Monday, September 28, 2009
She had guest Michael Moore on to talk about his new movie, Capitalism: A Love Story. While I have never actually seen a Michael Moore movie, their discussion was the spark that brought me back to my laptop to write a new blog entry.
Working in health care staffing, I see a side to the economic down turn I certainly didn't expect. Nursing has been touted as a recession-proof industry, and yet I do see qualified nurses struggling to find roles that suit their needs. Layoffs are forcing many providers to work longer hours to cover shifts. Many doctors and nurses, who would normally prefer a permanent position, are turning to travel and locums roles because long-term solutions are unavailable, or simply unattractive comparatively. The level of care provided is being affected simply by the fact that some hospitals and clinics can't afford to staff properly, and when they can hire additional staff...in some locations (usually rural), they are having a hard time luring providers to work there. I realize this is not a new problem, but it seems to be intensified by the current economic climate.
There is validity to the shortage of family practice physicians seeing as how the current model doesn't provide much incentive for a trained physician to go into family medicine. There are a number of factors that indicate the growing need for more nurses for the future, as well. This makes me wonder how any new government reform might affect that shortage? What is being done NOW to insure that our providers are supported so that we, as a nation, can get the health care we need? Will any new education incentives be geared toward health care fields to help grow the next generation of providers? Why would our nation's best and brightest want to go into a field where they will be burdened with debt and struggle, for who knows how long, just to find a role where they can make a decent living? Will nurses, who are essentially on the front line in the health care field, be forced to choose between their desire to provide top-notch care and their need to find a role to pay the bills?
I am not going to be able to blog all about it today, but I am determined to do some additional research on how the economic downturn has affected the health care industry as a whole, and how the reform packages offered may help or hinder the growth and strength of it.
What do you think?
(disclaimer: I would prefer not to over-politicize this. Ideas, thoughts, etc welcome...but please don't bring heavy-handed party politics to the topic if possible...thanks!!)
Saturday AM, Mike and I attempted to recreate a favorite breakfast we had while in Colorado. We stacked hash browns, eggs, sausage, and cheese on a plate...then poured Durango Diner Green Chile all over it. It was incredibly yummy.
A little later in the day, we met up with Kelly and Rhonda to go ride at Rowlett Creek Preserve. I haven't ridden trail in a while, so I was taking it a bit slow. We had a great ride! The only downside was that just when I was getting all used to the flow and stuff, I decided to fall. Not a biggie, but I tweaked my knee and ankle a bit...so I wussed out and rode the jeep trail back to the car. (I am fine, btw...it just felt sore for a while and is still a bit twingy). We then headed out and had a drink and a snack at Taco Cabana (always good post-riding stuff!). That evening, Mike made a killer dinner...pasta carbonara. YUM! We are going to have the leftovers for lunch today!!
Sunday AM, we kinda putzed around...then hopped on our bikes again and rode to the Greek Festival with Rhonda and Kelly. We didn't stay long, but I did get some great eats, some new recipes to try, and a Greek Beer. Opa! We rode back and then enjoyed the rest of the night at home. We made breakfast for dinner (tried the Durango Diner dealio again, this time with BACON) and it was YUMMMMMMY. All in all...we had a spectacular weekend. Makes me smile just to think about it.
How was yours????
Friday, September 25, 2009
This won't be a long post, just one to highlight some of my favorite things about the autumn months. Enjoy, and feel free to add your faves in the comments section!
1) Cooler weather. Yeah yeah yeah. Everyone says that, but it is TRUE. The crisp air, perfect time for a fire in the chiminea, and wearing pants and long sleeves comfortably! Yay!
2) Fun holidays! Halloween is always a good time...last year I was Flo from the Progressive Insurance commercials. Also, my birthday (which should be a national holiday) is on Nov 17th...so start planning now, yo!
3) New TV seasons. I have been fiending for some 30 rock...anyone else?
4) Stars hockey. Even if I am a poor example of a fan, my heart still belongs to the Stars.
5) Fall always feels like everything is where it is supposed to be. Maybe it is all in my head, but that is how it feels. I get to plan for next year, wrap up this year and give thanks for all I have. I dig it.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
A players hire A players, B players hire C players. That's where all the C players come from. ~ Mike Reyher
I mention this now, because I read another great bit by HR Bartender. One of her latest posts, It's About Marketing, made me think of Mike's quote. It seems that many companies are really catching on to how their employees directly affect their brand. Southwest Airlines, to me, has always stood out as an example of a company that hires quality employees...treats them as
such...and as a result, their brand continues to grow and maintain a solid reputation.
This is turn makes me think of another little gem from Mike... (sorry if I butcher the quote!)
If you hire people who don't have any other options, those are the people you end up working with.How does it affect your company's brand when the employees really hate their job? Or conversely, when your employees love their work atmosphere...doesn't it generate a better climate for productivity and a bottom-line boost? When it comes time to bring on new employees (hopefully because your business is booming), don't you want qualified, prospective candidates to be competing for those roles because they know the culture and company are worth putting their time and energy into?
I have worked for a broad range of businesses, and the ones I enjoyed working for the most were the ones who hired rockstars and fostered an environment that allowed their talent and knowledge to aid in the growth and success of the business overall. This, in turn, made the brand even that more attractive in the long run. Even now, I find myself preaching the gospel on what great customer service some of my previous employers have...years after working for them. I know I am an A player, and looking back...I honestly see where the ones I promote the most were full of A players as well, in management and operations.
Side note: There is a mass of discussion on social media and how it affects branding. I won't go into a long, detailed discussion of how employees' use of this medium may positively or negatively affect the company's brand as a whole...because frankly, and in my personal opinion, if you hire A players...it shouldn't be an issue. :)
Do you ever feel like you are expanding or growing your current or previous company's brand...just out of sheer "dude, my company rocks" desire?
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
I have interviewed with people who behave like they are standing high atop a castle wall shouting questions down at me in a booming voice, "Who dares disturb the Keep of those that are lucky enough to work here?" and I am supposed shout back as loud as I can, "Tis I, the guy who worked at company A, then B, then C, then …you don't really care about all that do you?" And all of a sudden I am in a Monty Python sketch.Oddly enough, I feel like I have had that experience. :) And I do love me some Monty Python.
Absorbing the impact of career challenges others have had in their job searches, and then how they translate that into their recruiting and HR roles provides a broader base for me to pull from when I encounter new candidates and clients. What are some of the resources you pull from to either inspire, shake loose old ideas, or just make you laugh so you can be more productive in your job?
Friday, September 18, 2009
Anyways, in homage to this amazing place...specifically Durango...I give you my Friday Five: the fantastic facets of Durango (and CO in general).
1. Mountains: Seriously. I have always been a flat-lander, but something about these massive formations and their effect on my energy and inspiration level blows my mind. The views, as a result of these enormous rocks, are spectacular and awe-inspiring. The trails wind up and down, the trees grow haphazardly and on the edge, and animals wander freely. It is amazing.
2. Health-conscious folk: Almost exactly opposite of the Dallas mentality, the people want to be outside and play. As a result, most of the residents of this town are in phenomenal shape. You can get pretty much anywhere on a bike, but you might have do some hills.
3. Self-expression: Most of the folks around here enjoy expressing themselves, not only in their clothing and art, but in their modes of transportation as well. We have seen lots of creative bicycles here!
4. Local breweries: Apparently living in the mountains inspires creativity in the crafting of incredibly tasty beers. I dig it. Durango has a handful of kickass breweries. Steamworks, Ska, Carvers and Durango Brewing...just to name a few. I really heart Ska, btw.
5. The weather: All I gots to say there, on this amazing day...is "ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh"
Thursday, September 17, 2009
(half order) and somehow, miraculously ate all of it. Got my sticker. w00t!
So, after we gorged ourselves on spectacular diner food, we got back on the road and headed to Durango. We took a phenomenal scenic route and enjoyed some really out of this world views of peaks and valleys. The mining district is overwhelmingly beautiful. I will have to take time to go through there and visit each city later on. Silverton, Ouray, etc...GORGEOUS!
So far so good in Durango. We pedaled downtown to have breakfast and walked around. Lots of cool people here for the SSWC. Should be a great weekend. YEah!
Will post more pics and stories later.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
NASA has released its first images from the newly-serviced Hubble Space Telescope, and jolly impressive they are too.
The new pictures include colourful multi-wavelength pictures of distant galaxies, a densely packed star cluster and a butterfly-shaped nebula.
Hubble's new instruments are more sensitive to light, and cover the spectrum from ultraviolet right through to near infra-red. "The telescope was given an extreme makeover and is now significantly more powerful than ever — well equipped to last well into the next decade," said Ed Weiler, associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters.
A dramatic golden explosion shows a star bursting to life in the Carina nebula, while a dying star releases superheated gas in a butterfly-like formation.
A densely packed star cluster inside Omega Centauri is one of the first images taken by the new Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3).
Galactic wreckage can be seen in Stephan's Quintet, also known as Hickson Compact Group 92.
For the last three months, scientists and engineers at the Sapce Telescope Sci Institute (STScI) and the Goddard Space Flight Center have been focusing, testing and calibrating the instruments. Hubble now enters a phase of full science observations.
There's a lot of work to get through. On the to-do list are studying the population of Kuiper Belt objects at the fringe of our solar system, observing the birth of planets around other stars and probing the composition and structure of extrasolar planetary atmospheres.
There are also ambitious plans to take the deepest-ever near-infrared portrait of the universe to reveal for the first time infant galaxies that existed when the universe was less than 500 million years old.
Other planned observations will attempt to shed light on the behaviour of dark energy, a repulsive force that is pushing the universe apart at an ever-faster rate.
that's cool, eh?
"What brought this on?", you might ask. Shocker of all shockers, a quote inspired this train of thought.
"The skill of writing is to create a context in which other people can think." ~ Edwin Schlossberg
I am hoping it might derail you long enough to share some of your favorite moments of "wow, this really gets my brain a-rumbling and neurons a-firing!". I would like to think my writing inspires or at least fosters an environment for thought. Share with me some of your favorite authors or pieces that really give you the space and are a catalyst for your own imagination.
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
I know that humans have a natural tendency to want to make changes and grow and modify. That is one of our strengths, I think. I just wonder if we tend to be drawn to these forms of entertainment when we, ourselves, are going through some sort of transformation? Or...want to go through a transformation. There are things in my life, especially over the last 12 months that have changed a lot (IE job, job location, etc). Also, I have found that I am really wanting to get back into shape...start training for something again. I wonder if by watching others go through alterations, I am inspired in my own day-to-day growth. Or am I reaching?
I moved around a lot when I was a kid, went to a slew of new schools, and learned the habit of re-arranging the furniture at regular intervals from my mother. It seems a natural part of my life, and when I am not taking steps to either better myself or update my environment to suit my mood, I feel weird. I think change is a constant, and growth is necessary to feel alive. Even small changes, like painting a wall a new color, make a dramatic difference in the flow of one's life. What do you think?
A good quote for you to chew on with this post:
“Change is the essence of life. Be willing to surrender what you are for what you could become.”Some things I am working on currently, so you can at least have an idea of what changes I mean, include:
- riding my bike to/from work more often (gas, health, etc)
- starting a strength training program (cause I am weak)
- re-arranging furniture
- working on some pictures/wall hangings for our casa
- possibly taking a dance class or something soon...like Tango...that sounds like fun :)
What changes are you wanting to make, and what steps are you taking to make them?
Friday, September 4, 2009
fecund: fruitful; prolific; also, marked by intellectual productivity.
Why, if this word is so positive in its meaning, does it SOUND so unappealing? Weird. What other words do you come across that have meanings contrary to how the word actually sounds?
2.) Ipod! I appreciate some good tunes while driving, and Mike and I will have a long trip to get to our intended destination. While we do have satellite radio, it gets a little old and my special playlists will keep us inspired and pumped for a weekend of celebrating.
3.) Work. Yikes, you might say...but no, really. I want to get some work done on Monday so I can make an impact next week. My goal is to prep for some great job matchups and help some experience folks find great roles! Oh, and when I am done working...I will go hacking through the shiggy with my fellow half-minds on our annual Labor Day hash. (see this posting to get an idea of what a hash is, it is NOT about drugs people!) 4.) Catch up on blogs. Yes, I have alot of blog catchup to do..not just on mine, but on the ones I follow! I need to spend some time reading and absorbing what is going on in the blogosphere.
5.) Relax! I plan on really unwinding when I sit my butt in a tube Saturday morning. I am all about some float time...with an ice cold beverage in my hand. Yep. that's me. :)
What is on your Labor Day List?
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
It really stuck with me. My grandmother doesn't have dementia, but she DOES have macular degeneration. Having some kind of idea of what she has to struggle through makes me more aware of what I can do to assist her in day to day activities.
As I continue my adventure as a health care recruiter with DEPI Staffing, I find that I am speaking very often with long term care providers. This is a question I have been tempted to ask, just for my own personal curiosity...Do many long term care facilities, or similar facilities, offer this kind of training to their staff? If not, do many nurses and caregivers pursue it on their own? If you were a caregiver, do you think you would want to go through this kind of training? I think most care givers and staff in long term care, nursing home environments, hospice, etc...have to have a very special heart and ability to do what they do on a daily basis. Would this provide an even greater level of empathy and improve quality of care?
It seems to be catching on, as several reporters have taken their own turn at checking it out. You can find some good write-ups HERE and HERE. Making headlines on national tv, Second Wind Dreams' offers a Virtual Dementia Tour Series.
From their site, a good bit of info on Alzheimer's and its effect on the patient and caregivers:
Who is Affected?I guess my initial thoughts are that this could be an invaluable resource as we move forward with an aging population and will need to equip our nation's care givers with the best tools possible to insure top quality care for our families and ourselves. What do you think?
The Patient: For those struggling with Alzheimer’s, the decline of physical and cognitive abilities makes simple daily tasks difficult if not impossible to perform.
The Caregiver: Because of the difficult behaviors and symptoms of Alzheimer’s many caregiver suffer from burnout, depression and even suicide. Studies show that when caregivers are not trained to provide care they are more likely to abuse the afflicted person and cases of abuse are on the rise.
Society: Alzheimer’s costs business $61 billion a year according to the Alzheimer’s Association. Of that, $36.5 billion covers costs related to caregivers, including lost productivity, absenteeism and worker replacements. And for the first time in history, employer costs related to elder care exceeds the cost of childcare.
Understanding Dementia is now more crucial than ever. The Alzheimer’s Association states that Alzheimer’s is being diagnosed every 72 seconds in the U.S. alone and the increasing numbers of elders with Dementia could create the largest crisis in the history of healthcare. Lessening the chasm between us and our elders gives us a greater chance of meeting their needs.