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Friday, September 12, 2014

Top 100 Nursing Blogs

Once again I am humbled by the peer recognition for this blog. Thanks so much for the honor and the kind words. Please check out the list. There are some really great blogs on it.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Never Forget

Monday, August 18, 2014

HCAHPS Score -- Focus From Day One

Do you understand what HCAHPS scores are and why they are important to your job? Or do you only know that your supervisor brings the scores to staff meetings and yells at you to improve?! Your HCAHPS Score should be a focus from day one of your employment, but you need to know why.

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The Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) is a sophisticated and nationally standardized patient satisfaction survey which bench marked against hospitals all over the country and is publicly reported . This means a patient who is looking to find the very best option for his or a loved one's care is going to look at these scores and decide the best place to go.

Healthcare is a service industry and nursing is the backbone of that industry. Consumers expect the highest level of customer service from service providers and now they have the power to effect change in the healthcare industry by voicing their opinion about the care they received.Low scores are going to cause a hit to the financial pocket.

To be able to focus on your facilities HCAHPS scores from day one, you need to have training and tools. Your education begins at onboarding and should continue throughout your career there. Nurses need to understand Regulations and requirements such as HCAHPS surveys. Participation is required in order to receive the maximum reimbursement which covers options available in the facility, the type of treatment offered, and trickles down to your salary and staffing.

Having the options to provide education and tools to nurses with the latest evidence based practices and clinical competencies depends on how well your patients and the community value your care and recommend your facility to others. Quality of patient care depends on the tools nurses have. It's a cycle and hospitals need invest in their staff and provide the tools in order for staff to grow professionally and be able to step up the quality of patient care.

The HCAHPS survey utilizes multiple questions to determine covers six important areas of the patient's experience of care. These include:
  • how well the doctors and nurses communicate with the patient and how comfortable he is that he understands what you said
  • how responsive is the staff to his individual needs 
  • how well do the doctors and nurses manage his pain
  • how well do the doctors and nurses communicate key information about his medications, treatments, and discharge information throughout his stay and especially at discharge. 

Other elements in the survey include the patient's comfort levels such as the cleanliness and quietness of the room. And then the overall rating of the hospital and whether or not the patient would recommend the hospital to others.

For staff to understand and buy into the HCAPHS program, the hospital needs to provide ongoing education and information, not just raw scores and condescending remarks that staff needs to improve. Nursing is about combining the art of patient care with the science of medicine and technology to allow patients to assume responsibility for their own health status and outcomes. Information, communication and education are key elements and all of the players needs to know and understand the impact of regs like HCAPHS.

Patient education is one of the major keys to reducing the high cost of medical care and to achieving better outcomes. Patients need to feel confident moving forward with their own health care and to do so they need the best possible evidence based care and instruction. With these tools they can maintain and improve their health status and give the credit to those who helped them get there. HCAHPS score do matter and you need to understand why and how to improve your care. Feedback is essential to improvement. Listen to the information and get involved in the improvement process.

Disclosure: This content has been brought to you by Halogen Software, the market leader in talent management software. Bringing value to nurses is at the forefront of Halogen Software’s goals so they are partnering with nurse leaders online to bring attention to important issues that healthcare organizations face every day. To find out more Halogen Software and the support they can provide to your nursing staff check out their healthcare page.

Monday, July 28, 2014

More Recognition from

We are once again in Great Company with these 15 Awesome Nursing Blogs to follow from Thanks again for the recognition.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

One of the Top 30 Nursing Blogs
We've been honored again. And we are in some pretty great company as a pick for the Top 30 Nursing Blogs by Thank you for your kind words and peer recognition.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Use Common Sense with Social Media

Social media is wonderful and externally useful, but like anything, it comes with a need for etiquette and good old common sense!! Users have to accept responsibility for anything they post and set privacy settings to maintain social professionalism. Be discreet and aware of all of your connections. Understand that law enforcement can access your accounts if needed, and nothing is completely hacker-proof. Nurses will be held to a higher level of expectations for professionalism.

Nurse Blog CarnivalSocial media tools such as LinkedIn are most useful in job searches and networking. In fact many employers hire exclusively through this app. But be sure what you post about yourself on your profile is true and that you use discretion if you don't want your current employer to know you are looking around even if it's just a casual glance to see what's out there and what you might be worth. Remember your boss might be looking too. It's also a great place to join interest groups and share experiences and information about your particular field. You might even connect with old friends or previous colleagues.

Facebook is great for connecting with friends, meeting new friends with similar interests and staying in touch with family and friends across the miles. But remember as a nurse you have HIPAA regulations to abide by with regards to your professional life. These regs apply to all aspects of your professional life and all levels of social media. Don't be posting stories about your patients, even if you don't use their names, it's hard to avoid details that might identify the person. And for heaven's sakes don't be posting pictures even if they tell you it's OK. What happens at work, stays at work!

Twitter is another way to keep up what your friends are doing, and it also gives you information on what's trending at this moment. You can follow celebrities, sports teams, breaking news. etc. It's instantaneous and remember anything that appears on the Internet can be found again even if you delete it. So be sure it's what you want to put out there before you hit send or upload.

Written words and photos can be taken more than one way and even your best friends can interpret something the wrong way and make a lot of drama for you.

Make sure you know the people you allow to post on your sites, and if necessary set your privacy so that you have to approve everything first. Or have a very select group of friends who have access to any page.

Google + is a way for nurse bloggers and authors to authenticate their writing and to gain recognition. It's also a way to connect with friends and share information. Pinterest is great for quickly sharing such things as ideas, humor and photos.

Flickr allows you to share photos with those you chose to do so with. This allows others to view and possibly print or share with friends you allow to do so.

There are numerous other social networking and sharing apps and websites that can be quite useful and fun. Just be sure to be aware of what you share and who has access. Also be sure to remember not everyone "gets" nurse humor or is open to hearing about blood, guts and gore.  Someone you don't even know declaring something you said is offensive can get you banned form a site, or fired from your job.

Enjoy social media but like anything else in your life as a nurse, understand you are held to a standard that others may not be.

This post was written as part of the Nurse Blog Carnival If you are interested in participating find out more details and sign up here.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Recognition is Appreciated!!!

We have been honored once again as one of the 16 Blogs You Need to Read from Thanks for the inclusion!!! (We are listed #1) Check out their site, their scrubs and their blog. And the other blogs listed... there are some really great ones in the list!!!

It's Catch Up time.... I have a lot of information and great sites to share with you...

I recently received an email from an NP who has put together a really great forum for Nurse Practitioners. Give it a look and spread the word to the NP community.

Check out RNspire Initiative and see what people are saying about what inspires them to be nurses, and what others are saying about the wonderful nurses who have inspired them. Great idea from Cardinal Health to show appreciation for nurses.

Need to create a resume?  Here's some great tips to Create an Effective Nurse Resume in Five Easy Steps. Examples are included. Remember to always keep your resume up to date. You never know when you or your employer might need it. And if you put it off, you might forget some very important experiences you've had.

Mediaplanet Publishing has established a new Nurse Appreciation Campaign with some great content and ideas.

Nowhere But Up; The Future of Nursing is a great infographic to share.

Please enjoy these sites and be sure to share them on your social media Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Gooogle+ etc. If you have a site you'd like us to share, email me. It may take a few weeks, but I will try my best to include as many as I can in my next Catching Up post.

Enjoy some summer reading. Hurry this offer expires July 16....
Barnes & Noble

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Where Do You Take Your Career as an Older Nurse?

Ugh I guess I have to admit I'm an older nurse now. My current role as QI (for hospice) automatically makes me one of the people you love to hate, but I always hope I don't come off as old and outdated like some of those "older" nurses we always hated and hoped would retire SOON -- like today!

I left hospital nursing behind me years ago and became a home health nurse which I dearly loved. It gave me freedoms, yet responsibility and a need to be able to work with little supervision. This required a strong work ethic and the ability to work autonomously. I finally felt like a real nurse who could actually spend time educating and helping patients. Today I work part time as the traveling QI analyst for 4 hospice offices.

Nurse Blog Carnival - The Nerdy Nurse - 300x300As I began to age, and to slow down I needed more of a set schedule in my life.  I entered the realm of management. I have had many roles mostly at the lower level, to suit my personal preferences and needs. I've also been in upper management, but I don't need that hassle and responsibility now!

Management in nursing takes a lot of patience, a lot of creativity, and willingness to lead. We had great leadership classes in my BSN program, but way back when, they weren't relevant. Although I could draw from that knowledge base, it wasn't until I took some leadership courses and spent some time reflecting on my strengths and weaknesses that I feel I was truly able to be the leader I wanted to be.

The other side of that coin is that unless you are the top boss, you still have struggles with those above you who want to do things their way. And often they want to micro manage you. Or if you take a moment to think before you answer; they answer for you and think you to be an idiot. And then micromanage even more! (Too bad they didn't take the time to truly evaluate the skills and value.) You have to play the politics and let a lot of irritating things slide off your back in any role and this is no different.

Nursing management is not for everyone and I wouldn't necessarily recommend it to all. But it is a role that as you get older, takes you away from the trenches and the adrenalin rush that begins to haunt you and feel like it will actually kill you. You find a chance to slow down while still being relevant and helping to mentor new nurses entering the field or niche.

Other career paths for older nurses to consider as they need to leave the more physical work to the younger crowd include staff development and education, infection control and nursing informatics. Medical coding and quality assurance are growing areas especially in home health and hospice.

Leaving the bedside behind will require some research and further education along with sticking your neck out there to make a move from your comfort zone. There are rolls for nurses in the future that we don't even see now.  Hopefully they will take advantage of the knowledge base older nurses have to give and there will be many new roles for older nurses as well.

Hopefully one day soon I will be able to leave the day job behind and focus entirely on my writing. Many nurses have started blogs and written books to fill a niche the same as I have done. We all have learned to mesh the writing with our day jobs.  If you like to write; share your story with others. Help them to find their way in the profession and share your insights.  Older nurses are a wealth of knowledge and information and should not be cast aside. Working smarter, not harder begins with listening to older nurses so you don't keep trying to reinvent the wheel.

This post was written as part of the Nurse Blog Carnival If you are interested in participating find out more details and sign up here.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Help Nurses Thrive in Their Roles with Ongoing Feedback

Nursing is and always will be challenging. Nurses hold people's lives in their hands and to continue to be great nurses, we must always strive to improve the quality of care we provide. That isn't easy if we don't have proper feedback, and the information necessary to help us improve. Feedback is essential to helping nurses thrive and grow in their roles. 

Ever Changing Regs and Challenges
In today's healthcare environment we meet many challenges everyday that perhaps didn't exist even a few months ago. One major goal no matter what your niche, is to reduce costs while maintaining quality. The challenge then becomes how to work smarter and not harder because reducing costs can also translate to cutting staff.  That works only if you have the buy-in of everyone, and the information to help staff understand the what and why.

In home health and hospice, for example, Medicare drives the ship and regs change frequently. If we don't help staff understand the purpose and the effects of those changes, we don't get the buy-in we need to be successful. Hospitals have gone through many changes in the past few years as well. The key element is meeting reimbursement and providing quality care,

Reducing Readmission and Avoiding Never Events
Never events and reducing hospital readmission are but two huge issues incorporating continuous quality improvement and revising patient care delivery. Both are directly tied to reimbursement. And that is only going to get more difficult to achieve. It's a perfect situation for performance improvement and the data feedback from Medicare provides some of the best evidence of successes and failure.

As part of the continuum of care, home health and hospice have to pick up the ball and run with it. The goal always to help patients assume responsibility for their own health status and improve their outcomes. If we can help patients maintain a status quo and prevent complications, we will see a tremendous improvement in health status over all along with a significant reduction in healthcare costs. To accomplish this, nurses have to spend more quality time with patients providing patient education. And they need feedback to help them understand and improve their patient education skills. It's a paradigm shift from doing for the patient to helping him do for himself. In some realms this has taken place much faster than others. And it's not difficult to imagine that some nurses have resisted the change with all their might, while others have welcomed the challenge.

Collaboration with HR, Staff Development and QI
Nurses are typically over achievers and will strive to meet and exceed expectations, but it's imperative they have the information and the education to improve their skills to meet these needs and goals. Nurses need to be kept aware of the outcomes from data being collected for reimbursement purposes and how their individual participation helps or hinders. This is a process for HR and the staff education department to collaborate along with quality improvement. The data is readily available, the feedback needs to be derived and disseminated. Talent management software is just one of the possible solutions for storing and reporting feedback.

With information and feedback, nurses will rise to the challenge and prove they are the backbone of the healthcare industry. Nurses will feel accomplished and thrive in their roles. There will be a reduced turn over of staff and patient outcomes will improve.

Disclosure: This content has been brought to you by Halogen Software, the market leader in talent management software. Bringing value to nurses is at the forefront of Halogen Software’s goals so they are partnering with nurse leaders online to bring attention to important issues that healthcare organizations face every day. To find out more Halogen Software and the support they can provide to your nursing staff check out their healthcare page.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Avoiding Caregiver Fatigue

Nurse Blog Carnival - The Nerdy Nurse - 300x300Sorry to be a little late with this today. We are having very high winds, temperatures and fires in So. CA so the power is wildly fluctuating. I'm trying my best to get this done quickly now. The winds and heat can be so annoying, but also play havoc with health issues. So can the extreme cold, snowy, rainy weather that most of the country has dealt with for months this year and continues long into the Spring.

We always take the time to educate our patients in how to stay warm or cool. How important fluid intake is especially with extremes in weather. That winds drive the pollen and dust and dirt and all things irritating to the lungs, the sinuses, the eyes, etc.

Do we heed these warnings ourselves? Not always. Nurses are commonly over achievers. We strive to take care of everyone else and think we are invincible. Last week was Nurses Week and I always try to have a posting about taking care of yourself in or around the celebration of nurses. We need reminders to stop and take care of ourselves and replenish our energy and passion so that we can carry on. These are not in never-ending supply. You will burnout if you don't take care of yourself.

This time, I'm hosting the Blog Carnival and other nurse bloggers have written posts on their great blogs to help us find ways to help us care for ourselves and avoid caregiver fatigue, or "burnout" as it used to be called.

Jerome Stone of Minding the Bedside Meditation Resources for Everyone, found some great statistics in a simple Google search for the keywords compassion fatigue. The number of links has doubled since he searched the term last spring.  The title of his post is Compassion Fatigue in Nursing? There's No Such Thing! 5 Reminders. So you might think he's trying to debunk the idea, but it's just the opposite. Jerome's reminders are great points and he offers some guidance in meditative practices such as loving kindness. You can download this practice free from his blog and find other meditative tips as well. And find his book, Minding the Bedside: Nursing from the Heart of the Awakened Mind on Amazon Kindle.

Joan RN is completing her Master in Nursing Education to become a nurse educator. Her blog is One of the key points she makes in her entry, Avoiding Caregiver Fatigue, is that nurses need to recognize they are vulnerable. Denial is such a dangerous thing. Like the safety instruction on an airplane, in case of emergency and a drop in cabin pressure, put your oxygen mask on first! Then help others around you. We need to care for ourselves so we can continue to care for others. 

Tina Lanciault's blog is Your Career Nursing, Helping Nurses Succeed. She asks the question does nursing and stress go together? In her post, 7 Tips for Stressed Out Nurses,  Tina shares some of the top ideas and tips she has learned throughout her 20+ years as a nurse. They include examining what causes your stress, what foods do you eat when you're stressed, and how do you relax? She invites readers to share their experiences and ideas in comments on her blog. Then she encourages you to do something fun and get up off the couch, away from the computer, etc., and go outdoors.

Avoiding caregiver or compassion fatigue is not rocket science. But it often tends to be something nurses don't want to talk about or write about. At some point in your career you are likely to experience it. I hope these articles help you to recognize your vulnerability, the signs and symptoms and ways to treat and avoid it in the future.

This post was written as part of the Nurse Blog Carnival If you are interested in participating find out more details and sign up here.