uk nurse needs your help

  1. Can anyone help? I am a staff nurse in the uk and we are presently (as is everyone else) experiencing severe staff shortages. My problem is that we have a good team on our ward if they only knew it, they think that the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. They continuallywork seperately, back biting and point scoring with the manager. Does anyone have any advice as to how we can bring the team together and any stories of experiences you all have of understaffing, this might make them realise that this is a global problem.
  2. Visit michelle999 profile page

    About michelle999

    Joined: Sep '01; Posts: 18
    senior staff nurse


  3. by   spudflake
    You say that they are a great group. TELL THEM. At the next staff meeting or at the next shift change before you give report. Tell them that you enjoy working with them and that THEY are the ones that keep things going even when staffing is at it's barest. Tell them that without all their help and caring nothing would get done. If someone helps you tell her just how much you appreciate them. You can NEVER tell someone how good they are often enough. I think once you start you'll find that others will act the same way and soon you'll be a real team I worked in a busy ER and noone even got breaks because we were so short staffed. The same back biting and BS was happening there. One night I brought finger sandwiches, cookies, M&M's small candy bars and chips. I also brought liter bottles of different sodas. I put it all in the lounge and announced "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to starve anymore!" The crew laughed and told me I'd get really fat eating all that food. I told them Nope - this is for all of us. Small enough to eat in one or two bites, stick in our pockets to sneak eat in the core. We ate, we laughed, we shared, we tossed candy back and forth all night long. The VERY NEXT NIGHT one of the guys brought in snacks and we did the same thing again and again. The group became a team. The Doctors even started bringing stuff in. I keep Hersey kisses in my office and pass them out on a regular basis when one of my staff is over worked, down, happy, did a great job etc. and I always say Thanks!
  4. by   mustangsheba
    Michelle: I have found in some places I've worked (not all!) that socializing away from work can help bring people together. In the circumstances where it worked, we discovered each other's individual gifts and idiosyncrasies, which made it possible to utilize them or joke about them when we got stressed at work. Where it didn't work was where we had no common ground except for the fact we were nurses. Food is usually a great equalizer. I'm an agency nurse. The first time I go to a new facility I take cookies!
  5. by   nicola
    I recently (less than a year ago) became a supervisor of home health aides (HHA's). Morale was horrible and pay stinks. What can I say? In any case, I decided to apply something I learned from the One Minute Manager series - catch them doing something right. I make a point to really see what's going right in the cases we handle, to point out who's doing a great job and to let EVERY ONE know it. We also started sending birthday cards to our aides. That's pretty low cost and has been amazing in terms of response. You'd think they were getting a week's pay!

    In a difficult situation when every one's stressed, it's important to take a time out and point out what's going right...

    Oh, also encourage ownership of the work. My aides were all complaining about clients asking them to do things outside their job descriptions (I mean one guy wanted the aide to shave his pubes for the summer!). I realize this can be a big issue and asked them how they wanted to deal with it. They came up with the very workable solution of me writing a memo to each client with a duty list attached and to be sure each aide has a copy of the same. 90% of our problems have disappeared!

    I'm long winded, I know, but think the key is in getting creative. How can you let them know you value them and that they're great without breaking the bank? Do you have an employee recognition program in your facility? Encourage patients to use it!

    Good luck!
  6. by   l-andre
    I think the key is to make the workplace more than a workplace. We too had problem recruting (and keeping!) nurses because is was so depressing and so hard job. Then, like Spudflake, we start bringing food to work (homemade cookies, fudge, etc...). We now find every opportunities to "celebrate" something: birthdays, return from a parental vacation, Easter, Mother's day... We even invent celebration like Single's mom day or Male nurse day!!! It made the staff be a team instead of people-working-at-the-same-place. And our unit is now known as a great place to work in my hospital despite the hard duty (ICU). Be imaginative and good luck!!!