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Welcome to our tools library

Being a successful nurse manager involves multitasking an unlimited amount of issues each day, ranging from solving staffing disputes to focusing on patient safety problems, and it can be difficult to find enough time in your day to accomplish it all. Save yourself time by downloading tools from our library to:

  • Plan practical, interesting staff meetings
  • Keep staff fresh on new ideas and changes in the industry
  • Help you organize your time better
  • Make your job easier!

 
  • Free Tool: Time management action plan

    Everyone is feeling the time crunch; this free tool from the Preceptor Program Workbook will help you and your staff manage your time!
     

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  • Free Tool: New Hire Wishlist

    Looking for feedback from new hires about your orientation program? The Essential Handbook for New Employees has tools that you can use in your orientation program, including this new hire wishlist.

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  • Acceptable and Unacceptable Interview Questions

    Brush up on your interview skills using this free tool from Nursing Orientation Program Builder.

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  • Free self-assessment tool

    With this self-assessment tool, you can evaluate your own performance and ensure that your department is measuring up. This is an excerpt from Improving Nursing Documentation and Reducing Risk.

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  • Free Tool: Guidelines for providing effective feedback

    Looking for tips for communicating with your staff? Check out this free tool from The Effective Charge Nurse Handbook: The Pocket Companion for Charge Nurse Leaders.

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  • Free Tool: Conflict Resolution Worksheet

    Having problems resolving interpersonal issues in your department? Use this free tool to develop strategies and solve problems with your staff!

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  • Free Delegation Tool

    Too much on your plate, but not sure if you’re staff is prepared to help? This delegation tool will help you communicate responsibilities with your staff and improve their performance over time.

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  • Free Tool: Scenario Validation Checklist for a Simulation

    Looking for help developing a simulation program in your hospital? This checklist will help you make sure you don't miss a thing as you develop a simulation for your staff.

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  • Sample Nursing Peer Review Committee Charter

    Thinking about starting a Peer Review Committee? Here's a helpful sample charter to define the scope of you committee and set the expectations for your team.

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  • Meeting survey

    Want to know what people really think about your weekly meetings? Try this survey from Essential Skills for Nurse Managers is designed to measure staff engagement and elicit constructive feedback from your staff.

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  • Agenda development strategies

    Need help setting the agenda? This tool from our Essential Skills for Nurse Managers book will help you come up with ideas and items to include in your agenda, and strategies to engage your staff on the important issues.

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  • Workplace climate questionnaire

    Evaluate whether your workplace is a place where you feel safe or whether there is a climate of bullying and disrespect with the workplace climate questionnaire from the groundbreaking book by Kathleen Bartholomew, RN, MN, Ending Nurse-to-Nurse Hostility, Second Edition: Why Nurses Eat Their Young and Each Other.

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  • Incident report checklist

    In many states, the incident report can be reviewed by the plaintiff's attorney. Therefore, it is important that you and your staff keep in mind that others may read it. Use the following checklist of what to do and what not to do to make sure that you correctly fill out an incident report.

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  • Hierarchy of voice self-esteem tool for nurses

    Try the following exercise to encourage nurses' self-esteem. It's called a "hierarchy of voice" because each step results in greater empowerment. In performance evaluations, share the following list and ask team members to pick 10 meaningful actions that they would like to perform to increase their self-esteem. Then have team members rank their choices from one to 10 (easiest to hardest).

    Educators can use the performance criteria in the competency tool as documentation that they have achieved competencies for yearly performance appraisals. Administrators can use the criteria when evaluating performance of their staff members. Some organizations required documentation of achievement of selected competencies as part of the performance appraisal process. The expectations vary based on roles and responsibilities; a sample of a competency checklist for equipment-related competency is provided here.

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  • Types of grants for health professionals

    Grants are available to health professionals primarily fall into six categories: foundation grants, hospital-based grants, professional association grants, corporate partnerships, pre- and-post-doctoral fellowships, and federal grants. This table provides more information on each type of grant.

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  • Nurse to nursing assistant briefing checklist

    Traditionally, RNs and nursing assistants have not always communicated optimally. In many institutions, nursing assistants/aides do not attend the change-of-shift report and often receive patient information as an afterthought. This can be resolved by implementing the use of a laminated briefing card with key patient care items that the nurses used to brief the aide they would be working with on their shift.

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  • ARCTIC assessment tool

    Failure to move towards organizational change happens when smart people resist going from doing the wrong thing well to doing the right new thing poorly. Leaders must ensure that the destination is clear, resources are in place, and valued rewards are provided to break through this barrier. The ARCTIC assessment tool can help identify rewards that would have greater meaning to people and more power to move change and successfully implement shared governance.

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  • Charge nurse preceptor evaluation form

    You can ease a charge nurse's transition into the new role by assigning a preceptor devoted to assuring that the charge nurse receives the necessary education for that new role. A preceptor should attend your facility's preceptoship program and should posess excellent communication and leadership skills, as well as mentorship and coaching capabilities. At the end of orientation and precepted time, have your charge nurses evaluate the preceptor and use the feedback to make changes to your program as needed.

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  • Plan, Do, Study, Act (PDSA) plan for implementing change

    One of the simplest tools to implement successful change is Plan, Do, Study, Act (PDSA). You might suggest a pilot study in your discussions with the executive team, which will lead you to this tool. This process encourages rapid incremental improvements in cost and quality outcomes. Sometimes we spend so long planning formal changes that we miss the opportunity for, as well as the immediate value from, the change. This process facilitates movement and results in the opportunity to see quick wins or when a change might not be a good fit for your unit or organization and needs to be stopped.

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  • Nurse residency program session evaluation form

    This template is an example of a sheet that could be used to evaluate a nurse residency program (NRP) session from the new graduate perspective. It covers both presentation and content, can be completed in a minute or two, and can yield specific data that be used to modify future sessions. It also provides feedback to presenters and the materials they use to present with.

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  • Example of a breakeven analysis

    A breakeven analysis or return on investment allows you to determine the point at which your facility can expect to recover the cost of an investment. Simply stated, how many procedures will you have to do to begin making a profit? Initially, the cost of doing a new procedure will usually exceed the revenue earned by the facility for the new procedure. At the breakeven point, total revenue equals total costs. After the breakeven point, all procedures done result in profit for your facility as the total revenue received for the procedure exceeds the costs of the procedure. When it is determined how many procedures are needed to breakeven, a prediction can be made about how long in months or years it will take to being producing profit.

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  • Sample summary supporting capital justification

    After planning and approval of the capital budget, you will need to develop the capital justification when you are ready to purchase the equipment. Justifications should include a summary with supporting documentation attached. A front page summary is important to give the bottom line information.

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  • Peer evaluation tool for charge nurse

    Since charge nurses are actively engaged in activities going on in the unit every day, it makes sense to include them in providing feedback regarding other team members' performance. Ask them to be honest, professional, and provide feedback in a constructive manner with suggestions for improvement. Once you gather all of the feedback, you as a manager can summarize comments and include this in the performance evaluation.

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  • Process improvement team charter

    You won't be able to improve a prcoess or performance measure unless you define it clearly. For a process improvement effort, you will need an opportunity statement or charter to address certain questions and define clear priorities among all who will work on the process improvement before the team is convened.

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  • Checklist to evaluate training products

    There are 20 questions you should ask every vendor when evaluating a CBL or other training product for your organization. You can make these into a checklist to document the answers during every vendor call and demonstration presentation.

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  • Planning a learning experience using new technology

    The best way to get started is to use the techology yourself so that you can test the pros and cons of it. Using the technology will also give you ideas on how to incorporate it into the educational process.

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  • Evaluation for classroom suitability

    This chart offers a suggested template for determining whether a program is suited to the classroom. Note that the more important it is that learners have immediate, interpersonal communication and feedback to achieve learning outcomes, then the more suitable that program is to a classroom setting. If you answered yes to the questions in this chart, it indicates that at least some classroom time is important.

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  • Measuring behavior in the orientation setting

    Actual competency in the work setting will be evaluated on the unit by the preceptor. However, there are some behaviors that may be demonstrated during general orientation. The exact behaviors that are assessed vary from organization to organization. But all behaviors should be assessed consistently and objectively.

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  • Key balance sheet terms

    The balance sheet is a significant financial statement in every hospital. While it outlines a facility’s assets, liabilities, and net worth, its contents change daily, making a nurse manager’s ability to understand it critical to her job. Familiarize yourself with these key balance sheet terms.

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  • Interview candidate spreadsheet organizer

    Notes are helpful when several top applicants for a position emerge and close comparison becomes necessary. Use this tool to help you find the perfect candidate for the position.

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  • Sample confidential performance log

    Many sources of information provide insight into a nurse's competency level, and you should maintain this information in a performance log for each employee you supervise. All documentation in the performance log should be objective, measurable examples of how each nurse performs his or her job.

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  • Department of nursing-Professional development for new graduate

    Using this tool can help both you and the new graduate nurse plan for current and future skills and educational needs.

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  • Department of nursing-Professional development for experienced nurse

    Using this tool can help both you and the experienced nurse plan for current and future skills and educational needs.

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  • Skills checklist template

    Research has shown that if evaluators make direct observations using precise measurement criteria in checklists, with immediate feedback on performance, this is more effective than the traditional evaluation of clinical skills using subjective rating forms. Here is a template for creating a skills checklist.

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  • TJC requirements for orientation

    The mission of TJC is to continuously improve healthcare for the public, in collaboration with other stakeholders, by evaluating healthcare organizations and inspiring them to excel in providing safe and effective care of the highest quality and value. Here is an overview of educational standards for orientation.

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  • Preceptorship program policy

    A formal structure for managing preceptorships provides a foundation for selecting preceptors, matching them to new employees successfully, and evaluating the effectiveness of orientees' transition to practice. Develop a policy to deliniate purpose, roles and responsibilities, and issues around the establishment of a nursing preceptorship for new-employee orientation.

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  • Evaluating competency for new orientees

    Hospitalwide and service-specific, unit-based (or clinical) orientations vary in length, depending on the needs of the organization and of new employees. Preceptors help orientees navigate competencies reflective of new, changed, different, high-risk/ time-sensitive, and/or problemative aspects of their new jobs that are critical for quality, safe, competent professional practice at point of care. Compentency-based orientations initiate competency assessment and verification.

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  • Job description for hiring staff nurses

    Interviewing and hiring can be stressful for nurse managers as they seek to find just the right candidate. The ultimate goal is to hire nurses who practice as professionals, fit into the organizational culture, and assist the organization in achieving its strategic goals. The job description is the first place to start. It's imperative that it defines and portrays the type of person needed to fill the vacant position. 

     

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  • Leadership learning cycle

    Many times new nurses are given authority based on policies and procedures, but are never given the proper interpersonal skills necessary to lead and manage. To help build future leaders, it is important to guide, direct, motivate, and teach them. Their ability to build relationships is every bit as important as their clinical competence.

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  • Scripting tool to improve HCAHPS ratings

    The Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) hospital survey was launched in 2006 by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to standardize patient satisfaction surveys across the nation.

    In addition, some facilities employ the services of a private customer satisfaction survey service. Whether this is Press Ganey, Gallup, or a homegrown satisfaction survey, your "last words" can have a positive effect on how patients or their families complete the survey.

    Share this tool with your staff to help them speak to patients using language the patients will be able to recognize when taking the survey.

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  • Nurse manager stress relief plan

    Are you stressed? Answer the following questions:

    • Are your shoulders too close to your earlobes?
    • Are you tapping or shaking your foot or fingers?
    • Do you feel tired enough that you could lie down and take a nap?
    • Are you worrying about what happened yesterday or the day before?
    • Are you feeling on edge?
    • Is your breathing shallow?


    If you answered yes to any of these questions, you are overstressed. Take a look at the quick tips contained in this tool for some fast relief.

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  • Time management tracking tool

    Principles of time management can help nurses—particularly new graduate nurses—accomplish everything that must be done each day without feeling overwhelmed. The first step to mastering time management is to assess how nurses spend their time. One way to do this is to use a time management tracking tool. During the course of several shifts, nurses note how they spend their time. Once they have collected the data, they can look for patterns. For example:

    • Are they routinely skipping breaks?
    • Do they spend more time looking for supplies than conducting patient assessments?
    • Are they spending a disproportionate amount of time on one activity versus another?

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  • Scripts for difficult conversations

    Scripting is a tool that gives nurses guidelines for handling situations more effectively. It can help with daily interactions with patients, peers, and physicians. And used correctly, it can be empowering. Having a few good phrases on hand for situations in which they are the recipient of or witness to horizontal violence can give nurses ammunition to disarm offenders professionally and hold them accountable for their actions. It also helps avoid negativity when addressing a problem with a peer. This tool lists some scripted phrases for dealing with negatives behaviors and difficult conversations.

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  • Learning style assessment tool

    In addition to the characteristics of the right- and left-brain learners, most experts recognize three main learning styles: visual, auditory, and tactile/kinesthetic learners. By carefully reviewing each of the three categories, you can identify your own learning style and learn to recognize the learning style of others. This tool can be given to adult learners to determine their learning style preferences or used for self assessment.

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  • Overview of right- versus left-brain learners

    Managers and educators should recognize the right-brain and left-brain characteristics in their learners and plan programs that stimulate the use of both hemispheres to achieve successful educational outcomes. Use this tool to understand some characteristics of left- and right-brain learners and learn suggestions to facilitate learning.

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  • Nurse retention survey

    A simple way to find out what motivates staff—and crucially what will make them stay—is to ask them. As a manager it is important that you keep a finger on the pulse of why they are leaving, but more importantly, why they are staying. Use this survey to get an understanding of how to improve nurse retention at your facility.

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  • Techniques to speak clearly and listen actively

    When two people are involved in a conversation, one is sending information and the other is receiving it. For successful communication to occur, the sender must be a clear speaker and the receiver must be an active listener. These tips can help you and your staff improve your communication skills.

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  • Facilitating effective meetings

    Nurse managers have many opportunities to expect accountability from their staff, both during one-on-one interactions and in group settings. An area where nurse managers should expect accountability, but where they frequently complain they see none, is during staff meetings. Nurse managers can promote accountability during meetings by having an agenda that is available beforehand to set the stage for what is expected and alert staff to how they need to "be" in the meeting. Refer to this tool when preparing your agenda.

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  • Sample employee ’favorites’ list

    Being detail-oriented can help nurse managers build strong relationships with staff, unfortunately it can be difficult to remember everything in your busy day. Use this sample to create an alphabetical file of each nurses’ favorite things, such as candy, hobbies, food, and music that you can refer to when handing out spontaneous awards.

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  • Guidelines for writing effective research abstracts

    Researchers are often asked to present findings of their research in the form of an abstract, or a short summary of the findings. An abstract is designed to give the reader a quick understanding of the research, but may not include the main results or contain all the conclusions from the study. Keep the following tips in mind when developing abstracts to disseminate nursing research findings.

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  • Cover letter to recruit research study subjects

    One’s approach to recruiting subjects is important when discussing participation in research. The investigator should tell subjects how important they are to the success of the study, but never coerce subjects to participate. This figure is an example of a cover letter which can be used to  introduce the research to potential subjects and obtain subjects who are interested.

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  • Mentor application form

    Encouraging mentoring relationships can be a key tool in aiding retention, particularly for new nurse graduates. If you want to create a formal mentoring program, it’s important to find people who will relate well to each other, and for both mentor and mentee to have a good understanding of what the relationship will involve and what the goals should be.

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  • Newspaper ’bragging’ story template

    As a nurse manager, you should take advantage of local resources and brag about your nurses every chance you get. Organizations do not brag enough about all the accomplishments that their nursing staff is able to complete, whether it’s meeting patient safety goals or recognizing operating room nurses who just received their OR certification. Use this figure to get some bragging going on in your local community newspapers.

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  • Orientation letter

    Orientation to a unit or department is not just the responsibility of the manager. In order for the new hire to be successful, staff must be included in this process as well. Craft an orientation letter that makes new nurses aware of your facility’s expectations for them during orientation and also the commitment of team members who will help them transition into their role. You can use this sample letter as a guide.

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  • Annual competencies review letter

    All staff should be involved in the process of determining appropriate elements for the annual review. The content should vary each year and comprise selected skills, duties, tasks, and behaviors that reflect results of performance improvement activities, infection control reviews, risk management reviews, additions of new technology, and needs identified by medical staff or other employees. After staff participate in this process at your facility, send them a letter (such as this one) thanking them for their feedback, suggestions, and comments that will lead to improved patient care and processes.

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  • Preceptor application form

    The preceptor is the primary staff member who will assist the new hire through the orientation process. When you match the right preceptor with the new employee, you have beginnings of a wonderful peer-to-peer working relationship that will set the tone for the rest of the peer group. Have hopeful preceptors fill out this application form before bringing them on board. 

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  • New graduate orientation evaluation

    The most important factor in the future sucess of a new employee is an effective orientation process. Be sure your orientation program meets the individual needs of your new hires by having them fill out this evaluation form.

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  • Documentation of unacceptable behavior

    As a nurse manager, you set the tone for the work culture of your unit. If you raise or lower the bar, staff will meet it. Therefore, managers must walk the talk of the standards conveyed to staff and their actions must be grounded in the responsibility to ensure quality care and professional behavior for patients, coworkers, and the organization as a whole. Use this sample documentation form to assist you in the disciplinary process when dealing with innapropriate staff behavior.

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  • Sample charge nurse interview questions

    The ultimate goal of interviewing and selecting staff is to find the right fit between the talents, skills, and abilities needed in a given role and the talents, skills, and abilities of a given applicant. Refer to these sample interview questions to be certain your next aspiring charge nurse will be capable of carrying out his or role.

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  • Nurse manager goal tracker

    Use this sample tool ensure that you set out for and meet every goal for projects, training, and reviews.

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  • Sample preinterview letter

    Get interviews off to a good start before even meeting the job candidates. Adapt this sample preinterview letter to your liking and send it to the potential staff member one or two weeks before the scheduled date.

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  • Exit interview questions

    The most effective exit interviews are those that yield information nurse managers can use to improve work environments for their current and future nurses. Refer to this list to make sure you are asking departing staff members the right questions.

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  • Sample recognition memo

    Staff members thrive in environments where they are praised for their hard work. Make sure your staff knows you appreciate every positive example they set at your facility using this sample recognition memo.

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  • Interview your risk management department

    The following are questions to ask the risk management department as a new nurse manager.

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  • Supervisor notification memo

    Use a memo like the following sample to notify your supervisor of a competency issue on your unit. When writing your memo, be specific by identifying the competency issue and your correction plan.

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  • Labor budget guide

    The following steps describe how to create the labor portion of a budget.

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  • Sample postinterview letter

    Develop your own postinterview letter using this sample as a guide.

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  • Group norms assessment tool

    Use this assessment tool to identify group norms that affect staff happiness, productivity, and effectiveness.

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  • Research advertisement guide

    When recruiting research subjects through advertisements, it is important to know what should and shouldn’t be included. This figure contains tips and will guide you through the design of your own research advertisement.

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  • Measurement tools for data collection

    When choosing a specific tool or measure for collecting information, researchers must consider the structure of the tool being chosen (is data going to be collected informally or in a  formal setting?), whether statistical analysis can be performed on the tool, whether the tool interferes with the subjects’ normal lifestyle, and what objectivity the tool produces. This list of measurement tools identifies the pros and cons of each, and will help you determine which approach to data collection is right for you.

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  • Informed consent cover letter sample

    Informed consent forms detail a study’s purpose, expectation about the subjects’ participation, time allowed for the study, voluntary participation, costs to the subjects, and any risks or benefits associated with the study. This is an example of an informed consent cover letter, which provides details about a study’s intentions, purpose, and method that is based on geriatric pain management.

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  • Basic budgeting formulas

    Here is a list of basic budgeting formulas every nurse manager should know.

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  • Sample business plan for the medical-surgical unit

    This is an example of a short, concise business plan for the medical-surgical unit. Depending on the proposal or project, some of the steps may be consolidated, and others may be expanded. Use this sample as a guide.

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  • Timeline for new role development

    It can be a challenge to develop and fill a new position at a facility if goals are not outlined. Create and implement a clear, realistic timeline by referring to this sample.

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  • Sample capital budget acquisition form

    If you are responsible for developing a capital budget, you may have to fill out a capital budget acquisition form. Such forms are used when requesting funding for new equipment and to make the case for purchasing new, large price-tag items and equipment. View this sample capital budget acquisition form for some guidance.

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  • Six questions to keep in mind when budgeting

    Keep these six questions in mind when budgeting for orientation, education, and training.

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  • Mentorship evaluation

    Use this form to evaluate strengths and weakness in particular mentor/mentee relationships. Gather the feedback and use it to improve future relationships and the overall process at your facility.

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  • Welcome to the department letter

    Formally welcome your new staff member to the team and take care of some important agenda items with this letter. A new hire gets only one introduction to a new job, so make sure it’s the best it can be.

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  • Defending your budget

    A budget is a budget. Never say "the budget is wrong." If there are discrepancies, indicate that you will provide a description of the issue or variance. Then, develop an action plan to address the issue. Here are a few examples of proactive things to say when defending your budget.

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  • Sample budget calendar

    In many hospitals, the finance department and administration work together to develop a budget calendar. This calendar is distributed to all managers and helps keep everyone on the same page with their budgeting tasks for the upcoming year. Here is a sample.

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  • Age-specific competency form

    The various physiological and pyschological needs of each patient's age group is part of any well-designed competency program. There are many ways to assess age-related competency. Remember that such assessment must be carried out consistently by all reviewers. This means that written guidelines must be established. The following template is presented as a resource for the development of these types of criteria.

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  • Braden Scale for Predicting Pressure Sore Risk

    One of the most widely used risk-assessment tools for pressure ulcers is the Braden Scale. This scale queries subsets of information that are assigned numerical ratings, which ultimately determine a patient's risk score/level.

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  • Competencies Tracking Sheet

    The competencies tracking sheet provides a way to document that staff members in each classification have completed required competencies.

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  • Ten questions for a research report review

    Use these 10 questions when reading and discussing a research article. The questions can be used to assess the quality of the study and to determine it applicability in clinical practice. This tool is an effective introduction to critiquing and is especially helpful to the novice consumer of research.

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  • Sample scientific review of research proposals form

    One of a nursing research council's role is to perform peer review for nursing research study proposals. The council/committee should develop the criteria they will use in their review and provide them to nurse researchers ahead of time. Such criteria should include a brief review of both administrative feasability and scientific merit, as shown in this example.

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  • Hand washing form

    It's imperative to be sure staff members are taking proper precautions when washing their hands. Use this template to make sure your staff is meeting the competency.

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  • Sample interview questions

    Asking the right questions in interviews can help managers get answers that will enable them to select the right candidate for the right job. Use this list of questions as a guide.

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  • IV dressing changes form

    The procedure to change dressing is an important skill for every staff member. Be sure staff is comfortable with this competency with the help of this tool.

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  • Preceptor workshop evaluation form

    Give the evaluation as a posttest to measure how much the particpants learned from the workshop.

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  • Sample policy for preceptorship program

    This sample policy will delineate roles and responsibilites and issues around the establishment of a nursing preceptorship for new hires and student nurses.

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  • Sample policy for nursing unit

    New employees and student nurses need to be guided into the culture of the organization and nursing service. This sample policy will provide guidance for the nursing unit.

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  • How to run a unit preceptorship meeting worksheet

    This sample worksheet will help you run successful preceptorship meetings for progress reports, feedback, assessing and verifying competencies, and completing and discussing performance evaluations.

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  • Sample productivity tool (HPPD only)

    Regardless of whether your hospital has a computerized or manual system, use a daily monitoring tool such as this one to keep track of daily productivity on the nursing unit.

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  • Unavoidable Pressure Ulcers-QA/QI Review

    Use this tool to help assess the pressure ulcer systems at your facility.

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  • New Pressure Ulcer Checklist

    Use this checklist to help assess the pressure ulcer systems at your facility.

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  • Wound Assessment Tool

    Use this tool to help assess the pressure ulcer systems at your facility.

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  • Application of Restraints

    Making sure staff is competent on the application of restraints is imperative to quality patient care. Use this tool to help with your assessment.

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  • Safe Patient Positioning Form

    Making sure patients are positioned in a safe position is crucial to quality care. Use this form to help assess staff for this competency.

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  • Simple strategy to provide feedback to all generations

    The practice of "closing" at the end of a shift is a great way to give immediate feedback to all generations. Use this tool as a guide.

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  • Skill demonstration evaluation form

    When assessing learning via a return skill demonstration, it is important that all evaluators assess competency in the same way, even in a controlled, classroom-like setting. This form serves as a template to help consistently evaluate learning of a pyscho-motor skill.

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  • Five financial survival skills for nurse managers

    Financial skills are a must for a successful nurse manager. Use these five tips to help get a handle on the finances at your facility.

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  • Unit-specific orientation checklist

    Within each unit, there are specific issues and items to understand. Customize this template to each unit at your facility to help orientation run smoothly.

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