Are Your CNAs In the Know about Sexual Harassment?

Regardless of your political leanings, there is no denying that the current presidential election has brought the issue of sexual harassment to the forefront.  As healthcare professionals, we know that sexual harassment is an important topic, mandated as part of every employee’s training by the Joint Commission, OSHA and state regulations.

Still, it seems as if most women (and some men) have at least one story to tell about a time they were sexually harassed.  Mine occurred many years ago, when, as a 22-year-old college senior, I landed an internship at a well-regarded children’s hospital.  Back then, parents weren’t allowed in the pre-operative area, so my role was to stay with the children and tend to their physical and emotional needs prior to surgery.

One day, as I was comforting a seven-year-old boy who was frightened about his imminent operation, the anesthesiologist assigned to his case came up to the boy’s stretcher.  Loudly enough for the patient to hear, he said to me, “I sure wish you’d hold my hand, lean over me, and talk softly like that…but I’d want you to loosen another button or two on your blouse.”  His words shocked me; I blushed, feeling both embarrassed and angry, but kept my attention on my young patient.

Later that day, I told my supervisor what had happened.  In turn, she relayed the episode to the Chief of Surgery, who asked to meet with me.  He apologized on behalf of the department and said that the offending anesthesiologist would also apologize.  I was told that he had been reprimanded both verbally and in writing in his personnel file.  Soon after, the anesthesiologist did apologize.  He kept his distance for the remainder of my internship and I suffered no repercussions from reporting the harassment.

Looking back, I can’t help but wonder if I would have been so quick to report the incident had I been an employee at the hospital (instead of an unpaid intern).  Would I have potentially jeopardized my job and/or risked escalating the problem by reporting a man with whom I would have to work, day after day, month after month?  I’d like to think the answer is “yes,” especially because the physician’s offending behavior happened in front of a scared child whose life was soon to be in his hands.  But, of course, I’ll never know for sure.

Do your nurse aides understand what constitutes sexual harassment and how to respond if it happens to them?  Is “locker room talk” okay because it’s just words?  What types of actions are considered sexual harassment?  What if the offender is a person of power in your workplace?  What if the offender is a patient?

If your nurse aides could benefit from a better understanding of this important issue, consider our inservice, Sexual Harassment in the Workplace.  It answers all of these questions, and more.  And, because it is such a critical topic these days, we are offering it at a 25% discount now through November 11th.

Sexual Harassment in the WorkplacePlease note that while the inservice was written for nursing assistants and provides them with one hour of inservice credit, the information in the module would be useful for any and all of your employees.

Best wishes,

Linda

Linda H. Leekley BS, RN, President, In the Know

 

Help Your Nurse Aides Make 2016 Their Healthiest Year Ever!

In our last blog post, we shared some resources that may help your nursing assistants ring in the New Year with a healthier outlook on life!  As we all know, one of the biggest health issues across America is the obesity epidemic…and those of us in the nursing field are not immune from it.  More than half of all nurses and nurse aides in the United States are overweight.  This isn’t surprising when you consider that nearly 70% of all Americans weigh more than they should for optimum health.

Let’s look back in time. In the 1950s, about a third of Americans were overweight but less than 10% of them were considered obese.  By 1990, more than half of all Americans were overweight and nearly 25% of them fell into the obese category.  Today, at least 35% of American adults are suffering from obesity.

 

While there are many factors that contributed to this rise in obesity, one that has recently been discussed in the mainstream media is our culture’s obsession with low fat foods.  For decades, we’ve been told to eat margarine, non-fat yogurt, skim milk…and to ease up on eggs, butter and other “fatty” foods.  Now, the experts are changing their tune.  Did you see the recent cover of Time magazine, declaring that butter is back?

 

A well-known nutritionist, Ann Louise Gittleman, has been trying to get across the message about fat for decades.  A New York Times bestselling author of 30 books, Ann Louise has this to say:

“For over 30 years, I have maintained my position against fat-free and low-fat eating.  I’ve shown how low fat can make you fat and why the right fats are the key to igniting effortless weight loss.  Eating the right fats can crush sugar cravings, stoke energy, promote longevity and ensure overall good health.”

In 1999, Ann Louise wrote a book called Eat Fat, Lose Weight.  At the time, her work was highly criticized by conventional dietitians, physicians and journalists.  Now, the nutrition world is catching up with her and Ann Louise is releasing an updated version of that book.  It is NOT a diet book but, rather, a primer that explains how eating a diet high in healthy fats (macadamia nut oil, anyone?) can help resolve health and weight issues.

Ann Louise has a special place in her heart for those of us in the nursing field.  Here’s what she told us:

“I have such great admiration for all nurses and nursing assistants. Thank you for being the real health advocates for the people under your care!  On a personal note, my niece, Shira, became a nurse recently and I couldn’t be more proud of her chosen profession!  And, during the extended care of my parents, the healing hearts and warm smiles of their nursing assistants and nurses filled me with gratitude.  All of you in the nursing field are truly unsung heroes and heroines. Please take as good care of yourselves as you do of others!”

While Eat Fat, Lose Weight is not a diet book, it does contain some fabulous recipes.  Here’s one that is going on my table during the holidays!

You can get the recipe for Avocado Key Lime Pie by clicking here.

If you would like to know more about Ann Louise’s work, check out her website.

And, if you are interested in reading Eat Fat, Lose Weight, you can take a look at it on Amazon.

The Health and Well Being of Your Nurse Aides

All of us at In the Know have boundless respect for nursing assistants.  Every day, they dedicate themselves to caring for people who are elderly, ill and/or disabled.  There aren’t enough words to thank them for all they do!

However, so many of us in the nursing field tend to take better care of others than we do of ourselves!  We are conditioned to put the needs of our patients/clients/residents first.  If that means only stopping for one bathroom break all day, so be it.  Or, if it means gobbling down a soda and candy bar for lunch, it’s just the price we have to pay.  But is it?  Shouldn’t we follow the same healthy advice we give our patients?  You bet we should!

During the month of December, In the Know will be focusing on steps that nurses and nurse aides can take to nurture themselves and improve their health and well being.  And, what better way to start than with the subject most of us dread around the holidays…our weight!

Recent studies found that more than half of all nursing employees in the U.S. are overweight.  And, it’s not just Americans.  Our neighbors to the north in Canada share similar statistics for people in nursing: 45% of them are overweight and 14% are obese.  Stress at work, lack of sleep, poor eating habits and no time for exercise are all factors that can affect weight.

If you (or your employees) struggle with weight issues, here are some resources that may help:

Do you wonder whether your weight falls in the healthy range?  Visit this site and plug in your height and weight to find out.

How about exercise?  You’ve probably heard that to maintain a healthy weight, people should take at least 10,000 steps daily.  Ever wonder how many steps you take in one day?  If you (or your employees) have a smart phone, it can count them for you…for free!  Whether your phone is an Apple or Android, look for an app called Argus.  It will track your steps, your weight, your heart rate and more!  And, for a wealth of information about exercise and healthy living, check out a great website: Shape Up America.  In addition to information, the site offers motivational support for people struggling to control their weight.

What about stress?  Is it affecting the lives and health of your caregivers?  Share this online quiz  with your employees to give them some insight into their stress levels.

As we all know, information is power.  By sharing these free resources with your employees, you may help empower them to make healthy choices for themselves–today, through the holidays and every day to come!

 

 

17 Facts about In the Know CNA Inservices

THANK YOU!! Because of you, we’ve been a leading provider of CNA and HH inservices for 17 YEARS! It’s been our mission from day one to offer cost-effective inservice training without sacrificing quality.  Your nurse aides work hard every day and deserve exceptional continuing education to help them succeed! Scroll down for seventeen facts about In the Know!

17 Facts about In the Know!

  1. CNAs, home health aides and other frontline caregivers remain our sole focus. Why? Because they deserve our undivided attention.  And, because nursing assistants play a crucial role on the health care team yet they have the least amount of pre-employment education of any clinical employees. Effective continuing education is crucial for their professional growth!
  2. In 1998, Handwashing was our first topic. Now, our library exceeds 200 modules. And, new topics are added monthly!  Here are our latest offerings.  Do you have a new topic suggestion?  Click here to tell us what topic you’d like to see in our library!
  3. A 60 day guarantee has been in place since our first day in business.  We believe in our product.  If your are unsatisfied for any reason, we offer a 60 day money back guarantee.  Just ship all of the materials back to us and we will offer you a full refund.
  4. Our “Classic” format was introduced in 1998 and is still our bestselling format!  Initially, it was offered in paper format only. Over time, based on your feedback, we added different delivery formats. Keep reading for more info…
  5. Floppy disk was our second format offering.  Of course, over the years, that evolved into CD Format! Having a CD filled with inservice PDFs keeps your files together in one place and allows you to print topics at will.
  6. About ten years ago, we added the option of email delivery.  Email format is perhaps our most convenient choice, and perfect for organizations who need materials quickly. Your inservice purchases are sent to the one email address of your choice.  Educators may then save the files to a computer for future use!
  7. Some customers still choose our original “Paper” format.  With paper format, a master copy of each inservice is sent, already printed and assembled within a clear plastic binder sleeve.  It is then the educator’s responsibility to photocopy the modules for their nurse aides–and to maintain that master paper copy. Generally, paper format is chosen only by organizations who do not have easy access to a computer.
  8. Based on your feedback, we added E-Learning to our offerings.  In the Know introduced a brand new E-Learning program within the last couple of years.  Your CNAs can complete inservices on our website. Educators can track each nurse aides’ progress to ensure that everyone is up to date!  Check it out here.
  9. Registered Nurses continue to write all In the Know inservices. Our team of writers have experience in home care, hospice, long-term care, hospital nursing, healthcare management and staff development. They perform extensive research to make sure each inservice contains the most recent information. We choose our inservice topics based on suggestions from customers as well as current “hot issues” in medicine, Medicare and JCAHO.
  10. In the Know maintains an Advisory Board consisting of registered nurses, human resource professionals and desktop publishing experts. In addition, we regularly solicit and encourage feedback from all our customers.
  11. In 1999, we began offering a free sample module on our website.  Today, you can still try us for FREE!  If you haven’t tested our inservices with your nurse aides yet, why wait any longer?  Right now our topic “How to Prioritize Your Work” is free and ready to download.  Just pick your format (or try them both!): Classic or E-Learning.
  12. Our goal has always been to keep CNAs in the know.  Periodically, we create free Fact Sheets.  You can find a number of these free ‘fact sheets’- 2 page info sheets spotlighting important and timely topics–on our website.  See the list of titles here.
  13. Our prices have been stable for more than a decade–so that we can offer your facility a cost-effective inservice program. For 17 years, our mission has been to meet the learning needs of your paraprofessional staff, encourage their critical thinking and professionalism, and save you valuable time and money.  We offer several different inservice plans- such as our bestselling GOLD Plan which offers your aides 13 hours of inservice credit!  Compare plans here.
  14. Clients like you tell us repeatedly that we provide great customer service! If you have any questions or comments about In the Know, please feel free to contact us at 877-809-5515 and one of our friendly associates will be happy to help.
  15. In 2012, In the Know published a book!  And that book became the basis for our Civility Training Program, an important tool to help you rid your workplace of incivility. The Joint Commission recommends education for all healthcare staff members on appropriate professional behavior. This program–complete with our book, ‘The Real Healthcare Reform‘ is the answer to that recommendation.
  16. In the early 2000′s, we began serving organizations with more than one physical location.  We offer significant discounts when you purchase materials for more than one office. Our Director of Corporate Relations, Maria Easton, is happy to answer any questions you may have about this program.  Or, contact her for your free consultation today! Click here to send her an email!
  17. In the Know keeps things current! We review and update our topics every two years. When an inservice is found to be out-of-date, our writers update the topic with at least 25% new information, a new quiz, new discussion questions and activities. If you are interested in purchasing updated inservices to titles you already own, call us and we’ll give you 50% off!  When you sign up for our Platinum Plan, you will receive these updates for FREE.
Thanks again for allowing us to meet the learning needs of your nurse aides–and, in turn–to make your job easier!  Our first customer in 1998 was a skilled nursing facility in Mississippi and, 17 years later, that facility remains a loyal customer.  That means more to us than we can express!
We appreciate all our customers–whether you are new to us or you have been with us for years. Should you have questions, comments or other feedback for us, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

 

Working as a CNA: Why I Stay

This week, Corey Rotella, CNA, shares her thoughts about what keeps her on the job. We’d love to hear from nurse aides everywhere so please add your comments about working in health care!

Anyone working as a nursing assistant has chosen a very challenging path.  Poor compensation, workplace politics, short staffing, conflict between coworkers, irate and difficult residents, miscommunication, heavy lifting and the loss of those for whom we care all make for a tough work environment.  I definitely have lock-myself-in-the-linen-closet-to-get-myself-together moments.  And, I have my weepfest-over-a-pint-of-Ben-and-Jerry’s-ice-cream days.  So, why do I keep coming back? Why do I stay?

First of all, I embrace the challenge. I thrive on it. In my life, it is a rare and beautiful thing to be able to bring order to chaos rather than the other way around.

And, while I detest warring egos and unnecessary gossip, I love that I have learned how not to engage in it. This career has shown me the absolute necessity of leading by example. I have outlasted three changes in management in my facility. Some were great, some were terrible, but in one way or another, I have learned from them all and it’s the lessons more than anything that keep me coming back.

For example, I’ve learned how to resolve conflicts, the importance of dedication and flexibility, how to excel in the face of difficulties and that work ethic comes from within.  For every negative aspect of the job, I can list at least ten positive ways that I’ve grown.

But the real cherry on top is what I have learned from my residents.  They inspire me every day. To live with cerebral palsy, Parkinson’s disease, cancer or dementia and still laugh and love and find joy is nothing short of amazing.  It’s such an incredible gift to be a part of their lives…to walk them through the tough days and celebrate with them during their triumphs.  They have shown me the uselessness of the word “impossible.” Most importantly, they have taught me:

COURAGE: the mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty

HOPE: To place confidence; to trust with confident expectation of good

HUMOR: the mental faculty of discovering, expressing or appreciating the ludicrous or absurdly incongruous

By watching my residents, I learned to strive for these three traits…and to demonstrate them daily in both my work and my personal life.  As a result, I have not only saved my sanity, I also vastly improved my quality of life.  At the end of the day, I love what I do!

Is everyday sunshine and rainbows? Are my residents always a delight? Of course not. But every day is worthwhile.  Every day, I get to be a part of the solution.  I get to make a small difference in my corner of the world.  I get to know why I am here and that I have a purpose. To me, that is priceless.

I would love to hear your stories. What brought you to the field of nursing and what keeps you here? After all, we learn from each other, too!

Until next time,