Quote from usrn1
It seems like you have a challenging situation in your hands, but that will make it easier to see the progress you make. I'm a nurse manager as well, and here's something I've learned: if people feel sincerely appreciated, they'll do better at their work, have more job satisfaction and that will reflect in so many aspects of your unit including patient satisfaction. Listen to them without any judgement, smile often, look for the things they are doing well and let them know they are doing a good job.
I could not agree more with your comments! Nurses, as a highly driven group of professional "perfectionists" (certainly a generalization, but I believe a true one, after having observed this in myself and my co-workers for my 15 years in the field), absolutely thrive upon praise...when managers enter the unit anew and immediately begin truly LISTENING to their staff, actually TRYING OUT/implementing staff nurse's ideas, and really praising ANY job well-done, regardless of it's overall importance, the staff nurses will be drawn to attempting to further please that manager with every ounce of their being...even the very "burned out" staff will eventually begin doing so.
When, on the other hand, managers begin immediately to change everything based upon theory, without really GRASPING the particular dynamics of the unit upon which they now work, this demeans and degrades those staff nurses who, (however "ineffective" the old way of doing things may seem), MAY VERY WELL have been part of the group of RNs involved in putting that practice into use long ago, when that way of doing things may have BEEN "the" best way to go.
Not to mention, many managers, IMO, make the TERRIBLE error of firing staff in their initial 60 days as a manager to sort of "Put the FEAR into the staff" that bad or ineffective tactics will NOT BE TOLERATED ON ANY LEVEL and THIS manager is NOT TO BE TOYED WITH!
All this does is anger and sometimes terrify existing staff into doing a shotty job because they are so busy nit-picking their every action, out of fear that they, too, might make some isolated error and become the next nurse used as "example-fodder".
Finally, as you no doubt know personally (!) we nurses respond a thousand times better to praise than to degradation...if an RN is doing poorly on the unit, (calling in sick a lot, starting arguments with MDs and NPs, etc...) find out why and use a "retraining" & understanding approach, followed by excessive praise each time, as the manager, you get anything RESEMBLING the outcome you are ultimately seeking.
This will show you as being the "new kid on the block" who does NOT want to bully the staff, but wants to assist them. You can still maintain your managerial "superiority" & respect, whilst teaching the staff HOW TO BE EXCEPTIONAL. Some RNs may not remember what "exceptional" care provision and professionalism even LOOKS LIKE, depending upon how long they've been in the trenches on a poorly running unit.
To me, the opportunity to really get in there and turn things around, making a great unit out of a crap pile is a huge winfall. How very lucky you are to HAVE JUST SUCH a chance...Be sure you do everything possible not to squander it!!
**Here's to you**, and wishing you the very best of luck with your position. Obviously, through your question here alone, you deeply WANT to succeed...my guess is that YOU WILL!! :0)