Highlights from the 2016 OR Today Magazine Convention’s Key Note Presentation: An Interview with Phyllis

Original Article Featured in OR Today Magazine, November 2016 Edition


Do you believe that workplace bullying and incivility are the same?

No. Workplace incivility can best be defined as low-intensity unpleasant behavior that is rude, impolite, or inconsiderate. While the target can feel insulted or angry; an actual desire or intent to harm the other person is ambiguous. Anyone has the potential to behave inappropriately towards a coworker given the right circumstances coupled with a lack of self-management.

Workplace bullying however, is ongoing, offensive, abusive, intimidating or insulting behavior or actions directed at a person(s), causing the target to feel threatened, abused, humiliated or vulnerable. The person experiencing prolonged bullying can feel a range of psychological and physiological symptoms. The research supports that, those who bully, are very aware of their behavior and its effect on the others; even though they may deny that there is intent. Fortunately, there is only a very small percentage of the workforce that is capable of such sustained disregard for another individual.

So these behaviors are very different. Should the management be different as well?  

Yes, they should and I want to be clear as to why. The two keys here are insight and sustainability. The person who behaves in an uncivil manner has the ability to self-reflect on that indiscretion, feel remorse or regret and make the active choice to work on their self-management skills and achieve personal growth. A bully does not have this ability.

It is vital that we understand and accept that a nurse bully is a narcissist with a license. A narcissist lacks the capacity for empathy. The ability to reflect empathically on the consequence that one’s poor behavior has on another is vital for driving the desire to change. Bullies (narcissists) are incapable of this.

An uncivil staff member can gain insight though coaching and training. Positive, sustained changes in behavior can be noted within six to twelve weeks of working a clear emotional intelligence improvement action plan. A narcissist typically reacts in one of two ways to someone attempting to hold them accountable. They may escalate their behavior and retaliate or they will tell you what you want to hear and vow to reform. However, they cannot sustain any improvement because they lack a connection with the need to improve.

So why is managing bullying behavior in nursing so challenging?

This is a complex issue but one reason is that nurses are professional caregivers. Nursing leaders have a good deal of difficulty coming to terms with the fact that a bully/narcissist cannot be fixed. It is not a part of our caregiver DNA to “give-up” on someone. We talk ourselves into believing that if we just try a little harder that this individual will have an epiphany and the problem will be resolved.

The bully/narcissist is hoping that you will react exactly in this manner. They are experts at taking your wonderful qualities of empathy, patience and the need to heal and use them against you to achieve their goal of never being held accountable to sustained improvement. Essentially, we need to get out of our own way in order to take charge of this situation. Nurse leaders must try to accept that once someone shows you their true colors, you need to resist repainting them.

The only performance improvement plan for a bully/narcissist is a collaborative effort put forth by administration, human resources and the nurse leader that is time sensitive and rich with mandatory training. The documentation should discuss the need for improvement to be demonstrated within three to six months then sustained for six months as well.

Most bully/narcissists will not be able to withstand this type of scrutiny and may decide to move on. The others may stay but will find it very challenging to sustain the improvement. Should termination be the only option left, you can have the peace of mind that a sincere effort was made on your part; and twelve months’ worth of documentation to support your action.



7 Items Nurses Should Carry With Them:A Guest Post by Beth Martel


Being a nurse is a job that demands you to be prepared for different patient situations and you might need different items on hand at all times. If you are new to this profession, this article might help you to prepare your bag with all the items that signify your identity as a nurse.

Following is a list of 7 items nurses should always carry with them:

1.                      SCISSORS:

Being a nurse, you need medical scissors for cutting tape and dressings. A nice pair of scissors that is especially for nurses comes in handy and ensures the safety and comfort for the user. You can also buy a colorful pair of scissors that would make your identity and your work a little more colorful.

2.                      STETHOSCOPE:

Stethoscopes are the inevitable tool that every nurse should carry with them. It assists the nurses to examine the functioning of heart, veins and intestines by hearing them with the help of a stethoscope.

If you are brand-conscious, then Littmann stethoscopes will keep you happy because of their goodwill in the market. They are the best-selling stethoscopes you can find in all different designs you might be looking for.

3.                      HAND SANITIZERS:

Being a nurse, keeping your hands clean and bacteria-free should be your top priority. And for that purpose, you must always keep a hand-sanitizer in your bag that comes in handy when you are about to touch or treat a patient.

4.                      BLOOD PRESSURE MONITORS:

You must also keep a blood pressure monitor to keep a track of the patient’s blood pressure which you might have to check several times a day and a good blood pressure monitor would save a lot of your time and efforts of noting all the reading down and waiting for the machine to give the results.

5.                      MEDICAL GLOVES:

At times, you might have to some work that involves a lot germs and dirt that might leave your hand dirty and make you go ill which you cannot afford as a nurse who needs to be up and running all the time.

Therefore, medical gloves in your bag would act like a life saver for you in many circumstances. Make sure that you buy a giant box at once so that you do not have to fret for a long time.

6.                      MEDICAL TAPE AND DRESSINGS:

Whether you use it cover a wound of the patient or wrap it around patient’s arm after taking blood or injecting medication, use of dressings and medical tape is inevitable in this field. And it is highly recommended that you keep a good quality medical tape or dressings in your bag or your scrub pocket at all times.

7.                      THE NURSE TOTE BAG:

Last but not the least; you need a bag that has all the room for the items mentioned above including your personal stuff. Therefore, you can get one of the bags that are exclusively made for nurses with special compartments in it for your ease and better usability of the bag.

For a trendy nurse bag that can signify you identity well and make you look like a cool nurse with a good humor and liveliness, you can check out the nurse tote bags by Sarah.

Author Bio:

This post was written by Beth Martel. She is a mother of two, a medical professional and a humanitarian. She blogs at HealthyRecharge.com

Share The Care Organization wants to make you aware of a special opportunity from Road Scholar

Share The Care

STC wants to make you aware of a special opportunity from Road Scholar
Road Scholar
The Road Scholar Caregiver Grant has a rolling admission – and asks that applications be submitted at least 4-6 weeks before the start of the program. For example, for a program starting on December 8, 2016, it would be ideal to have the application in by November 4th. At this time, we have almost 770 US-based programs open for enrollment all the way through December of 2017, so there’s a lot to chose from.
Who is Road Scholar? 
Not-for-profit Road Scholar is the world’s largest and most innovative creator of educational travel adventures. Our mission is to inspire adults to learn, discover and travel. 
What is a Road Scholar Caregiver Grant? 
The Road Scholar Caregiver Grant is a unique respite opportunity for unpaid family caregivers to take part in a Road Scholar educational travel program. The grant is for Caregivers who are 50 years of age or older and provides an award of up to $1,300 to use toward a U.S.-based educational adventure that costs no more than $1,400. 
Who is eligible for a Caregiver Grant? 
A caregiver is eligible for a grant if … 
  • Their loved one is receiving home care, hospice, visiting nurse, LPN services, or comparable and related services. 
  • Their loved one is in adult day care, memory care, a nursing home or comparable or related facility.
  • They lost a loved one within the past two years who was in any of the above situations.
  • They live in the United States and are 50 years of age and older.
Why seek respite on a Road Scholar program? 
Participating in a Road Scholar program is a special experience of learning and community. Road Scholar programs are a wonderful way to feel revitalized, to make new friends and to spark creativity and intellectual curiosity. This unique Road Scholar experience could be especially helpful for caregivers who are experiencing isolation and feelings of depression, stress and anxiety. 
How does it work? 
The Caregiver Grant is an award of up to $1,300 applied to the cost of a U.S.-based Road Scholar learning adventure that costs no more than $1,400. Grant recipients are responsible for their round-trip transportation to and from the program. Road Scholar takes care of everything else: lodging, meals, field trips, transportation during the program and much more – it’s all included.
Learn more about Road Scholar Caregiver Grants 
For more information or to download an application, visitwww.roadscholar.org/caregivergrant. To request brochures to share about Road Scholar Caregiver Grants, please call 617-457-5429 or email scholarships@roadscholar.org.
Care to Share? Share The Care: http://sharethecare.org/ 
We would love to hear your caregiving stories, see your videos, share your pictures or advice on our website. Your stories and thoughts will help others that find themselves on the  paths that you have traveled.
View some of your stories here.
View some of your photos here.
View some of your advice here.
Contact us  here or by email

Meet Super Nurse Who Dresses the Part to Put a Smile on Sick Children’s Faces



“Super Nurse” Tobin Matthew has played all sorts of good guys at his Chicago hospital over the years, including hanging upside down as Spiderman – anything to put a smile on a sick child’s face.

4 Self-Care Tips for Family Caregivers A Guest Post by Rebecca Kennedy

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Family caregivers who neglect to take care of their own needs can quickly experience burn-out and exhaustion. Here are several important self-care tips for family caregivers to keep in mind.

There are many warnings signs that your senior loved one may be on their way to needing in-home care, such as difficulties in mobility, disorganization in the house, and forgetting to take important medications. As these signs become more and more apparent, family members can be faced with a difficult choice regarding who they will appoint as the primary caregiver of their aging loved one. In many cases, family members themselves may choose to step in as their loved one’s primary caregiver. This is a noble and selfless decision, but family caregivers who neglect to take care of their own needs can quickly experience burn-out and exhaustion.

Here are several important self-care tips for family caregivers to keep in mind.

Continue working in your current job if possible.

It’s easy for caregiving to transition into a full-time position, but many experts strongly urge family caregivers to continue working in their current job position. Not only does this provide a steady stream of income for both you and your senior loved one to live off of, but it also allows you to maintain a part of your identity that is unrelated to caregiving.

This can help prevent burn-out and provide an outlet for family caregivers. If working full-time hours simply isn’t possible in conjunction with your caregiving duties, consider asking your employee if you can cut your hours down to part-time work.

Develop hobbies that help you relieve stress.

Depending on their unique circumstances, family caregivers may feel stressed out, anxious, afraid, lonely, and even resentful. These are all normal and common emotions to experience as a caregiver, but it’s important to find an appropriate outlet that can help you stay on track mentally and emotionally.

Some options include:

  • Yoga, stretching, or meditation
  • Daily walks
  • Gardening
  • Journaling
  • Talking with a close friend

The best outlets are those that can be enjoyed from the comfort of your own home, where you can still keep an eye on your loved one. If you are worried that your negative emotions are beginning to take over your mental health, seek out professional help for yourself.

Don’t forget about your own physical health.

When you spend the majority of your days helping a loved one take care of themselves, it can be easy to start putting their health needs above your own. But if you allow your own health to go unchecked and un-monitored, you may in turn be compromising your abilities to adequately care for your loved one.

The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise, which could be as simple as a 20 minute walk every morning. Doing your best to carve out a small amount of time every day for physical activity can help you stay energized and motivated.

It’s also important to get regular check-ups and receive annual immunizations, which can help you feel your best and alleviate concerns about your own health.

Don’t feel guilty about asking for and accepting help.

When it comes down to it, there are only so many hours in a day and it’s just not realistic to think that you can “do it all.” It’s so important to know what your physical, mental, and emotional limits are, and to not feel guilty when you’re unable to exceed those limits.

Asking for help when you need it isn’t a sign of failure; it’s a sign of strength. If your friend or neighbor asks if there is anything that they can do to help, tell them what you need! If you need someone to stay with your relative while you attend to an appointment, or if you need someone to bring you some groceries while you deal with a mini-emergency at home, don’t be afraid to ask someone you trust.

Perhaps the biggest challenge of all for family caregivers is when the time comes when they need to start seeking out professional help. Depending on your loved one’s health condition and your level of training, it may be inevitable that you will need to bring in hired help. Keep in mind that you’re not “giving up” – you’re simply doing what is in the best interest of your loved one.

What self-care tips do you practice as a family caregiver? What has proved to be the most effective for you?