Monthly Archives: July 2012

Nurse burnout linked to lapses in patient care

U of Penn has completed and released a new study with the American Journal of Infection Control, linking nurse burnout to some common causes of lapses in patient care. Take from it what you want, but it does bring about issues that should be talked about, especially given the upcoming changes in healthcare.

A new study in the American Journal of Infection Control examines the problem and suggests that burnout drives some common lapses in patient care.
When workers are exhausted, their thinking and emotions detach from the workplace. Work suffers, says Rutgers University professor Jeannie Cimiotti. In a hospital, that means patient care suffers.
“I think it’s the simple things that are getting overlooked, and I think that hand hygiene is one of them,” said Cimiotti, executive director of the New Jersey Collaborating Center for Nursing.
Cimiotti and colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania linked burnout, lower staffing levels and higher rates of two health-care associated infections. Patients sometimes contract those costly and preventable infections when they are being treated for other conditions.
The study examines infection reports from 161 Pennsylvania hospitals and a survey of about 7,000 nurses.
Cimiotti said it costs hospitals very little to foster a supportive workplace for nurses. Those same steps, she says, can reduce hospital infections.
The researchers found that, on average, the nurses were caring for 5.7 patients.
“Maybe they are staffed a little bit above what they should, but if they [hospitals] can provide an organizational climate that’s conducive to nursing, I think they’d be fine,” Cimiotti said. “That doesn’t mean you can overburden them because workload is one of those factors that does contribute to burnout.”
Emergency room nurse Patricia Eakin is president of the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals, a union in Philadelphia.
“Most burnout is related to high workload,” Eakin said. “Patients nowadays need a whole lot of care. There’s a lot of equipment, a whole lot of fancy things. A lot of things that take a lot of time and a lot of attention.”
Eakin says inadequate staffing and burnout are tightly linked.
Her group supports two proposals that would set minimum nurse-to-patient ratios across Pennsylvania. Eakin says, right now, the legislation is stalled in Harrisburg.


Think Before You Drink Initiative puts in first Pregnancy Test Dispensers

I’ve always been a big supporter of the melding of technology and healthcare, and Healthy Brains for Children has taken it to a new level with their “Pregnancy Test Dispensers”. “Healthy Brains for Children seeks to locate pregnancy test dispensers in women’s restrooms in bars, gas stations, malls, fitness centers, etc. to target those at high risk for unexpecting pregnancies. The intent of the Pub 500 event was to plant an entrepreneurial seed and find partners in this initiative to put pregnancy tests worldwide in locations where women can test before drinking alcohol rather than waiting until a month or two into the pregnancy.” It will be curious to see if this takes off, but I will always applaud organizations thinking outside the box to try and serve people.

Thinking before tweeting

its what we’ve all heard, to think before speaking, and I think its time to modify it – think before tweeting, especially since in the internet age, once you put it out there, its always going to be there. According to a new social media study, “One-third of employers have disciplined employees for something they posted on a social networking site. 14 percent have tweeted or posted a status update about a work issue, 22 percent have shared something about a colleague, and 28 percent have posted photos of colleagues or business activities. ” And with a small number of companies actually having a social media policy, it seems some feel that there’s a free for all in terms of social media. Companies should be aware of this, and if you don’t have a social media policy, get one going. Being aware of what you say online seems like common knowledge, but with numbers like these, its something that needs to be said more often.