Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Supporting Nursing Moms at Work: How These 9 Medical Centers Answered the Call

By Deborah Swanson 
An interesting juxtaposition has emerged in the last 50 or so years: most major health organizations agreed that breast milk is the best source of nutrition for infants, and at the same time, more moms invested in their careers than ever before (almost 70 percent of mothers were in the workforce in 2015, compared with just 47 percent in 1975). Integrating breastfeeding into a full-time workday is a major challenge for new mothers, and studies show that workplace barriers contribute to low rates of breastfeeding.

To address this, in 2010, the United States enacted a federal law requiring employers to provide break time and a place for hourly wage-earning and salaried employees to express breast milk at work. But the medical industry in particular has taken their support of nursing moms to the next level, not only by following the law, but also by introducing lactation services and breast pump rental programs, and even developing programs that let employees bring their nursing babies to work. So, perhaps all the medical mom needs is a good pair of maternity scrubs and a supportive employer!

Here are a few of the medical centers who went above and beyond to support their nursing employees in the past few years. Most of these hospitals are accredited by the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (Baby-Friendly USA), a governing body that helps medical centers develop programs that encourage more employees to breastfeed. READ MORE...

Deborah Swanson is a former Hospital Administrator who now works with celebrating caregivers. She keeps busy interviewing medical professionals, writing for blogs, and gardening.

Thanks Deborah

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Are You Ready for Nurses Week?

Nurses Week 2018 is rapidly approaching. May 6-12  each year is set aside to honor the nursing profession. The American Nurses Association theme for 2018 is Nurses Inspire Innovate Influence.  This certainly captures nursing and what nurses do every day! It should be an easy theme to build your celebration around.

Every year I hear more and more nurses grumble because nothing was done for them! I've been there myself, and it's indeed very disappointing. Simple gestures go a long way to make people feel appreciated.

I know way too many managers who have no idea how to make staff feel appreciated, and have no idea how to plan any sort of celebration. Even the simple gesture of bringing in a box of bagels or donuts just because it's Friday is beyond their ability and comprehension.

So what I learned was that if you want something done, you have to do it yourself and not sit back and be passive aggressive about it!! There are tons of simple things that can be done and a good leader needs to be able to pull a team together and delegate! You don't have to do it all yourself. You just need to prioritize and organize. Use those critical thinking skills and lead your staff!

Raises and Expensive Gifts are NOT Going to Happen
Nurses Week is NOT about sending everyone on an all expenses paid vacation to the Caribbean. It's NOT about giving everyone a substantial raise. It's NOT about "using that money for something significant." It's simply NOT possible, and anyone who feels butt hurt that their employer didn't do this for them is simply in the WRONG profession. Perhaps Wall Street is calling your name? 

On the other (realistic) hand, being appreciated is something everyone needs to feel! It's not rocket science and it's not difficult to pull it off!!! There are tons of creative, talented nurses out there waiting to be asked.

Step Up and Help Plan
Nurses usually have to find their own rewards out of the difference they make for their patients, but it's important to be recognized by management and told you DO matter. So don't sit back and let managers rest on incompetence at planning celebrations. It really is a problem, but they can't be expected to be great at everything! So jump in and help out!!! Bring a sample of your skills and share at a staff meeting or just with your manager.

  • A potluck meal can work miracles to bring staff together to share cultures and recipes and downright great food! A signup sheet is easy to make. You can spread it across the whole week so everyone is included despite their days off. Set a theme for each day or mix it all up. Have fun and enjoy the great foods you're bound to have. Everyone gets to participate -- even if they buy the food they bring, or supply the drinks, napkins or utensils.
  • Ask a local bagel or donut shop to donate or discount the product to honor nurses and bring in a BUNCH to share. A few balloons, streamers and banners can help set a festive mood and alert patients and family members to the celebration of nursing.

Nurses Survival Kits
A few years back, one of our nurse leaders handed out small bags packed with little goodies and a great note to make us all feel loved and appreciated. These take a little effort to create and fill the bags, but again organizing a team to work together can make quick work. Search Etsy or Pinterest for additional ideas on Nurses Survival Kits.

Utilize some of the History of Nurses Week and the ideas I have shared on the Nursing Site for more suggestions on making your Nurses Week a big success. Don't forget to include the Florence Nightingale Pledge in some fashion. It reminds us of our roots and keeps us grounded.

Check back here too. We have some really terrific Give Aways planned for Nurses Week 2018. If you have something to donate, it's not too late.

Enjoy Nurses Week!