Frustrated? Take Control of Your Career

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    When you're doing everything right at your nursing job and everything whirling around you is all wrong, it may be a sign that you can do more with a new degree. The kind that helps you to see things from a different perspective and puts you in control of your career. Positions in nurse leadership enable you to help yourself as you help others.

    Frustrated? Take Control of Your Career

    What's the most frustrating thing that occurs on almost every shift? Is it being told what to do by a fellow nurse? Is it hearing patients' suggestions that what they've read on the Internet might be better than the treatment you're providing? Or is it feeling concerned about managing all of your patients appropriately on your shift? Taking control of your career through advanced education can lead to a nurse leadership role that enables you to make a difference. An RN to BSN can not only lead to higher earning potential and position your for employment at a hospital with Magnet status, it can also enable you to join a team with a culture of collaboration where you can be involved in decision-making. Frustration can arise from things that you can't change, but what are some things that you can?

    If You Could Change One Thing as a Nurse, What Would it Be?

    When you repeatedly encounter barriers that stop you from doing your job, it can lead to feelings of being undervalued for not performing at your optimum level. When you lack autonomy in your nursing practice, it can make you feel like you're stuck, unable to provide patients with the professional care you know you're capable of giving.

    When nurses are empowered to speak up with clearly thought-out patient care plans, solutions can be found to most problems. To impact policy and become more involved in patient advocacy, it helps to have advanced education. The American Nurses Association has indicated that BSN-prepared nurses are better equipped to respond to rapid changes in the healthcare industry and deliver superior care to patients. To be in a position to make a difference, it's necessary to understand the hospital processes behind the scenes as well as the bigger picture of nursing care. Lack of autonomy, desire to advocate on behalf of patients and a rapidly changing industry provide context to why frustrations exist among nurses. Here are some areas of frustration that you can impact as a nurse leader who can work with others to create change.

    Treating the Symptom Instead of the Whole Person

    One of the reasons healthcare costs are out of control could be a focus on treating symptoms with medication rather than treating the whole person from a holistic perspective. Nursing is changing by focusing on health promotion and prevention rather than being solely disease and treatment oriented. Through higher education, nurses can become better prepared to help patients change their lifestyle by promoting health and wellness, and respond to issues of illness.

    BSN-prepared nurses often stand out for impacting nursing practice with professional ethics that are modernized and continually evolving. Topics covered in a BSN curriculum address issues related to social justice essential in ethical decision making in the nursing profession. Nursing research and evidence-based practice also capitalize on nursing ethics of beneficence (doing good) and nonmaleficence (doing no harm).

    When Your Vision and Reality Don't Connect

    Being inspired to provide compassionate, holistic nursing care is what drew so many nurses to your field. Your vision of what you can be, personally and professionally, is closely tied in with a mission to make the world a better place through the care you provide. In advanced nursing education, application of learned concepts can produce opportunities to promote and provide the quality nursing you envisioned. Opportunities to grow as a nurse by serving individuals, families, and populations at home and abroad exist in community nursing as well as nurse volunteerism. Nursing in underserved populations often involves working with people with limited resources to fill their basic healthcare needs. By learning how to therapeutically communicate and provide holistic care, nurses can work to help meet the physical, socio-cultural and spiritual needs as they contribute to patients' overall wellness.

    Inter-Nurse Relationships

    Professional relationships between nurses are as important for the new graduate as much as for the experienced nurse. Interpersonal habits start at the very beginning when people first meet. Relationships begin with a nurse's first interaction with his or her preceptor and nursing unit, where a feeling of security and certainty can be built through compassion and mutual trust. "Lateral violence", also known as bullying, sometimes enters professional relationships, manifested as withholding information, ostracizing, making verbal affronts or using innuendo to harass fellow nurses.

    It only takes one nurse to change how support is shaped, however. Strategies to resolve conflicts and support other nurses are covered in advanced nursing degrees such as RN to BSN programs that can be pursued online on your own schedule. The best relationships between nurses begin with novice nurses who have completed orientation feeling that the encouragement and support they received from preceptor and unit staff was the norm. This imprint will become the foundation of a pattern that guides them in building relationships with other nurses.

    Non-Listening Management

    When management doesn't listen, you can always tell by the pit in the bottom of your stomach. It can come after reassurances that you should not worry, that the problem has nothing to do with you, or with the outright words "I hear you" while the problem is surreptitiously placed back onto your shoulders to bear when you have little authority to enact change. Advanced nursing education can give you the tools to communicate more effectively with management, staff and patients and develop solutions to problems collaboratively with management over time from a more senior position.

    By moving into a nurse leader role you can become instrumental in working with management to implement staff retention policies that go beyond just holidays. These include examples such as spreading precepting responsibilities across a large group of senior nurses on your team rather than always relying on the same few individuals. Some other examples include paying genuine compliments to nurses on your team for their service excellence, celebrating the strengths of each individual employee, introducing salary raises that are based on evaluations, establishing a great working atmosphere for all team members, and being the manager who works on the floor with your nurses. Training programs that recognize excellence in management could also help to even the playing field regarding accountability for staff nurses and managers alike.

    Unmet Expectations

    Regardless of how long you've been nursing, not losing sight of your expectations can help to maintain your own positive outlook and ward off cynicism. Inside each of our expectations is the seed of something better that can be. Unfulfilled expectations that are never expressed can lead to inner frustrations that can unexpectedly bubble up into a storm when you least expect it, however. That doesn't always need to be the case, and harnessing your own unmet expectations can fuel the resolve to take control of your career and create change over time.

    No nurse wants to be the one who is always called on to work overtime, and equal distribution of a heavy workload across team members is something that any nurse would expect. Happier nurses may enjoy the empowerment of having some degree of control over their working schedules. Nurse leaders support fellow nurses at every stage of their careers. Teaching time management skills to new RNs, establishing mentoring programs where managers, mentors, educators and preceptors can assist in skills development can help keep everyone in the team on track.

    Micromanagement

    Micromanagement can occur in a healthcare facility when nursing team members who support each other and quickly adapt to changing acuity levels in other patients in the department, find that a micromanaging superior is doing a spot check on their own assigned patients. The lack of cohesion between the nursing team and the leader who micromanages might reveal two different goals: a team-focused goal in the nursing team member and a score-focused goal in the manager. When nursing management is more focused on individual nurses keeping their records clean than on nurses cooperatively supporting each other and their patients, isolationism within teams is often the result.

    According to Forbes.com, "the fear most responsible for causing bosses to micromanage is that 48% of bosses like to be seen as experts and authority figures." The more independently team members function, the increasingly nonessential and fearful it can be seen by a certain type of leader.

    Nobody likes being micromanaged, and patient outcomes can suffer when nursing team members are not aligned with an overall goal of helping each other. Positive team building strategies are implemented by nurse leaders who care about each team member, and can work with management who believe that nurse satisfaction is tantamount to running an effective healthcare facility. Understanding why changes in nursing and healthcare administration are happening help nurses on a team to pull together and maintain a genuine stake in what each is doing.

    Problems with Doctors

    Being aware of the difference in training between nurses and doctors can alleviate frustration; medical and nursing training and models are distinct. Nursing practice is informed by medicine but is different from medical practice. Nursing assessments based on "care plans" are made by nurses and based on a scientific foundation, whereas medical diagnoses are made by doctors. Doctors are not in a position to lecture nurses or teach them how to be better at nursing. With advanced education, you can become a thought leader who builds bridges with other healthcare specialists on your team and redefine old stereotypes.

    Advanced Nurse Education Can Give You the Autonomy and Empowerment You Need

    By going deeper into the nursing profession through education, you can overcome some frustrating situations by effecting change. Some award-winning hospitals are known for their high-quality nursing practices, nurse satisfaction and staff retention, and often nursing education and training programs are part of what makes them so successful. Position yourself to succeed by learning about resources to help educate patients, new perspectives on overcoming language barriers, and communicating more effectively with patients, staff and leadership. Taking control of your career can be as rewarding and impactful as the real differences you will make.

    Sources:

    Supporting the next generation - American Nurse Today
    Nurse/Physician Communication: What Gains Have We Made?: Reflections PRN
    Knaves, Fools, and the Pitfalls of Micromanagement
    Most Pressing Issues in Nursing Today - page 6
    Teaching - An Investment in Your Future?
    More Commentary
    Staff Retention Policies
    The Secret Fear That Causes Bosses To Micromanage
    3 Most Nurse-Friendly Hospitals in the United States - Top RN to BSN
    Advanced nursing education is better for patients
    Last edit by Joe V on Jun 14

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