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JeanstarMSN has 21 years experience and specializes in MedSurg.

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  1. JeanstarMSN

    The Art of Delegating | What Nurses Do

    Any nurse, new or seasoned, can feel overwhelmed at times at work. It can be a challenge to learn the art of delegation. Without it though, a nurse can become fatigued, stressed, and depressed. On the other hand, delegating tasks effectively can improve coworkers’ ability to work together as a team. Not only that, but delegating can improve the response time to patients’ needs, which in turn, improves patient satisfaction. Isn’t that why we’re all doing what we’re doing, to make patients feel cared for and feel better? Delegation Entrusting and empowering someone else to do a part of your job is a learned skill. As a nurse, when you delegate, you are showing your coworker that you have trust and confidence in their abilities. You are giving them a chance to become better at what they do and improve their skills. Delegation, however, has an accountability piece to it that means that you, as the nurse, must follow up and make sure the task was done completely and correctly. Patient safety and patient well-being are the focus here. At the end of the shift, you are responsible for everything that happens with your patients’ nursing care. If you are working with a nursing assistant that is new to working with patients, you have to do more follow up. This can also give you a chance to give that assistant a pat on the back or some supportive direction. We are all a team and must learn to work together for the benefit of the patient. Plan Ahead There are many things to consider before the delegation process begins. Here’s a checklist you can use the next time you want to delegate efficiently: Decide what task you want to delegate. Choose who should carry out the task, are they capable, is it in their scope of practice. Decide when the task needs to be done; is the patient ready, is there a deadline like getting a patient bathed before a procedure. Explain how the task needs to be done such as documenting all input and output for a patient, encourage the coworker to ask for help if needed. In a recent correlational research study1, with a convenience sample of 362 nurses, ambulating and feeding patients on time and doing mouth care were the tasks most missed by nursing care. The reasons behind it were short-staffing, lack of material resources, and communication. These tasks are some of the most basic needs that we can do for our patients. These are also some of the most basic tasks that can be delegated. Example You go into work one day, get your assigned patients, and realize the unit is short-staffed that day because a nurse and an aide called out sick. Their replacements won’t be there for another four hours. So for those first four hours, you’re slammed!! Quickly you have to think on your feet! Findings2 revealed a tendency for nurses to delay the decision to delegate but no one nurse can do it all. So you start to think about delegating to your competent coworkers. Make sure they understand what they need to do for the patient and follow up to make sure it gets done. Our patients depend on us at their most vulnerable times to take care of them. It’s not their fault that we are short-staffed. We need to work together as a team and support each other in the process. Delegating can be often easier said than done. You as the nurse have to uphold the accountability that your patients are receiving quality nursing care on your watch. Ensure that each team member is aware of what the task is that they are being asked to do and what is expected of them. At the same time, be approachable in case the coworker needs help. Help team members understand the level of commitment that you want from them but don’t be a mean nurse. There is nothing worse than working with someone who has no respect for their other team members. Remember, the nursing field is not just a job but its a commitment to our patients. Provide support to your team members and give positive feedback to a job well done. References Five Rights of Nursing Delegation 1Missed nursing care and its relationship with confidence in delegation among hospital nurses 2Improving patient care outcomes through better delegation-communication between nurses and assistive personnel
  2. JeanstarMSN

    Compassion Fatigue - Staying Positive | Knowledge is Power

    I totally agree! Run into this situation at work all the time!
  3. Simone Biles withdrew from some of her Olympic events because she felt like her mind and body were not in sync. Bedside nurses quite often feel the same way ... mind and body out of sync. Have you ever been at work and felt like you were being pulled in multiple directions? You are trying to start your shift with your first patient in an organized way. This is not possible!! One patient is calling for pain medications, another unstable patient is climbing out of bed with the bed alarm blaring, and we do not have enough staff today to answer all the call lights and alarms going off! Welcome to a typical day in the life of a bedside nurse It’s like being the short-order cook at a crowded diner. You are trying to keep up but you also have to be the hostess, the waitress, the busboy/busgirl and sometimes the manager at the same time! Before having one sip of your coffee, you are being hunted down by nurses from the previous shift who want to unload report on you and go home. Your morning flies by. Halfway through your shift you still have not got a chance to go to the bathroom and you are feeling it from the super-sized coffee you drank this morning to wake yourself up. The Price of Caring In reality, for many nurses, the situations we encounter at work can leave us feeling hopeless and powerless. Physical and mental fatigue can seriously impact the quality of your life. Compassion fatigue (CF) is the accumulation of months and years of exposure to patients with emotional pain. We, as nurses, want our patients to know that we feel their pain, their physical and emotional pain. CF is the price of caring. You probably know that constant exposure to traumatic situations can lead to depression and anxiety. You have likely wondered why you feel this way. Let’s talk about what you can do right now to help yourself feel more positive. Being proactive about your mental health is just as important as your other everyday needs. What is Compassion Fatigue (CF)? The concept “compassion fatigue” was coined by nurse Carla Joinson in 1992. As she described it, she noticed that nurses dealing with frequent heartache had lost their nurturing ability. This phenomenon is a combination of secondary traumatic stress (STS) and cumulative burnout (BO). STS is a state of stress which is extreme tension and preoccupation with emotional pain. BO is a state of mental and physical exhaustion caused by having to deal with a constantly stressful environment. CF is characterized by feeling burdened by another person’s suffering, reduced ability to feel sympathy and empathy, blaming others for their suffering, loss of job satisfaction, insomnia, and alcohol and drug abuse. Decision-making can be negatively affected along with a caregiver’s ability to adequately care for their patients. CF can be the cause of some nurses leaving their jobs and/or their nursing careers. How to Deal with Compassion Fatigue: 3 Interventions Mindfulness Are you aware how you act on your days off? Ask your family or your main sources of support. Do they feel like you enjoy your career? Are you constantly complaining to them about your job? Are you able to separate work from home? Work environment tips Educate yourself about what resources might be available at work. Employee Assistance programs may offer assistance and counseling. These programs can help with stress reduction at work, work-life balance and effective communication strategies. Vocalize your needs to your coworkers instead of trying to do everything yourself. Don’t be afraid to delegate tasks. Support groups can also help to allow you to debrief a situation and focus on what you accomplished rather than missed opportunities. Alternative approaches such as massage, journaling, prayer or meditation are valuable ways to reduce work-related stress. Self-care CF can threaten the quality of our abilities as a professional nurse and our quality of life. Most of us only allow a small amount of time to being selfish of our well-being. A mixed methods study done by Katherine Valentine Upton in an acute care setting showed the prevalence of CF in acute medical care nurses and its damaging effects from stress. The results of the study also showed the moderating effect of self-compassion. A self-care plan should include exercise, proper nutrition, spiritual health, and social activities. You must give as much importance to self-care as you do eating and sleeping. You need to take care of YOU! References Simone Biles: what if nurses followed her lead? Compassion fatigue. The cost of caring Compassion Fatigue among Healthcare, Emergency and Community Service Workers: A Systematic Review Nursing on empty: compassion fatigue signs, symptoms, and system interventions An investigation into compassion fatigue and self-compassion in acute medical care hospital nurses: a mixed methods study