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Are you an incompetent nurse?

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tgibson3770 tgibson3770 (Member)

How would we know the level of our own competency when we are prone to overlook our faults more easily than others? Would we seek further training or continue to bluff our way through it, hoping we don't screw up in a way that it will backfire? Would you eat crow to admit that you don't know something that you probably should.? Are you an incompetent nurse? Truthfully.

Interesting article I picked up on the web.

Are We Really Incompetent?(self-awareness and self-management in the health care industry)

Healthcare Review, March 19, 2001, by Margaret J. Palmer

Among the issues of conflict that pervade healthcare, one that stings considerably is the indictment of a person as incompetent. Nurses claim that physicians are incompetent and should not be practicing. Physicians claim that nurses are incompetent, a result of the shabby nursing educational systems currently in place. Both accusations are made openly and with certainty by the author. Are we really as incompetent as the accusations suggest?

Quality improvement processes have become a normative standard in healthcare systems, allowing close scrutiny of providers' clinical acumen. If there really were cause to believe that gross incompetence has overtaken our healthcare delivery systems, quality teams would find and eliminate it.

How can it be possible for such skillful effort demonstrated during a crisis to become incompetence during a lull in the activity? Is it possible that we have misdirected our responses to the changes demanded of us? Are we mature enough in our interpersonal skills that we can discriminate between real incompetence and our own underlying anger and frustration resulting from stressful work conditions?

Blaming others for errors, poor communication, or lack of perfection has been a fairly common characteristic of the healthcare culture. Claims of incompetence are a serious matter in any industry; in healthcare, incompetence implies action that can result in serious consequences.

Psychologists have named this phenomenon "horizontal violence" - the hostile action that is taken within a group of colleagues that shares a strong camaraderie. Physicians and nurses fall into this category. Because of the unique training each of these groups experiences, there is an imposed isolation that separates them from the other healthcare disciplines. A certain strength is gained by becoming a member of the nursing profession or becoming a physician, creating a strong bond surrounding the profession, giving it definition and uniqueness.

This boundary embraces like-minded and similarly trained individuals who support each other, however it also creates a barrier that prevents anger and frustration from leaving the group. Group members soon realize that the only safe forum in which to be understood is within your own professional group. Finding resolution to difficult issues outside of one's group is often met with misunderstanding and confusion. Therefore, keeping within the group is efficient and becomes the natural place to seek counsel.

As in a family, the familiarity and comfort that builds within a group encourages freedom of expression. A significant negative factor emerges, then, as your group receives the brunt of your frustration. The safety of one's professional group also supports the internally directed violence.

Nurses fight among themselves, especially across departments and between shifts. Incompetence is often sighted as the reason charts are not completed correctly. Medication errors are assigned to incompetent nurses. -

Physicians rarely describe each other as incompetent" due to its credentialing implication. But, the direction of incompetence from physician to nurse is common. Little understanding and tolerance exists between the two when situations unfold differently than expected. Many healthcare hours have been spent investigating incidents of alleged incompetence, often revealing a result quite different.

Healthcare providers are adept at reducing interpersonal issues to clinical problems. This is done so regularly that clear, honest communication is a rarity. Therefore, incompetence might really be a cover for a relationship in need of assistance.

This is not to suggest that incompetence does not exist. It does. In fact, we work diligently to remove it from all aspects of healthcare delivery. But, the common place occurrences between individuals and groups are likely to be based in weak interpersonal communication.

The Remedy

How do we shift ourselves from the willingness to write off others as incompetent to accepting responsibility for our professional behavior? The answer is simple, but the shift may require large doses of temperance, understanding, and introspection. A true willingness to become self-aware precedes any attempt we might make to behave more professionally. That which we so easily assign to others is likely to be the same issue that we present and, in fact, dislike about ourselves. Are we strong enough to do that introspection?

Next issue: Self-Awareness-The Precursor to Self-Management.

Margaret Palmer, PhD, is president of the Healthcare Management Consulting Group, a firm specializing in consultation with physician executives and managers regarding management issues, and with hospital administration regarding leadership development and problem-solving. Her practice includes e-consulting to physician executives and managers.

COPYRIGHT 2001 Healthcare Review

COPYRIGHT 2001 Gale Group

http://www.findarticles.com/cf_dls/m0HSV/3_14/79788231/p1/article.jhtml?term=

SmilingBluEyes

Has 20 years experience.

Originally posted by tgibson3770

Are you an incompetent nurse? Truthfully.

ummm NOPE.

are YOU????! truthfully. :rolleyes:

Tweety, BSN, RN

Specializes in Med-Surg, Trauma, Ortho, Neuro, Cardiac. Has 28 years experience.

"How do we shift ourselves from the willingness to write off others as incompetent to accepting responsibility for our professional behavior? The answer is simple, but the shift may require large doses of temperance, understanding, and introspection. A true willingness to become self-aware precedes any attempt we might make to behave more professionally. That which we so easily assign to others is likely to be the same issue that we present and, in fact, dislike about ourselves. Are we strong enough to do that introspection?"

That is excellent! I'm prone to a lot of self-criticism and I need to learn to be self-aware without criticizing. I'm open minded though to learn more about this introspection this article speaks of.

We are human and we make mistakes. We should not crucify each other for our mistakes and make ugly accusations and gossip.

Most of us who made it through school, who passed the boards, and are working in the field are competent. It's too tough of a program to fake your way through.

No, I'm not incompetent. No, I'm aboslutely without hesitation not afraid to admit I don't know something and seek help.

flashpoint

Has 23 years experience.

I certainly have weaknesses...I am bad at trauma. I hate trauma and I do my best to avoid it when I'm working in the field as a paramedic. In the ER, I'll do the snotty nosed kids and enemas til clear before I'll do trauma patients. I'm more than happy to help with a trauma, but I don't like it. (This is big ugly trauma...small trauma is OK). :)

I am also not good at OB...I can catch the little things if they really want to come out, but as far as actually laboring and delivering a patient...I cannot do it...it scares the **** out of me and I don't have the saint like patience.

I'm not competent at HUGE traumas or OB...

I am. on the other hand very good at cardiac patients...I like cardiac stuff and I like the fact that I can fix the cardiac stuff without seeing their guts. Cardiac is fun...cardiac makes sense...I can do cardiac.

you can have the cardiac, I'll stick to OB, it's not as complicated and scary as you think:)

Ownership of my short comming belongs to me and no one else. Courage to admit out loud that I do not know everything; a willingness and actively seeking to learn from others; the courage to admit mistakes and self report them are essential to being adult.

The skill to honestly examine my own weakness and to hear and pay attention when people are saying that I am comming up short; the stomach to swallow false pride and realize that falts that are pointed out to me may be real and I need to realize I don't act as I profess. In different words: one person calling me a duck may mean I am a duck. Several people calling me a duck I can be pretty sure I am a duck.

jnette, ASN, EMT-I

Specializes in Hemodialysis, Home Health. Has 10 years experience.

The article showed me that the incompetence spoken of is not near as much in clinical skills/knowlege, as it is in interpersonal/communication skills.

And I do believe this is something we all need to work on daily..

in every aspect of life.. not just at work, where we can conveniently assign the term "incompetent" to a coworker we just can't seem to communicate with or relate to...

That's what the article said to me.

live4today, RN

Specializes in Community Health Nurse.

Originally posted by 3rdShiftGuy

..........................We are human and we make mistakes. We should not crucify each other for our mistakes and make ugly accusations and gossip.

Most of us who made it through school, who passed the boards, and are working in the field are competent. It's too tough of a program to fake your way through.

No, I'm not incompetent. No, I'm aboslutely without hesitation not afraid to admit I don't know something and seek help.

DITTO TWEETY! :kiss

Not a word I see thrown around a lot. I hear lazy, I hear sloppy, I hear useless! These descriptors are often used by nurses about other nurses. I agree with jnette about many of the complications in a working day resulting from communication. I also agree that we as nurses should quit gossiping and back stabbibg other nurses! I see alot of this (sorry to say) from females, no offense but I ma sure you all ln know that females have a harder time getting along with each other than males or than a mix of male female.

I do a lot of self evaluation of my skills and I also have to do a lot continuing ed. and recertifying. I am the first to admit that the only stupid question is the one you dont ask! If I don't know something I will utilize alll resources in my power to find the info needed.

I do not think I am incompetent and I have never had anyone else tell me I was or am!!!

Originally posted by CCU NRS

I also agree that we as nurses should quit gossiping and back stabbibg other nurses! I see alot of this (sorry to say) from females, no offense but I ma sure you all ln know that females have a harder time getting along with each other than males or than a mix of male female.

Forgive me for asking...is thisa 'tongue in cheek' comment?

Sorry but NO I do NOT 'know' that females have a 'harder time. getting along with each other than males or a mix".

This statement is a gross generalization and contributes to female stereotyping, IMHO.

To me its just as innaccurate as the 'male nurse' stereotypes.

If this was posted seriously that is. ;)

caroladybelle, BSN, RN

Specializes in Oncology/Haemetology/HIV.

Originally posted by CCU NRS

I see alot of this (sorry to say) from females, no offense but I ma sure you all ln know that females have a harder time getting along with each other than males or than a mix of male female.

No we "didn't all know" this. I have seen is much emotional dysfunction in male/male, and male/female workplaces, as in female/female workplaces.

I regret that you work in such a dysfunctional workplace, but I do not. Perhaps, this is something that your workplace could work on.

Marie_LPN, RN, LPN, RN

Specializes in 5 yrs OR, ASU Pre-Op 2 yr. ER.

Originally posted by mattsmom81

Forgive me for asking...is thisa 'tongue in cheek' comment?

Sorry but NO I do NOT 'know' that females have a 'harder time. getting along with each other than males or a mix".

This statement is a gross generalization and contributes to female stereotyping, IMHO.

To me its just as innaccurate as the 'male nurse' stereotypes.

AGREED!

The more generalization and stereotyping that is done, the more the problem will continue to thrive.

sbic56, BSN, RN

Specializes in Obstetrics, M/S, Psych. Has 24 years experience.

I also agree that we as nurses should quit gossiping and back stabbibg other nurses! I see alot of this (sorry to say) from females, no offense but I ma sure you all ln know that females have a harder time getting along with each other than males or than a mix of male female.

CCU NRS

Agreed. An all female nurse team can funtion well and still be awfully critical of one another. I've seen it and don't think it is done necessarily because the group is all that dysfunctional, but because competition is more apt to become an issue when the group is of all female. I have found that there is less competion and backbiting when there is a mix of both males and females in a group. Stereotypes become stereotypes because they are based on truth.

I really miss the days when I felt like always knew better then everyone else.

Experience has taught me that I don't know everything and that I need to listen to everyone and use my judgment to decide what is right. I ask question I already know the answers too and about 99.9% of the time I was exactly right but that .1% of the time is the reason I ask stupid questions. I worry sometimes that people see me as incompetent because of this. Still I would so much rather have people think that then prove them right threw ignorance

Living and working this way is hard. It's much easier to believe You know what your doing all the time then it is to consider the fact that you don't. It gives you a faulse sense of security to think you have it all under control.

I whole heartedly apologize for my mass generalization. This is one of the things that I am seriously against and here I am caught doing it myself.

Let me just say that in my experience I see more women having difficulty getting along with each other and hear more women talking behind the backs of women they don't like. I grew up with two sisters and I always had many friends and I never quit being anyones friend over any reason we might fight and knock the sheet out of each other and get over it my sisters and all the females they associated with and I see it continuing today with my daughters on the other hand are forever and always falling out of like with each other and changing friends and completely degrading people that were once their best friends.

Tgibson you got me ya sly dog!!!!

SmilingBluEyes

Has 20 years experience.

Originally posted by CCU NRS

I whole heartedly apologize for my mass generalization. This is one of the things that I am seriously against and here I am caught doing it myself.

Let me just say that in my experience I see more women having difficulty getting along with each other and hear more women talking behind the backs of women they don't like. I grew up with two sisters and I always had many friends and I never quit being anyones friend over any reason we might fight and knock the sheet out of each other and get over it my sisters and all the females they associated with and I see it continuing today with my daughters on the other hand are forever and always falling out of like with each other and changing friends and completely degrading people that were once their best friends.

Tgibson you got me ya sly dog!!!!

Takes a big person to apologize. Thank you.

Tgibson has a way of bringing out the best of us! rofl.

sbic56, BSN, RN

Specializes in Obstetrics, M/S, Psych. Has 24 years experience.

CCU NRS

OK, I'm confused. You made an observation, then you apologized for stereotyping, then you went on to say how your original observation was correct. I don't see why you should feel the need to apologize in the first place, because it is often true that females bicker amoong themselves more rabidly than males. So what? It's a trait more likely to be asociated with women than men. Did I miss something? :confused:

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