Nursing

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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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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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Administering A Dose of Gratitude

by Nursetopia on March 4, 2014

It’s easy to point out the wrong in health care. It’s all around us. Despite the brokeness, there are dozens hundreds of processes and moments that do work well.

Praise is limited for the on-time surgery with appropriate and accurate “time-outs;” reconciled instrument counts; providers utilizing the just-in-time stocked supplies that took months to pare down without impacting patient outcomes and negotiating sustainable contracts; post-operative nurses who self-scheduled to improve their own satisfaction while curbing rising staffing costs; pharmacy technicians who verify drug counts remain consistent from shift to shift and unit to unit; health information management teams who adequately code and bill for procedures as they weed through  hundreds of thousands of data points; lab team members that quickly, efficiently, and safely process pathology specimens as dozens of  additional patient body fluids and tissues whiz through the system; leaders who make time for people despite the tug of tasks; and on and on.

q4PRN

 

Everyday health care has its awful moments. In no way am I trying to minimize healthcare errors; they’re catastrophic – even fatal – in our industry. Yet, for every one of those you-didn’t-do-this-right notifications, there are myriad more wow-that-worked-awesomely instances.

 

 

Gratitude is potent no matter the route. What’s important is that it’s actually administered.

 

 

 

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Give Grace to Grow

by Nursetopia on January 23, 2014

Grace. 

It’s a beautiful word. I use it a lot in health care – to talk about professionals in their work in addition to encouraging professionals as they learn. We live and work in an immediate culture. We have to have and do and be everything – all at once – now. It seems as though there is little to no time given to individuals to learn these days, and I mean this as an expectation from both the teacher/supervisor as well as the learner. We set unrealistic expectations of ourselves and demand that we know everything on day one.

I know because I am the same way.

I picked up a phrase, a philosophy, really, from my brother-in-law, a pastor, about a decade ago. He always used to say, “Give people grace to grow,” meaning we all make mistakes, and we all learn from our mistakes; allow people to have time to make mistakes and learn from them. This has deep spiritual meaning for me in the workplace – in health care – today, and I frequently tell this to team members as they are orienting or learning a new system or process. I whisper it to myself at times, as well.

Grace to grow. Grace to grow. Grace to grow. 

Growth takes time; growth takes patience; growth takes grace. Provide your life with some space – some grace…to grow.

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Do You Care Enough to Know Their Names?

by Nursetopia on January 22, 2014

Poor_TellMeTheirNames_Nursetopia

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The Nursing Profession: Worth Advocating For

by Nursetopia on January 21, 2014

I have a nursing bias. I know that. I consider it a strength. Not everyone shares my thoughts, though. And that’s okay. Diversity of thought is a tremendous strength of any organization.

People I share numerous meetings with and those that know me best can pretty much guess what I’m going to say or ask…Where are the nurses on this committee?How does this impact the nurses doing the care?Have you asked any frontline nurses what they think of this?Let me get back to you; I need to talk to the nursesI see an administrative leader and a medical leader involved on this group; I strongly believe we need a nursing leader involved, too. 

Being the lone nurse in the room a lot of times is difficult, but it’s a tremendous honor and responsibility. I’ll never quit advocating for nurses, no matter how uncomfortable it is at times. And uncomfortable it can most certainly become; I remind myself frequently that if I don’t speak up now, I’ll have to answer for it later by looking into the eyes of nurses and patients asking the very same questions that are running through my head.

We’re the ones putting hands on patients; we’re the backbone of the healthcare system; we’re worth advocating for.

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MashupSundays are lovely days. They “refill my tank” in many ways – spiritually, emotionally, and physically. I seem to “catch up” on a lot of things on Sundays, with reading being one of those. If you’re looking for some interesting bite-sized readings today, here’s a little bit of what I’ve been filling my head with lately:

What about you? What caught your attention this week?

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It’s a silly mistake, but leaders make it everyday – overlooking people for a position simply because the applicant lacks experience. I know because I’ve been guilty of this. I’ve also experienced this mistake as an applicant, as well.

Sure, experience is important, especially for some roles. Experience brings wisdom and know-how and can develop a program or a business quickly. But many times, a role can offer experience to a candidate, a candidate with passion and potential.

Right after I finished graduate school for my MSN and MBA many years ago, I applied for an open nurse manager position in the hospital I had been working in for three years. The hospital had grown me as a new nurse, my unit leader had done everything in her power to make me a success, working with me and my grad-school, growing-family schedule to ensure patient care was covered and I had a full paycheck. The management role wasn’t a specialty stretch for me, but when I spoke with the assistant chief nursing officer about the position, in an informal interview, she told me I didn’t have enough experience to manage a nursing unit. She really did discourage me rather than validate my passion and work ethic to dive deep into the information and personally grow while developing the organization and people around me.

As it turned out, that was a shaping moment and likely one of the best things that could happen to me. Of course, hindsight is 20/20. Shortly thereafter, I moved to a new city, and ended up leading a statewide program for the Texas Nurses Association that catapulted my career and developed me as a leader in many ways. I had absolutely no experience leading such a program. But, the executive director, the team, and the entire organization took a chance on me, looking at my past patterns of initiative and hearing my passion. Thankfully; I owe much of who I am as a nurse leader to them.

I think about both of these instances when I look at resumes/applications and interview people. Experience is great, but if I interview someone with experience and they don’t have passion or drive, I quickly turn my attention to other applicants.

Potential is often just as important as experience yet frequently overlooked. If you regularly hire people, how do you manage the experience-versus-potential balance?

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The Most Formidable Teacher: Experience

by Nursetopia on December 30, 2013

She’s one tough teacher. Sometimes, if you’re lucky, you can learn from her substitute, which regularly teaches everyone else. At the board – exposed, in front of the class – you won’t ever forget her lessons, though. Oh no. Rarely does she have to re-explain herself, and when she does – lookout; her repeat exams are just downright brutal. There is no curve, and every question matters. If you don’t know the answer, you better find out, and yes, there are such things as “stupid questions.” You’re going to want to commit her suggested revisions to memory. There will be a pop quiz when you least expect it.

[Sigh]

Can school please be over now? What? No winter vacation? Maybe if I just avoid eye contact she won’t call on me.

Oh. Crap.

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