The news that some employers have asked for direct access to the Facebook accounts -- including user names and passwords -- of people applying for jobs at their firms has set off a firestorm of controversy.
The reports have raised questions about whether the practice is illegal and if such a policy could expose those employers to potential discrimination lawsuits. The dust-up has even triggered calls by some in Congress for a federal investigation into the practice.
But those recent events only highlight a new reality: The identity that individuals create in the world of social media is quickly becoming an important factor in hiring decisions and in people's broader professional lives.
"The questions around employer access to social network log-ins reflect a broader debate in society about a host of digital privacy issues," says Andrea Matwyshyn, a Wharton professor of legal studies and business ethics. "This is a new concern -- the degree to which employers can gain access to all role identities through one virtual space. There is no parallel to that in the real world."
While the reaction to the practice has been swift and intense, it's hard to predict if it will become a lasting trend.
But, Matwyshyn says, she began hearing about employers requesting access to the Facebook accounts of potential hires as far back as 2008. To date, however, she says, there is no good data on how widespread the practice has become.
The fact that it exists at all is not entirely unexpected: According to Matwyshyn, a number of studies show that most employers look at candidates' online profiles when making hiring decisions, noting a 2011 survey by social-media monitoring service Reppler that found that 91 percent of recruiters report using social-networking sites to evaluate job applicants.
But checking out a publicly available profile on Facebook -- or even asking a job candidate to "friend" someone in human resources at a company where they are applying for a position -- is worlds apart from gaining unfettered access to someone's account through a password.
"If you can take Facebook passwords, what about Gmail passwords?" asks Stuart Soffer, a non-residential fellow at The Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School and managing director of IPriori, an intellectual-property consulting firm.
If left unchecked, Soffer says, the practice could expand beyond human resource departments evaluating potential employees.
"What about allowing Facebook access to insurers so they can see what you are saying about your health?" he says. "They could use it as a basis for judging the risk of insuring you."
The request for access to log-in information also raises some serious legal questions.
Clearly concerned about the legal and business implications of privacy breaches, Facebook has come out against the practice, stating that sharing or soliciting a Facebook password is a violation of the company's statement of rights and responsibilities.
"We don't think employers should be asking prospective employees to provide their passwords because we don't think it's the right thing to do," Facebook Chief Privacy Officer Erin Egan says. "But it also may cause problems for the employers that they are not anticipating."
Matwyshyn says employers could be essentially asking job candidates to violate their contract with Facebook if they ask for passwords, creating "an untenable conflict between contract law and employers' perceptions of their own interest in vetting candidates."
In addition, if a Facebook account includes information on an applicant's race or age, for example, that could potentially expose the employer to claims of discriminatory hiring practices. According to Matwyshyn, it is legally hazy whether accessing someone's Facebook account where that information is available is akin to asking it in the interview.
"Arguments can be made that this is a back-door method to gaining information that the prospective employer wouldn't otherwise have access to," she says.
Meanwhile, the issue is getting the attention of Congress. Senate Democrats Charles Schumer and Richard Blumenthal, from New York and Connecticut respectively, have asked the Justice Department and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to look into the practice.
But even if it is eventually prohibited or otherwise curbed through legal or legislative channels, Wharton management professor Nancy Rothbard predicts that the use of social media in hiring decisions will continue to be a flashpoint in the years ahead.
"The core of the problem is the blending of personal and professional lives," Rothbard says. "We are still in the infancy of trying to understand how to deal with all this."
Opening the Window -- and Closing a Door?
Just how far employers can legally go to check out job candidates online may not be clear -- but why they are looking for new methods of evaluating applicants is easy to understand, says Wharton management professor Adam Grant.
Research, he says, has shown that the typical job interview is a poor tool for predicting which candidates will succeed. If that does not work, companies need to find something that does.
"Applicants are very motivated to put their best foot forward in an interview," Grant says. "It is very difficult to spot the people who will represent an organization well. But on Facebook, you can see the applicant making day-to-day decisions -- it is a window into how an individual is likely to act."
In fact, recent research has provided evidence that online profiles can be very revealing about specific personality traits.
A paper published recently in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology entitled, "Social Networking Websites, Personality Ratings, and the Organizational Context: More Than Meets the Eye," studied 518 undergraduate students and their Facebook profiles.
The researchers found that the Facebook profiles were a good predictor of the so-called "big five personality traits:" conscientiousness, agreeableness, extroversion, emotional stability and openness. And for a subset of the group where the researchers were able to contact supervisors at companies that had hired those students, there was a correlation between scores on two personality traits -- emotional stability and agreeableness -- and job performance. (SeeHREOnlineTM story here.)
"There is strong evidence that social networking is a valid way of assessing someone's personality," says Donald Kluemper, a professor of management at the Northern Illinois University College of Business and a co-author of the study.
But he says that does not mean there is evidence that an unstructured perusal of a Facebook account will result in better hiring decisions.
"Until a method is validated in a number of ways, including a study of adverse impacts and the legal issues, I wouldn't recommend companies rely on social-networking profiles," Kluemper says.
Now, the use of social-media information is far from fine-tuned, with recruiters typically checking out social media to get a general sense of the person applying for a job or to hunt for any red flags. But it is possible the use of that information could become more sophisticated.
"People are mining that data right now for other purposes, including targeting ads to the right people," says Shawndra Hill, a Wharton operations and information management professor. "It is not out of the realm of possibility to focus that on other outcomes, like how good a match someone is for a job or whether there is a high likelihood they might do something illegal."
While the value of that data may be apparent, it remains to be seen how social media should ultimately fit into some aspects of professional life.
Take the less-controversial practice of managers' friending their colleagues through Facebook. Rothbard says this practice creates numerous potential headaches. Two years ago, she and some colleagues did a series of interviews with 20 people at a variety of levels and in a number of different industries, and found that people were often unnerved friending either bosses or subordinates.
"People felt very uncomfortable with crossing the private and professional boundary when it came to the hierarchy [within an organization]," Rothbard says. "They talked about friending their bosses with similar discomfort and language as they did when they spoke about friending their moms."
Interestingly, Rothbard adds, the rules for social networking in the workplace may differ based on gender.
She led a study of 400 students in which participants were shown Facebook profiles, told that the person was either a boss, a peer or a subordinate, and then asked to rate the individuals based on how likely they were to accept that person's friend request.
The findings: Female bosses with bare-bones profiles were less likely to be accepted than those who revealed more personal information, while the opposite pattern held for male bosses.
"Women who have limited profiles are more likely to be shunned than the women who have a more active presence," Rothbard says. "People see them as cold. But male bosses who reveal less information are more likely to be accepted than those who reveal a lot of information."
The increased scrutiny of people's virtual lives may change the way individuals operate in the social-networking realm.
According to Rothbard, there are essentially four ways of dealing with privacy issues. There are those who control their list of friends carefully, rejecting friend requests from people with whom they don't want to share personal information. Then, there are those who accept virtually all requests, but are very careful about what they post, limiting that content to very safe, less revealing information.
There is also a hybrid approach in which people use privacy settings to share some information with close friends and less-sensitive material with others. And, finally, there is the "let it all hang out" crowd -- those who are comfortable sharing all their information with a large group of close (and not so close) friends.
Grant predicts more people will opt for the more-controlled, filtered approach as they realize their social-media profiles are being scrutinized by potential employers.
"As employers gain this information, so do candidates," Grant points out. "So candidates may use Facebook more carefully and remove the cues that are so valuable [to employers]."
Soffer agrees people will become much more careful about their social-media personas.
"There are ways around this," Soffer says of the unwanted exposure of social-media behavior. "One thing that could happen is people will start having two Facebook accounts." One will be for close friends; the other, a more sanitized version for employers.
But there is always the potential that something posted for viewing by a small group of close friends on Facebook could get out into larger circulation. And for that reason, some argue, the risks of being active in the social-media space outweigh the benefits.
"If you are a CEO, or aspire to be a CEO or director of a public company, I think it makes sense to refrain from social networking," says Dennis Carey, vice chairman at Korn/Ferry International. "There are other ways to communicate with employees and the outside world through properly controlled channels. Some of the messages that are conveyed can be misconstrued or taken out of context by a third party."
The fear of a photo or comment made long ago coming back to haunt you is hardly unfounded. Because sites such as Facebook have been around less than a decade, it is not certain how long someone's social-networking history will remain accessible.
"It is unclear how long the information persists," Hill says. "Firms have different privacy policies, and often privacy policies change over time. While there are policies that allow for deleting data you no longer want on the site, it is hard to guarantee that this information won't live on a database somewhere."
The controversy worries some fans of the social-media revolution.
"I worry that there is already a sense right now that our participation online may come back to haunt us," says Chris Ridder, co-founder of the law firm Ridder, Costa & Johnstone and a non-residential fellow at The Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School.
"It inhibits our ability to express ourselves," he says. "If we can only express public relations-like statements, it takes away a good bit of the utility of the Internet. I think it would be a shame if we were to lose the playful aspect of this new technology."
How would you feel if someone asked for your account information to Facebook or Twitter in an interview? What if your boss did it? Do you think this is a privacy violation? Should there be legislation on this? Let us know in the comments; we want to hear from you!
Nurses are as diverse as the patients they treat.
But that diversity will become grayer for the next few years as more middle-age people are going into nursing as a second career.
That trend can be seen in the class that will graduate May 18 from Heartland Community College's two-year nursing program in Normal. Students graduate with an associate's degree in nursing and then may take the registered nurse licensing exam.
Non-traditional students — those who don't begin college right after high school — are the norm in Heartland's nursing program. But, in this class, none of the 40 students is a traditional student.
“I was pretty surprised when I started,” said second-year nursing student John Cook, 47, of Normal. “There was virtually no one right out of high school. I remember thinking that I'd be the oldest one in there by far and that's not the case.
“It's a huge cross-section of people with bachelor's degrees in other fields, including a lot of moms.”
Students begin clinical rotations at area hospitals and long-term care facilities during their first semester, said professor of nursing Barb McLaughlin-Olson. For every hour that they are in the classroom, in the lab and at clinical sites, they are expected to spend three hours on course work.
The nursing-as-a-second-career trend has been in place for several years, said Deb Smith, vice president and chief nursing officer of OSF St. Joseph Medical Center, Bloomington.
Some people who pursue nursing as a second career take advantage of accelerated, one-year nursing programs for people who already have a bachelor's degree, Smith said. For example, Illinois State University's Mennonite College of Nursing in Normal has an accelerated bachelor of science in nursing program.
Laurie Round, vice president of patient care services and chief nursing executive at Advocate BroMenn Medical Center in Normal, said the recession has driven some people from their original careers into nursing. Both ISU-Mennonite and Illinois Wesleyan University's School of Nursing in Bloomington reported an increase in enrollment last fall.
There is a demand for nurses because nurses work in hospitals, doctors' offices, businesses, insurance companies, long-term care facilities and churches. But second-career nurses also are drawn to the field for altruistic reasons, Smith and Round said.
“They want to do something that's meaningful,” Round said. “They want to touch peoples' lives.”
Middle-age adults going into nursing need to learn a career quickly and need to keep their energy level up.
Some middle-age adults are challenged by all the technology involved with patient care, Round and Smith said.
But the maturity and experience of second-career nurses generally makes up for any challenges.
“I love the energy, the intensity, the maturity and the decision-making skills that they bring to the field,” Round said. “These people are choosing nursing while raising a family and working at the same time and that shows perseverance, commitment and discipline.”
Second-career nurses not only come in with the experience of previous employment and raising a family. They also have social skills and because they are close in age to nurses already in the field — the average age of nurses is 47 — they fit in with other nurses quickly, Smith said.
McLaughlin-Olson said, “They can use their life experiences to help them become better nurses. Because they've lived through life's challenges, they've learned how to critically think when issues come up, and they have empathy and can relate to people having problems.”
But Smith and Round also are impressed with traditional nursing students, who graduate to enter nursing in their early 20s. They are intelligent, energetic and learn quickly, they said.
For that reason, both Round and Smith said middle-age, second-career nurses are not necessarily the new face of nursing.
“I see a great mix across generations,” Round said.
Adds Smith: “It's good to have people entering nursing with a variety of life experiences. That further enriches our profession.”
Adapated from a WBUR radio series. Links to Audio can be found below.
America's nursing shortage has been compared to a perfect storm gathering in intensity. In just over a decade nearly 80 million baby boomers will be in or reaching retirement, their medical needs placing an immense strain on our health care system. Nurses themselves will be leaving the profession and a younger generation of nurses will not be trained in enough numbers to fill the growing needs of hospitals and patients.
In "Nursing a Shortage: Inside Out," WBUR Special correspondent Rachel Gotbaum reports on how the shortage has come about and why it matters for nurses, hospitals and patients alike. She takes us into hospitals where the longest running nursing shortage in history is already impacting care. She reports on the roots of the problem that encompass not just the changing career choices for young women, the out-dated image of nursing but also the serious difficulties faced by nursing schools trying to find nurse-educators.
Nurses explain the effect of the shortage on their care of patients and how it is influencing their commitment to the profession and whether they stay or leave. Hospital administrators describe what they need to do to recruit and retain nurses in this competitive market , and Gotbaum reports on the growing tensions over whether mandating nurse-patient ratios is an answer to the problem or an impediment.
There have been shortages of nurses in this country since the 1960's but they have always resolved themselves fairly quickly. This nursing shortage began in 1998. Although it has been slightly alleviated it is expected to get worse when considering the increased retirement rates expected in coming years.
80 million baby boomers are slated to retire in the next decade and they will need a lot more medical care. At the same time many experienced nurses will be leaving the profession. The shortage began after managed care ushered in an era of cost cutting in the early 1990s. Nurses were replaced by lesser skilled workers. In Massachusetts 27 percent of hospital nurses were laid off, the largest number in the country. The profession became unattractive to women who began to have many other career choices. But as nurses left the workforce, studies showed that patient care suffered. One study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that patients whose nurse cares for 8 or more people have a 30 percent greater chance of dying than if their nurse cares for four patients. The same nurses are also more likely to be burnt out and dissatisfied with their jobs.
As hospitals started experiencing acute shortages of nurses, they responded by raising salaries and offering bonuses to nurses to enter the profession. Media campaigns were launched to extol the attractions of nursing. By 2003 185 thousand registered nurses entered this nation's hospital workforce. But even with this huge influx of nurses the shortage in 2007 still existed, and as demand for nurses increases many agree the gap will steadily grow. The number of registered nurses increased from approximately 2.5 million in 2007 to under 2.7 million in 2011. Despite this increase, some states are fighting about whether to mandate nurse-to-patient ratios. The number of new nurses is influenced by a large number of external factors so pinpointing the cause is difficult, but the significance of the increase is more important. Although 200,000 sounds like a lot of nurses, this is only an 8% increase. Just as important as the number of nurses is the number of patients which rose almost 10% from 2007 to 2008 alone according to the National Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project.
Audio Links Click Here
How do you think these numbers compare to what you observe in hospitals and health care facilities? Do you think legislation is the best way to solve nurse-to-patient ratios? This creates a demand for nurses but not necessarily the supply.
Cultural competency is having specific cognitive and affective skills that are essential for building culturally relevant relationships between providers and patients. Obtaining cultural competency is an ongoing, lifetime process, not an endpoint. Becoming culturally competent requires continuous self-evaluation, skill development, and knowledge building about culturally diverse groups.
Healthcare disparities are inequalities in healthcare access, quality, and/or outcomes between groups. In the United States, these inequalities may be due to differences in care-seeking behaviors, cultural beliefs, health practices, linguistic barriers, degree of trust in healthcare providers, geographical access to care, insurance status, or ability to pay. Factors influencing these disparities include education, housing, nutrition, biological factors, economics, and sociopolitical power.
Several models of cultural competency exist. In a model called The Process of Cultural Competence in the Delivery of Healthcare Services, by Campinha-Bacote, nurses are directed to ask themselves questions based on the five constructs-awareness, skill, knowledge, encounters, and desire (ASKED)-to determine their own cultural competency. According to this model, nurses need an awareness of their own cultural biases and prejudices, cultural knowledge, and assessment and communication skills. Nurses also need to be motivated to have encounters with culturally diverse groups. In its most recent form, this model suggests that these encounters are the pivotal key constructs in the process of developing cultural competency.
The Giger and Davidhizar Transcultural Assessment Model identifies six cultural phenomena nurses and other healthcare providers assess in their patients: biological variations, environmental control, time, social organization, space, and communication.
Staff should select a model that best fits your specific work setting and patient population.
Discussions about culture in healthcare often focus on race and ethnicity. Taking this approach excludes other factors (biological, psychological, religious, economical, political) that are all aspects of one's cultural experience. When race and ethnicity are overemphasized in conversations about healthcare disparities, the results can be polarizing because nursing remains a White, female-dominated profession. Also, emphasis on racial difference over other equally important differences sets up an "us versus them" dynamic between nurses that may lead to some minority nurses' disengagement from these initiatives. In addition, no one is immune to prejudice. Minorities are just as likely to have room for improvement in cultural competency.
Taking it all in
You can gain helpful information by performing a cultural assessment and using a broad definition of culture that reflects the differences in healthcare besides race and ethnicity. These definitions include age, gender, disability, sexual orientation, immigration status, employment status, socioeconomic status, culture, and religion.
To avoid stereotyping, keep in mind that individuals within a particular group can vary in many respects. For example, among older adults, certain characteristics may be typical but some older adults may demonstrate attributes that differ from the group. Many believe that all older people resist the use of modern technology; however, many people who are elderly enjoy using smartphones, tablets, electronic readers, and other devices. These intracultural differences are important to consider; having group knowledge never justifies predicting behaviors of any individual members. As part of a cultural assessment, determine the specific values, beliefs, attitudes, and health needs of each patient. See Performing a cultural assessment for an example using the Giger and Davidhizar Transcultural Assessment Model.
In the United States, the healthcare system is a cultural entity with its own norms and values. Yet nurses may overlook a facility's institutional culture when they consider the impact culture has on patients' healthcare access and outcomes. Both organizational and hospital unit culture play a role in determining the quality of care a patient receives. When you can determine what interpersonal or institutional barriers exist within a particular institution, clinic, or community setting, you're better able to assist your patients in overcoming them to achieve better healthcare outcomes.
Goals and Considerations of cultural competency
How do you know whether you're providing culturally competent care? Some believe that they've reached the goal of cultural competency as they gain new knowledge or skills, or have encounters with culturally diverse groups. But while providers may meet goals, there is always room for improvement. Helpful questions and considerations when determining cultural competency include:
* What does being culturally competent mean to me and the patients I serve?
* Which cultural competency model and/or assessment tool is most useful to me, given my patient population?
* As I gain cultural knowledge and skills, how can I use that knowledge to improve my patients' healthcare outcomes and assist in reducing healthcare disparities for underserved populations?
* Did the patient demonstrate an understanding of what I was trying to convey or teach?
* What can I do to improve the quality of care I deliver to members of this group?
Legislation in California that set nurse-to-patient ratios added more registered nurses to the hospital staffing mix, not fewer as feared, researchers say.
Lead researcher Matthew McHugh, a nursing professor at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, says California was the first state to pass legislation setting staffing levels. However, mindful of the ongoing nurse shortage California legislators determined that hospitals could employ licensed practical nurses as well as registered nurses to meet the requirements of the law, McHugh says.
“California’s state-mandated nurse staffing ratios have been shown to be successful in terms of increasing registered nurse staffing,” McHugh says in a statement. “From a policy perspective, this should be useful information to the states currently debating legislation on nurse-to-patient ratios.”
California experienced a more serious nurse shortage than other areas of the country but made up the gap by hiring “travel nurses” — temporary workers who move from hospital to hospital as needed and ae not less educated LPNs, the researchers say.
The study, published in the journal Health Affairs, examined hiring practices from 1997 to 2008, pre- and post-implementation of the legislation, concluding that the increase in nurse staffing did not come at the expense of decreasing RNs.
“Our findings demonstrate that the nurse-to-patient ratio mandate in California was effective in increasing registered nurse staffing in hospitals,” McHugh says.
Does your state have legislation like this? What do you think? Does it help or hinder you in doing your job? How about your patients? Let us know in the comments!
Hospital employment climbed by 15,400 in February
Employment at the nation's hospitals increased 0.32% in February to a seasonally adjusted 4,806,600 people, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. That's 15,400 more people than in January and 109,600 more than a year ago. Without the seasonal adjustment, which removes the effect of fluctuations due to seasonal events, private hospitals employed 4,797,600 people in February - 13,300 more than in January and 111,500 more than a year ago. The nation's overall unemployment rate was unchanged in February at 8.3%.
What are your thoughts? Is your hospital hiring? Growing? Why do you think so?
New CDC Campaign Aims to Stem HIV Crisis among Black Women
To combat the high toll of HIV and AIDS among black women in the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention today launched Take Charge. Take the Test., a new campaign to increase HIV testing and awareness among African-American women. The campaign – which features advertising, a website and community outreach – is being launched in conjunction with National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day in 10 cities where black women are especially hard-hit by the disease.
“At current rates, nearly 1 in 30 African-American women will be diagnosed with HIV in their lifetimes,” said Kevin Fenton, M.D., director of CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention. “To help reduce this toll we are working to remind black women that they have the power to learn their HIV status, protect themselves from this disease, and take charge of their health.”
The program is being launched in Atlanta; Chicago; Detroit; Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Houston; Memphis, Tenn.; Newark, N.J.; New Orleans; Hyattsville, Md.; and St. Louis.
Take Charge. Take the Test. is part of CDC’s commitment to address the urgent HIV prevention needs of African-American women, who are far more heavily affected by HIV and AIDS than women of any other race or ethnicity in the United States. African-American women account for nearly 60 percent of all new HIV infections among women (and 13 percent of new infections overall). The rate of new infections among black women is 15 times higher than among white women.
The campaign emphasizes the importance of HIV testing as a gateway to peace of mind and better health. Campaign messages will reach black women through a variety of highly visible channels, including outdoor and transit advertising; radio ads; posters and handouts distributed in salons, stores, community organizations, and other venues; campaign ads and materials on health department and partner websites; and a dedicated campaign website,http://hivtest.org/takecharge, where women can find HIV testing locations in their communities.
In addition to promoting HIV testing, the campaign encourages African-American women to talk openly with their partners about HIV and insist on safe sex, and to bring these same messages to other women in social settings, workplaces, living rooms, and religious congregations.
Take Charge. Take the Test. reflects a strong partnership between CDC, health departments, and local organizations in the 10 participating cities, which worked together to develop local campaigns for the communities they serve. The campaign was initially piloted in Cleveland and Philadelphia, where Take Charge. Take the Test. community events were attended by nearly 10,000 women, and campaign messages were seen more than 100 million times.
“We hope to extend the reach of this campaign to multiple cities throughout the nation, help empower many more women to take control of their health, and help break the silence about HIV in their communities,” said Jonathan Mermin, M.D., director of CDC’s Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention (DHAP).
Research shows that black women are no more likely than women of other races to engage in risky behaviors. But a range of social and environmental factors put them at greater risk for HIV infection. These include higher prevalence of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections in some black communities, which increase the likelihood of infection with each sexual encounter. Limited access to health care can prevent women from getting HIV tested. Research also shows that financial dependence on male partners may limit some women’s ability to negotiate safe sex. HIV stigma, far too prevalent in all communities, may also discourage black women from seeking HIV testing.
“This campaign is just one part of the solution,” said Donna Hubbard McCree, Ph.D., associate director for health equity at DHAP. “All of us have a role to play in stopping the spread of HIV among black women – by talking to our sisters, daughters, husbands, and boyfriends about how to protect ourselves against HIV and the importance of getting tested; by speaking out against stigma; and by tackling the social inequities that place so many of us at risk for HIV.”
Take Charge. Take the Test. is the latest campaign of CDC’s Act Against AIDS initiative (http://actagainstaids.org) a five-year, $45 million national communication campaign to combat complacency about the HIV/AIDS crisis in the United States. The campaign also directly addresses the goals of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, which calls for reducing new infections, intensifying HIV prevention efforts in communities in which HIV is most heavily concentrated, and reducing HIV-related deaths in communities at high risk for HIV infection. Other Act Against AIDS campaigns include those targeting high-risk populations such as gay and bisexual men, as well as efforts to reach health care providers and the general public.
from The CDC
What do you think? How will the CDC Campaign work? Will it be effective? Shoot off in the comments!
Marilen Logan, RN, MSN, PHN, stands hunched over a table. In her hands are vials. That's not unusual for a nurse in a busy city hospital - until you look inside the vials. Rather than a blood sample, these vials contain lavender, peppermint and lemongrass.
"Patients in the hospital are often under a lot of stress," says Marilen. "Certain scents can enhance a feeling of calm, reduce anxiety and in turn improve outcomes."
She adds, "It's also a familiar healing approach for many of my patients, who have been exposed to the benefits of aromatherapy because of their unique cultural backgrounds."
Marilen says her own diverse background inspired her to create the aromatherapy program. "I grew up using aromatherapy. My aunts in the Philippines would boil certain leaves when my mom suffered migraines. And my mother would give me citrus fruits to smell when I got carsick."
Marilen created the unique program last year while at Sutter Health's California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC) in San Francisco. Her program was the centerpiece of a study the hospital conducted to determine how aromatherapy could improve patient satisfaction and overall experience. It was so successful there; she hopes to import the program to CPMC's St. Luke's campus, where she's now the interim supervisor of nurses in the telemetry, medical-surgical, and intensive care units.
Journey to Nursing
Growing up in her native Philippines and then Dubai before moving to the San Francisco Bay Area, Marilen always admired the work of her aunts -- all nurses. Although she wanted to follow in their footsteps, Marilen's journey to nursing took a slight detour.
"Believe it or not, I was squeamish about blood," she laughs. So after earning a degree in psychology she worked in the world of finance.
But as Marilen watched her parents get older, she realized that the need for high-quality medical caregivers would grow. So she banished her fears and entered a masters nursing program with an emphasis in health care systems leadership.
"My parents believe strongly in education and compassion for others," Marilen says. "I want to pass along those same values to my teams. When nurses are supported and encouraged, they see the bigger picture and begin to really 'own' their unit. This results in a better working environment for nurses and better patient care."
Marilen says her deep-rooted values also created a foundation for her professional success. "I have been able to move into leadership because I'm always looking for ways to continue my education. My supervisors at CPMC also have confidence in me and help me find these opportunities," Marilen says.
In fact, her aromatherapy program was her final project for the Leadership Residency Program, a one-year paid leadership development program sponsored by Sutter Health. "I was amazed and grateful to be selected by my Chief Nursing Officer to take part in the LRP," Marlien says. "I'm also thankful to work for a hospital and health system that supports its employees with such wonderful opportunities."
Future Smells Sweet
Marilen's dreams for her future are as strong as the lavender oil in her aromatherapy program. "I hope to become a chief nursing officer someday," she says. "I also hope to teach student nurses and honor my aunts by mentoring my younger cousins who have gone into nursing."
"I've found a great place to work and see myself staying here a long time so that I can give back," she adds," "I want nurses to be happy where they work."
To learn more about nursing at Sutter Health, please click here.
Kellye Whitney - 2/23/12
reprint from Diversity Executive
Just because you don’t see unconscious bias doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist and that the unseen isn’t having a tangible impact on actual people.
Iowa is dealing with one of the largest class-action lawsuits of its kind against the entire state government’s civil service system. Some 6,000 African-American plaintiffs are saying since 2003 they were systemically passed over for jobs and promotions.
“The plaintiffs … do not say they faced overt racism or discriminatory hiring tests in Iowa, a state that is 91 percent white. Instead, their lawyers argue that managers subconsciously favored whites across state government, leaving blacks at a disadvantage in decisions over who got interviewed, hired and promoted,” an article about the case said.
This is particularly interesting because apparently similar cases against local governments have failed — it’s tough to explicate and prove disparities in mistreatment of this type. But science may be the answer — or at least offer some measure of proof.
The article said that University of Washington psychology professor Anthony Greenwald, an expert on implicit bias who testified on the plaintiffs’ behalf, developed an Implicit Association Test to test racial stereotypes. The resulting research found a preference for whites over blacks in up to 80 percent of test takers among people who did not consider themselves to be racist.
This kind of research makes me want to hop up and down pointing and yelling, ‘See! Told ya.’ This is why I talk the subject of unconscious bias darn near to death. Just because you don’t see it — or don’t want to acknowledge it exists — doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist and that the unseen isn’t having a tangible impact on actual people.
“Attorney Thomas Newkirk said the science and other evidence that shows disadvantaged groups such as blacks face employment discrimination in subtle ways ‘is becoming overwhelming,’” the article said.
Lawyers are asking for lost wages to the tune of $67 million minus what plaintiffs earned in the meantime, and that changes be made in the way state officials train managers, screen candidates and track disparities in hiring. We’ll see how it plays out.
We are interested in what you think? Do you believe Bias can be a subconscious thing? Let us know what you think of this article and the lawsuit that is its subject. Do you agree? Disagree?
Majority of healthcare professionals say diversity in hospital leadership improves patient satisfaction, according to Witt/Kieffer survey
(HealthNewsDigest.com) - Oak Brook, IL, January 24, 2012 – Less than 15 percent of healthcare professionals believe that hospitals have closed the diversity gap in leadership within the last five years, according to a new national report by Witt/Kieffer, the nation’s leading executive search firm specializing in healthcare and higher education. The report, Diversity As A Business Builder In Healthcare, also reveals that only 35 percent of professionals agree that healthcare organizations consistently hire minority candidates. Witt/Kieffer partnered with Institute for Diversity in Health Management, Asian Health Care Leaders Association, National Association of Health Services Executives and the National Forum for Latino Healthcare Executives to survey 470 experienced professionals on how the state of healthcare diversity leadership is evolving.
With minorities accounting for 98 percent of the population growth in the nation’s largest metropolitan areas during the last decade, this demographic shift has vast implications for healthcare organizations, especially as they adapt to healthcare reform. A majority of industry leaders surveyed feel that diversity in the workplace improves patient satisfaction and clinical outcomes and supports successful decision-making. While healthcare professionals also report that the pool of diverse candidates for leadership positions has grown over the last five years, minority representation is still weak, with perceived barriers to advancement differing based on the respondent’s race and ethnicity.
“It is remarkable that even though a majority of professionals see the value of different cultures in the workplace, there is still not enough happening to close the leadership gap,” said James Gauss, senior vice president and senior advisor to Witt/Kieffer’s CEO. “Healthcare professionals appear to agree on what steps are necessary in order to improve the success of minorities, but there is a falloff when it comes to results. If institutions build and implement an effective diversity strategy, it will benefit their business and their patients, who must come first at healthcare organizations.”
Key findings also include:
Twenty-four percent of Caucasian professionals believe the diversity gap has been closed, but only 11 percent of minority professionals agree.
Nearly half of CEOs feel their organization has been effective in closing the diversity gap.
More than half say the pool of diverse candidates for healthcare leadership positions has grown over the last five years. However, only 38 percent say it has grown in their own organizations.
Healthcare professionals are more positive about how well minorities are represented within their own organizations compared to the industry as a whole.
Nearly a quarter surveyed feel that their own management teams had a good representation of cultural diversity, but only 9 percent felt that way about representation across the entire industry.
However, more than 40 percent of CEOs feel management teams had a good representation of cultural diversity.
A sharp contrast exists between what Caucasian professionals feel needs to happen in order to achieve diversity in the workplace and what minority professionals see as the barriers to success.
Caucasian professionals zero in on a lack of diverse candidates, while minority leaders focus on upper management’s lack of commitment to diversity.
60 percent of Caucasian leaders see their organizations’ cultural diversity programs as effective, while only 33 percent of minority professionals agree.
There is a gap between hospitals’ efforts to recruit diverse candidates and how many minorities are actually hired and how well they are trained.
Fifty-one percent of healthcare professionals agree that organizations take diversity recruiting seriously, but only 38 percent feel that their institutions trained for success in diversity recruiting efforts.
While the survey shows varying viewpoints across race, generation and career title, it is clear that diversity is seen as a valuable business asset, leading to improved patient satisfaction, improved clinical outcomes and more successful decision-making.
Witt/Kieffer is the nation’s eighth largest executive search firm and the only national firm that specializes in healthcare, higher education and not-for-profit organizations. Founded in 1969, our mission is to identify outstanding leadership solutions for organizations committed to improving the quality of life. Clients include hospitals, health systems, academic medical centers, medical schools, physician groups, colleges, universities and community service and cultural organizations. The firm conducts 400 search assignments each year for presidents, CEOs, COOs, CFOs, CIOs, physician executives, medical school deans, clinical chairs and other senior executives. Visit www.wittkieffer.com for more information.
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