The Career and Education Resource for the Minority Nursing Professional â€¢ SPRING 2019
Understanding Digital Recruitment Trends
Sexual Harassment by Patients COMBATING NURSE BURNOUT ENTREPRENEURIAL NURSES
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Table of Contents
In This Issue 3
Degrees of Success 32
An Unconventional Nursing Story
By Rachel Robins, BSN, RN
Cover Story 10 A Nurse’s Guide to Understanding Digital Recruitment Trends
By Jebra Turner
Robbie’s Four Rules of Professional Practice By Robbie Simon, RN, FNP-BC, MSN
34 Entrepreneurial Nurses: Market Conditions Strong for Your Own Case Management Practice
By Catherine M. Mullahy, RN, BS, CRRN, CCM
20 Sexual Harassment by Patients: What Every Nurse Needs to Know
By Michele Wojciechowski
Second Opinion 36
What is a Nurse, Exactly?
By Lynda Lampert, RN
Health Policy 38 Ushering in the 116th Congressional Session: Resources for Staying Informed and Engaged
By Janice M. Phillips, PhD, FAAN, RN
Minority Nurse | SPRING 2019
How to Combat Nurse Burnout By Denene Brox
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t’s easy for your resume to get buried in a digital sea of applications. If you are about to start a job hunt and want to increase your chance of getting hired, you need
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to stay on top of current recruiting trends. In this issue’s cover story, Jebra Turner walks you through everything from search engine optimization to crowdsourcing
to protecting your privacy online to help you present your best cyber self (page 10).
Once you’ve landed that dream job, consider following Robbie Simon’s four rules of professional practice to succeed in your new role. As a nurse practitioner with experience in everything from pediatrics to homeless shelters, she has learned a thing
CEO & Publisher Mary Gatsch Vice President & CFO Jeffrey Meltzer
MINORITY NURSE MAGAZINE Publisher Adam Etkin Editor-in-Chief Megan Larkin
or two about following your gut and standing up yourself. Learn how to do the same
Creative Director Mimi Flow
on page 16.
Production Manager Diana Osborne
Digital Media Manager Andrew Bennie
In the wake of the #MeToo movement, it should come to no surprise to learn that sexual harassment exists in the health care sector as well. Michele Wojciechowski
Minority Nurse National Sales Manager
interviews nurses who have been harassed by patients as well as legal experts to shed
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some light on just how prevalent it is and what you should do if it happens to you (page 20). Remember, you should never have to sacrifice your own safety and well-being while caring for others. Self-care is vital to a nurse’s success because without it even the most dedicated nurse can feel burned out and leave the profession. Denene Brox teaches you the warning signs of burnout and offers advice for developing resiliency skills to help your candle burn bright (page 26). Rachel Robins learned from personal experience just what happens when self-care takes a backseat (page 32). Yet rather than whimper in defeat, she sought help to control her anxiety and ultimately became the nurse she always wanted to be. And you can too—whether you’re pursuing entrepreneurial opportunities (page 34), seeking ways to get involved in the current political landscape (page 38), or maybe just trying
Minority Nurse Editorial Advisory Board Anabell Castro Thompson, MSN, APRN, ANP-C, FAAN President National Association of Hispanic Nurses Birthale Archie, DNP, BS, RN Faculty Davenport University Iluminada C. Jurado, MSN, RN, CNN Chair, Scholarship Committee Philippine Nurses Association of America Martha A. Dawson, DNP, RN, FACHE Assistant Professor, Family, Community & Health Systems University of Alabama at Birmingham Wallena Gould, CRNA, EdD, FAAN Founder and Chair Diversity in Nurse Anesthesia Mentorship Program
to figure out who you are (page 36). Don’t let others define you. Now is the time to share your story!
Romeatrius Nicole Moss, RN, MSN, APHN-BC, DNP Founder and President Black Nurses Rock
Varsha Singh, RN, MSN, APN PR Chair National Association of Indian Nurses of America Debra A. Toney, PhD, RN, FAAN Director of Quality Management Nevada Health Centers
Minority Nurse (ISSN: 1076-7223) is published four times per year by Springer Publishing Company, LLC, New York. Articles and columns published in Minority Nurse represent the viewpoints of the authors and not necessarily those of the editorial staff. The publisher is not responsible for unsolicited manuscripts or other materials. This publication is designed to provide accurate information in regard to its subject matter. It is distributed with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering legal or other professional services. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional person should be sought. The publisher does not control and is not responsible for the content of advertising material in this publication, nor for the recruitment or employment practices of the employers placing advertisements herein. Throughout this issue we use trademarked names. Instead of using a trademark symbol with each occurrence, we state that we are using the names in an editorial fashion to the benefit of the trademark owner, with no intention of infringement of the trademark. Minority Nurse ® is a registered trademark of Springer Publishing Company, LLC.
Eric J. Williams, DNP, RN, CNE, FAAN President National Black Nurses Association
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Lifestyle Intervention Helped Breast Cancer Survivors Lose Weight, and Was Associated with Higher Disease-Free Survival Rates
Survivors of early-stage breast cancer who participated in a lifestyle intervention on healthy habits lost weight and experienced higher rates of disease-free survival if they completed the program, according to results presented at the 2018 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, held December 4–8.
vidence has shown that obesity and low physical activity are associated with higher risks of developing breast cancer, as well as an increased risk of recurrence and reduced survival,” says the study’s lead author, Wolfgang Janni, MD, chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Ulm in Germany. “Many breast cancer survivors would like to contribute actively to improving their
prognosis, and guiding them on lifestyle factors that can help them control weight is one possible way to positively impact patient outcomes,” he continued. Janni and colleagues studied a telephone-based lifestyle intervention as part of a larger Phase III study, the SUCCESS C study, which compared disease-free survival in patients with HER2-negative early-stage breast cancer who were treated with one of two chemotherapy regimens. In the lifestyle intervention
part of the study, researchers enrolled 2,292 of the 3,643 women who were already participating in the SUCCESS C trial. All had a body mass index of 24 or higher. The women were randomly assigned to receive either telephonebased, individualized guidance aimed at helping them achieve moderate weight loss for two years, or general recommendations for a healthy lifestyle alone. Those who received the telephone calls were given advice on how to improve their diets, lower fat intake, increase physical activity, and other tips that were geared to their specific needs. At the end of the two-year follow-up period, patients in the lifestyle intervention arm had lost an average of 1.0 kilogram (2.2 pounds), while the patients in the control group had gained an average of 0.95 kilograms. In the intention to treat analysis, there was no difference in survival between patients who were assigned to the lifestyle intervention compared to the standard arm. Overall, 1,477 patients completed the lifestyle intervention. Those who completed the program had a 35% higher rate of disease-free survival than those who began the program but did not complete it. Among those who completed the program, those who received the lifestyle intervention were about 50% more likely to have diseasefree survival than those who received the general recommendations. The improved
outlook was similar in both univariable analysis and when the researchers controlled for factors such as age, menopausal status, tumor size, hormone receptor status, and chemotherapy type. Janni says that while the exploratory analysis should be interpreted with caution, this study indicates that completion of a systematic telephone lifestyle intervention program may positively affect outcomes for patients diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer. “Lifestyle intervention might improve the prognosis of breast cancer patients if adherence is high,” Janni says. “This was a highly feasible program to design and implement, and further studies are warranted to confirm its effectiveness.” He says future research could include additional subgroup analysis and could examine whether the improved outlook for diseasefree survival also correlates with certain biomarkers. Janni cautions that the most significant factors affecting disease-free survival are tumor stage and tumor biology. He says a limitation of this study is that the patients who chose to complete the lifestyle intervention may have already been more motivated to improve their fitness. For more information, visit www.aacr.org.
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Some Gut Cells Slow Down Metabolism, Accelerate Cardiovascular Disease Researchers have discovered how specific cells in the guts of mice slow down metabolism and eventually contribute to obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and atherosclerosis. The findings, scientists say, could have important implications for the prevention and treatment of these kinds of metabolic diseases in humans. The study was funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), part of the National Institutes of Health and appears in the journal Nature.
ith this res e a rc h w e are connecting the dots between gut metabolic food sensors and cardiovascular disease; and might open new therapeutic avenues to treat patients with a host of related conditions,” says Michelle Olive, PhD, program officer at the NHLBI Division of Cardiovascular Sciences. The cells are called intraepithelial T lymphocytes (or natural IELs), and when they are not present, researchers discovered, the metabolism of mice goes into overdrive. “The mice become metabolically hyperactive and, even when consuming a diet very high in fat and sugar, are able to resist metabolic diseases such as obesity, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, diabetes, and atherosclerosis,” says the study’s lead researcher Filip Swirski, PhD, an associate professor at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston. When natural IELs are pres-
Minority Nurse | SPRING 2019
ent, however, the researchers found that they limit the availability of a type of hormones, incretin GLP-1, that help speed up metabolism. By limiting GLP-1, the natural IELs, in effect, slow down the body’s metabolism and conserve the energy it gets from food. Over millions of years of evolution, this efficient use of energy provided an essential advantage: when food was scarce, organisms stored rather than burn some of the ingested energy, and they survived longer. “Now with food so abundant, this energy-saving mechanism can backfire and lead to unhealthy outcomes,” explains Swirski. Swirski’s research could eventually shed light on how to prevent and treat cardiovascular disease and other related ailments in humans. The first step is to determine the number and variations of natural IELs in people, then answer key questions. Do individuals with low numbers
of IELs get protected against cardiovascular disease? Could blocking IELs reduce their risks? “Looking forward, we need to better understand IELs function in metabolism,” says Swirski. “We also need to know whether therapeutic targeting of IELs in humans can be a treatment for obe-
sity, hypercholesterolemia, diabetes, and hypertension.” For more information, visit www.nhlbi.nih.gov.
New Data Show Growing Complexity of Drug Overdose Deaths in America U.S. overdose death rates linked to synthetic opioids, likely from illicitly manufactured fentanyl (IMF), increased more than 45% from 2016 to 2017 while death rates from heroin and prescription opioids—still far too high—remained stable.
he findings come from an in-depth CDC analysis of the latest available drug overdose death data and expands upon data released in November by the National Center for Health Statistics. The report, published online December 21, 2018, in an early release
deaths in 2017. Of the 35 jurisdictions reporting data sufficient for analysis, 23 states and the District of Columbia saw increased rates of death linked to synthetic opioids. IMF likely drove the 1.5-fold increase in deaths involving synthetic opioids from 2016 to 2017.
from CDC’s MMWR, analyzes the growing number of U.S. drug overdose deaths from 2013 to 2017, and by demographic and geographic characteristics from 2016 to 2017. More than 702,000 Americans have died from drug overdoses from 1999 to 2017—about 10% of them in 2017 alone. “The drug overdose epidemic continues to evolve, with the involvement of many types of drugs including opioids, cocaine, and psychostimulants,” says Debra Houry, MD, MPH, director of CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. “This underscores the urgency for more timely and localized data to inform public health and public safety action.”
Previously, deaths involving synthetic opioids mainly occurred east of the Mississippi River. The latest available data now show eight states west of the Mississippi had significant increases in such deaths: Arizona, California, Colorado, Minnesota, Missouri, Oregon, Texas, and Washington. While overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids expanded, heroin- and prescription-opioid-involved deaths remained stable from 2016 to 2017. However, overdose death rates involving heroin and prescription opioids were, respectively, seven and four times higher in 2017 than in 1999. Some preliminary indicators in 2018 point to possible improvements based on provisional data; confirmation will depend on final 2018 data and results of pending medical investigations.
Synthetic Opioid Deaths Expanded in 2017 Opioids were involved in over two-thirds of overdose
The Drug Overdose Epidemic Grew and Evolved in 2017 There were more than 70,000 drug overdose deaths in 2017, with a rate of 21.7 per 100,000 population. The rate increased by nearly 10% from 2016. The rates of overdose deaths involving cocaine increased by more than 34%. The rate of overdose deaths involving psychostimulants increased by more than 33%. Opioid death rates differed across the states examined in this study, with the highest relative increases occurring in North Carolina, Ohio, and Maine. From 2016 to 2017, opioid-involved deaths: • Increased for both sexes. • Increased among all people in all age groups over the age of 25. • Increased among white, black, and Hispanic people. • Had the largest absolute death rate increase in males 25-44. • The largest percent change increases in opioid-involved death rates were among blacks (25.2%) and adults over age 65 (17.2%).
What is Being Done? A whole government approach is being led by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to prevent and respond to drug overdoses, specifically those involving opioids. The HHS five-point strategy provides: better treatment, better data,
better research, increased access to naloxone, and better pain management. Within HHS, CDC conducts surveillance and research; builds state, local, and tribal capacity for prevention; supports providers, health systems, and payers; partners with public safety; and empowers consumers to make safe choices. “Drug overdose and opioidinvolved deaths are a critical public health issue. It is important for CDC to share these data so states and communities have the information needed to inform their prevention activities and better respond,” says the report’s lead author and epidemiologist Lawrence Scholl, PhD, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. CDC is working with states across the country through the Enhanced State Opioid Overdose Surveillance (ESOOS) program to develop a multifaceted approach for faster and more comprehensive surveillance to track emerging threats in order to prevent and respond to the epidemic. The December report also reinforces the continued need for response strategies including increasing naloxone availability, educating patients and providers about safe prescribing practices, reducing the syndemic of infectious diseases and opioid overdoses, providing patients with linkage into treatment, and fostering greater collaboration between public health and public safety.
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A Nurseâ€™s Guide to Understanding Digital Recruitment Trends BY JEBRA TURNER
Minority Nurse | SPRING 2019
ore and more health care organizations are using big data, predictive analysis, and data metrics to streamline the process of recruiting nursing talent. Over one-third of human resources departments rely on analytics to manage staffing, according to the 2017 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends report. That trend has exploded over the last few years, as organizations lean on technology in earnest. For example, approximately 95% of hospitals use
an applicant tracking system (ATS), which is like a gigantic digital filing cabinet full of resumes, according to industry experts. Big data (or people data) may sound intimidating to nurses who aren’t tech savvy, but the information that they refer to is often quite simple. “Facebook, Google, the U.S. government—even my own tiny website has its own big data,” says Brittney Wilson, BSN, RN, an informatics expert based in Nashville, Tennessee who owns the popular
blog The Nerdy Nurse. Big data usually means extremely large data sets, which help reveal patterns and associations, especially relating to human behavior or that look at trends and systems and help make a determination, explains Wilson. “Data is everywhere and almost all of it is discoverable. I always tell nurses to not post anything online that they wouldn’t put in front of a recruiter when they’re applying for a job. You have to assume that someone is scrap-
ing that data and applying it to an algorithm,” she adds.
How Organizations Collect People Data—and What That May Mean for You In a recruiting context, a nurse’s personal information can be culled from social media profiles, consumer data, and public records, in addition to a hospital’s personnel data or those of a third-party recruiting program vendor. That nurse’s individual data points can then be merged into bigger data sets, so analysts can create
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algorithms or statistical models that aim to predict which candidates are equipped to succeed in a given role. For example, automated systems can spit out resumes from applicants in a certain zip code, based on an algorithm set to predict turnover. Perhaps previous employees with
Nurses shouldn’t forget to update their own employer’s human resource portal—it makes it easier for the department (or a hiring manager) to identify internal candidates. that zip code may have been short-timers, due to a grueling driving commute or unreliable mass transit. Then even if nurses knew why they were getting the cold shoulder from a piece of software, there’s not much they can do about it. Their home address data is out there and available to hospitals, even if they attempted to hide it by using another street address, through a UPS or other office forwarding service, say. But what if that undesirable zip code is for an area with a large minority population? Recruiters and IT folks are starting to realize how digital “gates,” based on zip code and such, may adversely impact underrepresented populations. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission frowns
Minority Nurse | SPRING 2019
on practices which essentially “profile” applicants and employees. “We need to attract more racial and ethnic minorities to nursing,” says David Wilkins, chief strategy officer of Woburn, Massachusetts-based HealthcareSource, a provider of talent management systems for hospitals. “We’re thin in labor supply and there’s a high labor demand.” The unemployment rate in health care is so low—RNs at 1.4%, and NPs at 1.1%, according to recent Bureau of Labor Statistics reports. “With such an acute shortage, it’s hard to believe that people are consciously turning away any candidates.” Wilkins wonders if unconscious bias, such as when an applicant has an ethnic sounding name, may be at play.
Crowdsourcing, One Surprising Cyber Trend in Recruiting Relode is an innovative crowdsource referral platform for health care recruiting. “In 2014, we saw there were lots of inefficiencies in the hiring process and wanted to use software to solve this problem,” says Joe Christopher, chief technology officer at the Brentwood, Tennessee-based firm. “The platform allows our small team to work on thousands of jobs. Health care is professioncentric, so staffing agencies are ultimately working with the company. We’re trying to help you, as a nurse, to take your next step.”
Regina Callion, RN, MSN
A nurse can sign up on the Relode portal, then work with a talent adviser who will set up a profile and then make a match with an appropriate job opportunity based on the nurse’s experience, skill set, goals, and other desires. “As a new grad, you may have to take what’s available, but if we know you ultimately want to go back to California, we can help. What if we can connect you to this great employer [in another state] who can train you? And then after a year or two, you can go back home to California or wherever. Or you might like it and want to stay longer.” Relode offers nurses a way to earn side income through its crowdsourcing platform. “Nurses are used to thinking, ‘if I need extra money, I need to work an extra shift.’ But we believe the best nurse knows another best nurse. So as a travel nurse, for instance, you may know nurses in Dallas and Phoenix, and if you connect us and that person gets hired, we pay $3,500 directly into your account,” says Christopher. In
Brittney Wilson, BSN, RN
fact, one nurse signed up with Relode and referred seven other nurses, earning money for connecting people she already knew to new opportunities, he adds.
Make Sure Your Online Application is Optimized for Search Engines Human resource experts claim that very little recruiting happens without technology anymore. “Your first point of entry is very likely going to be a piece of software, an applicant tracking system. It has to determine the degree of fit between you and the job. So, make sure your resume is wellstructured, clean, and easy to parse for an applicant tracking system,” says Wilkins. “Focus less on making it look pretty, and instead, make it very scannable and readable. The average time someone is going to look at it is six seconds.” A big part of what applicant tracking systems search for is keywords and phrases. Recruiters may be carrying 100 plus openings at one time so they can’t look at all the resumes for
Jake Schubert, RN, BSN
each position. “In order to be seen, yours must be in the top 10 or top 20 ranking,” he says. “You should have multiple resumes to make sure the keywords match. Most of the time organizations tailor job titles and descriptions to a particular opening.” So, for instance, if you were applying for a job as a dialysis nurse, Wilkins would advise the use of a preponderance of keywords related to that specialty. “Of course, use the word ‘dialysis,’ but also all the words alongside it and related terms and synonyms. Dialysis in an elder-care, or long-term care setting, is different than working with gen-
The nurse-recruiter dance requires sensitivity and cooperation from each partner. eral patients at an outpatient dialysis care clinic. Use senior care words, long-term care versus outpatient care words. The
care job is probably the same but the stuff on the edges is different.” Wilkins offers a final caveat regarding online application systems, which sounds basic, but could torpedo your candidacy if ignored. “The average completion for an online application is around 15%, which means 85% of online applications are never completed. While in some cases, this is because a candidate changes their mind mid-process, most of the time it’s just because the process is long and complex,” he explains. “But the really scary data is that 15% of people think they’ve actually fully submitted their application when they really haven’t. Sometimes they just miss the ‘submit’ button at the end. Go back and make sure you completed all the steps.” Nurses shouldn’t forget to update their own employer’s human resource portal—it makes it easier for the department (or a hiring manager) to identify internal candidates. When there’s a job requisition for an assistant nurse manag-
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er with a master’s degree and a set of relevant experience, for instance, a recruiter can look through the hospital’s
get an email or call from a recruiter, wonder: “How did they get my number?!” When you trace it back, almost always it
privacy without hampering your job search. “Lots of people are able to set up an email address specifically for this use—
nurses may put up a job listing for an opening that doesn’t exist” at the moment. That gives them a running start for handling hard-to-fill roles, “so that when an employer asks for an ICU nurse, say, they already have 10 nurses that have applied for that. Indeed will no longer host agency jobs, the listing has to be from the employer,” because of recruiter abuses. “Even now Indeed offers applicants a way to filter jobs—there’s an employer of record option.”
Present Your Best Cyber Self to Snag a Job
internal database of qualified nurses before posting the job publicly.
How to Protect Your Online Privacy When Job Searching “We need to educate nurses that when you put your resume out there on any career site—upload it to CareerBuilder, Monster, Indeed—you’re selling access to that resume,” warns Christopher. An applicant may upload a resume and forget about it, but when they
Minority Nurse | SPRING 2019
Nurses and talent recruiters are both figuring out the new communications etiquette, with some stumbles along the way. was that uploaded resume and the terms of service that allow recruiters to contact you. There are workarounds though, that will protect your
you’d check it once a day if you’re in the job market, or once a week if you’re not,” says Christopher. “Sometimes the systems also require a phone number. You may be able to set up a Google voice number or use another solution like that.” When using online job engines and portals, be aware that there are games that some unscrupulous recruiters play, says Christopher. For instance, “a staffing agency that does lots of work with
Nurses and talent recruiters are both figuring out the new communications etiquette, with some stumbles along the way. “I get text messages from recruiters pretty frequently. I was shocked the first time because they contacted me on a very non-professional manner, in my opinion,” says Regina Callion, RN, MSN, travel nurse and owner of ReMar Review, an NCLEX review program. “Greetings will be skipped, and it will pretty much say ‘Make 10,000 dollars in a month! Sign up today for xyz.’ The lack of formality and information provided is a turnoff.” That anti-text sentiment is common, even among some Millennial, digital native nurses. “My cell number is the last bastion of privacy for me,” Wilson says. “I don’t want to get a text from a recruiter without my consent. It feels like you entered my
living room and sat on the couch and don’t even know who I am.” But recruiters say that reaching out to nurses in the traditional way isn’t efficient, so they have to employ new channels. “Our team has found that texting is a really great way to communicate for nurses. They’re busy and so instead of leaving a message and waiting for a call back, a text is a brief but direct conversation,” says Christopher.
“Obviously, you have to know who the person is and agree to it, but texting is a really efficient way for us to say: ‘Here’s a great opportunity that meets three out of four of your criteria. Do you want to talk about it?’ Or if there’s a simple question from an employer, we can get a quick answer: ‘Are you licensed in California? I know you graduated from school there but …’” The nurse-recruiter dance requires sensitivity and coop-
eration from each partner. Recruiters do a service for nurses, exposing them to opportunities they might not otherwise discover and fast-tracking their applications through the hiring process. Nurses can help recruiters by making themselves easier to find and by being open to approach. “It takes a lot of energy to look for a job, and it’s a lot like dating—when you’re not looking, that’s when you’re most desirable,” explains Wilson. “My
job before this one was with a startup who found me because I’d SEO’d [search engine optimization, or the process of affecting the visibility of a web page] my profile online so well… I always tell people— take a phone call. You never know.” Jebra Turner is a freelance writer located in Portland, Oregon. Visit her at www.jebra.com.
A Travel Nurse Weighs in on High-Tech, Low-Touch R ecruiting Jake Schubert, RN, BSN, travel nurse and owner of Nursity.com, an online NCLEX prep course, is no stranger to the recruiting process and shares a few key insights. 1. The nurse-recruiter relationship is becoming less and less personal. I get hundreds of emails from travel nurse recruiters all saying basically the same thing: “would love to work with you… would love to work with you… would love to work with you…” Don’t spam nurses with phone calls and emails. You don’t like it when people do that to you, so why would you do it to them? But if you really want to be effective, stop with the spam and make your message personal. For example, you can go to my Instagram and you’ll see that I love to scuba dive. Then reach out to me there with something personal like, “Hey I noticed you like to dive. We have contracts with three hospitals in Florida that are close to some great dive sites.” But no, they don’t do that. Instead they fall back on the same line: “Let me know when you you’re ready to start traveling with the best recruiting company!” I feel like responding: “Let me know when I’m relevant to you.” 2. Many nurses are naïve about a recruiter’s role and motives. New graduates and some other nurses may think: “This recruiter is really on my side.” But they’re not—they’re being paid by
their company so that’s where their loyalty lies. They know when you’re not asking for enough money, for instance, but they won’t tell you where you’re leaving money on the table. It’s not like other industries where people are required to disclose a conflict of interest—when real estate brokers represent both sides in a transaction, they’re legally required to disclose their dual agency. 3. Nurses have the power to create better relationships with recruiters. I’m one of the thousands of nurses working with Kaiser Permanente right now. You go online and create a profile on their portal, and they email you when an appropriate job pops up. But that’s not how all jobs get filled in a hospital. It’s all about relationships. Managers are always asking me “Jake, do you know anyone who’s looking for a job?” Every hospital is looking for good nurses, and nurses who have good communication skills are hard to find. If I had one piece of advice for new graduates, it’s “Don’t text a recruiter, and don’t think of email as a long text. Email is an online version of a letter, so don’t leave out the niceties.” When you communicate fully, you show that you’re different and that you have professional communication skills.
Minority Nurse Magazine
Minority Nurse | SPRING 2019
Robbieâ€™s Rules of Professional Practice BY Robbie SIMON, RN, FNP-BC, MSN
Minority Nurse Magazine
I received a call from Dr. Gloria Rose, my former professor at Prairie View A&M University College of Nursing, asking me to be the keynote speaker at the Pinning and Hooding Ceremony on May 9, 2018. After taking a breath, I accepted the offer and stated, “Yes, I am honored to do it.” As soon as I got off the phone with Dr. Rose, I called my mother and she was so proud of me.
s a nurse practitioner (NP), my work experience includes opening a clinic and managing house calls, as well as serving in homeless shelters, skilled nursing facilities, pediatrics, family practice, community, personal care homes, private homes, weight management, pain management, and the Redi-Clinic. Throughout my sixteen years of practice, I have
They say that you learn from your mistakes. I learned that day to always “take my time.” developed four rules which have assisted me to accomplish success. The following rules have supported my differential diagnoses and plan of care for clients.
Rule 1. Get a Good History One of my favorite jobs was working at the homeless shelter. I recall a case that continues to stay with me to this day. The medical assistant presented: “He is here to have his string cut from his chest. The NP before you just cuts it and
Minority Nurse | SPRING 2019
then he returns again when it gets too long.” I was thinking what is going on with string cutting from the chest. As the man is sitting on the examination table, I asked how he is doing and right away he states, “I just need you to clip this string and then I will be okay. That’s what they do, clip it.” He removes his shirt and right away I see the healed surgical incision down the middle of his chest, but in the center is dark blue string protruding from a very small hole. “When did you have the open-heart surgery, sir?” “I think it has been about three years,” he replied. “Have you been getting the string cut for the past three years?” “Yes, ma’am,” he replies. “I am not going to cut the string today. This is suture string that is hanging out of your chest from the openheart surgery. We do not have radiology services here. I want to get all of the string out for good.” Then, I secured the string with gauze and taped it to his chest. I arranged for him to go to a special procedures clinic. I provided cab vouchers and
informed him to leave now. A couple of days later, the man returned. He was smiling. He stated that he had a gift for
In my professional opinion, changing the medication was the best treatment for him and improved his quality of life. me. He gave me an envelope. I opened it. It was filled with suture string. Then he said, “Thank you! You solved the problem!”
Rule 2. Take Your Time I learned this in graduate school. I saw a young female who presented with missed periods, vomiting, and fatigue. I was focused on her vomiting, and I was in a hurry. I left the room. I failed! Turned out she was pregnant. They say that you learn from your mistakes. I learned that day to always “take my time.”
Rule 3. Be Professional At All Times At the homeless shelter, I saw a man and asked him how
he was doing. “I am not doing well. The doctor gave me this medication for my blood pressure. Oh man! I keep peeing from left to right. As a matter of fact, I got to pee right now.” I reviewed the chart. The medication was hydrochlorothiazide. It is a diuretic which causes frequent urination. I changed the medication to lisinopril to treat his blood pressure and instructed the man to keep a log of his BP readings by going to the CVS around the corner. I gave him pens and a pad and instructed him to return in two weeks for follow-up. When he returned, I was off. My collaborating physician followed up with the patient. He called my supervisor upset that I changed the medication he prescribed. Upon my return to work my colleagues stated, “Robbie,
“But the doctor at the ER said it was an insect bite. You are a nurse.” “I am a nurse practitioner. I can contact your primary care provider (PCP) to prescribe the medication to de-
Rule 4. Go With Your Gut Feeling
you are in trouble.” I held my tongue. I remained calm and quiet. As I reviewed the chart there was a copy of his blood pressure log, which showed improvement in his blood pressure since taking the lisinopril. This man is homeless and does not have the comfort of a home with a restroom. He has to locate a public restroom to relieve himself. In my professional opinion, changing the medication was the best treatment for him and improved his quality of life.
During a house call visit the client stated she had a sore and cannot understand how it got there. She reported, “at first I had pain at that same area.” (gut feeling) “Then this
It’s great to know when you have improved the client’s quality of life. This is the greatest satisfaction of all to achieve as a NP.
crease the severity of the shingles.” She was still not convinced. “Okay, let’s take a picture with your cell phone and then you can send it to your PCP.” As I was leaving, the doctor’s office called and verified the diagnosis. Pain is a symptom that occurs before the lesion appears. My four rules of practice have provided me with a solid foundation and are the framework of my practice. Every day, I use my four rules and the outcomes are immeasurable. It’s great to know when you have improved the client’s quality of life. This is the greatest satisfaction of all to achieve as a NP. Robbie Simon, RN, FNP-BC, MSN, completed the Family Nurse Practitioner program at PVA&M University in 2002, earning a Master of Science degree in Nursing. Currently, she is em-
sore appeared. Went to the emergency room (ER) and was told that it was an insect bite.” “Okay, let me see the sore; lift up your shirt.” I saw a fluid filled lesion on an erythematous base. “You have shingles.” She looked at me, “are you sure?” “Yes, I am.”
ployed with Signify Health and travels to insurance member’s homes in Texas and Montana to complete a Health Risk Assessment (HRA).
Minority Nurse Magazine
Sexual Harassment by Patients What Every Nurse Needs to Know BY MICHELE WOJCIECHOWSKI
Especially since the #MeToo Movement began, sexual harassment has been in the spotlight. We spoke with nurses who have been harassed, legal experts, and nursing professionals to determine what you should and can do if this happens to you.
Minority Nurse | SPRING 2019
Minority Nurse Magazine
elia,* RN, a longtime hospice nurse, remembers it like it was yesterday. A younger man, at least younger for hospice, had been admitted with terminal cancer. While Celia says she recalls other nurses talking about the patient h aving made “inappropriate comments,” she had never experienced it herself. Until she did. The patient had been angry and struggling with what he deemed the unfairness of dying young and leaving his wife and child—and knowing that he wouldn’t be able to take fun trips or do things with his daughter. Because he had a trach, which requires frequent suctioning and medication, he felt like the staff was treating him like a leper—when actually, they were simply following all safety precautions. “Once trach care was completed, I sat down, took my gloves off, and offered him a hand to hold—this is standard practice between hospice staff and patients, and it’s not frowned upon,” says Celia. At the time, the patient
and he asked if she was married. When she responded that she was in a long-distance relationship, he asked how she took care of her sexual needs—and asked using inappropriate, graphic sexual language. Celia replied, “One—that is none of your business. And two—It’s not appropri-
“Nurses know what crosses a line and what doesn’t,” she says. Because of the physical nature of nursing, however, Long says that inappropriate physical behavior can sometimes be more difficult to recognize.
held her hand, cried, and expressed gratitude for the time to talk. “I felt we had a nice, professional, and therapeutic rapport.” A few weeks later, a couple of days after Christmas, Celia was caring for the patient, *not her real name
Minority Nurse | SPRING 2019
ate conversation between a patient and a nurse!” Then, Celia calmly informed him that this was harassment and abuse. With one word to her managers, she told him, she would never have to be his nurse again. She says that the patient was contrite and apol-
ogized. Celia passed it off as a one-time thing and let it go. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the end of the harassment. After a couple of weeks, Celia was the patient’s nurse again. While taking care of his trach, she talked with him. When he could speak, they discussed their favorite kinds of music. She recalls, “It was a nice interaction, as I grew up in a musical home, and discussing this was special to me.” Near the end of the treatment, though, everything changed. The patient told her lots of things that he would like to do with her sexually, in graphic detail. Celia recalls, “I was horrified. I was angry. I felt nauseated. I felt ashamed about my body, and I wanted to cry. I was shaking, inside and out.” She told the patient that he was so far out of line. He was shocked that she was so rattled and tried to justify it
by saying that it was a compliment. Celia left his room immediately. The first thing she did was post on the staff’s white board that she would no longer care for this patient. When she calmed down, she emailed her managers and then communicated with them in person the next day. Celia’s managers were supportive. She never saw the patient again, and he left the facility a few days later.
Harassment is Prevalent A Medscape.com survey published last year revealed that the majority of nurses—71%—say that they had been sexually harassed by a patient. Of those responding, 90% were female nurses, 10% male. But male nurses get harassed as well. They may, however, be even less inclined to report it. In the same survey
results, it states, “By gender, female nurses… were much more likely to say they had been sexually harassed than their male counterparts (73% for female nurses vs 46% for male nurses).” No matter the gender of the nurse who experiences it, sexual harassment is wrong. That said, how do you decide if what a patient is doing or saying is sexual harassment?
If it Looks Like a Duck and Quacks Like a Duck According to Trista Long, RN, DNP, MBA, ON-C, a nurse manager for an inpatient med/surg unit with Blessing Health System, it is easy, most times, for nurses to differentiate between behavior that is appropriate or inappropriate. “The first sign of inappropriate behavior is when patient’s actions or conversation makes the nurse uncomfortable. Patients who are making inappropriate comments will first ‘test the waters’ by making inappropriate jokes or mild comments to gauge the nurse’s response. If the nurse dismisses the comment, the patient will likely continue with the inappropriate conversation or actions.” If a patient exhibits inappropriate verbal behavior, it’s often easy to recognize, says Long. “Nurses know what crosses a line and what doesn’t,” she says. Because of the physical nature of nursing, however, Long says that inappropriate physical behavior can sometimes be more difficult to recognize. “I often tell my staff that— again—inappropriate touch is anything that makes them uncomfortable… it’s no different than being in public and
having someone touch you inappropriately. Just because you are in a hospital does not give another person the right to touch you,” explains Long. “Most patients will want to hold your hand or touch your arm, but they will not go any further than that. An action or remark could be considered harassment if the nurse directs the patients to stop, but that direction is ignored.” “A ‘reasonable person standard’ is generally used to determine if conduct is motivated by prurient interests or for a person’s sexual gratification,” says Debra W. Levin, counsel in the health law group at Brach Eichler. She previously served as counsel to the New Jersey State Board of Medical Examiners and was the Assistant Section Chief responsible for legal services provided to more than 50 licensure boards, including the New Jersey Board of Nursing. “If a reasonable person would be offended, then it can be determined to be sexual harassment. Because the standard is subjective, it is often hard to determine.” “Sexual harassment is generally any unwanted sexual direct or indirect physical contact or comments. Of course, some physical contact may be more overtly ‘sexual’ than other contact, but much of the time, the intent will be evident,” says Jessica T. Ornsby, LL.M., Esq, managing attorney with A+O Law Group. “A good rule of thumb is whether the contact is objectively appropriate under the circumstances. For example, if a nurse is taking a patient’s blood pressure, is it necessary for the patient to place his or her hand on
the nurse’s thigh? Probably not. But if a nurse is helping a patient into bed, that patient may need assistance stabilizing himself/herself and may rest his or her hand on the nurse in a way that would otherwise not be necessary.”
should then report the behavior to his/her manager so that the leader can be aware. If the behavior stops, it typically will not need to go further,” says Long. “It is imperative that the nurse set boundaries with the patient imme-
Ornsby says that each work environment, ideally, should have some kind of policy with regard to sexual harassment. “Nurses should make note of these policies and earmark them for future reference,” she says. She adds, “Sexual harassment is basically a step down from sexual assault. If the action/contact involves force or any kind of penetration, that is most likely assault and should be addressed accordingly.”
What to Do if It Happens to You Suppose a patient sexually harasses you. What do you do? “Experts believe that sexual harassment is significantly underreported in health care. For that reason, I believe the best defense for nurses starts with reporting these types of incidents,” says Jennifer Flynn, CPHRM, risk manager at Nurses Service Organization. “No matter who the harasser—whether it be a supervisor, coworker, or a patient—nurses can take steps to address harassment in their workplace.” “While working in a hospital, the first step is for the nurse to address the behavior. The nurse should tell— not ask—the patient to refrain from the inappropriate comments or actions and to stop immediately. The nurse
diately once s/he recognizes the behavior. If the action is severe or violent, the nurse should report it immediately, and the leader should address it. If the nurse is uncomfortable caring for the patient, the patient can be reassigned to another nurse. There have been times when I have assigned only male nurses to a patient who was harassing the female nurses.” There may be times in which a patient won’t stop. In this case, Long says that the leader should talk with the patient and stress that the behavior won’t be tolerated and must cease. “If the behavior continues or if the nurse is uncomfortable caring for the patient, the patient should be reassigned to another nurse, and the leader should engage the Risk Management Department and/or the Security Department to assist. Many times, a Security Officer will be asked to speak with the patient and direct them to stop the behavior. Since they are often in uniform, it can be a show of added authority and the behavior will stop. If it does
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not, the Risk Management Department can speak to the patient and explain any legal consequences to their continued inappropriate behavior,” says Long. Ornsby says that each work environment, ideally, should have some kind of policy with regard to sexual harassment. “Nurses should make note of these policies and earmark them for future reference,” she says. “If the policy does not
“I took an oath to care for others, but that does not mean that I have to sacrifice my physical or mental well-being,” Long adds. specify to whom to report the incidents—ask. If a patient’s behavior… is making you uncomfortable or causing you to feel unsafe, leave the situation immediately. Your personal safety and well-being are the most important. Federal laws on sexual harassment apply regardless of whether the harassment is taking place at a hospital or a doctor’s office.” Levin agrees that health care organizations should have policies in place. “Larger or licensed facilities may have staff to counsel the patient regarding harassing behavior. Additionally, in regard to patients, the patient can be transferred to another’s care, a chaperone can be provided, and the patient can be counseled. In dramatic situations, the patient can be discharged/ terminated from the practice or facility. State-specific laws apply that govern termination of the doctor/patient relation-
Minority Nurse | SPRING 2019
ship/discharge so that the patient is not abandoned, and there is a transition of care,” she says. The American Nurses Association has challenged nursing professionals to end sexual harassment in the workplace by adopting a zero-tolerance policy. “Much has been written lately about the importance of nurses engaging in self-care. Not tolerating sexual harassment is an integral component not only for self-care, but also for self-respect, vital for professional effectiveness. Speak up when sexual harassment occurs and facilitate a civil work environment,” Flynn says.
The Bottom Line “If the organization is not responsive to the nurse’s claims, s/he should consult legal counsel or their union. No one should be subjected to sexual harassment in the work place,” says Levin. Long says that harassment, whether physical or verbal, has been perceived in health care as “part of the job.” But it’s not and never should be seen as such. “It is never acceptable to be harassed by anyone at any time. Nurses are an integral part of the health care team and should command the same respect as every other profession,” says Long. “Unfortunately, nurses have been depicted in a sexual manner for ages and that has demeaned the profession. Being a nurse does not negate my rights as a human being to not be verbally or physically assaulted.” “I took an oath to care for others, but that does not mean that I have to sacrifice my physical or mental wellbeing,” Long adds.
Michele Wojciechowski is a national award-winning freelance writer based in Baltimore, Maryland. She loves writing about the nursing field but comes close to fainting when she actually sees blood. She’s also author of the humor book, Next Time I Move, They’ll Carry Me Out in a Box.
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w to Combat rse Burnout BY DENENE BROX
Nursing can be a rewarding, but stressful career. Experienced nurses share the warning signs of burnout and tips for being a resilient nurse.
any people feel called into nursing careers. Nurses get the unique opportunity to directly serve people in achieving better health. But while nursing offers many rewards, the stress of the job can also lead to burnout. Left unchecked, career burnout can drive even the most dedicated nurses to leave the profession altogether. Anyone considering a nursing career should start by having realistic expectations of what day-to-day life is like as a nurse—especially in acute care settings. Ingrid Flanders, RN, BSN, MN, FNP-C, a visiting assistant professor at the Linfield-Good Samaritan School of Nursing in Portland, Oregon, says sometimes the job is different from what a nurse might expect. “Maybe they don’t have a
full understanding of the role and the responsibilities that go with it,” says Flanders. “Then they’re surprised at the level and intensity of the workload. Maybe they haven’t prepared themselves physically, mentally, and emotionally for the work involved; because a nursing role, regardless of what setting you’re in, is really demanding.” Flanders notes that patients have high expectations of nurses’ proficiency, which can create pressure. There’s also the pressure that many nurses put on themselves. “Generally, the people who are drawn to be nurses have high expectations of ourselves and so we try to give it all away and we don’t always have enough left for ourselves,” explains Flanders. What starts out as a passion for helping people can soon lead to chronic job stress or
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what Vicki S. Good, DNP, RN, CPHQ, CPPS, vice president of quality and safety at Mer-
vironments (such as critical care nursing) are at especially high risk for developing BOS,
stakes decision making on a daily basis,” says Good. “The nurse is the clinician who is
cy Hospital Springfield Communities in Springfield, Missouri, calls burnout syndrome (BOS)—work-related stress that remains unresolved. “BOS has three elements: exhaustion, depersonalization, and perception of decreased personal and professional accomplishment. BOS is directly related to stress at work and not related to stresses outside of work, although outside stresses may impact the stress at work,” explains Good. Good says that nurses in high-risk, high-stress work en-
where they are asked to care for patients during a vulnerable time in the patient’s life,
constantly at the bedside of the patient, giving their entire physical and emotional self to care for their patient and their family. Combine this with one of the most challenging workforce shortages in nursing and nurses have rates of BOS equal and often higher than their physician colleagues.” One extreme consequence of nursing job burnout is nurses deciding to leave the profession—a choice that nurses are making in unprecedented numbers according to Good. “By raising awareness and
Minority Nurse | SPRING 2019
Left unchecked, career burnout can drive even the most dedicated nurses to leave the profession altogether. and often at the end of life, with the accompanying ethical issues. “Nurses are engaged in high-
educating nurses on how to respond and mitigate symptoms of BOS we hope to prevent nurses from leaving the profession. BOS has been called a ‘silent epidemic’ because nurses and other clinicians have been afraid to speak up about their feelings, and instead the nurse ‘votes with their feet’ by leaving the unit and/or profession,” says Good.
Warning Signs of Impending Burnout Because nurses invest vast amounts of time, education, and money into entering the field and growing their careers, it’s important that they practice good self-care and watch out for the warning signs of chronic stress and burnout. Nursing career burnout can be sneaky, warns Anna Rodriguez, BSN, RN, CCRN,
If you feel that you are already in burnout mode, take some time to explore your career options. PCCN, a critical care nurse who launched TheBurnoutBook.com to help nurses combat burnout. “It comes on so gradually, one bad shift at a time, and before you know it, you dread clocking in to work,” says Rodriguez. “Early recognition is key. You need to pause and assess yourself frequently for signs of fatigue, depression, or feeling cynical or apathetic toward your work. You might go home feeling emotionally or physically drained more days than not. You might feel anxious and find your mind racing, thinking about work.
These are all unhealthy signs that the work is getting to you and, if it continues, will lead to full-blown burnout.” Good says that unfortunately, most nurses do not realize when they are developing the signs and symptoms of BOS. “This is one reason that raising awareness of this syndrome is so important to our profession. As a professional nurse, it is critical to be able to recognize the warning symptoms so that one can then take action to mitigate the potential outcomes of the syndrome,” says Good. So, what do nurses need to watch out for as they go about their daily work? “As a nurse, the first thing to become keenly aware of are any changes in energy levels related to work—both physical and emotional. Exhaustion is one of the key symptoms. If the thought of going to work makes you exhausted, pay attention, ask questions, and seek intervention,” Good advises. Flanders agrees that nurses should watch out for fatigue. Another common symptom is a lack of resilience or tolerance for challenging situations where you feel more impatient or more irritable than usual. This lack of resilience may cause nurses to become disengaged in their work and interactions with coworkers and patients. “If a nurse was previously highly engaged in social events and activities on the unit and stops participating, this may be a sign of BOS development,” says Good. Finally, watch out for the general feeling that you’re not making a difference as a nurse for your patients/community. Good notes that this lack of a
personal and professional sense of accomplishment is a warning that burnout has set in.
How to Avoid Burnout— or Nip it in the Bud What can a nurse do if they are on the road to burnout or to prevent burnout from developing? Here are some expert tips from seasoned nurses. Practice Self-Care. Flanders says it all starts with prioritizing self-care. This includes reading for pleasure for a few minutes every day, maintaining a healthy diet, getting regular exercise to reduce stress, and making sure you get adequate rest. “Even if you’re a nurse working on a night shift, it’s important to make sure your sleep pattern is one that’s sustainable,” says Flanders. Develop Resiliency Skills. “Resiliency is the antidote to burnout,” says Rodriguez. “It’s the ability to bounce back after feeling that emotional, physical, and psychological exhaustion that burnout creates. It’s finding a way to balance the energy you give to others and recharging yourself so that you can continue to care for others effectively.” Rodriguez suggests the following tips to build resiliency as a nurse: • Be intentional on your days off to regroup and rest so that you can come back a better nurse on your next shift. Don’t say yes to extra shifts if you need to rest. • Take breaks during your shifts (and practice self-care strategies during your break, such as eating a healthy meal or reading for pleasure). • Plan unit-bonding activities. Getting together with
coworkers outside of work is a great way to fight off burnout. Talk It Out. Having a support network is vital for nurses. Nurses need to ensure they have other nurses to turn to vent about a bad day, a troublesome patient, or frustrations. Having nursing friends at work and/or joining a professional nursing association dedicated to your specialty, such as the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses, can be an excellent outlet. “We need a way to talk about the things we see every
Having a support network is vital for nurses. Nurses need to ensure they have other nurses to turn to vent about a bad day, a troublesome patient, or frustrations. day,” says Rodriguez. “There’s a lot of doom and gloom. There are morally distressing moments. There are times when we’ve given so much of our energy to others that we develop compassion fatigue and go into survival mode, shutting down our empathetic side as a coping mechanism. The ability to vent in a healthy way with our peers is essential to dealing with all of that and maintaining our empathy. No one understands what you go through better than another nurse.”
Explore Your Options If you feel that you are already in burnout mode, take some time to explore your career options. Some nurses who experience burnout leave the
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profession altogether. But that may not be necessary. Start off by exploring ways you can remain in the field by taking some time off, changing units, or finding a new job in a less stressful environment. “A sabbatical or some time off may help, but it’s generally not a long-term fix,” says Paula Davis-Laack, JD, MAPP, owner of Davis-Laack Stress & Resilience Institute. “Remember that burnout is more about work systems, cultures, and values creating an environment that breeds burnout, so until the workplace changes, burnout will likely remain a possibility. You may just be in an environment that’s a disconnect for you. Can you switch teams, organizations, or practice settings?” If a change in work environ-
Minority Nurse | SPRING 2019
ment or position doesn’t help, then it’s time to look at nontraditional career tracks such as becoming a health coach, nurse entrepreneur, or nurse educator.
“It comes on so gradually, one bad shift at a time, and before you know it, you dread clocking in to work,” says Rodriguez.
feel like they can’t do it anymore, there are other options and other roles that might be a better fit for them at that point in their lives,” says Flanders. “It’s important not to feel like you’re stuck in a corner and that you don’t have the power or ability to make it different if it needs to be different. Because when you’re in the role of taking care of other people, if you’re not doing well, then how can we possibly do our jobs as nurses?” Denene Brox is a freelance writer
“One of the things I’ve enjoyed about being a nurse now for almost 35 years is that there’s a variety of nursing roles within the profession, and it’s important for young nurses to know that if they’re getting to the point that they
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Degrees of Success
An Unconventional Nursing Story BY Rachel ROBINS, BSN, RN
Let’s rewind back to the summer of 2014. I was in the midst of my senior year of nursing school taking classes, working, and doing my best to survive the New York City summertime heat. While working on an assignment one evening, my mother called me to say that my uncle had been in a near-fatal motorcycle accident. He was put onto a ventilator and had to endure an extensive hospital stay. This news was incredibly upsetting and unexpected. I have always been close with my uncle and couldn’t help but feel devastated.
pushed on through my classes and day-to-day routine, but I noticed that I was suddenly sleeping more, eating less, and often feeling unfocused and unmotivated. I chalked it up to stress from school and work, especially since it was my last year and I was expected to graduate that upcoming spring. Reaching out for help was a fleeting
Minority Nurse | SPRING 2019
thought, and I firmly decided that I could handle these feelings on my own. Turns out, I was wrong. Feeling down, unmotivated, and overwhelmed consumed me. I received a C minus in one of my summer classes, which coupled with a C minus that I had received earlier in my nursing school career. For a while everything felt so slow,
but suddenly it was as if I were thrown into a time-lapse getting caught up with reality. I frantically reached out to my academic advisor who monotonously told me that if I was struggling with a personal issue I should have spoken up sooner and that two C minuses are not acceptable in the program, but I could speak with my professor directly about the grade. There
was hope. Except there wasn’t, because my professor would not budge on the matter. With that being said, I was kicked out of nursing school the fall of my senior year. My recently furnished dorm room had to be dismantled— clothing back in suitcases, photos taken off the walls. I had to say goodbye to my roommates who were confused and concerned. I had to say goodbye to my friends of four years. The reality that I would not be graduating after years of hard work crushed me. I experienced panic like never before. I couldn’t breathe, couldn’t move, couldn’t feel anything but my lungs con-
Degrees of Success stricting. I felt like I was going to explode. A counselor diagnosed me with both panic disorder and generalized anxiety disorder.
Most people would have given up at this point and settled for less, but I had always known that nursing is the only career I wanted for myself. I moved back home and tried to figure out what to do next in a frenzied state. No nursing school would accept someone who was dismissed for poor academic performance. The panic attacks only got worse. I was having them at least three times per day. Most people would have given up at this point and settled for less, but I had always known that nursing is the only career I wanted for myself. I would not settle, no matter how much I was hurting, no matter how impossible things seemed. I began seeing a regular therapist in an effort to get my life back on track. Things seemed to be improving. During the winter of 2015, about four months after my dismissal, I was driving home from a therapy session down a road I’ve known my whole life. Suddenly, a car pulled out in front of me, taking me off-guard. I slammed on my breaks, but it was too late. I smashed into the car head on. My insides were screaming panic, but I couldn’t move. Bystanders got out of their cars to help, but my doors were locked and could not be opened. People were asking me through my window if I could move my legs and I didn’t know
if I could. I heard sirens and thought to myself, “I have to be dreaming.” Paramedics had to cut through the top of my car, hoist me out, and strap me to a board that was put into the ambulance. More panic. Though I questioned my faith during that time, I thankfully left the hospital banged up and bruised, but not detrimentally damaged. I sustained a treatable back injury. After my recovery, I applied for a job at an urgent care clinic because I wanted to maintain medical practice in my life. I thought it would help, both with my practice as a future medical care provider as well as my emotional state. I was happy to get the position, but that meant having to drive again. During that period of time, my drives to work consisted of multiple instances of having to pull over and having countless panic attacks. But I got there. I kept up with both my therapy sessions for the anxiety and physical therapy for my back. That spring, I attended the graduation ceremony of the friends I was forced to leave behind. I can’t begin to describe how happy I felt for them. At the same time, I worried that they would end up leaving me behind. I felt that in a way, they already were. I felt awkward being with them in public because I didn’t want people from outer circles asking questions that I was too embarrassed to answer. I didn’t know how to fit in anymore with my best friends. This caused panic that I cannot forget. Rather than closing in on myself, I mustered up the courage to apply back to the same nursing school that I was dismissed from for entrance the upcoming fall semester. I was
asked back for an interview, which I graciously accepted and prepared for rigorously. On the day of my interview, I walked into a familiar building unable to control my shaking body. As I sat across from my old professors, I was asked what will be different this time around, should they allow me back. I told them the truth. I spoke about my journey dealing with anxiety and ways that I am now able to manage it, though it goes without saying that it is challenging. I highlighted my relentless drive to be a nurse, and that if the past year wasn’t enough to stop me, then nothing ever could. I was accepted back into the program; my faith was slowly being restored. I was taking classes with students who had known each other their entire nursing school careers. I also struggled to grasp the material at first, be-
Rather than closing in on myself, I mustered up the courage to apply back to the same nursing school that I was dismissed from for entrance the upcoming fall semester. ing that I was rusty from having to take time off. I felt disoriented and like an outsider, but I didn’t let that distract me from achieving greatness. I made the dean’s list at the university that only a year ago had told me that I wasn’t good enough. I eventually made friends with my classmates and strengthened the relationships with my old friends. That May, I graduated proud-
ly. All my friends and family were there to support me. Panic took the backseat. After passing the NCLEX, I worked in a couple of different clinics and health systems gaining invaluable experience. Despite my fear of rejection, I applied and was accepted into a master’s program for midwifery. I now happily work at a fertility clinic and am excited to graduate the midwifery program stronger than ever. I have discovered my interests within the nursing field, which include researching the United States’ shockingly high maternal mortality rates and normalizing breastfeeding, especially among women of color. Now, I have been invited to become a member of the Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing. Once more, I have to ask myself whether I’m dreaming, only this time it’s under completely different circumstances. I won’t lie, a sense of underlying anxiety persists within me, but I can now recognize that I have valuable coping mechanisms that I have learned through therapy, a group of friends and family members who are my rocks, and a sense of proudness and empowerment in what I have accomplished that cannot be taken away. I am eager to make my mark on the field of nursing. I can’t wait for what will come next. Rachel Robins, BSN, RN, is a fertility nurse at Extend Fertility and a nursing tutor with Upswing. She is currently earning a Master of Science in Nurse Midwifery at SUNY Downstate Medical Center with an expected graduation date of May 2020.
Minority Nurse Magazine
Degrees of Success
Entrepreneurial Nurses: Market Conditions Strong for Your Own Case Management Practice BY Catherine M. MULLAHY, RN, BS, CRRN, CCM
For minority nurses who have ever considered operating their own business, opportunities have never been better for starting a case management firm.
ased on projections from multiple sources, demand for case management has been increasing steadily. Persistence Market Research forecasted an annual growth rate of 3.04% for the period between 2017 and 2021. An IBIS World report noted that case management’s steady growth over the past five years has brought the number of case management firms in the United States to over 7,800 and industry revenues to $7 billion. Understanding these market conditions and how they are opening the door for new case management practices is something any entrepreneurial minority nurse with key case management credentials (i.e., Certified Case Manager), and/ or interest in gaining those credentials in order to pursue new opportunities, should understand. Also important to know are those areas where minority nurse case managers may have some distinct advantages.
Ideal Market Conditions for Minority-Owned Case Management Firms In its report, IBIS attributed case management’s growth to expanded primary medical care and workers’ compensation claims, the heightened focus on medical cost containment,
Minority Nurse | SPRING 2019
and the increased use of nurse case managers in new models of care such as patient-centered medical homes and Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs). These factors, along with our nation’s new administration and Department of Health and Human Services leadership, were also cited in
a URAC® Trend Watch titled, “Case Management Experts Foresee Big Opportunities.” The uncertainty surrounding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the graying of America, and higher incidences of chronic medical conditions (i.e., heart disease, cancer, stroke, chronic
Minority nurse case managers also are in a good position to serve individuals of different ethnic groups as our nation’s multiculturalism increases.
Degrees of Success obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes, and obesity), are other contributing factors for the greater demand for case management services. Minority nurse case managers also are in a good position
serving patients of their ethnic group. The barriers to communicating with these patients and their family members can be eliminated. Further, a case manager with an understanding of how a specific ethnic
The uncertainty surrounding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the graying of America, and higher incidences of chronic medical conditions (i.e., heart disease, cancer, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes, and obesity), are other contributing factors for the greater demand for case management services. to serve individuals of different ethnic groups as our nation’s multiculturalism increases. The U.S. Census Bureau reported that all racial and ethnic minorities were growing faster than whites from 2015 to 2016. According to its findings, Asian and individuals of mixed-races represent the two fastest-growing sectors of the U.S. population with each group growing by 3% from July 2015 to July 2016. It provided this breakdown reflecting the size of the various minority and ethnic groups in our country: • Non-Hispanic whites – 198 million. • Hispanic whites – 57.5 million. • Blacks/African-Americans – 46.8 million. • Asian – 21.4 million. • People who are of two or more races – 8.5 million. • Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders – 1.5 million. Not reflected in this data are all of the other ethnic groups present in the U.S. population—an estimated 150 ethnic groups. Case managers of various ethnic backgrounds can be extremely valuable when
group views illness, medical professionals, medical treatments, technologies, end-oflife care, and medical directives can be extremely important in helping patients understand their conditions and treatment plans. This is critical in the patients’ overall well-being, treatment, and adherence to the prescribed plan.
Starting Your Own Case Management Practice Minority nurses who have thought about starting their own case management firm need to consider what it takes to achieve a successful practice. In addition to having extensive case management experience, it is essential that you gain the CCM credential provided by the Commission for Case Manager Certification (CCMC). This credential is becoming increasingly important to those hiring case managers and/or contracting for case management services. To earn the CCM credential, candidates must first meet the applicant eligibility requirements and then pass a rigorous exam. All of the details can be found on the CCMC
website at www.ccmc.org. Click on the “Get Certified” link. To prepare for the exam, there are many robust education and training programs available. We at Mullahy & Associates, for example, have a two-day CCMC-approved “CCM Certification Prep Workshop.” It offers excellent preparation for the exam and also earns nurses, social workers, and mental health professionals 14 Continuing Education credits. It also has been acclaimed as one of the most informative workshops available on best practices for case management. Among the materials provided to workshop participants is The Case Manager’s Handbook, Sixth Edition, which is used in hundreds of universities, hospitals, and other practice settings across the country and abroad.
Further, a case manager with an understanding of how a specific ethnic group views illness, medical professionals, medical treatments, technologies, end-of-life care, and medical directives can be extremely important in helping patients understand their conditions and treatment plans. There is also a self-assessment that must be conducted to make sure you have the personality and skills to lead your own firm. Here are some of the key traits needed to effectively establish and maintain a successful case management business:
• An entrepreneurial disposition. • The ability to recruit, train, mentor, and motivate others to provide high quality case management services. • Leadership skills. • Strong communications skills. • Business management skills covering key operational areas (i.e., administrative, financial, marketing, and legal). • A commitment to stay abreast of the latest market developments and health care trends affecting case management and generating new opportunities. • An appreciation for the importance of continuing education for yourself and your staff. At Mullahy & Associates, my partner, Vice President Jeanne Boling, RN, MSN, CRRN, CDMS, CCM, and I know what it takes to have a successful case management practice. In our current career stage, we are dedicated to helping case managers of all races and denominations succeed. We’ve developed continuing education workshops and seminars, as well as a suite of long distance and online learning tools to help case managers in their own firms or other practice settings. With the right education, training, and skills, we believe minority nurses can not only realize the professional fulfillment one achieves in their own business, but also will be helping to fill the growing need for high quality case management services. Catherine M. Mullahy, RN, BS, CRRN, CCM, is president of Mullahy & Associates and author of The Case Manager’s Handbook, Sixth Edition.
Minority Nurse Magazine
What is a Nurse, Exactly? BY LYNDA LAMPERT, RN
I remember my last code. You know how it goes: it was 7:00 a.m., and I was charting as if my own life depended on it. The gray light of early morning oozed through the curtained windows. All was quiet, except for the clacking of the keys. My mouth tasted of too strong coffee, yet my eyelids dropped. It was almost time to go.
hat was when I heard the snoring. It was a sound I hadn’t heard before. The sound has a rolling, gagging quality to it. I jumped to my sore feet and listened like a hunting dog for where the sound originated. There it was. There! I ran into the patient’s room, took one look from the doorway and knew he was
Minority Nurse | SPRING 2019
dying. His mouth hung open in a large “O,” and his tongue spilled out of his powdered blue mouth. I yelled for help and plunged into the job of
The stress of nursing weighed down on me, the struggle to get through a shift.
securing the airway. It was just like any other code, really. I’m not sure when I started to feel uncomfortable. My hands shook, and something deep inside me trembled. I had told myself since my last dance with my mental illness that I wouldn’t get myself into stressful situations—something absolutely impossible for a floor nurse. The charge nurse was there, and I felt the patient was safe with her. Clearly, he wasn’t safe with me. I told her that I couldn’t be in there anymore, and I left. My manager approached me not unkindly and told me to go back in. I told her I couldn’t. I honestly would
I had told myself since my last dance with my mental illness that I wouldn’t get myself into stressful situations—something absolutely impossible for a floor nurse.
have stood like a statue had I tried. It was a matter of a few weeks before they fired me, and with good reason considering how I acted. Did I even deserve to be called nurse after all that happened in my struggle to be a good nurse?
Second Opinion In other words, who am I now? I honestly didn’t grow up wanting to be a nurse. I wanted to be a writer, but I was told that wasn’t a path that would lead to a good life. So, I abandoned it. Instead of facing my passion for writing, I furtively scratched out short stories in the far reaches of my room. All I ever wanted to do was write. Life twisted. It turned tortuously, and I found myself needing a job. I liked medicine. In fact, that was what my mother wanted me to pursue—and what she had wished she had pursued. Nursing seemed like an obvious path for me. I love helping people. I am fascinated by the human body. I was smart enough for the curriculum. I liked it but didn’t love it like some of my classmates. I will brag and say I graduated second in my class. Through nursing school, I did develop a love for it. I could help people so much more with the knowledge I had gained. I knew things and had seen things that made me powerful. Medical knowledge is immensely powerful. I was proud to say that I was a nurse. I felt a fellowship with the hardworking
frontlines. I grew to love being a nurse, and I took part of my identity from this fact. So, what went wrong? On some deep level, I knew my emotions were not in my control all the time. I would have racing thoughts about the simplest things. I would worry that something terrible would happen. Very often, I could not manage the strength to get out
leave, and I was finally diagnosed—and treated for—bipolar disorder.
I had worked so hard and given up so much for the privilege to call myself nurse.
of bed and to be a part of life. I had known this since I was a teenager, but I didn’t want anyone to call me crazy. I still functioned well as a nurse: respected, well liked with a great reputation. My feelings only got worse as I continued to work, though. The stress of nursing weighed down on me, the struggle to get through a shift. I took a
It seemed liked a downward spiral, though. I would get better only when I didn’t work. And I wanted to work! I had worked so hard and given up so much for the privilege to call myself nurse. It all went away, and that made me incredibly sad. In that state and in that situation, I was not safe for patients. I understand that and
men and women around me. I was amazed at how good they were, how it felt to work as a team. I loved helping out with codes and being on the
On my journey, I became a nurse, but as that journey continued, I found that I could be so much more, all the parts of me.
thank those who removed me. I work as a practice administrator in a psychiatrist’s office now. My struggles with mental illness allow me to help those who are suffering or maybe are at a part of the journey that I recognize. I write, too, as you may have noticed. Since I lost my job, I’ve been using my skills in both nursing and writing to make a way for myself and my family. But I don’t feel like a nurse anymore. I don’t feel a part of that fellowship. I don’t remember drug names, and I can’t tell you what lab values mean. I worked so hard for entry into this club, and I feel on the outs. I feel disconnected with an identity I once held dear. I told my mother-in-law about missing nursing. She’s a positive woman, always upbeat. Certainly not like me! Her words were simple, though I doubt she understood the complexity of the situation. “Lynda,” she said, “you are more than a nurse now. Other people are just nurses.” I will admit that it still stings, despite my motherin-law’s wisdom. On my journey, I became a nurse, but as that journey continued, I found that I could be so much more, all the parts of me. And maybe, through that journey to becoming a nurse, I can help someone in their journey—whatever it maybe. To me, that’s all that ever really mattered. Lynda Lampert, RN, has worked medical-surgical, telemetry, and intensive care units in her career. She has been freelancing for several years and lives in western Pennsylvania with her family and pets.
Minority Nurse Magazine
Ushering in the 116th Congressional Session: Resources for Staying Informed and Engaged BY Janice M. PHILLIPS, PHD, FAAN, RN
As we usher in the 116th Congressional Session beginning January 4, 2019, lawmakers (newcomers and incumbents) will have the opportunity to address a number of legislative and regulatory issues. Immigration reform, access to affordable health care, climate change, and national and global security are among a long list of issues that will be discussed and debated during this new congressional session. And while there are numerous competing demands as with all other legislative sessions, nurses are encouraged to remain abreast of issues that impact health care and the nursing profession.
his year promises to be another great year to continue improving our policy acumen and advocating for those issues that are most important to us and the communities we serve. Moving forward in 2019, newly elected Lauren Underwood, MSN/MPH, RN, of
And just as 2018 was deemed the Year of Advocacy by the American Nurses Association, we must be mindful that advocacy is always in season calling us to lend our voices on behalf of those we serve. Naperville, Illinois will represent the 14th Congressional District of Illinois beginning January 3, 2019. Rep. Underwood is committed to ensuring that everyone has access to affordable health
Minority Nurse | SPRING 2019
care. She is currently one of two nurses serving in the U.S. Congress. Other nurses across the country hold elected positions in their state legislatures and government appointed positions or serve on a number of advisory committees or boards. This session, lawmakers committed to eliminating health disparities will work to enact legislation that will propel us toward achieving health equity, particularly for underserved populations who suffer disproportionality from a number of illnesses and poor social conditions. No doubt the issue of health care reform will remain front and center, especially in light of the recent ruling from a federal Texas judge deciding that the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional. Because this debate is far from being over, we must remain vigilant in monitoring what is happening with this historic legislation. And just as 2018 was deemed the Year of Advocacy
by the American Nurses Association, we must be mindful that advocacy is always in season calling us to lend our voices on behalf of those we serve. Regardless of position or setting, every nurse can seize the opportunity to weigh in on policy issues that are of importance to them. So, consider how will you stay engaged and informed of federal and local policies
Remaining updated on policy issues is becoming even more essential for todayâ€™s health care professional. or regulations that may influence your practice or even the degree to which health care is available to those you
Health Policy serve. Remaining updated on policy issues is becoming even more essential for today’s health care professional. Our professional and specialty nursing organizations provide key resources and often have a specific policy agenda. Have you explored what your professional organization’s position is on a number of policy issues important to nursing?
Consider attending an actual or virtual lobby day this year. Each year nursing organizations such as the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), the American Organization of Nurse Executives (AONE), and the American Nurses Association (ANA) convene lobby days in DC but also provide opportunities to participate virtually for those who cannot attend
in person. Visit their web sites for more details. Numerous state nursing organizations and other health related organizations across the United States also convene lobby days providing yet another venue to lend your voice to a number of health-related causes. And remember to touch base with the Office of Government Relations within your health care system, university, or college.
Key Resources to Stay Abreast of Health Policy and Legislative Issues
Be resolved to visit a legislative official this year to learn more about their health policy agenda and promote the profession as well. Commit to reading the local news for policy hooks as they say, “all politics is local.” Subscribe to the Federal Register to stay
Regardless of position or setting, every nurse can seize the opportunity to weigh in on policy issues that are of importance to them. informed about opportunities to offer comments on proposed regulations, policies or key reports. The Register also highlights opportunities to apply to serve on national advisory committees. Volunteer to give testimony at hearings and town hall meetings as lawmakers can benefit from hearing directly from nurses on health care matters. Well that should keep us all pretty busy. In the meantime, check out some of the resources listed on the right to help with advancing your engagement in policy advocacy.
Nursing and Health Care Related Issues • American Nurses Association Government Affairs • American Association of Nurse Practitioners • American Association of Colleges of Nursing • National League of Nursing • National Council of State Boards of Nursing
Health Care Access and Other Health Care Related Issues • Families USA • Kaiser Family Foundation
Health Equity and Disparities Reduction • Robert Wood Johnson Foundation • Office of Minority Health
State Specific Data • National Conference of State Legislatures • Kaiser Family Foundation State Health Facts
Janice M. Phillips, PhD, FAAN,
*Check with your local and state Departments of Health to locate recent and local statistics.
RN, is an associate professor at Rush University College of Nurs-
Tracking Legislative Bills
ing and the director of nursing re-
search and health equity at Rush University Medical Center.
Suggested Reading • Health Policy and Politics: A Nurse’s Guide (6th Ed.), by Jeri A. Milstead and Nancy M. Short • Nurses Making Policy: From Bedside to Boardroom (2nd Ed.), edited by Rebecca M. Patton, Margarete L. Zalon, and Ruth Ludwick • Health Policy: Application for Nurses and Other Healthcare Professionals, (2nd Ed.), by Demetrius J. Porche
Minority Nurse Magazine
FAST FACTS FOR YOUR NURSING CAREER
Pocket-sized and affordable, the Fast Facts series provides quick access to information you need to know and use daily. Learn more at springerpub.com/ffacts 9780826138668
s you are probably aware, the demand for nurses continues to skyrocket. What you may not know is that there’s also a critical need for nurses with advanced degrees, as hospitals turn to nurses to fill more administrative and leadership roles.
Nursing schools around the country are jumping at the chance to fill this void by offering flexible Master of Science in Nursing and Doctor of Nursing Practice programs, and you’ll find many great examples in the following pages.
There truly has never been a better time to pursue an advanced nursing degree. Be sure to secure your spot in the program— and your financial aid—by applying early.
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Minority Nurse | SPRING 2019
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