Monday, June 27, 2016

Changing Focus: How to Switch Specialties by Michele Wojciechowski

When she started in nursing, Peggy Lasoff, RN, BSN, was employed as the medical/surgical manager for the VA Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York on the 3-to-11 p.m. shift. In time, she decided that she needed a change.
“I realized working 3-11 p.m. was going to be difficult with [having my] children in school and changes were occurring within the hospitals,” Lasoff says.
Because she enjoyed working with the geriatric population, Lasoff earned a certification in gerontological nursing practice offered by the American Nurses Credentialing Center, and then she accepted a position as an assistant director of nursing at a nursing home. In this position, she was able to provide training to the staff and be home for her family when they needed her.
But this wouldn’t be her last career move. In fact, she’d be making one more.
Peggy Lasoff, RN, BSN
Peggy Lasoff, RN, BSN
“While working in the facility, I heard many families and patients wishing they could be home. Their loved ones were looking for guidance to make this happen. I started researching home care and learned about hospice care,” she says. Lasoff found herself drawn to it. “I recognized that I had been caring for elderly patients in their last years of life. Why not move to caring for them in their homes?”
After earning certification for hospice/palliative care from the American Nurses Association, Lasoff began working in the field. Today, she is a hospice/palliative care clinical manager with the Visiting Nurse Association Health Group of New Jersey.

When It’s Time to Change

Now Mary C. Krug, MSN, APN, RN, works for UnitedHealthcare doing annual home visits for their Medicare Advantage members. She’s also on the Board of Directors for the New Jersey State Nurses Association. Throughout her career, she’s worked in a number of different nursing positions. But she always knew when it was time to change to the next one.
“I do not regret any of my job changes,” says Krug. “Each one gave me knowledge and experience, which serves me every day in caring for people. I would not do one thing differently. I only wish I had more working years in my future to try out a few more different positions!”
After she graduated and became an RN, Krug worked for a year in general medical/surgical nursing in a hospital. When she decided that she wanted to move to critical care, she took a six-week course at the hospital on reading cardiac monitors and intracranial monitors as well as managing ventilators and other information she needed to work in critical care.
Krug stayed in critical care for 10 years, then earned her Master’s degree in nursing in adult primary care and became an Advanced Practice Nurse (APN). While studying for her APN, Krug worked in an emergency room because while she knew how to treat critical patients, she wanted to handle other injuries or illnesses like sprains or upper respiratory infections.
When she finished her training, Krug worked for a primary care doctor. She would later work in college health, women’s health, and for a dermatologist before moving to her present position.
Mary C. Krug, MSN, APN, RN
Mary C. Krug, MSN, APN, RN
For many of the transitions in her career, Krug obtained additional schooling. Sometimes, it would be through observing someone, as she did when working for the dermatologist. Other times, she earned additional certifications in critical care, emergency nursing, HIV, and adult primary care. She advises other nurses to continue to advance their educations, as doing so can open up other opportunities. “If I were younger, I would continue on to earn my PhD,” Krug says.
In the beginning of her career, Mary Ellen Levine, MSN/Ed, RN, was a staff nurse with a medical and surgical unit that specialized in respiratory and neurological care. When she was asked to educate a family about hospice care for their loved one who had experienced a severe brain injury with no chance of recovery, it triggered something in her.
“It touched a chord in me. I would want to have all the information and know all the options if this were my family,” says Levine. She knew that it was time to make a change, and for her, that change was to become a hospice nurse.
To transfer to hospice nursing, Levine needed to undergo an organizational orientation at her current place of employment, the Karen Ann Quinlan Hospice, and have two weeks of focused education specifically about hospice care. She also shadowed more seasoned nurses in the field.
“I encourage all nurses to seek out options throughout their careers,” says Levine. “You have to like what you do.”

Advice for Others

Know that making a move may be stressful. “Change is not easy. Moving from one job to another requires a certain amount of patience with yourself. It is a major life change and being comfortable with your decision takes time,” explains Levine. “Learning about different organizations is as important as learning about a nursing position.”
Mary Ellen Levine, MSN/Ed, RN
Mary Ellen Levine, MSN/Ed, RN
Lasoff says that “Looking back, the transitions I made in my nursing career were easy, although a bit of anxiety came with each move.”
Levine adds that it takes time to go from a novice in a particular specialty to an experienced nurse, no matter how young or old you are. Asking colleagues for help may not come naturally, but it will help you to learn more about the new environment. She advises nurses to talk with their families before they make a change; having hers support her was key to her success. Speak with colleagues to determine what you might like to try. Also, check into your state’s nursing association. Levine says that hers was a great source of support. In fact, she’s now president of the New Jersey State Nurses Association, Region 1.
“Changing nursing positions is not about feeling that you are not good enough at what you are doing,” says Levine. “You can be the best nurse in the practice, but if at the end of the day, you feel your strengths are not being used to the best of your ability, there is most likely a position out there where you might feel more fulfilled.”


Michele Wojciechowski

Michele Wojciechowski is an award-winning writer and author of the humor book Next Time I Move, They’ll Carry Me Out in a Box.

Monday, June 20, 2016

If My Stethoscope Could Talk By KL Ensor



If my stethoscope could talk what would it say about me today?
Would it say that I rushed through my assessment so I could scope out a place at the nurses’ station?
Would it say that I was thorough or going through the motions?
Did I just kill time until break? Lunch? End of my shift?
What would my stethoscope say?

If my stethoscope could talk how would my listening skills be evaluated?
Did I actually hear my patient?  When medications were refused or when the patient expressed they had enough, would I actually listen?
As my stethoscope moved across their body, did I notice a change that needed to be addressed in the plan of care or did I just do business as usual?
Was I listening to my patient and their family members’ concerns or did I just perform lip service as from a script.
What would my stethoscope say?

If my stethoscope could talk would it say that I had my eyes open as I took care of my patient?
Did I completely understand the physician’s orders?  When my patient addressed me did I provide eye contact or was I too busy looking at monitors and equipment?
Did I notice something and speak up as an advocate for my patient or did I leave it for the next shift to handle?
What would my stethoscope say?

If my stethoscope could talk would it say I half-heartedly gave education and explanations about medications?
Would what I speak actually come from a desire to be a help to my patient or just to look good as an authority figure?
Did I form my words to be culturally sensitive or did I disregard my patient’s views, beliefs and preferences?
When I spoke to colleagues or interacted with the multi-disciplinary staff was I a source of encouragement.
Did I include my unit assistants in the plan of care for the patient?  Did I recognize my charge nurse as a valuable resource?  Did I appreciate my unit clerk for their invaluable help?
What would my stethoscope say?

If my stethoscope could talk, would it say that I am an example of patient centered care?
Did my care come from my passion to be a nurse or am I just hanging around for a paycheck?
Did my body language speak I care about you or was I stand offish and couldn’t be bothered?
Was I first to the room when an IV or bed alarm sounded or did I say ‘that’s not my patient and turn a deaf ear and go about my day?
Did I make myself available to my colleagues, to my patient or was I nowhere to be found during busy periods?
Did I take a moment to step outside and let the sun touch my skin, reminding me of why I wanted to be a nurse in the first place?
What would my stethoscope say?

My stethoscope would say,
I bring my joy and positive spirit with me each time I step on the unit.
It would say I strive to listen with open ears and see with both eyes.
It would say I try to be an asset to my unit and an instrument of excellent care.
It would say I utilize evidence based practices when answering patient questions and use simple languages.
It would say I work daily to be an advocate, a hand to hold, and an empathetic ear.
My stethoscope would say I am a nurse and I put my heart into everything I do.
I wear my stethoscope with pride.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Taking the Next Steps...Planned Succession

The career handoff: Intentional sharing of knowledge and wisdom
Chapter from The Career Handoff, an STTI book.
By Kathy Malloch and Tim Porter-O'Grady
This chapter from The Career Handoff: A Healthcare Leader's Guide to Knowledge & Wisdom Transfer Across Generations examines the critical components of successful communication, transition, handing off, and succession planning in the healthcare profession.
 


“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”
–Benjamin Franklin
The Career Handoff, an STTI bookEvery year, Tim and I schedule time for a retreat to plan what we are going to focus on in the next year. We select a special place where we can both think and play and do something special. At our latest retreat at the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa in California, we found ourselves wondering how many more revisions of our work we could do—and how much longer our ideas and strategies would be relevant for healthcare organizations. And then came the even tougher question: What would happen to our textbooks? Would Quantum Leadership just sail into the sunset? We humbly wanted the information that would be meaningful to future generations not to be lost; we did not want future generations to rediscover what we had already identified and shared. These questions got us to think about how to hand off our successful ideas to younger colleagues and selectively discard that which is no longer relevant. From that conversation, we began to strategize and learn about how to hand off knowledge and wisdom to younger generations, and this book is a result of those ideas.
 
We realized from our consulting practices that highly successful professionals are often reluctant to consider retirement, and many people avoid the thought of moving away from active engagement with colleagues in sharing knowledge and wisdom. It is even more challenging to figure out how to hand off or give one’s intellectual property to another colleague. As an unprecedented number of baby boomers move closer to retirement, there is much to share with succeeding generations. There is also some content or intellectual property that might not be applicable in future generations. We believe a formalized process for sharing and designating intellectual property and products would be helpful to not only our baby boomer colleagues but also to other generations of colleagues.
 
The Need for Generational Sharing
Our professional consulting focus has been on the importance of leadership and in helping others to learn as much as possible about leadership—to embrace new ideas to become the most successful leaders possible. Our belief has always been that everyone is a leader, regardless of whether they have a formal leadership title. Whenever two individuals are together, one person begins the dialogue or movement in the simplest way, and leadership is evident. Each one of us has some special knowledge and expertise that future generations should or might want. Creating a culture as well as validating the science that assists others in handing off and nourishing our colleagues with our wisdom is important to both of us. Cultivating a culture of giving to others with minimal expectations of receiving something in return will allow future generations to grow and move on with what is vital to them. Our focus has shifted from figuring out what to give and how to instruct them to “love our stuff” to identifying interested colleagues and turning our work over to them to sort out and retain what is deemed valuable. It is also time for us to get out of the way of future leaders and shift from driving the boat to creating a safe space for others learning how to manage the boat’s journey!
 
Soon after our retreat, I was invited to keynote a leadership summit group; my focus was on this topic of generational sharing. Participants at this meeting included successful professionals from three generations, including chief executive officers, nurse executives, consultants, real estate executives, and physicians. As part of the keynote, I presented the plan Tim and I developed to hand off two of our books (see the feature that follows) and the discussion began to flow. Participants were highly interested in learning more and becoming involved in advancing the science of both giving and receiving intellectual property and the wisdom of ages.
 

Reflecting on these ideas, we created a book proposal with the interested retreat participants. We now had a team of wisdom experts to join us on this journey and, most importantly, the authors represented three generations of interested professionals. We realized quickly that the importance of sharing generational wisdom was significant and that there was much interest from younger generations in learning more about our work and how to keep the useful knowledge alive and contemporary. Rather than seeing ourselves as the fading generation, it is time to see ourselves as a generation who now has much to share with the younger generations! We believe we created a talented team of wisdom managers to assist in this work.
Further dialogue with the contributing authors provided clarification and enhancement of our ideas and solidified the importance of documenting and sharing generational wisdom, successes, and strategies that we would not repeat. We believe formalizing this process and providing guidelines for colleagues will be an important contribution to professional nursing practice. Each one of our authors has included specific discussion on what the handoff is, some practical tips for sharing knowledge, and exemplars to demonstrate personal experiences (and, of course, some irreverent humor; we all need to laugh and enjoy the nuances of our journey!).
This book reflects our commitment to professional coaching, mentoring, and assuring that our young nurses are not chewed up by the system but are supported proactively. Mentoring is a vital professional behavior and an ethical obligation to our profession; we need to nourish our young rather than engage in the proverbial “eating our young.” In the next section, we share our personal and scholarly connections to the art and science of mentoring.
Life Journey: Membership in the Profession
Transitions and transformations are a fundamental part of the journey of life. Naturally, as we age and grow, we gather information, skill, insight, and wisdom that accumulate and aggregate in a way that becomes a part of our characters and personalities. As professionals, one of the most important considerations is the responsibility that membership in the nursing profession brings. Who we are and what we are become a part of our professional identity such that our person and profession become one and the same thing (Malloch & Porter-O’Grady, 2010). As we journey through our careers and our lives and are recognized as professional nurses, we essentially become the “person of the nurse.” As professionals, we integrate our work, our relationships, and our individual persona in a way that creates the frame for who we are and provides the substance of the image we present to the world. Consider a notice you might see in a newspaper about the appointment of a position to an administrative or public role—the writer acknowledges the relationship between the person and profession by identifying the particular individual as a “physician.” However, when a nurse is appointed in a similar fashion to an administrative or public role, he or she will more frequently be identified as a “former nurse.” For the physician the identity is singular; for the nurse the same identity is dual (a nurse is a job different from the administrative or public role and, therefore, cannot be identified in singular terms).
“I am not a teacher, but an awakener.”
–Robert Frost
One of the joys of this life journey is the increased knowledge, insight, and skill we develop as we aggregate experiences and learning relationships. If we have had an open attitude in all these arenas, we have been available to the opportunities to deepen our insights and understandings and broaden our awareness in a way that helps us develop expertise that advances our talent as professionals. One of the urges this dynamic generates is the desire to share and to extend these insights and talents in a way that benefits others who are also eager for learning and personal development. This desire to share knowledge and skill is an outgrowth of our own openness and availability to learning and personal development. Those individuals who understand this dynamic also recognize that embedded in it is the give-and-take reflected in the interaction of all who share a commitment to growing, learning, and deepening their knowledge and understanding.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Poetry by Nurse Monique A. Shaw



Molestation, a sad plight
It's not enough to keep me up at night.

Projects, shelters, even evictions
Is that enough to make me lose my conviction?

The witness of a horrible stabbing,
Domestic abuse and a kidnapping.

She’s your mom! Yes, I know!
But the paperwork said she let me go!

All this before the age of ten
At what age will this tragedy end?

Brighter days must soon be near
Off to San Diego where the skies are clear.

Is it here that this will all end
Is my triumph about to begin?

No, not now I’ll have to wait
Let’s pile some more upon my plate.

ADDICTION! Why mom? Why did you choose
Drugs will surely make you lose.

Our home, our friends, our money, our things
You smoked them, you snorted and shot them up.

Walking the Downtown streets late at night
Nowhere to go, we spot a light.

Is that a sign? A vacancy?
Yale Hotel on F Street, our new home to be.

It is here where friends become family
And, of course, more tragedy.


NO! STOP IT! IT ISN'T SO! MY MOM DOES NOT HAVE HIV!
STOP TALKING! I'M NOT LISTENING! STOP LYING TO ME!

Off we move and leave our friends
The family that stays with me through thick and thin.

Now, In-Home Nurses and medication
I’m only in Junior High School, I need a vacation.

The drugs, they’re just too strong
She can’t let go and continues to succumb.

Now three little letters turn into four
AIDS came tapping at my mother’s door.

DEATH! Two times in a one year span
First dad now mom, it’s too much man!

Junior High, High School and College is the future for me
Constantly holding a 3.0 to a 3.33.

Life has many twists and turns and crooked paths
As we often learn.

Love provides an interruption
But abandoning college was never my solution.

Marriage at age twenty and a new place to call home
Military life in Illinois is where I'll roam.

Also Virginia and Mississippi
The love is now gone, there’s nothing here for me.

Back to San Diego from where I came.
Time to pack up and start again.

Now a single mother, I must go back to school
Go back to the path which I always knew was cool.


A Medical Assistant I’ll quickly become
To make decent money to try and move on.

Child, work and school that’s my daily routine
Working hard to fulfill my lifelong dream.


Along comes the news I’ve patiently waited for
Two long years or maybe more.

Monique, you’ve made it, your name has come up
Are you ready for Nursing School? Of course, there’s a but.

But I’m pregnant with another child, over ten years later.
Its OK, we’ll see you next year but not any greater.

The year came and went quick as a flash
Nursing School is here, time to attend class.

The toughest two years I really must say
But I remember my past and what I endured many days.

I persevered and progressed and completed the program
And walked across the stage with my kids looking on.

And knew that although life sometimes seemed bleak
That this was the TRIUMPH I always did seek.

So you may ask, “Do you think this scholarship can help you live your dream?”

Yes in many ways, one can only imagine
Higher education is the goal and is my passion.

From RN to BSN this is now my desire
This scholarship will help me live my dreams and aspire.

Monique A. Shaw, R.N.
 Monique is a registered nurse in the Southern California area. She is currently working on her BSN while balancing the busy life of work and mom.


Monday, May 30, 2016

Celebrating Nurses with the Top 10 Nurse Phrases

Top 10 phrases that nurses say most





Shutterstock | racorn
Shutterstock | racorn
We’ve conducted the World’s Most Unscientific Survey! It’s amazing: Our methodology was completely arbitrary. Little, if any, effort went into ensuring rigid scientific standards were observed. In fact, we thought, “Hmmm…isn’t there supposed to be a control group for this type of thing?”
No matter!
We’ve talked to approximately 37,034,686 nurses, give or take a few million, and we asked them: What is the single phrase you say most during the day? Now, some of the nurses gave us practical, useful answers, and we didn’t like those, so we threw those right out, as clear outliers.
Examining the remaining answers (approximately 65,023), we discovered that the following phrases cross nurses’ lips more frequently than any others:
10. “No problem! I’d be happy to change your TV station again. What else would I do with all of my free time?”
9. “Sorry, your insurance doesn’t cover the good Tylenol.”
8. “You won’t feel a thing.”
7. “You’ll have to ask your doctor that. And after he answers, could you clue me in?”
6. “This won’t hurt a bit. Trust me, all the times I’ve attended this procedure, I’ve never felt a thing!”
5. “Ring that call bell one more time and just see what happens.” (Generally not said very loudly.)
4. “No, I will not give you a sponge bath.”
3. “And how do you wipe your butt at home?”
2. “You’re going to feel a little prick…unless you don’t settle down, in which case it’s square needle time…those suckers hurt!”
And number one, always said with a big smile:
1. “I’m sorry to wake you, Doctor…”

Monday, May 23, 2016

Celebrating Nurses with a Little Bit of Poetry



IF MY STETHOSCOPE COULD TALK
by Kimberley Ensor, MSN, RN
If my stethoscope could talk what would it say about me today?
Would it say that I rushed through my assessment so I could scope out a place at the nurses’ station?
Would it say that I was thorough or going through the motions?
Did I just kill time until break? Lunch? End of my shift?
What would my stethoscope say?

If my stethoscope could talk how would my listening skills be evaluated?
Did I actually hear my patient?  When medications were refused or when the patient expressed they had enough, would I actually listen?
As my stethoscope moved across their body, did I notice a change that needed to be addressed in the plan of care or did I just do business as usual?
Was I listening to my patient and their family members’ concerns or did I just perform lip service as from a script.
What would my stethoscope say?

If my stethoscope could talk would it say that I had my eyes open as I took care of my patient?
Did I completely understand the physician’s orders?  When my patient addressed me did I provide eye contact or was I too busy looking at monitors and equipment?
Did I notice something and speak up as an advocate for my patient or did I leave it for the next shift to handle?
What would my stethoscope say?

If my stethoscope could talk would it say I half-heartedly gave education and explanations about medications?
Would what I speak actually come from a desire to be a help to my patient or just to look good as an authority figure?
Did I form my words to be culturally sensitive or did I disregard my patient’s views, beliefs and preferences?
When I spoke to colleagues or interacted with the multi-disciplinary staff was I a source of encouragement.
Did I include my unit assistants in the plan of care for the patient?  Did I recognize my charge nurse as a valuable resource?  Did I appreciate my unit clerk for their invaluable help?
What would my stethoscope say?

If my stethoscope could talk, would it say that I am an example of patient centered care?
Did my care come from my passion to be a nurse or am I just hanging around for a paycheck?
Did my body language speak I care about you or was I stand offish and couldn’t be bothered?
Was I first to the room when an IV or bed alarm sounded or did I say ‘that’s not my patient and turn a deaf ear and go about my day?
Did I make myself available to my colleagues, to my patient or was I nowhere to be found during busy periods?
Did I take a moment to step outside and let the sun touch my skin, reminding me of why I wanted to be a nurse in the first place?
What would my stethoscope say?

My stethoscope would say,
I bring my joy and positive spirit with me each time I step on the unit.
It would say I strive to listen with open ears and see with both eyes.
It would say I try to be an asset to my unit and an instrument of excellent care.
It would say I utilize evidence based practices when answering patient questions and use simple languages.
It would say I work daily to be an advocate, a hand to hold, and an empathetic ear.
My stethoscope would say I am a nurse and I put my heart into everything I do.
I wear my stethoscope with pride.