

Just a reminder that HCPro will present a live, 90-minute webcast on Tuesday, September 18, 2012 at 1:00-2:30 (Eastern) called Onboarding New Graduate Nurses: How to Overcome Hurdles and Retain New Nurses. The webcast demonstrates how the onboarding process for new graduate nurses will increase retention and speed up professional growth.

Nursing professional development experts Diana Swihart, PhD, DMin, MSN, APN CS, RN-BC, and Jim Hansen, MSN, RN-BC will discuss topics such as externships, internships, unit orientation, cultural and social integration, and nurse residency programs. They will also show how onboarding is key for moving new graduates beyond academic theory and technical skill to become competent, confident, professional nurses. Following the program, Diana Swihart and Jim Hansen will participate in a live question and answer session.

This webcast promises to be a great resource for nurse managers, assistant nurse managers, nurse leaders, charge nurses, directors of nursing, patient care managers, directors of patient care, directors of staff development, nursing professional development specialists, chief nursing officers, VPs of nursing, VPs of patient care services, and nurse residency coordinators. Sign up now and pay one price for your entire staff!

For more information or to sign up for the webcast, please visit www.hcmarketplace.com.

Celebrate a nurse through donation of roses for Nurses’ Float

Editor’s note: The following is a press release from Bare Root, Inc.

Blossoming Appreciation for Nurses: “Buy a Rose” to Decorate Inaugural “Nurses’ Float” at 2013 Tournament of Roses Parade

Funds Raised through $25 Donations to Support Nursing Programs, Scholarships and Grants

PASADENA, Calif. (July 19, 2012) – Bare Root, the nonprofit organization consisting of five California-based nurses who independently spearheaded the effort to build a float to honor 2013 Tournament of Roses president Sally Bixby, RN, and nursing professionals worldwide, announced today that they’re providing the opportunity for others to individually honor nurses by donating roses on their behalf via the foundation’s web site at www.flowers4thefloat.org.

“When we decided to build a float to honor Sally, we realized that we also wanted to honor nurses everywhere.  Nurses are really the unsung heroes of healthcare and healing,” said Monica Weisbrich, RN, president of Bare Root. “So many people have approached us asking how they can honor a special nurse in their life.  We thought this would be a wonderful way to allow them to express gratitude and to share their story if they would like to.”

Visitors of the Flowers for the Float web site have the ability to access the online store and select a quantity of roses to purchase for $25 each.   During the donation process online, users have the ability to indicate the name of the nurse they are honoring and also provide a story if they would like.  These stories are being shared on the web site’s “Celebrate a Nurse” page.  The roses purchased will be labeled with the names provided and placed on the float during live decoration.

The theme of the float, “A Healing Place,” serves as a metaphor for the healing environments nurses create through the use of their qualities and skills.  “A Healing Place” is created anywhere there is a nurse and a patient – from the hospital to the battlefield; from a school to a home; from a clinic to a specialty care center.  The words that surround and support the float explain those qualities.

“There are so many people in the world who have been touched in their lives by a special nurse,” said Weisbrich. “This is just one way we can bring all of those good messages and thoughts together in a single place.”

About Bare Root and the Nurses’ Float

In 2007 five registered nurses in California formed a nonprofit organization, “Bare Root,” to raise money and build a float to honor 2013 Tournament of Roses president Sally Bixby, RN, and nursing professionals worldwide for their tireless efforts.

2013 will be the first time that a nurse will be president of the Tournament of Roses, and only the second time that a woman was named to the top role.

To date, Bare Root has raised more than $300,000. One hundred percent of funds raised supported the development of the Nurses’ Float, with continued fundraising efforts being used for scholarships and grants to qualifying organizations.

For more information about the Nurses’ float, visit www.flowers4thefloat.org or the Nurses’ Float Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/NursesFloat.

 

CONTACT:

Sharon Noot
Noot Inc.
714.527.7735
sharon@nootinc.com

 

Thomson Reuters names top 100 U.S. hospitals

Thomson Reuters has announced its annual study naming 100 top U.S. hospitals that have shown it’s possible to walk the fine line that all hospitals are trying to walk in today’s economy—boost patient care and cut costs.

Thomson Reuters researchers evaluated 2,914 short-term, acute care, non-federal hospitals on their overall organizational performance in 10 key areas: performance in mortality, medical complications, patient safety, average patient stay, expenses, profitability, patient satisfaction, adherence to clinical standards of care, post-discharge mortality, and readmission rates for heart attack, heart failure, and pneumonia.

According to researchers, if all Medicare inpatients received the same level of care as those treated in the award-winning facilities:

  • Nearly 116,000 additional patients would survive each year
  • More than 197,000 patient complications would be avoided annually
  • Expense-per-adjusted-discharge would drop by $462
  • The average patient stay would decrease by half a day

Hospitals that made the list include Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston; Fairview Hospital, Cleveland; Blanchard Valley Hospital, Findlay, OH; Sutter Davis Hospital, Davis, CA; and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston.

Brigham and Woman’s Hospital, along with five other hospitals on the list, also won the Everest Award for the greatest rate of improvement over five years.

Click here to see the full list.

Source: Thomson Reuters