Me, a nit picker?

  1. Sorry, this is gonna be a long rant.

    Had my 3 month evaluation at work today (only been there for a year)

    Have very mixed feelings about the whole thing. First of all I acknowledge that even with its faults, this is definately the best nursing job I've had. I'm proud that even though I've been in positions that have literally been nightmares, I haven't lost my enthousiasm for the work.

    So anyway she (my manager), had a lot of good things to say about me. She says she values my initiative and admits that I'm probably the only nurse on my unit that actually follows through with the nursing process, and the only one who puts time into careplanning. I feel good having heard that, but it is the criticisms that bother me.

    She says that the staff have a problem with my people skills. She says she has learned the hard way that you can't just jump in and change things, you have to pick and choose what to pursue, and if you think changes have to be maden you have to be very gradually and with a lot of warning. My co-workers apparantly feel threatened whenever I suggest doing something differently, or if I point out ways we've been doing things that are ineffective and/or potentially unsafe in the long run. Apparently people have complained that I'm "always preaching", and they feel that I am too critical. Things are getting better, but there was a time when I was getting a lot of hostility from the aides.

    The atmosphere on my unit is nuts and is always very busy. For this reason, too many very important things have been left undone for too long. For example, people will be deteriorating, and I'll find that there has been no documentation of this. When I came to this LTC unit there were people whose careplans hadn't been updated for a year! My boss just so non-confrontational and easy-going. She does nothing when I complain to her. I feel like I'm being ignored, so sometimes I take matters into my own hands, and then I get flack! I get no support from her, nor from the other nurses. I'm just too contravercial and they don't want to get out of their comfortable little ruts.

    This has made me very paranoid. Now I'm worried about how everything I say sounds to people. Truth is, I don't really know how to be assertive. I suspect that I'm being a little aggressive at times. Am I being too controlling? The truth is, I don't know how else to put things, and I don't know how else to bring about change. I'm inexperienced to a certain degree (been a nurse for 4 years), and I am not quite used to working with other people who aren't as gung-ho as I am. I work with people who have attitudes that stink, who shouldn't be in nursing, and I don't know how else to deal with them. I just can't stomach the idea of catering to the status quo! Granted I work with some people who are not educated (I'm talking no grade 12) and are maybe not aware of my motives for wanting to change things -- so naturally feel threatened.

    My approach is the way I am. This is not just a job to me, I am here to learn! I'm trying to establish a career. I want to do evidence based nursing. I plan on going back to school, it's just not time for me yet. I need to get experience and earn money first. My way of doing things -- using my brain and my books is just too important to me. I can't just suck it up. Am I naive? Am I being unrealistic in thinking there's gonna be a place that believes in this approach? Am I going to be beaten down everywhere I go?

    Should I quit? If so, where could I belong?
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  2. 30 Comments

  3. by   shygirl
    I think your co-workers are probably just jealous. Here you come all fresh anf full of hope on doing things more efficiently. They feel threatened maybe because they know you are right and theyare too lazy to change? Maybe?






    P.S. Stay the way you are.
    Last edit by shygirl on Jul 26, '02
  4. by   adrienurse
    It has been brought to my attention that this may sound like I am attacking people's education levels. This is not my intention. I am talking about attitudes and was just trying to figure out why people would find my good intentions threatening.
  5. by   Fgr8Out
    Originally posted by adrienurse
    It has been brought to my attention that this may sound like I am attacking people's education levels. This is not my intention. I am talking about attitudes and was just trying to figure out why people would find my good intentions threatening.
    Ignore those comments.... Education plays a big role in attitude at times. Un or under educated people don't always understand the total picture on why proper care is so vitally important... especially with LTC Residents. That doesn't mean, however, that under educated people don't CARE as much....

    I recall a time when I was a student nurse and a CNA commented to me that a patient was just "whiny"... when in fact, this patient had legitimate physical reasons for complaining of her discomfort... however, due to education, this person (a very kind hearted woman) just did not understand all the rationale for this patient's behavior. Once I explained the physiological reasons for her behavior, the CNA was completely sympathetic and administered care with new appreciation for this patient.

    What does this have to do with your Post? Well, a little, seeing you did mention the education level of some of the staff. And you're right to believe this can play a part in work behavior. As for your evaluation... when I first started I too was counseled on my expectations. I will tell you this... don't lower yours because others don't have the same zeal as you. Keep your freshness and positive attitude... but realize that you will not change others behaviors in general. Do the best YOU can do and be satisfied with that... and when new staff enter the scene... YOU be the shining example of how to care for people.

    Things where you work may turn around for the better... if not and, if you don't feel you're able to make the contribution you want ... consider employment somewhere else. If you see violations in codes and standards... definitely continue to bring these to the attention of Management. Those patient's need an Advocate....

    Good Luck!!!!

    Peace
  6. by   rebelwaclause
    Originally posted by adrienurse

    She says that the staff have a problem with my people skills. She says she has learned the hard way that you can't just jump in and change things, you have to pick and choose what to pursue, and if you think changes have to be maden you have to be very gradually and with a lot of warning. My co-workers apparantly feel threatened whenever I suggest doing something differently, or if I point out ways we've been doing things that are ineffective and/or potentially unsafe in the long run. Apparently people have complained that I'm "always preaching", and they feel that I am too critical. Things are getting better, but there was a time when I was getting a lot of hostility from the aides.
    I kinda have a problem with "staff" evaluating you, or as its put in your post here "people have complained". Why is this being bought to your attention now, after the fact? Are you going to be able to offer information when its time for their evaluations? Second hand information, which is what it is if your supe didn't witness it herself, is idle chitchat unless you hurt, maimed or killed someone.

    I'd ask your reviewing supervisor for specific examples of what situations where bought to her attention. I'd listen carefully to missing pieces of information, and offer to fill them in. Ask her what would she had done. Additionally, I'd be very careful about initiating changes without management approval. I know it's a catch-22, Management wants a go-getter and a docile at the same time. But sometimes, THEY'RE the ones that are intimidated when staff is a little savvier than they are and not get the official seal of approval before initiating a change.

    Hope my 2 cents helps! Good luck!

    -Rebel with a clause
  7. by   MollyJ
    You have the option to take this NM's eval at face value. She likes you and she values what you do and she's trying to help you to become a better nurse.

    *Consider taking a course on assertive behavior. This is a wonderful tool for ANYONE and if you suspect you are too aggressive, you might be right. Junior colleges or colleges that have women's studies departments are GREAT places to take a course like this.

    *Your NM is right. Even if there is a list of a "hundred" things this unit is doing wrong, you have a shot at changing one or two at a time. When I did case management and my cases just drove me nuts, I would sit down and write out their (the family's) assets. What is this unit's strong points? what about this job makes it the "best" job you've ever had? [Just the fact that your NM did not get defensive and blow off everything you had to say to her makes her one in a million.]

    *Never doubt the ability of a strong willed and excellence oriented nurse to change the culture of a unit. [That would be you.] However, much like parenting two year olds, people have got to know that sometimes they get it right. Don't forget to let your nurse aides and colleagues know when you DO appreciate what they've done or how they do something. In toddler parenting this is called "Catch em being good," but we ALL like it and it gives everyone some hope that you notice what they do well.

    I hate to hear any criticism of myself so I understand that icky feeling of being criticized. Most of us just want to get away from it or somehow nullify it. But I think your NM gave you a pretty even handed eval. You will make yourself a hundred times stronger employee in her eyes if you consider her comments and work on one or two facets of her evaluation at a time. By her philosophy, she won't expect you to "change everything" right away either.

    Let yourself put a few days between this evaluation and your "reaction". It seems to me that there was a lot of positive in your evaluation and remind yourself of that when you replay it in your head.

    I can tell you that I've had evaluation's used ONCE as a very destructive tool, but by and far my evaluations have been opportunities for growth. Still, I fight a panic reaction at eval time. Just because a supervisor gives you something to improve or work on doesn't mean they hate you or do not value you.

    Finally, realize that the "three month probation" legally gives an employer a chance to fire you without much of a hearing. The fact that your three month eval came at 12 months says alot. They like you but have noticed, just like you've notice about them, that you're not perfect.
  8. by   Love-A-Nurse
    i was going to start a thread about being outspkoen and assertive, how has it affected your job? i do agree to focus on the postive of your evaluation and grow from the negative.
  9. by   Love-A-Nurse
    just so my last post is clear, you is in general.
  10. by   2ndCareerRN
    I just got my yearly evaluation at my place of employment, (somewhere other than "Perfect"), the first one.

    Overall it was very good, but, I was dinged for being to directing at times. I work and charge in an ER and if I feel something needs to be done, I tell someone to do it if I can't do it myself at that particular moment. Obviously someone feels they should be able to go at their own pace, no matter what is happening to their patient. Will I change?
    Probably not...I think I only direct when it is necessary.


    bob
  11. by   hapeewendy
    no worries the same thing was said to me , I got rave reviews from the patients, wonderful kudos from the MD's and interdisciplinary team
    but some of my fellow nurses felt like I was trying to make miracles happen a little before I should be.
    the way I see it , I started there, wanted the environment to be a better place, did my part to make it so instead of just sitting around ranting and raving about it all......
    that doesnt tend to sit well with catty people who have nothing better to do then piss and complain
    your sally do gooder routine doesnt make the lazyasses feel any better, dont you know you need to join them in their bitter ways and be unhappy?
    well my dear friend adriennurse, its not so, be who you are and keep trying to improve things, for yourself and for the "others"
    if thats the worst thing anyone can come up with to say about you you must be doing one heck of a job
    cheers my friend
  12. by   adrienurse
    Thanks everybody! I was in a real crabby mood last night when I made my original post. I'm going to talk to my manager some more next week once I've had some more time to digest what she's said. I just wish I had a little more support at work, though from my peers.
  13. by   mattsmom81
    Adrienurse, I got a similar eval my first few years out of school...after a move from the north down to the south. It hurts, but take it with a grain of salt...I had to fit into my new culture and 'slow down a bit' per my new manager...just her friendly advice in order to fit in as part of the team! Once I saw how my behavior might hurt my relationship with my peers, I eased back a bit with good results....a huge change is probably not needed...just a thoughtful holding of the tongue sometimes..if you catch my drift! I bet you'll do just fine!

    And I can relate to 2nd Career RN's eval too...I was trained by military nurses and was used to being in charge too....so when I do charge, it's with a military style....and I failed to consider how this effected my southern peers who were NOT trained like me...to them I was bossy and directive, and I needed to learn a softer approach to be successful.

    It's hard to receive constructive criticism, but I agree with the posters who said this is an opportunity to learn and grow in your work habitat. A directive type personality works better in some areas than others...many directive and 'in charge' people do very well in critical care, ER, management....and sometimes it's just a problem with not clicking with the particular group you're with. If you really don't like these people, (when you said you felt no support that concerned me...as it's not fun to work around people like this) maybe it's time to look somewhere else where 'the shoe will fit' better!

    Good luck and don't beat yourself up about this...I bet you do just fine! None of us is perfect out here, after all.
  14. by   disher
    Often staff and management will say they are open to new ideas, but in reality they don't want to make changes. New ideas are met with "that's not the way we do things here" it can be discouraging but I think all new staff hear this to some degree. Sometimes like your manager said you have fit into the culture first before trying to make change. Otherwise it can seem as if you are being judgemental of a workplace culture.

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