Healthcare Leaders’ Dilemma: Inter-relatedness of Nurses’ Self Care, Assertiveness, Optimal Patient Experiences & SAFE CARE!

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Healthcare leaders who promote assertiveness in nurses will be promoting patient safety in a big way!  It may be a little scarey though because all of these statements are assertive:

•     I need help with this admission.
•     Doctor Smith, that’s the wrong leg!
•     I am not going to talk about Sally behind her back.
•     I can’t work overtime tonight.
•     I don’t know how to use this new IV pump.
•     Stop talking to me with that tone now!

This 2 min YouTube:  One Nursing Minute:  “Yes” to Self Care is a quick way to get a glimpse into the stressful environments nurses often work in.  Can you imagine an hour of this kind of work stress and it’s impact on safety, morale, costs?  12 Hours?  Weeks, months, years?

CNOs and CEOs among other senior leaders must make tough decisions about resources and staffing while remaining financially solvent during relentless budget crunches and demands for positive patient experience ratings.  Teaching nurses to say “No” to overtime is the very same process required to teach them to say “Stop that IV, that patient has an allergy to penicillin”!
In the short term, healthcare leaders who teach and support assertiveness practice may fear letting go of floodgates of nurses who have frustrations about under-staffing, overtime demands, and/or workload expectations.
Yet, in the long term, a well-rested nurse, going at a pace s/he is comfortable with, who can respectfully set limits, speak up about concerns, and respect difference will go a long way to creating safe and positive workplaces.  Optimal patient experiences and ost-effectiveness will come with decreased wastes of time and resources, decreased mistakes, and improved morale.
No doubt a scarey leap of faith for leaders and I’d love to post stories of those who have taken the leap. 
Also, FYI there is a Nurse Coach Elizabeth Scala is offering a fantastic SELF CARE Teleseries for NURSE this october!  Rejuvenation Collaboration!  Why not invite nurses you know to participate.  Basic participation is FREE.  I’ll be presenting a workshop called:  “Communication & Emotional Intelligence:  Self Care Practices for Nurses!”  (And experimenting w/ some interactive stuff online.  I hope to learn from this experience and develop the workshop for more cost-effective teaching…hint hint….could be some great lunch n’ learn ops down the road!)
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2 Responses to Healthcare Leaders’ Dilemma: Inter-relatedness of Nurses’ Self Care, Assertiveness, Optimal Patient Experiences & SAFE CARE!

  1. I agree, Meg. We need to slow down and fix foundational things like ensure we have enough staff, training, time and supplies to do things right. I get worried when I read articles like this in NYT because it puts the emphasis on the wrong place… (link below) Reporting things is critical, YES, but we have to make sure HCPs can do things right first.
    Support us AND Report us seems a better mantra in terms of empowering patients and creating safe cultures. Honestly, I can’t imagine working for long in a facility where everything is scrutinized but little is supported. Well….I actually, I can imagine it!! 🙂
    http://www.facebook.com/MartineEhrenclou/posts/121806994634348?comment_id=138924&notif_t=comment_mention

  2. Meg says:

    I think healthcare is in the midst of huge changes because (simply) it isn’t working anymore. As many times as I have said this I’ll say it again: healthcare is not a business and doesn’t fit a model of “business”..but if business is its definition: to sell; purchase or sale of goods for a profit then we have (sadly) lost the meaning in today’s view of healthcare. Profiting at the expense of people’s health is beyond me.

    I realize that actual healthcare basically isn’t profitable in the true sense since it needs to be promoting health not fixing the illness. We put in new hearts; transplant livers or kidneys but we’ve lost the “war of drugs” and alcohol; we’ve stressed out the population; we’ve abandon kids; we’ve forgotten that these are the things that create the illnesses we now see. So healthcare is an oxymoron basically.

    I beieve we are seeing healthcare crumble before our very eys because it isn’t working; I can’t see people in 20 minutes 21 times a day and take care of their blood pressure; diabetes; fibromylagia; migraine headaches; std’s; obesity; abuse (I could go on) but everyone gets the picture here in order to satisfy some magical number a bean counter thinks will save the clinic; the hospital or whatever needs to be saved by seeing more and more patients a day.

    It is then no small wonder we as nurses (nurse practitioners) etc are so stressed out after a 12 hour shift. Really’ this is no longer a surprise is it?

What are your thoughts?