6 Tips for Creating a Healthy Workplace Environment

6 Tips for Creating a Healthy Workplace Environment

6 Tips for Creating a Healthy Workplace Environment

A healthy workplace environment is possible, but it takes cooperation to do that. Our place of work should be something that we love going to. It should be a safe space where employees can communicate openly, discuss issues, and work together to keep the company moving. But sometimes, misunderstandings among coworkers or employers do happen. A toxic workplace can sometimes be unavoidable. It’s part of the work-life, but it doesn’t always have to be like that. 

Why a Healthy Workplace Environment is Essential

Keep in mind that the people you work with have different ideologies, points of view, and opinions. One way or another, someone will clash with somebody at work. But wouldn’t it be nice if we keep our work environment a healthy and happy place for everybody? 

As nurses, we have our fair share of ups and downs in our workplace. What makes a company a great place to work? It can be perks, locations, and incentives, but creating a healthy work environment will retain employees. And to do that, here are helpful tips that you can apply: 

Give your employees a real voice

  • Employers need to create a space where employees can express their feelings. After all, that’s how you identify pain points. Feedback is one of the most valuable tools you can get, to improve the workplace. There are tools such as annual surveys, but they don’t result in timely action. 
  • Feedback is excellent in real-time; that is why your charge or manager must have excellent leadership skills to honor your voiced opinion. Are there issues with other units or staff, and how are these problems addressed in real-time? 
  • There needs to be change implemented post feedback, just like in the surveys. If things continue, this leads to lower engagement, and ultimately your staff will fail to voice future concerns. 

Showing appreciation every day

  • When was the last time you got a shout-out from your manager when you least expected it? Sometimes those little words of affirmation can give you a big boost of confidence, instantly improving your mood. Recognition is essential to let employees know that their hard work is valued. 
  • Meaningful recognition can dramatically improve employee engagement, retention, and satisfaction. What is a simple way to show appreciation? Maybe something small like having a day off on your birthday. 

Create an environment of psychological safety and trust

  • Creating an environment of psychological safety is where employees are comfortable being themselves. When an employee feels safe, there is a sense of confidence that the team will not embarrass, reject or punish someone for speaking up. 
  • On the opposite spectrum, employees will be scared to speak up if they fear failure, judgment, or disrespect. 

Clean and functioning workspace 

  • Nothing makes life more complicated as a nurse than dealing with faulty equipment. Equipment includes things like computers, scanners, glucometers, suppliers, etc. Nothing grinds our gears more than not having the proper equipment to complete our tasks.
  • In every facility we worked at, this has been a reoccurring problem. It only added stress to the nurse who’s already dealing with patients’ lives. In the current facility we work in, we salute them for having proper lift equipment in every room.

Empowering your team members

  • This multifactorial approach requires managers, HR, and anyone else in the chain of command. No matter how capable your workforce is, they still need support to be their best selves at work. It is important to establish open feedback to show that your organization listens and encourages the team to keep voicing their wants and needs. 
  • Get to know your employees on a human level. Taking the time to do this will help uncover the best way to empower them and create an environment that makes them feel safe.
  • Empowering team members should also include building team-building skills. Often, nurses work individually within their role, but employers can encourage teamwork to make a better workspace environment. We all felt that unit where nurses and staff come to ask you if you need help with anything. 

Promote wellness through a healthy workplace environment

  • Wellness can be overlooked in the workplace, but psychological, emotional, and physical are essential to having a healthy workplace environment. Being a frontline health worker requires us to juggle between chill mode and fight-and-flight. The constant release of cortisol in stressful situations can inhibit rational and logical thinking.
  • A healthy workplace should encourage breaks for shifts and be mindful of workloads. Encouraging employees to rest is overlooked in most healthcare, but it’s crucial to take a break and boost energy to continue a busy shift. Randomly, imagine if a unit invests in apps like Headspace to help mitigate stress?

Do you want a healthy work environment? Follow these tips here 👇

 

SHOW NOTES:

00:00 Intro
00:47 Plugs
02:27 Episode Introduction
04:23 Tip 1: Give your employees a real voice
07:20 Does annual surveys work?
08:50 Tip 2: Showing appreciation every day
11:06 Difference between Professional and Genuine Appreciation
12:41 The power of giving and take
16:16 Money as the solution
19:09 Tip 3: Create an environment of psychological safety and trust
21:57 Compromised and abused nurses
23:09 Inadequate Ratio
24:28 Tip 4: Clean and functioning workspace
26:38 Additional protocols for additional profit?
29:06 Nurse’s safety being last on the list
32:29 Tip 5: Empowering your team members
37:32 Being considerate to other practitioners, races, and cultures
42:09 Tip 6: Promote wellness
45:54 Incentive program for nurses

EP 160: Would You Rather – Nursing Edition

EP 160: Would You Rather – Nursing Edition

Would You Rather – Nursing Edition

You’ve probably heard someone ask you a would you rather question once in your life, right? How did you answer back? Life is full of options to take, and we have to make the best choices when faced with situations. Sometimes, these choices are not as favorable, but we make them work. And how we wish that our life, work, and relationships are easy as making a “this or that” choice. Wouldn’t that be more manageable? 

In this episode, we will be taking a break from our usual topics and let a little loose in this one. Today we will ask our “Would You Rather” questions nurse edition and share our thoughts about them. We hope you find this episode entertaining as much as we enjoyed answering these questions. Check it out!

Would You Rather: Nursing Edition Questions

  1. Would you rather do admission or discharge?
  2. Would you rather work a 24-hour shift or oversleep and be late for your shift?
  3. Would you rather redo your nursing school program or high school?
  4. Would you rather be punched in the face or spit in the mouth?
  5. Would you rather have a rude, ungrateful patient or a patient with a difficult helicopter parent/family member?
  6. Would you rather be a nurse on a cruise ship or a nurse at a music festival? 
  7. Would you rather have co-workers love you and your manager hate you? Or have your co-workers hate you and your manager love you?
  8. Would you rather be ignorant and blissful or smart and never happy?
  9. Would you rather have a C. Diff vs. GI Bleed patient?
  10. Would you rather do the laundry or the dishes for the hospital?
  11. Would you rather be the strongest man on earth or the smartest man on earth?
  12. Would you rather get shit slapped in the face while trying to subdue a psych patient or have to give a bed bath to a patient with bed bugs? 
  13. Would you rather love your hospital, pay, co-workers and managers and hate your city and your life outside of work? Or would you rather hate your hospital, pay, co-workers and managers but love your city and life outside of work?
  14. Would you rather have spilled urine on your pants or trach sputum on your shirt?
  15. Would you rather have vomit in your hair and mouth? Or poop down your shirt?
  16. Would you rather live the rest of your life as a Buddhist monk or be followed continuously by the paparazzi?

Join us as we answer these questions! Watch the full Episode 160 by clicking here 👇

TIMESTAMP:

00:00 Intro
00:53 Plugs
02:57 Episode Intro
03:42 Admission or discharge?
05:12 Work a 24-hour shift or oversleep and be late for your shift?
06:24 Redo your nursing school program or high school?
07:50 Punched in the face or spit in the mouth?
09:14 A rude, ungrateful patient or a patient with a difficult helicopter parent/family member?
11:05 A nurse on a cruise ship or a nurse at a music festival?
12:54 Have co-workers love you and your manager hated you? Or have your co-workers hate you and your manager love you?
14:14 Ignorant and blissful or smart and never happy?
16:26 C. Diff vs. GI Bleed patient?
18:00 Do the laundry or the dishes for the hospital?
19:33 The strongest man on earth or the smartest man on earth?
20:16 Get shit slapped in the face while trying to subdue a psych patient or have to give a bed bath to a patient with bed bugs?
22:49 Love your hospital, pay, co-workers and managers and hate your city and your life outside of work? Or would you rather hate your hospital, pay, co-workers and managers but love your city and life outside of work?
24:11 Have spilled urine on your pants or trach sputum on your shirt?
26:02 Have vomit in your hair and mouth? Or poop down your shirt?
28:25 Live the rest of your life as a Buddhist monk or be followed continuously by the paparazzi?

 

EP 147: Retirement Planning with Aaron Fonseca

EP 147: Retirement Planning with Aaron Fonseca

Retirement Planning with Aaron Fonseca

As nurses, it is our job to take care of not only our patients but our finances as well.

How are you handling your money? Are you planning to invest in something fruitful in the future? Do you have any financial literacy?

In this episode, we would like to introduce our guest Aaron Fonseca. Aaron is a financial planner specializing in 401ks and retirement for traveling healthcare professionals. He initially went into this field because he enjoyed helping people in figuring out how they want to save, what they want to save for, and helping them understand that not all money has to be saved. 

Questions we asked Aaron Fonseca:

  • Tell us a little bit about yourself.
  • How did you end up in finance and specifically finance within the travel healthcare community?
  • What are some pitfalls to avoid right off the bat when entering a new higher-paying career?
  • What are some retirement options that travel healthcare professionals have? Can they do the standard 401k?
  • Besides a savings account, what are better options for storing, investing, or growing money?
  • Difference between a budget and financial planning?
  • What’s the best way to go about buying an expensive new car or a home?

Where can we find Aaron? Social links: http://aaronfonseca.nm.com/

 

SHOW NOTES:

0:00 Introduction
0:49 Cup of Nurses Introduction
1:58 Episode Introduction
2:14 Meet Our Guest – Aaron Fonseca
2:44 What made you pursue finance?
6:50 What are the basic ways to start Financial Planning?
10:18 What’s the difference between IRA and 401k?
19:38 What percentage of your paycheck should you start to invest/save?
22:17 Financial Advice for New Nurses
26:06 Aaron’s Journey to Financial Literacy
29:41 What’s the process of Investing?
32:37 The Power of Compound Interest
37:41 High-risk Investments
42:26 Do you recommend putting money in Savings Account?
44:34 Aaron’s Life Outside Finance
45:52 How Covid Impacts Saving Habits
47:18 Where can people find Aaron Fonseca?

Setting & Measuring Your Goals in 2022

Setting & Measuring Your Goals in 2022

Setting & Measuring Your Goals in 2022

What is goal setting?

Experts say setting and measuring your goals is the act of selecting a target or object you wish to achieve. Sounds simple enough but setting goals is the easy part of this process.

The real challenge is not determining if you want the result, but if you are willing to accept the sacrifices required to achieve your goal. A great question to ask yourself is “What kind of pain do I want?” Your lifestyle might change drastically depending on the quest you take on. Are you ready to endure the boring and ugly process that comes before the exciting outcomes?

Everybody wants a gold medal. Few people want to train like an Olympian.

So first things first, we need to have proper systems in place to achieve goals. Here are some good examples of systems and goals:

  • If you’re a writer, your goal is to write a book. Your system is the writing schedule that you follow each week.
  • If you’re a runner, your goal is to run a marathon. The system you follow is your training schedule for the month.

In this example, we see that setting and measuring your goals are useful for setting the direction but systems are great for making progress and closing the distance on your goal. The system itself is what actually achieves the results. 

How to Set Goals: Three Basic Strategies

Ruthlessly eliminate your goals 

Think about this as your goals are competing with one another for your time and attention. Whenever you start setting and measuring your goals, you have to full focus and energy on your other pursuits. Sometimes this is pausing your other goals to focus on important goals. Other times you may just need to reprioritize yourself and reorganize where your attention should flow.

Ever heard someone say “If only I had more hours in the day!” What often looks like a problem of goal setting is actually a problem of goal selection. You don’t need more time, you just need to decide.

Stack your goals

Habit stacking works well to create a specific plan for when and where you will implement your goals, but also link your new goals to something you are already doing each day.

Example: 

  • Meditation: After I brew my morning coffee, I will meditate for one minute.
  • Flossing: After I set my toothbrush down, I will floss my teeth.

For example, in one study scientists asked people to fill out this sentence: “During the next week, I will partake in at least 20 minutes of vigorous exercise on [DAY] at [TIME OF DAY] at/in [PLACE].”

Researchers found that people who filled out this sentence were 2x to 3x more likely to actually exercise compared to a control group who did not make plans for their future behavior.

Set an upper bound

Whenever we set goals, we almost always focus on the lower bound. That is, we think about the minimum threshold we want to hit. Let’s reframe a few ways of thinking about this concept of setting upper bound goals. If you can do more than the minimum, why not go for it? 

Before: An individual might say, “I want to lose at least 5 pounds this month.”

After: “I want to lose at least 5 pounds this month, but not more than 10.”

Before: An writer might say, “I want to write at least 500 words today.”

After: “I want to write at least 500 words today, but not more than 1,500.”

How to Achieve Your Goals Consistently 

Showing up is more important than succeeding because if you don’t build the habits of showing up, then how can you close the distance between you and your goal?

Too often people set the right goals, but develop the wrong system. If you’re fighting your system every day to make progress, then it’s going to be really hard to make consistent progress. In the book Atomic Habits these are called Hidden forces. This hidden force is the environment in which you operate. Your ambition needs to align with the environment to make progress in the long run.

How to Align Your Environment with Your Goals

Even though we have free will at any given moment, we often make decisions based on the environment we are in. Whatever goal you choose to pursue, the environment should align with how you are setting and measuring your goals. 

For example, if you want to not check your phone in the morning, then sleeping with your phone next to your bed won’t make it easier for you to wake up and not check email or social media. Try to remove the chances of making that “default decision” 

A positive example would be; If you keep a water bottle with you throughout the day, then drinking water rather than soda is more likely to be the default decision.

Scientists refer to this process of making decisions as to choice architecture. The bottom line is: It’s very hard to stick with positive habits in a negative environment.

Here are a few strategies that are useful to better default decisions in your life:

Simplicity

It’s hard to focus on the signal when you’re constantly surrounded by static. It’s more difficult to eat clean when you walk into the kitchen and the fridge is filled with junk food. For most people multitasking is a myth. When in doubt, eliminate options. 

Visual Cues 

There is something called the Paperclip clip by Trent Dysmid. “Every morning I would start with 120 paper clips in one jar and I would keep dialing the phone until I had moved them all to the second jar.”

This is great for those that are visual people. Making progress is satisfying, with visual measures, it provides clear evidence for your progress. As a result, this will reinforce your behavior and add a little bit of immediate satisfaction to any activity. 

Opt-Out vs. Opt-In 

There is a famous organ donation study that revealed how multiple European countries skyrocketed their organ donation rates: they required citizens to opt-out of donating rather than opt-in to donating.

You can do something similar by opting in ahead of time like for a workout class for next week because you’re feeling great today. When that day rolls around, you have to give excuses to opt-out rather than motivate yourself to opt-in. 

How to Measure Your Goals

The last key factor for long-term progress on your goals is measurement. We as humans love to receive feedback. Can you recall how great it felt seeing your progress pic after working out for a few months? One of the most motivating things we can experience is evidence of our progress. 

Measuring your results, it’ll give you feedback and insights on whether or not you are making progress. We measure things that we are currently doing or improving in our goal. 

  • When I tracked my reading habit of 30 pages per day, I read more books.
  • When I journal my values, I began living with more integrity
  • When I measured my reps and sets during my workouts, I got stronger.

The trick is to realize that counting, measuring, and tracking are not about the result. Measure to discover, to find out, to understand. Are you showing up and making progress? Are you actually spending time on the things that are important to you? 

Source: https://jamesclear.com/goal-setting

Watch the full Episode 83 by clicking here 👇

SHOW NOTES:

0:00 Introduction
1:00 Cup of Nurses Introduction
3:13 Episode Introduction
4:44 What is Goal Setting?
11:31 Ruthlessly eliminate your goals
15:15 Stack your goals
16:18 Set an upper bound
19:25 How to achieve your goals consistently
20:04 How to align your environment with your goals
31:28 How to measure your goals

 

 

 

Are Staffing Agencies Overcharging?

Are Staffing Agencies Overcharging?

Are Staffing Agencies Overcharging? 

Over the years, the issues among overcharging staffing agencies have become a problem. Many nurses have been asking for a better ratio and higher pay for their services, but it all seems to fall on deaf ears. Even before the pandemic, this has been an ongoing issue among the nursing community. Now that we are facing a pandemic, the same problem still exists. 

In this episode, we will talk about the overcharging staffing agencies for nurses, how the pandemic affected nurses’ jobs, and even share some of our experiences as travel nurses. 

In the letter, Senators Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.) and Bill Cassidy, MD (R-La.), and Representatives Doris Matsui (D-Calif.) and David B. McKinley (R-W.Va.) wrote:

“We have received anecdotal reports that the nurse staffing agencies are vastly inflating the price, by two, three or more times pre-pandemic rates, and then taking 40% or more of the amount being charged to the hospitals for themselves in profits.”

They asked for an investigation by “one or more of the federal agencies with competition and consumer protection authority” to find any evidence of anti-competitive price patterns, price collusion, and higher pay for nurses due to the rate increases.

 Our opinion is that they will find out the rates are driven by supply ad demand. There isn’t not necessarily pricing fixing or gouging going on, just a shortage of nurses. 

Insider info: This started with Aya, who, at the start of the pandemic, where in New York they were charging like $350/hr bill rates. The hospital fired them and filed a complaint [1]. 

We don’t think this will have any impact on nurses as they have been underpaid for years. The market dictates the rate, not the agencies. Don’t forget that the hospitals got $35,000 for every Covid patient. 

What does AMN Healthcare say about this? 

AMN Healthcare is the largest travel nursing company, with a 17% market share, and most significant in allied healthcare staffing, with a 12% market share [2].

Kelly Rakowski, chief operating officer for strategic talent solutions at AMN Healthcare, wrote in an email to MedPage in a general response that its “pricing is agreed upon directly with our healthcare organization clients. Inflationary pressures and demand drive up the wages needed to attract clinicians to open positions. Any price increases are driven primarily by the compensation directly to healthcare practitioners.”

Several things contributed to the healthcare shortage; it was not only a national pandemic. The pandemic did two things: Increasing the direct number of patients needing care and driving some nurses out of the healthcare system due to burnout. 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the seasonally adjusted number of nursing and residential care facility staff on payrolls nationwide dropped by 157,000 from October 2020 to October 2021, to just under 3 million.

Hospitals in states like Pennsylvania and Dewelare say the hospitals cannot compete with staffing agency pay rates, which makes them unable to retain local nursing staff. 

Travel Nursing Fun Facts

The most popular contract spots are Texas, California, and New York. 

The most popular cities for travel nurses are: 

  • Denver, Colorado
  • New York, New York
  • Austin, Texas
  • Tucson, Arizona
  • San Diego, California
  • Dallas, Texas.

Only about 20% of people that start traveling go back to a perm job for more than two years. The highest paying contract for 36hrs is $5,000-$6,000 per week, gross [3].

The lowest paying contract for 36hrs is $2,000 per week, gross. 

Nurses will not travel for less than $2,000 per week, gross.

To watch the full episode, click here for more 👇👇👇

SHOW NOTES:

0:00 Introduction
0:48 Cup of Nurses Introduction
2:33 Episode Introduction
3:00 Are Staffing Agencies Overcharging?
4:03 Letter about staffing agencies that are overcharging
10:48 How travel nursing agencies work
13:33 What AMN Healthcare say about this?
23:58 Who’s paying for FEMA nurses?
26:31 Travel Nursing fun facts