Top 5 Benefits of Civility Training

Does your organization suffer from a hidden culture of incivility—opening the door for dangerous medical errors, poor patient satisfaction and higher employee turnover? If so, you are not alone. In 2008, The Joint Commission recognized the widespread problem of “behaviors that undermine a culture of safety.”  In fact, uncivil behavior among healthcare employees now constitutes a sentinel event!

To combat this pervasive problem, The Joint Commission recommends that all accredited healthcare organizations be responsible for handling and preventing incivility in the workplace. In the Know’s REAL Healthcare Reform Civility Training Program makes fulfilling this recommendation easy.  Based on our popular book, “The REAL Healthcare Reform,” ITK’s program is a complete turnkey solution that contains everything you need to get a civility training program up and running immediately.

So, aside from meeting TJC’s recommendation, what’s in it for you? Healthcare organizations that implement civility training find that it:

  1. Reduces costly medical errors. Incivility ruins communication among your employees and poor communication is a direct threat to patient safety. Civility training decreases dangerous and potentially deadly medical errors by improving teamwork and communication.
  2. Increases employee retention. A staggering number of healthcare employees report having quit a job because of incivility. Civility training improves employee retention at every level, saving your organization the precious time and money involved in hiring and training new employees.
  3. Cuts down on “call-outs” and absenteeism. Working in a culture of incivility leads to more absenteeism.  As many as 47% of healthcare employees report spending less time at work because of incivility. Civility training creates an atmosphere that energizes and inspires those who are in it. Employees who are energized and inspired will look forward to coming to work, thus reducing the rate of absenteeism.
  4. Eliminates conflict and drama. Incivility leads to conflict and conflict equals DRAMA! Healthcare professionals who embrace civility are less likely to burn out, bully or “eat their young!” This means less conflict and drama among your employees!
  5. Improves client satisfaction and enhances the organizations reputation. Disgruntled, dissatisfied and disengaged employees don’t provide quality care to the clients they serve.  This leads to a decrease in client satisfaction. Clients who are dissatisfied with the care they receive share their negative experience with others in the community.  If your organizations embraces civility, you will enjoy improved client satisfaction and an enhanced reputation in the community.

Our Civility Training packages are available for as few as 12 learners and come complete with a copy of The REAL Healthcare Reform for each learner plus an Instructor’s Manual for the educator. You will find the Instructor’s Manual full of engaging classroom activities, thought-provoking discussion questions, convenient PowerPoint presentations, tips for improving participation and a CD with master copies of all the handouts and presentations.

The program materials are appropriate for every individual in your organization, clinical and non-clinical alike. Administrators, managers, nurses, aides, secretaries, and everyone in between, will find the program easy to use and understand. In addition, the program provides six hours of inservice credit for all your Certified Nursing Assistants.

To learn more about In the Know’s Civility Training Program, visit Embracing Civility then call 877-809-5515 to order your program today!

In the Healthcare Workplace: Compliments that Count

If you’re like most nurses, you are well-trained in goal setting. You know that, to be meaningful, goals must be both specific and measurable.  Have you ever considered that the same is true of compliments?  In general, specific and measurable compliments accomplish two things: 1) they demonstrate your sincerity to the recipient; and 2) they help the person feel deserving of the praise.

Think about it. You’ve probably had a friend say to you, “You look nice today.” While that’s a kind thing to say, a broad compliment like that opens the door to negative thoughts like, “Gosh, does that mean that I usually look like a mess?” or “She doesn’t really mean that.” or “She probably says that to everyone.” It’s easy to doubt the sincerity of the compliment and/or brush it off as undeserved.

Let’s make that same compliment specific and measurable.  Your friend says to you, “I really like that color on you. It makes your eyes pop.” Hearing distinct feedback like that usually leads to positive thoughts such as, “Wow, I should look for more clothes this color.” or “She really means that.” or “It’s nice that she took the time to notice what I was wearing.”

It’s clear that being conscious of how you word your compliments and praise is important. The same holds true in the workplace.  For example, Sandy, an RN, wanted to express her appreciation to Sam, a CNA who had gone out of his way to help her with a patient:

Sandy says, “Sam, you were a lifesaver today. Thanks!” While Sam says, “You’re welcome,” inside he is thinking, “Today? She appreciates my help today? What about every other day?”

Now look at the difference it makes to change the wording to make the praise both specific and measurable:

Sandy says, “Sam, you were a lifesaver with Mr. Reynolds. I was so impressed that you seemed to know what he needed before he said a word. You obviously pay close attention to your patients’ nonverbal cues.”

Admittedly, being specific in your appreciation of your staff and/or co-workers takes more time than just firing off a quick “thank you.”  But, try it and see if you notice a difference in how your words are received.  Remember Newton’s Third Law?  For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. So, by giving compliments that demonstrate your thoughtfulness and respect for others, you should see an equal response coming back your way.

Need a little help getting started? Here are some simple phrases, courtesy of writer and motivational speaker, Glenn Van Ekeren:

  • “I appreciate the way you…”
  • “Thanks for going all out when you…”
  • “One of the things I enjoy most about you is…”
  • “Our team couldn’t be successful without your…”
  • “You did an outstanding job of…”
  • “It’s evident that you have the ability to…”
  • “I admire the way you take the time to…”
  • “What a great idea you had to…”
  • “You are doing a top-notch job of…”

Until next time, thanks so much for taking time out of your day to read this article!


Another Use for the Nursing Process

The Nursing ProcessImagine that you are assessing a patient, Mary Smith, in order to come up with a nursing diagnosis and a plan of care. As you talk to Mary, with the nursing process in mind, you realize that she:

  • Has trouble with problem solving and critical thinking.
  • Can’t seem to concentrate.
  • Avoids asking for help.
  • Complains of being tired frequently.
  • Has one illness after another.
  • Displays a negative attitude.
  • Talks about being unable to cope.

For anyone familiar with nursing diagnoses, this seems pretty clear cut. The diagnosis would be “ineffective coping,” right? You feel compassion for this patient and want to help. So, the interventions you plan for Mary might include:

  • Listening actively and responding in a non-judgmental manner.
  • Encouraging deep breathing and relaxation.
  • Providing emotional support to help improve the person’s self-concept.
  • Involving the person in decision-making.
  • Encouraging support from the significant people in her life.
  • Monitoring for and reinforcing behavior that suggests effective coping.

Now, what if, instead of being a patient, Mary is a member of your team? She has been a nursing assistant for just six months. Mary started her job with great enthusiasm and a cheerful attitude, but that changed over time. Instead of showing up early for her shift, she either runs late or calls out sick. She misses important details, but fails to ask for help. You have noticed that her cheery disposition has been replaced by negativity. If you apply the nursing process to Mary’s situation, her “diagnosis” is also “ineffective coping.”  Here’s the million dollar question: Do you feel the same compassion for Mary as you would for a patient? Or are you tempted to say something like, “Buck up, Mary! Everyone on the team works just as hard as you, so quit making a big deal about it.”

Hopefully, you feel empathy for Mary and want to help her cope with the demands of her job.  If so, your first step would be to continue your nursing assessment to find out why she feels so discouraged about her job. This can be a challenge because, like many employees, she may try to hide her reasons from her supervisor. Or, Mary may need help identifying the causes of her coping problem.  To help both of you understand the situation, you could:

  • Find a quiet moment and a private spot at work…and ask Mary why she is discouraged.  Practice active listening so that you get the whole picture of what Mary is saying.
  • Ask Mary’s co-workers for their assessment of her work—and for suggestions on what Mary might need to help her grow in her career. (Keep your questions positive.)
  • Solicit help from a “neutral party” in the HR department, if it makes Mary more comfortable.

As you assess Mary’s “condition,” you may uncover that she feels overwhelmed by work and personal responsibilities; that she suffers from a lack of confidence; or that she doesn’t feel supported by other members of the team. Depending on what you discover, you can come up with appropriate interventions. (In fact, the interventions listed above fit whether Mary is your patient or your employee.) In addition, you might:

  • Vary Mary’s workload. Include different tasks or a different patient assignment.
  • Make sure that Mary has the opportunity to succeed. Give her some tasks that are challenging but within her “comfort zone.” Let her get a few “wins” under her belt.
  • Encourage Mary to talk with you or set her up with a mentor. Knowing that someone is on her side will motivate her, provide a safe haven for voicing frustrations and help build her confidence.
  • Set up a schedule for checking in with Mary and assessing her progress.

Using the nursing process in your interactions with employees can help in a number of ways. It provides an objective method for assessing each individual employee’s needs. It ensures that your interactions with employees are planned and specific to each individual. And, because it is outcome-focused, it offers a clearer idea about the effectiveness of your interventions.  So, the next time you’re faced with a supervisory challenge, consider thinking like a nurse, not a boss.

An Easy Way to Thank Your Nurse Aides!

tycard-300x214Did you know that, for many nursing assistants, their number one complaint about work is that they don’t feel appreciated? There’s an easy fix for that. On our sister blog, Embracing Civility, we’re offering a simple template for some cute “thank you” cards that you can download. Try printing them on thick paper or card stock. Then, on the back, jot down some words of appreciation for each of your nursing assistants. Here are a couple of ideas:

  • Praise a CNA for his or her outstanding patient care.
  • Give kudos to an aide who embodies the spirit of teamwork.
  • Let a nursing assistant know that you recognize improvement, especially if it’s an issue for which you had to counsel the person.
  • Acknowledge loyalty for those CNAs who are longtime employees.

Once you’ve readied your cards, think of creative ways to give them out, such as:

  • Hide the thank you card between pages of inservice handouts.
  • Slip it in with the person’s paycheck.
  • Put the card on the employee’s clipboard when his or her back is turned.
  • Tape a card to a piece of equipment that you know that person will be using soon.

Of course, you can also simply hand it to the employee! The important thing is to show your appreciation. By taking the time to show your gratitude, you’ll help to combat one of the main “gripes” of all nursing paraprofessionals–regardless of their work setting.

While you’re visiting Embracing Civility, feel free to poke around the site. You’ll find interesting blog posts and more free downloads that may prove useful at your workplace.

Civility = Self-Awareness

“The test of a civilized person is first self-awareness…” ~ Clarence Day

As you probably know, the Joint Commission has mandated civility training for all healthcare organizations in order to combat the rise of intimidating and disruptive behaviors among healthcare employees.  Civility training is tricky…it’s not like teaching a nursing skill or the facts about a disease process.  To truly embrace civility, your employees have to become more self-aware.   Here is some information you can use to start the conversation about self-awareness with your staff:

Self-awareness is when you realize that, although you are not the center of the universe, everything you say and do can affect those around you.

True self-awareness comes when you recognize that your own thoughts and feelings can lead you to act in a way that is either helpful or harmful to others.

Here’s an example of how your thoughts and feelings can lead you to act in a way that is harmful to others: You just paid your monthly bills and realize you don’t have enough money to sign your daughter up for the softball team she wants to join. You are stressed, embarrassed and angry.  You arrive at work to find a group of co-workers laughing in the break room. Their happiness annoys you and you lash out.

Here’s an extreme example of a lack of self-awareness: Recently, radio talk show host, Rush Limbaugh learned that a female Georgetown law student spoke out in support of mandating insurance coverage for contraceptives.  Her stance on the matter angered the talk show host, so he went on the air and called her a “slut” and a “prostitute.”  Then he demanded she post online videos of herself having sex. His words had a negative effect on his listeners, his sponsors, the woman to whom he was referring, his career and society at large.  In his apology he said, “In this instance, I chose the wrong words in my analogy of the situation. I did not mean a personal attack on Ms. Fluke.” Although he was further attacked for a lack of sincerity in his apology, his sentiment was right. Whether you agree with him or not, he has the right to disagree with the woman’s stance.  However, the words he chose were harmful and did nothing to help matters in this situation.  He was upset about the woman’s views and he lashed out without thinking about the consequences.

The bottom line is this:  It’s okay to feel stressed, angry and embarrassed.  It’s okay to disagree and speak your views.  However, when you have self-awareness (aka civility), you know how to keep your thoughts and feelings from translating into harmful words or actions against others.


If you would like more ideas for promoting a civil workplace and fulfilling the Joint Commission-required civility training, please check out a new book published by In the Know: The Real Healthcare Reform: How Embracing Civility Can Beat Back Burnout and Revive Your Healthcare Career.  It provides targeted, action-oriented information and specific exercises to help healthcare workers understand the epidemic of incivility, why it is happening and what they can do right now to make it stop.  You and your employees will find the tactics and strategies needed to put civility to work and resolve the toxic atmosphere that may be polluting your workplace.

Written in a friendly, conversational tone, the book is appropriate for all healthcare employees, regardless of their discipline or how long they have been on the job. You can utilize it with your CNAs, nurses, therapists, social workers and more! If you have any questions about The Real Healthcare Reform or would like information about bulk discounts for your workplace, please call us at 877-809-5515.