April 1, 2011

How to Show Your Coworkers You Care

Posted in Nursing Tips tagged , at 5:15 am by Nursing Tales Team

Your coworkers are some of the people that you see the most during the week. For eight hours a day, five days a week, you share the company of your fellow employees. If only for that fact alone, it is very important to show them that you value their time and care about them. There are a few things that you can do to express your feelings for your coworkers and make them feel special.

A great way to show your coworkers that you care is by getting them a small personalized gift that adds ease to their day. Many companies require their employees to carry IDs. These IDs can get lost or misplaced during the daily rushes of the day. Why not get your coworker a simple lanyard to help keep all of their IDs in place? lanyards and badge holders add ease to your coworker’s life by allowing them to have instant access to all of their important documentation. You can also customize the lanyard by adding your coworkers name or favorite colors to it.

Lanyards come in all shapes and sizes and can add both function and fashion to your coworker’s wardrobe. They will appreciate the simple gesture that also has a huge impact on their hearts.

Did you enjoy field trips as a child? Try organizing a fun trip to a local museum or aquarium with all of your coworkers. This fun filled day will help to bring all of you together and realize how much you enjoy each other’s company. Have one of your coworkers book the venue and another one schedule a meeting place for all of you to meet up at. Try to reach a group consensus on where you’d all like to go. If somebody wants to go to the zoo and another person wants to go to a play, reach an agreement to see a show about animals

Another great way to bond with your coworkers is to have your boss organize a potluck for the office. Everyone can bring their favorite dish and participate in the party. If it’s the holiday season, ask your boss or HR to help organize an office holiday party at a local restaurant. This will get everybody in the office excited and into the holiday mood. You can also request of your boss to throw a Secret Santa event where everybody can get each other small, inexpensive gifts, Everybody will enjoy receiving the gifts and giving them.

Coworkers are a very important and vital part of our lives. We share in their company a lot during the work week. Getting along with your coworkers create a welcoming environment that everybody is sure to enjoy. Showing that you appreciate them by giving them function presents such as lanyards and badge holders will show them that you care. To make your workday go by smoother, try showing them how much you care and appreciate them. Everybody will bond and your work day will be much more relaxed and fun.

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February 20, 2011

Tips for Reducing Stress in the Workplace

Posted in Nursing Tips tagged , at 5:04 am by Nursing Tales Team

Stress is defined as a feeling experienced when a person receives demands that exceed the personal and social resources the individual is able to mobilize. Every work environment has its own share of stress, but hospitals are especially stressful because patients’ health is an urgent matter and nurses handle situations daily that may result in death if not handled correctly. With higher populations and a rise in chronic conditions such as obesity, budget cuts, and a shortage of adequately trained health care professionals available to fill the need, more work is expected from nurses with fewer resources to fill that need. These tips may help you reduce the stress in your workplace.

1. Standardize. Your training and the hospital’s policies probably regulate most of the processes in your department, but look for areas of inconsistency. Where do you find gaps in information, communication, or follow up? Can you work with your fellow employees to determine the smoothest work flow and define best practices to be used by everyone in your department? Develop checklists for as many routine procedures as possible to make sure customer care is consistent, regardless of who is on shift. You might put the most basic items on badge cards and pass them out on beaded lanyards for the nurses to wear.

2. Do not rely on your memory. Your brain has so much to process; do not tax it more than necessary. Write everything down! Create a To Do list every morning as you come into work or at the end of the day in preparation for the following morning. Keep a notebook handy for any personal errands you need to run after your shift. Organize your workspace and implement useful techniques like wearing your ID badge on a lanyard around your neck at so you have it with you at all times. A lanyard can also carry Post-It note reminders of your To Do list.

3. Manage up. Get to know how your boss operates. Does she need to see things written down or does she prefer hearing the information spoken? Is he an internal or external processor? Assume that your boss is genuinely interested in become a better manager and extend empathy when you offer suggestions for improvement. Look for proactive ways to make her life easier and help her be more efficient. You might also remember her with a gift like beaded lanyards on Boss’ Day (October 16th).

4. Make the most of break time. Do not eat your lunch at your desk. Get away from your station for at least ten minutes. Go to the cafeteria or walk around the building. If there is a nearby park, find a bench to sit on. Do not let other people interrupt your rest. Close your eyes and take slow, deep breaths while you envision your favorite location – the beach, or your best friend’s sofa, or your husband’s embrace. Let your mind release its responsibilities for a short period of time and it will be more useful when you return to work.

5. Learn to establish and maintain boundaries. Know yourself and how you handle stress; often a person has external indicators of stress levels, like nail biting. Be aware of these clues and take steps to reorganize your workload so that it is more manageable. If you need more time, explain why the original deadline was un-doable and be precise when asking for a new one. If you need additional funding, get quotes and have a proposed budget ready to hand in. In the end, you need to determine what you can handle and set boundaries around your personal time that others know they cannot cross. Learn to politely say no when appropriate and do not allow yourself to be coerced or cajoled into changing your mind.

November 25, 2010

Holiday Gift Giving Made Easy

Posted in Nursing Tips tagged , at 6:25 am by Nursing Tales Team

Whether you work in a hospital, clinic or medical office, chances are the excitement over the upcoming holidays is getting stronger with every passing day. The holidays are a time when co-workers and colleagues can boost morale, become better acquainted and enjoy a little bit of fun at the office. However, because life is simply very busy during the holidays, it may seem too difficult to pick up anything other than a gift card to the local coffee shop for the holiday gift exchange.

There is no need to stress over holiday gift giving! With ID lanyards, you’ve got all the options you need to buy for anyone and everyone on your holiday shopping list. The lanyard is making a real statement in the medical profession, since most medical professionals wear an ID badge of some sort. Were it not for ID lanyards, every badge would be clipped to the work uniform and that would be that.

But because nurses and other medical professionals have shown their desire to look and feel great at work, the lanyard has become a highly fashionable item that enhances overall professional appearance even when the work uniform consists of scrubs.

No matter whom you have to buy a gift for, even if the gift is for a white elephant gift exchange, where each person draws a random gift to unwrap. This fun game is all that much better when the gifts are so good that they are “stolen” several times. ID lanyards featuring retractable badge reels and a chic design are some of the most popular gifts for this or any type of gift exchange. A lanyard with a retractable reel allows the medical professional to avoid bending to reach an electronic card reader when their ID badge seconds as a key to secure areas.

Planning ahead for your holiday gift giving allows you to eliminate the stress of purchasing gifts for everyone at work. Want to be sure and remember everyone? Go online and buy ID lanyards for everyone!

An important thing to remember when it comes to giving gifts to co-workers is to be considerate of culture and feelings. If you plan to participate in a department or office-wide gift exchange, be sure to purchase a gift that would be suitable for any person in the group. If there is someone special you would like to give a personal gift to, give them their gift away from the group so there are no hurt feelings. Also, gifts for the boss should be discussed, and a decision made by the whole department as to whether a gift will be given from the group or individually.. Gift giving at holidays or any other time of year is fun for both the giver and the receiver. With the lanyard being such a popular item in the medical setting, this one item is ideal for all of your co-workers. It provides a useful purpose, and when decorated with sophisticated or fun designs, enhances professional image as well.

September 10, 2010

Tips for keeping it together in Stressful Times

Posted in Nursing Tips tagged , , , , at 4:42 am by Nursing Tales Team

Between needy patients, demanding superiors, and economic stressors, life can become overwhelming. To keep yourself together at work is a large part of enjoying life and the abundance it can provide. Let’s face it; there is no way to change the reality of layoffs, salary negotiations, and workplace issues. Therefore, a healthy mental attitude is what can make all the difference. Here are a few tips for dealing with workplace stress.

  • We all know the saying, “birds of a feather flock together”; choose your flock carefully. If you spend your time in conversations with gossips and naysayers; you will be drug down by their negative energy. Sometimes these people can be hard to avoid, for they will walk right up to you and attempt to engage you in negative conversation or gossip. Your response to irritating coworkers can be quick and simple. “Wow. You don’t say. I’ve got to get back to work, see you later.” With any luck, it will take only a few times of you blowing them off to get the message across.
  • Moods are contagious and it is important to guard yours. If a coworker is in a bad mood, move away from them if possible. If a physical move is not possible, then turn on some music and immerse yourself in your own tasks. Hum to yourself or think thoughts that make you smile. The key is to avoid bad energy and protect your good mood.
  • Taking a break from a stressful environment can be the thing that gets you through rough patches. Take your allotted breaks away from your department. Getting fresh air is quite cathartic and also very good for your health. During lunch, leave your designated area and head outside; to a nearby park if possible. Walking, reading, or just sitting back and letting the sun warm you are all wonderful ways to ease stress and empty your mind of frustrations.
  • Speaking of frustrations, if you want to avoid stress, it pays to show some understanding. Anna Maravelas, founder of Thera Rising, a conflict resolution and organizational development consultancy, and author of How to Reduce Workplace Conflict and Stress, says to “be hard on the problem, but soft on the people.” Most people have much more on their minds than the task immediately at hand. Perhaps your irritable boss has a sick parent at home; or a sick child. Every person has several personal issues that occupy their minds at any given time. When you can understand this fact of life, it helps you to show compassion to the coworker, patient or supervisor who is having a less than perfect attitude day.
  • One key ingredient to long and happy careers is that of the new day. Every day is a new day. At the end of every workday, leave the happenings of the day where they belong – in the past. To make sure you can do this, it is necessary to make sure you tie up loose ends before going home. If you experience a misunderstanding with a coworker, resolve (or completely drop) the matter before the end of your shift. On the way home from work, make that mental shift from work to home by imagining a door closing behind you and a new one opening in front of you.

September 7, 2010

Answers to Tough Interview Questions

Posted in Nursing Career tagged , , , , at 4:39 am by Nursing Tales Team

Whether you are attending a career fair or have set up an appointment for an interview with a top recruiter; you want to know the best way to present yourself from start to finish. Employers expect a good resume and cover letter; but it is what you show them about yourself in person that really counts. Here are 5 of the toughest interview questions and tips on how to answer them eloquently.

1. Why should I hire you?

The answer to this question can come right from your resume. Prepare this answer ahead of time and practice it to perfection. In your resume, you will find a few things (3 to 5 is recommended) that make you an outstanding candidate for the position you seek. Point out specific areas in which you have a proven track record. Answers can be as simple as “I work hard”; but should be backed with a specific instance to prove that statement.

2. What is your biggest weakness?

This is a tough question to answer. You want to be realistic but you also want to keep the focus of your interview on your strengths above all else. For this question, it is best to provide an answer that is honest, followed up with your working plan to correct the weakness. For instance, if you over-commit, your plan will be to set personal and professional limits in order to focus only where it is necessary and productive.

3. Where do you see yourself in five years?

The honest truth to this question may just be “I have no idea”. However, that is certainly not the answer to provide a potential employer. This person wants to uncover your commitment level to your career and to your employer. A simple answer to this question could be “Based on ongoing assessments, I can say that I see myself growing in the career path I have chosen, and I see myself doing that here.” This does not commit you to staying with this particular employer for five years; it is simply your current assessment of your future goals.

4. What salary do you think you deserve?

It is best to avoid talking salary on a first interview. However, if the question comes up, you need to be prepared to answer it. Since you have spent time in school, studying your profession; it is likely that you have an idea of the salary range for your specialty and your area. If you are unsure, do research before beginning the interview process. You never want to throw out a random number; it may be less than what the recruiter had planned to offer. Your answer to this question could be “based on my research, the range for my position goes from $45,000 to $85,000.” If pressed, choose a mid-range number.

5. What did you dislike most about your last job?

This question is fishing at its finest. A question like this seeks for you to show a weakness. So instead of answering in a negative way towards your ex-boss, the hours, the working environment; an answer such as “In my last position, I felt I was not being challenged enough” would show your positive outlook and motivation to reach higher levels.

August 24, 2010

Time Management in Nursing

Posted in Nursing Career tagged , , , , at 7:08 am by Nursing Tales Team

Nursing is a demanding career in and of itself. Without effective time management both at work and at home, a nurse can easily become affected by prolonged stress. Because balance is necessary in life, time management is a skill you do not want to hesitate mastering.

Learning to manage your time effectively is highly rewarding. By managing time, you become more effective and less hassled. At the end of the workday, you return home with a little more energy and a better attitude. In the end, time management skills improve your quality if life immensely.

The first order of business in time management is to create orderly workspaces. This goes for work and home. Wherever you perform paperwork, you need space and order. Before you can begin managing your time, you have to have organization in your workspace. Clean off your desk and put everything in a proper place. Install extra file folders if necessary and purge files no longer needed. Once your space is cleaned up and efficient, maintain it by clearing it off at the end of every day.

Now that you have workspaces that are ready to serve you; you can set out to get more done. Not that you are supposed to take on more work. On the contrary, time management will likely include saying “no” more often. But effective time management actually allows you to accomplish more with less anxiety, so you will get more done in a lot less time than usual.

Lists are wonderful things; they help you remember to get everything you need from the grocery store and can also help you get tasks done at work and at home. It is helpful to create a to-do list every day. In fact, creating two lists is ideal – one for home and one for work. On your to-do list, prioritize tasks; putting those you dislike first. Be sure to mark off as many items as possible each day so you don’t become overloaded as the week wears on.

Sometimes as you make out your to-do list you will realize that many items you have written are tasks that you can delegate to someone else. Find out what tasks you can give away to others. Remember, there is no need to try and do everything yourself. This kind of a mindset will bring you nothing but pressure. You have a support system in place to help you. This consists of co-workers, friends and family. Utilize the support system that you have to get more done.

Charting is a big part of a nurse’s routine. In order to stay focused and avoid getting bogged down at the end of your shift, make a habit of charting every few hours. This enables you to chart while issues are still fresh in your mind and reduces a rush when it comes time to go home.

Time for yourself should also be included on your list every single day. This could be at home, during your lunch hour, or on the way to work in the mornings. Whatever time you can capture needs to be spent to rejuvenate and do something you love doing.

August 22, 2010

Maintaining a Balanced Life

Posted in Nursing Career tagged , , , , at 7:03 am by Nursing Tales Team

As a rule, the life of a nurse is all about giving. You give to your patients all day (or night) at work. And then, many nurses return home at the end of their shift to then give to their families. It’s no wonder this occupation is filled with people suffering from excessive stress and burnout. In order to maintain a healthy and happy career, the key to nursing is to learn how to maintain a balanced life.

A balanced life consists of many factors. The most important factor in the life of any caregiver is the care that they RECEIVE. Nurses need to have a good support system in order to maintain balance in their lives. This can be family or friends or a professional that you can turn to in times of need. Just having another person to talk to about your needs and concerns can be what you need in order to feel better or come up with solutions to problems sapping your energy.

Your support system can also work to help you get out of the house on days off and blow off steam. Spending time outdoors is good for the body and soul; and spending time outdoors with friends gets your mind off of work and onto the all-important aspect of having fun.

Boundaries are important for all people in fields where their attention can be divided. Far too often, the nurse is pulled in several directions by demanding patients and co-workers who may need assistance. Learning how to say “no” can be the best thing you ever do. Balance does not include overextending yourself. Balance means that you meet what needs you can; while still meeting your own needs and expectations. Setting boundaries also protects you from being taken advantage of.

Technology is a wonderful thing; it keeps us connected with our family and friends, and sometimes even keeps us entertained. In excess, however, your cell phone, iPod and other tech toys can be dragging you down. In order to rejuvenate after a long shift, you need to create a small amount of time to just be quiet and unwind. This time can be in the car on the way home, or it can be found in a quiet area of your home in between work and home responsibilities. During this quiet time, no technology is allowed.

Too many of us jump right out of bed in the mornings in high gear and stay that way until we crash at the end of the day. Instead of beginning your day in a rush, create a relaxing ritual of getting out of bed slowly and enjoying some peace and quiet. Perhaps brewing a hot cup of coffee or tea to enjoy on the patio will hold the magic to setting the tone for your entire day.

Nurses think of other people consistently; so much so that they can forget to think about themselves. To really maintain the life of a nurse and enjoy a long career, balance is a necessity.

August 20, 2010

The Nurse’s Life: Tips for Avoiding Burnout

Posted in Nursing Tips tagged , , , , at 6:53 am by Nursing Tales Team

As a nurse, you tend to the needs and requests of others consistently all throughout each shift. If your shift runs 10 to 12 hours, it is likely that you will be pretty worn out at the end of the day. Not dealing with the stresses of your job can lead to something called burnout. Everyone has heard this term and every one of us is susceptible to it. In nursing, experiencing burnout is not uncommon; but it is an issue that needs to be addressed head on and as quickly as possible. The depression that comes with burnout can threaten your relationships with co-workers, patients and even friends and family.

The good news is that burnout is an issue that you can avoid when you are aware of its occurrence. If you are already suffering exhaustion, it can be healed. You are not stuck and you do not have to give up your career as a nurse. How do you know if you are burned out in your job? Ask yourself these questions:

• Does every day seem to be a bad day?
• Does it take too much energy to think about work?
• Do you feel exhausted much of the time?
• Do you find work either extremely dull or overwhelming?

If you answer yes to most of these questions, you are suffering from burnout. This emotional state is caused by excessive and/or prolonged stress. When in this state, you feel overwhelmed and unable to meet what seem like constant demands for your attention. If left unattended or unrecognized, this tension leads you to lose the interest or motivation that led you becoming a nurse in the first place.

There are days when everyone feels unappreciated or overwhelmed. Life as a nurse is hectic and so it is unrealistic to expect never to experience days when you’d like to just pull the covers back over your head and go back to sleep. When the feelings of helplessness and exhaustion seem to be dragging you down, attention is needed to put yourself back on track and on your feet again.

To bring life back into your emotional state, you must figure out what it is that is causing excessive stress at work. Are you bending to the requests of numerous people in an attempt to not rock the boat? Do you have a habit of dropping what you’re doing to attend to someone else’s needs? Is a co-worker or manager particularly difficult to work with?
No matter how long you have been on the job, it is important that you address issues head on. By asserting yourself rather that behaving in a passive manner, you will feel better. If necessary, you may need to clarify your role and job duties if you are taking on more than you can realistically accomplish.

The field of nursing is wide open and contains many niches. If after careful consideration you discover that you need a new situation, find another area of nursing to work in. Perhaps your personality is too adventurous to stick with one field for several years and taking on a new role in a new department is your ticket to happiness.