"Please" and "Thank You"

  1. When speaking to co-workers, try to use polite phrases such as "please" and "Thank you", and don't make demands.

    Had a nurse from a different floor state "You have to come down here and pick up this item". For reference, it was a valuable of the patient who had been transferred for surgery. We have no lock boxes whereas the place she was does. There is no hospital protocol that states the floor must pick up the valuable of the patient.

    This is not appropriate because it immediately puts the receiver of the information on the defensive. Never think you can tell someone they "have" to do something, unless you are the supervisor. Don't tell someone they have to do something unless you have the ability to provide consequences for the ultimatum.

    TLDR: Another nurse really made me fume when she stated I had to do something. I never have to do anything unless I make the decision to do it. That is the basis of nursing. We don't do something because the doctor said do it, we make educated decisions. Request, don't demand.
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  2. 10 Comments

  3. by   elkpark
    Okay, Miss Manners.
  4. by   jennylee321
    haha elkpark
    Last edit by jennylee321 on Oct 18 : Reason: hadn't had my morning coffee
  5. by   brownbook
    I thought Miss Manners had a good point, or just a reminder. See no harm in it?
  6. by   macawake
    Quote from missmollie
    When speaking to co-workers, try to use polite phrases such as "please" and "Thank you", and don't make demands.
    I get the feeling you'd hate working with me After many years of working in law enforcement where you often get to tell grown-ups how they can (or more often how they can't) behave and expect to be obeyed, my communication style is very direct and eerrr.. utilitarian. Most of the time it's not tempered/softened by polite niceties. In my defense, I don't bristle when someone asks me to do something in an equally direct manner. And I always say thank you after a person did what I asked them to do

    Since I started my nursing career I've been told by female coworkers on more than one occasion that I have a very "masculine" style of communication (whatever that means ), which is something I never heard in my previous career (well, at least not from coworkers ). Probably because we all communicated that way and no one thought it was odd.


    Quote from missmollie
    TLDR: Another nurse really made me fume when she stated I had to do something. I never have to do anything unless I make the decision to do it. That is the basis of nursing. We don't do something because the doctor said do it, we make educated decisions. Request, don't demand.
    I guess this really shows how we all interpret things differently. For me personally, if another nurse had called and said "You have to come down here and pick up this item", I wouldn't really view that as a demand, but rather a neutral statement that something needs to happen. I wouldn't feel like s/he was bossing me around and it wouldn't be important to me that they said please. Depending on my work situation at the time I'd either reply that I'd do it, or if I didn't have the time or disagreed with the request, I'd either explain that now doesn't work for me or why I think it's the wrong move and instead try to find an alternative solution to the problem that works for both of us.

    I guess my attitude is that I'm at work to get the job done (whatever it entails) and so are my coworkers. If someone asks me to do something that has to do with work I don't feel that I need a "please", because I don't view it as doing someone a favor. I'm just doing my job. The same goes if I'm asking someone to do something. It's not a personal favor to me, it's just something that needs to be done (ultimately for the benefit of a patient/patients). And as I said, if I have issues with the request itself, I will voice my objection, but I really couldn't care less if I'm asked in a "sweet" way or not.
    Last edit by macawake on Oct 18 : Reason: adding some random thoughts...
  7. by   missmollie
    I become very authoritarian when a patient is declining, and there is no asking. When someone demands that I take responsibility for a ring and it goes against protocol, it is a different story. To me it's a form of deception, believing if you demand something it will happen. I don't care how demanding you might be, you can't make my legs move, my hand accept something, or physically force me to do something. Not going to happen, especially when it's against protocol.

    The sad thing is there are some nurses who would accept being told something, and most new nurses come to mind. My first year in nursing, I would have absolutely done what this nurse asked, but with time comes confidence and experience.

    I ask someone to do something, and I say please, and I thank them when the task is completed.
    Last edit by missmollie on Oct 18
  8. by   klone
    Quote from missmollie
    To me it's a form of deception, believing if you demand something it will happen. I don't care how demanding you might be, you can't make my legs move, my hand accept something, or physically force me to do something. Not going to happen, especially when it's against protocol.
    How would it have been any different if she had said please? It would still have been against protocol, no? I feel like you're conflating two different issues.

    How exactly is it against protocol, I didn't quite get that from your OP.

    The sad thing is there are some nurses who would accept being told something, and most new nurses come to mind. My first year in nursing, I would have absolutely done what this nurse asked, but with time comes confidence and experience.
    We're not talking about her asking you to do something that's unsafe or outside your scope. We're talking about getting a freakin' piece of jewelry. It seems to me like you just made the decision to get into a pissing match with the other nurse. How is that helpful to anything?
  9. by   vanilla bean
    Good golly, miss molly.
  10. by   Nalon1 RN/EMT-P
    While I do say please and thank you (as well as yes/no sir/ma'am) all the time, I do not get offended if others do not (because you cannot offend me, I can only allow what you say to offend me). Same for being "put on the defensive".

    From the scenario you gave of the nurse telling you you had to do something, I would just say "OK, I will get to it when I can, or you can bring it if you want", and if I don't get to it, oh well.
  11. by   Emergent
    Many of my colleagues could benefit from a Miss Manners course.
  12. by   HermioneG
    In my old job I would get aggravated if someone wouldn't use please and thank you. Mostly because it was such a small staff and being polite was the standard with everyone. So it was rare not to be polite.

    Now, though, in the hospital, there's just too many people. Too many people with too many personalities and egos. Either I can let it go and roll off my back, or I will spend every shift aggravated with minor things done by people who have long gone forgotten my existence.

    I hear you, it's so annoying. But I think the best we can do is just lead by example and let the rest roll off our backs. The only thing worse than a person not being polite, is a person who is both impolite and takes up my time and emotions after the fact.

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