Confusing and irritating situation

  1. Hi all!

    So here's the situation. I'm on a unit that is critically short staffed all the time and we've got this unit supervisor who (bless her little soul) has taken to working shifts to help us out. The problem is that she is constantly getting pulled away to do her supervisory things while in the middle of a hectic assignment. She's left the floor many times to deal with supervisory things and basically loaded up the remaining RNs with her patients. She also never worked on our floor prior to being hired as supervisor so she really doesn't know much in the way of how we do things and frankly, I'm worried about patient safety. If I'm barely keeping my head above water with my six patients, I really can't take on an additional four, not to mention no one is really watching these people while she's away.

    I really like this supervisor, I really do. Her heart is in the right place, but it's really too much for her and she's been doing it more and more lately. I really just don't know what to do. All the nurses on the unit talk about it and how bad it is, but today was just awful. I'm seriously at my wit's end!
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  2. 4 Comments

  3. by   JKL33
    I would open up a conversation about it with her. Approach with kindness (and gratitude for the fact that she is trying to help, albeit ineffective). Hopefully the conversation will come around to something along the lines that this isn't working out great for the nurses and it can't be working out well for her either. Try to convey some empathy for the directions in which she feels pulled.

    Who is in line above her? The department manager? Somehow the conversation has to get going about how this isn't working.

    That's too bad, for everyone.
  4. by   Cowboyardee
    Quote from Happynurse2222
    Hi all!

    So here's the situation. I'm on a unit that is critically short staffed all the time and we've got this unit supervisor who (bless her little soul) has taken to working shifts to help us out. The problem is that she is constantly getting pulled away to do her supervisory things while in the middle of a hectic assignment. She's left the floor many times to deal with supervisory things and basically loaded up the remaining RNs with her patients. She also never worked on our floor prior to being hired as supervisor so she really doesn't know much in the way of how we do things and frankly, I'm worried about patient safety. If I'm barely keeping my head above water with my six patients, I really can't take on an additional four, not to mention no one is really watching these people while she's away.

    I really like this supervisor, I really do. Her heart is in the right place, but it's really too much for her and she's been doing it more and more lately. I really just don't know what to do. All the nurses on the unit talk about it and how bad it is, but today was just awful. I'm seriously at my wit's end!
    I highlighted your problem. If your supervisor is also responsible for hiring more help and getting them on the unit, then she's a big part of your problem. If not, there's not a whole lot of sense in blaming her for not being everything to everyone.

    Sometimes, a supervisor is more efficient if they are just supervising and facilitating a good work environment than if they are also in the trenches. If this is the case, maybe getting a bunch of coworkers together to agree and (respectfully) say so would convince her to manage rather than work alongside you all. But it sounds kind of like you expect her to be able to both manage and work an assignment effectively without cutting any corners, and that's just not reasonable.
  5. by   TessLJ
    Why is the unit short staffed all the time? Are they not budgeting for more staff or is it a high turnover situation? The manager doesn't need to be working alongside the staff, but instead addressing the staffing problem. I can understand thinking that rolling up one's sleeves and working alongside the nurses might seem like a noble thing, but it's not going to help the long term issue of staffing the unit and maintaining patient safety.
  6. by   Kooky Korky
    Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

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