NurseRecruiter.com Newsletter: November 2012

Editor’s Letter

Happy November everyone! I trust everyone had a happy and safe Halloween holiday. We don’t get a lot of trick-or-treaters where I live but, I sure enjoyed the beautiful full moon that graced our skies around that time. I hope our readers in the Northeast are faring better after hurricane Sandy. I would love to hear your storm stories if anyone would like to share.

Somewhat in that same vein, I would like to thank everyone for their emails to me, not just in the last month, but for all the nice communications I have received since taking over as newsletter editor here at NurseRecruiter.com. I appreciate the compliments, questions, and topic suggestions. So, this month I have decided to change things up a little bit and answer some mail in more detail than a simple reply email would entail. I chose 2 emails to respond to this month. The first of which was an excellent question written in response to last month’s newsletter article on magnet designation and patient care related outcomes. The question was thoughtfully written, so I decided it should receive an equally thoughtful and timely response. The second email question I chose for this month addresses the topic of discrimination in hiring. I receive emails about this topic in one form or another pretty regularly. It may be phrased in different ways, but at the heart it is generally the same 2 basic questions being asked.

I hope you enjoy this month’s newsletter and have a safe and happy Thanksgiving holiday.

As always, if you have a topic of interest that you would like to see included in our newsletter, or if you know someone who might like to receive our newsletter, please send your suggestions to newsletter@nurserecruiter.com.

Christine Thompson
Editor, NurseRecruiter.com Newsletter

Reader Generated Questions

“Are there any studies to show patient care related outcomes improved in hospitals that are recognized as being Magnet?”

This is an excellent question. Once magnet hospitals are designated do we continue to see improvement in patient care outcomes?

One recently published study in the April 25, 2012 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, funded by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the National Institutes of Health says, yes, magnet designation does positively effect patient care outcomes.

The study examines the relationship between hospital magnet recognition and the medical outcomes of very low birth weight infants as compared to hospitals without the designation. The outcomes in this study reveal that the preterm infants in magnet hospitals have better outcomes than in non-magnet hospitals. The American Nurses Credentialing Center executive director stated, “The findings buttress a substantial and growing body of independent research that shows multiple, measurable benefits of Magnet status including better work environments for nurses; improved safety; increased nurse engagement and satisfaction; higher patient satisfaction; and improved patient outcomes.” You can read more about the study here (http://www.nursecredentialing.org/Magnet/JAMA-April2012PR.pdf).

The October 2012 issue of Medical Care presented findings from nurse investigator Linda H. Aiken, PhD, RN, FRCN, FAAN and her research team reviewed surgical care outcomes from 564 hospitals in California, Florida, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. In the study were 56 magnet designated hospitals with the rest being non-magnet hospitals. Based on the data, and controlling for differences in various elements the study still found that in magnet hospitals surgical patients had a 14% lower chance of inpatient death within 30 days of surgery, and a 12% lower probability of failure-to-rescue when
compared to similar patient scenarios in non-Magnet hospitals. The study was funded by the National Institute of Nursing Research of the National Institutes of Health and included a survey of over 100,000 nurses. Linda H. Aiken stated that the results are attributed to, “…significantly better work environments, investments in a more highly qualified and educated nursing workforce, and practice settings supportive of high-quality nursing care.” But also found in the study was an unmeasured “mortality advantage” that speaks to the influence of “positive organizational behavior and innovation” on patient outcomes that stems from the application for and retention of the magnet hospital designation. You can read more about the study here (http://www.nursecredentialing.org/Magnet/Aiken-PressRelease.pdf).

Do hospitals, once they are designated as magnet, show improvements in patient care outcomes? It seems that the answer to the question is yes. But, it also appears that a study that measures patient care outcomes before and after designation is yet to have taken place or is at least difficult to find. With all the attention magnet designation is receiving from healthcare organizations, nonprofit entities, and state funded agencies it seems that a study with those precise parameters is surely forthcoming.

Thank you for your question!

“Have you experienced real or perceived age, gender, or other bias/discrimination in the hiring practices of employers?” and if so “Do you find that these types of bias are in general ignored or condoned by hiring entities?”

I often receive this particular question, phrased different ways, but ultimately asking the same thing each time so, I have paraphrased it and split it into two separate questions. I would like to preface this with the fact that these are difficult questions for me to answer. I am not a statistician, nor a lawyer, yet, this is a very hot topic in general for me because I love the law and feel like it should apply to everyone equally.

So, to answer the first question. I think the answer is yes, no, and maybe sometimes. It isn’t legal. It isn’t moral, and it certainly isn’t ethical. But do I think it happens? Yes, I do think it happens. The good news/bad news is that it seems to happen in every industry fairly equally across the board. Having worked in Human Resources before, I am acutely aware of shenanigans occurring. As disgusting as it sounds the burden of proof is always on the employee or candidate to prove that discrimination occurred. Most, if not all, employers have standard hiring practices written by legal staff created so that proving discrimination is a near impossibility. Staff tend to tow the company line whether they agree or disagree with the practice because they value their jobs. Every man for himself!

Hires are made by a combination of experience, education, and fit. Fit can refer to the culture of the facility, to personality, to whatever the employer deems. This is not very reassuring to those who are feeling discriminated against. Employers retain data such as age, ethnicity, years of service, and sex of their employees. It is more difficult to retain that specific type of information from job candidates, because as I have stated before in this newsletter, most of that information should never appear on a resume, or application. If you feel you have been discriminated against, for whatever reason, help is available. I found an excellent resource here.

The second part to the question, “Do I feel that discriminatory practices are largely ignored by hiring entities?” is more difficult. But I will answer this question the same as the other in that I do think it occurs and I think it is a sad state of affairs when it does happen. Nepotism and discrimination both happen, but it is really up to the Human Resources department to put their foot down when this type of unethical behavior rears its ugly head. Ultimately they have the power and strength to stop it and to put restraints on management. That is actually one way to tell if you have a good HR department, if they act as a barrier to inequitable behaviors in hiring and after.

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