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Posts from January, 2013

Healthcare News: Hospital Layoffs and Financial Viability: Do They Go Hand-in-Hand?

Written by LeAnn Thieman, CSP, January 24th, 2013

Layoffs have become common news in the hospital and healthcare industry over the past couple years. Often times, the moves are used as a way to shore up short-term finances.

Most hospitals say layoffs are the last resort because they are well aware it is a sensitive area. Facilities will usually look at operational efficiencies, purchased services, materials costs and financial alternatives before cutting jobs. Anticipating future financial issues — decreasing reimbursements, decreasing volumes, increasing outpatient and primary care responsibilities, etc. — can mean an insurmountable problem down the road, which could ultimately lead to acquisition or closure.

Well-managed layoffs are designed to have the lowest impact on the staff and community as possible. This means a facility will look at closing open positions, attrition and early retirement packages before they look at letting others go. They should also be looking at minimizing impact on patient care, meaning departments that have layoffs are those that have an opportunity for greater efficiency or automation as opposed to a 5 percent reduction across the board.

The greatest adverse effects from hospital layoffs are felt if they are poorly managed. For example, if you lay off a large portion of your environmental services staff to save nursing jobs, nurses may be expected to take on some of the environmental job responsibilities, which is not only a skill mix issue, but also decreases nurse satisfaction as they are looking to focus more on their patients.

The other adverse effect is the hospital’s image and brand. Without a clear message and communications plan to help clearly establish the hospital’s position as to why it is moving toward layoffs, there is a greater chance of backlash from local media and the community itself.

To learn more nurse recruitment and retention strategies, how to increase work life balance for nurses, and how to increase patient satisfaction scores, check out my new SelfCare for HealthCare program. After you take a look, CONTACT ME DIRECTLY to talk about customizing this powerful program for your employees.

Healthcare News: Are Healthcare Employees Less Likely to Job Hunt?

Written by LeAnn Thieman, CSP, January 22nd, 2013

U.S. healthcare workers are feeling more confident in their employers and are less likely to look for another job, according to the most recent quarterly Randstad Healthcare Employment Report.

Although the third quarter survey revealed a small decline in healthcare employees’ confidence index — 53.4 this quarter compared to 53.9 last quarter — 68% of workers indicated confidence in the future of their employer, an increase of 10% from last quarter.

Healthcare workers’ confidence in the strength of the economy remained unchanged at 20%, and the number of workers who believe there are more jobs available dropped by 11 percentage points to 13%, compared with last quarter.

That last finding may be a contributing factor to the significant drop in employees’ likelihood of job hunting. In the second quarter, 37% of healthcare workers indicated they are likely to look for a new job within the next 12 months. That figure dropped to 23% in the third quarter.

The survey was based on 275 healthcare employees, including physicians, administrators and other healthcare professionals.

To learn about nurse recruitment and retention strategies, and how to increase work life balance for nurses, check out my new SelfCare for HealthCare program. CONTACT ME DIRECTLY to talk about customizing this powerful program for your employees.

Nursing News: Updated Code of Ethics for Nurses

Written by LeAnn Thieman, CSP, January 17th, 2013

The International Council of Nurses’ newly revised “Code of Ethics for Nurses” highlights the importance of work environment and evidence-based practice. Based on contemporary social values and needs, the Code has served as the standard for nurses worldwide since it was adopted in 1953.

“This is a critically timed publication,” David Benton, RN, BSc, MPhil, CEO of the ICN, said in a news release. “Now, more than ever, nurses are facing major ethical dilemmas as governments struggle to contain costs. This publication provides an essential tool, a compass, to help navigate the challenges ahead.”

The 2012 revised edition includes the nurse’s role in developing and sustaining a core of professional values, creating a positive practice environment, maintaining safe, equitable social and economic working conditions, sustaining and protecting the natural environment and contributing to an ethical organizational environment.

The ICN’s code of ethics regularly is reviewed and revised in response to the realities of nursing and healthcare in changing societies. It clarifies that inherent in nursing is respect for human rights, including the right to life, to dignity and to be treated with respect. Able to be used as a guide by nurses in everyday choices, it supports their refusal to participate in activities that conflict with caring and healing.

The 2012 “Code of Ethics for Nurses” is available on the ICN website for downloading (www.icn.ch/about-icn/code-of-ethics-for-nurses/). The ICN asks all nurses to help with its dissemination to schools of nursing, practicing nurses, other health professions, the general public, consumer and policymaking groups, human rights organizations and employers of nurses.

To learn more nurse recruitment and retention strategies, and how to increase work life balance for nurses, check out my new SelfCare for HealthCare program. After you take a look, CONTACT ME DIRECTLY to talk about customizing this powerful program for your employees.

Increase Patient Satisfaction: Nurses Must Offer Spiritual Care

Written by LeAnn Thieman, CSP, January 15th, 2013

Physicians and nurses at four Boston medical centers said lack of training explained why they rarely provide spiritual care for terminally ill cancer patients, although most considered it an important part of treatment at the end of life and it’s proven to increase patient satisfaction.

Current U.S. palliative care guidelines encourage medical practitioners to pay close attention to religious and spiritual needs that often arise during a patient’s end-of-life care. However, the 204 physicians who participated in the study reported providing spiritual care to just 24% of their patients. Among 118 nurses, the figure was 31%.

The 69 patients with advanced cancers who took the survey reported even lower rates, saying 14% of nurses and 6% of physicians provided them some sort of spiritual care.

Past research has shown that spiritual care for seriously ill patients improves their quality of life, increases their overall patient satisfaction with care and decreases aggressive medical treatment, which may in turn result in lower overall health spending.

In the past, some nurses and physicians may have said, ‘That’s not my job,’ but the tides are changing. We can no longer ignore this aspect of care.

Their survey showed that a majority of providers and patients supported the appropriateness of eight specific examples of spiritual care, such as a doctor or nurse praying with a patient or referring the patient to a hospital chaplain.

Lack of training stood out as the biggest barrier to providing spiritual care in this small study. Only 13% of doctors and nurses reported having ever received spiritual care training.

How can your facility provide training to minister to the spiritual needs of your patients?

A nurse cannot deliver what she/he does not have inside. A caregiver of strong in mind, body and spirit can deliver that care.

To learn more nurse recruitment and retention strategies, how to increase work life balance for nurses, and how to increase patient satisfaction scores, check out my new SelfCare for HealthCare program. After you take a look, CONTACT ME DIRECTLY to talk about customizing this powerful program for your employees.

Nurse Retention Tip: Add Money Management to Corporate Wellness Programs

Written by LeAnn Thieman, CSP, January 10th, 2013

Wisely, many organizations and hospitals have initiated employee wellness programs, focusing mainly on preventative care (diet, exercise, smoking cessation programs and nutrition counseling.) Some are now including financial wellness programs. Both are great nurse retention tools.

Some employees come to work bringing their financial concerns with them. This leads to increased absenteeism, frequent personal phone calls, low morale, poor concentration, and lower productivity.

Not only is implementing a wellness program effective in reducing the company’s health care costs, it can be leveraged to reduce the employee’s financial stress and increase their job satisfaction.

There are a variety of financial wellness programs available. Employers may have their benefits providers reach out to employees or have a third party answer questions and route them to providers of various financial services. Some offer on-site educational sessions in group settings. The sessions may include topics such as debt management, cash flow management, savings strategies, tax saving strategies, estate planning techniques, insurance education, etc.

Some employers take it even a step further and provide opportunities for their employees to meet one-on-one with an experienced financial adviser to help them better understand how to best integrate their current benefit programs with their personal financial and retirement plans.

Many believe that these programs help increase the financial wellness of a company’s employees. Financial wellness within employee wellness programs will lead to higher productivity, retention and overall job satisfaction.

To learn more nurse recruitment and retention strategies and how to increase work life balance for nurses and healthcare professionals, check out my new SelfCare for HealthCare program. After you take a look, CONTACT ME DIRECTLY to talk about customizing this powerful program for your employees.

Nursing News: Scholarships Help End the Nursing Shortage

Written by LeAnn Thieman, CSP, January 8th, 2013

The Johnson & Johnson Campaign for Nursing’s Future began in 2002 and has had a tremendous impact in helping to ease the nursing shortage. Campaign leaders recognized their efforts would have a greater impact if prospective nurses could afford nursing school. To assist them, the campaign worked with healthcare partners throughout the United States to raise more than $19 million for undergraduate scholarships, nurse educator fellowships and nursing school grants.

To celebrate its 10th anniversary and thank RNs for their contributions to the nursing profession, the campaign created a digital mosaic featuring photos of nearly 10,000 RNs. For each photo submitted, the campaign donated $1 ($2 per photo submitted at the National Student Nurses Association’s national convention) to the scholarship fund of the Foundation of the NSNA. Donations totaled $12,500.

As demand for nursing education increases, so does the need for more nursing faculty. The campaign has responded by pouring resources into programs to recruit and retain nursing faculty including a TV advertisement showing the same nurse in several critical healthcare situations in different states, showing how they touch patients through all the students they teach.

To learn more nurse recruitment and retention strategies and how to increase work life balance for nurses and healthcare professionals, check out my new SelfCare for HealthCare program. After you take a look, CONTACT ME DIRECTLY to talk about customizing this powerful program for your employees.

Nurse Retention Must Include Nursing Assistants

Written by LeAnn Thieman, CSP, January 1st, 2013

Front-line staff have often been the most difficult for nursing home administrators to engage, and nurse retention of this group is a daunting task. Low pay, tough schedules and the emotional stress of the caring environment adds to the problem. Statistics show less education is related to both care deficiencies and turnover – over 50% of nursing assistants will leave their jobs within one year.

New management models that promote staff education and personal growth are having an impact. Staff tend to reflect the environment created by those who supervise them, according to research of the late Susan Eaton, author of “Beyond Unloving Care.” Eaton’s years of research led her to several observations about different work environments and their effects:

  • Staff in “custodial” homes had no feedback, little training, no one to help with workloads and high frustration levels.
  • Staff in “medical” homes worked more often as a team, had better quality of life, performed better documentation and received better pay than in custodial homes.
  • Staff in “regenerative/culture change” homes were exposed to more choices, more staff collaboration, staff cross-training and had corporate cultures that promoted staff growth.

Today’s facilities are beginning to realize that investment in employees’ education is one of the best ways to retain them.

The number one job complaint among CNAs is a lack of respect in the workplace, not the low pay rates. Staffers appreciate it when supervisors praise them or give them awards, but what they really want is to be asked for their input…to be HEARD. Facility administrators have a responsibility to train nursing supervisors in how to listen as well as how to give direction and delegate.

To learn more nurse recruitment and retention strategies and how to increase work life balance for nurses and healthcare professionals, check out my new SelfCare for HealthCare program. After you take a look, CONTACT ME DIRECTLY to talk about customizing this powerful program for your employees.