It seems to me its the type of employees you have there meaning they either truly don't give enough or they are too overwhelmed to get it all done. Some employees are completely comfortable with doing the bare minimum and without the support of your DON, your fighting a war by yourself. If you are empowered with writing up those not doing their job, then you may have to take the stance as the "bad guy" to get your point across. Again, you need to be backed by your DON in doing so and you should discuss how he/she would feel/support if you did write employees up before you decide to do the first write up. Employees can be like children, if all you ever do is talk....wheres the consequence to what they are doing wrong. And you also want consistency so perhaps enlisting other charge nurses and asking what they are seeing will give you more leverage with your DON. Collaberation will help you gauge and pinpoint where the problems lie.
It takes a team to make things happen but more than that it takes people who care enough to go the extra effort.
If you do find that something is not done, take the person responsible to the scene of the crime and show them thats its not done so they can't come back with, "I always do that, or it wasn't me". For example, if Susan is responsible for stocking gloves in rooms 200-220 and the gloves aren't stocked, take Susan around to the rooms at the end of the shift and show her it wasn't done and ask why she feels it wasn't done. Explain to her that without gloves in the room, there is no way for a person to protect themself from being exposed and its takes time away from patient care when one person has to make 10 trips a night to the stock room so they can stock gloves in their room (give a rationale why it is important she stock the gloves). You may have to do some close observation and go behind people to see what was and was not done. A benefit to this is that they see that you are watching and that may be motivation enough for them to get the work done.
If this works and you see that employees are doing better, you could try instituting a reward program, maybe a gift certificate to the person who goes the extra mile and use this to try and motivate the staff and show appreication for their hardwork. i would not try this first but perhaps if you see an improvement that warrants keeping morale high.
Just don't give up, you are there to advocate for the patients and if that means you have to go the extra mile to be creative in an attmept to motivate people or you have to be the bad guy and write them up, then so be it.
In my unit, we have gone thru 3 managers and our current manager, when he first started, seemed like a total butt! in our first employee meeting one of the nurses had said that it would be nice to hear a thank you once in a while or get a pat on the back. My manager replied, " your paycheck is your thank you"....the whole room got quiet and there were many scowling faces at the table. I know now that he meant that you were hired to do a job and if you want to keep that job....THEN DO YOUR JOB! I still think his choice of words were poor, and he did come in and start writing a bunch of people up but after that, attendance improved, tardiness got better and it was all because he let us know that if we want to be told thank you then we need to do our jobs consistently and give him a special reason to say thank you and take care of the current problems we had first. Now, he rewards us, jokes with us and above all has our respect.
i wish you the best of luck, sorry so long....guess I'm full of it tonight...LOL!
Good Luck to you!