I have heard nursing leaders refer to their nursing staff as their children. I think this can be good if it is in the context that your staff is like family. But I think it can be damaging if you feel you need to "parent" your staff.
Nursing shortages are nothing new, and they're going to get worse. So why haven't we adopted solutions that other countries have already? There ARE ways to get around this.
The next time you feel like pulling out your hair if "just one more person puts on that call light," remember that, as nurses, we're No. 1 in the hearts and minds of the public out there.
Sometimes we get so stuck in the mud of winter, get so despondent that we forget that spring is right around the corner. Of course, I am talking metaphorically. Often, we forget that we can make changes — heck, even be the change.
Let's face it, healthcare is siloed enough without nurses running around with an "I'll do it all on my own" attitude. Pride is a toxic condition no nurse can afford to suffer from.
As nurse leaders/managers, I believe we have to be smarter in what we decide to let go and shrug off, as we might wind up having to do those things ourselves too often.
No matter what your faith, pretty much everyone has heard of King Solomon, son of King David, who was given the gift of wisdom. How, therefore, can I say I think he is wrong?
Antibiotic stewardship is a change you need to embrace. You can't just say I prefer it the old way, give everyone an antibiotic who asks for one and that will be that. But I get it. You are willing to change, but sometimes the residents and their families aren't.
As the government shut down over the weekend, it struck me once again: We in long-term care do not close our doors. Ever.
You know, it's really all how you look at things. We all have days that stink, but spinning the situation differently can change how we deal with apparent downers.
With Christmas songs still echoing in my head, I bring you original lyrics, with special thoughts of our hard-working long-term care nursing corps in mind.
You know, a lot of great stuff happens in the long-term and post-acute care setting. But nooooooo, no one ever wants to talk about the good stuff. One bad apple and the mainstream press go wild and we all get the black eye.
Here's an original poem I wrote that hits close to home for so many caregivers. I call it "Ode to The Road Warrior."
Come on, people. We work in healthcare with the oath to protect the people we CARE for. So stop that whining and do what's right.
Let's face it. Nursing documentation can get you in trouble with your supervisor, make a surveyor faint, make a lawyer rich or make blog readers laugh. I'm going for the last here. What follows are actual examples I found after a quick search. Honest.
Almost nothing burns my cookies more than when someone says, "I've always done it this way," despite having poor outcomes.
Sometimes you have to invest your time and work for what is worth achieving. Not everything, even in this day and age of instant gratification is going to come easily. And this includes many of the new skills we are going to have to learn to evolve with the changes in healthcare.
OK, so any nurse reading this will probably relate, but we are so used to observing our patients/residents that we tend to "over observe" when not at work.
As Bonnie Raitt's "Total Eclipse of the Heart" was playing in my head for the days leading up to Monday's solar eclipse, the national news of hate and division that's been inundating us took on a new meaning to me.
Have you ever contemplated on an apple? Not the tech stuff but the fruit.
I am not sure we can create magical days for everyone in our long-term care facilities (though I have seen downright miracles for some short-term rehab patients!). But I do think we can create magical moments by adopting some of the Disney customer experience culture to create magical moments.
Let's face it: While some of us may be great at welcoming new residents, most of us are checking off our regulatory boxes and inventories and documenting.
I am sure many of you heard that the first media Batman, Adam West, passed away on June 9. I feel like some of my childhood passed away with him. You see, he made an immense impact on pop culture at the time.
Donald Duck officially turned 83 years old on Friday, having been "born" in 1934. I have to wonder: If he were in a long-term care facility today, what would his person-centered care plan look like?
Becoming a nurse manager doesn't just "happen." (It's not like, "Poof! You're a DON!") Someone took the time to mentor the nurse manager and train her to develop into the role.
I started thinking: If young Nurse Jackie knew what she would have to go through to get a smile of contentment on her face, would that huge smile turn to a look of horror? Could I have let her know that everything she would go through would be what would bring about that smile of contentment she wears now?
Oh, Ab Stewardship, some fear you so. The way we did things, Is hard to let go.
So, I have this song from Disney's animated film "Frozen" stuck in my head. The part of the song that goes, "Let it go, let it go ..." See, that's how I feel about urine cultures.
I was taking with someone about innovation. They told me about a famous quote from Henry Ford. Supposedly he said, "If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said 'faster horses.'"
I've always talked about growing old gracefully. I never thought about being scared to grow old. Until now.
I was thinking about obstructions to learning while recently working on some educational initiatives. It occurred to me that one of the largest obstacles is a closed heart.
OK, so here is something I totally don't understand. It has to do with how a lot of nursing staff think about new hires. (Probably Chapter 2 in my imaginary book, "Eating their young / a nurse's guide to orienting and mentoring.")
Intimacy ... I'm not writing about where one partner is hounding the other about fear of opening up and getting close. What do they say — "It's me, not you"? What I am writing about is fear of getting close to our residents.
With so many obscure holidays out there, I notice there is no "National Appreciate a Nurse Day." Nursing Home Week and Nurses' Week do not count. I want a day to put on my tiara and not feel weird about it!
As our long-stay residents age in place, often we see them get to a point where we begin to notice that they are reducing their intake. Often, they are prescribed less-than-desirable-tasting supplements. I saw let them eat cake!
Next year, I'm going to have a new year-end holidays theme song. Using the melody of that Bing Crosby chestnut that sold millions and millions of copies, it goes something like this (hum along with me):
I know, I know, you're looking at the title and thinking I lost my mind. Where is the 'S' in word communication? Oh, but I say yes, it is there and I see it. You see, we all receive communication with certain sensitivities.
There is one thing that makes us unique, able to rise upon the rift between the right and left and remind us daily what we have to be grateful for. I can put it into one word.
Sometimes we get so bogged down in what we are doing that we forget why we were doing it in the first place. Unfortunately, my favorite TV show doesn't seem to realize this. Don't do the same.
Very often, the nursing progress note documentation is like cotton candy. You think it looks really good but when you get down to it, it's just a sticky mess! Or, just a bunch of fluff with no substance. Electronic medical records systems often compound this issue.
Let's face it, nursing home culture change and honoring resident choice can still bring about an anxiety attack to the most laid back of nurses. Promoting resident autonomy without exposing providers to a risk of liability is kind of an oxymoron. But we've all heard it: "No risk, no reward."
I have to say that I absolutely love working in eldercare. I mean, I thought I would have to move down South if I wanted to say whatever was on my mind.
Did you know that September 1 was "No Rhyme or Reason Day"? Apparently, there is a day to celebrate words that don't rhyme and things that don't make sense. This gets me thinking about, well, things that go on in our facilities because people don't think.
Oh, canned core care plans, I so despise you! There's no way I can personalize you!
There's a thing or two new nurses can learn from us "veterans." Those of us who make it to veteran status tend to share some common habits. Let me break them down for you.
Alice Graber started during World War II and kept at it until last month. Now, the retired nurse is going to volunteer at ... well, you're not going to believe it.
Written discharge instructions shouldn't be our only source of discharge education. I am a big fan of the teach-back method. That way you can be sure if your patient really understands the instructions and responsibilities.
Yes, July 4th is right around the corner. Time to think of backyard barbecues, fireworks, blockbuster movies and ... §483.25 — Quality of Care.
The Orlando mass shootings and killings last weekend have brought out the absurdity again: Research on gun safety and violence by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been halted for years. This insanity has to stop.
When people ask me how I take my coffee, my answer is "Seriously, very seriously!" This is no joke. Just ask my well-trained (and very tolerant) husband, who knows to avoid me until I have had my first cup.
Names have the ability to impact us in ways we may not imagine. What strongly comes to mind is the unintended consequences of the updated pressure ulcer staging recently released from the National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel.
It's time again for the nearly annual "most imaginative reason to call-out" blog. What is the most imaginative call-out you have ever received by somebody wanting to take a day off work? We've heard some wild ones.
I started my nursing career in a very busy teaching-hospital operating room. I loved the excitement, the anticipation of the surgeon's needs. But what I didn't love was the utter disrespect many of the surgeons had for the nursing staff.
When I die, I want to go like my grandmother, peacefully in her sleep ... not like the three passengers screaming in the back seat of her Buick! (OK, old joke). But what isn't a joke is elders with cognitive impairment and safe driving.
OK, in the title I'm not talking about your proverbial brother-in-law who is staying on the couch, or your college-graduated kids ... because we all know they're NEVER leave going to leave. I'm talking about your residents.
I saw a question on LinkedIn asking you to think back to your first job and what you wish you knew back then that you know now. It really got me thinking. After pondering on it for a while, my answer is ... "nothing."
In our long-term care and senior care world, we get tagged if our residents' dining experience simply does not meet their expectations. But apparently, there is a federal loophole that allows poisons in our foods.
Here we are again, with another record-breaking snowstorm ... when the word SNOW is a four-letter word and just hearing it brings many of us to our knees (often to throw up in a panic in the bathroom!)
With a lot of controversy, the 2016 Dietary Guidelines have just been published. Unfortunately, they constitute a slap in the face to the brilliant and hardworking 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC).
'Twas the week after Christmas, just leaving the home. I steered for my latte, light on the foam. The traffic was tough, so I drove with great care — in hopes my caffeine-fix soon would be there.
I have a riddle for you. How many young adults are in long-term care facilities because of gun violence? The answer: No one knows because there is a ban restricting federal funding for gun violence research. It's ridiculous.
With Thanksgiving just past, I realize how thankful I am that certain people and situations have helped me adjust my attitude at various times. I'm talking differently, and I definitely have changed my outlook on life this year. Let me explain.
One thing you can say about working in long-term care is that as long as the population keeps aging, we're pretty much guaranteed to be able to find a job. Yep, we can keep bringing home that bacon. Notice we don't say "bringing home the salad" for a reason.
Maybe a blog about killing your patients right after Halloween is an appropriate topic. After all, that would make a pretty scary movie, right? But this isn't some scary movie. It's true.
Since Halloween is just around the corner, I thought this story is apropos. Especially since most nurses don't question the situations that walk into our workspace. At all.
With all the fall healthcare conferences and other things we travel for this time of year, you might want to pay special attention to this blog!
If anyone has learned anything about live television talk shows, it's this: DO NOT mess with nurses! The View's insulting mockery of Miss Colorado's Kelley Johnson's monologue kicked off a firestorm of a backlash on social media this week.
So we just had Labor Day, a time when most of the country gets a three-day weekend and forgets that many of those in service jobs don't have that luxury.
Unfortunately, in this litigious society, and especially as long-term care professionals, we are sometimes put in a position to open our mouths in court. If you worry about this, relax. You can't do any worse some others before you.
We always have a lot of signs in our facilities, right? Well, yesterday I came across a new one that blew my mind. I asked the driver of the car I was in to stop so I could take a picture of it.
Florida and Arizona, and other similar warm weather destinations, might no longer be the prize places retirees wish to spend their golden years. And the reason might surprise you.
I can't stand TV shows that do a poor job of portraying nurses or the medical profession. Unfortunately, I just found another one. Let me save you from it.
Oh, ICD-10, you are so near, Your extra digits is what we fear. We have to start on October One, But coding drafts are still undone!
Nurses are trained in so many ways to prepare for disasters. But there are some "disasters" we haven't planned for. Take, for instance, when the registered dietician decides to create a vegetarian-based recipe of a tofu and bean casserole for dinner — and doesn't tell you.
I recently read an article that discussed the Top 10 sentences a manager or boss should never let past their lips. You should think, "Run for the hills!" if they say any of these things. And yet they do. Here's my Real Nurse Jackie take on them.
OK, let's face it. We all have an inner superhero in us or we wouldn't be in the business of serving. But sometimes we need to leave that cape at home.
It was recently announced that U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents allegedly had repeated "sex parties" with prostitutes at events sponsored by none other than drug cartels themselves. And these are the guys who say they can't trust US?
With apologies to Dr. Seuss, let me begin: I do not like these acronyms, these baffling lettered synonyms ...
As I've mentioned before, I believe nursing documentation is the bane of any nursing director's existence. Frankly, I think the look on my face when opening a medical record to the nurse's note section is exactly the same face I make when opening the stall to a public toilet. In other words, I never know what I'll find, and I'm prepared for something scary!
You ever have one of those days, weeks or even months when things just don't go your way? In other words, life is just lousy and no matter what you do, it still just stinks? This is what you need to do.
Do you ever try to attract "talent" to your work environment? Sometimes I'm surprised we recruit at all. I know most people fall in love once they get there, but the getting there is the key.
There was a recent New York Times op-ed piece titled "Doctor, Shut Up and Listen." Basically, it took you through a case about a woman who was having symptoms of a rapid heartbeat and feeling "stressed." However, every doctor she saw wrongly referred her for psychological counseling for an anxiety disorder.
Well gang, it's a new year and the time where we set sparkly, brand spanking new goals. Most of the world sets goals such as losing weight, getting in shape, setting their finances in order and things like that. But no matter what the goal, the trick is to be reasonable.
Recently, I was at an event where the Pledge of Allegiance was said and started to really concentrate on the words. I asked myself: Are we really one nation, with liberty and justice for all? Why is it so important we ask ourselves this? Because our facilities really are the most diverse workplaces I know.
Anyone who knows me well knows I idolize my dad. He's taught me so much that there is no way I could quantify it all. And even at age 90, he's still teaching a lot, I'm noticing.
Every year I like to ask: What do you feel is the most imaginative call-out you received this past year? We're totally into interactive blogging, so please note yours below. We had some doozies when I asked this before. Check out some I've heard recently.
Is it me or sometimes do the wide interpretations within the State Operations Manual (the dreaded "RED book") make you want to question your entire existence? I mean, we've been working so diligently toward Culture Change and the true meaning of person-centered care. Nationally, I thought we were making headway. But nooooooo.
As a Charlton Heston movie once illustrated in an indirect way, it's important to know about the lives of who is living in our home. It's about relationships, not about heads in the beds.
OK, I'll admit it. I am a huge fan of the AMC show, "The Walking Dead," which incidentally had a blockbuster Season 5 premier Sunday. It's really bizarre because I am a big weenie when it comes to scary movies. I can't even watch the previews for a horror movie on TV without hiding under a blanket.
Nurses have invented some really cool stuff. But most likely they've received just pats on the heads for coming up with a "work-around" or a "creative solution." Then someone else slaps a patent on it and becomes the financial victor.
So, let me start off by saying that I am sure a lot of us have our own rating systems. For example, my sisters and I have a tissue-box rating system for tearjerker books and movies. The book the "Fault in Our Stars" (excellent in my opinion) was a 5-tissue-box book. The movie "Terms of Endearment" a 5-tissue-box movie, for sure.
It's back to school time. For most of the world, figuring out childcare just got easier. But it isn't so easy when you have to be at work before school starts, or after it ends AND you're making the money a nursing assistant makes. Here's a possible solution.
A recent article on Medline Nursing alleged that the average registered nurse (RN) wants more sleep, authority respect and work-life balance. We can get what we want. We just have to learn to "ask" in the right way. And who should we ask? Well, mostly ourselves.
A recent article in Health Affairs centered on nurses delaying retirement and claimed this is boosting the workforce. Should we believe this?
I'm just going to say it: Nurses in long-term care are really guilty when it comes to giving in to patients who want non-clinically necessary treatment. You know what I mean.
OK can I just sound off a bit? I hate being interrupted multiple times throughout the day when it is just not necessary. I mean, I am at an age where I am seriously affected with AAAD (Age Associated Attention Deficit Disorder). It's hard enough to concentrate some days as it is, without constant interruptions that could have waited.
The birds are singing, everything is green, people are planning vacations and you are shaking in your boots. Because you know, unlike the rest of the world, that with your job, you're gonna have more patients to take care of than you can shake a stick at!
This is a very hard blog for me to write. My mother just passed away. It was very sudden and not expected. I am blessed to have two mothers: A step-mother who has been in my life since I have been 8 years old (the nurse I often speak of and call "Mom") and "Mother" who just passed. But the reason I am writing this is not to garner sympathy or share my pain, but to share a rare experience that I think only those of us in healthcare may understand.
It's Nurses Day — a day we celebrate all it means to be a nurse. This day gets me into deep thinking. Particularly about the core of a nurse and how sometimes — even if we don't want it to be — the environment we work in changes us. Let me try and explain.