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photo-27I spent the majority of last week at a training about lean tools and concepts. At the beginning of the class, the instructor asked how many people volunteered for the class as opposed to how many were “voluntold” to attend the class. I was definitely a volunteer for the class, seeking it out to learn more about my organization’s use of these lean concepts, and I thoroughly enjoyed the class.

I had an entire class on operational efficiencies in graduate school, but it wasn’t tailored to health care, and there were few examples that I could extrapolate at the time as most of my colleagues were heavily focused on mechanical industries. I have always been drawn to systems and processes, though, and I now see more of that graduate class influenced my current work than I previously realized. After the lean class, I now have very clear examples of lean work in health care, formalized and workable tools, and terms to go along with current work. I nerded out the entire time; it was a blast.

After the course, I borrowed Everything I Know About Lean I Learned in the First Grade, written by Robert O. Martichenko, from the instructing department’s lending library. It caught my eye simply because it looked like an easy and intriguing read. And it definitely is.

Even after 28 hours of lean training, the book delivered easy to understand concepts and examples to further bolster my lean learning. It was fun to see lean principles at work in an elementary school, and I know I will think about many of the examples as I walk through my children’s school in the future. Complete with illustrations, brief paragraphs, and summary sections, the book is an easy two-hour read that will get you thinking about lean principles everywhere in business, no matter the industry.

Two complexly simple themes throughout the book are:

  • Lean is not about tools; lean is about thinking. 
  • ‘Why’ is more important than ‘how.’ 

I am going to keep chewing on these and keep them at the forefront of my mind. Overall, this is a quick and thought-provoking read. You should check it out.

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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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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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Screen Shot 2013-12-29 at 2.06.37 PMI enjoy knowing about my team members – what they like to eat, to do with their spare time, and how they want to be recognized. Over the years, I’ve used many methods to keep track of this information. Early on in my career, I kept small pieces of info about team members that I learned in passing or in brief conversations – names of loved ones (including pets), favorite foods, books s/he was reading, etc. It always helped when I wanted to recognize someone or convey my concern/excitement for the team member by sharing his concern or excitement for his loved ones.

Over time, I used individual “About You” sheets for team members, and I included it in team members’ on boarding processes. It’s a regular item I request from new-hires. I scan and save the digital file and pull it up whenever I need it, which is often as I like to recognize people or leave small, random thoughts and gifts of encouragement.

A few months ago I made my own About You sheet to match my style and include exactly what I wanted in the tool. There’s no use in me keeping it all to myself, so here’s a small gift – the About You sheet – for you and all those you oversee. Enjoy!

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I Heart Algorithms

by Nursetopia on September 6, 2013

I’m not sure when it happened, but it seems like algorithms and “pathways” have overtaken healthcare. I’m not complaining; I love it. I’m a visual person, so when people explain processes to me, I tend to draw them as I’m listening or reviewing my notes. I’ve found that algorithms turn gray processes and care to black and white. They clarify exactly what everyone can and should do rather than leave that information in one person’s head. I frequently make – and revise – algorithms. They’re easy, artful, practical, and just plain smart work.

AlgorithmI make algorithms one of two ways – in Microsoft Visio or in Microsoft PowerPoint. You could also use Microsoft Publisher, but I prefer not to use it for algorithm creation simply because I know PowerPoint shortcuts and tools much better. Visio is intended to develop algorithms and pathways. It’s incredibly easy to use (especially if you know how to use PowerPoint or Publisher) and takes all the guesswork out of making straight lines and centering text. If you don’t have Visio but make a lot of algorithms (or are planning to do so), purchasing Visio is well worth the investment. No, Microsoft Visio is not paying me for this article; I just love Visio that much. I know, it’s geekily comical. I am unashamed.

If you don’t have Visio, you can still develop your algorithms in PowerPoint. It may take a little longer than Visio, but hey – it works. Open a blank file. You’ll only need to use one PowerPoint slide for this. Start adding your quadrilateral shapes, overlaid text boxes, and add in arrows. Capture or highlight all the items on the slide, group them, and then right-click to save the file as a picture to then insert into other documents. It’s pretty easy once you get the hang of it.

Do you use or create algorithms in your healthcare setting?

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An August 2013 Kaiser Health Tracking Poll revealed “more than four-in-ten Americans think the new health care law has been repealed, overturned in court or are just unsure whether it remains the law.” The same amount of people surveyed stated they trust “a lot” the Affordable Care Act, or ACA, information their doctors or nurses give them – the highest among even federal and state agencies and well above insurance companies. Oddly, though, most Americans are not receiving information about the ACA, including exchange marketplace information, from healthcare professionals but rather news media and family and friends, both of which rank lower on survey participants’ trust scales for the information. A full 65% admit they have not sought information on the ACA, and about half of those surveyed reported experience comparing health insurance plans in the past.

ACAexchangeMarketplaceThe Kaiser Family Foundation poll includes additional, enlightening information, including data pertinent to specific demographic groups. Healthcare professionals are trusted sources of ACA information, but clearly we are not having these discussions with patients or the public. Perhaps it’s because even the experts are still novices on the ACA and we lack the education and confidence to share this dialogue with others? If you find yourself in this predicament, here’s a synopsis of helpful, easy-to-understand resources:

Open enrollment for the Health Insurance Marketplace begins October 1, 2013, which is right around the corner. It will last until March 31, 2014, and coverage begins January 1, 2014. Everyone can access the Marketplace at www.healthcare.gov or www.cuidadodesalud.gov, and you can prepare for the Marketplace before October 1st via numerous ways.

Have you sought information about the ACA and how it will impact you as well as your patients? Are you having these conversations with your patients to ensure they’re informed about the ACA and how it will (or already has) impact their care?

References

Kaiser Family Foundation. (August 28, 2013). Kaiser Health Tracking Poll: August 2013. Retrieved September 3, 2013, from http://kff.org/health-reform/poll-finding/kaiser-health-tracking-poll-august-2013/

 

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I’m pretty keen on statistics. Writing, speaking, and leading – I can drop some numbers on you in no time. The statistics shared through the Thunder Road film, though, stopped me in my tracks.

My dad is a veteran. Several of my uncles are veterans. My brother is a veteran. I have family and friends serving at home and abroad right now. There are more than 22 in my quick calculations. I cannot imagine any of them taking their own lives. Perhaps they have thought of it, though, based on their experiences and enduring post-traumatic stress disorders, or PTSD.

I can’t share the Thunder Road information as good as the film writers, so please take a moment to view the video below, providing more information about PTSD in veterans as well as the film itself.

Consider supporting the Thunder Road film creation; there are some pretty cool incentives for contributing. Share this information with your colleagues. Change your practice to provide appropriate care for PTSD among veterans.

They’ve fought for us and others. It’s time we fight for them.

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I’ve had my fair share of stale PowerPoint presentations. Trust me, I’ve given many of them, too. I find the presentations I enjoy the most have clean aesthetics, minimal text, and provide opportunities for storytelling. Considering I like those things in presentations, I choose to present this way, as well.

Notepad and TapeI had the lovely opportunity to speak on behalf of the Nurse Oncology Education Program to a group of nurses and nurse faculty at the beautiful Moncrief Cancer Institute in Fort Worth on Saturday. One presentation was directed for faculty on how to make oncology content “stick” in undergraduate curricula, something I’ve grown passionate about as a result of working with faculty over several years. The second presentation was about colorectal cancer screening.

ScreenBoth topics can be rather dull, so I try to make the content come alive in any way possible – mostly with stories, vocal tone, and creative PowerPoint backgrounds. In preparation for the presentation, I couldn’t find any background I really liked, so I just made my own with simple shapes, lines, transparency settings, and colors. One of the nursing faculty members asked for the templates, so I thought I’d share, share, share in true Nursetopia fashion.

You can download the “Notepad & Tape” PowerPoint template here and the “Screen” PowerPoint template here. (Any large, unused space likely included a picture.) Enjoy!

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Be the Person You Should Be

by Nursetopia on May 16, 2013

“Simple” and “easy” are two very different concepts that people often mistakenly use interchangeably. Remaining poised in difficult times is a simple thought; it is by no means easy.

A recent Minute with Maxwell coaching video reminded me that poise is important. “Keep steady.” Oh, how I needed that one minute this week. Now for the “simple” application…oh my.

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