Recognizing early signs of patient deterioration is one of the topics covered in the latest edition of NMIE. We review how important a systems approach and effective communication are to the early detection of changes in patient condition. This article reminded me of a recent conversation I had with clinical nurses about the high demands placed on them. Staffing ratios, core measures, required documentation, and regulations are overwhelming at times and create stress for the bedside nurse. Staying on top of subtle changes in patient status and using available tools are keys to providing the best possible care. Take time to browse the January/February issue NMIE for updates and tips on improving outcomes.
Lisa Lockhart, MHA, MSN, RN, NE-BC
Another year has passed and 2017 has arrived. What are your plans personally and professionally for the coming year? Research has shown us that resolutions don't always stick. Goal setting is another matter. What are your professional goals? Do you want to return to the workforce? How about continuing your education? Are you certified? Are you active in shared governance, professional committees, or professional organizations? This is a brand new year with fresh opportunities to set and achieve the goals you may have previously pushed aside. Get involved at your facility and in professional associations, read journals, and participate in educational offerings. Find your voice! Don't forget to follow Nursing made Incredibly Easy! online and in print - one of the many professional practice offerings from Wolters Kluwer. You can make a difference in healthcare!
I’ve been looking through my journals and blog sites, thinking
about patient safety and the balance we try to maintain. Bedside nurses juggle
so many daily challenges and, as a manager, it’s a struggle to maintain core measures
compliance, staffing safety, and census management while simultaneously boosting
morale. Keeping a constant eye on what’s happening with your team; looking at
documentation, process improvement, rounding, fall prevention, and medication
safety; and battling staffing shortages is a tall order for any nurse leader.
It’s vital for managers to engage clinical nurses at the point of care. What do
you see as the main barriers to care provision? How can these barriers be
overcome? Although staffing is a real-life issue in every organization, it isn’t
the reason for every barrier. Staffing is often blamed for all of our process
failures, but is it really the main barrier? I believe that staffing has a huge
impact, but to constantly refer to it as the issue is also somewhat of a
barrier. What are your thoughts?
I recently spent 2 hours meeting one on one with a few of
the bedside nurses with whom I work. I found them to be very open and willing
to freely share their personal aspirations and vision of nursing. I was amazed
at their diverse backgrounds, cultures, and education levels. I genuinely love
nurses and nursing, and believe I’m among the fortunate to have found my
calling. I was so thrilled to see I work with many who feel the same way. More
than once, I listened to their concerns regarding nursing’s future and the
future of healthcare in America. Some of our healthcare personnel and patients
are afraid about potential coming changes. Although many express dislike for
the Affordable Care Act, they also fear what will happen if it gets repealed,
especially how it will impact those in need. What’s the conversation like among
your peers and patients? We would love to hear from you.
I was speaking with some of my peers earlier this week about
the holiday season. As healthcare professionals, we see all kinds of challenges
this time of year. The holidays can be so painful for some. Our patients who
experience substance abuse disorders, seasonal affective disorder, depression,
or other types of mental health disorders often struggle during this time.
There’s an increased incidence of substance abuse, suicidal ideation,
depression, and anxiety. While those around them celebrate with family and
friends, for some there may be a heightened sense of isolation, increased
financial distress, and higher stress levels. For hospital and ED personnel,
this can be a difficult time as our patient population can seem even more
challenging and tug even harder at our hearts, creating a sense of sadness within
us as well. Being aware of the struggles some face and the effect it can have
on you and your peers is essential for self-preservation. Be supportive of each
other and sensitive to your own feelings. Don’t forget to care for yourselves
and each other while reaching out to your patients.