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professional

It all comes back to staffing

By | Advocacy, Blog, Kathleen Bartholomew, Nurse Politics, professional, Workplace Safety | No Comments

This is the second guest blog post in a series of blog posts by Kathleen Bartholomew, author of The Dauntless Nurse. Make sure you check out her first blog post, “How much weed is too much weed for Nurses?“.

It’s been 14 years since the Institute of Medicine recommended that nurses not work more than 12 hours within 24 hours.

It’s been 8 years since the Joint Commission issued a sentinel event alert based on the evidence that connected extended work hours, fatigue and decreased patient and worker safety.

It’s been 4 years since Elizabeth Jasper was killed driving home after a 12 hour shift and Editor-in-Chief Maureen Shawn Kennedy wrote an editorial in the AJN pointing out that “Best practices” should also cover the health and safety of those who practice.”

What’s changed? If you listen to the voices of thousands of nurses on the front line, the answer is “Nothing – in fact, it’s gotten worse”. What is staffing like where you work? And how do you normally cope with short staffing situations?
Negative repercussions can be very subtle. One example would be the manager telling you that she can’t approve your time off (when she/he had previously agreed.) It’s difficult, but important, to still act professionally in all of these situations and to find common ground. One nurse approached her manager and began the conversation by saying, “I know you care about the patients and nurses here as much as I do….”

Do you ever feel retaliated against for standing up for safe staffing? Here is a list of some things you can do because so often we feel hopeless and underestimate our power:
• Make a report to the Joint Commission patientsafetyreport@jointcommission.org
• Never skip a meal or break – call your manager or house supervisor to step in for you and then keep going up the chain of command. File a missed break/meal report.
• Don’t feel responsible for your organizations failure to hire an adequate number of nurses – travelers, temporary nurses and a float pool are options they know they have
• Advocate for a resource pool to your Board of Directors by using specific examples from your daily practice of how unsafe staffing effected both nurse and patient safety
• Contribute money to your state’s Nursing Political Action Committee
• Stay connected to your 675,000 peers in Show Me Your Stethoscope!

But remember, the day that the profession of nursing is respected will be when nurses have the power to decide for themselves how many nurses they need. And that day is long overdue.

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Spreading the Gospel of Ratios

By | Advocacy, Events, Healthcare Policy, Nursing, professional, Unity, Workplace Safety | 4 Comments
zdogg

ZDoggMD, representin’.

Huh. Who knew staffing ratios were a big deal?
Oh, right. WE DID.

Nurses everywhere have taken up the call—staffing ratios impact the care and safety of our patients, and keep the profession from burning out and getting hurt on the job. Even a certain Dogg knows it. (See Z-DoggMD’s AMA here.)

(ZdoggMD is on fleek in our Staffing Ratios Matter shirt. Get one here.)

We’re waking up and ready to destroy the current paradigm: doing more with less. SHENANIGANS, Y’ALL. All chronic understaffing has done is increase the rates of morbidity and mortality, and decreased professional satisfaction—which means fewer nurses stay at their jobs…which means fewer nurses are at work…which leads to more injury and infection. Instead of the Circle of Life, it’s the Spiral of Disaster.

Let’s tell our administrators, CEOs and legislators what we know to be true. Are we cool with staffing ratios that endanger patients, decimate the health care worker population and and ultimately increase cost of care? NOPE.

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Kelsey R. of yourheartismine.net. She knows what’s up!

Here’s what you can do:

  • Tell your health care friends, teachers and students about how unsafe staffing levels increase the number of adverse patient events, up to and including death
  • Also mention that it can increase the number of workplace injuries
  • Invite them to join us in Washington on May 12, 2016
  • Or, attend a state capitol event on the same day
  • Share this press release with your colleagues, coworkers and friends: http://smysofficial.com/advocacy/safe-staffing/
  • Get the Staffing Ratios Matter Shirt & rock that thang! It’s the Little Shirt that Could. It’s everywhere, and it’s back on sale. Order here.
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Let’s talk about stereotypes, and double standards. The ‘sexy nurse’

By | Nursing, professional, Unity | 6 Comments
4_cheerleaders-4

Sexy Nurse Basketball Cheerleaders.

We ran into a little double standard today on SMYS, and I would love to talk about it. A guy complained about a picture of barechested guys, identifying as nurses.

Ok, everyone knows I hate the sexy nurse thing.  I. Hate. It.  I try to swallow my feelings because others (non-nurses mostly) think I am very sensitive about it, and I do not like to force my beliefs on anyone.  I had to go on autopilot last Halloween.  The sexy nurse costumes actually cost this group hundreds and maybe thousands of good members, but I didn’t want to add another restriction to the list.

We were all in agreement about the sexy nurse toddler shirt, as it was pretty disgusting. Because making CHILDREN sex objects is just not ok on any level.

At the very beginning of the “Show Me Your Stethoscope” phenomenon, we lost perhaps MORE members than that because of the guy nurse ‘beefcake’ pictures.  There was a nurse who got so many likes on a barechested picture of himself that he imploded when I deleted it (because I felt it was marginalizing male nurses as sex objects, and him in particular).  He was horrified that I deleted his picture, because it got so much attention.  Quite honestly, I am sure he got a lot of attention in his real life, based on that picture. I had a hard time relating.  It is possible that I was insensitive.

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Washington DC Party with SMYS. Flo Approves.

But here is the thing…. There IS a ‘sexy nurse’ stereotype.  I have had patients and physicians mention it.  It is kind of icky.  I feel like it robs our profession of the respect we deserve.  The short vinyl skirt and nurse’s cap are insulting.  It is someone pretending to be a nurse and sexualizing the profession.  We go INSANE when someone impersonates a nurse, but we are not bothered at all when it is accompanied by sexualization? Weird.

A member who we will call R.B. recently posted a ‘shower’ picture showing his safe staffing bracelet.  I found it hysterical, but was that because he was a guy, or because only the back of his shoulder and his hair were visible?

So, is it ok to post barechested pictures of yourself in a healthcare group, identifying as a nurse? I don’t mean ‘is it morally ok?’ or ‘is it ok according to my religion?’ or ‘is it ok with me aesthetically?’.  I mean, is it ok for the profession? Does it perpetuate a stereotype? Does it marginalize nurses? Does your action actually impact the way nurses are seen by the general public?

I know, right? A lot to think about.  You thought you were just showing us the awesome muscles you got at the gym, folks! 🙂 Why is it ok to sexualize MEN in nursing, and not women?

Discuss. Halloween is coming around again.

 

Love,

Janie

 

 

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The Power of Nursing and Nurses – Sexualizing Children and the Profession

By | Nursing, professional | One Comment

Today, my very good friend Sarah brought something to my attention:

Yes, That is a TODDLER sexy nurse shirt. With CLEAVAGE

Yes, That is a TODDLER sexy nurse shirt. With CLEAVAGE

So, SMYS really hates sexualizing children.  We hate it a lot.  When I say we, I mean myself and the admin team.  And the members. And their coworkers, and their mailman, trash collector, gas meter reader, and probably complete strangers.  IJS. Sexualizing children is absolutely ridiculous.  We do not put t-shirts with cleavage on toddlers for the love of God.  It is never, ever ok to make little girls think that five years old is an appropriate time to be SEXY. It is also completely inappropriate to put a t-shirt with a degrading portrayal of nursing on ANYONE.  Child or not.

nb_badgereelAnd for that matter, we need to stop sexualizing traditionally female professions.  The Sexy Nurse, Librarian, Teacher, etc. need to DIE.  This is not cute. This is not sassy. This is disrespectful to all women, and disrespectful to all nurses.  Nurses are not prostitutes.  We are skilled professionals, and the largest healthcare population.  We do not have to put up with this demeaning stereotype.  The Dallas Mavericks basketball team had ‘naughty nurse’ cheerleaders.  Subway had a ‘naughty nurse’ Halloween commercial, There are countless examples on this page.  Why do we allow this to go on? We did not become nurses to ‘snag a doctor’ for a husband! We are part of a respected field, and we still laugh at nurses with their breasts hanging out; wearing PVC  white dresses and caps? We think this is somehow appropriate? Or are we just completely hardened to our profession being portrayed as bimbos?4_cheerleaders-4

This morning, the population of SMYS sent a twitter storm to Amazon, and asked them to remove this item.  And they did.  To give Amazon a break, they have a bazillion items for sale, and they probably do not look at most of them.  These things will not be removed unless we bring it to their attention.  However, you would think that ‘sexy’ and ‘toddler’ would not be able to appear in the same ad.  For real, Amazon?  Get a filter or something.

So, your voices made that happen.

So if we can do that, why don’t we do the same for other disgusting portrayals of our profession?

And if we can do that, why aren’t we fighting for safe staffing as a united profession?

Your voice might be small, but your profession is large, and our combined voice is powerful.

Use your voice.

 

Love,

 

Janie

 

 

 

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