DiversityNursing Blog

Erica Bettencourt

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Improving Hospital Culture

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Wed, Jul 21, 2021 @ 02:44 PM

GettyImages-1058457940The culture of a work place can be described as the vibe of the environment, the day to day experience of staff and patients, and the way practices are implemented and followed. 

According to Beckers Hospital Review, culture can have a direct impact on patient care and patient satisfaction. Hospitals with adaptable culture outperform those without it, as much as 200%. 

To improve your culture, here are some things to consider.

Communication is key. If you’re implementing changes, communicate them to every staff member so they know there are going to be changes. If they have concerns, they should feel comfortable to voice their opinions.

Establish where the organization is now. Determine what problems you want to fix and what areas need improvement. Set clear goals and benchmarks to measure your success along the way.

As you achieve your goals, no matter how small, celebrate them! People want to know they’re doing a great job. It boosts morale and radiates throughout the entire organization.  

Accountability - establish a process for accountability at all levels of the organization in case goals aren't being met. Often, initiatives fail because no one takes the hard job of holding others accountable. Old habits are easy to slip back in to if there is no accountability.

Mission Statement - every hospital should have a clear mission statement. It should define the overall culture and values of the company. It sets the tone of your organization. Hospitals can use these core values as guidelines for employees. 

Never stop improving. As your culture evolves, continue to listen to your employee's concerns and ideas. Listen to their feedback. Acknowledge, assess, and act on it. It’s important your employees know their voices are being heard. This can also help with employee retention too.

Great changes can take a long time. Be prepared for obstacles and setbacks. Keep visiting your goals and believe in your mission statement.

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Topics: hospital culture, Improving Hospital Culture, workplace culture

Choosing Nursing School or Medical School

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Wed, Jul 07, 2021 @ 12:14 PM

GettyImages-1270585032Many people interested in a career in healthcare originally think they’ll go to medical school and become a Doctor, but ultimately end up becoming a Nurse. Choosing between Nursing and Medical school depends on each person's career goals and what kind of studies they'd be most interested in.

It's important to explore both options because while they can be similar in some aspects, they are very different in others.

Length of Training

The length of training is a major difference. Nursing programs range from 2 years for an Associate's degree, to 4 years for a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, to 6 years for a Master's. Medical school requires a minimum of 8 years of education plus residency.

Time Spent With Patients

Witnessing a loved one be taken care of by a medical professional is one reason many people choose to start a career in healthcare. If building a strong relationship with patients is meaningful to you, a career in Nursing is probably a better choice.

Often Doctors are in and out of the patient's room while the Nurse spends their entire shift taking care of a handful of patients. 

Like many of our Annual DiversityNursing.com $5,000 Education Award Winners, Shelah Roanhorse, our 2021 Winner, initially wanted to be a Doctor, but after her brother Nate became sick with cancer, she witnessed the dedication and care the Nurses gave him. She saw how involved his Nurses were with his day-to-day care. This greatly influenced her decision to become a Nurse.

Career Opportunities

There is a high demand for healthcare professionals.

The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) projects a shortage of between 54,100 - 139,000 Physicians by the year 2033.

And, According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of Registered Nurses is projected to grow 7% from 2019 - 2029, faster than the average for all occupations.

Doctors may be limited by their specialty area. A Nurse could be limited too depending on the specialty, but Nurses can work both in and out of the hospital in a variety of settings including...

  • Educators at Schools of Nursing
  • School Nurses
  • Insurance companies as health coaches, case managers and Nurse navigators
  • On-staff Nurses at non-healthcare companies
  • Law firms as medical forensics investigators

Leadership Roles

There is a misconception that leadership opportunities are limited in Nursing.  

Many Nurses lead initiatives to improve quality of care and patient safety. Some Nurses join their healthcare organization's C-suite and become Chief Nursing Officers or Chief Diversity Officers.  

With ongoing healthcare reform and new models of care delivery across the U.S., the role of Nurses is likely to further expand and allow them to take on new and dynamic roles in healthcare.

Whether you choose to become a Nurse or a Doctor, both careers are extraordinarily rewarding. Try to learn as much as you can about both avenues of healthcare before making your big decision.

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Topics: medical school, nursing school, medical careers, nursing career, healthcare careers

How Hospitals Are Celebrating Pride Month

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Wed, Jun 16, 2021 @ 11:37 AM

lgbtqhealthindexLGBTQ+ Pride month is celebrated every June in honor of the 1969 Stonewall riots, and works to achieve equal justice and equal opportunity for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning (LGBTQ) Americans.

Pride month celebrations include parades, parties, concerts, educational events and speeches. Memorials are also held to honor members of the community who have been lost to hate crimes or HIV/AIDS.

Hospitals around the nation are taking this opportunity to show their support. 

The Downtown Somerville Alliance joined with Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital/Somerset and the Babs Siperstein Proud Center unveiled a 75-foot mural to celebrate influential figures in the LGBTQ+ community. 

The installation features icons like Harvey Bernard Milk, state icons like Christian Fuscarino of Garden State Equality, local icons like LGBTQ+ rights attorney Frank Morano of Bound Brook and many more.

Newark Beth Israel Medical Center and Children's Hospital of New Jersey, held a flag raising ceremony. President and CEO Darrell Terry Sr. said, "This month we are proud to raise the LGBTQ+ flag and to raise awareness about the disparities that impact this community."

The following flags will be on display in one of the hospital's main corridors throughout the month of June: Transgender Pride Flag, Philadelphia People of Color Flag, Gender Fluid Pride Flag, Intersex Pride Flag, Coexist Flag, Progress Pride Flag, Ally Flag, Pansexual Pride Flag, Nonbinary Pride Flag, Equality Pride Flag, and the Bisexual Pride Flag.

The University of Kansas Medical Center is hosting a Biographical Posters event where you can learn about the background and careers of several LGBTQIA+ community members as well as their journey to KU Medical Center. Spotlights will be shared via social media and the diversity intranet site. Digital posters can be seen here.

Johns Hopkins Medicine is hosting discussion panels, workshops, film screenings and listening sessions covering important LGBTQ+ topics.

As well as hosting educational awareness programs, UNC Health and UNC School of Medicine are handing out “Ask me about my pronouns”, “LGTQ Ally” and other pins and badges with information on LGBTQ Health Disparities.

More than half of patients in the LGBTQ community report having faced discrimination in a healthcare setting. In order to improve LGBTQ+ care, hospitals must become allies for this community and combat any discrimination. 

Topics: LGBTQ, LGBTQ Healthcare, LGBTQ health disparities, LGBTQ pride month, LGBTQ Pride, pride month

10 Pieces of Advice For New Nurses

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Mon, Jun 14, 2021 @ 09:23 AM

nursesatstation1. Set your phone or digital watch to military time. In healthcare, the 24-hour clock is generally used in documentation of care as it prevents any ambiguity as to when events occurred in a patient's medical history.

2. Get to know your team. Don't hesitate breaking the ice, introduce yourself, others are probably wondering who this new person is! Once you get to know everyone, try keeping a close group of people you can rely on and talk to when need be. Every one needs a helping hand or shoulder to lean on time and again. 

3. Don't be afraid to ask questions, no matter how small. It's better to not know and ask, than act like you know and risk a patient's safety. Listen, watch and learn from seasoned Nurses. Learning is a never ending part of the job. 

4. Seek a mentor. This one-on-one experience provides a safe space for new Nurses to ask questions and learn the social and professional inner workings of their profession.

5. Self care is important. If you aren't caring for yourself, you won't be able to care for others.  Be mindful of how you feel and recognize when you need to give yourself some extra love and attention. Even small 15 minute breaks during shifts can make a world of difference. 

6. Never stop learning. Invest in continuing education, keep certifications up to date and seek knowledge in places outside the hospital setting. 

7. Buy good shoes! Nurses are on their feet constantly so invest in a pair that are comfortable and durable. Also try wearing compression socks.

8. You may not be able to do everything yourself, but together we can do anything. Offer help when you can and accept help when you need it. 

9. Carry many pens with you!

10. Remember why you started. It will help you get through tough times or when you're feeling down or burnt-out. Nursing is stressful, but also rewarding. 

Topics: new nurses, new nurse, advice, Nursing tips, nurse advice

Hospitals Seeing Increase In Children and Teen Suicide Attempts

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Mon, Jun 07, 2021 @ 03:31 PM

mentalhealth-1Hospitals are seeing more cases of severe depression and suicidal thoughts among children, particularly attempts to overdose. 

The coronavirus pandemic has drastically changed the way children and teens learn, play and socialize. Many studies found forced isolation and loneliness among children correlated with an increased risk of depression.

Children’s Hospital Colorado, declared a "State of Emergency" in youth mental health. Jena Hausmann, CEO said, "It has been devastating to see suicide become the leading cause of death for Colorado’s children." 

According to the CDC, the proportion of children who arrived in emergency departments with mental health issues increased 24% from March through October 2020, compared with the same period in 2019. Among preteens and adolescents, it rose by 31%. 

Matthew Davis, MD, MAPP, Chair of the Department of Medicine at Lurie Children’s, emphasized the need for accessible, affordable mental health care for pediatric patients has greatly increased because of the pandemic. In fact, nearly 1 in 5 parents said they were unable to access  mental or behavioral health care for their child at some point, most often because they could not find a specialty provider, they could not afford it, or they could not get an appointment in a timely fashion.

Some hospitals like Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center in Ohio report running at full capacity and having more children “boarding,” or sleeping in EDs before being admitted to the psychiatric unit. 

Terrie Andrews, a Psychologist and Administrator of behavioral health at Wolfson Children’s Hospital in Florida said, "Up to 25 children have been held on surgical floors while waiting for a spot to open in the inpatient psychiatric unit. Their wait could last as long as five days."

Hospitals are not only seeing a higher volume of patients, but these patients have more intense illnesses.

Dr. Jennifer Downs, a pediatric psychiatrist at Connecticut Children’s said, “Instead of seeing kids who are saying, ‘I’m thinking about suicide,’ we’re seeing kids who have had attempts. Instead of seeing kids who are maybe brought in because of parents who feel that they’re verbally out of control, yelling, screaming, saying awful things, we’re seeing kids who are having physical aggression.”

According to The American Academy of Pediatrics, if you notice any of the following symptoms in your children, be sure to contact your child’s Physician as soon as possible:

– unusual changes in mood, such as ongoing irritability, feelings of hopelessness or rage, and frequent conflicts with friends and family
– changes in behavior, such as stepping back from personal relationships
– a loss of interest in activities previously enjoyed
– a hard time falling or staying asleep, or starting to sleep all the time
– changes in appetite, weight, or eating patterns
– problems with memory, thinking, or concentration
– less interest in schoolwork and drop in academic effort
– changes in appearance, such as lack of basic personal hygiene
– an increase in risky or reckless behaviors, such as using drugs or alcohol

If you have contemplated suicide or someone you know has talked about it, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, or use the online Lifeline Chat, both available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Topics: mental health, depression, children, teens, suicide, attempted suicide, overdose

Healthcare Organizations Commitment To Improving Diversity

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Tue, May 25, 2021 @ 01:50 PM

thumbprints

The tragic events of the past year has brought an increased awareness to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). As a result, healthcare organizations are hiring Chief Diversity Officers (CDO’s), implementing initiatives, providing educational programs, and using new recruitment strategies to increase diversity in medicine.

Increasing diversity in healthcare organizations benefits both the healthcare provider and the patient populations they serve.

To increase diversity and lower racial healthcare disparities, many hospitals and health systems are looking to their CDO for guidance moving forward.

Last year, CDO hires grew by 84%, making it the fastest growing C-suite title, according to LinkedIn.

Some health systems are going beyond hiring a CDO and are creating entire teams or councils to implement and foster best practices. 

Northwell Health formed the Emerging Leaders Diversity & Inclusion Council which is responsible for analyzing current conditions within the health system while seeking to implement best practices in 3 key areas:

• Onboarding
• Mentoring
• Succession Planning

Englewood Health assembled a Diversity and Inclusion Education Council consisting of 12 team members across all departments and leadership levels.  

Warren Geller, President and CEO of Englewood Health said, “Our country’s history of racism and current inequalities have impacted every aspect of life and, most importantly, our health and well-being. With the establishment of a Diversity and Inclusion Education Council we are committing to doing more and doing better for the communities we serve.”

More hospitals are providing educational resources and training programs for their staff members.

At Ochsner Health in Louisiana, they’ve rolled out training to address implicit bias across the organization. Melissa Love, VP of Professional Staff Services and The Office of Professional Well-Being said, “People are really curious. I’m seeing people be very surprised by their lack of knowledge, even those that think they’re very knowledgeable.” 

Hospitals are also participating in evaluation programs to help improve their DEI efforts. 

The HRC Foundation's Healthcare Equality Index (HEI) evaluates healthcare facilities nationwide based on non-discrimination & staff training, LGBTQ patient services & support, employee benefits & policies, and LGBTQ patient & community engagement. 

Last year, a record 765 healthcare facilities participated in the HEI survey. These organizations recognize the importance of implementing LGBTQ-inclusive practices alongside their foundational non-discrimination policies.

When it comes to diversifying the hiring process, Daniel Benavides, Manager of Talent Acquisition at CHG Healthcare, suggests hospitals increase the number of people who select candidates. 

Benavides noticed only one or two people were filtering candidates for interviews. He determined that having a larger mix of individuals looking at applications would result in a greater diversity — and higher quality — of selected candidates.

It’s critical healthcare organizations improve diversity within their staff to reduce healthcare disparities. They must ensure ALL people are equally represented. 

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Topics: Diversity and Inclusion, chief diversity officer, hospital diversity, diversity recruitment, healthcare organizations, workplace diversity, hiring diverse workforce, diversity and inclusion in the workplace, DEI

Creative Ways Hospitals Are Supporting Nurses Mental Health

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Wed, May 12, 2021 @ 02:41 PM

nursestressBefore the COVID-19 pandemic, Nursing was known to be a stressful profession. There was plenty of data showing burnout to be a significant problem among US Nurses.

With increasing stress placed on front line Nurses during this pandemic, hospitals are investing in initiatives and programs to support the mental health of these employees.

Mount Sinai Health System, created recharge rooms for healthcare workers. Dr. Putrino and his team created multi-sensory experiences that can reduce stress in just 15 minutes. These rooms are filled with faux plants and candles, illuminated with calming lights and one wall displays relaxing scenes and sounds. Slider5-Episode38-Recharge-750x400Putrino said, "Listen, what we need is a space or a series of spaces where our healthcare workers can sit down and for just a moment have a lot of their stress just relieved and taken away from them."

Stony Brook Medicine used a similar idea when creating a respite room called "Resilience at the Brook." The large, peaceful area features plants, calming wall art, a pod for private mediation, and relaxing materials, such as coloring books and miniature Zen gardens, to help employees rejuvenate. Employees can also add encouraging messages and quotes to inspire each other on the Motivation Mural Wall.

CharminOhio State University Medical Center (OSUMC) Stress, Trauma and Resilience (STAR) Program uses the Buckeye Paws program. A group of certified therapy dogs visit to provide comfort and emotional support to healthcare staff.

Emily Fawcett, R.N., a float Nurse on all floors at Lenox Hill hospital, started "hope huddles." Hope huddles are held at the beginning of shift changes and Nurses gather together to share news of patients recovering and other inspiring, and even humorous, stories.

Cody Regional Health created a wellness area for employees. The new space, staffed 24/7, includes a meditation room, eight bedrooms with private bathrooms, laundry and shower facilities, on-site access to licensed therapists for emotional support, puzzles and games, and an exercise area to meet employees’ needs.

Elise Phelan, a surgical unit Charge Nurse at UCHealth created the Resilience Program. Phelan would bring in massage therapists, movement therapists, yoga instructors, nutritionists and sometimes therapy puppies.

Code Lavender began in 2008 with Earl Bakken at North Hawaii Community Hospital. Calling the code signals to the Code Lavender team that an individual or group of individuals are in need of emergency psychological assistance.

Many hospitals like Cleveland Clinic have started implementing this code. The Code Lavender team usually comprises representatives from the spiritual care and healing services departments, and other hospital-based support services (such as employee assistance, music therapy, wellness, the ethics consultation service, and art therapy), and volunteers.
Code-Lavender

Bayhealth offers staff Code Lavender Kits. Kits include a back massager, aromatherapy inhalers, LED candles, a sound machine, Code Lavender journals, and a tote to store everything in.

It's very clear there is a need for this kind of support and innovation. The well-being and morale of front line workers should remain a top priority even after the pandemic.

Topics: mental health, mental health nursing, front line workers mental health, mental health support programs, nurses mental health

Companies Celebrating Nurses Week With Giveaways

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Wed, May 05, 2021 @ 03:21 PM

thankyouThe COVID-19 pandemic has shone a light on the incredible role Nurses play in keeping humanity safe and healthy. Nurses Week runs from May 6th through May 12th and companies are taking this time to show their great appreciation for these heroes. We compiled a list of companies offering discounts and freebies to Nurses this week!

1. Amazon Books

Amazon is offering four free medical drama books, available to read on your Kindle E-readers, Fire tablets and the free Kindle app.

2. Insomnia Cookies

All Nurses (anyone with Nurse in their job title) get 1 FREE 6-pack of Classic cookies w/ANY in-store purchase OR 1 FREE Classic cookie (no purchase required) all week-long!

3. Chipotle

Chipotle is offering free burritos to all the hard-working, extra-shift-taking lifesavers who put the care in healthcare.

4. Dunkin’

Dunkin' is showing their appreciation and support to Nurses with a free medium hot or iced coffee.

5. BIGGBY COFFEE

On May 6th BIGGBY COFFEE is offering Nurses a free 16 oz beverage of their choice and free Nurses retractable badge clip. 

6. Zaxby's

On May 6th Zaxby's is offering Nurses a BOGO Big Zax Snak Meal.

7. Puffy

Puffy wants all healthcare professionals to enjoy better sleep with this extra special discount of $375 off any Puffy mattress and 2 free pillows.

8. ASICS Shoes

ASICS is offering Nurses a discount of 40% off all full-priced products in their online store.

9. Caesars Rewards

Caesars Rewards is offering Nurses 35% discounts on hotel reservations.

10. Rental Cars

Nurses can receive a 25% discount on their rental car purchase from Budget, Enterprise, and National.

 

Happy Nurses Week and thank you for everything you do!

Topics: National Nurses Week, Nurses Week, thank you nurses

2021 Top 10 Shoes For Nurses

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Wed, Apr 21, 2021 @ 03:15 PM

Since Nurses spend so much time on their feet, they need durable shoes that can provide ultimate comfort and support. From sneakers to slip ons, here is a list of the best shoes for Nurses this year!

1. Hoka One One Arahi 4

hoka

2. adidas Men's Ultraboost

ultraboost

3. Alegria Debra Professional

alegria

4. Crocs Bistro Clog

bistro

 

5. The Cloud

cloud

6. Clove Shoe

clove

7. Dansko Professional Clog

dansko

8. New Balance Women's 411 V1 Walking Shoe

new balance

9. Dansko Paisley Sneaker

paisley

10. Brooks Levitate 4

brooks

 

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Topics: nurse, nurses, shoes for nurses, top nurse shoes, nurse shoes, best shoes for nurses, nursing shoes

Primary Care Physician Shortage Creating High Demand For Nurse Practitioners

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Tue, Apr 13, 2021 @ 12:04 PM

npResearch shows there has been a steady decrease of Physicians across the United States, especially primary care Physicians.

The data published by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) projects shortfalls in primary care Physicians of between 21,400 and 55,200 by 2033.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) reports, 80 million Americans lack adequate access to primary care, primarily in rural areas.

Nurse Practitioners (NPs) have the ability to help fill this void.

The number of NPs is at a record high and the demand is growing. According to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP), in 2019, there were more than 290,000 licensed NPs in the United States.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports, the overall employment of Nurse Practitioners is projected to grow 45% from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations.

AANP data also shows 89.7% of Nurse Practitioners are prepared to practice in primary care with specialties in family (65.4%), adult (12.6%), pediatrics (3.7%), women’s health (2.8%), and gerontology (1.7%), among other specialties.

However, many states still impose restrictions on the care NPs can provide.

Some states require NPs to be supervised by a Physician and other states restrict NPs from practicing a certain distance from their supervising Physicians.

NPs can prescribe medications and controlled substances, but a few states require they do so in collaboration with a supervising Physician. Some states also impose probationary periods before NPs are allowed to prescribe medications.

Nurse Practitioners should be able to work to the full potential of their education and training.

Patients trust the care they receive from Nurses. Evidence supports the notion that NPs provide care that is comparable to Physicians in terms of quality, utilization, and satisfaction.

AANP President Sophia Thomas, DNP, APRN, FNP-BC, PPCNP-BC, FNAP, FAANP said, “An estimated 1.06 billion patient visits were made to NPs in 2018, improving the health of our nation and increasing the growing number of patients who say, ‘We Choose NPs.’”

As of March 2021, the average Nurse Practitioner salary is $111,478. Pay varies depending on education, certifications, the state you work in, additional skills, and the number of years in the field.

Nurse Practitioners are a critical resource for improving population health and reducing health disparities.

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Topics: nurse practitioners, NPs, high demand for Nurse Practitioners, physician shortage

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