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.

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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.

Home Care Rising to the Top

Twenty years ago, when I worked at Duke University Medical Center, I remember clearly how some of my co-workers viewed their colleagues in home care.  I was precepting a newly hired nurse to our oncology unit.  A number of the “old timers” on the unit whispered to me, “Good luck training her!  She doesn’t have any skills…she’s been working as a home health nurse!” The general consensus seemed to be that home care was the “red-headed stepchild” of the health care industry.

Things have definitely changed!  Home care has now taken the lead as the fastest growing sector of the health care industry.  Here are some statistics to prove it:

  • According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), the number of patients needing home care after hospitalization is up by a whopping 70 percent!
  • The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 22 percent employment growth through 2018 for health care in general, but home health jobs are expected to increase by more than 46 percent.

Many of those job openings will be for home health aides.  As home care agencies struggle to fill positions, it will be more challenging than ever to develop and maintain a team of top-notch HHAs.  That’s where In the Know can help.  With more than 140 topics, we’ve got an inservice that addresses nearly any issue that might arise for your home health aides.  If you would like assistance in putting together either an orientation program for newly hired aides or a continuing education program, please give us a call.

Oh…and my colleagues at Duke were wrong.  That former home health nurse did just fine on the unit!  And, a couple of years later, I moved on from the hospital to work in home care myself.

Congratulations to home health for finally being recognized in the media as such an important part of our health care system.  And, a big thank you to all you home health nurses and aides out there for the vital work you do!

Are Your CNA Training Dollars Few and Far Between?

Has your budget for continuing education been cut or put on hold during this economic downturn?  When money is tight, it’s typical for many organizations to look at staff training as “non-essential”.  But, consider these results from a recent study of nearly 1200 companies, comparing the impact of recruiting externally with that of developing current employees.

  • 75% of the 1,189 companies involved in the study felt that training their own staff was more beneficial to their business than recruiting people from outside.
  • 50% of the companies discovered that training staff made them more likely to stay.
  • 33% found that continuing education increased staff motivation, and
  • Almost 50% saved money in the process.

In an article about the study, senior researcher, Emma Parry, said: “With training budgets often the first to go in a recession, this research demonstrates that ‘growing your own’ is an effective way for organizations to obtain the skills that they need while saving money.”

“I wasn’t surprised by the findings, but it is nice to have the evidence,” she said, adding that it makes sense that money spent on advertising, interviews and orientation programs can often be better spent on existing staff.

“It also helps staff retention because employees are more likely to stay if they are being developed. They are more committed and are more likely to go the extra mile if they feel the company is helping them to expand their skills,” she said.

Parry added that the problem was that companies often didn’t see the value of investing in training until it was too late. “Sometimes training is seen as nonessential, and when budgets get tight, companies start to look at what they can save money on. But to be honest, cutting training is a false economy.”

What’s the bottom line?  Organizations must focus on nurturing the employees they have if they are to survive, grow and succeed.  This is especially true for certified nursing assistants due to the increasing demand for their services. As the above study shows, effective training reduces staff turnover and absenteeism, improves motivation, increases productivity and helps boost customer satisfaction.

Don’t let a tight budget diminish the quality of your continuing education program.  For starters, be sure to download our free inservice.  And, if you’d like help creating a cost-efficient CNA inservice plan, give us a call at 877-809-5515.  We offer options suitable for every education budget!

Can You Teach Your CNAs to Be Compassionate?

The dictionary defines compassion as “a deep awareness of the suffering of another, coupled with the wish to relieve that suffering.” So, for someone to be compassionate, he or she must be able to put themselves in someone else’s shoes, AND act on his or her desire to lessen that person’s suffering or unhappiness.

It can be hard to always know whether or not your nurse aides act in a compassionate manner while on the job.  That’s why it’s so important to encourage compassionate behavior.  By studying our newly added inservice called “The Caring Qualities of a CNA,” your nurse aides will learn everything they can do to have more empathy, compassion, patience, dedication and respect for their clients.

A Peek Inside the Inservice:

Whether or not you can TEACH compassion is a question that is hard to answer.  However, as a nurse educator, you can ENCOURAGE your nurse aides to be more compassionate.  Try sharing the following tips with your CNAs:

  • Remember to put your clients’ needs before your own.
  • Treat people fairly and with respect and dignity.
  • Show kindness without expecting rewards.
  • Get to know your clients.
  • Comfort your client’s family members who may be stressed and/or grieving.
  • Be sensitive and allow people to vent their frustrations.
  • Listen when people confide in you.
  • Be friendly to any new co-workers who seem to be overwhelmed.
  • Help a co-worker without being asked.
  • Try to understand someone you don’t like or with whom you disagree.
  • Accept people for who they are–faults and all!

Click here to see a sample page of “The Caring Qualities of a CNA.”

Do Your CNAs Work with Seniors?

Promoting Mental Health and Preventing Suicide: A Toolkit for SeIf your client population is comprised mostly of seniors, the National Mental Health Information Center has some terrific (and free) resources for you.  As you probably know, mental health is a big issue for seniors.  In fact, people over age 65 have one of the highest suicide rates of any age group in the United States!

At the National Mental Health Information Center, you can download (at no charge) toolkits, fact sheets and staff workshops all aimed at preventing suicide and promoting optimal mental health among senior citizens.  All you need to take advantage of these materials is Acrobat Reader.

As your nurse aides provide personal care and assist with ADLs, it’s vital that they also pay attention to their clients’ mental health status.  If you are looking for additional mental health resources, don’t forget In the Know inservices.  We offer the following related topics:

Because your CNAs spend so much time with your clients, they are in a good position to notice changes in mental health.  So, be sure to arm your nursing assistants with the knowledge they need to make (and report) appropriate observations about their clients’ mental health.