Nursing

Inconspicuously Amazing

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Happy, Happy Oncology Nurses Month!

by Nursetopia on May 1, 2014

HoorayForOncologyNursesIt’s May, and for oncology nurses all around the world, that means one giant celebration month! Now, I love, love, love the nursing profession, but I must be honest; I am biased towards oncology nurses. I can’t help it…I am an oncology nurse myself. I feel at home around oncology nurses; they’re my people, my tribe, my community…whatever you want to call it.

Oncology nurses are a special group. (I know, I know…what nursing specialty isn’t “special,” right?!) And oncology in and of itself is a complex area of care. There’s never a dull moment, and it seems like there is always a new drug, protocol, treatment to learn. It’s innovative, and oncology nurses help lead the way in that, too, using evidence (or generating it!) to guide patient care. Oncology nurses beautifully blend the art and science of health care.

I am so glad I’m an oncology nurse, and I certainly plan to celebrate my nursing specialty and colleagues this month. Do you have an oncology nurse in your life or work? Be sure to celebrate him or her this month!

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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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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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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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