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Manager ignoring me?

Nurses   (701 Views | 12 Replies)
by Kind-N-Caring Kind-N-Caring (New) New

235 Profile Views; 3 Posts

Hi all,

I am currently in a nurse extern position at a local hospital. I will be graduating May 2020 with my ASN. I planned on staying at the hospital and unit where I currently work but recently I've changed my mind. I've been trying to reach out to my manager for several questions I've had but when I call she never answers. I leave voice messages and she doesn't call back. I email her and she doesn't reply. As an employee its mandatory that we check emails, I just find it frustrating to feel ignored. 

Is it common for managers to not respond? Or should I just start looking for different new graduate nurse positions?

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adventure_rn is a BSN and specializes in NICU, PICU.

3 Followers; 1 Article; 1,335 Posts; 19,302 Profile Views

Tough love time--if you've already left several voicemails and several emails, I'd advise that you pump the breaks, because it could start to border on annoying. That definitely isn't the impression that you want to make on a potential boss, or even as a potential reference (since this person will likely be contacted as a reference if you apply to any other unit in this hospital system).

In a perfect world, yes, the manager should be responding to your calls and emails in a timely matter. However, we don't live in a perfect world. First and foremost, managers have a lot of competing priorities. They have many essential functions that they have to complete in a timely manner for the unit to simply continue running. Much like bedside nursing, they are constantly prioritizing; it's possible that while she cares about answering your questions, she has other more important things that have to get done before she can move on to less urgent things. Again, tough love time--while your questions are really important to you, they are probably at the bottom of her priority list.

It's also possible that she just isn't great at responding to emails in a timely fashion. True, nurse managers should be the types of people to respond reliably to emails, but all managers have their strengths and weaknesses. Maybe she's an awesome manager in many other ways, but could improve in this way. (If given the option, I'd rather have a supportive manager who is slow at responding to emails than a timely jerk.)

Finally, for some topics, email is a really time-consuming way to converse. This is especially true in Q&A type discussions; your questions may be relatively short, but the answers may be long, nuanced, and complex. For these types of questions, it may be the least burdensome to the manager for you guys to have a sit-down, back-and-forth discussion.

There are a couple of things you can do. Perhaps the best option is to consider if there's anybody else who could answer your questions. Is there some kind of assistant manger, clinical lead, or educator who could talk with you? Presumably the manager isn't organizing new grad orientation herself; ask around if there's somebody else who works closely with new grads and could answer your questions. It's quite possible that your manager isn't responding to your questions because she has delegated the entirety of 'new grad stuff' to somebody else. I've had a handful of managers who didn't respond to my non-urgent emails, and you know what? I just kept on asking around until I found somebody else who would. 

Second, if you do reach out to the manager again, resist the urge to ask any specific questions. Instead, express that you'd like to discuss some questions, and ask what is the easiest format for her (sit down, phone call, email, etc.), and work around her schedule.

As I said before, all managers have strengths and weaknesses, as well as many competing priorities. I understand that you feel ignored, but I wouldn't automatically write this unit off as a 'bad unit,' or this manager off as a 'bad manager' because of your experience. Even if your manager isn't very accessible, it's quite possible that you'll have great, one-on-one attention from somebody who isn't the manager during your orientation process (I.e. the assistant manager, clinical lead, educator, etc.) I'd at least apply to this unit, and keep an open mind; as a new grad, it's better to have too many options than not enough.

Edited by adventure_rn

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kp2016 has 20 years experience.

349 Posts; 3,703 Profile Views

Are your questions in relation to your current role on the unit or to staying on as an RN once you have completed your externship? If your questions are related to your current role I would say it's a red flag that you are being ignored and think about commiting to this unit.

If they are in relation to the role you are hoping to have once your current externship is completed I would say you need to re think your approach. It's very possible she hasn't answered you as she feels she is busy and dealing with your questions isn't her priority. Honestly this leads me to suspect your chances of "continuing on this unit" aren't great. If I were you I would be watching the job opening boards, applying for any jobs of interest and directing questions to HR or maybe trusted Team Leaders. 

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RNperdiem has 14 years experience as a RN.

1 Follower; 4,269 Posts; 29,954 Profile Views

How does "continuing in your unit" work at this particular place? Most hospital departments do not officially give anyone working there in a different role any preferential treatment when hiring for RN. You apply along with everyone else and hope they remember you in a good way.

When I worked for 4 years as a CNA in a med-surg unit and asked the manager about RN work after I graduated, she told me that the hospital never hired new grads and didn't have the resources to train them. At least I got a clear answer right away so I knew to start applying elsewhere.

In your case, the silence tells a story. Start looking for new grad jobs now. Apply many places; it might be a more competitive market out there than you realize.

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13 Followers; 4,056 Posts; 31,559 Profile Views

Does she know that you don't wish to apply for a job in that unit? If so then this is simply a very low-priority issue for her. In a perfect world it would still be medium/high priority r/t the idea of trying to keep talent in the system, but putting it into perspective alongside the innumerable other demands upon managers...just like with endless tasks that are assigned to staff nurses, at some point something gets pushed down the list of priorities. Sometimes the items that get pushed down are things we ourselves feel shouldn't be low priority but there is a limit to what we can do (and an even bigger limit to what we can do well.)

Kind of harsh reality: It's also possible that they simply aren't concerned about you looking elsewhere, and for one of a dozen possible reasons are not motivated to try to keep you in the system.

Not a lot of explanation is needed at this point, you kind of have your answer. Start putting out apps pronto.

Best of  luck ~

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10 Followers; 3,590 Posts; 26,180 Profile Views

Right now our managers aren't dealing with our little stuff because they have their hands full with all of this Covid-19 stuff and the issues it's causing.

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808 Posts; 13,039 Profile Views

Thank you Wuzzie!

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5 Followers; 37,456 Posts; 100,671 Profile Views

Deal with the reality in front of you.  Start applying elsewhere.  Seek your answers elsewhere.  Do not place this employment situation in front of other prospective places of employment or you might reach a point where nothing at all is happening for you, no matter what reason is there for her to not be responding to your requests.  But keep in mind, as RNperdiem states, the silence does tell a story.  Respond to that story so you are not left out.

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RN-to- BSN has 6 years experience as a ADN, RN and specializes in SCRN.

219 Posts; 4,826 Profile Views

I have a similar situation. My manager is the leader of this quality improvement project, and I do the collecting of the data for her. It is just her and me on this project, and I know there is a professional council meeting soon, where we need to report the progress. Well, she does not answer my emails about it since mid February. I have sent one every week, very polite and positive emails, no response. I have a feeling she does not care about my clinical advancement ( 2K bonus), only that her data collecting is done. No reply. I have stopped collecting the data until a reply. That is my way of doing things. Next, I will contact the professional council on my own. 

So, my advice is: do not wait for her reply at this point. she might be busy with other things, as previous posters have mentioned. You get busy with your own things.

Thank you!

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FurBabyMom has 8 years experience as a MSN, RN.

1 Follower; 1 Article; 799 Posts; 25,342 Profile Views

I would advise patience and grace right now.  Please remember your manager is just one person, and is very likely working more than 40 hours a week right now (it's true most of the time, but with the COVID-19 stuff, doubly so).  We have been told we will not be able to take scheduled and approved PTO at the leadership level. I haven't actually taken a week off for vacation in 2 years and was supposed to go to a conference this month (when that cancelled, I was hoping for a week to myself at home) - but will instead be at work.  We are only allowed to be off if we are sick or have an FMLA-excusable absence.

I moved into a formal leadership role earlier this year.  Right now, we're all being overrun with information and sometimes hourly changes related to COVID-19. I have gotten so many emails and revisions of revisions...my email inbox is exploding. My work phone (when I'm at work) blows up, all day long, with changes being pushed out from others above me and questions from those below me. I am being asked to come to work having read all COVID-19 / hospital operations related emails. On my own time. My inbox is a full time job in and of itself.

Formal meetings we have to be at or on a video conference for, department planning/review meetings, surge capacity meetings, supply chain discussions, dealing with unhappy staff and visitors related to restrictions (travel, visitation). All of this on top of regular manager stuff: time and attendance, scheduling, discipline/corrective action, addressing needs of the unit (education, etc), revisions to orientation process, reviewing budget stuff (we're in the negotiation period with executive leadership - they review a draft, ask for revisions, we resubmit, etc).

Right now anything beyond right now or the next two weeks is pie in the sky for most managers and leaders in health care.  We're no longer doing onsite interviews for any position (physician, nursing, EVS, etc) - everything is being done via videoconferencing. If it can wait, they are punting it.

Not to mention - there are some very real discussions in many hospitals about not allowing students (nursing, medical, etc - any) back after Spring break.  Yes if they are employed but not for clinical. More likely than not, that is being discussed. Which could very likely have graduation and licensure implications.

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ICUnurse990 has 6 years experience as a BSN and specializes in Critical Care.

8 Posts; 141 Profile Views

Do you ever see this manager in person?  If so, the best approach might be to talk with her in person and say “Hey, I had a few questions about applying for a job after graduation- is there a time we could meet for a few minutes, or could I email you, or is there someone else who could answer my questions?”  How long have you been trying to reach her?  It’s possible she’s not communicating well, or she’s been out of town, or she’s not interested in hiring you, or she just doesn’t have the bandwidth to answer one more email right now.
 

I’m not making any excuses for poor communication, but please understand that nurse managers are stretched pretty thin right now.  The COVID-19 situation is changing by the hour, and as leaders, we’re involved in a lot of updates and process changes at a very fast pace.  (It’s not just the bedside staff who are facing uncertainty and change right now!). And frankly, even on a normal day, it can be hard to keep up with the constant stream of texts, emails, and requests while we’re doing all the normal things in our job description.  In a perfect world, I would reply to every call, text, email, note on my desk, and in person visit immediately.  In reality, I’m only human, so sometimes things fall through the cracks while I’m triaging my communication.

If you really want to work here after graduating, maybe try connecting with her in person, or see if there’s another person you could reach.  I would advise to stop with the emails and calls at this point though.

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TriciaJ has 39 years experience as a RN and specializes in Psych, Corrections, Med-Surg, Ambulatory.

14 Followers; 3,697 Posts; 38,424 Profile Views

She might just not care about you but most likely she is swamped like FurBabyMom described.  Either way quit bugging her.

Your post was a bit unclear: are you wanting to let her know you're not interested in working there as a nurse? Or are you saying you've lost interest because of her lack of response?

I think at the moment you may have to be patient and cope with an uncertain future.  Everyone has bigger fish to fry.

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