Nightingale Nest Recognizes Two Deserving Graduates

Last Friday, I attended the Ohio Nurses Association’s Nurses Choice Awards, where I had the privilege of donating a weekend getaway at Nightingale Nest to a very deserving nurse. The winner is an RN who is completing her doctorate this month. Needless to say, she was thrilled—and so was I! I look forward to hosting her and her guest next month.

Today, I dropped off a similar award at Sinclair Community College for a lucky nursing graduate to enjoy. The Sinclair Nursing Class of 2017 will be asked to vote to choose the winner. I look forward to meeting the lucky graduate soon, and I can’t wait to hear all about his or her plans for an exciting, rewarding career as a Registered Nurse!

There’s a looming crisis in healthcare that no one is talking about: Our nurses might be on the brink of extinction

There’s a looming crisis in healthcare that no one is talking about: Our nurses might be on the brink of extinction

In 2015, the Ohio Board of Nursing reported that only 85% of its licensees were employed as nurses, and more than half of the unemployed nurses were not even seeking a job in nursing. Meanwhile, about 30% of Ohio’s working RNs are over the age of 55.1 This means that roughly a third of our working nurses will age out of the profession in the next decade, at precisely the same time that aging baby-boomers will increase the demand for nursing services.

Academia is doing its best to produce new graduates, but space in nursing programs is limited and long waiting lists are not uncommon. Furthermore, the number of graduating nurses does not represent a 1:1 increase in the number of practicing nurses.  This is because many students currently enrolled in a BSN program entered the profession with a two year degree. They already have a nursing license and are working in the field, but now they are pursuing a bachelor’s degree—either as a condition of continued employment, or to advance their careers. While that’s commendable, the backlog of new applicants grows longer with each working nurse who goes back to school.

And increasing the number of new graduates is only part of the solution anyway, since new grads are an especially vulnerable segment of the workforce. About half of the turnover reported by hospitals involves nurses with less than 1 year of experience, and these new nurses remain at high risk of leaving their jobs throughout their first 5 years of employment.2  

One reason for this is professional burnout. A 2013 fact sheet from the AFL-CIO stated that 30% of nurses report a level of emotional exhaustion that meets the criteria for high burnout.3 As the demographic forces described above exert increasing pressure on our remaining nurses, the levels of stress, burnout and attrition will only get worse. Retention is paramount, but a recent survey reported that only half of responding hospitals had a formalized strategy to stop these losses.2

Our solution is Nightingale Nest, the first free-standing, full-time enterprise in Ohio dedicated to supporting our nurses.

The goal of Nightingale Nest is quite simple: To reduce stress and professional burnout among nurses by:

  • Providing meaningful recognition and appreciation for the talents and efforts of our nurse colleagues in the form of an organization wholly devoted to their well-being
  • Creating a supportive community where nurses can laugh, cry, heal and learn together
  • Promoting the use of healthy behaviors, holistic techniques and complementary/alternative modalities for self-care
  • Developing nurses as models of these behaviors and techniques in their workplaces and communities

Although our services will be exclusively aimed at enhancing the physical, mental and spiritual well-being of nurses, the benefits will extend to many other stakeholders, including healthcare employers, insurers and consumers. By addressing this unmet need, we hope to mitigate the coming crisis in nursing and create a ripple effect that will positively impact the health of all Ohioans.

We believe that we are developing something unique and valuable for our profession, and we hope that you will agree.  Your input will inform our choices, and your thoughts and opinions are always welcome here.

1. Ohio Board of Nursing. (2015). Registered Nurse Workforce Data Summary. Available online at: http://www.nursing.ohio.gov/Workforce.htm

2. NSI Nursing Solutions, Inc. (2016). National Healthcare Retention and RN Staffing Report. Available online at: http://www.nsinursingsolutions.com/Files/assets/library/retentioninstitute/NationalHealthcareRNRetentionReport2016.pdf

3. Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO. (2013). Nursing: A Profile of the Profession. Available online at: http://dpeaflcio.org/wp-content/uploads/nursing/2013.pdf

Gratitude

The following people have helped me explore the concept for Nightingale Nest, bringing it into sharper focus.  They are my friends, my family, my brain trust and sometimes total strangers who have gone out of their way to push this thing one step closer to reality:

  • Faye Hager, RN, BSN:  Faye can dissect an idea better than anyone I know.  I have always appreciated (ok, envied) her objectivity, her reasoning and her equanimity in the face of utter chaos.
  • Joe Hager, PhD:  Joe knows a thing or two about new ideas as well.  He’s a materials scientist, a patent holder and a former Fulbright scholar in the field of thermodynamics.  So  naturally, Joe is my go-to person for predicting actions, reactions and how much energy has to go into any system to keep it from falling apart.  Plus, he’s Faye’s amazing other half.
  • Bhavya Rehani, MD: When I sit back and look at the arc of Bhavya’s success, I am awestruck and inspired.   She is my best friend, sent here to show me what’s possible and drag me off the couch to go do it.
  • Ankur Bharija, MD:  If Bhavya is the call to action, then Ankur is the voice of reason. That’s why they’re the perfect couple. Not to mention the fact that Ankur is handsome, charming, thoughtful, kind and wise. What’s not to love?   And he’s all about balance, reminding me that it isn’t always necessary to struggle to make something happen.  Sometimes you have to step back for a bit, and just allow the Universe to unfold as it should.
  • Suzanne Coleman, PhD: There is no better mentor anywhere. Period. Thank you, Suzanne, for putting up with me—even when I’m bratty.
  • Max Carone: I wouldn’t exactly describe Max as my conscience (and if you knew Max, you’d know why I say that—wink!). But he is an excellent role model for being true to myself and staying aligned with my values. When I have a spiritual dilemma, I run it by Max and his advice is never wrong. It must be the gamma rays.
  • Rosalie Mainous, PhD:  Dean Mainous listened to my pitch, took careful notes, pointed out pros and cons, and then suggested a way forward that I hadn’t considered. I appreciated her candor, insight and willingness to fit me into her busy schedule, and I look forward to showing her the results of our conversation.
  • Linda Morgan-Stokes, RN:  She’s the only woman in the world who still wears a nursing cap, a woman who has been 35 years old for as long as I’ve known her (and we’re approaching 25 years of friendship), a woman who will do anything I ask and accept chocolate in payment. She is also the godmother to my son and the best ICU nurse I’ve ever had the privilege of working with.  When the inspiration for Nightingale Nest came to me, I must have been thinking of Linda.
  • Terry McCoy Salopek, RN: If anyone has the guts to tell me that I’m doing something stupid, it’s Terry.   She is a one-woman focus group.  It’s been a long time, girl.  Let’s have lunch.
  • David Esrati: When I first brought this idea to David, he took the Rabbi’s approach: He turned me away three times to be sure I was serious. Well, actually, what he did was recommend some important reading and a little field trip to be sure I knew what I was getting into.  When we finally sat down to talk, it only took him about 30 seconds to expand my idea 10 levels beyond anything I had imagined.  That is the genius of David. He’s going to build me an amazing website and brand.  Aren’t you, David? OK. Maybe not.  But I’ve appreciated your input just the same.
  • Michelle Martino, RN, LMT: Early on, I made a cold call to Michelle, looking for advice on how to structure certain aspects of this plan. She graciously called me back for a quick chat and then called back again a few weeks later with more information and some referrals. How diligent and kind!  I look forward to meeting Michelle and thanking her in person at the open house.

That’s all for now, but there are many more to be added to the list.  If you don’t see your name, check back in a few days.

This Little Light of Mine…

This Little Light of Mine…

…which I bought on Etsy for about 30 dollars, has been a symbol of the nursing profession for 150 years. It’s often seen in portraits of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing, who tended to her Crimean War patients tirelessly by lamplight.  This lamp has been featured on countless nursing pins, coffee mugs and business cards, and it’s been used as a logo for various professional organizations, including the Ohio Nurses Association.  It truly IS an icon.

There’s just one little problem: It’s a MYTH.

Although Florence Nightingale did tend to her patients by lamplight, historians say she actually used a tall, cylindrical lantern with a folded, accordion-like shade when she made her nightly rounds.  After “The Lady with the Lamp” returned to England,  a more exotic- looking  prop sprang forth from the collective imagination of her countrymen. That’s how this Aladdin-style, brass oil lamp assumed its wrongful place in history.

I chose to open my blog with this bit of nursing trivia because I hope to dispel many other myths about nursing on this journey.  So!  Welcome to Nightingale Nest:  A place for all nurses to challenge their assumptions about themselves and their careers.

My name is Pam Moss, RN.   I am a “Director of Wellbeing” at Nightingale Nest–and so are all of you.  I’ll explain how THAT works in a later post. For now, I’ll just say that Nightingale Nest is an organization dedicated to helping nurses practice the art of self care for mind, body and spirit so they can be even better caregivers in their professional lives. If you have been looking for a supportive community where nurses can laugh, cry, heal, and learn together, you have found it.

Intrigued?  Fantastic!  Then I’ll see you next time.

Until then, be well.

Pam