I've been a nurse for about 5 years now. The last 2 years in an ambulatory surgery center with 2 OR's and am designated as the go to nurse for questions or concerns in the pre/post-op area, also the person management goes to for any communication for the rest of the staff.
My problem is this. I have a hard time speaking my mind when it comes to having a difference of opinions. I'm the type of person that tells people what they want to hear, or sugar coats my true feelings about something. I don't like to say something unless it effects patient care of course. When people dislike eachother, I always stay in a neutral position. I've done pretty well with that until management has been looking to me as the leader in the PACU the last few months. I am the only nurse that is able to work in both areas. And if it is like this anywhere else, there is a little segregation between OR and PACU. OR tells me things not to tell PACU, and vice versa. And I feel like it's catching up to me. I was offered a management positon a few months ago but would have needed to pick up more hours. I turned it down. My annual review is coming up in the summer and I hope to be offered the position again since that title wasn't offically given to anyone else. So there's a little back story.
I feel I don't bring up things that aren't working well or could be improved to management, for fear that they may not think it's a valid issue and I and the rest of the nurses should just deal (just kind of how I grew up). I already know my communication need improvement. And I need to break this and learn to speak up! I just don't want to make anyone mad for being the idea or cause for any change people may not agree with right away. Having absolute 0 experience in Ambulatory Surgery and then being offered a management position in less than 2 years, I know they see something in me. There has been a nurse who has been there a year. She is known as the complainer, an exaggerator. Will bring up the littlest issue or complain about the littlest thing to management, but majority of the time, she is just venting. I can sense the annoyance she brings them. But I feel like managment is getting to a point they rather have someone that actually communicates than a complete mute like myself! (Now Im exaggerating!). I know having the ability to speak up is a quality management likes to see. So I need to break this feeling or else opportunities for growth are passing me by!
Tell me your personal experiences or thoughts especially if you are in management!
May 2, '14
I think there are courses for that. Assertiveness training, management skills, etc. Do a search on what courses might be coming up in your area and ask your manager if you can get this funded.
Meanwhile, repeat after me: I am a grownup. I am professional. I trust my own judgement.
Also, check out books by Albert Ellis, the psychologist who developed Rational-Emotive Therapy. He taught people to challenge their need to be liked and approved of by everyone. Good luck!
May 2, '14
I'm still like you. Some of the time. I think we all are. Just getting along gets a bad wrap. It has its place.
Other times, I accept somebody's going to get upset.
Either me at myself for being a sissy, or the other person because I stood up.
Try not to be afraid of everything.
May 2, '14
Another book you'll really, really like is called "Creative Aggression." Do not let the title scare you. As a matter of fact, that's exactly why you need and you'll love this book. It made a lot of difference to me when I was trying to figure out how to do what you're being asked to do.
Here's a link to get a copy used at Amazon for pennies.
Creative Aggression - the Art of Assertive Living: George R. Bach: 9780380426553: Amazon.com: Books
May 2, '14
Here's the thing--if anyone says "don't tell blah blah" and it causes patient harm--directly or indirectly, then it becomes YOUR issue. As it was communicated to you (to cover the backside of the reporting nurse) however with the "don't tell xyz". Well, you don't tell xyz, and xyz is caught off guard and the patient suffers for it, then well, it would be on you.
It doesn't matter what kind of person you are in communicating. It depends on what kind of nurse you are. And that you have a general communication comment of "you need to give me the information, and I will decide what information the care nurse needs for report".
If this is a "don't tell nurse pdq that I hate her" then you need to stop the conversation, simply say "lets keep this business" and go on.
"Well, PACU told me not to tell you" would NOT go over well in any situation you may find yourself in. There is no need to get into a he said she said, simply state the facts
And what a great time to start the SBAR communication that everyone seems to be into......
May 4, '14
Thanks for all the feedback. I was going to check out some books to help with management roles. I feel like half of it comes down to a bunch of women that aren't fond of eachother and I am the 'nice' one caught in the middle. And the "do not tell xyz" has nothing to do with patient care. Absolutely patients come first. These have something to do with social events outside of work. Don't tell xyz about the baseball game, don't tell xyz that only so and so are invited. Then pics get posted on social sites, and feelings get hurt. Ugh... Aren't I too old for that?
Then other half of my problem is trying to figure out whether something is important enough to bring up to management. How do you know what to filter? If there is an issue going on between staff members, that COULD blow over given a week or two. Is it something you bring to their attention? Also, do you bring up an idea of improvement when one nurse complains about it? Or wait until there is a more general consensus before you bring it to their attention? That sort of thing. We are a surgery center with about a dozen staff.
And if you have dealt with this personally, how do you best separate that with being their charge nurse at work, and their buddy outside of work? Do you hold back on some of the social events to maintain that role? Does being their buddy ever jeopardize it?
May 4, '14
I am finding that out now! Just frustrating really. It doesnt help that sometimes my bosses are part of the secret keeping. I am starting to accept that you can't make everyone happy.
May 4, '14
You probably could separate being their buddy outside of work and their charge nurse at work, but probably they can't. If this crowd likes to attend social events in secret and then post the info after the fact, their maturity level isn't what it should be. Which means being a buddy outside work will be expected to bring special status and privileges at work.
The way you describe the dynamics would make me want to be as friendly as I could at work, while maintaining supervisory authority. But I'd steer clear of their social events. Sounds too loaded. "Oh, dang! I already made plans, but you all have a great time!" You'll probably want to find your own social circle away from work.
May 13, '14
to the OP:
Have you considered the possibility that management chose you for your lack of assertiveness and experience because you will be their yes man and do their dirty work?
Like a Stepford wife.
Last edit by ProgressiveActivist on May 13, '14
: Reason: spelling
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