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Charge Nurse with 2 yrs Exp

Relations   (2,471 Views | 3 Replies)

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Let me start this article by saying "I'm going to be charge nurse soon with zero confidence and limited social skills." I'm currently working in med-surg floor for the past 2+ years. Recently, I told my manager that I want to transfer nights since I cannot keep up with day shift anymore (crazy orders, MDs/Surgeons, management always in my ass all day, family members nagging.. if you know what I mean). Anyways, she agreed but here is the catch "I will be a charge nurse." Her words were "I need to cross train you as a charge nurse." Last yr, she asked me the exact same thing but I refused since it will be days but since I'm transferring to nights I said YES this time. The only reason why I agreed to it because I need the experience to level up, step out of my comfort zone and "Be out there" attitude.

The problem is I have a hard time connecting to my co-workers, poor leadership skills and I'm a bit anti-social. Even though I work there for more than 2 years, I haven't really build a friendly relationship with my co-workers. Its not that I don't like or interact with them but I have hard time connecting to their conversations so I talk less and kinda aloof. Every time I start off conversation, I have few response from my co-workers and I begin to think "maybe I'm boring or did I say it right?" Also, I'm one of the younger nurses in the floor plus with my small frame, many people even patient or family members think that I don't know what going on. If there's something come up on their lives, they don't talk to me about it but they share it to other co-workers. If they go out after work, I'm always the last person to know or don't have an invite at all. I see them having a good time together in Facebook but never bothered to ask me to join with them.

During my recent performance review, my manager see me as shy nurse and I don't like it. Because of all these, I have doubts to be an effective charge nurse and its always in the back of my mind "what if I failed. What if they don't take me seriously. What if I don't know enough." I began to question why did I agree in the first place. I'm getting depressed, worried and scared. I'm losing my mind thinking all of these. I even planned to change job or transfer to another hospital if this will be not work out but at the same time, I don't want them to see me as a loser. What makes it worst is I brought these all up to my sister (who also a nurse) and she said "Its just you. You are weird. Just talk". How can I talk if I don't even know how to talk. The more I think about it, the worst I feel. Co-workers are different from classmates. When I was in college, its easy because I don't see my classmates every day or talk to them every minute but work life is a whole different level. If I want to survive on this job for the next 10 years, I should form relationship more than as a co-worker. This is not what I imagine when I was hired. I thought I will be someone better when I start working but its gotten worse. I begin to judge my self worth.

My charge nurse orientation will be this Thursday from 0700 - 1500 and I'm sweating so bad. What should I do guys? Leaving is not an option for now. I don't want to be a disappointment to my manager and especially to myself. Please give me advice and encouragement.

Edited by traumaRUs

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Ruby Vee has 40 years experience as a BSN and specializes in CCU, SICU, CVSICU, Precepting & Teaching.

11 Followers; 66 Articles; 13,952 Posts; 173,074 Profile Views

Nursing, especially charge nursing, is difficult for us introverts. You can make it work. You've been working Med/Surg for two years and your manager thinks you know enough to be a charge nurse. That's a great endorsement. Your personality may make it difficult for you, but if you want to keep your job and advance up the clinical ladder you'll have to do charge. There aren't too many ways around that. So how do make it work?

The clinical aspects of charge nursing -- you've got that, or your manager wouldn't be wanting to train you to charge. If she didn't think you were a competent nurse, she wouldn't have asked. So, the personality aspects is what's holding you back. Here's the thing. You man never BE an extrovert, but you may have to play one at work. Leadership skills can be developed, as can poor communication skills. But you cannot be anti-social at work and expect to be liked, keep your job and advance. You have to pretend to like your colleagues and to want to get to know them better. You have to at least pretend to let them get to know you. Yes, it's fake. But that's what it takes.

The good news is, you don't have to talk that much. Most people are happy to talk about themselves; you just have to ask a few "prime the pump" questions and appear interested in the answers. Remember the UC's six children (you don't have to keep them straight, just ask how JT's softball game went or if Elmo has chosen a college yet.) Remember that the janitor plays Santa at the mall every Christmas and ask him what his worst Christmas request was. Remember that Sam loves to ski and ask him where's the best place to ski around here because your cousins are visiting in December and are interested. None of this is rocket science -- it's just outside our comfort level as introverts. We have to do it anyway.

Really, your age and your size have nothing to do with your relationship with your colleagues. Being aloof and anti-social does. People like people whom they think like them. So to be liked, you have to behave as if you like your colleagues. If you actually DO like them, it's easier. Everyone has something likable about them. (Well, everyone you're likely to encounter who is not imprisoned and who is gainfully employed.) So find that something that you like about each person and focus on that.

I'm an introvert and wasn't blessed with good communication skills (or anything that could be called a communication "skill", actually.) I had a horrible start to nursing. In the end, I learned communication skills from my first orientee. You have a terrific advantage over me in that you're asking the questions (and hopefully are open to the answers) at only two years in. I hope you succeed as a charge nurse and as a night nurse. Welcome to the club!

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14 Followers; 4,204 Posts; 32,756 Profile Views

..... But you cannot be anti-social at work and expect to be liked, keep your job and advance. You have to pretend to like your colleagues and to want to get to know them better. You have to at least pretend to let them get to know you. Yes, it's fake. But that's what it takes.

The good news is, you don't have to talk that much. Most people are happy to talk about themselves; you just have to ask a few "prime the pump" questions and appear interested in the answers. Remember the UC's six children (you don't have to keep them straight, just ask how JT's softball game went or if Elmo has chosen a college yet.) Remember that the janitor plays Santa at the mall every Christmas and ask him what his worst Christmas request was. Remember that Sam loves to ski and ask him where's the best place to ski around here because your cousins are visiting in December and are interested. None of this is rocket science -- it's just outside our comfort level as introverts. We have to do it anyway.

Really, your age and your size have nothing to do with your relationship with your colleagues. Being aloof and anti-social does. People like people whom they think like them. So to be liked, you have to behave as if you like your colleagues. If you actually DO like them, it's easier. Everyone has something likable about them. (Well, everyone you're likely to encounter who is not imprisoned and who is gainfully employed.) So find that something that you like about each person and focus on that.

I'm an introvert and wasn't blessed with good communication skills (or anything that could be called a communication "skill", actually.) I had a horrible start to nursing. In the end, I learned communication skills from my first orientee. You have a terrific advantage over me in that you're asking the questions (and hopefully are open to the answers) at only two years in. I hope you succeed as a charge nurse and as a night nurse. Welcome to the club!

Excellent!! I think you nailed it.

I'm not a "friend's friend", in other words, I don't seek, need, or enjoy having tons of friends. It feels fake to me. Honestly, that type annoys me just because I so thoroughly do not identify with it. Friends, to me, are not something to be collected so as to look popular or feel accepted in life. [Acknowledging that THAT isn't the only reason that a person might have lots of friends!!]

BUT!! Ruby Vee is spot on with how to survive in a world where others bolster their self-esteem by being part of a group of "friends". You **must** find a way to make a bit of a connection. If you need practice, start by smiling and saying 'hi' or 'hello' to those you pass in the hallways. And do exactly as described above.

Best wishes to you!! You may find that you learn to actually enjoy some of the camaraderie at work! Once you gain their trust, you can usually get by with a level of engagement that you're comfortable with, while at the same time not making them feel rejected.

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14 Followers; 4,204 Posts; 32,756 Profile Views

Sorry, one more thing:

Developing your non-verbals and paraverbals is critical.

By non-verbals I mean your posture, facial expression, eye contact, etc.

By paraverbals I mean your tone of voice, rate of speech, etc.

And with regard to language, please allow me to ask another important question - - does this unit have a diverse make-up, and/or do you share the same first language as the majority of your coworkers? If ESL is an issue at all (for you or others on your team) you need to pay all the more attention to verbals and paraverbals. They are what make the difference between being perceived as blunt/rude vs. pleasant. This is unfortunate but true in my observation. I have seen people, including physicians fired because patients complained about this very issue, and co-workers handle it poorly too. It's NOT RIGHT, but it exists.

One more useful phrase (perhaps THE MOST useful): "What can I do to help you?" and all permutations of such.

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