Posts from May, 2016

Nurse wellness: The Elephant In the Room…Obesity

Written by LeAnn Thieman, CSP, May 31st, 2016

The obesity rate in the U.S. continues to rise, and nurse wellness is at the heart of our concerns. About two-thirds of the U.S. population is either overweight or obese. Weight-related conditions like heart disease, stroke and Nurse Wellness--obesityType 2 diabetes, leading causes of preventable death, are rising. Obesity affects an organization’s bottom line. Obese workers cost employers thousands more a year than normal-weight employees, according to a study published in the American Journal of Health Promotion. Meanwhile, according to Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, obesity in the U.S. costs $8.65 billion per year due to absenteeism in the workplace, accounting for more than 9% of all absenteeism costs.


As a profession we need to lovingly support and encourage one another to participate in wellness programs. Our lives…our profession…depends on it.

To learn how to improve nurse wellness visit SelfCare for HealthCare. Contact me today to discuss implementing this powerful program at your facility.

Workplace Culture: Does Leadership Support Wellness?

Written by LeAnn Thieman, CSP, May 26th, 2016

Stress is often associated with increased eating and a variety of other unhealthy habits, negatively affecting workplace culture

Workplace stress plays an especially big part in the growing epidemic. Research shows that 41% of workers with extremely low stress levels feel they are overweight, compared to 77% of workers with extremely high stress levels. Translation? Workers who say they have extremely high on-the-job stress are 53% more likely to say they’re overweight than those with low stress. Are your leaders promoting a healthy workplace culture?

Workplace Culture: Does Leadership Support Wellness?

Workers say their busy workdays prohibit them from taking advantage of wellness benefits offered by their employers. While 25% have access to employer-sponsored wellness benefits, including onsite workout facilities and gym passes, 55% of them do not take advantage of them.

Workers are becoming more health conscious, but due to higher stress, longer work days and constant multi-tasking, it’s difficult to find the time to care for their own wellness. Wellness programs, though growing in popularity, have often returned mixed results. An often-cited detriment to such programs is that they lack senior leader support or participation. For a wellness program to make positive change happen, it has to be stressed from top leadership down.

Are your leaders helping to reduce your stress? Do they support your participation in a wellness program?

To learn how to improve your workplace culture by implementing tools that care for employees’ minds, bodies and spirits, visit SelfCare for HealthCare. Contact me today to discuss implementing this powerful program at your facility.

Nurse Recruitment and Nurse Retention: Create a Culture of Learning

Written by LeAnn Thieman, CSP, May 24th, 2016

According to the IOM Future of Nursing report, we must prepare nurses to lead the charge to advance healthcare and we must prepare the current workforce to assume leadership positions at all levels. To do so, we need to foster a culture of learning – an important element for nurse recruitment and nurse retention.

culture of learningWe must ensure that nurses engage in lifelong learning, not just safety or regulatory training, but the real development that they need.  In a recent 2-year study by Bournes & Ferguson-Pare, two departments offered training to employees. One offered status quo traditional training and the other offered more electives and nontraditional classes. The department with the nontraditional training had lower turnover, a budget surplus, less employee sick time, and shorter patient stays.  When you invest in your employees, they will invest back.

In these challenging times, budgets for education are often reduced. These reports prove that investing in your nurses’ education pays off.

Nurses of all ages and experience love to learn. It’s a great nurse recruitment and nurse retention tool.

To learn more ways to recruit nurses and retain nurses visit SelfCare for HealthCare. Contact me today to set up your complimentary consult to discuss how to reach your recruitment and retention goals.

Is Your Nurse Retention and Recruitment Strategy Dated?

Written by LeAnn Thieman, CSP, May 19th, 2016

The nurse retention and recruitment strategies that worked 5 or 10 years ago cannot reduce the turnover that healthcare is facing today. To retain employees, hospitals and healthcare organizations need to implement stronger, evidence-based strategies.

It’s estimated that over 260,000 nurses leave the profession every year and cannot be replaced as quickly as they leave. New academic nurses do not have the same experience level as more seasoned nurses. For skilled nursing, the median turnover rate is 43.9. Each percentage change costs about $379,000 on average, which means an average loss for a hospital of about $5 to $8 million annually, not to mention the negative impact on quality of care.

nurse interviewMotivational fit is a big part of what predicts job success and retention. To determine if someone is the right fit, look at factors like pace, autonomy level, collaboration, and work environment. Research shows that if any one of these is out of balance, higher turnover results. With so many job openings, candidates can easily leave to find a better fit, so efforts to get it right pay off.

The generic resume/interview process is non-predictive and is not useful in the current climate. A structured, behavioral interview where you look for specific attributes and the correct motivational fit is needed to find an employee who will stay.

To learn more nurse recruitment and nurse retention strategies, visit SelfCare for HealthCare. Contact me today to discuss implementing this powerful program at your facility.

Nursing News: Hospice Nurses and Health Care Aide Productivity Rises

Written by LeAnn Thieman, CSP, May 17th, 2016

The productivity of licensed practical nurses (LPNs), registered nurses (RNs) and home care aides (HCAs) increased in 2015, according to the Hospital & Healthcare Compensation Service (HCS) and the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC).

hospice nurse health care aideThe average number of actual visits per day for RNs totaled 4.39 in 2015, compared with 4.33 in 2014. The average number of visits for LPNs rose from 5.04 in 2014 to 5.15 in 2015. The productivity of HCAs also jumped, increasing from 5.21 in 2014 to 5.31 in 2015.

The report also found that the national turnover rate for hospice RNs rose to 20.55%, compared with 18.57% in 2014.  The turnover of HCAs also saw a boost, from 17.57% last year to 20.91%. Considering the mental and emotional toll of this benevolent work, that is not surprising.

To learn about SelfCare for HealthCare, the only program that boosts nurse recruitment and nurse retention by caring for caregivers’ minds, bodies and spirits, contact me today.

Nurse Health: Most Nurses Need More Sleep!

Written by LeAnn Thieman, CSP, May 12th, 2016

When circadian rhythms, the body’s natural wake-sleep cycles, are disrupted over prolonged time periods, significant mental and physical problems can result.

Nurses need more sleepThe majority of hospitals require nurses to work 12-hour shifts and many nurses are reporting excessive fatigue from lack of sleep, negatively impacting overall nurse health. This can impact performance, productivity, and safety, on the job and at home. Health experts agree that quality sleep is essential for maintaining good health and most adults require seven to eight hours of sleep for optimal functioning. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 30% of the nation’s workers are sleeping less than six hours per day.

In addition to fatigue, not getting enough sleep can result in shortened attention spans, memory lapses, and irrational decision-making. Other sleep-related problems are diminished psychomotor skills, slower reaction times, poor communication, irritability, and periods of micro-sleeping.

With the current emphasis on safety and Zero Harm, it is imperative that nurses get 7-8 hours of sleep in a 24 hour period…for their sakes and that of their patients.

To learn how to improve nurse health and the health of your entire healthcare organization, visit SelfCare for HealthCare. Contact me today to discuss this affordable and easy-to-implement program.

Nurse Health: 12 Hour Shifts Causing Nurse Burnout

Written by LeAnn Thieman, CSP, May 10th, 2016

A survey of nurses in over 488 hospitals revealed that working 12 hour shifts is causing nurse burnout, defined as emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and low personal accomplishment. The study also showed these nurses are more dissatisfied with their jobs and are more inclined to leave them. The researchers wrote that these outcomes “may pose safety risks for patients as well as for nurses.”

nurse healthOn paper, 12 hours shifts look like a great idea, giving nurses an extra day off. But the reality is that, with the high acuity of care, nurses are feeling overworked and overwhelmed with these long shifts. Some workers who like 12-hour shifts value the extended time off, and say that improves their morale and reduces absenteeism. However, these longer shifts allow time to work another job or go to school during the three-day weekends, which further exhausts many nurses.

While extended time off is a welcome advantage, 12-hour shifts can also be disruptive to family life and personal health by creating long-term stress.

To learn how to care for your nurses, reduce nurse burnout and increase nurse retention, visit SelfCare for HealthCare. Contact me today to talk about our astonishing ROI at SelfCare for HealthCare hospitals.

Life Balance: Seek Out Laughter

Written by LeAnn Thieman, CSP, May 5th, 2016

Is the Nursing Shortage Easing?

Written by LeAnn Thieman, CSP, May 3rd, 2016

Over a decade ago, experts predicted a nursing shortage of dire proportion. Unexpectedly, enrollment in nursing schools doubled and the crisis was eased. But the need is still great because 1 million nurses are currently over the age of 50.

nursing shortageExpert nursing researcher Peter Buerhaus, PhD, RN, FAAN projects an increase in the RN workforce from about 2.7 million RN FTEs in 2013 to 3.3 million in 2030. But even if nurses continue entering the workforce at the current pace, the supply will not meet the projected demand. By 2025 we will still have a shortage of approximately 130,000 nurses.

We need to care for all nurses, with attention given to those over 50, so they continue in the profession longer. To learn how to teach them SelfCare, and to increase their retention, visit SelfCare for HealthCare. Contact me today for a complimentary consultation about what’s working and what’s not working in terms of wellness at your facility.