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Think About It
A forum for discussion of the latest news and ideas in nursing management and healthcare.
Monday, August 31, 2015

What does it mean to be present? In our world of smartphones and social media, being present may mean knowing when to put the phone down or close the computer screen so that you can give the individual in front of you your undivided attention.

How often have you been to meetings during which the people in the audience are working on laptops, texting, checking social media, and just being generally inattentive to what’s going on? If you’re the one speaking, it feels very much like you’re being completely discounted.

I’ve seen nurses at the bedside actually answer phone calls, sit at the desk texting, and walk around with earbuds in. Really? How can anyone truly feel that this is okay?

It’s vital that we clearly understand our boundaries and respect direct communication and the importance of being present. Knowing when to turn off and tune in can make all the difference in all of your encounters, professionally and personally.

Lisa Lockhart, MHA, MSN, RN, NE-BC
Nurse Manager, Specialty Clinics
Alvin C. York VA Medical Center
Murfreesboro, Tenn.
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Monday, August 24, 2015

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about going back to school. The desire has been fueled by several of my nursing staff members being in school and discussing goals and aspirations with me.

I definitely believe that if I do decide to return to school, I will pursue a DNP degree. The next question is what will it do for my current practice and goals? After you determine your desire to go back to school and the pathway, the next huge issue is cost. You must weigh the cost against your personal drive, ambition, and goals.

Have you been considering returning to school? Does your organization offer tuition assistance? Are there any scholarships available? Do your research and you’ll find the best fit for your scholastic and career goals…and your wallet.

Lisa Lockhart, MHA, MSN, RN, NE-BC
Nurse Manager, Specialty Clinics
Alvin C. York VA Medical Center
Murfreesboro, Tenn.
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Monday, August 17, 2015

I read an article this week on bullying in the workplace. This is a hot topic these days, as it should be. Bullying still occurs regularly in our professional settings. The article focused on the frontline manager and his or her responsibility, providing points to consider.

First, the manager must focus on the bullying behavior and not the accusations of the bully. The bully may be focused on his or her target as incompetent, inept, or incapable for a multitude of reasons. The manager needs to separate the two. The accusations may have some foundation in truth, but the issue at hand is the bully’s behavior. The victim’s shortcomings are a distinct issue and should be managed separately.

The second item I found interesting is that bullying behavior isn’t always intentional. There are instances in which a bully is attempting to be helpful, maybe even educational, but delivery, timing, and presentation lend to a perception of bullying by the recipient. Although the target feels offended, attacked, or bullied, the bully may not truly understand why. This is different than a bully who focuses on and attacks an individual directly.

As we’ve discussed before, the key is to educate your staff members, empower them, and let them know that you’re supportive and there’s no place for bullying in this environment. Are there any bullies in your work area?

Lisa Lockhart, MHA, MSN, RN, NE-BC
Nurse Manager, Specialty Clinics
Alvin C. York VA Medical Center
Murfreesboro, Tenn.
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Monday, August 10, 2015

I spent the weekend with family celebrating my birthday. It’s always good for your soul to spend time with those you love and who love you. While we were there, my husband and I went to visit one of my uncles who has end stage metastatic disease—liver, bone, lung, and brain.

My family is very large, so the age ranges and relationships are varied. He is my uncle, but only 8 years my senior. If I hadn’t known who I was seeing, I may not have recognized him until he spoke. That same solid voice and spirit of kindness came from his mouth, but my once 6’2, 230 lb. uncle was a shadow of his former self. He’s at a rehab facility because my aunt can no longer care for him alone. He just recently became symptomatic with brain metastasis and loss of function on the left side of his body.

I listened to him speak fondly of the care he has received everywhere he’s been. “The nurses are just phenomenal,” he said, “I don’t know how you do what you do, honey!” I explained that nurses do what we do because we care so deeply for human beings and believe that everyone has a right to dignity in life and death. He told me how grateful he is for the love and compassion, and he proudly tells his nurses that his niece is also a nurse.

I send a huge thank you to the oncology nurses out there. You are indeed a special kind of nurse and your presence means the world to so many…thank you!

Lisa Lockhart, MHA, MSN, RN, NE-BC
Nurse Manager, Specialty Clinics
Alvin C. York VA Medical Center
Murfreesboro, Tenn.
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Monday, August 03, 2015

When you think about preventive medicine, what comes to mind? Many of us think of how to help our patients avoid illness. However, preventive medicine also involves chronic disease management and lifestyle modifications. Programs that fall under the preventive medicine umbrella include diabetes management, weight loss, smoking cessation, addiction recovery, and healthy living education. Programs like these are offered within more organizations than ever before, helping patients manage their illness, make the most out of their lives, and be the healthiest they can be--at whatever level they need.

We pull it all together with coaching and support groups. Sending a patient home with a new diagnosis and a new medication won’t “fix” the issue. The patient and his or her family must now adjust to a different way of life and learn to integrate it into every faucet of what they do. They need to be given the tools to accomplish this. How focused is your healthcare institution on prevention?

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

Nursing Management
“Think About It” is an extension of Nursing Management. Here, you can read and discuss professional information geared toward helping nurses excel as leaders. This blog tackles important topics without the worry of print publication deadlines!