1. have you ever met the ideal nurse? what characteristics do they have?
very early in my career i ran into a nurse who i felt was the best role model. she was always energetic and smiling. she seldom sat down. there was always something she would do for her patient's first, and always with a smile, no matter how nasty or belligerent a patient might get. i was always amazed at how she was able to pull this off. she oozed positive thoughts. some people didn't like her because of this and her enthusiasm. a call light would go off and someone would groan, "not again, (s)he just rang 20 minutes ago," and this nurse would jump up and say, "i'll go for you and see what (s)he wants." when i was a patient myself and in radiation isolation i was so surprised to see her answer my light one night when i was freezing to death and rang the light to ask someone to bring me an extra blanket. most of the staff didn't want to even come near a room with radioactive elements in it. but, there she was, not a look of care or concern for herself on her face. i've never forgotten her and i often wonder if she is still practicing, where she is and what she is doing these days. i doubt that she knows what an impact she made on me.
5. how would you change the current educational process for rn's?
i think that nurses need to come up through the ranks. i don't think that 2 years of school is enough to become an rn. i think rn education needs to start at a cna level and the person work their way up. more focus needs to be taken in the clinical levels at first. this way educators can see just who is cut out for the role and who isn't. turning rns out into the working world with no clinical experience is horrid. new grads are basically thrown in the pool and they either sink or swim. that's pretty savage. even the doctor's don't get treated that way in their education. however, how many people would want to go into a nursing program that lasted 5 or 6 years and included a working apprenticeship?
7. should unlicensed nursing staff be used to reduce health care costs?
yes, if they are well-trained. the fact is that medicare, medicaid and insurance companies are the driving forces behind all the cost cutting going on. as medicare continues to collect computer data and show that certain standard care things can be delegated to unlicensed staff, it is going to be done more and more to save money. i believe that part of the resistance by licensed staff to this, is a reluctance on their part to perform the professional nursing that we were taught in the first place. it's so much easier to regress and go back to those simpler things we know how to do, the things we delegate to unlicensed staff, than it is for some rns to manage and supervise patient care which is what they should be doing. if they keep doing that, however, they are going to put themselves right out of their jobs.
8. how would you feel if a lawsuit was brought against you?
probably a little upset at first. however, i've taken a lot of classes on documentation and protecting myself against being sued, so i would be very surprised if this happens. also, i know that when someone brings a lawsuit, they name everyone who took care of them. that is a basic strategy since they cannot add names to the list later. usually if the case goes to court the only people left on the complaint are the ones with money or those they want to hurt because they were mean to the plaintiff.
9. what traits did the best leader that you've known have?
they were fair, fair, fair. they listened to what i had to say, tactfully told me when i was full of beans so as not to hurt my feelings, were personable and i felt comfortable going to them. they maintained confidentiality and didn't feel like they had to "be" one of the staff just to be accepted by them. a good leader stands back and lets subordinates be creative and have some of the power. they only use their power and influence when people are getting out of line or need direction.
10. what traits did the worst leader that you've known have?
gossiped with the staff. played favorites with the staff. didn't act on questions or complaints. tried to change the way people did things personally when this really was her own ego trip. couldn't even define the word fair. lied and then made excuses when confronted about it. ran and hid from staff in order to avoid questions and dealing with problems.
11. what qualities do good/bad delegators have?
the biggest problem i've seen with people who have problems with delegating is that they are not assertive enough. they are afraid to speak up and do the actual delegation because they are afraid the other person won't like them. to avoid that, they'll just go ahead and take on the task themselves in addition to all the other things they have to do--not a good decision. the other problem is that when they do get up the backbone to tell someone to do something they don't make their request clear, concise and specific enough and follow up and get feedback. for example, they don't tell the delgatee to report back to them when they have completed a task so they can get that feedback. then, they wonder at the end of their shift if the task ever got done.
12. how do you perceive unions?
i worked for two unionized nursing staffs. they both needed them at the time the unions came in because the hospitals had been walking all over the nurses--hardly any vacation time, no medical insurance coverage, forced overtime, the list goes on. awful situations. the unions made the nurses benefits better. however, when you work where there's a union, there is a contract between the union and the hospital and probably some old bad blood there as well. both sides are going to go right to that written contract and follow it to the letter when a rule has been broken. there will be no leeway when it comes to enforcing the rules on both sides. when you are in a non-union facility, there is a lot of compromising with the rules that goes on. not in unionized places. union reps, i found, were often not nurses, so they didn't think like nurses. they, as i said, would advise us in terms of what the written contract said.
13. do you use computerized records? how do you like them?
yes. i am taking another degree in health information management and that is all we are studying is the computerized record. this is big stuff and more is to come. i think it's great. computerizing data has already helped to streamline a lot of the medical treatments that are being done for patients. i do believe that in the years to come (much farther down the road) a great deal of the medical services provided today will be very routine and done by trained technicians. if you think nurses are upset with unlicensed people taking over some of their tasks, wait until you hear the doctors start up about some of their things that will be able to be delegated out! the day is going to come when you can walk into any medical facility on the planet and your medical record will be instantly accessed. it sure will save all the time and energy of having to keep your own files of your medical history! it will also make continuity of care a reality for everyone.
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