Posts from November, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

Written by LeAnn Thieman, CSP, November 26th, 2015

thanksgiving 2015

How to Improve Nursing Work Environments

Written by LeAnn Thieman, CSP, November 24th, 2015

A University of Pennsylvania study showed that Kaiser and Magnet hospitals often have better outcomes than others. One thing that makes them stand out from the rest is better nursing work environments.

In response to the nurse shortage in the early 2000s, Kaiser Permanente made a deliberate, research-based effort to invest in nursing, says Marilyn Chow, PhD, RN, Vice President of National Patient Care Services and Innovation for Kaiser Permanente.

study of Kaiser hospitals conducted in 2005 and 2006 found that their nurses spent more than 35 percent of their time on documentation. In 2005, the system switched to electronic medical records, which helped streamline paperwork. They also notenurse work environmentd that nurses spent a lot of time hunting and gathering equipment and information. In response, Kaiser Permanente rearranged the work environment to make things more convenient.

“We wanted to make sure that we were a place that nurses wanted to work,” Chow said. “If you have nurses who are happy and joyful at their work, they will definitely pass that on and be caring and compassionate.”

To improve your nursing work environment to create happy and joyful nurses, resulting in improved patient care and reimbursements, visit SelfCare for HealthCare.

World’s Population Is Getting Sicker

Written by LeAnn Thieman, CSP, November 19th, 2015

A new global report on health finds that only about 4 percent of people worldwide had no health problems in 2013, while about 30 percent – that’s 2.3 billion people — had more than five health problems. And the situation is getting worse. The growing number of elderly people living with health issues will rise rapidly over coming decades.

world population sickThe study involves data from 188 countries and looks at more than 300 illnesses and injuries, according to The Lancet, which published the findings June 8. The study is the largest analysis of trends in health around the world for the years 1990 to 2013.

According to the study, one of every 10 people in the world in 2013 suffered from at least one of the following disorders: tooth decay, tension headaches, iron-deficiency anemia, age-linked hearing loss, genital herpes, migraines, intestinal roundworm, and a genetic blood disorder called glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency trait.

The study also found a “startling” rise in ill health between 1990 and 2013 due to diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and arthritis

Death rates lowered, but rates of disability did not. For example, global diabetes cases actually rose by 43 percent over the past 23 years, while deaths from diabetes only rose by 9 percent.

This report further supports the need for more nurses and healthcare givers in the world. To learn the best way to attract nurses and caregivers into our beloved field, visit SelfCare for HealthCare.

The #1 Factor to Improve Patient Outcomes and Reduce Mortality

Written by LeAnn Thieman, CSP, November 17th, 2015

Studies show that the amount of time that nurses spend with patients is related to fewer errors. And according to a new study, investing in nursing is key to patient outcomes and mortality.

The University of Pennsylvania wanted to understand why certain hospitals have better outcomes than others. Specifically, why did hospitals in the Kaiser Permanente health care system — an integrated health network in eight states that includes hospitals, insurance, and doctors’ offices all in one system — have such efficient and high-quality care.

improve patient outcomesWhen other organizations tried to mimic Kaiser Permanente’s organizational structure to improve care, they got mixed results. The researchers thought there might be a different X factor that explains Kaiser’s success: nurses.

To explore this, the study looked at more than 550 hospitals in California, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Florida, including 25 California-based Kaiser Permanente hospitals and 56 Magnet hospitals.

Nurses in each hospital answered surveys about their work environment, level of education, job satisfaction, and the number of patients cared for during a typical shift. The researchers also pulled data on patient mortality.

The results were clear: The odds of dying were about 20 percent lower in Kaiser Permanente and Magnet hospitals. “It turns out that these differences we see in nursing, in terms of work environment, investment in a highly educated workforce and increased staffing levels, those things translate into better outcomes,” the report stated.

To learn how to improve patient outcomes and nurse environments visit SelfCare for HealthCare.

Nurse Retention: Nurses Want Work Life Balance

Written by LeAnn Thieman, CSP, November 12th, 2015

Here is a secret to help improve nurse retention and nurse recruitment: Quality of life (work life balance) is more important to nurses today than money. They have responsibilities that extend beyond their work obligations. I call this not the Sandwich Generation, but the Club Sandwich Generation! They are often caring for their children, grandchildren, parents and/or grandparents. Implementing work life balance initiatives for nursing staff can significantly improve their morale and enhance loyalty.

nurse work life balanceSome hospitals are offering varying shift lengths and staggered start times to give nurses the flexibility to choose what’s best for their personal obligations. Many provide on-site programs, such as child care centers, elder care centers or gyms.

In today’s value-based health care environment, leaders are responsible for demonstrating value to their patients and employees alike. Nurses are the backbone of this workforce and most often the closest point of patient interface. We must focus greater attention on initiatives that promote their wellness, life balance, and satisfaction.

To bring balance to your nurses and caregivers, visit SelfCare for HealthCare. Contact me today to bring this gift to your caregivers!

Improve Nurse Satisfaction Scores

Written by LeAnn Thieman, CSP, November 10th, 2015

Most CNOs have a need and desire to improve nurse satisfaction scores; a difficult task since nurses already work long, hard shifts, then many end up working overtime as well. A Health Affairs study found that nurses who work more than 12 hours in a shift and 40 hours in a week are prone to job dissatisfaction. The same study reported that nurses who work shifts longer than 12 hours are almost 2 times more likely to leave their jobs within a year.

nurse satisfactionI read of a corporation that instigated the Firm 40 rule. All employees are limited to 40 hours a week. Then they are instructed to go home and tune out work. Their focus and productivity increased. Overtime should not be an expectation for nurses, but an exception.

Hospitals must implement strategies to reduce shift and workweek length, and set guidelines so nurses don’t feel obligated to work extra hours.

Caring for nurses is the best way to increase nurses satisfaction scores and patient satisfaction scores. To learn the best way to improve your caregivers’ workplace satisfaction, visit SelfCare for HealthCare.

Nurse Retention: Are 30% of Your Nurses Leaving Within Three Years?

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

Nursing is a tough job…working long hours, sometimes going to work when it is still dark outside and leaving when it’s dark again. High patient volumes and insufficient staffing takes its toll. Eight in 10 nurses said in an American Nurses Association safety survey that they frequently experience muscle and joint pain. Some admit to compassion fatigue, a form of burnout not uncommon to caregivers.

These factors contribute to the ongoing shortage in available nursing staff. In fact, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation reported that nearly one in five nurses drop out of the profession in their first year on the job, and one in three leave within two years.

nurse turnoverNurse satisfaction and dropout is a crucial problem. According to the Journal of Nursing Administration, it costs roughly $82,000 to replace a nurse. That cost covers vacancy, orientation and training, the lowered productivity of a newly hired nurse, and advertising and recruiting.

With nurse turnover averaging 14 percent, the typical turnover expense for a 300-bed hospital approaches $4.4 million annually! Not only is turnover detrimental to a hospital’s bottom line, it’s a huge loss of intellectual capital and it dampens employee morale.

To learn how to decrease nurse burnout, nurse turnover, and improve nurse retention, visit SelfCare for HealthCare.

Nurse Burnout and Dissatisfaction Translates into Poor Patient Experience

Written by LeAnn Thieman, CSP, November 4th, 2015

How can you help nurses who are experiencing nurse burnout and dissatisfaction that translates into poor patient experience?

According to the Vickie Milazzo Institute in Houston, hospitals must set realistic work hours, give nurses the authority to take charge in an emergency, give veteran nurses a voice at management meetings, offer healthy meals and snacks, and cultivate a culture of trust and respect.

nurse burnoutThe Institute suggests that if the situation does not improve, hospitals could be impacted too. If nurses are under pressure, it’s likely to show up in patient surveys as part of the HCAP (Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems) scores, which affects how much the government reimburses hospitals for care they provide.

The research found that nurses today care more about working conditions than pay. Improved working conditions can prevent nurse turnover and absenteeism, which also raises costs.

To learn about gifting your nurses with mental, physical and spiritual health, visit SelfCare for HealthCare. Contact me today to discuss a plan that fits with your current initiatives.