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Nurse Health: Is Lack of Sleep Affecting Your Heart?

Written by LeAnn Thieman, CSP, July 21st, 2016

Sleep deprivation and an abnormal sleep cycle may increase the risk of heart disease, especially for shift workers, raising concerns for nurse health, one study at Northwestern University suggests.

nurse health sleep“In humans, as in all mammals, almost all physiological and behavioral processes, in particular the sleep-wake cycle, follow a circadian rhythm that is regulated by an internal clock located in the brain,” said study lead author Dr. Daniela Grimaldi.

“When our sleep-wake and feeding cycles are not in tune with the rhythms dictated by our internal clock, circadian misalignment occurs.”

The study results suggest that shift workers who are chronically exposed to circadian misalignment, might not fully benefit from the restorative cardiovascular effects of nighttime sleep.

A higher heart rate during the day was noted and to a greater extent at night when sleep deprivation was combined with delayed bedtimes. There was also an increase in levels of the stress hormone norepinephrine in the sleep-deprived and delayed-bedtime group.

Norepinephrine can narrow blood vessels, raise blood pressure and expand the windpipe.

Shift workers should be encouraged to eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly and get more sleep to protect their hearts, the researchers said.

To learn how to improve your sleep and your health, visit SelfCare for HealthCareContact me today for a complimentary consultation about what’s working and what’s not working in terms of wellness at your facility.

Nurse Health: Stress is Biggest Health Risk

Written by LeAnn Thieman, CSP, July 19th, 2016

Stress is today’s top workforce health risk, surpassing even obesity and inactivity, and it’s in the front of the minds of those concerned with nurse health. While wellness programs often try to manage pressures nurse health and stressin the workplace, there are many stress triggers, lifestyle habits, and thinking styles that aggravate stress. Stress from home life can seep into the workplace, hampering employees’ productivity and focus. And research proves that chronic poor sleep is about as physically damaging as chronic alcohol abuse!

To learn how to cope with stress to improve nurse health and work performance, visit SelfCare for HealthCareContact me today for a complimentary consultation about what’s working and what’s not working in terms of wellness at your facility.

Caregivers, Is Your Job Affecting Your Health?

Written by LeAnn Thieman, CSP, July 17th, 2016

Although caregivers are resilient, we need to put more effort into ensuring they are cared for. AMN Healthcare’s 2015 Survey of Registered Nurses clearly showed the affect burnout is having on nearly 9,000 nurses. Half of those surveyed worried that their job was affecting their health.

helathcare job stressThe study revealed that 62% of RNs over the age of 54 were thinking about retiring, most within three years. With this information, employers must implement plans to prevent additional turnover by reducing burnout.

SelfCare for HealthCare gives nurses the tools they need to care for the bodies, minds and spirits, resulting in improved patient care. Contact me today to discuss your current programs and how we can easily implement this culture-shifting program

Enduring Trust: Nurses Again Top Poll on Honesty and Ethics

Written by LeAnn Thieman, CSP, July 12th, 2016

Americans gave nurses higher marks than any other profession in Gallup’s annual poll on honesty and ethical standards, released in December. When asked to “please tell me how you would rate the honesty and ethical standards of people in these different fields, 85 percent of respondents gave very high or high marks to nurses.

Nurse honesty and ethicsNurses can be proud of the trust we have earned and the care we deliver! To learn more strategies for nurse retention and nurse recruitment, visit SelfCare for HealthCare™. Contact me today to implement this life-changing program at your facility.

Nurse Health: Working Long Hours Can Increase Risk of Heart Disease

Written by LeAnn Thieman, CSP, July 7th, 2016

A new study, especially applicable to nurse health, suggests that working long hours may actually increase your risk of heart disease.

nurse health heart diseaseWhen researchers analyzed data from nearly 2000 people in a long-term study of work, they found that 43 % had been diagnosed with a problem related to cardiovascular disease , such as angina, coronary artery disease, heart failure, heart attack, high blood pressure or stroke.

Among full-time employees, the risk rose 1 % for each additional hour worked per week over 10 years or more.

Starting at 46 hours, additional work hours increased the risk of heart disease even more. Compared to those who averaged 45 hours a week for 10 years or more, the risk of heart disease was 16 % higher among those who worked 55 hours a week and 35 % for those who worked 60 hours a week.

The findings did not apply to part-time workers.

“This study provides specific evidence on long work hours and an increase [in] the risk of CVD, thereby providing a foundation for CVD prevention efforts focused on work schedule practices, which may reduce the risk of CVD for millions of working Americans,” study author Sadie Conway, of the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, said in a journal news release.

To learn how to care for yourself, your staff to increase health visit SelfCare for HealthCare. Contact me today to discuss implementing this powerful program at your facility.

Nurse Practitioners Fill Gap in Access to Primary Care

Written by LeAnn Thieman, CSP, July 5th, 2016

Nurse practitioners are a hot topic in the healthcare and legislative fields. State legislators in dozens of states are in the height of legislative session. Many of them are considering the more than 600 bills designed to improve patient access to primary care, an issue that has reached epidemic proportions due to health care provider shortages nationwide.

Nurse Practitioner fills gap to access in primary health careWith the rising numbers of chronic disease and our aging population, the demand for primary health care is exploding. Fortunately, there are more than 205,000 nurse practitioners in the United States who are educated, clinically trained and ready to deliver timely, high-quality, cost-effective care. Yet, many states don’t allow Nurse Practitioners (NPs) to practice to the full scope of their education and clinical training.

As of January 2016, there were 6,359 health professional shortage communities in the United States. In the last 18 months alone, this number has grown by nearly 300, according to the Department of Health and Human Service’s Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).

Despite the increasing demand, many states still have outdated state practice laws for NPs to deliver care. On average NPs have more than six years of academic and clinical preparation. They assess patients, order and interpret diagnostic tests, make diagnoses, initiate and manage treatment plans, and prescribe medications. NPs manage about 990 million patient visits per year and have practiced successfully and consistently in primary, acute and specialty settings for over half a century.

Many physician organizations oppose autonomous practice by NPs, arguing that physician supervision is required to deliver quality care.  Yet more than 100 studies over the last 40 years have concluded that NPs’ patient health outcomes are as good or better than other providers in similar health care services.

Currently, more than 40 % of the states have adopted full practice authority (FPA) licensure and practice laws which authorize NPs to deliver care without a regulated relationship with a physician.

To strengthen health care quality for all we need more nurses. To learn now to recruit nurses and retain nurses by implementing tools that care for employees’ minds, bodies and spirits, visit SelfCare for HealthCare. Contact me today to discuss implementing this powerful program at your facility.

Nurses Offering Transitional Care Save Money

Written by LeAnn Thieman, CSP, June 30th, 2016

A study of a transitional care model where nurses talk weekly with recently discharged hospital patients finds that the program reduces readmission rates and saves money.

Nurse on phone offering transitional careWisconsin-based researchers examined the Coordinated Transitional Care program at a Veterans Administration hospital in Madison. Under the program, patients work with nurse case managers on care and health issues, including medication reconciliation, before and after hospital discharge, by phone. The nurse engages the patient in an open-ended discussion beginning within 72 hours of discharge from the hospital.  Those patients experienced one-third fewer re-hospitalizations than those in a baseline comparison group, producing an estimated savings of $1,225 per patient.

Once again, nursing intervention saves money. To learn more ways to save money visit SelfCare for HealthCareContact me today for a complimentary consultation about what’s working and what’s not working in terms of the care model at your facility.

Workplace Culture: Mentoring Gives and Receives

Written by LeAnn Thieman, CSP, June 28th, 2016

Mentoring as a part of your workplace culture is a great way to strengthen the nursing workforce and, in turn, improve the quality of care and patient outcomes.

workplace culture: nurse mentoring programMentoring is a way of giving back to the profession, but mentors also receive energy and fresh perspective from emerging talent. It’s not just mentors and mentees who benefit, though. The entire profession does—and patients and their families, too, according to a report on the future of nursing released by the Institute of Medicine (IOM.

Mentoring also helps health care organizations and colleges retain nurses and nurse educators, which can curb a shortage of nurses and nurse faculty. As we know, about one in five nurses will leave their jobs within the first year, and more than one in two will leave within seven years..

In addition, mentoring is one strategy that can increase the diversity of the predominantly white and female profession, which in turn can help narrow health disparities. In New Mexico 59 underserved minority high school students were given nurse mentors and 100 percent of the students enrolled in a college nursing program.

Mentoring, of course, is nothing new. Ever since Florence Nightingale, nurses have been taking novices under their wings and helping them to learn how to fly. Who can you mentor?

To learn more about fortifying your workplace culture with a solid mentoring program, visit SelfCare for HealthCareContact me today for a complimentary consultation about what’s working and what’s not working in terms of wellness at your facility.

Nurse Wellness: Women Twice as Likely to Die from Heart Attack.

Written by LeAnn Thieman, CSP, June 23rd, 2016

Nurse wellness is on our minds as studies show that women are nearly twice as likely as men to die from the most dangerous type of heart attack.

Although death rates have fallen, there are still significant survival differences after a ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI), according to Yale University investigators.

nurse wellness: heart healthThe researchers analyzed data from more than 700,000 STEMI patients in 29 countries and six geographic regions. In all those regions, they found that appropriate treatment was delayed for women and in-hospital death rates for them was double that of men. Also, women were 70 % more likely to die at 30 days, six months and one year after the heart attack.

The gender gap is likely due to differences in awareness of symptoms, access to care and risk factors, the researchers said. For example, women tend to be older when they suffer this type of heart attack and have more of other health problems.

Stress is proven to be a major cause of heart attacks in women. To learn how to reduce stress and keep nurse wellness a priority, visit SelfCare for HealthCareContact me today for a complimentary consultation about what’s working and what’s not working in terms of wellness at your facility.

Nurse Health: Stress Can Kill You!

Written by LeAnn Thieman, CSP, June 21st, 2016

Stress is a leading cause of heart attacks. Heart attacks are the number one killer of women. Ninety percent of nurses are women. We must take care of our nurses’ health and reduce their stress. It is a matter of life and death.

A new brain study shows a high level of stress is linked to an increased risk of heart attack and stroke.

nurse health: reduce stressIncreased activity in the amygdale, the fear center of the brain, creates an immune system reaction that increases inflammation in the arteries. Such arterial inflammation is a precursor to heart disease, heart attack and stroke. Dr. Ahmed Tawakol, a cardiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, followed nearly 300 people and found their amygdala activity as seen on brain scans indicated whether they would suffer a major cardiac event in the near future.

Stress and current events have heart-health consequences. After an earthquake, tsunami, or human disaster, the incidence of heart attacks over the next six to eight weeks increases substantially, according to the American Heart Association.

The heart-health risk posed by stress is now believed to be on par with factors like smoking, cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes. Studies prove that stress from anger, hostility, hopelessness or uncertainty directly affect the heart.

Animal studies have suggested that stress can cause bone marrow to release inflammatory cells, which then increase inflammation in the arteries. Researchers found that increased amygdala activity meant greater activity in the bone marrow and increased inflammation in arteries.

These findings show the importance of stress relief in a person’s life.

To learn how to reduce stress and look after the health of your nurses, visit SelfCare for HealthCareContact me today for a complimentary consultation about what’s working and what’s not working in terms of wellness at your facility.