Blog

Posts from June, 2013

Nursing News: Long Nurse Shifts Equals Lower Patient Satisfaction Scores

Written by LeAnn Thieman, CSP, June 27th, 2013

Post-doctoral fellow Amy Witkoski Stimpfel, PhD, RN, researched nurse burnout via another quality indicator.

Though the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing scholar suspected a connection, Witkoski Stimpfel’s study of 22,000 nurses in California, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Florida revealed lower patient satisfaction when nurses worked shifts of 13 hours or more.

Patient satisfaction decreased 1% with every 10% increase in the nurse’s shift length.

“The trend in scheduling is 12 to 13-hour shifts but, where there were higher proportions of shorter shifts, patients were more satisfied,” noted Witkoski Stimpfel.

Hospital administrators have shown a great deal of interest in her findings, but find themselves at a quandary, she said.

“They know nurses want to work 12-hour shifts and most facilities accommodate that,” she said. “I do get the sense hospitals are concerned about the safety aspect but everybody’s fearful of changing the shift length because nurses might leave. It’s a fine balance.”

Witkoski Stimpfel said reducing overtime might be an effective compromise or at least a starting point. Furthermore, the literature supports 4 to 6-hour shifts as it offers flexibility for nurses with family responsibilities.

“With a short shift, nurses can deal with admission and discharges while still going to lunch and taking a break,” she said. “Even combining 8- and 12-hour shifts is a good idea because the nurse isn’t consistently working 12 hours”

Not only are patients less satisfied, but many nurses logging long hours at the hospital are reporting intent to leave their employer within the year. Witkoski Stimpfel said nurses working 10 hours or more are 55% more likely to report wanting to seek new opportunities.

Cimiotti said there is a solution. “A lot of research shows that, even if staffing isn’t optimal, nurses don’t become burned out if there’s a healthy work environment,” she said.

To learn how to create a healthy work environment for your nurses, strategies for nurse recruitment, nurse retention, bringing self care to your facility and how to increase work life balance for nurses and healthcare professionals, go to SelfCare for HealthCare. CONTACT ME DIRECTLY to talk about customizing this powerful program for your employees.

Nursing Shortage: Understaffing in NICU Increases Infection Rates

Written by LeAnn Thieman, CSP, June 25th, 2013

Nurse understaffing is widespread in U.S. neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) and linked with higher rates of infection, a new study reports.

Researchers looked at data from more than 11,000 infants with very low birth weights who spent at least three days in NICUs in the United States in 2008 and 2009. They also examined data on NICU staffing levels of registered nurses.

Nurse understaffing occurred for 32% of all infants in NICUs and for 85% of infants who required higher levels of care, according to the study published online March 18 in the journal JAMA Pediatrics.

On average, meeting minimum national staffing guidelines would require an additional 0.11 of a nurse per infant overall and an additional 0.39 of a nurse for each infant requiring a higher level of care, said Jeannette Rogowski, of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Piscataway, and colleagues in a journal news release.

The study also found that infection rates for very low birth weight infants in NICUs were 16.5% in 2008 and 13.9% in 2009. The higher the levels of understaffing, the greater the risk of infection. While this study showed an association between nurse staffing in NICUs and infant infections, it did not prove a cause-and-effect link.

This is yet another indication that more nurses need to be recruited into the field, and why we all need to do our part to ease the nursing shortage.

To learn strategies for nurse recruitment, nurse retention, bringing self care to your facility and how to increase work life balance for nurses and healthcare professionals, go to SelfCare for HealthCare. CONTACT ME DIRECTLY to talk about customizing this powerful program for your employees.

Nursing News: Inpatient Hospital Deaths Decreased

Written by LeAnn Thieman, CSP, June 20th, 2013

The number of inpatient hospital deaths decreased by 8% between 2000 and 2010; the death rate declined from 2.5 of every 100 patients to 2 of every 100.

The decrease occurred even though total hospitalizations increased 11%, from 31.7 million to 35.1 million, during that span. Of patients who died in the hospital in 2010, 27% were 85 or older.

Respiratory failure had the highest death rate, at 16.5 per 100 inpatients, in 2010. However, this was a 35% decrease, down from 25.3 per 100 inpatients in 2000.

Septicemia had the second-highest death rate in 2010, at 16.3%, and was the only listed first-line diagnosis for which the death rate rose since 2000. The increase from 13.9 deaths per 100 patients hospitalized for septicemia represented a bump of 17%.

The death rate for pneumonitis due to solids and liquids was 13.6 in 2010, a decrease of 22% since 2000. Other decreases were seen in in-hospital deaths for kidney disease (65%), cancer (46%), stroke (27%), pneumonia (33%) and heart disease (16%).

The full data brief from the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics is available at www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db118.htm.

Good job nurses!

To learn how to recruit more nurses into this exciting growing field, strategies for nurse recruitment, nurse retention, bringing self care to your facility and how to increase work life balance for nurses and healthcare professionals, go to SelfCare for HealthCare. CONTACT ME DIRECTLY to talk about customizing this powerful program for your employees.

Nursing News: Will Thousands of Nurses Set Up Primary Care Practices?

Written by LeAnn Thieman, CSP, June 18th, 2013

Eleven states are considering legislation that would permit nurses with a master’s degree or higher to order and interpret diagnostic tests, prescribe medications and administer treatments without physician oversight. Similar legislation is likely to be introduced soon in three other states.

If the proposals, which face opposition from some physicians’ groups, succeed, the number of states allowing nurses to practice without any type of physician supervision would increase from 16 to 30, in addition to the District.

The legislation being proposed could spur tens of thousands of nurses to set up primary-care practices that would be virtually indistinguishable from those run by doctors. The last big legislative push of this type, a state-by-state effort that began in the late 1980s, sputtered by the early 1990s. This time, however, the campaign is being coordinated nationally by the Nurse Practioners Association and other nursing groups and is getting a critical boost from state officials concerned about the 2010 health-care law’s looming impact on the availability of doctors.

Beginning in January 2014, about 27 million uninsured Americans are expected to get coverage under the law, contributing to a projected shortage of about 45,000 primary-care physicians by 2020, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges.

The nurses have won the support of faith-based organizations, social workers, patients’ groups and the National Governors Association. Perhaps the most valuable endorsement came from experts convened by the National Academy of Sciences’ prestigious Institute of Medicine. The IOM panel, in a report issued in 2010 after the adoption of the health-care law, found no evidence that nurse-run practices were unsafe and concluded that “now is the time” to allow nurses to practice to the full extent of their education and training without limitations by doctors.

To learn how to recruit more nurses into this exciting growing field, strategies for nurse recruitment, nurse retention, bringing self care to your facility and how to increase work life balance for nurses and healthcare professionals, go to SelfCare for HealthCare. CONTACT ME DIRECTLY to talk about customizing this powerful program for your employees.

Nurse Retention News: Nurses Eager to Continue Education

Written by LeAnn Thieman, CSP, June 13th, 2013

Nurses are eager to continue their nursing education in the next 1-3 years, according to a survey from AMN Healthcare. 40% of nurses want to pursue an advanced degree, which means that they are planning to stay in the field – good news for nurse retention.

Broken down by age, the numbers were impressive. Almost 70% of 19-39 year old respondents planned to pursue more advanced degrees, with 37% of this age group saying that they planned to purse a master’s degree in nursing.

In addition, the survey found that 28% of respondents are considering getting specialty certification in the next 1-3 years; 35% say they’re already certified through their professional organization.

Some healthcare organizations have onsite educational courses and programs; others work with nurses on flexible scheduling options so they can better balance work and school. Many encourage nurse certification; still others offer tuition reimbursement.

Forward thinking nurse leaders are encouraging their employees’ enthusiasm and helping them meet their educational goals, while also improving nurse recruitment and nurse retention.

To learn strategies for nurse recruitment, nurse retention, bringing self care to your facility and how to increase work life balance for nurses and healthcare professionals, go to SelfCare for HealthCare. CONTACT ME DIRECTLY to talk about customizing this powerful program for your employees.

Nurse Retention News: Nurses Happy with Career Choice, But Not Their Jobs

Written by LeAnn Thieman, CSP, June 11th, 2013

A survey of nearly 3,000 RNs showed that nurses are happier than ever with their career choices, yet about 30% of them aren’t happy with their current jobs.

Marcia Faller, PhD, RN, CNO at AMN Healthcare, which conducted the survey, says it’s a finding that should make nurse leaders stop and listen. The fact that 30% of nurses want to find a new job is a clear sign that a lack of a nursing shortage is no excuse for leaders to start slacking off on their recruitment and retention.

“Nurse leaders really need to pay attention,” Faller said. “You really do need to continue on those efforts.” She believes that nursing’s importance has come to the forefront over the past few years, thanks in part to the findings of the IOM’s landmark Future of Nursing report, for example.

Faller sums it up as, “People don’t leave their jobs; they leave their manager and their leaders.”

To learn strategies for nurse recruitment, nurse retention, bringing self care to your facility and how to increase work life balance for nurses and healthcare professionals, go to SelfCare for HealthCare. CONTACT ME DIRECTLY to talk about customizing this powerful program for your employees.

Work Life Balance: Workplace Wellness Programs Increase Employee Health and Nurse Retention

Written by LeAnn Thieman, CSP, June 6th, 2013

According to the Principal Financial “Well-Being Index: American Workers,” 62% of workers believe workplace wellness activities are successful in improving health and reducing health risks, up from 55% two years ago.

By participating in workplace wellness offerings, American employees are approaching their work with more energy and motivation. 51% of program participants feel wellness benefits encourage them to work harder and perform better, and another 59% say they have more energy to be productive at work as a result of their participation in employer-sponsored wellness programs.

“As wellness programs become more established in the workplace, we are seeing a growing number of employees appreciate – and expect – that their employer offers these benefits,” said Lee Dukes, president of Principal Wellness Company, a subsidiary of the Principal Financial Group. “In the wake of the financial crisis, which has left many companies stretched thin, maintaining a productive workforce is a priority for organizations.”

Nearly half (45%) of employees agree that an employer-sponsored wellness program would encourage them to stay in their current employment situation, up from 40% in 2011. Additionally, 43% of participants say wellness programs have led them to miss fewer days of work, up 8% from 2011.

Employers are offering new ways to encourage employees to participate in a wellness program, including encouragement such as 20% lower health insurance costs, contribution to their health savings accounts, gift certificates, and/or paid time off.

The survey was conducted online in the United States by Harris Interactive, between Oct. 30 and Nov. 7, 2012, among 1,103 employees.

To learn how to build a thriving healthcare environment, strategies for nurse recruitment, nurse retention, bringing self care and to your facility and how to increase work life balance for nurses and healthcare professionals, go to SelfCare for HealthCare. CONTACT ME DIRECTLY to talk about customizing this powerful program for your employees.

Nurse Recruitment: Increase in Alzheimer’s Disease Shows Increase Need for Nurses

Written by LeAnn Thieman, CSP, June 4th, 2013

The number of people with Alzheimer’s disease is expected to TRIPLE in the next 40 years, according to a new study.

“This increase is due to an aging baby boom generation,” Jennifer Weuve, MPH, ScD, a coauthor of the study and an assistant professor of medicine at Rush Institute for Healthy Aging at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, said in a news release. “It will place a huge burden on society, disabling more people who develop the disease, challenging their caregivers and straining medical and social safety nets.

The data was combined with U.S. death rates, education and current and future population estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau.

The researchers determined that the total number of people with Alzheimer’s dementia in 2050 is projected to be 13.8 million, up from 4.7 million in 2010. About 7 million of those with the disease would be 85 or older in 2050.

All of these projections should compel us to prepare for it. In anticipation for the looming nursing shortage, we need to increase nurse recruitment today.

To learn strategies for nurse recruitment, nurse retention, bringing self care to your facility and how to increase work life balance for nurses and healthcare professionals, go to SelfCare for HealthCare. CONTACT ME DIRECTLY to talk about customizing this powerful program for your employees.