Nurses’ Attitudes Key To Infection Control

Nurses’ Attitudes Key To Infection Control

Changing perceptions of risk could improve compliance with infection-control measures

It’s often said that knowledge is power. But a new study finds that when it comes to nurses’ compliance with infection-control measures, it’s more appropriate to say attitude is everything.

The study, published in the American Journal of Infection Control, examines the relationship between infection-control compliance, knowledge, and attitude among home healthcare nurses. Researchers surveyed 359 home healthcare nurses in the U.S., and evaluated their knowledge of best practices in relation to their compliance with infection-control measures.

Over 90% of nurses self-reported compliance for most of the measured behaviors. The researchers also found there was not a direct correlation between knowledge of infection-control practices and compliance with those practices. However, there was a relationship between the level of compliance and the participants’ favorable attitude toward infection control.

“This study tells us that knowledge is not enough,” said one of the lead authors, Jingjing Shang, PhD, of Columbia University School of Nursing in New York City. “Our efforts to improve compliance need to focus on ways to alter nurses’ attitudes and perceptions about infection risk.”

Common Hurdles

The authors suggest that efforts to improve compliance with infection-control practices should focus on strategies to alter perceptions about infection risk. Changes should start on an organizational level, and seek to create a culture of positivity in relation to infection-control compliance.

Among other takeaways from the study:

  • Protective equipment lapses: While most of the participants reported compliance on most issues, many reported lapses when it came to wearing protective equipment; only 9% said they wear disposable face masks when there is a possibility of a splash or splatter, and 6% said they wear goggles or eye shields when there is a possibility of exposure to bloody discharge or fluid
  • A culture of “presenteeism:” Presenteeism, coming into work despite being sick, has become a patient safety issue over the last few years, especially as it relates to infection control; only 4% of participants felt it was easy for them to stay at home when they were sick, which could be a major contributor to rates of infection
  • Hand hygiene is still an issue: 30% of respondents failed to identify that hand hygiene should be performed after touching a nursing bag, which could transport infectious pathogens as nurses travel between patients

“Infection is a leading cause of hospitalization among home healthcare patients, and nurses have a key role in reducing infection by compliance with infection-control procedures in the home care setting,” Shang said.

This story was originally posted on MedPage Today. 

Hunting the Elusive Work-Life Balance in Nursing

Hunting the Elusive Work-Life Balance in Nursing

Work-life balance is a hot concept in the nursing profession. We hear we need it. We want to achieve it. But does it really exist?

That question has piqued the interest of Adele A. Webb, PhD, RN, FNAP, FAAN, senior academic director of workforce solutions at Capella University in Minneapolis.

“People think they need it,” she said. “But do they? Can you ever have it? Or are people chronically dissatisfied because it’s like a unicorn … they’re chasing something that doesn’t exist.”

Balance Vs Satisfaction

Webb plans to study and delve into the concept of work-life balance and nurses. She said recent conversations with nurse executives, including those at HealthLeaders Media 2017 CNO Exchange, left her realizing that the idea needs to be better defined.

“Years ago, I read an article called Balance is Bunk!, and [the point] was you never have 50% this and 50% that. Sometimes work takes more, sometimes family takes more,” she recalled.

For example, if a nurse must take off from work to stay home with a sick child, on that day, family needs more focus than work. And there are times, especially for those who work weekends or holidays, where work will eclipse family.

Still, Webb said she understands the desire behind the idea of work-life balance.

“What does work-life balance really mean? It means you’re happy. Well, what does happy mean? Happy means you’re satisfied with what you’re doing,” she said. “I think what people really want is life satisfaction. They can be satisfied at home and satisfied at work even if it’s not balanced.”

Generational Differences

Another question Webb said she is pondering is, “How then do we address or encourage satisfaction and what does that mean?”

She said she has noticed, even among her own family, that different generations of nurses crave different things.

“I have a daughter and a granddaughter who are nurses. My granddaughter is definitely a Millennial. She’s 24, new in her career, and what she wants is opportunity,” Webb said. “She’s always reading, trying to better her skills, and to learn something new.”

This drive to further their skills and their careers is a trait often tied to the Millennial generation. However, it can also be a factor that contributes to their workplace turnover. According to the RN Work Project, almost 18% of newly licensed RNs leave their first employer within the first year.

“We have the job to educate these younger nurses on opportunities to find satisfaction in the job they’re in. So when you want more, you can sign up for a committee. You can look at policy in your community or state. There are opportunities outside of leaving your unit that can meet your needs,” Webb said.

“How exciting it would be for a young nurse to have the opportunity to be on the quality committee at a hospital. Or to have the opportunity to contribute to care algorithms or standards or care or policies?” she added. “They would learn [so much] from it [and] they could contribute so much.”

While baby boomers are more likely to stay in their positions, they, too, have a need for life satisfaction and often value time and self-fulfillment, said Webb.

For example, offering tuition assistance to pursue a master’s degree may give this generation a sense of satisfaction. Or they may find fulfillment in sharing the knowledge they’ve garnered over their years of experience.

“[Give them] the opportunity to be involved, and be on a budget committee at the hospital and understand the finances and the contributions they make,” Webb suggested. “Train them to be preceptors. Let them share that knowledge with the younger generation.”

What’s Next?

Webb is in the early stages of reviewing published literature for existing information on work-life balance and satisfaction, and plans to interview nurses about their insights. Once she has a working thesis, she plans to connect with nursing professionals through presentations and conferences to see whether her definition and evaluation of work-life balance or work-life satisfaction rings true.

This story was originally posted on MedPage Today. 

Johns Hopkins School of Nursing Awarded INSIGHT Into Diversity Higher Education Health Professions Award

Johns Hopkins School of Nursing Awarded INSIGHT Into Diversity Higher Education Health Professions Award

The Johns Hopkins School of Nursing (JHSON) has received the 2018 INSIGHT Into Diversity Higher Education “Excellence in Diversity” Health Professions award for its committed efforts to support and sustain diversity and inclusion through education, programs, and outreach. The award is a national honor recognizing individual health institutions showing outstanding achievement in making diversity a top priority.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion are embedded into the strategic plan and overall mission at JHSON. Faculty, students, and staff are provided opportunities for collective cultural exchanges and experiences through encouragement from leadership and the school’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee. Efforts to promote respect for differing views and backgrounds are weaved into curriculum development, scholarships, recruitment, partnerships, and strategy.

Gloria Ramsey, JD, RN, FNAP, FAAN, who was appointed to serve as inaugural associate dean for diversity, equity, and inclusion to further the school’s diversity and its impact on innovation, education, practice, research, and service, tells

“Our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion is clearly evident and well integrated into the operations of the school. Our entire community should feel proud and honored to receive the HEED Award because it represents a collective effort and underscores our values and commitment to inclusive excellence for 21st century nursing. As we celebrate the progress we have made, we continue to hold ourselves accountable to continue important work, be open to new ideas, and think forward toward creating a more diverse and inclusive environment in the future.” 

JHSON also focuses on advancing social justice in the community, cultural competence education, and minority awareness celebrations. Currently, 25% of faculty and 37% of students are from racial and ethnic minorities.

To learn more about the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing receiving the INSIGHT Into Diversity Higher Education “Excellence in Diversity” Health Professions award, visit here.

Frontier Nursing University Awarded 2018 Health Professions HEED Award

Frontier Nursing University Awarded 2018 Health Professions HEED Award

Frontier Nursing University (FNU) was recently awarded the 2018 Health Professions Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine. INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine is the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education, and the HEED Award is a national honor recognizing US medical, dental, pharmacy, osteopathic, nursing, veterinary, allied health, and other health schools and centers that demonstrate outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion.

FNU President Dr. Susan Stone tells, “We are deeply honored to receive the prestigious HEED Award. We believe in the benefits of a diverse university and in the positive impacts our diverse graduates can make in communities across the country. Our graduates serve people of all races and cultures and are increasingly coming from diverse backgrounds. It is imperative that our students, faculty and staff have cultural awareness and competency in order to effectively advance our mission of servant leadership. We have demonstrated our ongoing commitment to diversity by implementing programs and structure to ensure we reach our goals. The HEED Award is a validation of those efforts and provides additional inspiration to maintain our commitment to achieving and exceeding our diversity and inclusion goals.”

FNU will be featured in the December 2018 issue of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine along with 34 other higher education institutions. FNU was awarded for the implementation of its FNU PRIDE Initiative (Promoting Recruitment and Retention to Increase Diversity in Nurse-Midwifery and Nurse Practitioner Education) in 2010 which spearheaded targeted recruitment activities and increased student of color enrollment from 9% in 2010 to 23% in 2018.

The university has also held three annual Diversity Impact Student Conferences to ensure that nurse practitioners and nurse midwives understand the challenges and opportunities offered by diversity in rural and underserved healthcare systems. To further demonstrate ongoing commitment to diversity and inclusion, FNU created a Chief Diversity Inclusion Officer (CDIO) position in 2017 and appointed Dr. Maria Valentin-Welch to that office.

To learn more about Frontier Nursing University being awarded the 2018 Health Professions Higher Education Excellence in Diversity award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, visit here.

Top 10 Strategies to Obtain, Maintain, and Retain Your Nurses

Top 10 Strategies to Obtain, Maintain, and Retain Your Nurses

Lately I’ve heard so many people say that nurse retention is a management issue, or a hospital problem, or something to be dealt with “above” the bedside. No, no, no! We have to address the importance of our role as bedside nurses in helping to retain our fellow nurses. We should all be asking ourselves what we can do to help our coworkers get a job, and more importantly, we should make sure they want to keep their job!

Here’s what we can do at the bedside to help.

1. Introduce yourself.

This may seem obvious, but stop walking by nurses you don’t know! Stop them and initiate a conversation. You know that girl that you see that you’re low-key afraid of because she never says a word to you? Don’t be that girl. Just. Say. Hello. Not that hard! I usually say, “oh are you a float?” (Just in case they’ve actually been at your hospital for ten years, ya know?) And when they say “No, I’m new,” just introduce yourself and let them know you’re here for them. People really just want to know they have someone to help them and a friend to go to at work. And just because you introduce yourself doesn’t mean you have to be their best friend forever.

Furthermore, ideally your institution has already sent out a welcome email letting you know who your unit’s new staff are so that this isn’t even an issue, but if they haven’t, that might be a good suggestion for your weekly or monthly unit emails or newsletters.

2. Recognize nurses.

Nothing has really changed since kindergarten. People like snacks and naps still, right? Yep, and people also still like to be recognized. Help your unit recognize other nurses’ birthdays, achievements, life events, etc. It can be in the form of a card or a recognition system that your hospital uses. Even a verbal recognition in huddle or just in the hallway goes a long way.

3. Celebrate with your fellow nurses.

Celebrate life’s achievements! Celebrate 100 days CLABSI free, celebrate no IV infiltrates for the month, etc. Celebrate your group of guys and gals that get certified! Heck, we even celebrate random days of the week with chips and dip parties or cookie parties on night shift.

4. Teach your nurses something.

Everyone has something to learn, regardless of experience level. Help find out what areas are lacking in your unit and suggest these areas to your educators. Also, help precept new nurses or orient floats and travelers. You were new at one point, too, and everyone needs a good preceptor. Remember how challenging it can be coming to a new place, finding supplies, learning who your resources are, etc. Being a preceptor is an opportunity to mold someone’s positive perspective!

5. Help each other.

Always try and make rounds on the unit if you can and check and see if anyone needs help. If your unit isn’t laid out where you can reach everyone then try reaching out to your nearby buddies. Check with your charge nurse, too. Identify colleagues that may need some extra help throughout their day and let them know you are there for them. Consider sharing your phone number with them so they can reach out if they need you.

6. Have a committee.

Start a club or committee that solely functions to do good things for the staff. Make your goal to improve nurse satisfaction by representing your nurses and making them feel good. Consider putting together a brief pre/post survey to measure and track your results over time. Once you are established, consider expanding your goal to improving employee satisfaction, reaching out to all disciplines. Environmental services is one of my favorite groups to recognize and reward for the hard (and not so clean) work they do day in and day out! We initiated a “day” for different groups, ie: a PCT Day where we made cookies for the PCT’s and a Doctor’s Day where we hosted a potluck breakfast.

7. Prepare welcome gifts for new nurses.

My favorite project of all is the welcome gifts for new employees. Create a cute little poem, mnemonic, etc. that goes with a night shift survival kit or day shift energy kit. Consider gum, hair ties, K-cups, etc. Include a laminated list of unit resources for your staff so they know who to turn to!

8. Check in frequently.

This is a great way to keep tabs on all the newbies. Have a list of your new staff and go around and check on them once a month or once a week if need be. It can be a mental list and doesn’t have to be a formal conversation. I try to always remember one small piece about each person, e.g., “how’s your house hunt going?” or “how’s your garden project coming along?” People like to talk about what’s good for them, and what better way to promote a positive environment?

9. Ask (and give) feedback.

Always ask your fellow nurses for feedback. I keep a running list of areas for improvement in the back of my notebook that I hear in conversation. Make sure your management knows these issues. Never be afraid to email your managers with feedback you’ve received and suggestions for these issues or concerns. Maybe they haven’t heard of these problems yet! Be a liaison for your fellow nurses and your managers. 

10. Ask about unit differences.

Differences are key here. It’s easy to get annoyed with the “well in my unit we…” especially when you’re precepting, but take that as an opportunity to ask your orientee or new friend to make a list of all the things that could be better in your unit, or that were smoother in their former unit. Share these ideas at your unit’s council meetings or with your manager.

Remember, it doesn’t have to be a huge difficult task. Nurse retention starts with the small things; the little things that people remember and carry with them. Often, nurse retention stems from how nurses feel day in and day out, which makes this our responsibility as bedside nurses to support our managers, directors, and hospitals in the effort to retain nurses. Comment below with what works at your hospital!

American Association for Men in Nursing Recognizes Vanderbilt University School of Nursing

American Association for Men in Nursing Recognizes Vanderbilt University School of Nursing

The American Association for Men in Nursing (AAMN) has named the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing (VUSN) an AAMN Best School of Nursing. The honor is designed to recognize a nursing school for significant efforts in recruiting and retaining men in the nursing profession.

Nursing schools must submit a detailed portfolio outlining their support for men in order to be considered for the honor. The information can include how the school meets male student and faculty needs, student pass rates, and demographics on male students and faculty.

VUSN Dean Linda D. Norman, DSN, FAAN, the Valere Potter Menefee Professor of Nursing, tells, “Health care needs more nurses and it needs more diversity. Male nurses bring an understanding of male health care needs and perspectives that are needed. Although VUSN has long been a champion of men in nursing, we wouldn’t have received this honor without the efforts and vision of two current male faculty.”

Professor Tom Christenbery and Instructor Chance Allen collected the data and prepared the application. They volunteered to undertake the project to recognize the history of men at VUSN and use the award to help support student recruitment. VUSN hopes the national recognition will inspire highly qualified males from diverse backgrounds to join the nursing program.

To learn more about the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing being recognized by the American Association for Men in Nursing, visit here.

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