The Unwritten Laws Nurse Managers Live By

  1. 1. Always believe the worst about your subordinates, no matter how glowing a reputation or history of competence they may have. Never give anybody the benefit of the doubt.

    2. Never praise or give an "attaboy", and always discipline for any minor infractions. Floor nurses are not allowed to be human.

    3. Always wield your power like the hammer of Thor.

    4. Be as acerbic and abrasive as possible in all dealings with your subordinates.

    5. The patient, er, customer is always right, no matter how confused or crazy or vindictive or evil they may be. Patient satisfaction scores are more important than the truth.

    6. Clinical nurse leaders do not make mistakes. Only non-management nurses do.

    7. Always make sure that your employees shudder in fear at the sight of you; smiling is not allowed.

    8. Always be sure to forget what it was like to work on the floor with actual, you know, patients.

    9. Always work your hardest to make your subordinates feel as bad as possible about themselves and their chosen career, no matter how much they pour their heart, soul, and mind into it.

    Just a few tidbits I've learned from working at a world-famous magnet hospital that strives for "nursing excellence" and attracts "the best and the brightest."

    My question is, Was it always this way? Why or why not? And does it always have to be this way?
    Last edit by Joe V on Jul 10, '12 : Reason: spacing
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    About rntj

    Joined: Mar '11; Posts: 51; Likes: 171


  3. by   classicdame
    well I do not believe that is true about everyone. The same could be said about a lot of staff nurses. I am sorry you have issues with your manager. They probably have issues with their boss too
  4. by   xoemmylouox
    I have to say not all managers are like that. Sorry you have one of those special ones.
  5. by   noyesno
    #5 is what I like least about my manager. It drives me bananas.
  6. by   Havin' A Party!
    Wow, TJ!

    You gotta get another job. That DNS will kill ya!
  7. by   nurseprnRN
    i've worked for good managers and bad ones, but never anyone who was that bad. i recognize exaggeration for effect, but still...

    the other thing to realize is that while managers have been staff, most staff have never been management, and they really have no idea about the pressures that mean manager is under from the higher-ups.
  8. by   RNsRWe

    Pretty sure if I put together a list like that to carp about my staff, they'd feel the sting, too.
  9. by   anotherone
    THis is par for the course for most managers in most fields. My current manager is not really like this, more like the benevolent dictator, most of my mangers have been this way. Some where just like the OP's description.
  10. by   amoLucia
    Sad to remember that many nurses have not had any mgt training as they go up the ladder. It's a position learned by trial and error (and mostly error).

    It's also esp tough if they follow a 'good' one. I remember one of my bosses telling me that 'poop rolls uphill too' and that she answered to the 'higher authority' also. Made me more understanding of my managers, also that in some cases, I've 'been there, done it' too.
  11. by   Esme12
    It wasn't always this way.....I used to LOVE being a manager.

    That sounds like the administrative meetings at a Magnet facility I used to work for.....It happened when they took the humanity out of management and went to the coporate model. Everything became about the graphs and the numbers. It became impossible to explain that people code at shift change or a dying family needed a hug. That doesn't transfer over to paper's difficult to bill for that care.

    It's all about the numbers, baby...sad really.
  12. by   rntj
    Gonna go part time as soon as I can and go for my DNP as soon as possible. I don't really want to leave because I love my specialty and the majority of my coworkers are like family. But I can't do this floor nursing thing for another ten years, and I am itching to move up. So for the time being, I will just avoid her and hopefully she will just avoid me. It is frustrating to never hear anything about the good things you do, only the mistakes.
  13. by   rntj
    I am sure there is a lot of pressure---as my mother who was a longtime upper management executive at hospitals tells me---but it does seem to me that it is only a certain type of person who wants to be in management, and that is a person who is on a power trip. Just my experience, not saying ALL nurse managers are like this, but I can only comment about that which I have known
  14. by   VivaLasViejas
    Quote from grntea
    the other thing to realize is that while managers have been staff, most staff have never been management, and they really have no idea about the pressures that mean manager is under from the higher-ups.
    you can say that again!!! we catch crap from both sides---the executives over us, and the staff under us.

    i do remember what it was like to be staff, and have always treated my subordinates with as much fairness and patience as i can manage. there are times, however, when i just want to throttle someone for being when i hear mutterings like "she doesn't do any real work, just sits at the computer all day doing paperwork". they have no idea.