New Nurse manager and view from both sides

  1. I have a new position in the hospital that I have been at for a year - having recently been promoted to coordinator for my unit. By the way, I have been an RN for 14 years. I love this position and the people I work with. I have one dilemma though... I have been at this position for a month now and I have been jumping in to help out when ever it is needed - our unit is typically very busy and we often have many admits/discharges - especially toward the end of the shift - from 3P on. I had been staying late to help and am finding that since I arrive at 7 45 a.m. I am putting in quite a lot of overtime. And it's not because we are short staffed - just our typical busy unit.

    Today the charge nurse got a bit bent out of shape when at 6 15 pm, I was leaving. The charge nurses take up to three patients (the ideal is zero) and he did not have any, but was getting a patient at the end of the shift - who was a transfer and all he had to do was get them settled in - vitals, assessment but no admit since it was a transfer. We were adequately staffed and there was no reason for me to stay. I explained this, but he did not like my explaination...

    I know that many feel that when one makes that transition into management, they forget what being a staff nurse is all about. The truth is - no - at least I haven't, but now I see how BUSY it is in a management position. There is a lot to do - most of which many who haven't been in that role have no idea of. There is a lot of responsibility and a lot of work involved with BOTH roles. I have heard so many times from other nurses that those in management have forgotten what it is like to be a staff nurse, but I doubt that many of those same people have a clue as to what management is all about...

    I am putting in 9 and 10 hour days 5 days a week. I can see going in to this that if I don't have some sort of balance - I will have NO life!!

    What advice do those of you who have been doing this for awhile have?
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  2. 7 Comments

  3. by   Repat
    Well, I don't think that in these times people really believe that hospitals have staff on board that have nothing to do. I think we are aware that EVERYONE is busy. But, when staffing isn't thought about until two hours before the next shift, and when empty positions are not filled, and when you are continually denied vacation because there is no coverage (while management goes on theirs), people begin to complain that management has forgotten how stressful it is on the floor, and don't really try to do what things that could be done to ease up a bit. Just my two cents!
  4. by   weezieRN
    I commend you for your work and thoughts on helping out on the floor, until 2 months ago we had a nurse manager that we hardly ever seen during the day. Now we have a new nurse manager who helps out by answering the phone or taking off orders which is a big help and she has even done a few admissions. Today was very hectic we have no tele monitors and just the hassle of finding some to take off stable pts, placing them in our icu and taking our staff down to the ed to watch has just been to much, she was having chest pain. I told her now you know what it is like to work up here every day its not fun. I can bet she wishes she was in Florida(she was a local that had been working in Fl for several years) Good Luck to you
  5. by   nursemaa
    The key is balance. You can't be in the office all of the time, and you can't be out on the unit all of the time. You will burn out fast unless you realize that. Some days I can be on the unit most of the day, helping out with whatever needs done. Sometimes I can't be on the unit because I have meetings to go to or any of a bazillion other non-clinical things that need to be taken care of. That's just the way it goes. Some of my staff understand and some don't. Some day I'm going to make a list of everything I have to do and show it to the staff who think I don't do anything all day. But I'm sure they wouldn't really be interested. I've found that some nurses think if you're not at the bedside, you're not working.

    As far as your hours go, I can say that I get paid for 40 hours but put in about 50 every week. I'm not sure how to get around that and still get it all done. Plus I want to touch base with nights and afternoons every day. Sometimes, though, you just have to say "enough" and go home.
  6. by   Commander Vimes
    It aint easy, sounds like your doing it right though, but maybe need to back off the shop floor a tab. By being seen to always help out etc it becomes seen as the norm, in reality it can disempower the staff. they need to know that you will be there when they need you BUT they have to accept that they can manage without you at times. The long term scenario will be that they will expect you to always dive in and solve the current crisis, and therefore they will become cushioned against solving the crisis themselves, of which im sure they can.

    There will always be continuos crisis going on, you need to step back and go home and relax. The place will still be there in the morning.
  7. by   traumaRUs
    Well first of all congrats. Then, empower your staff to help solve problems. Throwing it back in their lap will generate thoughts and ideas to solve unit problems. Also, it puts the ball back in their court! Good luck...
  8. by   Mack454
    Quote from Commander Vimes
    It aint easy, sounds like your doing it right though, but maybe need to back off the shop floor a tab. By being seen to always help out etc it becomes seen as the norm, in reality it can disempower the staff. they need to know that you will be there when they need you BUT they have to accept that they can manage without you at times. The long term scenario will be that they will expect you to always dive in and solve the current crisis, and therefore they will become cushioned against solving the crisis themselves, of which im sure they can.

    There will always be continuos crisis going on, you need to step back and go home and relax. The place will still be there in the morning.
    Your are right on the money, Commander. The managers job is to lead the troops, and cultivate team values, vision and morale. Not to paint in too big strokes, but "diving in at the bedside" can be a distraction from the larger role of the manager. Always empower your staff. If the load is too heavy for staff, figure out some options...now that is a tough one, but more appropriate to the role of a manager.
  9. by   lberghood
    I totally agee with helping the staff out when they are genuinely overburdened however i have learned to stop myself when they are adequately staffed and the work load is within the norm. The reasons for this is because unfortunately some staff take advantage of your helping out and will expect it and become dependent on you. Also, i have learned to sometimes "lead from a distance" and not jump in and solve minor problems from the staff because i want them to develop problem solving skills. I am always aware of what is going on and make frequent rounds and talk to my staff and will jump in when i see that they are really unable to handle something or a potential crisis.My goal as a leader is to nurture, support and educate them so they wil need me less and less. I hope to develop better nurses this way and to help develop some nurse leaders in the process. This may or may not work out as i am new but i always make sure that the staff knows that they can come to me at anytime and discuss anyconcerns that they have. I also let them know that i can not help them if they do not ask for help and that asking for help is not a reflection of poor performance but a responsible and prudent way to practice. I do not know everything and i would never expect anyone else to. we learn every day and i am much more skeptical of the staff who think they "know everything"

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