Posts from January, 2015

Nurse Health: How Many Nurses Smoke?

Written by LeAnn Thieman, CSP, January 29th, 2015

Compared with 2007, smoking rates among health care professionals for 2011 continued to be lowest in physicians and highest in licensed practical nurses (LPNs), according to a research letter published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, a theme issue on tobacco control. What does this mean for nurse health?

Linda Sarna, Ph.D., R.N., of the University of California in Los Angeles, and colleagues analyzed public data to compare changes in the prevalence of smoking among health care professionals.

nurse healthAccording to the results of a 2010 to 2011 survey of 2,975 health care professionals, 8.34 percent reported being current smokers. The researchers note that current smoking rates were lowest in physicians (1.95 percent) and highest in LPNs (24.99 percent). Registered nurses were the only group with a significant decline in smoking rates for 2010 to 2011 (7.09 percent) compared with 2006 to 2007 (10.73 percent) or 2003 (11.14 percent).

“The majority of health care professionals continued as never smokers,” the authors write. “In 2010 to 2011, current smoking among these health care professionals, excepting licensed practical nurses, was lower than the general population (16.08 percent).”

As nurses we need to care for ourselves and role model that to others. Let’s support each other in stopping smoking.

To learn more ways to care for our bodies, minds and spirits and improve nurse health, visit SelfCare for HealthCare™. Contact me today to discuss this powerful program that brings SelfCare and work life balance to your facility.

Wellness Programs Help National Health Crisis

Written by LeAnn Thieman, CSP, January 27th, 2015

healthcare wellness programsWellness programs not only help organizations and employees, but can help fix our national health crisis.

Because of their interactions and influences on employees, workplaces have a unique ability to change an employee’s mindset from one of sickness to wellness. “Companies are a microcosm of society and an important and unleveraged setting for health improvement and risk reduction,” says Dr. Ron Goetzel, a leading expert in the field of health and productivity management. With 150 million Americans going to work every day, corporate America is not only in the best position to change our nation’s health, but has a responsibility to do so.

As part of a project with the Department of Defense, over 20 award-winning and recognized workplace wellness systems were studied, such as Johnson & Johnson, L.L. Bean and Safeway. These leading organizations changed how people interact with healthcare, in a way that government or healthcare organizations have been unable to do.

The organizations with the greatest success are shifting people’s relationship with health from one of annual doctors’ office visits to one where health is practiced daily through small lifestyle habits. These practices improve employee’s lives while reducing future costs. For the organizations in the study, this translated into average annual health care cost increases of 1 to 2 percent compared to the 7 percent national average.

To learn how to improve your wellness programs and employees’ work life balance, and save lives and money visit SelfCare for HealthCare™. Contact me today to become one of the forward-thinking hospitals who know that caring for their nurses if the best way to care for patients.

Work Life Balance: High Stress Lowers Nurse Engagement, Increases Hospital Costs

Written by LeAnn Thieman, CSP, January 22nd, 2015

Teaching effective work life balance techniques to nurses and healthcare workers is more important than ever – for their health and the hospital’s bottom line. When nurse engagement suffers, so does the budget. Employees suffering from high stress levels have lower levels of engagement, are less productive and have higher absenteeism than those not operating under excessive pressure, according to research from professional services firm Towers Watson.

nurse engagementAccording to Towers Watson’s Global Benefits Attitudes survey, workplace disengagement significantly increases when employees experience high levels of stress.

“A third of respondents said they are often bothered by excessive pressure in their job, and this can lead to higher instances of disengagement and absenteeism, clear indicators of low productivity in the workplace,” said Rebekah Haymes, senior consultant at Towers Watson

The research found that almost six out of 10 (57%) employees who claimed to be experiencing high stress levels also reported feeling disengaged. In contrast, only one in ten employees claiming low stress levels said they were disengaged and half of this group claimed to be highly engaged.

“This clearly shows the destructive link between high levels of stress and reduced productivity,” Haymes said.

Levels of absence are also influenced by stress, the research found. Highly stressed employees taking an average of 4.6 sick days per year compared to 2.6 days for low stress employees. ‘Presenteeism,’ attending work when unwell and unproductive, was 50% higher for highly stressed employees with an average of 16 days per year versus about 10 days for employees reporting low stress.

To promote lower stress environments in their workplaces, it’s critical to understand the causes of stress in organizations. Visit SelfCare for HealthCare™ for work life balance tools that combat high stress and contact me today to discuss how this program will skyrocket your nurse engagement.

Nurse Retention: 30% of Nurses Bullied at Work

Written by LeAnn Thieman, CSP, January 20th, 2015

Thirty percent of hospital nurses say they feel bullied at work (Jackson Healthcare survey), which has a profound impact on nurse retention.

In survey data based on responses from 1,333 hospital-based registered nurses, they found:

Nurses feel bullied by a various coworkers, including senior management (13 percent), fellow nurses being cliquey or rude (11 percent), nursing administration and leaders (5 percent) and physicians (5 percent).

bullying nurse retention Bullying has a marked negative affect on job satisfaction, according to the survey. Nurses who feel bullied are more likely to say their profession has taken a turn for the worse. They also report feeling isolated and wasting time on tasks others could do.

Addressing this issue can lead to positive outcomes for nurses and the hospital, according to Bob Schlotman, chief marketing officer of Jackson Healthcare. “Maintaining a positive workplace culture in our hospitals not only fosters better job satisfaction, it can also improve a nurse’s performance and subsequently, even enhance patient outcomes,” he said.

To learn ways to reduce bullying in your organization and increase nurse retention visit SelfCare for HealthCare™. Contact me today to discuss bringing me in for a presentation during Nurses Week!

Decreased Nurse Retention Part of 6 Hospital Workforce Trends

Written by LeAnn Thieman, CSP, January 15th, 2015

Employee productivity, staff retention/nurse retention and the quality of hires are major issues in the hospital and healthcare workforce, and labor trends related to those issues became apparent, according to the 2013/14 Human Capital Effectiveness Report from PwC.

PwC’s report includes labor data from calendar year 2012 from roughly 60 hospitals and health systems, which represent more than 1 million employees.

Here are six trends in the hospital workforce, according to PwC’s report.

decresed nurse retention1. Employee productivity rose, while labor costs declined.In 2012, hospitals said the average revenue per full-time equivalent was $192,304, an increase from $189,479 recorded in 2011. It is also significantly higher than 2010, when the average revenue per FTE was $180,536. PwC analysts said this is a clear sign hospital employee productivity is increasing to pre-recession levels.

Additionally, as employees worked harder and longer hours, hospitals lowered their labor costs. In 2012, the average labor costs per FTE at hospitals, which included compensation and benefits, was $87,221 compared with $92,712 in 2011. The average across all industries is $101,566, meaning healthcare is already efficient in this area.

2. More hospital employees voluntarily left their positions.Despite higher productivity and lower labor costs, hospitals are still facing a looming long-term challenge: The voluntary turnover rate increased from 8.9 percent in 2011 to 9.5 percent in 2012. Nurses had the highest voluntary separation rate at 9.6 percent.

“With the improving economy, job opportunities are starting to increase, leading employees to explore alternative options,” PwC’s report said. “It is important for organizations to understand the primary drivers of engagement and turnover in an effort to minimize the costly consequences of losing talent.”

3. Hospitals paid larger shares toward employee health benefits.Hospitals and health systems continue to pay more in employee healthcare costs, as is the trend across theentire workforce. PwC analysts said to compensate for higher healthcare costs, hospitals are scaling back other benefits, like pensions and retirement funds.

4. Hospitals improved their first-year turnover rate.The first-year turnover rate for healthcare providers — the number of employees who left or were fired within their first year — decreased from 28.3 percent in 2011 to 27 percent in 2012. The mark is still higher than the 22.6 percent across all industries.

5. Healthcare placed a bigger emphasis on diversity hiring.Hospitals and health systems are creating a more diverse employee population. In 2011, the percent of managers who were considered to be “ethnically diverse” was 8.4 percent, while the percent of ethnically diverse executives was 6.7 percent. In 2012, those figures jumped to 12.5 percent and 8.2 percent, respectively.

6. Investments in human resources continued to lag.Within hospitals, the HR costs per employee dipped slightly to $794 in 2012. Comparatively, HR costs per FTE across the entire market were $1,923 in 2012.

However, PwC said hospitals will increase their investments in HR over time because many are starting to view that department as an arm that can carry out “strategic” internal initiatives, such as succession planning, career management and performance management.

To learn more ways to increase your nurse retention and productivity, visit SelfCare for HealthCare™. Give this life-changing gift to you nurses…contact me today!

Nurse Retention: 34% of New Nurses Leave Within Two Years

Written by LeAnn Thieman, CSP, January 13th, 2015

Nearly 18% of newly licensed registered nurses leave their first nursing job within the first year, and about 34% leave within two years (according to a study in Policy, Politics & Nursing Practice), which speaks to the need for effective, easy-to-implement nurse retention programs.

RN turnover is costly for hospitals. Its organizational costs can reach $6.4 million for large acute-care hospitals. However, researchers found turnover rates are lower for new nurses in hospitals than in other healthcare settings.

A study conducted by the RN Work Project, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, analyzed existing turnover data and reported turnover data from surveys of new RNs conducted since 2006.

nurse retention The study noted different kinds of nurse turnover, and that turnover is sometimes helpful, such as when poorly functioning employees leave. They recommend organizations pay attention to the type of turnover happening in their facilities.

A high rate of voluntary turnover at a hospital can be problematic. If it’s involuntary or if nurses are moving within the hospital to another unit or position, that may imply other reasons.

Hospitals are focused on patient satisfaction, and since nurses have the most interaction with patients during their hospital stay, they greatly impact satisfaction. Long-term, experienced nurses help hospitals provide higher quality care.

Recruiting the right nurse and training him or her is time consuming and expensive. Retaining nurses should be a major concern for hospital leaders.

To learn the #1 way to increase nurse retention at your hospital visit SelfCare for HealthCare™. Contact me today to schedule a call with your leadership team about customizing this program that increases nurse engagement, retention and morale.

Nurse Retention: 6 Ways to Retain Your Nurses

Written by LeAnn Thieman, CSP, January 8th, 2015

To increase nurse retention in your organization and avoid the impending shortage, here are some simple tips:

nurse retention and patient satisfaction1) Provide an atmosphere where nurses are appreciated.

2) Create opportunities for them to grow.

3) Encourage career development.

4) Offer schedule flexibility, especially for those furthering their education.

5) Form nurse residency programs

6) Listen to ideas and concerns

These simple tips not only show your concern for their well-being, but create healthier work environments. This will help retain your best nurses.

To learn more nurse retention strategies and nurse recruitment tips, visit SelfCare for HealthCare™. Contact me today to discuss bringing this ground-breaking program to your healthcare staff.


Work Life Balance: How Men and Women React to Stress Differently

Written by LeAnn Thieman, CSP, January 6th, 2015

According to a study published in the Oct. 21 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, there are clear, measurable physical differences from mental stress in men and women. Does this mean work life balance is more of a struggle for women?

Zainab Samad, M.D., from the Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C., and colleagues analyzed data from 310 participants in the REMIT (Responses of Mental Stress-Induced Myocardial Ischemia to Escitalopram) study with stable ischemic heart disease. Participants underwent psychometric assessments, transthoracic echocardiography, and platelet aggregation studies at baseline and after three mental stress tasks.

Stresses NurseThe researchers found that, at baseline, women had higher depression and anxiety. Compared to men, women at rest had heightened platelet aggregation responses to serotonin and epinephrine. Following mental stress, women expressed more negative and less positive emotion and demonstrated higher collagen-stimulated platelet aggregation responses than men. Compared to women, though, men were more likely to show changes in traditional physiological measures such as blood pressure.

The evidence is clear. We need to reduce stress and care for our minds, bodies and spirits, and promote healthy work life balance. How stressed is your facility? Do your nurses lack the coping skills they need to manage stress and keep patients safe? Let’s discuss SelfCare for HealthCare™. Don’t wait another day – you and your nurses deserve it. Contact me today to schedule an exploratory conversation.

Nurse Engagement Impacts Job Outcome and Quality of Care

Written by LeAnn Thieman, CSP, January 2nd, 2015

A new study measuring nurse engagement explores the mechanisms through which nurse practice environments are associated with job outcomes and nurse-assessed quality of care.

The study population was registered acute care hospital nurses (N = 1201) in two independent hospitals and one hospital group with six hospitals in Belgium. Results: Nurse practice environment dimensions predicted job outcome variables and nurse ratings of quality of care.

nurse engagementAnalyses were consistent with features of nurses’ work characteristics including perceived workload, decision latitude and social capital, as well as three dimension of work engagement playing mediating roles between nurse practice environment and outcomes. A revised model adjusted using various fit measures explained 60% and 47% of job outcomes and nurse-assessed quality of care, respectively.

Conclusion: Study findings show that aspects of nurse work characteristics such as workload, decision latitude and social capital along with nurse work engagement (e.g. vigor, dedication and absorption) play a role between how various stakeholders such as executives, nurse managers and physicians will organize care and how nurses perceive job outcomes and quality of care.

To learn how to increase nurse engagement and improve patient care and outcomes, visit SelfCare for HealthCare™. To explore customizing this program for your nurses and healthcare staff, contact me today!