Nursing Ranks Among the Most Dangerous Careers

If somebody were to ask you which occupation saw more back and musculoskeletal injuries per year, construction laborers or nursing assistants and orderlies, which would be your guess? Believe it or not, the answer is nursing assistants, orderlies, and healthcare staff- and the margin of victory is not even close. An article by NPR declares that the laborers of this category are prone to suffering approximately three times the amount of back/musculoskeletal injuries as construction workers.

According to surveys by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are over 35,000 various on-the-job injuries (predominantly in the back and spine) that require a leave from work among nursing and healthcare employees per year.

What is it in a nurse’s workday that causes so many staffing injuries? The culprit is the lifting and transporting of patients. Many orderlies and nurses assistants are tasked with hoisting patients and invalids that weigh in at 300 pounds or more. Doing this day after day takes a veritable toll on the back and spine, and each year thousands of workers feel the consequences.

What’s more, it appears that there is no way to sidestep the mishaps that accompany lifting and moving patients. NPR reveals that hospitals and nursing schools are teaching nurses lifting methods that put them in great risk of inadvertent, career-ending back injuries. William Marras of the Spine Research Institute of Ohio State University tells NPR, “The bottom line is, there’s no safe way to lift a patient manually. The magnitude of these forces that are on your spine are so large that the best body mechanics in the world are not going to keep you from getting a back problem.”

So, the age-old “bend your knees, keep your back straight, and lift with your legs” technique is facing increased scrutiny. Clearly, the new consensus is that hospitals need to find alternate methods of raising and hauling patients. NPR reports that some hospitals, such as Florida’s Baptist Health System and the Department of Veterans Affairs have reduced staffing injuries by nearly 80% by utilizing mechanized processes for patient-lifting.

While there are several progressive medical systems that are implementing machines to perform these task, the majority of hospitals and healthcare facilities are not making a concerted effort to reduce staffing injuries. It appears that until there is a more serious, committed effort to change policy, nurses and orderlies will retain their high rank on the list of occupational injuries.

Survey Shines a Light on Nursing Trends

CareerBuilder recently conducted a survey about the nursing profession, in which they measured nurses’ sense of loyalty and satisfaction with their field, the training they find essential to success, and their opinion of the impacts that changes in health care have had on their effectiveness.

Responses from approximately 900 nurses across the country can help health care executives make better decisions about recruiting, retaining, and properly rewarding their nursing staff.

The full results of the study are currently available, and CareerBuilder will present a free webinar discussing how healthcare organizations can integrate those results into their ongoing strategies. In the meantime, below are five of the study’s most interesting results:

5) 58 percent of nurses believe that health care changes have made the workplace less efficient.

4) Half of nurses surveyed believe technology helps them do their jobs faster.

3) Two out of three nurses reported having a mentor on the job – mostly in hospitals and hospice settings.  In facilities without a nurse mentoring program, 41 percent responded that management has not picked up on the idea and 43 percent say that potential mentors are too busy.

2) 67 percent of nurses reported that on the job training was as helpful as or more helpful than their formal training.

1) More than 80 percent of nurses would recommend a career in nursing to others. (Is your job satisfaction that high?)

For more in-depth applications of the study’s information, we recommend taking advantage of CareerBuilder’s webinar scheduled for June 5.

If you provide nursing staff to hospitals and other healthcare facilities, don’t let poor cash flow stop you from keeping them satisfied. PRN Funding can customize the ideal nurse staffing factoring program to meet your needs – contact us today to learn more and get started!

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Nurse Group Pushes for Nurse Staffing Ratio in D.C. Hospitals

National Nurses United has joined a Washington, D.C. nurses’ union in calling for the renewal of a 2013 bill intended to mandate nurse ratios at the District’s hospitals.

NNU and the local union argue that understaffing in D.C. hospitals puts patients’ lives at risk, citing 215 separate occurrences when patients were “endangered” because of nurse staffing levels. One example describe a labor and delivery unit in which three nurses of a shift of ten were left to care for ten women in labor when five nurses were pulled away for two C-sections and a hemorrhaging patient.

The original bill would establish a minimum ratio of nurses to patients on every shift at every District hospital. Facilities in noncompliance would face a $25,000 daily fine; required overtime and averaged ratios would be banned.

While some Council members support the legislation, which mirrors legislation enacted in California ten years ago, hospitals argue that the bill fails to consider the unpredictability of staffing needs and unnecessarily raises their cost of labor.

Increased labor costs can slow down hospitals’ payments to their vendors. If slow hospital payments threaten your healthcare company’s cash flow, PRN Funding’s healthcare factoring programs can help. Contact us today to learn how healthcare factoring for your specialty can help you thrive.

Are Temporary Nurses More Cost-Effective Than Overtime?

A Columbia University study suggests that hospitals can cut their costs and improve the quality of patient care by paying overtime instead of hiring temporary nurses, but other recent studies tell a different story.

The study, which focused on 900,000 admissions in the Veterans Administration health system over the last four years, correlated shorter patient stays with lower costs and better treatment. Researchers also suggested that paying overtime to a core staff of nurses resulted in more positive results than bringing in temporary nurses because of the “rhythm and routines” they establish.

Columbia’s conclusions counter those of a 2012 Penn State study, as well as a different Columbia study published last year. The results of both studies indicated that poor hospital environments are the greater contributor to adverse patient outcomes, regardless of the employment status of the nurses. The Penn study went even further and cited the hiring of temporary nurse staff as a potentially life-saving move – and, at least, that their use “does not appear to have deleterious consequences for patient mortality”.

A co-leader of the earlier Columbia study pointed out in a press release that temporary nurses are often scapegoated for lower patient outcomes that result from poor work environments that turn away qualified permanent staff. Dr. JingJing Shang also touted the benefits of a traveling nurse arrangement that creates ongoing assignments for nurses in the same facility.

Other potential issues with Columbia’s cost-benefit analysis include the potential for nurses working overtime to make costly and life-threatening errors because of burnout, a result that may be mitigated by using temporary nurse staffing.

PRN Funding has offered exceptional cash flow solutions to temporary nurse staffing agencies for more than a decade. To learn more about healthcare factoring for temporary nurse staffing and receive an application, contact us today!

Nurses May Face Challenges Finding Hospital Jobs

Throughout the recession, nursing was a thriving career field sought after by students who were searching for a stable, long-term opportunity. However, nurses may have a harder time coming across hospital jobs in today’s job market, as many major hospitals across the country are cutting tens of thousands of jobs.

Nurse in hospital

As the number of hospital admissions declines, many hospital chains are receiving lower reimbursements from the government, as well as insurance companies. Nevertheless, although many hospital jobs are being eliminated, other opportunities for nurses and other healthcare workers are opening up in other places, ranging from outpatient clinics to rehabilitation centers. Although these jobs offer slightly less pay than what nurses typically expect, these settings are fueling growth for the field of nursing, according to healthcare experts.

Nurses and students who had hoped to work in a hospital setting are now contemplating their future. In the past, finding a hospital job after college never used to be an issue for nursing students. Nursing students used to receive several job offers before they even completed their degree, and hospitals would constantly be on the hunt to fill plenty of nursing positions.

Nevertheless, patient admissions and overall revenue continues to decline. As a result, many hospitals say that they are forced to cut down on jobs, consolidate labs, and even abandon some programs. Meanwhile, nursing jobs are still plentiful in other settings, such as patient homes and walk-in clinics. Furthermore, the nursing industry is experiencing a shift from high-acuity care, which involves specialized staffing and pricey equipment to treat seriously ill patients, to lower-acuity care, which requires less intensive treatments.

Despite nurses’ concerns about their future, many continue to work in hospital settings. Currently, about 60 percent of the country’s 2.7 million registered nurses are employed by hospitals. However, unlike past years, national experts say that nurses should not just assume that they will receive several job offers.

Luckily, there is still good news for nursing employment. According to a news release issued last week by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, nursing students who obtain a bachelor’s degree are much more likely to receive job offers upon graduation than the national average among all other professions. Hospital staffing may be slow at present, but the industry expects a wave of retirements in the near future. Not to mention, nurse staffing ratio laws and the Affordable Care Act may boost demand for nurse staffing.

PRN Funding is dedicated to helping nurse staffing agencies grow through accounts receivable factoring. We work with start-ups and seasoned healthcare staffing companies to provide a steady source of working capital for payroll and other expenses.   Cash flow challenges are common in the staffing industry due to slow paying clients and periods of rapid growth. Don’t let lack of working capital slow your business. Contact us today to learn more about factoring for nurse staffing agencies.

New Tool Designed to Improve Nurse Health and Wellness

Registered nurses are constantly providing quality care to help patients achieve optimal health and wellness. Now, with the help of a new appraisal form, RNs can accurately assess their own well-being to ensure they are performing at their healthiest condition.

Thanks to the recent development of the HealthyNurse Health Risk Appraisal by the American Nurses Association, RNs have the opportunity to compare their overall health and wellness to the rest of the U.S. population, as well as other nurses within various demographic categories. Additionally, this online appraisal even enables nurses to better assess potential risks in the workplace, ranging from workplace violence to lifting-related injuries.

In addition to this data-gathering tool, the appraisal is paired with a Web Wellness Portal. This interactive site encourages RNs and RN nursing students to gather valuable information and educational insights catering to their specific interests or workplace environment. Participants can collect information in a variety of areas, ranging from fitness and nutrition to stress management and health screenings.

All RNs are welcome to take this appraisal for free. The survey only takes about 20 to 30 minutes to complete, and will continue to be a helpful tool to help enhance the nursing profession as a whole by determining trends and policy strategies within the industry.

PRN Gives Thanks for Nurses

This Thanksgiving, we are thankful for the many nurses who serve their communities. Nurses work long shifts, often without a significant break, and their schedules may cross days, weekends, and holidays. They are tireless in their efforts to improve their patients’ experience while on the job.

Nurses are typically a patient’s first point of contact during a medical visit. They measure vitals and ask the necessary questions to set you up for the proper care. The nurse you encounter can set the tone for your entire visit.

Nurses must be calm under pressure. By the nature of their positions they spend more time with patients than any other medical professional, including in emergency and other potentially high-stress situations. A caring countenance can do much to soothe a patient and his family.

Nurses are your advocate with the physician. Doctors evaluate tests and observations to determine a diagnosis, but nurses are there to report your condition in the moment. They administer the medication that doctors order and speak out for or against procedures that are in your best interests.

When a woman is admitted to deliver a baby, for example, the labor and delivery nurse will take her birth plan and communicate it to the physician to make sure that patient has the best possible experience. The nurse will also, more importantly, communicate to the patient when deviations are necessary to preserve her wellness and that of her child.

Nurses provide peace of mind to patients and the concerned friends and relatives who accompany them. A nurse will sit down in the waiting room with anxious family and reassure them of the quality care their loved one is receiving. A nurse will bring an upbeat attitude into the room in order to lift a patient’s spirits, even if she has been on the floor for ten hours straight. That same nurse will also remove the complexity – and fright factor – from overly technical medical explanations.

Nurses are often companions to their patients, no matter the type of facility. The sight of one or two friendly, familiar faces throughout the day gives immeasurable comfort. This is especially true of nurses who care for our loved ones at the end of their lives.

Of course, not every nurse walks the halls of a hospital. Home care nurses spend hours a day traveling to their patients so they may convalesce in the comfort of their homes. Whether a patient is rehabilitating or receiving hospice care, these nurses allow them a measure of freedom and normality that they would otherwise lack. For many, it would not be possible to continue living at home without the help of a home care nurse.

The next time you encounter a nurse, whether you own a staffing agency or have a medical visit, don’t forget to thank them for all the work they do.

Happy Thanksgiving from PRN Funding!

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Long Shifts Impact Nurse Health and Lower Patient Satisfaction

Working long hours at a hospital can have a negative impact on both patients and nurses. Aside from lowering patient satisfaction levels, prolonged hospital shifts can also take a toll on nurses’ overall health. In addition to these impacts, 12-hour nursing shifts increase the potential for medical mishaps, and are linked to higher burnout rates among nurses

In order to be productive and perform at their best, nurses must remain healthy and alert. However, nurses who work prolonged shifts often report that they feel fatigued, which ultimately results in patient dissatisfaction. Even though there are no policies in place regulating nurse shifts in the U.S., hospital scheduling software can help healthcare administrators avoid the negative effects of prolonged shifts on nurse health.

A recent study published by the British Medical Journal’s Occupational and Environmental Medicine revealed that nurses who work prolonged shifts are at a greater risk for developing breast cancer than their colleagues who take on shorter shifts. Additionally, according to Scrubs magazine, the correlation between prolonged hospital shifts and breast cancer is caused by disruptions to internal body mechanisms, which are responsible for maintaining a person’s health.

Aside from cancer risk, nurses who endure prolonged hospital shifts are also at risk for other types of diseases. According to Scrubs, many reports have found that healthcare employees who work night shifts or longer hours are at a higher risk for developing diabetes and prostate cancer. Other potential health issues reported included sleep deprivation, burnout and emotional fatigue.

Lastly, in a study conducted by MedScape, research revealed that longer shift lengths were directly linked to both patient and nurse dissatisfaction. Nurses who worked 10 or more hours were at a greater risk of being burned out and unhappy with their profession. Furthermore, nurses’ well-being was also correlated with patient experiences. The study showed that longer hospital shifts resulted in undesirable outcomes for both patients and nurses.