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Incredibly Easy blog
The Incredibly Easy blog will expand on selected topics presented in the print journal.
Monday, October 20, 2014

Our workplaces have become scarier than usual. As healthcare professionals, we know there’s always the risk of becoming ill or becoming a carrier of disease. It’s part of what we knowingly sign up for when we enter the field. I’m listening to the news reports and reading the headlines about our recent viral scares. It isn’t just Ebola that’s of concern; there’s the flu season upon us and enterovirus D68 as well.

I’m hearing a lot of conversation about lack of education, lack of supplies, and inadequate supplies for healthcare workers. There have also been complaints from nurses at affected facilities that they weren’t armed with the proper preparation. This is indeed frightening and these are all valid concerns. Just as when HIV first presented us with a national threat to our health and safety, we have a learning curve as we discover new concerns and dispel old ones.

As professionals, we understand our risk but we must also embrace our responsibility. Arm yourself with facts, share what you know with your coworkers, and protect yourself with the proper equipment. Wash your hands, wear your gloves, and utilize masks when appropriate. Stay updated by frequently checking the CDC website. And if you aren’t getting the information you need from your organization, ask for it!

Lisa Lockhart, MHA, MSN, RN, NE-BC
Nurse Manager, Specialty Clinics
Alvin C. York VA Medical Center
Murfreesboro, Tenn.

 


Monday, October 13, 2014
When we speak to our patients and take their health history, we concentrate on their family history as well. Now here’s an area of focus for cultural diversity! The family makeup has changed globally. We have same-sex marriages, same-sex parents, and blended families just to name a few. All of this becomes extremely important when considering familial health history vs. psychosocial history and support systems. Our standard admission forms for inpatient care, home health services, or any healthcare service we provide must take this into consideration.
 
Perhaps, the first questions we ask should be more open-ended, such as “Please describe your family for me” and “Please describe your support system for me.” Use the terms significant other and biological parent or history. Be careful not to infuse your personal beliefs into your questions. Always remember why you’re doing what you do: to provide safe patient care that’s specialized, personalized, and patient centered.
 
Keep up with our ever-changing world in which cultural beliefs, values, and family composition can have such range and diversity. It’s vital that we stay competent and knowledgeable about our culturally diverse society and not just disease processes and methodology.
 
Lisa Lockhart, MHA, MSN, RN, NE-BC
Nurse Manager, Specialty Clinics
Alvin C. York VA Medical Center
Murfreesboro, Tenn.
Resources:
Volume 12 Issue 6

Monday, October 06, 2014

Cultural diversity in the workplace applies to everyone, not just healthcare personnel. I remember when it became a mandatory part of annual education. The Joint Commission would focus on meeting the requirements for survey and accreditation. Posters would show up, along with books listing different nationalities, their languages, and the religious and cultural beliefs that may or may not affect their care.

But cultural diversity is so much more than that. Sexual preference, education, ethnicity, and family of origin are all factors when tailoring care that’s individualized and patient centric. We live in a world that’s unified by a tap on our computer keyboard, a swipe on our tablets, or a text on our smartphones; a world in which there’s no one mainstream way to look, believe, behave, or speak.

We’re tolerant and open to many different lifestyles and approaches to life and healthcare. With this openness comes an increased responsibility on our part to examine our own belief systems and personal approach to those who may or may not differ from our own path. The care we provide must be unaffected by prejudice, preconceived notions, or exclusions.

Nursing made Incredibly Easy! has devoted our upcoming November/December issue to diversity in its various forms. We hope we’ll help you think about your practice and approach to patient care, and what your organization can continue to do to encourage cultural competence and sensitivity.

Lisa Lockhart, MHA, MSN, RN, NE-BC

Nurse Manager, Specialty Clinics

Alvin C. York VA Medical Center

Murfreesboro, Tenn.

Resources:
Volume 12 Issue 6

Monday, September 29, 2014

Many organizations have designed a clinical ladder program for RNs. These programs vary, but should have some similar core concepts. Number one is that all nurses aren’t the same; different levels of education and expertise do create variations in practice. Number two, depending on where in the organization you work, these levels of expertise will vary, as will your ability to perform. Number three, simply doing your job isn’t enough to advance you up the ladder.

Do these three basic concepts hold true where you work? Is your clinical ladder a single-step ladder or are there multiple steps? Do you start over when your transfer from one area of expertise to another? I browsed the websites of several different organizations and collegiate programs and found that, indeed, there’s much variance from place to place. In addition, the levels or components of each step also vary.

What are your thoughts on this? Should these methods of advancement have regulated levels noted by the state board of nursing? Should there be consistency in all aspects of nursing regulation? Great strides have been made in requiring specific items as standards of practice, enabling us to carry multistate licensure, along with the unifying benefit that participation in national organizations and certifications gives us. What about our clinical ladders?

Lisa Lockhart, MHA, MSN, RN, NE-BC

Nurse Manager, Specialty Clinics

Alvin C. York VA Medical Center

Murfreesboro, Tenn.


Monday, September 22, 2014

The battle between real-life, real-work situations and evidence-based practice: How often does this situation rear its ugly head? Hopefully, your processes and workflow have been ingrained deeply enough into your environment that most often your practice habits speak for themselves. But what about all of those workarounds that you don’t even think about? These are behaviors that have developed over time and continue to repeat because “that’s how we’ve always done this.”

Rules, processes, and protocols are developed to avoid near misses and errors, not just to slow your rounds. Evidence has shown trends in injuries to patients revolving around certain practice habits. Research has shown that by adding specific steps to certain common practices, errors can be avoided. The key is understanding, engaging, and following the practice. If it isn’t working for you and your coworkers, don’t work around the issue; examine it, apply the nursing process, and fix it. Ensure the safety of your patients no matter what.

Do you have practices or workflow processes that need to be examined at your organization?

Lisa Lockhart, MHA, MSN, RN, NE-BC

Nurse Manager, Specialty Clinics

Alvin C. York VA Medical Center

Murfreesboro, Tenn.

 

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NursingMadeIncrediblyEasy
The mission of the peer-reviewed journal Nursing made Incredibly Easy! is to meet the ongoing educational needs of nurses in a refreshingly original, easily understood format.

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