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Managers: Remaining Objective with All Employees

Nurses   (650 Views | 10 Replies)

SilverBells has 5 years experience as a BSN and specializes in Rehab/Nurse Manager.

448 Profile Views; 27 Posts

I just recently accepted a new nurse manager position at a SNF/LTC/Rehab facility that I have been working at for about four years now.  This is my first change in roles at this facility, so I haven't quite changed my approach from a fellow staff nurse/colleague to that of a manager yet (I haven't yet completed my second week in this position).  Prior to this, I had been working as an Interim Nurse Manager but still had a few shifts as a floor nurse, so it wasn't necessarily 'key' for me to develop a new approach to my relationship with coworkers as it was believed that I would return to working as a floor nurse when they found a permanent manager (it initially wasn't expected that I would accept the permanent position). 

Anyway...my question is, how do you remain objective in regards to the performance of the floor staff members, especially with those with whom you had a good working relationship with and enjoyed working with?  A specific example is this: There are two nursing assistants that I have always enjoyed working with because of their 'fun' personalities.  I've always enjoyed their sense of humor and have believed them to have a good work ethic.  However, comments from the nurses working the floor suggest to me that they aren't necessarily as amused.  They often remark that they hope that patients are getting their showers, that beds are being made, etc because they perceive these aides as being "bored."  And granted, they do spend a lot of time at the nurse's station, even in my office, but I've always took it for granted that they were there because their work was already completed. I figured if they were watching football on the Internet there must be nothing else for them to be doing.   Now, I'm starting to wonder if I'm letting their humorous personalities cloud my judgement as to whether or not work is actually being completed.  There is a "dashboard" that I have access to that can tell me whether or not tasks are being completed, however, up until this point I haven't really been checking it because I've trusted my staff to get their jobs done.  So, I feel that's the first thing I am going to start doing, as I feel the comments made by other nurses are my responsibility to look into.  However, does anyone have any other suggestions for remaining objective when it comes to evaluating the performance of employees you like? 

On the other hand, I have no problems holding staff members accountable if I don't necessarily care for them. For example, there was an aide involved with an incident that I had no problem reporting, partly because it was my responsibility to start an investigation.  However, I've never particularly enjoyed working with this person, so the potential consequences she would have to face didn't faze me (note: I wasn't out to get her, it was her own behavior that required reporting.  I just didn't feel bad about it).  Also, it makes me wonder if I would have difficulties investigating the staff members I do enjoy work with if circumstances would require me to do so.  

In other words, I am concerned if potential "favoritism" may be affecting my performance as a manager, and if so, how can I correct this? 

Thanks 

 

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Davey Do has 41 years experience and specializes in Psych, CD, HH, Admin, LTC, OR, ER, Med Surge.

17 Followers; 1 Article; 6,702 Posts; 83,103 Profile Views

11 hours ago, SilverBells said:

my question is, how do you remain objective in regards to the performance of the floor staff members, especially with those with whom you had a good working relationship with and enjoyed working with? 

Congratulations on your position as nurse manager, SilverBells! I sense you will do a good job, knowing the facility and reaching out for ways to be a good manager.

The director of a unit on which I worked had to confront me on not fulfilling my a responsibility. None of the nurses liked performing this non-patient care responsibility and avoided it whenever possible. The director said something to me along the lines of, "My job isn't any more important than your job, we just have different responsibilities. One of my responsibilities is to make sure you do your job. And, hey- you don't have to like it, you only have to do it!"

I could get behind that- I didn't have to like it, I only had to do it!

Another bit of wisdom I learned from this director was to always put principles before personalities. Personalities can be be in flux whereas principles are carved in concrete. If we adhere to sound principles, we can always deal with fluxing personalities.

Good luck and the very best to you, SilverBells!

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scribblz has 13 years experience as a BSN, CNA, LPN and specializes in Med Surg, Tele, Geriatrics, home infusion.

63 Posts; 1,665 Profile Views

12 hours ago, SilverBells said:

 I am concerned if potential "favoritism" may be affecting my performance as a manager, and if so, how can I correct this? 

Congratulations on your promotion!

This is a very relatable challenge... when in doubt stick to the facts to try to avoid bias based on feelings. First and foremost try to objectively find out if there's any merit to those nurses' concerns about those CNAs. Physically check that patients appear well cared for, rooms are tidy as well as that their documentation is completed correctly. Be pleasant and fair about it. If there's a valid reason things aren't done, explore potential solutions. Try to project that while you are your staff's ally your ultimate role is to make sure the unit is running as it should.

Should you find that corners are being cut that shouldn't be ie.  "face, pits and Peri" 30 second AM care or leaving messes in the bathroom for other staff members to clean up...you may have to remediate with them. 

A good starting place is to ask what would improve their ability to get their job done the way you would like to see it done. Ie: the option to only fully dress half their assignment before breakfast and the other half if agreeable could attend in pajamas and robes. Maybe you could help transport patients from the rooms to the dining room. Etc. Agreed upon compromise between the caregiver and the cared for has in my experience limited the necessity for falling into bad habits. Involvement of all parties distributes the ownership of the idea and makes them more invested in its success.

Being a prior floor nurse can be both a blessing and a curse. You might have greater empathy and insight into your nurses and CNAs struggles, but it can be tempting to be more lax in supervising and give in to the culture of the status quo.

My go to is when faced with a dilemma and a solution pops in to my head I try to take a second to determine if I'm taking the easy way out...if I find that to be the case, it warrants a closer look to make sure it's the right course of action.

Best of luck to you 🙂

 

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CharleeFoxtrot has 7 years experience as a ADN, RN.

630 Posts; 8,368 Profile Views

SilverBells, I've noticed the recent posts about your promotion.  I just wanted to give you some appreciation for your taking the time to do some honest self-examination in order to do your best at the new position. Well done! 🥇

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5 Followers; 37,457 Posts; 100,707 Profile Views

One by one take a "closer" look at each person's performance and when speaking to them during this review, make it clear that you are checking on everybody "equally".  There should be no reason to doubt your intentions as long as you devote the same time and attention to each person.  When you look at the two bubbly personalities, get a true picture of how much of their duties they are actually doing, how well they do their jobs, and then act accordingly.  Since you are reviewing everybody's performance, there will be no reason to believe you are showing any favoritism in either direction.

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juniper222 has 2 years experience and specializes in Pre Nursing.

265 Posts; 2,151 Profile Views

Just the fact that you think about this shows that you are self aware.  Those are the traits of a good manager.

I had a boss once who liked to be buddies with certain employees.  He would give them all the big bonuses, best tasks etc.  He wanted to include me into that group, but I keep my distance.  My reasons, it was not a fair practice.  As long as you don't let these nurses take advantage of your friendship, and use fair and sound judgment, you will be fine. 

Edited by juniper222

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13 Followers; 4,056 Posts; 31,582 Profile Views

23 hours ago, SilverBells said:

I figured if they were watching football on the Internet there must be nothing else for them to be doing.

😧

But did you really think that? I'm not trying to be hard on you. I just haven't noticed that kind of truly free time, where all the patients are fluffed and buffed and cared for with the highest excellence possible and there is still time left over.

I truly hope I'm wrong, but you might be disappointed in what you find if you go around and start doing checks and looking into charting and the like.

 

23 hours ago, SilverBells said:

Now, I'm starting to wonder if I'm letting their humorous personalities cloud my judgement as to whether or not work is actually being completed.

I think you need to follow this through. Like, figure out the truth pronto. Some humorous personalities are just all-around great people who are doing a great job and having a great time, too. Others use the humor as a crutch or a tool with which to manipulate people. And, some people with less nicey-nice and funny-fun personalities are conscientious hard workers.

 

23 hours ago, SilverBells said:

On the other hand, I have no problems holding staff members accountable if I don't necessarily care for them.

 

It's good that you are aware of this and will admit it.

But you have to deal with it.  That is not okay. It would be okay if you said, "I have no problems holding staff members accountable." (period).

 

23 hours ago, SilverBells said:

Also, it makes me wonder if I would have difficulties investigating the staff members I do enjoy work with if circumstances would require me to do so.

Probably. That doesn't mean you wouldn't do your duty, but at the same time there are a lot of little things that your emotions and opinions can get in the way of, and they will be difficult to neutralize in the heat of the moment unless you start making some mental changes now.

Even-handedness is often missing, and often unappreciated when someone possesses it. I find it a very admirable skill/trait.

Anyway...good luck to you, I'm sure it'll be a great personal and professional growth opportunity. 🍀

Edited by JKL33

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JadedCPN has 13 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Pediatrics, Pediatric Float, PICU, NICU.

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I agree 100% with what JKL33 said. The positive thing that you have going for you is that you are aware of your own bias, but that doesn't take away from the fact that is it not okay so now you need to do some deep soul searching and figure out how to not act anymore on that bias. 

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Emergent has 25 years experience.

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It might be time for a general, stay off the phones for the most part during work rule. One part of nursing is that you don't get to watch all the football games since you have to work every other weekend. If this is long-term care, then go catch part of the game with one of the residents, they would enjoy it.

It's refreshing to see that you are approaching this in the right way. Because managers who did show favoritism to the fun people that they liked best. I think you're going to do a great job.

 

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

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Congratulations on your promotion!

Yes, you will have to start seeing things (and people) with a different viewpoint.  Your main job is to make sure the residents are properly cared for, and the buck stops with you.  If someone doesn't get a proper bath, then you are responsible for that person not getting a proper bath.  You fulfill your responsibility by regularly checking on things, and not taking people at their word.  Do not assume that things are getting done, even by people you previously trusted.

If someone balks at being checked up on: "I'm still getting used to my new responsibilities".  Of course you will keep checking, but eventually they will get used to the idea that you are conscientious and won't permit corner-cutting.

Beware of the likeable people and bubbly personalities.  Someone previously (and wisely) mentioned that this is often a front for poor work behaviour.  Anyone who plans to use your "friendship" as a ticket to shirk is not your friend.  Your real friends will want to make your life easier by doing an exemplary job that reflects on you.  Anyone expecting a free pass clearly doesn't care that you are held responsible.

If you need to take anyone to task, it's about the work, not the personality.  Make the expectations clear.  Familiarize yourself with the progressive discipline protocols in your facility.  Start paper trails as soon as you start your new post.  Hopefully you never need to use them, but best to have your ducks in a row if someone just can't get with the program.

It'll probably be stressful to start no matter how smoothly it goes.  Good luck and congratulations again.

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237 Posts; 1,255 Profile Views

I also think it’s okay to ask the nurses for more information. When somebody says under their breath, “Damn I guess CNA Susie already finished all her work today...” you can pull her aside privately and say “Is there anything I need to know about Susie’s performance?” This may yield helpful insights, but more importantly, it will make people think before they comment. Next time the nurse will think to herself “Is this CNA a poor worker?  Or am I just in a bad mood?  Manager is listening and she’s going to follow up so I better be sure I’m speaking truth and not just mouthing off.” 

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