What ‘Community’ Looks Like in Health Care

by Nursetopia on April 17, 2014

Each hospital has its own culture – a mixture of the city, the people, artistic and political movements, and area businesses. Even hospitals within the same city have different cultures thanks to the leaders within those organizations and their backgrounds and viewpoints. Academic hospitals feel different than community hospitals. Organizational behavior is fascinating, especially in health care.

There are around 400 major teaching hospitals in the U.S. So, with 5,723 total hospitals nationwide, that means most people are likely to receive care in a community hospital rather than an academic center. Yet, “community hospital” often has a negative connotation among many, as if there is some teaching-hospital snobbery that only those facilities are worthy to provide care. Sure, major teaching hospitals are centers of massive research and up-to-date science. However, community hospitals deliver exceptional care throughout the nation and are doing some wildly innovative things that large teaching institutions could never do as a result of their bureaucratic red tape and flaming hoops of often unnecessary-and-frustrating process.

Don’t get me wrong; I love major teaching centers. They are brilliant beacons of light in our national healthcare system. All-in-all, though, community hospitals have my heart. The community sometimes get lost, but when community culture meets community health care, amazing things happen.

You see, community  is something we assess in healthcare all the time. Nurses continuously document mothers’ bonding with their newborns and family members and friends at patients’ bedsides. We notice eye contact or lack thereof and chart about affect and social assessment questions to protect patients from themselves or others. We have entire teams of professionals to help patients when they feel all alone, so we can help them belong and be productive members of society. Relationships are part of health and well-being; there’s no way around that. Community is relationship. Community hospitals aren’t made up of strangers. No, the great ones are filled with relationships; and I’m not just talking about doctor-nurse or supervisor-subordinate relationships. I’m talking about our-kids-play-basketball-together relationships and yeah-my-doctor-is-my-neighbor relationships and I-knew-that-physical-therapist-when-she-was-yea-high relationships and that-small-business-owner-helped-build-our-new-clinic relationships. It’s an incredible sense of belonging that promotes health care. 

What a concept.

Have we lost too much of the community - the relationship-building and maintaining – that’s possibly assisting in the erosion of health care?

"Relationships" by Nic Price via Flickr.com “Relationships” by Nic Price via Flickr.com

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Thinking Through My Leadership Manifesto

by Nursetopia on April 16, 2014

I have the privilege of learning alongside some amazing nurses. Recently we briefly talked about how what we believe influences our leadership styles and, thus, everything we do. So, it’s important to really know what it is you believe in. It made me pause, and for the next several days I really thought about what I believe as an individual and leader – to be more aware.

I believe in the triune God and the God-breathed Word, which guides my life and work. My beliefs may be divergent from others’, which should not change the way I provide care. Yet, my work and actions should be different in many ways, reflecting foundational Christian principles that undergird my life.

I believe as a leader, I am the ultimate example for my team. I must role model the way.

I believe that in healthcare, everything comes down to and revolves around people. Every. Thing. I must remember that with each decision.

I believe frontline team members are the largest source of solutions to current problems.

I believe professionals are adults and should be treated as such.

I believe that while difficult to develop and maintain, diversity is vital to the health of a team, an organization, and the final service or product.

I believe failure is not final; it should be celebrated and learned from rather than feared and avoided.

I believe the majority of people want control over their work, clear expectations, and room to autonomously shake the world.

I believe I must give the same opportunities and lessons to those around me that others have graciously and generously given me.

I believe thank you’s never get old and cannot be said enough.

I believe curiosity and inquiry are welcome aspects to any organization.

I believe the work environment should be so amazing that people are banging down the doors and waiting on lists for the opportunity to join the team.

I believe continuous learning is a requirement, not an option.

I believe collaboration is worth the effort.

Beliefs can change over time, a member of the group pointed out. She’s right. What do you deeply believe that influences each aspect of your work?

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inPractice® Oncology Nursing has a brand new textbook resource available to help nurses at the bedside or chairside. Broken into clinically relevant segments and chock full of evidence-based practice guidelines and information, inPractice® Oncology Nursing has chapters upon chapters of education, laid out in bite-sized pieces, which is perfect for just-in-time expert information. The graphic-heavy content has a hint of Pinterest for oncology professionals, making the content easy to grasp and retain. All evidence-based guidelines and reference journal articles are hyperlinked throughout the online text, so nurses can quickly go straight to the evidence as well as national practice-guiding documents across topics. In addition, the content itself is hyperlinked, so nurses can scan from issue to issue if they’d like to learn more about certain topics. With a robust table of content, inPractice® Oncology Nursing is a comprehensive oncology nursing textbook like no other.

I had the privilege to be a part of this ground-breaking oncology nurse textbook development. I love the combination of strong content with aesthetically-pleasing, easy-to-understand graphics that help support the content. I can attest to the strength of the information as all references and guidelines were thoroughly checked and then each chapter was passed through a rigorous peer review process. And since this textbook is online, updates are a breeze. In fact, inPractice® Oncology Nursing has been published since the end of February 2014, and my section (on survivorship) has already had content updates based on new evidence in the field. Now that is timely, accurate, and reliable oncology nursing support.

Check out the new resource, and if you’re attending the 39th Annual Oncology Nursing Congress in Anaheim, May 1 – 4, you can stop by the inPractice® exhibit booth to talk with some of the experts and learn more about the textbook that is helping redefine oncology nursing education.

Disclosure: I served as a section editor and chapter author for inPractice® Oncology Nursing. I was compensated for my involvement to develop the resource. All thoughts here are my own. I did not receive remuneration to share my thoughts. 

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MashupMy reading list is filling back up again, and I’m absolutely loving it. I’m squeezing in chapters here and there, and you better believe free moments in between meetings and snippets of downtime have their fair share of bit-sized information and education. Here’s a little of what’s been passing through my brain lately:

What are you reading these days?

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Dansko is at it again…recognizing and celebrating the most fabulous group of healthcare professionals – nurses, of course! Okay, I might be a tad biased. Maybe. But you can’t deny that Dansko loves, loves, loves nurses! And who’s to blame them? No one here!

Dansko is giving away a pair of their amazing shoes and a fabulous Nurses Week lunch to you and nine of your closest nurse friends. That is, if you’re one of the five randomly selected winners. That means you have to enter, though, by April 28th. Simply tell them why you celebrate Nurses Week, and you’re in the drawing! How easy is that? And oh my goodness…what nurse friend wouldn’t offer to help with your next admit/discharge/enema/[insert your least-favorite nursing care piece here] when he or she realizes you’re treating him/her to new Dansko shoes and lunch?! Oh yeah; you’ll be that nurse during Nurses Week.

So, get after it; enter the Dansko Nurses Week Giveaway, and start the celebration early! Thanks, Dansko, for always celebrating Nurses! 

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Never heard of a Certified Cancer (or Tumor) Registrar? You’re not alone. Even people within the oncology world often do not know about these amazing team members. The reason? They work behind the scenes and do so much background work that they make the Invisible Woman look like Captain Obvious.

Ever wondered how we get our cancer statistics like incidence, prevalence, mortality, and survival rates? That’s all because Tumor Registrars abstract data from individual patient charts over the course of a cancer patient’s lifetime. Curious how providers know whether or not specific treatment regimens make a difference in patient outcomes over time? Yep, that’s a Tumor Registrar’s work, too. Inquired whether there are certain clusters of cancers in specific locations that may be tied to environment, diet, etc. Oh, yes…thank a Tumor Registrar for those nuggets of info, also.

Cancer Registries are incredible sources of data; they are absolutely vital to our patient care, our healthcare system, and to public health. If I need data as an oncology administrator, the Cancer Registry (my local, state, and national ones) are the very first places I look to for help. These professionals are that amazing.

On top of all of that work, Cancer Registries are often the departments that help coordinate tumor boards as well as American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer accreditation pieces.

Do you know your Certified Cancer Registrars and Cancer Registry team? If not, you need to meet them. Today. And thank them while you’re at it.

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Voluminous Volunteer Thanks

by Nursetopia on April 10, 2014

This is National Volunteer Appreciation Week. What. A. Week!

I’ve previously expressed what an amazingly untapped volunteer resource nursing is in general, but this week I haven’t focused on nursing volunteers; I’ve had my eyes and thoughts fixed on all the amazing volunteers who help within healthcare settings. They volunteer for all sorts of reasons and for varying time frames and in myriad locations. A lot of the times healthcare volunteers end up donating more than time because they see the needs and know how financial donations make a difference to patients and team members.

What I appreciate is that healthcare volunteers take their skills and put them to use in many settings. Some sit at the bedside of dying patients; some organize meeting notes and files; some prep certain aspects of patient care; some fill areas with music; some teach; some clean; some cook.

All care.

Have you thanked a volunteer this week?

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Think of your favorite song of the moment. How does it make you feel; does it change your mood? Maybe the way your feeling impacts your “favorite” song right now. Both, actually.

Music is powerful. It has the influence to change our emotions, but it also has the capability to help us express ever-changing feelings. Music therapy for cancer patients is an evidence-based care strategy to reduce anxiety and even help improve pain management. Yet, it is often missing from oncology services. In ten years of oncology nursing, I have never had the opportunity to work in a clinic setting with music therapy services. I haven’t had the chance to actually see the difference music therapy can make for patients; that means literally thousands of patients haven’t had that service offered to them alongside their clinical care. That’s incredibly disappointing.

I want the chance to change that for the patients I currently help serve.

Will you please take literally two minutes to vote for my cancer center to receive the Jeffrey Frank Wacks Music Therapy Program via funding from LIVESTRONG? Voting ends Friday, April 11th, at 5 PM Eastern. Vote once and then follow the corresponding links to share via Facebook as well as Twitter to garner a total of 3 votes to help bring this amazing program.

With three days remaining to vote, I’d love your help to improve lives.

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Since its formal inception in 2002, the Jeffrey Frank Wacks Music Therapy Program has become an essential component of the Carol G. Simon Cancer Center, a subsidiary of Morristown Medical Center’s integrative approach to caring for cancer patients. The Jeffrey Frank Wacks Music Therapy Program, one of the longest-running programs of its kind in the country, has demonstrated great success in serving the people of the communities where the program is currently offered. The program’s overarching goal is to facilitate relaxation, decrease anxiety and stress, enhance wellness, improve pain management and provide comfort and support for cancer patients and their caregivers.

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Refocusing on the Art of Nursing

by Nursetopia on March 25, 2014

Nurses Week (May 6-12) will be here before we all know it. And what will nurses have throughout that week? The same they have each and every week – not enough hours in the day and fewer resources to care for sicker patients. Day after day. week after week. It’s easy to forget the love – the art of nursing, but we can change that.

Elizabeth Scala, MBA, MSN, RN, is hosting The Art of Nursinga four-day, online series to reinvigorate professional passion during Nurses Week. With twelve sessions crossing numerous and well-known nurse speakers, the series will focus on practical concepts for nurses to care for themselves. And with enrollment packages ranging from students through entire organizations, there is something for everyone.

What nurse doesn’t want a little bit of time to himself or herself to focus on the art of our profession rather than trinkets and bobbles during the celebrated Nurses Week? Share The Art of Nursing with those around you – nursing students, nursing colleagues, and leaders within your organization.

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Love on the Certified Nurses Near You

by Nursetopia on March 18, 2014

Tomorrow – March, 19, 2014, is Certified Nurses Day. Hooray!! 

CertifiedNursesDayNew readers, consider this your orientation to Certified Nurses Day, but all the Nursetopia faithfuls should know this date (March 19th) by now. It’s time to cel-uhhh-braaa-aate! Why? Because this day highlights nurses who’ve gone above and beyond to obtain certification in addition to all of their education and licenses, indicating quality patient care and nursing professionalism.

Now, if this quick-evening-before post is any indication of how prepared you think I am to celebrate the certified nurses around me, you’re wrong. Okay, not completely wrong. Okay, so I’m preparing the night before, yes, but don’t think I haven’t thought about this special day for several weeks. Because I totally have. 

I chose to purchase a gift for the nurses around me rather than make one like previously. And, I didn’t even make my own card this year because the American Nurse Credentialing Center (ANCC) did such an awesome job of developing all the materials for me. Seriously, kudos, ANCC, ’cause it’s all super cute. They’re feminine, for sure, so I’m not sure how our guy colleagues will receive them, but they work for my all-lady certified nurse team. I’m plastering their work areas with the posters, adding my sentimental thanks to the letterhead and cards, and emailing the pre-crafted design to my team and executive leaders, highlighting the certified nurses.

It’s. Going. To. Be. Awesome. Because certified nurses are awesome. 

 

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