I think I really messed up. This is my first nurse management job (8 months out) and I just finished giving yearly evaluations to my staff. Two nurses in particular have had interpersonal behavioral problems that have been present for years. I unloaded on them an unsatisfactory evaluation in this yearly appraisal when I should have been meeting with them and counseling them throughout the year to help them work on these things. It probably could be viewed as an "ambush". While we were talking I realized they had no inkling of any of these serious behavioral problems. I indicated to them that I should have let them know these things all along but they still did not meet the standards set by the hospital - violations of code of conduct, personal accountabilities, etc. These two nurses are very senior - at least 20 years for both of them within the same department and at least 10 more within the hospital. Both are passive-aggressive, manipulative and I believe that other managers before me have either been afraid to confront them or were sold a "bill of goods" by each of them. I have other staff who report to me that they "dread" coming to work when they know this nurse is working. Maybe because they are so senior they are just tired and unhappy at this part of their career and they are just beginning to exhibit this where it wasn't a problem in the past. I prefaced our conversation by saying that I viewed myself as a mirror to them as to what I see and what others who work with them have told me and my job is to let them know these problems and to help them find ways to improve. After these evaluations I began to feel really terrible in how I handled this whole process. Employees should know going into an evaluation what their evaluation will be since they would have had a clue all along. I have spoken with one of them intermittently about problems but I haven't done that in almost 3 months. I know I need more management leadership training and this is a good example of this. I feel I want to make amends somehow without diminishing the problems they both have in how they treat others and how their personal demeanor is affecting the smooth running of my department. And I don't want this to turn into my problem related to their behavior when it's their problem to solve.
I'm sure someone out there has some advice for me in how to deal with this. I did set an action plan with one of them to meet weekly to "work" on her behaviors and I promised both of them I would come to them immediately when I observe or am told by other staff of these problems. I thought I'd contact our Employee Relations Specialist on Monday and see if they have any advice or can be of assistance. Thanks for your thoughts and suggestions. Thanks!
Aug 26, '06
To feistynurse, thanks for your advice; it's very helpful. I don't want to be played, which I think has been their agenda and I could sort of see that while we met. Both of them said they'd never received such a bad evaluation in the past and that if they'd known any of this it would have given them a chance to improve instead of just hearing this at this annual review. What's disappointing is that one of these nurses is my day charge nurse, they are both stellar with patient care but how they treat others in the department is the sad part. I hate feeling like a parent or that situation like an 8th grade girl's gym class. I don't want to sound like Judge Roy Bean but their attitudes and behaviors are incidious and undermining which are affecting the operation of our department. This has to stop if I'm going to be able to lead and make our department respected and my nurses well thought of. With everyone's evaluation I gave them all a copy of the hospital's Code of Conduct policy as groundwork and explained my expectation of all employees in the department was to follow this. I felt it was important to set the tone that I was serious and it wasn't excluding one person over the other. 98% of my staff took this and was glad I'm addressing this with everyone (they all know who the bad players are) so I didn't really have to expand on my reasons further. With this policy as common knowledge from me, I feel it will be easier to move toward discipline with those who choose not to comply.
Again, thanks for the input and encouragement.
Last edit by KrustyTheNurse on Aug 26, '06