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.
Welcome to 2018! What will be different this year? What will make you successful, and what have you failed to do in past years that led you to now?
A New Year is a time for reflection and a chance to DEFINE-DECIDE-DO!
- Define who and what are important in your life!
- Decide to live accordingly!
- Do what is needed to create a better you, including: deep breathe, meditate, reframe events that cause stress, eliminate energy robbers, establish clear boundaries, sleep, smile, and laugh a little.
Welcome to 2018! You have a unique opportunity to make it different from last year; you just need to Define-Decide-Do. Are you ready to start?
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!
So you’ve arrived on campus to begin or continue your undergraduate studies! Perhaps you are a returning graduate student focused on completing your education and moving on with life! There is so much to do, and no time in which to get it done. The first few days can be hectic until you are settled into a routine. And, then what? Suddenly what appeared to be an easy transition has become a life challenge, and you wonder how you will ever manage the process and get through each day you’re your mind intact.
Sound familiar? That is because college can be a challenging and stressful time for students, both grad and undergrad, and learning how to adapt while creating work/life balance is critical to one’s success and survival. And, it does not stop with work/life; what about academics and social activities? What about sports, family, and more?
I’ve heard students say that college life is like a tightrope; there are so many entities tugging at you for time and attention, and you may be overwhelmed. You have your academic workload, your growing social circle and all their activities, your friends and family back home, career and/or grad school decisions to make, your physical fitness to attain or maintain, work hours, and your spiritual well-being to nurture. Add roommate problems and boyfriend/girlfriend relationship issues, and now you know why you are over your head with concern.
How can you cope? Use these 5 simple tips for finding life balance in college, and begin to deal with the distractions that you would otherwise face:
- Have realistic goals
- Develop good study habits
- Manage your time wisely
- Try healthy eating
- Exercise and learn when to say no, and when to let go!
Back on campus and back to stress…make an effort to remain stress-free and on-track this semester!
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!
Do you have happy feet? Do they thank you at the end of a long day for taking care of them, or do they hate you for squeezing them into tight shoes, putting in too many steps, or wearing stilettos?
Summer is here, and it is high time to get off on the right foot – with your feet that is!
There are so many things that you can do to keep your feet happy this summer and beyond. Start with the following steps:
- Soak your feet in warm water for at least 10 minutes. To enhance pampering, add Epsom salt, herbal soaks or oils.
- Use a pumice stone or foot file to gently remove calluses around heels, balls and sides of feet.
- Eliminate dry, flaky skin using a gentle exfoliant on the soles, sides and tops of feet.
- Hydrate skin and increase circulation by massaging a generous amount of emollient-enriched lotion all over your feet.
- Consider using essential oils or aloe crème.
- To minimize the risk of ingrown toenails, trim nails straight across to just above the top of each toe.
- Lightly wrap feet in plastic wrap before bed to lock in moisture.
- If circulation is an issue, consider a pair of magnetic insoles for sleeping (tucked into your socks).
- Hydrate – the toxins need to be released from the body.
- Allow regular intervals without nail polish to let the nail bed breathe.
- Consider toxin-free nail polishes.
- Wash your feet daily with soap and water and dry thoroughly, especially between the toes.
- See a healthcare professional (podiatrist) in the event of any change in the condition of skin or toenails.
- Inspect your footwear from previous seasons and discard any shoes that show excessive wear.
- Invest in a good pair of walking shoes.
Happy feet will last a lifetime…keep yours in good shape!
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!