Category Archives: Health Care Workers

Low-Wage Jobs Held Primarily By Women Will Grow the Most Over the Next Decade

Source: National Women’s Law Center, Fact Sheet, August 13, 2018

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that personal care aides, combined food preparation and serving workers (including fast food workers), registered nurses, home health aides, and software applications developers will be the five occupations with the most job growth between 2016 and 2026. Among these five occupations, all except software applications developers are female-dominated, with workforces that are at least 60 percent women—and personal care aides, home health aides, and combined food preparation and serving workers have median wages of less than $11.50 per hour. Women of color—especially Black women—are particularly overrepresented in these three low-wage, high-growth jobs, which often also lack benefits and pose particular challenges for women with caregiving responsibilities. View our fact sheet to learn more.

Patient Centered Care and Turnover in Hospice Care Organizations

Source: Eric G. Kirby, Journal of Health and Human Services Administration, Vol. 41 No. 1, 2018
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Hospice care has significantly changed over the past 40 years. The industry has seen a growth in utilization rates, an increase in insurance coverage, and changing governmental funding. To reduce the significant risk of employee turnover, hospice care organizations have responded to these pressures. This study examines whether nursing turnover is affected as organizations respond to environmental pressures for increased patient-centered care (PCC). Does the use of patient-centered approaches to meeting client needs reduce turnover in the nursing staff? Using hierarchical regression to analyze organizational, market, and personnel data from 695 hospices across the United States, this study finds innovative PCC practices are significantly related to reduced nursing turnover.

Second Circuit Decision in Sexual Harassment Case Shows Heightened Risk for Health Care Employers

Source: Frank C. Morris, Jr., Jonathan K. Hoerner, and Katherine Smith, Employee Relations Law Journal, Vol. 44, No. 1, Summer 2018
(subscription required)

Health care employers should be aware that a recent holding from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit may indicate that courts and juries are beginning to weigh in on the dramatic sexual harassment developments, such as the #MeToo and #Time’sUp movements addressing workplace harassment, by holding employers to heightened standards, including as to “last chance” agreements. In MacCluskey v. University of Connecticut Health Center ( MacCluskey), the Second Circuit upheld a jury verdict awarding plaintiff Mindy MacCluskey $125,000 in damages after finding that she was subject to a hostile work environment where she was repeatedly sexually harassed by a coworker, dentist Michael Young, who was subject to a last-chance agreement from 10 years earlier. The bottom line in the MacCluskey holding is that it is not enough for employers to merely maintain a policy prohibiting sexual harassment, they must also take reasonable care to enforce the policy.

Vermont’s Striking Nurses Want A Raise for Nonunion Workers Too

Source: Jonah Furman, Labor Notes, August 2, 2018

Especially for professional workers, when your main strike issue is pay, attracting public support can be a challenge.

Savvy employers paint union members as spoiled. They like to point out that you’re already making more than many of your nonunion neighbors.

Yet when 1,800 nurses and technical staff struck for better wages July 12-13 at the state’s second-largest employer, the University of Vermont Medical Center, the people of Burlington came out in force to back them up.

“We had policemen and firefighters and UPS drivers pulling over and shaking our hands” on the picket line, said neurology nurse Maggie Belensz. “We had pizza places dropping off dozens of pizzas, giving out free ice cream.”

And when a thousand people marched from the hospital through Burlington’s downtown, “we had standing ovations from people eating their dinners,” she said. “It was a moving experience.”

One reason for such wide support: these hospital workers aren’t just demanding a raise themselves. They’re also calling for a $15 minimum wage for their nonunion co-workers, such as those who answer the phones, mop the floors, cook the food, and help patients to the bathroom…..

Fentanyls and the safety of first responders: Science and recommendations

Source: John Howard, Jennifer Hornsby‐Myers, American Journal of Industrial Medicine, Early View, First published: 25 June 2018
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Opioids have many beneficial uses in medicine, but, taken inappropriately, they can cause life‐threatening health effects. The increasing use of physician‐prescribed and illicit opioids, including highly potent fentanyl and its analogs, have contributed to a significant increase in opioid‐related drug overdoses in the United States, leading to a public health emergency. There have been a number of reports describing adverse health effects experienced by police officers, fire‐fighter emergency medical services providers, and private sector ambulance personnel when responding to drug overdose incidents. Several sets of exposure prevention recommendations for first responders are available from government and the private sector. Understanding the scientific basis for these recommendations, increasing awareness by responders of the potential risks associated with opioid exposure during a response, and educating responders about safe work practices when exposure to opioids is suspected or confirmed are all critical prevention measures that can keep first responders safe.

Age, burnout and physical and psychological work ability among nurses

Source: D. J. Hatch, G. Freude, P. Martus, U. Rose, G. Müller, G. G. Potter, Occupational Medicine, Volume 68, Issue 4, May 2018
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Background
The ageing of the US labour force highlights the need to examine older adults’ physical and psychological ability to work, under varying levels of occupational burnout.

Aims
To examine how age and burnout interact in predicting physical and psychological work ability.

Methods
Using a cohort of actively working nurses, we assessed factors on the Work Ability Index at 12-month follow-up and determined how these were related to age and exhaustion-related burnout at baseline.

Results
The study group consisted of 402 nurses aged 25–67 (mean = 41.7). Results indicated age by burnout interactions in which decrements in physical work ability with greater age were observed at all but the lowest level of burnout (1.5 SD below mean: β = −0.14, 95% CI −0.36, 0.07; 1 SD below: β = −0.23, 95% CI −0.39, −0.06; mean: β = −0.39, 95% CI −0.50, −0.29; 1 SD above: β = −0.56, 95% CI −0.70, −0.42; 1.5 SD above: β = −0.64, 95% CI −0.83, −0.46). In contrast, we observed decrements in psychological work ability with age at higher levels of burnout only (1 SD above: β = −0.20, 95% CI −0.35, −0.05; 1.5 SD above: β = −0.30, 95% CI −0.49, −0.11); at lower levels of burnout, older age was associated with improvements in this (1 SD below: β = 0.19, 95% CI 0.03, 0.35; 1.5 SD below: β = 0.29, 95% CI 0.08, 0.50).

Conclusions
Findings indicated physical and psychological dimensions of work ability that differed by age and occupational burnout. This emphasizes the need for interventions to reduce burnout and to address age-related strengths and vulnerabilities relating to physical and psychological work ability.

Adopt Zero Tolerance for Hospital Staff Bullying Nursing Students

Source: John Burkley, AJN The American Journal of Nursing, Vol. 118 no. 5, May 2018

Any nursing instructor knows that nursing students are often victims of bullying by hospital staff nurses. Anthony and Yastik (Journal of Nursing Education, 2011) have characterized types of staff incivility toward students as “exclusionary, hostile or rude, or dismissive.” Such incidents are alienating, contribute negatively to learning, and should not be tolerated. It is a shared responsibility of nursing instructors and clinical sites to provide a rich learning environment, and the American Nurses Credentialing Center identifies “nurses as teachers” as one of the 14 characteristics of Magnet hospitals. One recent experience served as an impetus to write this article…..

Fighting Night-Shift Fatigue

Source: Carol Potera, AJN The American Journal of Nursing, Vol. 118 no. 5, May 2018

Because society needs nursing services around the clock, nurses must work irregular hours and at night. This leads to disruption of circadian rhythms and to sleep deficits that can affect work readiness and the health, safety, and well-being of nurses. Long shifts, shift rotations, double shifts, and evening and night shifts pose short- and long-term health and safety risks for nurses, as well as danger to their patients. Sleep-deprived nurses are also at risk for car accidents. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, less than four hours of sleep in the past 24 hours increases a driver’s risk of crashing 11.5 times, compared with just 1.3 times after seven hours of sleep…..

Sexual Harassment in Nursing: A Long-Standing, but Rarely Studied Problem

Source: Roxanne Nelson, AJN The American Journal of Nursing, Vol. 118 no. 5, May 2018

The #MeToo and #TimesUp movements have put a national spotlight on workplace sexual harassment. As members of a female-dominated profession, nurses have long dealt with on-the-job sexual harassment, and the problem persists in today’s workplace.

The Mental Health Workforce: A Primer

Source: Elayne J. Heisler, Congressional Research Service, CRS Report, R43255, April 20, 2018

Congress has held hearings and some Members have introduced legislation addressing the interrelated topics of the quality of mental health care, access to mental health care, and the cost of mental health care. The mental health workforce is a key component of each of these topics. The quality of mental health care depends partially on the skills of the people providing the care. Access to mental health care relies on, among other things, the number of appropriately skilled providers available to provide care. The cost of mental health care depends in part on the wages of the people providing care. Thus an understanding of the mental health workforce may be helpful in crafting policy and conducting oversight. This report aims to provide such an understanding as a foundation for further discussion of mental health policy.

No consensus exists on which provider types make up the mental health workforce. This report focuses on the five provider types identified by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as mental health providers: clinical social workers, clinical psychologists, marriage and family therapists, psychiatrists, and advanced practice psychiatric nurses. The HRSA definition of the mental health workforce is limited to highly trained (e.g., graduate degree) professionals; however, this workforce may be defined more broadly elsewhere. For example, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) definition of the mental health workforce includes mental health counselors and paraprofessionals (e.g., case managers).

An understanding of typical licensure requirements and scopes of practice may help policymakers determine how to focus policy initiatives aimed at increasing the quality of the mental health workforce. Most of the regulation of the mental health workforce occurs at the state level because states are responsible for licensing providers and defining their scope of practice. Although state licensure requirements vary widely across provider types, the scopes of practice converge into provider types that generally can prescribe medication (psychiatrists and advanced practice psychiatric nurses) and provider types that generally cannot prescribe medication (clinical psychologists, clinical social workers, and marriage and family therapists). The mental health provider types can all provide psychosocial interventions (e.g., talk therapy). Administration and interpretation of psychological tests is generally the province of clinical psychologists. …..