Healthcare Workplace Spotlight: Managing Difficult People

adult aged baby care
Photo by icon0.com on Pexels.com

No matter where we work, we will surely have encounters with difficult people. However, healthcare workplaces can be home to high-pressure environments that do not always bring out the very best in the individuals that work in them. Factors such as stress, snap decisions, illness, and organizational hierarchies can all contribute to disillusionment that may lead to difficult behaviors from some people.

Some healthcare workers might have the terrible misfortune of working with a condescending boss, control-freak supervisor, micromanaging chief nurse officer, whiny coworker, mean-spirited patients or their verbally abusive family members and visitors. Regrettably, these folks are all relatable characters that are intertwined in the day to day theatrics of the modern healthcare workplace.

Medical-oriented workplaces such as healthcare facilities can be intensely stressful, so it is not particularly shocking that this type of environment does not always bring out the most noble qualities in people. In addition, those who do work in the healthcare sector have probably experienced more than one instance in which the difficult conduct of coworkers or managers has resulted in hard feelings long after the offending event.

Without further delay, if a healthcare worker happens to have a coworker or boss who is horribly difficult to manage in the workplace, here is a list of tips to help cope with the situation.

  • Make sure you are not becoming part of the problem. It is okay to complain as long as you come up with solutions to the issues you complain about. However, be careful to avoid falling into the trap of becoming a whiny complainer.
  • Tactfully confront the difficult coworker. During the confrontation, state the facts without becoming overly emotional. Communicate as assertively as possible. Take care to not become aggressive or passive in this confrontation.
  •  Focus more on the behavior and less on the difficult person. In reality, people usually are not the core problem. In fact, their behaviors are the problem.
  • Be future-oriented. Do not dwell on past occurrences. Do not continually revisit a difficult coworker’s past. After all, difficult people cannot change the past. Rather, they can only make alterations to their future behaviors.
  • Manage your expectations of others. Ask yourself if your expectations are truly realistic. If your expectations of proper healthcare workplace decorum and behaviors are too lofty, you might need to adjust them accordingly.

Good luck to every healthcare worker who is dealing with the hot-button subject of difficult coworkers. Please be aware that you are not alone in the fight to manage peoples’ difficult behaviors and habits.

REFERENCES

Employee Development Systems. (2007). Dealing With Difficult People: Participant Workbook. Retrieved April 9, 2019, from http://www.employeedevelopmentsystems.com/media/pdfs/DealingWithDifficultPeople.pdf

Advertisements

Four Reasons Healthcare Workers are Crucial!

Screenshot 2019-04-07 at 2.55.03 PM

Healthcare workers are of the utmost importance here in the United States as well as around the globe. Healthcare workers include every single person in the health system who delivers care either directly or on an indirect basis. Those who fall under the realm of healthcare workers would include physicians, nurses, physical therapists, patient care technicians, nursing assistants, physicians assistants, and other types of clinicians.

Why are healthcare workers so important? They are crucial for a number of compelling reasons. For one, they serve as patient advocates. Advocacy, defined as the earnest promotion of a cause, is an activity that healthcare workers routinely perform. Clinicians who render patient care regularly advocate for their patients to ensure that all of their needs regarding health are met in a timely manner. Effective advocacy requires a set of soft skills in addition to a degree of social finesse.

In addition, healthcare workers are crucial since they provide education to patients, families, communities and entire populations. Healthcare workers educate people on how to prevent health problems. They teach people how to properly manage disease processes, too. It is essential that patients receive education on proper disease management since dealing with chronic illness in the right manner can ward off deadly complications.

Moreover, healthcare workers are very significant because they deliver the ongoing care, assessment and observation that makes the ultimate difference in the outcomes of patients. In fact, competent healthcare workers are quite possibly the most vital elements in the recovery or stability of a patient’s health status (Stevens, 2009). In essence, healthcare workers provide patient care and keenly observe for changes in condition.

Finally, healthcare workers are important due to the therapeutic relationships they establish with patients. Healthcare workers do things to build relationships with clients that are cemented by trust, rapport, warmth, caring, compassion, human connection and honesty. These elements help patients feel confident and reassured regarding the care they are receiving. Patients will be more likely to care about their health statuses when they perceive that their health workers care.

Again, why are healthcare workers so crucial? They are important because they engage in patient advocacy. They are important since they provide lifesaving patient education. They are important because they deliver care and simultaneously observe for changes in patients’ conditions. They are important because they develop therapeutic relationships with patients that demonstrate caring, warmth and the ultimate level of compassion.

Become a healthcare worker in just a couple of weeks at Legacy Healthcare Careers! People in the Dallas /Fort Worth area of Texas can call (682)626-5266 to get started and be on their way to an exciting healthcare career! Train to become a nursing assistant in two weeks at Legacy Healthcare Careers, a small vocational school located in the DFW area suburb of Richland Hills, Texas. Job placement assistance is available.

RESOURCES

Community Tool Box. (2018). Overview: Getting an Advocacy Campaign off the Ground. Retrieved April 8, 2019, from https://ctb.ku.edu/en/table-of-contents/advocacy/advocacy-principles/overview/main

Stevens, A. (2009, June). What Role Do Healthcare Workers Play in Determining Quality Care? Retrieved April 8, 2019, from http://blog.sunbeltstaffing.com/medical-ethics/what-role-do-healthcare-workers-play-in-determining-quality-care/

Healthcare Workplace Spotlight: It’s All About How People Feel Around You

woman sitting on black chair near brown table
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

Here is a harsh reality of workplace politics that some people have not quite grasped: regardless of how well we are able to perform the technical and procedural aspects of our job duties, most employees will never get too far at work if people do not feel comfortable around them. Yes, the way people feel around us is very important. Some further elaboration on this phenomenon is needed, so here we go…

Many workers are amazing at the hands-on, technical aspects of their jobs. For instance, a nurse named Selma has approximately 10 years of experience in various areas. She is highly intelligent and has a masters degree in nursing. Selma has worked in a variety of higher acuity nursing specialties including interventional radiology, critical care, post anesthesia recovery, same day surgery, inpatient dialysis, and the emergency room.

Selma is proficient in a large number of technical and procedural hands-on skills that many other nurses have not fully mastered. For example, she is an expert at operating ventilators. She is also an expert at starting intravenous lines, accessing ports, running bedside hemodialysis machines, managing multiple IV drips, applying wound vac appliances, and performing comprehensive head-to-toe assessments of patients.

However, something is not quite right with Selma. She has had 19 jobs in her 10 year career as a nurse. Patients and families complain that she is not expressive or warm and that her bedside manner is cold. Coworkers would say she is very smart, but brutally honest and hard to be around for expended periods of time. Selma believes she does her work well, so she does not understand why she never manages to keep a job for long.

On the other hand, another nurse named Mamie also has 10 years of experience in a number of different areas. Mamie is an RN with an associate degree from a trade school and experience in lower acuity nursing specialties such as long term care, hospice, post acute rehabilitation, home health, private duty, doctors offices and seasonal flu shot clinics. Mamie has been at her current job at a nursing home for the past seven years.

Mamie does not have most of the hands-on technical skills that Selma possesses. Mamie does not know how to operate ventilators or access ports, and she is not terribly good at starting intravenous lines or managing IV pumps. While Mamie can complete patient assessments, she has never touched a dialysis machine. While Mamie knows how to apply wound vac appliances, she surely would not call herself an expert at this skill.

However, Mamie is beloved at work due to her cheerful personality and ability to make people feel good about themselves in her presence. She always offers assistance and has great interpersonal skills. After five years of dedicated work as a floor nurse and weekend supervisor at the nursing home where she is employed, she was promoted into the nursing administration department to serve as the facility director of nurses.

What is the difference between Selma and Mamie? Even though Mamie may be far less skilled in the hands-on aspects of nursing, her social skills are impressive. In other words, Mamie has mastered the art of causing people to feel comfortable around her. Mamie is aware that people do not care what a person knows until they know that the same person cares about them. Meanwhile, Selma has not yet figured this out.

The moral of the story is this: our time, interactions, encounters and experiences at the workplace will be made more pleasant and easier if people feel a sense of positivity and optimism in our presence. The initial step to induce comfort in people and put them at ease is to behave in a gracious and kindly manner toward everyone, regardless of who they are. After all, the way people feel around us is very important. Remember that.

Healthcare Workplace Spotlight: the Importance of Personal Hygiene

man person cute young
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

For starters, personal hygiene is defined as the various ways in which an individual provides care to his or her body. Personal hygiene is of the utmost importance for everyone in society, but this rings especially true for those who work in the medical field and healthcare industry. In fact, personal hygiene is so important in the healthcare field that it can mean the difference between life and death.

Why is personal hygiene so important? The human body can be an ideal place for many disease-causing microbes and germs to flourish and multiply. These microbes can result in illness for a person who does not practice good personal hygiene habits. In addition, the microbes can make the other people in the life of the unclean person extremely sick due to the fact that germs that cause disease are spread by way of direct contact.

What are some examples of poor personal hygiene habits for healthcare workers and others? Examples include wearing unwashed clothing and uniforms, not showering or bathing regularly, not brushing one’s own teeth twice per day, not routinely washing one’s hands, and failing to cover the mouth when coughing or sneezing. Unclean clothes, bodies, mouths and hands are all able to spread germs and make others ill.

For those who provide direct care to clients and patients, personal hygiene is so crucial that adherence to good cleanliness habits can mean the difference between life and death. For instance, unclean clothing contains dead skin cells and germs. A nurse aide who wears unclean scrubs to her workplace can spread germs to an elderly patient with a compromised immune system. The patient may develop an infection and die.

Certain types of patients and clients are more prone to contracting illness than others. These patients include the elderly, the very young, the unvaccinated, and those with reduced immunity due to acquired immunodeficiency virus (AIDS) or taking medications that suppress the body’s immune response. People with autoimmune diseases and those who have had organ transplantation often take drugs that lower the body’s immunity.

So, what are some examples of good personal hygiene habits that healthcare workers and others should practice? Some examples include taking daily showers or baths, brushing the teeth twice a day, washing the hands after using the toilet and before giving care or handling food items, wearing clothing that has been washed, ensuring one’s hair is clean, and covering the mouth when coughing or sneezing.

Good personal hygiene habits reduce microbial counts on a person’s skin and in the oral cavity, thereby minimizing chances of spreading germs that cause disease. Clean clothing does not harbor the germs that are found on unwashed clothes. Also, covering the mouth during a cough or sneeze keeps airborne and droplet germs from getting into the air, thereby preventing others in the immediate area from breathing them in.

Personal hygiene starts with at the individual level. It is up to the individual to do what he possibly can to protect himself, his family, the community, and the public as a whole. Good personal hygiene habits protect individuals, families, communities and the general public by reducing the number of disease-causing germs on peoples’ bodies. Personal hygiene is a health and safety issue. Remember that.

RESOURCES

Australian Government Department of Health. (November 2010). Good Personal Hygiene. Retrieved March 28, 2019, from http://www.health.gov.au/internet/publications/ publishing.nsf/Content/ohp-enhealth-manual-atsi-cnt-l~ohp-enhealth-manual-atsi-cnt-l-ch3~ohp-enhealth-manual-atsi-cnt-l-ch3.7

Healthcare Workplace Spotlight: Personal Care Group Homes

woman cleaning the floor near man sitting on sofa reading a book
Photo by Murilo Folgosi on Pexels.com

Entry-level healthcare workers can secure employment at a variety of facilities that offer direct care services, including group homes. A personal care group home, also referred to as a residential care group home, is a private house within a residential community that is staffed with direct care personnel who provide around-the-clock assistance with activities of daily living to small groups of four or more adult clients who live there.

Personal care group homes are generally set up to replicate homelike atmospheres that appeal to clients and families who prefer cozier environments and more personalized services than those offered by large corporate-owned nursing homes and franchise chain assisted living facilities. Instead of living with 120 other nursing home residents, a client at a personal care group home would have anywhere from three to nine housemates.

Most personal care group homes provide services such as meal preparation, laundry, transportation, housekeeping, medication administration, housecleaning and custodial care services. Custodial care is defined as non-medical direct assistance with activities of daily living such as showering, dressing, eating, grooming, toileting and mobility. Entry-level direct care workers who staff these group homes provide help with custodial care.

It is normal for personal care group homes cater to specific subgroups of clients. For instance, some group homes are only occupied by clients who are adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, whereas other homes have indigent clients who receive Medicaid. Still, some personal care group homes only accept financially secure elderly clients who are privately paying for their private or semi-private rooms with cash.

Most of the individuals who provide the direct custodial care to clients at personal care group homes are referred to as direct care workers. To become a direct care worker, a prospective candidate should have a high school diploma or GED, as well as valid state certification as a certified nursing assistant (CNA) or home health aide (HHA).

Even though it is possible to obtain a job as a direct care worker without a high school education or CNA certification, the rate of pay for this position will almost always be substantially lower without the aforementioned credentials. Therefore, it is advisable that entry-level healthcare workers obtain certification as a CNA prior to applying for positions as direct care members of staff at personal care group homes.

Call (682)626-5266 to enroll in two-week nurse aide (CNA) training classes at Legacy Healthcare Careers, a small vocational school in the Fort Worth area suburb of Richland Hills, Texas.

March is Autoimmune Awareness Month

Screenshot 2019-03-08 at 8.38.16 PM

The month of March is National Professional Social Work Month. In addition, March is National Nutrition Month. Since the professions of social work and nutrition are tightly interrelated with connections to the healthcare sector in a number of differing ways, a couple of previous posts had been devoted to these aforementioned month-long observations. Click here and right here to read these posts.

Well, March is also Autoimmune Disease Awareness Month. The whole purpose of Autoimmune Disease Awareness Month is to bring crucial awareness to the painful plights of the nearly 50 million individuals in America who are currently afflicted with autoimmune diseases. Many common illnesses such as type I diabetes, celiac disease, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis and Crohn’s disease are autoimmune in origin.

An autoimmune disease is one in which a person’s bodily immune response begins to destroy perfectly healthy tissues and organ systems, leading to illness. Eustice (2018) asserts that an autoimmune disease is related to a malfunction of a person’s immune system, which results in the body attacking its own tissues. When the immune system malfunctions, the body sees its own tissues as foreign and attacks those tissues.

In addition, more than 100 autoimmune disease processes exist, and approximately 75 percent of afflicted persons are females. Some other common autoimmune diseases include Graves disease, psoriasis, vitiligo, inflammatory bowel disease, hemolytic anemia, systemic lupus erythematosus, juvenile arthritis, vasculitis, Hashimoto’s disease, mixed connective tissue disease and autoimmune hepatitis.

Certain factors seem to place an individual at a greatly increased risk of developing an autoimmune disease process. Females of childbearing age, persons who belong to particular racial-ethnic backgrounds, people who have been exposed to certain triggers or environmental exposures, and individuals with a family history of autoimmune disease are at higher risk of developing an autoimmune response (Eustice, 2018).

According to Whitehill (2017), Autoimmune Disease Awareness Month provides the public with the optimal opportunity to continue to raise awareness of scleroderma, Raynaud’s disease and the multitude of other autoimmune-related health problems. In order for a widespread public health problem such as autoimmune disease to be solved, it must first be acknowledged and brought into peoples’ awareness on a large scale.

If autoimmune conditions receive more attention from the American public as well as deeply moneyed stakeholders such as large research universities and major hospital systems, financial investments in well-designed autoimmune disease research trials will most likely rise. The body’s autoimmune response definitely needs further investigation in order to find a cure and perhaps alleviate the suffering of millions of affected people.

More monetary investment in clinical and medical research is surely needed to enhance the day to day realities for those unfortunate individuals who are caught up in the midst of the autoimmune disease journey, as well as swifter access to innovative treatments (Whitehill, 2017). A blend of innovation, money, critical thinking, initiative, research trials and intense curiosity will be needed to fight the issue of autoimmune disease.

REFERENCES

Eustice, C. (2018, December 24). Autoimmune Disease Types and Treatment. Verywell Health. Retrieved March 10, 2019, from https://www.verywellhealth.com/what-is-an-autoimmune-disease-189661

Whitehill, N. (2017, March 7). Raising Awareness and Knowledge of Autoimmune Diseases for March. Scleroderma News. Retrieved March 10, 2019, from https://sclerodermanews.com/2017/03/07/raising-awareness-knowledge-of-autoimmune-diseases-for-march/

Healthcare Career Spotlight: the Nursing Facility Social Worker

adult business choices choosing
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

Firstly, social workers are educated professionals who assist people to meet unmet needs, address problems, and deal with various issues in their lives. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (2018), social workers work in a myriad of workplaces such as clinics, schools, social service agencies, hospitals, group homes, homeless shelters, settlement houses, community organizations, and private practices.

The main purpose of this posting is to bring light to the multifaceted role of the nursing facility social worker. The point of having a social worker in the nursing home setting is to ensure that the ongoing needs of the facility’s multiple residents are being met in a timely manner. In essence, nursing facility social workers contribute to residents’ socio-emotional well-being by working closely with them and their family members.

All nursing homes are required to have a comprehensive social service program to assure that each resident’s social and emotional needs get fulfilled. It is the social worker’s responsibility to assist in the oversight, operation, and staffing of the social services department at the nursing facility. In fact, some larger nursing homes utilize at least two social workers to manage all of the residents on their caseloads.

Social workers in nursing homes are responsible for doing admission assessments on newly admitted residents to determine their needs and make the transition to facility living easier. As soon as newly admitted nursing home residents adjust to life in the facility, the social worker involves them in the care planning process and participates in the plan of care for each resident as a member of the multidisciplinary team.

Nursing facility social workers might also complete tasks such as pre-admission screenings, provision of information on advance directives, do not resuscitate (DNR) forms, social histories, questionnaires, reviews of residents’ rights, appointment scheduling with external healthcare providers, quarterly assessments, progress notes, assistance with monetary matters, and referrals to outside professionals.

In addition to the admissions process, social workers are absolutely integral to residents’ discharge planning in nursing homes. In this sense, the discharge process may simply entail a transfer from one department (e.g., the skilled sub-acute rehabilitation wing of the nursing home) to another area, such as the long term care section of the same facility.

In the majority of other instances, a resident’s discharge involves a transfer to home, the hospital, a homeless shelter or another facility. In these types of discharges, the social worker would carefully assess the needs of the discharging resident and make arrangements to ensure that (s)he or the family is able to obtain certain goods and services that are needed once the discharge takes place.

Once the actual discharge is happening, the nursing facility social worker would assist the resident to acquire goods such as shower chairs, glucose meters, and other types of durable medical equipment (DME). The social worker would also set up important services, such as home health care, pharmacy delivery, outpatient physical therapy, community resources, and/or transportation. Social workers function as advocates.

In general, most nursing facility social workers work a full time schedule that consists of daylight hours. Furthermore, they must occasionally work evenings, weekends and holidays to catch up on their workloads. The vast majority of nursing home social workers work at a desk and have an office, although they must often visit residents and meet with families during care plan meetings.

The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (2018) asserts that the employment of healthcare social workers is projected to increase by approximately 20 percent through the year 2026, which is notably faster than the average for all occupations. Nursing home social workers remain in steady demand because of the assistance they provide to aging residents and their families while they adapt to the institutional facility lifestyle.

REFERENCES

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. (2018). Social Workers. Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/social-workers.htm#tab-1

February is Turner Syndrome Awareness Month

Screenshot 2019-02-25 at 4.56.47 PM

February is Turner Syndrome Awareness month and, since this website definitely has an orientation toward the medical field and various issues that pertain to healthcare, this month-long observance deserves an honorable mention and a posting of its own. After all, the point is to raise some much-needed awareness regarding the rare disease process known as Turner Syndrome.

Turner Syndrome is a rather uncommon health problem that afflicts about one in every 2,500 females. This syndrome, which is not inheritable and affects only females, arises due to a chromosomal abnormality. It happens whenever all or part of of a girl’s second X chromosome is either completely or partially absent.

Turner Syndrome develops at the time of conception; in addition, approximately 99 percent of all Turner Syndrome pregnancies do not ever survive. In other words, a female infant who is born with Turner Syndrome has beaten the odds since the vast majority of women who are pregnant with Turner Syndrome babies do not carry them to full term due to fetal demise.

The visual, physical outcome of Turner Syndrome is a notable constellation of telltale signs and symptoms that can vary in severity from mild to profound. Girls with Turner Syndrome tend to present with the following characteristics: an unusually short stature, slower bone growth than usual, horseshoe-shaped kidneys, heart abnormalities, issues with hearing, enlarged hands and feet, and broadened chests and shoulders.

Other physical traits attributable to Turner Syndrome include webbed necks, deformed elbows, narrow palates, thin teeth and puffy extremities. In addition, girls with Turner Syndrome usually have absence of menstruation and suffer from infertility. A large number of females with Turner Syndrome have high blood pressure (hypertension), which is thought to arise due to kidney abnormalities and/or aortic constriction.

Due to the fact that February is Turner Syndrome Awareness Month, the overriding goal of this posting is to spread awareness about this disease process to as many members of the general public as humanly possible while also offering wholehearted support to the many parents of little girls afflicted with this disorder. Approximately 80,000 females have been diagnosed with Turner Syndrome in the United States to date.

Even though there is no known cure for Turner Syndrome at the time of this writing (2019), it is very much manageable when the female patient is placed under the care of a competent healthcare provider who is knowledgeable regarding its ongoing medical management.

REFERENCES

Martell, J. (2018). Raise Awareness of Turner Syndrome During the Month of February! Retrieved from https://patientworthy.com/2018/02/23/raise-awareness-turner-syndrome-month-february/