Category: Nursing Staff Management


Get Your Facility Ready for Nurses Week 2014!

Celebrate Get Your Facility Ready for Nurses Week 2014!

Get your facility ready now to celebrate Nurses Week, May 6-12, 2014!

Spring is a-popping and that means National Nurses Week will be here before we know it.

Nurses Week runs May 6-12 each year, ending on Florence Nightingale’s birthday. The annual week-long celebration is a fantastic opportunity to show your staff how much you value your Nurses.

A little recognition in one form or another goes a long way towards making these tireless, indispensable healthcare professionals feel special and valued within your facility.

This year the American Nurses Association is offering a really neat Nurses Week 2014 Toolkit. The goal is for the kit to act as a resource “that provides you with additional ways to recognize your nursing staff’s professional skills and abilities.”

If your facility wants to celebrate Nurses Week 2014, it’s a good idea to get a plan together now to outline that celebration, and the ANA’s Toolkit can help.  

Of course, staffing professionals and hospital administrators are very busy people, but taking the effort to recognize Nurses Week and the important contributions of your Nurse staff will make them happy and encourage a happy working environment for all. Not only is it good for your people, it’s good for your facility.  

Happy early Nurses Week!    

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Infographic Details Jobs and the Nursing Shortage

As a member of hospital community, you know how important it is to maintain optimum staffing levels. It’s important to healthcare workers, staff, administration, and, of course, patients.

As time passes, the nursing shortage will continue to have a major impact on staffing levels at healthcare facilities. But what exactly is the trajectory of the shortage? And what are the factors that are influencing it?

Medical Solutions recently released an infographic titled, “Nursing Shortage: Then Why Can’t I Find a Job?” The infographic is primarily aimed at Travel Nurses, but we wanted to share it here on the Healthcare Staffing Blog as well, since it highlights some important trends and causes of the nursing shortage.

Understanding when and why the nursing shortage is expected to peak can help your facility know what to expect, staff appropriately, and continue delivering excellent patient care.      


Nursing Shortage Infographic 2014 Infographic Details Jobs and the Nursing Shortage

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Nursing Shortage Increases

Survey Results Nursing Shortage Increases

Survey Says: Nursing Shortage Continues to Increase

AMN Healthcare Inc. recently released its 2013 Clinical Workforce Survey — “A National Survey of Hospital Executives Examining Clinical Workforce Issue in the Era of Health Reform.” The results indicate a continued trend in the direction of a nursing shortage, an issue that Travel Nurses help address. The indication was that the vacancy rate for nurses at hospitals is at 17 percent, much higher than when this data was collected in 2009.

AMN president and chief executive officer Susan Salka spoke recently with Healthcare Traveler magazine about the survey.   

“Change in healthcare is a continuous evolution, but the one constant is people,” she told Healthcare Traveler. “No matter what models of care are in place, it takes physicians, nurses, and other clinicians to provide quality patient care, and the fact is we simply do not have enough of them.”

According to the article, “More than 70 percent (of hospital executives and leaders surveyed) rated the staffing of nurses, nurse practitioners, physicians, and physician assistants as a high priority in 2013, compared to only 24 percent of hospital executives who rated staffing these professionals as a high priority in AMN Healthcare’s 2009 workforce survey.”

The survey also said that the hospital vacancy rates of clinical professionals had risen since 2009. In 2009 nurse vacancies were reported at 5.5 percent, whereas in 2013 they were reported as having risen to 17 percent. The allied professional vacancy rate rose from 4.6 percent in 2009 to 13.3 percent in 2013.   

Salka also told Healthcare Traveler magazine: “We are expanding access to healthcare and restructuring the delivery system to improve quality and reduce costs at the precise moment when a wave of physicians and nurses is set to retire. It will take new, collaborative, and innovative staffing models to ensure our workforce is aligned with the goals we all want to reach.”   

Travel Nursing will certainly continue to be a huge part of easing the nursing shortage and helping facilities continue to provide excellent patient care. Click here to check out the Travel Nursing services Medical Solutions offers to many facilities across the nation. 

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Lawsuit Alleges Ohio Nurse Was “Worked to Death”

Beth Jaspers 2 Lawsuit Alleges Ohio Nurse Was “Worked to Death”

Beth Jaspers’ husband alleges her death was a result of hospital understaffing.

The husband of a deceased Cincinnati, Ohio nurse says that she died due to major and irresponsible staffing cuts at her hospital. Beth Jaspers died in a one-car accident when she lost control of her SUV, flew off of Ohio’s Route 50, crashed into a tree, and died at the scene. The accident took place in the early morning hours as she attempted to return home after a 12-hour shift.

Jim Jasper’s lawsuit names Jewish Hospital and its parent company Mercy Health Partners as defendants in the suit which alleges that they willfully and knowingly worked Beth Jaspers to death by accounting for staffing cuts by making the remaining nurses work longer hours than expected in order to cover the hospital’s needs.

The wrongful death lawsuit alleges that the hospital was “regularly understaffed” and had been since 2011. Due to the understaffing nurses would regularly be called in to work while off-duty, work through meal breaks and often without bathroom breaks, pick up additional shifts, and be asked to work longer hours than scheduled.

The hospital would not comment, referencing pending litigation, except to say, “Our hearts go out to the family.”  

The lawsuit states that during her last shift Beth Jaspers told co-workers that she was “really stressed” and “hadn’t eaten,” and that this fatigue caused by chronic hospital understaffing contributed to her death. It also alleges that Beth Jaspers’ supervisor was well aware of how hard she’d been being worked, even reporting to her superiors that Beth was being “worked to death.” Despite this, no action was taken by the hospital to deal with the nurse burnout caused by understaffing.           

“Something needs to change, these nurses cannot be treated this way. The patient care is an issue, but they can’t continue to work these nurses and expect them to pick up the slack because they don’t want to staff the hospitals,” Jim Jasper told a CNN affiliate.

Bonnie Castillo, government relations director with National Nurses United, told CNN that habitual hospital understaffing is a huge issue at many hospitals throughout the U.S.

“It is probably the single biggest issue facing nurses nowadays, and it’s not only affecting nurses, but patient health as well,” said Castillo.     

Nurse burnout is certainly a major issue, and it’s truly tragic when a situation like Beth Jaspers’ death occurs. Travel Nurses are one way to fend off the ill effects of nurse burnout. What steps does your facility take in order to combat nurse burnout? 

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Laws Mandating Nurse Staffing

Nurse Glasses Laws Mandating Nurse StaffingA bill currently going through the paces in the New York state legislature would put in place laws mandating nurse staffing that would require specific staffing ratios.

According to an Associated Press article, it seems that the debate over the bill is causing a bit of a split between nurses and hospitals.

The New York State Nurses Association backs the bill saying that “members at 57 unionized hospitals last year filed 19,292 separate protests of staffing assignments they considered unsafe.” Those in favor of laws mandating nurse staffing believe that requiring one nurse for every two ICU patients and 1-to-4 ratios in medical-surgical units will improve patient experience and care while decreasing deaths and re-admissions. Proponents also believe complaints will plummet and that hospitals will be just fine financially.

On the other hand, New York’s hospitals are against the bill saying it would hinder their ability to be flexible with staff scheduling and that it would cost facilities and nursing homes approximately $3 billion annually. Many facilities believe they can self-police and move staff around as needed to maintain quality patient care. This camp believes service will actually suffer as a result of such legislation because due to the anticipated financial stress services will actually suffer too.

If the bill is successful it would be the second such set of laws mandating nurse staffing. In 1999 California passed legislation setting mandatory nurse staff ratios — although the laws were not implemented until 2004. Both opponents and advocates of the bill use California’s experience to defend their position.

The AP article cites a 2002 study from the Journal of American Medical Association which found that “hospitals with high patient-to-nurse ratios had higher death rates among surgical patients and nursing staff more likely to experience burnout. The study of more than 10,000 nurses and 230,000 patients found that with each additional patient assigned to a nurse, the likelihood of dying within 30 days after admission rose 7 percent.”

But, as Brian Conway, of the Greater New York Hospital Association told the AP the bill would actually work against its own goals costing money, draining resources, and resulting in less support staff.

How do you think laws mandating nurse staffing in your state would affect patient care and finances/resources in your facility?


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Nurse Staffing Policies

Thumbs Up Clock Guy Nurse Staffing PoliciesRefining your facility’s nurse staffing policies can have a resounding positive effect. With strategic staffing policies you have the benefit of happier nurses (less burnout and turnover!) and as a result the ability to achieve a healthier financial bottom line. A big trend in business is companies establishing better use of their resources, something the healthcare industry can greatly benefit from as well.

A recent article, “Revamp Nurse Staffing Policies and Cut Costs,” published at Health Leaders Media, discusses some of the key benefits of re-evaluating your nurse staffing policies and also details some of the helpful changes put into place by the WellStar Health System, which is based in Marietta, Georgia.

The crux of the changes made at WellStar had to do with making sure nurses were working their full set of hours but not regularly exceeding them. Some nurses were cutting shifts short and others were routinely working too many hours. An hour shaved off of a shift here and there can really eat into costs as well as throw the rest of the staff’s rhythm. And on the other hand, of course, nurses working too much overtime can lead directly to burnout. In the words of Goldilocks, they wanted the hours to be juuuuust right — no more, no less. Achieving this balance is instrumental to staff satisfaction.

As discussed in the article, many facilities have begun using scheduling software, which allows administrators to drill down and really get a clear picture of their staffing realities, in order to determine strong and weak areas, what’s working, what’s not, and most importantly why. Once that’s clear, streamlining policies, standardizing shift times, and holding staff accountable can have a big impact when it comes to cutting costs. Communicating any changes in nurse staffing policies to your staff in a direct and positive way is key to making the changes stick and achieving your objective of a happy, efficient, cost-effective workforce.


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Preventing Nurse Burnout in Your Hospital – Free 7 Step Guide

nurseburnoutcover3 300x133 Preventing Nurse Burnout in Your Hospital   Free 7 Step GuideNurse burnout is a serious and growing problem for health facilities. Lack of staff means longer hours and stress for your nurses, which can severely affect patient care.

At Medical Solutions, we know what a hardship this can be and have created a guide to help and prevent nurse burnout in your facility. Discover the 7 visible signs your nurses may be suffering from burnout and how to prevent it at your hospital.

Visit Preventing Nurse Burnout in Your Hospital to download the free guide.



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Nurse Burnout Contributes to Increase in Patient Infection

istock 000001005153xsmall1 Nurse Burnout Contributes to Increase in Patient InfectionNurse burnout has been a long running concern for nurses’ well being.  Recent studies show that burnout not only effects nurses, but also the number of infections in the patients they are caring for.

The American Journal of Infection Control recently conducted a study recording the relationship between nurse burnout and patient infection. Here are the study’s results:

  • For every 10 % increase in the patient to nurse ratio, there is roughly one catheter associated urinary tract infection per 1,000 patients and almost 2 extra surgical site infections per 1,000 patients.
  • Nurses usually care for an average of 5.7 patients per nurse, when one extra patient was added the result was an additional 1,352 infections with the hospital population studied.
  • Reducing reports of burnout by 30 percent cut urinary tract infections by more than 4,000 and surgical site infections by more than 2,200, saving between $28 million and $69 million per year in estimated costs to treat those infections.

Nurse burnout not only affects the well being of the nursing staff, but the health of the patient. The study concludes that reducing nurse burnout reduces infections and saves money.


NBC News


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How Travel Nurses Can Lower Pneumonia Rates in Your Hospital

Under staffing of nurses is a major concern because of the effects it can have on patient safety and quality of care. According to a US Department of Health EPC report, five studies were conducted to examine the relationship between adverse patient outcomes and hospital nurse staffing.

All five studies found at least some association between lower nurse staffing levels and one or more types of adverse patient outcomes. Some of the adverse effects on patients under nursing care included: urinary tract infections, pneumonia, shock, upper gastrointestinal bleeding, longer hospital stays, failure to rescue, and 30-day mortality. However, the studies found a significant correlation between lower nurse staffing levels and higher rates of pneumonia.

This study also found that a 10-percent increase in RN proportion was associated with a 9.5-percent decrease in the odds of pneumonia. While increasing your current nurses’ workload seems as easy way to remedy this situation, most hospitals are already maxing out nurse hours which lead to fatigue and more patient errors.  Adding at least one travel nurse to your facility staff could remedy the situation, without accruing additional costs and often times saving money. In fact,  travelers cost about the same and even less than a permanent staff member due to no vacation or sick time-off.


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Hospitals Exploring New Well-Being Programs

Most hospitals currently implement well-being programs for their staff. Recently, more and more have been expanded beyond the traditional health and wellness offerings and are now addressing mental and emotional health, financial health, work-life effectiveness and workplace environment and stress. With this new integration, many already see measureable and positive results which have impacted employee engagement, satisfaction, and productivity. You can read more on the subject here.

What types of well-being programs does your organization offer?

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