Thursday, May 29, 2008

Safe Staffing Poll Results

The American Nurses Association (ANA) has compiled the results form it's Safe Staffing Saves Lives survey. The results are unfortunately not surprising ad nurses are encouraged to continue to contact their legislators to support the Registered Nurse Safe Staffing Act of 2007.

Over 10,000 nurses took part in the Safe Staffing survey. Here are just a few of the results:
  • 73% of responders report that they believe that staffing is not sufficient on their shift or in their unit.
  • 59.8% say they know someone who has left nursing because of fears about safe staffing.
  • 48.2% said they would not be confidnet about having a loved one care for at their facility due to insufficient staffing.
  • 36% rarely or never take a full meal break.
You can read more about the ANA survey and the results here.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Congratulations New Grads!!

Welcome to the world of nursing! The best advice I can give you is to find a job where you have a long orientation. If you can find one that offers a new grad residency program, go for it.

This is a new model in new nurse orientation and is beginning to appear in hospitals all around the country. It's a year long program designed to support new nurses through the ups and owns of their first year as a nurse.

Most orientation programs are six months or less, and usually about six months is when new nurses suddenly feel overwhelmed and stupid. And just at the point where they need even more moral support, they get thrown into the real world to sink or swim. Unfortunately, too many times they give up.

Whether or not you are lucky enough to find such a program, do remember that you need to give yourself a WHOLE YEAR before you're going to begin to feel comfortable in your new role. Somewhere about six months down the line you'll really feel like this has been a mistake. Don't listen to that little voice!

Give yourself credit for what you have accomplished and time to feel comfortable. About nine to twelve months into it you will begin to find your confidence again. And you will see that you ARE a good nurse!!!

Research has shown this to be the case with the majority of new nurses so you are not alone! This will be the time to really seek out a mentor or to go back and review some of your text books. This will help you to realize that you do KNOW what you are doing.

Remember also that nursing is a lifelong learning experience. There will always be new things to learn how to do and procedures that change. You will have to leave your comfort zone often. But in doing so, you are doing something that makes a difference in someone's life everyday. Take stock in the little accomplishments everyday!!! You are a NURSE!

photo: Justas Cekas

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Tips for Documentation

Documentation is such an important part of nursing. Yes, I know, you'd rather be spending that time with the patient, but communication is an important part of nursing. Documenting the care you gave, the patient's response and your observations is vital to optimum care.

Stop thinking about it as a chore and think of how what you write will help improve the quality of care and the patient's outcomes. It has to be done just like any of the other procedures you put off till the last minute. Learn to do it well and it'll be much easier.

Here are a few important Do's and Don'ts for you to remember when you sit down to chart.

photo: Zeth Lorenzo

Friday, May 16, 2008

Nursing Schools With No Waiting List

Far too many students have received rejection letters recently from their choice of nursing school. Nursing programs are overcrowded and most have long waiting lists. Each year they turn away hundreds of qualified students due to lack of funding, and a lack of nurse educators.

Sadly, the shortage of nurses also affects the number of nurse educators. Low salaries and poor benefits add to the problem. The Title VIII Nurse workforce Development fund is always a victim of budget cuts and nurses have to fight just to get the same funding as the previous year let alone an increase that would help resolve a nursing shortage!

There are however, a few schools without waiting lists and some may even still have openings for Fall 2008. Johnson & Johnson's Discover Nursing has a comprehensive list of these schools. Check out the list and get your application in. Don't let any nursing program go without a full list of students each and every term!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

New Newsletter Service

I am changing the newsletter service. The old service was way too cumbersome to sign up. Sorry I didn't know that. This one is simple. Enter your Email address in the box in the right hand column, and then respond to the email confirmation in your mail box.

Anyone who was already signed up has been transferred to this new service. If however, you don't receive the newsletter tomorrow, please be sure to sign up again. It's easy this time I promise.

The newsletter is in HTML format and is sent every Wednesday morning (10 Am PST). If your Email program cannot read HTML mail, you'll see a link to go to to read the newsletter.

Monday, May 12, 2008

It's International Nurses Day

Wishing nurses everywhere a Happy International Nurses Day. May 12 is the anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale who is often referred to as the founder of nursing for her contributions to the nursing profession.

One of the things Ms. Nightingale is credited with is bringing infection control measures to the battlegrounds of Turkey during the Crimean war. Many lives were saved as a result of her efforts to teach about improving sanitary conditions and clean techniques.

Many oppose using Ms. Nightingale as a representative of the nursing profession for being out of touch with today's nurses. Yet oddly enough, today we still battle those issues of infection control.

All nurses are relevant and deserve thanks and recognition. Happy International Nurses Day!!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Happy Mother's Day!

Have a great weekend, and Happy Mother's Day to all of the Moms out there!!

Monday (May 12) is International Nurses Day and will mark the end to Nurses Week here in the U.S. Enjoy the rest of this yearly celebration of nurses.

photo © Kathy Quan

Thursday, May 8, 2008

How to Administer Heparin and Lovenox

How to administer heparin or lovenox is another popular how to procedure I have just republished on The Nursing Site. There is also a link to some of the latest information about the heparin recall. Similar to insulin, heparin and low molecular weight anticoagulants should be double checked by two nurses before administering. Care should be taken to verify the patient’s medication order and the concentration of the medication being used.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Happy Nurses Day!

Happy Nurses Day and Nurses Week!
In the U.S. today is Nurses Day. International Nurses Day is May 12, the anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale.

Celebrate being a nurse... Even if no one has done anything to acknowledge Nurses Day or Nurses Week. Let's face it, some people are just not good at planning parties, events or even saying Thank You! All too often, those are the people who are the administrative staff, managers, supervisors etc. who should be in charge of marking this event. Next time, you need to step up and take charge so something gets done.

Meanwhile...whatever is or isn't planned today....celebrate YOU. You make a difference in someone's life everyday!!! Stop and say thanks to yourself. Do something for you today.

And tell another nurse, thanks for being a nurse too.

Teddy bear is available from Cafe Press. Another version (below right) is available from The Nursing Site Shop at Cafe Press. Both shops support The Nursing Site Blog and The Nursing Site.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Support Safe Staffing as Nurses Week Project

Beginning Monday, May 5, the American Nurses Association asks all nurses to call, Email, or FAX their Senators and Representatives and encourage them to honor nurses during Nurses Week (May 6-12) by co-sponsoring the Registered Nurse Safe Staffing Act of 2007 (S.73/H.R.4138). The bill was introduced in the Senate by Daniel Inoye (D-HI) and in the House by Lois Capps (D-CA) and Ginny Brown-Waite (R-FL). (Rep. Capps is an RN.)

According to the ANA, this bill would hold hospitals accountable to establish "valid, reliable, unit-level nurse staffing plans." The plans would be developed by direct-care RNs and would be based on the unique needs and characteristics of the unit.

Encourage your patients to get involved and contact their legislators as well.

Do something for yourself, your colleagues and your patients this Nurses Week, and help make Safe Staffing a reality! Read ANA's Principles for Nurse Staffing at the Safe Staffing Website.