Screenteens…did they learn it from us?

Have you ever wondered why teens cannot part with their devices?  Have you ever wondered about the long-term effects of round-the-clock use of devices? With 5G on the horizon, should you be aware? Is it time to join the bandwagon and realize that sleep and peak health are compromised.

Where do our teenagers learn to text before bedtime, immediately upon arising, and sometimes throughout the night? They learn it from us! Think about your own level of connectivity and how often you part with your device.

Some teens sleep with the phone under the pillow – it would be a tragedy to miss an important text (is there such a thing as an unimportant text)? Parents, do you sleep with the smartphone in your bedroom; do you use it as an alarm clock?

People, yes, including parents, use their devices all the time. Jean Twenge warned us in her 2017 book “IGen” of the ill effects of social media and smartphone use by teens. Studies in medical journals and research by Professor Curtis Bennett of IHFGlobal – https://www.facebook.com/groups/IntegrativeHealthForum/about/ show that those who keep their devices next to them during sleep do not sleep well. A blue light emitted by the screens of mobile devices is often associated with poor quality sleep.

Have we reached a point of addiction? Is the device now an appendage, and if so, how can we break loose? the concerns are real and Screenteens will continue to use their devices 24/7/265. Let’s increase awareness and play safe during use!

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Are you ready…to live and work stress-free?

Enjoy this podcast on living and working stress-free as a nursing professional.

We’re back with another episode of the Mastering Nursing Podcast! This episode, we’re covering an incredibly important topic for nurses… work-life balance. Our guest helping Nurse Keith explore this important topic is Sharon Weinstein, President/Founder of SharonMWeinstein and Chief Executive Officer of SMWGroup.

Sharon educates and trains in high-stress industries like healthcare, hospitality, and human capital. She learned so much from her experience working 100 hours a week, in three countries per week… finally realizing that she needed to “get a life.” Sharon is also the author of the award-winning B is for Balance… so needless to say when it comes to this topic, she’s a true expert.

What You’ll Discover in This Episode:
  • How to live your most satisfying, balanced, and courageous life and career.
  • Why balance is so important to health and happiness.
  • That being well hydrated and rested will actually increase your ability to work at your highest level and be more effective in the world, not to mention healthier.
  • That the 21st-century workplace is complicated, and self-care is crucial for personal wellness and professional survival.
  • The concept of nursing serial entrepreneurship.
  • How to make your nursing world your bigger world.
  • Plus more!

https://nursingdegreedatabase.com/podcast/weinstein-02/

Baby, it’s cold outside!

I worked in the former Soviet Union for over 15 years and spent many a Russian Winter in Siberia, Kazakhstan, Murmansk (north of the Arctic Circle), Armenia, and more. I also hosted scores of native Russians here in the United States during Chicago’s very cold winters. Once during an ice storm to Niagara Falls, it was too cold for any of us to get out of the van.

With an apartment in Moscow, I had to deal with windows that were not insulated (I think that they intentionally had open areas between what should have been weather-strip and the frame).  I once spent 2 weeks in Armenia during a winter storm when there was no heat, no hot water, and I slept fully clothed (including boots, scarf, gloves and coat). The snow came into the window (it did not close) as fast as it was coming down. The bedroom was an alcove within a central room; there was no door- just a curtain, and I felt the cold.

My hints for dealing with cold weather, which to me translates to single digits, is as follows:

  • Wear layers, including silk long-johns that insulate the entire body; yes, wear layers indoors as well as outside
  • Use glove warmers when possible (yes, they do work)
  • Consider a dual foot warmer that works like a heating pad, warming those tootsies before you have to get into bed with cold feet
  • Travel with a water boiling device that you place into a glass of water to create tea/coffee/hot chocolate
  • Pour yourself a glass or mug of hot water and wrap your hands around the cup to enhance warmth
  • Remember that heat loss through the scalp can be intense; keep your head covered with more than earmuffs; use a warm hat
  • Snuggle up; transfer of body heat is a great way to share the warmth and enhance the relationship
  • Keep a blanket in your car, along with an ice scraper, bag of sand or salt, mini shovel (from a toy store)
  • Keep your windshield wiper raised during a storm
  • Keep your gas tank filled; do not risk having to locate a gas station, and/or pump gas in extreme weather
  • If you attend sporting events in the cold, like I once did during a Bears’ playoff, make frequent visits to the restroom to warm your hands on the radiator.

Yes, you can survive and thrive during frigid weather – if you are prepared.

 

Take time for YOU this holiday season

You work long hours; perhaps you work multiple jobs. Perhaps you do it because you need the money to survive, to thrive, and to create happy holiday celebrations and memories for your family.

But, think about it!  You are only as good as you are to yourself. Take time this holiday season, and if possible, throughout the year, to be good to yourself. Sleep a little longer, hydrate (with water) a little more, play with your kids (outdoors instead of connected to WiFi), make healthier food choices, go to the gym.

Whatever you do, make it about you, and the quality time you will spend, the benefits that you will reap, and how this holiday season will outshine others. How will that make you feel?

Diversity has many faces

How does your organization measure the success of the system’s diversity and inclusion efforts?  Do you look at the percentages of employees from ethnic groups?  Do you look at your patient base and the communities you serve?

Today, diversity has many faces!  The measure of success is determined by the health of the community the system serves. How prevalent are chronic diseases like hypertension, diabetes, obesity, asthma and more?  Are the morality and morbidity rates associated with those conditions greater within minority populations.

Diversity is about more than the color of one’s skin. According to Mike Supple, executive vice president of B.E. Smith, consider the following:

  • Racial/Ethnic including a plan to increase the ethnic, cultural and racial diversity of the senior leadership team
  • Gender – although 80% of the healthcare workforce is female, women remain underrepresented in the boardroom and C-suite
  • Generational – according to the Deloitte University Leadership Center for Inclusion, millennial see diversity in terms of demographics/equal opportunity; their older colleagues define diversity as a mix of experiences, identities and ideas
  • Experiential – a diverse workforce comprised of professionals with different skills sets, including those without healthcare backgrounds, could add great value to an organization
  • Cognitive – requires innovation and collaboration

As healthcare professionals, our goal is to make a difference. We entered the healthcare space to make a difference in the lives of others.  “Others” is a global term, encompassing everyone, everywhere.  Make diversity a part of your strategic plan; walk the talk and avoid symbolic team members. Be authentic in your approach!  Yes, diversity has many faces; it is time to diversify!

Who owns fatigue?

We are all stakeholders in the fatigue management process, and we all own it!

The employer can do much to shift the paradigm and create a culture of safety, wellness, and caring. Clear and compelling visions start us along a path of generating a future we deserve to have. In the healthcare setting, everyone assumes responsibility for patient safety and good outcomes.

Any employee is responsible for practicing healthy behaviors that reduce the risk for working while fatigued or sleepy, result in arriving to work alert and well rested, and promote a safe commute to and from work. This is true regardless of the industry in which one works! This responsibility might require that you reject a work assignment that compromises the availability of sufficient time for sleep and recovery from work – for example, when your shift ends at midnight, and you are expected to return to work, fully rested, by 7:00 a.m. We all have different recovery times. Our bodies and minds are unique, and this concept often involves scheduled shifts and mandatory or voluntary overtime. It is everyone’s responsibility to address one’s own, as well as co-worker, fatigue. Employees must be responsible and know their limits.

The system predicts the outcome, and the system must ensure positive outcomes for staff, clients, the public, and patients.

Attach a sense of urgency Partner with staff to ensure consistency of policy and procedures
Create a collaborative work environment Educate and empower staff
Identify the areas and practices that may result in staff fatigue Prioritize fatigue countermeasures and monitor effectiveness
Evaluate staffing and scheduling practices Offer opportunity for feedback and ideas for improvement
Engage staff in recruitment and retention activities and promote innovative strategies Follow the system

“I’m a workaholic, so I ignore the signs of fatigue and just keep going and going, and then conk out when I get home.

It can be pretty stressful.”  Keke Palmer

Who owns fatigue…we all do!

Beginnings…your time and mine

Have you ever thought that your life and your time were not your own? I have! And, it was true in so many ways. My life is simplified now, compared to the years between 1992 and 2004, when I worked about 100 hours per week and traveled monthly to countries in Eastern Europe. At that time, I directed the office of international affairs for a large hospital alliance, and 50% of my time was subcontracted to the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). My role was to foster international partnerships between U.S. hospitals and their foreign counterparts. I loved the work, I loved the people with whom I interacted, and I loved my job. The hours were extreme, and I found myself in a constant state of catching up that left me always tired. Now, with a self-imposed work week of 40 hours, I feel I have dramatically simplified my life. I have time to work, write, teach, be with family, and give back to society. I have simplified my life by keeping up with less, not more.

I’ve taken lessons learned in less developed countries to heart as I have simplified my life. In my travels, I witnessed firsthand how simple life can be. Immediately following the earthquake in Yerevan, Armenia, on December 7, 1988, the only decent housing was in a former government hotel. Although the hotel offered neither heat nor hot water, I had a roof over my head and a clean bed. When there was no food in the hospital, our hosts offered bread. We ate it with an appreciation for what we had. With neither heat nor hot water, we made do. Our colleagues lacked so much, but their refinement of spirit and passion for their work were unsurpassed. They lived a simple life and yet a life of gratitude.

Now, as I visit that same part of the world and see the progress that has been made, I am sometimes saddened by the fact that my friends are now living more complex lives, just as I once did. They too are burning the candle at both ends; they too are dealing with carpools, school-aged kids, aging parents, and work/life balance. Call it progress…I do not!