1. Deck, Michele L. MEd, BSN, RN, LCCE, FACCE, Column Editor

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Many years ago, I met a dynamic, fun, and creative staff educator, Vivian Jefferson. She is the director of education at Morehead Memorial Hospital in Eden, NC. Vivian and I have had a friendship since then, and we enjoy sharing staff development ideas that work. I asked Vivian to share a personal story and professional idea and her latest terrific teaching tool, and here are her words:


The plane finally landed, and there was Michele, carrying only a tiny bag with nothing more than a few unmentionables. It was now very early on the day of the conference for which Michele was the keynote speaker. An hour later, when all passenger bags had been retrieved, we were still waiting for her bags, which contained all her materials for the conference. We went to the customer service desk to report the lost luggage. Alas, no luggage was left on the plane, so after the obligatory forms were completed, we were off to the local Wal-Mart. Luckily, the shoppers at 2 am are few, so we found great parking and entered the store. Our first stop was the toy aisle. As swift as lightning, balls and other assorted goodies began to fill the basket. Next, we were off to the office supply area. Michele's hands moved swiftly gathering post-it notes, rubber bands, and other items. The volume in the basket was growing. Our last stop was in the clothing section to replace her missing business suit with something more appropriate than the jeans and sneakers she had worn on the plane. Quickly, black pants, a sweater, shoes, and even jewelry were chosen. Our purchases were tallied, bagged, and off we went to the hotel. We checked Michele in with purchases in hand at approximately 3 am. I went to bed, and I can't say whether Michele's head ever hit a pillow or not. In a few short hours, I found Michele standing in front of the meeting room, smiling, with everything prepared for the day's activities. She had recreated whatever she had planned and packed with the items she purchased while 'power shopping' in the middle of the night. Her full-day presentation was flawless. She never even looked tired. At the end of the day, I took her back to the airport, and she was off to the Midwest. Her only request the entire day was, 'don't tell anyone what happened until after I am gone.' After dinner with my colleagues, I returned to my hotel room to find a lovely bouquet of roses and a note of thanks. That's class and talent all in one small package. Michele is my hummingbird friend. She flies in and out quickly, gives an amazing presentation, and I seem to see her only during warm weather!


One thing that I have done here that has been well received is to create a job aid I call New Nurse Reminder Cards. I use a pocket-sized product called a scan plan into which you can slide index cards. I used that tool to put together a set of cards with basic information. Ours contains:


1. Contacts: frequently used numbers (nursing supervisor, housekeeping, pharmacy, patient representative), how to page, response codes, and the Web site and number for the State Board of Nursing.


2. Infection control: patient conditions that need to be reported to the infection control nurse.


3. Medication administration: basic drug calculation equivalents, calculation formulas for drugs and for IV flow rates, the five rights, and routine drug administration times.


4. Case management: a list of circumstances for which the case manager needs to be called and the names and pager numbers of the case managers.


5. Chronic disease program: indications for referral and who to call.


6. Translation services: how to contact and use the service.


7. Unapproved abbreviations: those not to be used in the organization and what to use instead.


8. Meditech: hot keys and wild cards (computer system).


9. Healthcare communication: information to include when calling physicians.


10. Pediatric norms and IV rules: vital signs and IV flow rates by ages.



The new nurses really enjoy receiving this pack of information during orientation.


What a terrific way to give new personnel information at their fingertips when they begin working on a unit! I appreciate Vivian's practical and useful idea, as well as her memory of power shopping in the middle of the night, and hope you like it, too.