Posts from September, 2016

Aging Population Causing Nursing Shortage

Written by LeAnn Thieman, CSP, September 29th, 2016

The prospect of a national nursing shortage is alarming. Due to an aging population, the rising incidence of chronic disease, an aging nursing workforce, and the limited capacity of nursing schools, this shortage is on the brink of crisis.

America’s 3 million nurses make up the largest segment of the health-care workforce in America and nursing is one of the fastest-growing occupations. But the demand is outpacing supply. By 2022, The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects, there will be more than a million job openings for nurses, a deficit twice as large any in the past 50 years.

The primary driving force is the aging of the Baby Boomers. Today, there are more Americans over the age of 65 than at any other time in U.S. history. And in 15 years one in 5 Americans will be a Senior Citizen. In 2050, an estimated 88.5 million people  will be 65 and older!

And the need for health-care services will soar. About 80 % of older adults have at least one chronic condition, and 68% have at least two, creating the perfect storm driving demand for nurses.

To learn how to recruit nurses and retain nurses visit SelfCare for HealthCareContact me today to discuss implementing this powerful program at your facility.Hand in Hand


Life Balance: Don’t Work After Work

Written by LeAnn Thieman, CSP, September 27th, 2016

While some leaders think that having employees respond to emails after work and on weekends is a good way to increase productivity, encouraging them to do so actually hurts their job performance and disrupts their life balance.

life balanceNew research suggests that employers damage their employeesꞌ well-being and work-life balance and weaken their job performance when they create those expectations.

Creating an “always on” culture during non-work time may prevent employees from ever fully disengaging from work, leading to chronic stress and emotional exhaustion, the study’s authors wrote. This lowered ability to disconnect translates into poorer work-family balance and causes emotional exhaustion which, past research has shown, negatively affects job performance.

To learn how to have work-life balance and increase productivity, visit SelfCare for HealthCareContact me today to discuss implementing this powerful program at your facility.

Workplace Culture: Employers Flunk Reducing Employee Stress

Written by LeAnn Thieman, CSP, September 22nd, 2016

Employers are doing a poor job of reducing employee stress and creating a less stressful workplace culture, according to a new poll by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

workplace culture reduce stressAmong working adults who said they experienced a great deal of stress at work in the past 12 months, 85 % rated the efforts of their workplace to reduce stress as fair or poor.

Overall, 43% of working adults said their job negatively affects their stress levels. Others said it affected their eating habits (28%), sleeping habits (27%) and weight (22 %).

About 22% of working adults say something at their jobs may be harmful to their health.

“The takeaway here is that job No. 1 for U.S. employers is to reduce stress in the workplace,” said Robert J. Blendon, professor of health policy and political analysis at the Harvard Chan School, who directed the survey.

To learn how to create a culture of care and respect and less stress, visit SelfCare for HealthCareContact me today to discuss implementing this powerful program at your facility.

Workplace Wellness Programs Increase Engagement

Written by LeAnn Thieman, CSP, September 20th, 2016

The key to increasing employee engagement, health, happiness and well-being lies in establishing a workplace culture of wellness, according to a study by Humana and the Economist Intelligence Unit.

The study, called “The Wellness Effect: The Impact of Workplace Programs,” explored the impact of workplace wellness programs, as well as the challenges and opportunities that continue to shape their development.

employee wellnessHere are five findings from the study.

  1. Some 67% of employees said participation in wellness programs increased their engagement in their employer’s mission and goals.
  2. Ninety-one percent of employees participating in wellness programs have improved their fitness while 89% said participation has improved their overall happiness and well-being.
  3. Employers and employees agree (46% and 51%, respectively) the biggest obstacle to increased participation in wellness programs is lack of time.
  4. About 44% of employer respondents said stress management programs would be the single most effective way of establishing a culture of wellness.
  5. While only 14% of employees regularly participate in stress management programs, some 71% said wellness programs have had at least a moderate impact in lowering stress.

To learn ways to prioritize care of your mind, body and spirit, visit SelfCare for HealthCareContact me today to discuss implementing this powerful program at your facility.


Nurse Health: Compassion Fatigue Plagues Trauma Teams

Written by LeAnn Thieman, CSP, September 15th, 2016

A nurse health fact: trauma care providers are at risk for compassion fatigue and burnout, but may not perceive the extent and effects.

nurse trauma teamIn a recent study, trauma team workers cited on-the-job stress triggers that included child or elder abuse, trauma involving children, cases involving multiple family members, injuries from avoidable situations, and “senseless” deaths. Other causes of stress included dealing with patients’ family members and difficulties with trauma team coordination.

Although all participants reported low or mild stress levels, three-quarters had moderate to high scores for secondary trauma stress. One-third had a combination of high burnout and low levels of positive experiences helping patients. Another one-quarter had moderate levels of burnout.

Even though participants said compassion fatigue was rare, assessments by the researchers indicated a higher presence of compassion fatigue and burnout. Trauma team members may not be as adept at managing work stressors as well as they think.

To learn how to improve nurse health, reduce stress and cope better, visit SelfCare for HealthCareContact me today to discuss implementing this powerful program at your facility.

Can Exercise Help Beat Cancer?

Written by LeAnn Thieman, CSP, September 13th, 2016

Can exercise really help beat cancer? An experiment in which mice ran between 4 and 7 kilometers a night showed how exercise can boost the immune system’s attack on cancer, preventing new tumors growing, and slowing the growth of existing ones by up to 60%.

Nurse ExerciseA University of Copenhagen in Denmark team tested the effects of exercise on five different types of mouse cancer, including those of the skin, lung and liver. They found that exercise prompts the release of adrenaline; this stress hormone in turn stimulates the immune system to send its cancer-fighting natural killer cells into the bloodstream. A substance called interleukin-6, which is released by exercising muscles in the mice, directs these killer cells to attack the tumors.

“We already know that exercise has an impact on natural killer cell activity, but this is the first time anyone has shown it’s directly involved in helping them invade tumors,” says Lee Jones of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York. “This is a big piece of the puzzle that’s been missing.”

In people, there is some evidence that exercise can prevent the relapse of colorectal and breast cancers after menopause.  Now we have even more motivation to get out of the chair and exercise!

To learn ways to prioritize care of your mind, body and spirit, visit SelfCare for HealthCareContact me today to discuss implementing this powerful program at your facility.


Nurse Health: One Third of Americans Are Sleep Deprived!

Written by LeAnn Thieman, CSP, September 8th, 2016

An alarming fact for those concerned with nurse health: One of every three Americans doesn’t get enough sleep on a regular basis, according to a new study from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

sleep deprived nurseAbout 35% of U.S. adults are sleeping less than seven hours a night, increasing their risk of a wide variety of health problems including obesity, type 2 diabetes,  high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, frequent mental distress and death, the study concluded.

Adequate sleep is as important a pillar of health as exercise and proper nutrition., yet it gets less attention. After reviewing thousands of sleep studies, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) recommends that people ages 18 to 60 sleep at least seven hours each night to promote optimal health and well-being. There seems to a cutoff point, where if you get at least seven hours, the body and brain functions at their best. Yet most people don’t get enough sleep because they don’t schedule it. It’s not prioritized.

The AASM has a list of “sleep hygiene” tips for people who want to improve their sleep. They include:

  • Go to bed at the same time each night and rise at the same time each morning.
  • Make sure the bedroom is a quiet, dark and relaxing environment, kept at a comfortable temperature.
  • Get a comfortable mattress and sheets, and use the bed only for sleeping and sex.
  • Exercise regularly and maintain a healthy diet.
  • Avoid exposure to screens or bright light prior to bedtime.
  • Don’t eat a large meal before bedtime, and avoid alcohol and caffeine.
  • If you don’t fall asleep after 20 minutes, get out of bed and do something relaxing before trying again.

To learn ways to prioritize sleep and care of your mind, body and spirit, visit SelfCare for HealthCareContact me today to discuss implementing this powerful program at your facility.

Nurse Retention: GenX Our Next Leaders

Written by LeAnn Thieman, CSP, September 6th, 2016

Soon Baby Boomers will be retiring en masse, taking their lifetimes of knowledge and experience with them. There’s lots written about tapping the Gen Y (Millennials) to replace them in the workforce, with too little attention given to Gen X and the many assets this dedicated generation can bring.

GenX nurse retentionContrary to some of their mis-labels, Gen Xers, those born between 1965 and 1980, are the most engaged employees in today’s workforce. In fact 52% of executives in a recent global poll said as much, compared to 23% saying they see Boomers as the most invested in their jobs.

So, what can employers do to recruit and retain these hard workers?

According to the survey, feeling they have “the ability to make a difference in the organization” was most important to 39% of Gen X-age employees. Only 16%  cited  “job stability.”

In terms of retention, 41% said experiencing “a sense of pride in their work” was what kept Gen Xers in their current jobs, with just 24% valuing “financial stability” most.

This generation is our next leaders. To learn how to recruit and retain nurses, visit SelfCare for HealthCareContact me today to discuss implementing this powerful program at your facility.

Caregivers Sacrificing Their Own Well-being & Selfcare

Written by LeAnn Thieman, CSP, September 1st, 2016

Millions of family and friends who are caregivers may be sacrificing their own well-being and selfcare, a new study suggests.

caregivers selfcareCaregivers who provided “substantial help” were almost twice as likely to experience physical, financial and emotional difficulties. Such caregivers, if employed, were three times more likely to be less productive on the job due to caregiving-related distractions and fatigue.

Because family-member caregivers do so with relatively little support, we’ve created multigenerational health problems. Two national surveys estimated that 14.7 million unpaid caregivers in the United States — mostly family members — assist 7.7 million older adults and of those nearly half have dementia, and more than a third have a severe disability.

Often caregivers do not “self identify.” They see themselves as daughters, sons, spouses and friends, not caregivers. Because of this and feeling uncomfortable or too overwhelmed, they do not take advantage of support groups and services.

Health care reforms aimed at rewarding providers for the value of care they provide have largely ignored the role that family caregivers play. We need to care for our caregivers. SelfCare for HealthCare gives caregivers and nurses the tools they need to care for the bodies, minds and spirits, resulting in improved patient care. Contact me today to discuss your current programs and how we can easily implement this culture-shifting program.