Balancing Work and Life

Burnout is an all-too-common phrase in health care. Pair that with the nursing shortage and, as a McKnight’s article asks, it raises the question: Are nurses being cared for? While a healthy 93 percent of U.S.-based registered nurses report being satisfied with their career choice, a startling 98 percent state their work is physically and mentally demanding, according to a Kronos Inc. survey. Perhaps more concerning is that 83 percent of nurses surveyed say health care organizations today are losing good nurses because other industries offer a better work-life balance. Much of that imbalance is due to the lack of control nurses have over their schedules. Without getting too bogged down in numbers, 55 percent of nurses say more control of their schedule would alleviate much of their fatigue, according to the study. The article suggests giving nurses more opportunities to be involved with their schedules, and a more engaged workforce may follow.

Nurse Informaticists a Commodity

If you’re looking to break into nursing, becoming a “nurse informatcist” may be a solid start, with booming demand for the position and an average salary of more than $100,000, Forbes reports. As hospitals increasingly harness technology to improve the patient experience, such professionals are becoming more and more crucial. Hospitals can’t simply plop IT workers in to manage complex electronic health records systems. Rather, they need someone with a patient-centered perspective to help in preventing possible life-threatening mistakes, according to Forbes. That’s where the nurse informaticists comes in. There’s high demand for such pros on both coasts and in the Midwest, and it’s not just hospitals but also universities and tech startups seeking out these positions. “The field has really exploded,” Joyce Sensmeier, vice president of informatics at HIMSS, tells the publication.

Nurse’s ‘Angel Gowns’ Ease Moms’ Grief

Tess Soholt, of Star Valley, Minn., spent more than 40 years delivering babies as a nurse. Now, in her retirement, she’s working to ease the grief of parents who deliver stillborn infants by sewing “angel gowns” for them: tiny gowns or wraps meant to acknowledge the brief life of the child, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports. Soholt — who has personal ties to the cause — reuses wedding dresses to make them, and so far customers have donated 25 dresses. In addition, Soholt’s cause has inspired others to begin sewing the gowns.

Surgeon, Nurse Son Work Out Challenges

Father-son relationships can be complicated, but they are more so when the two are working together — especially as a doctor and a nurse. That unlikely scenario can be found at Advocate Sherman Hospital in Elgin, Ill., where John Brems, M.D., and Dan Brems, R.N., are colleagues — the father as a liver and pancreatic cancer surgeon and the son as a nurse in the ICU, according to the Daily Herald. Though now things are fine, it was an unexpectedly rough transition when the younger Brems started working there, the R.N. said. “The burden and awkwardness of being the surgeon's son added to the intensity of the job, and it was a lot to handle,” he told the Herald. After a couple of years, that pressure went away and now the relationship is viewed as an advantage in providing care. Dan said he knows exactly how his father operates, which makes things smoother, and he’s comfortable asking him frank questions.

Rapid Fire

Here are a few more nurse-related items that caught our eye in the past week:

  • Suffering a stroke has transformed the way that one JFK Medical Center nurse views patient care, according to NJ.com.
  • Yvonne Munn, R.N., a former president of the American Organization of Nurse Executives, passed away last month, according to AONE.org.
  • And finally, the state of Texas recently joined the enhanced nurse licensure compact, which allows nurses to have mobility across state borders, according to the National Council of State Boards of Nursing