I hate this "squeaky wheel gets the oil" actions in healthcare!!

  1. Warning: This is a rant

    So I had a lot (LOTS) of growing pains as a new nurse. I made mistakes and I haven't been the best employee 100% of the time. But with self-reflection and self help, it's an odd feeling when conversations with managers are no longer entailing that dreadful sentence of "maybe this isn't a good fit for you" to... I guess regular nursing things??

    This is what I'm getting at: I don't feel recognized at work. Due to my past, I'm very insecure about my work. I love asking about my performance and what can I do better. But every time I ask for a review from my supervisor, she just tells me I'm doing very well. Which annoys me.

    Why, you ask?

    Well, everyone at my job feels the need to announce what they did, and how someone else screwed up and how THANKS TO THEM they fixed it. They have to brag about getting a new order for nystatin powder and how THANK GOODNESS THEY SAW THE RASHES WHEN NO ONE ELSE DID. And I HATE THIS!

    I've never been the type of person to announce my work. My documentation should be adequate... right? I mean, if I see an issue, I take of it. If someone made a mistake (obviously not a grave error) I fix it. I never make a huge deal out of things... but maybe I should?

    The "Heros" who fix and notice things and make everyone aware are praised by managers. They get employee of the month. It's kind of disheartening. Obviously other factors may come into play as to why they are getting these achievements but during our employee meetings, they're always praised for "Doing so much". And I just think... hey. I do that too. I just don't make a big deal out it.

    I don't know. This was longer than I hoped...
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    Joined: Mar '17; Posts: 184; Likes: 333

    23 Comments

  3. by   cleback
    I know you feel uncomfortable bragging about what you did but I think that's the way to go to get clinical recognition from your manager. (It's annoying that your coworkers throw others under the bus in the process though!) I assume they aren't following you during a shift or regularly reviewing your documentation, so how are they going to know how great you're doing? I used to have to keep a portfolio for my reviews... in it, I would give examples of how I was meeting organizational values (excellent clinical care, collaboration/teamwork, stewardship). Maybe start something like that and bring it to your review?
  4. by   FolksBtrippin
    Unless the award also comes with a check I'm not really interested.

    Those *******s can keep their gold stars. I get my satisfaction from the relationships I have with my patients. Seeing them improve.
  5. by   Flatline
    Just as you advocate for your patients, advocate for yourself. Now it is important to not focus on negative success but rather positive success. By that I mean, do not say you did something well because you caught the mistake of someone else, focus on that you have XYZ attribute that has allowed to catch ABC issue.

    Document your successes as well. If you can, email a supervisors for every success (try to play it off casually) just to discuss or email yourself simply for documentation. When you go in at the end of the year you can list your successes.

    Many nurses will look down upon self-advocating behavior but it is incredibly important for your career. Maybe that gold star won't be attached to a check but if you collect enough of them a really big check may come down the line or a new opportunity that you would have otherwise not been considered for.
  6. by   JKL33
    The behavior is related to feeling poorly about oneself. It's not about being able to share a genuine accomplishment, it's about an esteem problem that is only temporarily mitigated by finding little reasons to prove to themselves "at least I'm better than her...." which is why they phrase it in hero/savior terms even when it's something that 99% of everyone else also would have done, or when it's something no one cares about, or when it's a fake problem they came up with so they look like they fixed something.

    Just do your work. Give them a sincere "great job!" and go on about your way. Don't worry about whether they get a gold star unless you want to elbow in and try to score your own meaningless accolades for performing basic job functions.
  7. by   Davey Do
    Quote from LPNewbie
    This is what I'm getting at: I don't feel recognized at work.

    I've never been the type of person to announce my work. My documentation should be adequate... right?
    External validation is a fix, LPNewbie. Sure- we all at least appreciate being recognized, but bottom line, self-recognition can be an ongoing feeling.

    "My happiness is not a result of what others do or say or what happens around me. My happiness is a result of being at peace with myself."

    Peace be to your inner self.
  8. by   Davey Do
    I got to thinking more about your thread LPNewbie and considered "the squeaky wheel gets the oil" portion.

    I believe the saying goes "The squeaky wheel gets the grease" because grease adheres to the wheel bearings whereas oil is less viscous and is a shorter term maintenance approach.

    In applying these oil/grease concepts to our need for external validation, oil is like the short term fix of recognition by others and grease is much more of a long term maintenance approach, much like self satisfaction. Being satisfied with who we are and what we do.

    On the lighter side of things:

    grease-on-you-
  9. by   Kallie3006
    Your coworkers being a "hero" should not be labeled as such for doing their job. When you find a rash you are supposed to follow up with the doctor if this is new. Congrats to them for seeing something, informing the doc and following through with orders received. Good gravy, the need for validation and putting down coworkers seems to point to some inner turmoil they have going on. Sheeesh.

    Possibly ask your manager what difference she notices on their work compared to yours. Word it to you asking what she thinks you can do to better yourself and your patients care.

    Does your facility do staff recognition cards? That patients can fill out? If a patient or family praises your care, expresses a sense of relief that you are the nurse assigned, see if they want to fill a card out to let your manager know what a blessing you are to the patients and families, as well as the establishment.

    Most people want clinical praise. They want to know that they are valued, their work noticed, etc . I know I would feel inadequate if I never was recognized while everyone else is. I get where you are coming from.
  10. by   Daisy4RN
    I don't see how this can end well for unit cohesiveness. This unit behavior/norm just pits nurses against each other instead of encouraging team work. Nurses need to be able to look out for each other without the fear of someone constantly looking over their shoulder while giving each other the benefit of the doubt. I had a nurse once who came after me running around telling management and everyone else how great she was because she found my "mistake"; The MD had changed the IV fluid but had told me to go ahead and finish the current bad first, which was charted and which was told to this RN in report (not listening?), so no mistake was made. Not sure what was going on there but either way it was pretty pathetic, IMO. I was also like you, if I see a need, I take care of it, if I see something that needs to be fixed, I fix it (no hoopla). One unit I worked at had little cards for patients/families to fill out telling management how great a nurse was, some nurses would take these into the pt's room and ask them to fill it out, I found this highly disturbing on a number of levels and would never do it (although it might be appropriate for a certain pt/family) . I realize this can be disheartening at times. The questions for you though is what kind of person/human being do you want to be. I choose not to fall into this way of acting/thinking. I just did the best I could do (but as others have said you do need to toot your own horn now and then) for the patients and try to go home at the end of the day with a clear conscious. In the end it doesn't matter how many little 'I am a great nurse' cards you collect. What matters is that you have done your best for those in your care, this is what will fill your soul with happiness and make you not only a great nurse, but a great human being! Good luck!!

    Also, sometimes the squeaky wheel does not get the grease, sometimes it gets replaced.
  11. by   LPNewbie
    Quote from FolksBtrippin
    Unless the award also comes with a check I'm not really interested.

    Those *******s can keep their gold stars. I get my satisfaction from the relationships I have with my patients. Seeing them improve.
    Okay, it's good to know I'm not alone in this haha
  12. by   LPNewbie
    Quote from Flatline
    Just as you advocate for your patients, advocate for yourself. Now it is important to not focus on negative success but rather positive success. By that I mean, do not say you did something well because you caught the mistake of someone else, focus on that you have XYZ attribute that has allowed to catch ABC issue.

    Document your successes as well. If you can, email a supervisors for every success (try to play it off casually) just to discuss or email yourself simply for documentation. When you go in at the end of the year you can list your successes.

    Many nurses will look down upon self-advocating behavior but it is incredibly important for your career. Maybe that gold star won't be attached to a check but if you collect enough of them a really big check may come down the line or a new opportunity that you would have otherwise not been considered for.
    This isn't a bad idea. As silly as it sounds, I've never considered advocating for myself. I really like this idea. Thank you!
  13. by   LPNewbie
    Quote from Davey Do
    I got to thinking more about your thread LPNewbie and considered "the squeaky wheel gets the oil" portion.

    I believe the saying goes "The squeaky wheel gets the grease" because grease adheres to the wheel bearings whereas oil is less viscous and is a shorter term maintenance approach.

    In applying these oil/grease concepts to our need for external validation, oil is like the short term fix of recognition by others and grease is much more of a long term maintenance approach, much like self satisfaction. Being satisfied with who we are and what we do.

    On the lighter side of things:

    grease-on-you-

    Hahahaha touché
  14. by   Davey Do
    I work with Johnny June who is a great Tech at Wrongway Regional Medical Center and he has said, "I don't want any attention from administration". I asked him why and he relayed that anything that puts someone in the limelight comes to no good.

    Johnny June and I both worked at Anomaly State Hospital years ago and I recalled, that in the first six months of my employment there, I had been recognized as "Employee of the Week" on two different occasions. It seemed that once I received that attention, I fell under close scrutiny and, without going into any detail, received quite a bit of negative attention from administration for the next year.

    So, in a sense, Johnny June's premise was proven by my situation.

    But, for some of us, bad attention is better than no attention. Some of us will go to great lengths to call negative attention to ourselves in order to be validated.

    We play the part of the victim, prove that "they're so bad and I'm so good" in order feel the thrill.

    But now I'm getting into the Piepers' "Addicted to Unhappiness" and Daniel Gilbert's "Stumbling on Happiness" concepts and there, all I can say is, read the books.

    stumbling-on-happiness-

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