Posts from October, 2015

Nurse Retention: Nurses Do More with Less…and Leave

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

The full ramifications of the latest nursing shortage are still uncertain. Similar to the nursing shortage that peaked during WWII and into the 1960s, some predict we will have increased enrollments in nursing schools, shorter training periods, and less-educated professionals to fill in the gaps.

This possible solution can, however, often result in more frustration with the profession, causing trained nurses to pursue other careers because of the stress. This means that nurse retention needs to be a main focus so we don’t lose these cherished nurses!

nurse shortage Those currently in the nursing field say they already operate under a do-more-with-less mentality and ultimately it’s the patient who suffers. No matter what methods are involved to fix the problem, the consensus is that too few nurses means the healthcare system will suffer.

A 2010 paper published in the Journal of Clinical Nursing determined shortages aren’t created by a lack of bodies, but by nurses who are unwilling to work in the conditions available. It found that the actual causes of nursing shortages are:

– Inadequate workforce planning and allocation

– An under supply of new staff

– Poor recruitment

– Retention policies

– Ineffective use of available nursing resources, such as inefficient use of skills

– Poor incentive structures

– Inadequate career support

To learn now to support your nurses, increase nurse retention and nurse recruitment, visit SelfCare for HealthCare – the only program that focuses on caring for the caregiver to increase patient satisfaction and reimbursements.

Nurse Recruitment: Aging Population Demands More Nurses

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

Every year in the United States, about 4 million babies are born, and about 2 1/2 million people die. Baby boomers are still the largest generation (currently at almost 75 million), but Generation X and Millennials are expected to peak at 81 million in 20 years.

Nurse Recruitment_Aging PopulationAs these generations age — living longer with more chronic conditions needing care — it will put even more strain on the healthcare system. It’s estimated that by 2030, an additional 3 million people will be eligible for Medicare.

This means even more registered nurses, nurse practitioners and other caregivers will be needed to care for the growing and aging, often ailing populations.

The good thing is that there’s time to plan. To learn the most effective strategies to recruit caregivers, visit SelfCare for HealthCare.

How can this program fit with your current nurse recruitment and retention programs? Contact me today to discuss!

Advanced Degrees Cause Nursing Turnover

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

An interesting cause of nursing turnover: In order to add more nurses to our profession, more colleges are adding a Master’s Entry into nursing programs, which allows students with a bachelor’s degree in another field to enroll in the full-timnursing turnovere, five-semester masters program. Upon completion, students can then take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) and become registered nurses.

As I’ve talked with countless CNOs this past year I’m learning the other side of that double edged sword: As nurses continue their education, they are vacating their current positions, causing increased turnover.

We need more nurses! To learn the best methods for nurse recruitment and nurse retention, visit SelfCare for HealthCare. Contact me today to discuss brining this program to your caregivers.

Nursing Shortage Due to Faculty Shortage

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

Nursing schools aren’t producing enough graduates, because nursing schools don’t have enough faculty members, yet another reason (in addition to the desire for work life balance) that the nursing shortage is hitting hard.

Last year 13,444 qualified applicants were turned away from master’s programs, and another 1,844 qualified applicants were turned away from doctoral programs primarily due to faculty shortages.

Nursing Students - Nursing ShortageAccording to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be a need for over 34,000 more postsecondary nursing instructors by 2022. Of those, 24,000 will be new positions and 10,000 will be to replace current instructors.

One reason for the lack faculty is the big pay cuts that occur when nurses move from clinical practice to a university setting.

While the average nurse practitioner makes $91,000 or more per year, the average assistant professor with a master’s degree in a nursing school averages about $73,000.

Besides money for faculty, there’s also a shortage of funds for students. The largest source of federal funding for nursing education, Title VIII of the Public Health Service Act, ran out of money. When President George W. Bush doubled the funds in 2000, it produced 70,000 new RNs, but when the funds depleted in 2014, only 15,000 new graduates came from nursing schools. In June, a bill was introduced, H.R. 2713, which would fund the nursing loans and grants to 2020 but experts predict the bill has a 1% chance of being enacted.

Our country is indeed facing a nursing shortage of crisis proportion. To learn how to recruit nurses and retain nurses visit SelfCare for HealthCare. Contact me today to talk about the amazing results we’ve seen from this powerful program.


Second-Hand Smoke Increases Diabetes Risk

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

Non-smokers who often inhale other people’s cigarette smoke are 22% more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, according to a new study.

The research, conducted by Harvard University and Huazhong University of Science and Technology, China was a meta-analysis of 88 previously-published studies.

No Smoking No Vaping“We already know that smoking increases the risk of type 2 diabetes but it now appears that people exposed to second-hand smoke and former smokers are also at risk,” said Deborah Arnott, chief executive of the anti-smoking charity Ash.

The study adds to a growing body of evidence about the effects of smoking and diabetes. While it does not prove that second-hand smoke can be a direct cause of type 2 diabetes, it suggests a link between the two. Further studies are needed to confirm a link.

The findings support the anti-smoking legislation introduced in recent years. As the authors write, “Reduction of active smoking should automatically reduce the prevalence of second-hand smoke exposure.”

To learn ways to improve your health, in body, mind and spirit, visit SelfCare for HealthCare. If you’d like to discuss how this program can change the physical and fiscal health of your organization, send me a message.

Life Balance: U.S. Surgeon General Says, Walk!

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

U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy is calling for a national campaign centered on walking, an effort he said, to combat chronic disease and obesity and to overcome obstacles that stand in the way of simply taking a walk. Walking is also a great way to instill life balance and de-stress.

Murthy said the government will partner with schools, nonprofits and the private sector to promote walking at home, at school and in the workplace.

Life Balance - WalkHis “call to action” seeks to make walking a national priority. His plan is to promote development of communities where it is safe and easy to walk, to create walking programs, and to conduct research on walking.

“We’ve really lost touch with physical activity,” Murthy said in an interview. “It has slowly vanished from the workplace. More and more kids in school don’t have time to exercise.” The time has come, he claims, to build activity back into our daily lives, and walking is one of the easiest and most available forms for most people.

I remember in 1960, President-elect John F. Kennedy wrote an open letter to the public, titled “The Soft American,” revealing his concern over Americans’ loss of “physical vigor.” He encouraged exercise programs in schools and much more, but most of his motivation faded after he was assassinated. Fifty-five years later, obesity rates have more than doubled. One of every two U.S. adults is living with a chronic disease such as diabetes, cancer or heart disease.

As little as 150 minutes per week of brisk walking or other moderately intense physical exercise can reduce the risk factors that lead to such diseases. Walking brings a higher quality of life and improved mental and emotional health. But only about half of U.S. adults get that much exercise.

Walking, Murthy said, has a lower risk of injury than high-intensity exercise and can be fit into people’s daily lives. In 2010, more than 60 percent of adults said they had walked 10 minutes or more for transportation or pleasure during the previous week, according to Murthy. Walking also builds social connections among community members, he said.

The surgeon general has been holding more “walking meetings,” taking the stairs and building in activity breaks at work. At home he has been using community walks to catch up with his wife, rather than having conversations at home on the couch.

But many communities are unsafe for walkers, because of crime, heavy traffic or road design that is poorly suited to pedestrians, he acknowledged. Communities will have to be designed so walkers and people in wheelchairs can find safe, accessible places to exercise.

“I firmly believe that every person in America deserves a safe place to walk or to wheelchair-roll,” he said.

Walking is a key component in my SelfCare for HealthCare program. Send me a message to discuss how this easily implemented program gets caregivers heathy in body, mind and spirit.


Workplace Culture: How to Have Healthier Millennial Employees

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

In workplaces that encouraged healthy lifestyle practices, about 17% of young employees were obese, compared to about 24% percent in spaces that promoted one or no healthy practices, researchers found. How are you promoting a healthy workplace culture?

Lead author Allison Watts, of the School of Public Health at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, personally experienced a range of workplace environments that influenced her eating habits and physical activity, both positively and negatively.

healthy workplace cultureThose factors included support for colleagues, lunchtime yoga classes and food availability. She wanted to see if this was true of other young adults.

Researchers used data collected on 1,538 people who answered surveys in middle or high school during 1998 and 1999. Ten years later, they answered more questions. Then the average age of participants was 25 years. Most were white and about half were from high social and economic backgrounds.

Among the factors the participants reported were their typical diets, weekly exercise routines, and specifics about their workplaces. The report shows that less than half ate at least five servings of fruits and vegetables per day, 27% had at least one sugary drink and 20% ate fast food at least three times per week. Approximately half completed at least 2.5 hours of moderate-to-vigorous exercise per week and took active transportation, such as walking or cycling.

Overall, about 19% were obese, but those who reported working in spaces with three or more healthy factors were less likely to be obese than those working at jobs with fewer healthy factors.

“Working young adults are dealing with many stressors such as being pressed for time, juggling personal and work responsibilities, and stretching limited resources,” Watts said. “So, many young adults (will) reach for what is convenient and affordable.”

Workplaces must take these factors into account, she said.

To learn how to create a healthy work environment and workplace culture, visit SelfCare for HealthCare. Contact me today to talk about customizing this powerful program for your caregivers.

Life Balance: Exercise in the Break Room

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

I recently read about a clinic where doctors were doing wall sits, and nurses were planking in the hallway. Other employees were doing wall push-ups, counting how many they could do in a minute. The CentraCare Health employees were participating in a fitness challenge initiated by the Internal Medicine Department. Jay Ophoven, director of internal medicine, was doing the tabulating. “We don’t just treat sick people,” he said. “We want to prevent illness. And this is a good way to promote health and well-being.”

“We’re competitive in our quality scores and patient outcomes already. So this was just a natural thing,” Ophoven said.

nurses exercising Instead of doughnuts or ordering pizza for staff meetings, he promotes wellness and healthy eating, and exercises, even at work. “It’s a way to have motivation to exercise. Exercise can be boring and dreadful. But when you have competition and you’re working with other people, it helps to hold you accountable,” he said.

This is why, for my 12-month SelfCare for HealthCare program, I hired an illustrator to draw sketches of fun exercises and stretches that can be done at the nurse’s station or break room. If you’d like a copy to share with your team now, send me a message. I’m happy to share!

Healthcare Givers Have Highest Workplace Violence

Written by LeAnn Thieman, CSP, October 1st, 2015

Healthcare workers are victims of a higher incidence of violence compared to other sectors in the U.S. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, they account for nearly 70% of all nonfatal workplace assaults causing missed work days. A 2014 survey of 762 registered nurses found more than 75% experienced violence, with emergency nurses reporting a significantly greater number of incidents.

The American Nurses Association (ANA) recently issued a position paper stating: “The nursing profession will no longer tolerate violence of any kind from any source.” The paper recommends nurses and employers “collaborate to create a culture of respect.”

healthcare violenceThe ANA’s preliminary findings showed of 3,765 RNs and student nurses questioned about workplace safety, 43% reported they had been threatened by a patient or family member, and 24% said they had been physically assaulted. However, many events go unreported as violence is often accepted as part of the job. ANA is working very hard to get the message out that violence can no longer be tolerated.

A recent book published by the ANA and co-authored by Dr. Jane Lipscomb, RN, FAAN, professor at the University of Maryland’s Schools of Nursing and Medicine, suggests that the current emphasis on patient satisfaction and customer service has been a factor in underreporting workplace violence. Lipscomb wrote: “Workers are often discouraged from reporting patient behavior for fear of poor satisfaction scores.”

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) defines workplace violence as “any act or threat of a physical violence, harassment, intimidation or other life threatening, disruptive behavior that occurs at the work site.” How many nurses have been victims of this? We need to keep working toward a culture of safety, not just for patients, but for healthcare workers; they deserve it.

To learn more ways to care for your healthcare givers check out SelfCare for HealthCare. Have questions about how this culture-shifting program can integrate with your current wellness initiatives? Contact me today!