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.

Nursing Shortage: Need More Nurses? Grow Your Own

Written by LeAnn Thieman, CSP, June 16th, 2016

When some hospitals dealing with the nursing shortage are having trouble finding enough nurses, they grow their own.

Many offer tuition reimbursements to current employees who want to go back to school to get their bachelor’s degrees. Now some are going to high schools to find students who might be interested in a health care career.

nursing education to combat the nursing shortage--grow your own“Grow Our Own” is the name of a program which is a partnership between CHI St. Francis, Central Community College and Career Pathways Institute in Grand Island, NE.

Under the program, CHI St. Francis pays CCC tuition and fees for high school students interested in a health care career. In return, the students agree to work for St. Francis for three years. CCC holds five seats each year for these future St. Francis nurses. The agreement also calls for CHI St. Francis to help CPI with its HOSA program (formerly known as Health Occupations Students of America.)

These five students start working toward their ADN in their junior and senior years of high school. CCC helps them take the required courses before they actually begin college. The students have a mentor at CHI Health St. Francis and they will be encouraged to work as nursing assistants while going to school.

This is a win/win/win solution for the nursing shortage.

To learn more about nurse recruitment and retention, 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 Retention: Does Employee Satisfaction Impact Organizational Value?

Written by LeAnn Thieman, CSP, June 14th, 2016

Does employee satisfaction improve organizational value? The answer is “yes!” Satisfaction facilitates recruitment, retention, and motivation. Investing in it is expensive but the benefits outweigh the costs.

nurse retention employee satisfaction In a paper in the Academy of Management Perspectives, 28 years of data was researched finding that organizations with high employee satisfaction outperform their peers by 2.3% to 3.8% per year in long-run stock returns. Results suggest that it is employee satisfaction that causes good performance, rather than good performance allowing a firm to invest in employee satisfaction.

Satisfaction was measured using the list of the 100 Best Companies to Work For in America. This list is compiled independently by the Great Place To Work Institute which selects 250 workers at random and asks them 57 questions, spanning credibility, respect, fairness, pride, and camaraderie.

The results have implications for both managers and investors. Companies that treat their workers better, do better.

To learn how to improve your nurse recruitment and retention, 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.

Nursing Distribution or Shortage?

Written by LeAnn Thieman, CSP, June 9th, 2016

America’s nursing shortage is in a large part a problem of distribution. Some areas have a plentiful supply of nurses, with other regions experience a scarcity. Jobs are often more plentiful in big cities, and fewer in rural areas.

nurse shortage or distribution?This disparity can represent the difference between life and death. When there are too few nurses, caregivers are stretched too thin and have less time and energy for each patient. Overworking leads to fatigue and burnout, which threatens the quality of care and increases the incidence of error. Research found links between insufficient nursing staffing and higher rates of hospital readmission and patient mortality. Higher patient loads are associated with higher rates of nurse turnover, which is costly, disruptive, and harmful to patient safety. Happier healthy nurses can mean better care and better outcomes.


To learn how to recruit nurses and to increase their retention to ease the shortage and distribution problems, 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: Step up! Take the Stairs

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

How frequently are we reminded to “take the stairs” to get exercise in our daily lives and for nurses to improve our health. When I worked nights, I’d jog up and down the stairwell at 2:00 in the morning! It woke me up and helped me squeeze in a workout in my overcrowded life.  In hotels today I try to take the stair steps and am too frequently disappointed when a) I can’t find them and b) they appear unclean and unsafe.


stairs-man-person-walkingChildren’s Hospital Colorado South Campus in Highlands Ranch, Colorado, opened in December 2013, and built a glass stair tower. We Colorado residents love an outdoor lifestyle so employees appreciate the abundant natural light and beautiful view of the surrounding community and the Rocky Mountains. The stairwell has become a destination for staff as they utilize it for peace and quiet and exercise. Other system campuses were inspired by this and added a mural inside its staff stairways mimicking the design of the south campus to entice workers to get their steps in too.


Can you inspire your workplace to make stairs more accessible and appealing?


Need yet another way for you and your nurses to improve your overall health? To learn ways to add exercise to your busy life, visit SelfCare for HealthCare.

Nursing Shortage to Hit Crisis Proportion

Written by LeAnn Thieman, CSP, June 2nd, 2016

The anticipation of a national nursing shortage is alarming. Due to an aging population, the increase in chronic diseases, an aging nursing workforce, and the limited capacity of nursing schools, this shortage is on the brink of crisis, one with troubling implications for patients and healthcare providers.

nursing shortage help wantedAmerica’s 3 million nurses make up the largest segment of the healthcare workforce in America and nursing is one of the fastest growing occupations in the country. Despite that growth, demand is outpacing supply. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be 1.2 million vacancies for registered nurses between 2014 and 2022.

The primary driving force in this looming crisis is the aging Baby Boomer. Today, there are more Americans over the age of 65 than at any other time in history. Between 2010 and 2030, the population of senior citizens will increase by 75 % to 69 million; one in five Americans will be a senior citizen. This number increases to an estimated 88.5 million in 2050.

And as the population ages, demand for health-care services will skyrocket. About 80 % of older adults have at least one chronic condition, and 68 % have at least two, according to the National Council on Aging. 

The aging population and chronic diseases are creating the perfect storm driving demand for nurses. Adding to the problem is the fact that that the country’s nurses are also aging. Around a million registered nurses are currently older than 50, meaning one-third of the current nursing workforce will reach retirement age in the next 10 to 15 years. Nearly 700,000 nurses are projected to leave the labor force by 2024.

To learn how to recruit nurses and to increase their retention, 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: The Elephant In the Room…Obesity

Written by LeAnn Thieman, CSP, May 31st, 2016

The obesity rate in the U.S. continues to rise, and nurse wellness is at the heart of our concerns. About two-thirds of the U.S. population is either overweight or obese. Weight-related conditions like heart disease, stroke and Nurse Wellness--obesityType 2 diabetes, leading causes of preventable death, are rising. Obesity affects an organization’s bottom line. Obese workers cost employers thousands more a year than normal-weight employees, according to a study published in the American Journal of Health Promotion. Meanwhile, according to Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, obesity in the U.S. costs $8.65 billion per year due to absenteeism in the workplace, accounting for more than 9% of all absenteeism costs.


As a profession we need to lovingly support and encourage one another to participate in wellness programs. Our lives…our profession…depends on it.

To learn how to improve nurse wellness visit SelfCare for HealthCare. Contact me today to discuss implementing this powerful program at your facility.