With the stressful nature of the field it would be no surprise that nurse subordinates feel the pinch too. Nurse subordinates (those who work under you) are usually Nurse Aides, Nurse Techs, or Medication Aides. Some nurses are successful in leading their subordinates while maintaining good rapport with them, while some constantly struggle with leadership (and with understandable reasons). Here are some tips to help you whether you are a floor nurse or a supervising nurse.
Lead by Example
- If you are constantly showing up late everyday it would be tougher (sometimes even hypocritical) to talk to your nurse aides, techs, or medication aides about showing up on time. Make it a habit to show up at least 15 minutes prior to the end of your shift that way you catch any issues that need to be addressed with the outgoing shift on time.
Follow company policy
If the 70 to 120 is the baseline for normal BS levels (those are my numbers and I'm sticking to 'em!! ), then company policy should be your baseline for leading your subordinates. Let's take something simple as dress code for instance. If your company policy says "no extravagant jewelry" then you should be teaching your subordinates on examples of what the company considers "extravagant" and what they consider normal. The moment you as the nurse lose track of the baseline, you might as well watch your team go structural hyperglycemia
Discourage slander and propaganda
Like a cheap vacuum slander and propaganda (gossip) can suck the energy out of your team. Strongly discourage it by disciplining those who gossip about or slander their co-workers (especially your fellow nurses). This can be easily achieved by confirming information with multiple sources, and then openly reprimanding the gossiper (feel free to use your own creative words for "rumor monger" here). That should stop the others dead in their tracks from thinking about it.
This is a great team builder. If your boss commends you for admitting a patient quickly for instance, make it a point to say something like "admissions are always easier with Patrick and Pauline working". That way your boss also recognizes your subordinates. It is a good thing to do (on so many levels)
Be a total leader
Sorry if you thought your leadership ends with correcting a medication aides errors. As humans we gravitate around leaders (be they our older siblings or workplace supervisors). If one of your subordinates has a flat tire and no spare. It would be great for your leadership if you shoulder the load and change out their tires for them. (...and please don't do it so they can get to work on time). That way if a clinical situation calls that they stay behind a few extra hours to help you they do that out of their own free will.
Please share your own war stories on leadership situations or other tips you know that work in a nursing environment.
To me, the tone of this post is odd. It reads like a brief magazine article that isn't meant to be read by staff. The post assumes authority and dictates without establishing credentials or providing context.
Last edit by Multicollinearity on Jun 22, '07