DiversityNursing Blog

New Ways Hospitals Are Helping Their Frontline Workers Deal With Stress

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Mon, Oct 19, 2020 @ 02:59 PM

nursebreakFrontline healthcare workers face stressors during normal times, but especially now during a pandemic and hospitals are finding new ways to help their staff cope. 

Recently, University Hospitals in Ohio announced they would be trying out a 10-month pilot program that provides sleep pods for their teams. Doctors, Nurses and staff in the UH Cleveland Medical Center Emergency Department will have access to two HOHM units as a space to safely recharge.

Each 43.5 square-foot pod is designed to block out sound and features a twin-sized bed, a privacy and sound-blocking curtain, charging stations, and a tablet to control reservations. 

“Our UH Cleveland Medical Center Emergency Department frontline caregivers have been working tirelessly for months to combat the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Robyn Strosaker, MD,, University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center Chief Operating Officer. “In the midst of all this trauma and stress, we’ve continuously looked for new ways to support our team, and HOHM sleep pods are a way we can help address their wellbeing.”

Some hospitals are making design changes to their break rooms as a way to try and help healthcare workers manage their stress throughout the day. 

Nurses may be reluctant to take breaks especially during times of crisis. But taking breaks during your shift can help prevent burnout. So when a Nurse does decide to take a break, there should be a space where they can fully decompress and have time to gather their thoughts and recharge. 

Research has found strong evidence between exposure to natural environments and recovery from physiological stress and mental fatigue. Break rooms are becoming a green space with plants and images on the walls of natural landscapes. Create a sitting space with cushioned chairs or ottomans by windows that have a nice view outside. Offer the option of listening to calming music or nature sounds inside the break room. 

Hospitals are also offering time for their staff to spend with support animals. 

Nonprofit organization Canine Companions for Independence provided Jordy, a lab/golden retriever cross to help frontline workers at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital. 

“The science confirms what we already know, pets provide comfort and support during hard times,” said Jessica Lacanlale, MSN, Trauma Program Manager at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital. “The stress of caring for patients and working long hours is intense; but spending a little time with Jordy lifts my spirits and helps me get through the long days.”

Health Systems like Yale New Haven Health are offering confidential well-being check-in programs. This offers employees an opportunity to meet with an expert social worker or clinician one-on-one to discuss their needs and access resources to manage stress and improve well-being.

“People often downplay their own needs, saying ‘I’m OK’ when asked how they are doing,” said Javi Alvarado, YNHHS’ director of social work and co-chair of the WELD Council. “These visits create an opportunity to be better than ‘OK’ and truly grow from recent challenges.” 

During this pandemic, it is critical hospitals and health systems recognize what stress looks like and takes steps to help their staff cope with it. Equally as important is that healthcare workers know where they can go for help. This means internal communications to staff is key to express your awareness of the stress and the assistance being offered.

New Call-to-action

Topics: coping, stress, hospital staff, healthcare professionals, Nurse burnout, managing stress, stress management, frontline workers, frontline healthcare workers, pandemic

Nurses of Filipino Descent Are Dying From COVID-19 At Alarmingly High Rates

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Fri, Oct 09, 2020 @ 01:55 PM

filipinanurseAn estimated 4%, or about 150,000, Nurses in the U.S. are Filipino, but comprise nearly a third of Registered Nurse deaths due to COVID-19.

Business Insider reported, Nurses of Filipino descent account for 31.5% of the workforce's COVID-19 deaths.

In California, where about 20% of Nurses identify as Filipino, they account for nearly 70% of COVID-19 deaths in the profession, according to the Mercury News. Statewide, Asian Americans make up about 5% of coronavirus cases and 11.7% of deaths, compared to their 15% of the population.

Zenei Cortez, an RN who works at Kaiser Permanente’s South San Francisco Medical Center and, as co-president of the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United worries that her fellow Filipino Nurses are less likely than other Nurses to demand workplace protections.

“Culturally, we don’t complain. We do not question authority,” Cortez said. Many Filipino Nurses feel a strong sense of group loyalty, or the importance of putting the welfare of the group over that of the individual; in Tagalog, the word is pakikisama. “We are so passionate about our profession and what we do, sometimes to the point of forgetting about our own welfare,” she said. “We treat our patients like they are our own family.”

It’s the lack of proper PPE that has pushed some Filipino Nurses to speak out, when in the past they stayed silent about their working conditions.

“What I am seeing now is that my colleagues who are of Filipino descent are starting to speak out,” Zenei said. “We love our jobs, but we love our families too.”

Catherine Ceniza Choy, a professor of ethnic studies at UC Berkeley whose work has focused on the history of Filipino American Nurses said, Filipino American Nurses are more likely to work in higher risk roles such as the intensive-care unit, emergency medicine or telemetry, putting them directly in the path of COVID-19.

“Filipino Nurses, here specifically in the U.S., are concentrated specifically in in-patient critical care services,” Choy said. “Many of them are also caregivers at home, not only of children, but also their parents and other elders. And so part of the problem with the pandemic is these multiple layers of vulnerability and exposure.”

Jollene Levid and other volunteers have been keeping track of Filipino health care workers who've died from the disease worldwide. Their website, Kanlungan.net, which means shelter or refuge, is an online memorial with pictures and stories of those who've been lost.

The website reads "KANLUNGAN is intended to be a memorial to the transnational people of Philippine ancestry who make up a huge sector of the global healthcare system. This is to remember them as human beings, not simply as a labor percentage, a disease statistic, or an immigration number. And since the Internet is forever, we hope that KANLUNGAN will keep reminding the world of the skills, dedication, and the self-sacrifice demanded of health care workers so humanity may be healed."

New Call-to-action

Topics: COVID-19, PPE, Filipino Nurses

School Nurses Play A Vital Role In The Fight Against COVID

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Fri, Sep 25, 2020 @ 03:44 PM

schoolnurseSchool Nurses have become the main point of contact for any and all things COVID-19 related. They are a key component in making sure schools stay open.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that every school have a Nurse on site.

But, according to the National Association of School Nurses, before the pandemic, a quarter of American schools did not have a Nurse.

Now states are scrambling to hire School Nurses as students go back to school.

“Most school Nurses are the only health care experts in their school community able to understand infection control and do disease surveillance,” said Linda Mendonca, president-elect of the National Association of School Nurses (NASN). “But not every school has a Nurse who’s going to look after the children and staff. You need that expertise as a resource to safely reopen schools.”

COVID has made the role of a school Nurse even more complex, adding many challenges and new responsibilities for keeping children and staff safe.

They're responsible for complying with applicable federal, state, and local laws, regulations, ordinances, executive orders, policies, and any other applicable sources of authority, including any applicable standards of practice.

Nurses will also have to create plans for how high-risk students will return to school. They'll also help with screening protocols, creating safe classroom setups, hand washing and sanitation stations, and PPE distribution.

The school Nurse should collect and share school data in compliance with state and federal confidentiality regulations.

Once a coronavirus case is identified, school Nurses and local public health officials will work together to determine which students or staff might have been exposed to the infected person.

Face masks will be one of the main ways of limiting the spread of the virus in schools this fall. However, with younger students there's a risk of children trading masks or not keeping them on.

Social distancing is another key factor in keeping everyone safe, NASN guidelines suggest, staggered start times, small group and outdoor activities, no sharing of musical instruments, and meals in classrooms.

Liz Pray, MSN-Ed, RN, NCSN, School Nurse for the Moses Lake School District in Washington State and President of the School Nurse Organization of Washington said, "If I could offer any words for nurses feeling overwhelmed, I would encourage them to allow themselves and others a little grace. Everyone is struggling. Tempers are short, people are on edge and it’s been very difficult for students, parents and team members to adjust to these changes. Remember to take a step back, take a deep breath and take care of yourself."

New Call-to-action

Topics: school nurse, COVID-19, coronavirus, school nurses, covid

Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Mon, Sep 21, 2020 @ 03:47 PM

belonging

Our healthcare system must work hard to increase diversity within their workforce and create an inclusive environment. Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) strategies are necessary for health systems to provide the best care possible to an evolving population.

A sense of Belonging is equally as important. Just because an employee is working in an organization, it doesn't necessarily mean they feel they belong there.

The feeling of belonging is a fundamental human need. It is an extremely powerful force. Without it, your D&I strategy could fail.

The term Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging (DI&B) was created by Pat Wadors. She said, "D&I may capture your head, but belonging captures your heart.”

“When someone is different and insecure and they get to be authentic and are welcomed in a team, we can unlock their super powers and bring out the best—not only in that person, but the team and, therefore, the product, the service, the company, the world,” says Wadors.

Covering or masking is when someone tries to fit in with the dominant culture and downplay who they really are. Research from a Deloitte study of more than 3,000 people found that 61% of people cover at work, even more so if they are Black (79%) or LGBTQ+ (83%).

Neuroscience researchers have found that exclusion lights up the same regions of the brain as physical pain. “Being excluded is painful because it threatens fundamental human needs, such as belonging and self-esteem,” says Dr. Kipling Williams of Purdue University.

When someone feels excluded over a long period of time, and every day they have to return to an environment where they feel like they do not belong, they'll end up leaving.

Dr. Christine Cox of New York University’s Langone School of Medicine has identified six areas that are enhanced by inclusion and worsened by exclusion: intelligent thought and reasoning, self-care and self-improvement, prosocial behavior, self-regulation, a sense of purpose, and well-being. Each of these items represents real financial gains or losses for teams and organizations.

According to Wadors, in order to create a culture of belonging, teams and managers should reflect on three questions:

  1. How does your organization celebrate differences?
  2. As an employee, do you feel safe if you make a mistake?
  3. Does someone at work care about you?

A Forbes article mentions, another way that a sense of belonging can be nurtured is by creating a stronger sense of community.  A sense of community can be nurtured by regular interactions and collaboration. We tend to stereotype people less and are less fearful of difference when we are more familiar with them or spend more time with them.

But most importantly, there must be trust. Employees should have trust in the company's mission, in the leadership's vision and in their goals. Once every employee feels that they belong in the organization, this will lead to a more positive and inclusive workplace.

New Call-to-action

Topics: Diversity and Inclusion, diversity in healthcare, diversity inclusion and belonging

Frontier Nursing University Virtual Event to Focus on Telehealth and Racial Disparities in Maternity Care

Posted by Frontier Nursing University

Wed, Sep 16, 2020 @ 12:31 PM

FNUempower2020National Midwifery Week is the first week of October, and Frontier Nursing University (FNU) is celebrating by hosting a virtual event from Oct. 5-8, called Empower 2020: Year of the Nurse and the Midwife. 

The event features four free sessions, including two continuing education opportunities, presented by FNU faculty, students, and alumni on the latest practices and topics influencing nurse-midwifery care:

It’s the Year of the Nurse and the Midwife: Get the 411 on Becoming a Nurse-Midwife is for midwifery students or anyone who is considering becoming a nurse-midwife. Participants will hear from current midwifery students about their experiences and have the opportunity to ask questions during this live session.

Midwifery Pearls of Telehealth will provide an overview of telehealth from a midwifery perspective with special emphasis on the areas of patient engagement, group care, provider satisfaction and best practices for meeting compliance requirements.

Hot Topics in the Management of Perimenopause & Menopause: A Conventional & Integrative Approach will provide a review of the most common conventional and evidence-based integrative medicine interventions used during perimenopause and menopause.

Maternal and infant mortality affects black and indigenous women at a much higher rate than other races. In Racial Disparities in Maternity Care: Where Do We Go From Here?, FNU Assistant Professor Dr. Heather Clarke and FNU President Dr. Susan Stone will review the issues related to health care disparities and discuss how midwives can engage in meaningful strategies for change.

The World Health Organization (WHO) designated 2020 as the “Year of the Nurse and the Midwife” in honor of the 200th anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth. The designation brings awareness to the importance of nurses and midwives in the health and care of populations across the globe. According to the WHO, the world needs nine million more nurses and midwives to achieve universal health coverage by 2030.

Southern Cross Insurance Solutions is sponsoring the 2020 virtual event. National Midwifery Week was created by the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) to celebrate and recognize midwives and midwife-led care. ACNM and its 7,000+ midwife members, physicians and women’s health organizations observe National Midwifery Week each year. Dr. Cathy Collins-Fulea, FNU course faculty member and DNP graduate, is currently serving as president of the ACNM Board of Directors.

Frontier Nursing University is the birthplace of nurse-midwifery in the United States and has 80 years of experience in delivering graduate nursing and midwifery programs. This is the sixth consecutive year FNU has hosted a virtual event in support of National Midwifery Week.

Register for the Empower 2020: Year of the Nurse and the Midwife virtual event and learn more at Frontier.edu/MidwiferyWeek

Topics: Frontier Nursing University, telehealth, National Midwifery Week, Midwifery, The Year of the Nurse and the Midwife, virtual event, racial disparities, racial disparities in maternity care, maternity care

Increasing Diversity in Clinical Trials

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Mon, Sep 14, 2020 @ 09:51 AM

diversepopClinical trials are necessary to provide evidence for the benefits and safety of new treatments. Racial and ethnic minorities continue to be underrepresented in these clinical trials.

Black or African Americans represent 13.4% of the U.S. population, yet reports show they make up only 5% of clinical trial participants. Hispanic or Latino origin represent 18.1% of the U.S. population but only 1% of clinical trial participants.

The clinical trial population must be diverse enough to represent the patients who will be using the medicine.

According to a ScienceDirect study, Inclusion of diverse participants in clinical research may lead to more robust and complete data that broadens the understanding of racial and ethnic differences in treatment responses that, in turn, may contribute to reduced disparities in outcomes.

Richardae Araojo, who is the FDA Associate Commissioner for Minority Health and Director of the Office of Minority Health and Health Equity said, “There are many different reasons why minorities have been under-represented in clinical trials. One barrier to participation that we all know well is a lack of trust because of past historical abuses. Other barriers to participation may differ based on the population you are seeking to enroll and may include language and cultural differences, health literacy, religion, and a lack of awareness and knowledge about what a clinical trial is and what it means to participate.”

Araojo continued by saying “Some barriers may be due to aspects of the trial design such as inadequate recruitment and retention efforts, accessibility to the site location, frequency of study visits, transportation, participation may conflict with caregiver or family responsibilities, and may cause time away from jobs and other commitments. Often times, there may be a perception that minorities do not want to participate, and they simply aren’t asked.”

Recently, the National Institutes of Health launched the All of Us Research Program. This program is inviting one million people across the U.S. to help build one of the most diverse health databases in history.

The All of Us Research Program is a great example of inclusive research that can help ensure better health outcomes for all.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a draft guidance on improving the diversity of patient populations in clinical trials.

The draft makes numerous recommendations on how to increase diversity in clinical trials. These recommendations include enrichment, inclusive trial practices and design, and methodological ways to bring in a wider range of patient populations.

The benefits of increased diversity in clinical trials are enormous. Enrolling diverse patients in clinical trials improves the likelihood that they will benefit from research data. Trial results will be more represented and relevant for the entire population.

New Call-to-action

Topics: clinical trial, diverse clinical trials, increasing diversity in clinical trials

Health Care Cultural Considerations

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Sat, Aug 29, 2020 @ 01:22 PM

diverseheadsIn our growing diverse society, health care workers need to understand that applying only traditional westernized medical practices isn't appropriate for many patients and families. Health professionals must have an awareness of different cultural practices and spiritual beliefs in order to reduce racial and ethnic disparities in health care.

According to the American Hospital Association, cultural competency in health care describes the ability of systems to provide care to patients with diverse values, beliefs and behaviors, including the tailoring of health care delivery to meet patients' social, cultural and linguistic needs.

There can be language barriers so make sure you know your patient’s preferred method of communication and arrange an interpreter. Non-verbal communication may differ across cultures. Don’t make any assumptions without knowing the person's customs.

Many cultures have special dietary considerations. Hospital staff should be educated about food culture, which is a term used to describe the non‐nutritive, yet nonetheless significant, aspects of food, such as when food is eaten and how it is served.

For example, Jewish patients do not eat pork or shellfish. Muslim patients also do not consume pork. Muslims will eat only permitted food (halal) and will not eat or drink anything that is considered forbidden (haram). Halal food requires that Allah's name is invoked at the time the animal is killed. Lamb, beef, goat and chicken, for example, are halal as long as a Muslim kills them and offers a prayer. Fish and eggs are also halal. Buddhist are mostly vegetarian, though Buddhists may eat meat if it has not been killed for them specifically.

Health care workers should use effective communication to increase their understanding about the patient's spiritual beliefs and practices. Your workplace should offer spiritual counselors like a chaplain or a rabbi. It is a good idea to have a non-denominational prayer and meditation room which can serve as an inclusive sacred space for staff and patients of all religious backgrounds.

Management should take an active role in promoting culturally competent workplace training courses and resources.

Our calendar of cultural dates is a great tool to assist staff with respectful scheduling and diversity celebrations.

New Call-to-action

Topics: cultural competence, culturally competent care, racial health disparities, cultural considerations, ethnic disparities in health care

This Ballerina Is Shedding Light On Racial Bias In Healthcare

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Mon, Aug 24, 2020 @ 11:16 AM

ingridsilva Ingrid Silva, a ballerina of The Dance Theatre of Harlem, is using the current closing of theaters and performance venues to expose racial bias in healthcare. In the past, Ingrid received praise and recognition for creating a line of ballet shoes in an array of skin tones for dancers of all races and cultures.

Silva founded a nonprofit organization called EmpowHer. EmpowHer NY is a social catalyst that ignites the conversation about women who break through the glass ceiling imposed by society and live authentically according to their truth.

Recently EmpowHer and The Bloc teamed up to create a video called 'The Call Project'.

According to Forbes, this project is an experiment where actress Corin Wells made multiple calls to a 24-hour Nurses health hotline. Wells used a white-coded name and voice as well as a Black-coded name and tone. The results showed that 77% of her “black” alias calls ended with a recommendation to go to an urgent care facility, a protocol for minor health issues. However, her “white alias,” using the same script, was advised to go to the ER, which is protocol for any patient with urgent symptoms of an appendicitis.

Empowher believes, "When it comes to getting proper healthcare, it shouldn’t matter what your name is or how you sound like. Your pain shouldn’t be underestimated because of biological myths that are not only scientifically false but also fantastical in nature."

The goal of this experiment is to address racial biases in healthcare and to make unconscious bias training mandatory for hospitals and healthcare to ensure quality healthcare.

Silva said, “It’s been past time for us to speak up on this matter for the black community worldwide. This is our way of saying enough already!”

You can join the movement in the fight for equality in healthcare. EmpowHer is offering a petition to make unconscious bias training a mandatory requirement for hospitals across the country. You can sign the petition here.

New Call-to-action

Topics: racism, racism in healthcare, racial health disparities, Racial Bias In Healthcare, Racial bias

Tips for Preventing PPE-Related Skin Damage

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Thu, Aug 13, 2020 @ 04:06 PM

GettyImages-1217962206Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is essential for protecting healthcare workers on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, with prolonged use of PPE, comes skin damage.

According to a study by the Journal of American Academy of Dermatology, 97% of staff working in two different COVID-19 units reported PPE-related skin damage. The incidence increased when PPE was worn continuously for longer than six hours, and especially with N95 masks and goggles.

Hand irritation is common when frequently using gloves. The hands become irritated from constant sanitizing and hand washing. Also gloves trap moisture and heat, causing side effects such as eczema and dermatitis on hands. 

Pat hands dry or allow hands to air dry instead of rubbing to avoid further irritation. Also use warm water instead of hot because frequent use of hot water can lead to excessively dry skin. Moisturize but make sure the skin fully absorbs it before putting gloves back on. 

Nurses wearing air tight N95 and N99 masks for many hours often end up with red indentations on their faces. On the other hand, Nurses who wear non airtight masks have reported getting acne and evidence of skin irritation from pressure or chafing of the mask over the bridge of the nose.

Make sure your mask isn't too tight and is fitted comfortably on your face. You should relieve pressure regularly. If possible, try removing your mask, goggles, and or face shield at least every four hours. Relieving pressure for a few minutes to allow for normal blood flow can prevent lasting skin damage.

The Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nurses Society (WOCN) suggests applying an alcohol-free barrier film if you know you’re going to be wearing your PPE for a long time.

Nurses have experienced ulceration on or behind the ears from the elastic loops that stretch around the ears. According to Nurse.org, Nurses are sewing buttons onto their surgical caps so they can fasten their face masks directly onto the buttons instead of their ears.

Healthcare workers wearing isolation gowns experience overheating and extreme sweating, which can lead to a red, itchy rash, known as intertriginous dermatitis.  

According to Nurselabs.com, to prevent this condition make sure that you dry off well after your bath or shower. Avoid tight and chafing clothing and wear moisture-absorbing underwear. You can also use talcum powder, or even corn starch, to help keep the area dry.

One last tip to help keep your skin healthy, stay hydrated and consume healthy, high protein meals and snacks.

New Call-to-action

Topics: PPE, personal protective equipment, skin damage

New Carolyn Jones Emergency Nurse Documentary

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Fri, Aug 07, 2020 @ 02:03 PM

incaseofemergencyFilmmaker, Carolyn Jones released The American Nurse in 2012, Defining Hope in 2017, and now In Case of Emergency: Without You, We Don’t Stand A Chance.

Jones teamed up with the Emergency Nurses Association (ENA) to create a documentary that celebrates emergency Nurses and the impact they have on patients across the country.

ENA President Patricia Kunz Howard said"Emergency Nurses do amazing things every single day. They put their patients first without any thought of reward or recognition. With Carolyn's unique style and approach to storytelling, this documentary will pay a proper tribute to that selflessness by showing the world the complicated, yet rewarding, work that defines emergency Nursing and the people who are committed to care."

“When COVID hit, we realized that it is all nurses that we can’t live without,” said Jones. “The role you play is really critical for us in finding our way to a better way of living. I applaud each and every one of you.”

In another interview discussing her new project, Carolyn said, "I want Nurses to feel elevated and come out of this idea that no one else wants to know what they are doing. The public will never understand it until Nurses tell them what goes on. I hope that some Nurses will rise to the surface and find their voices. They are the best story tellers I’ve ever encountered. That’s what I love about interviewing Nurses – boom, the story is right there.”

In celebration of Emergency Nurses Week, the film will be premiered virtually on October 14, 2020. 

TRAILER In Case of Emergency: Without You, We Don’t Stand A Chance 

 

Topics: ER nurse, Carolyn Jones, emergency nursing, COVID-19 study, emergency nurses, nurse documentary

Recent Jobs

Article or Blog Submissions

If you are interested in submitting content for our Blog, please ensure it fits the criteria below:
  • Relevant information for Nurses
  • Does NOT promote a product
  • Informative about Diversity, Inclusion & Cultural Competence

Agreement to publish on our DiversityNursing.com Blog is at our sole discretion.

Thank you

Subscribe to Email our eNewsletter

Recent Posts

Posts by Topic

see all