Help with unhappy ancillary staff.

  1. I need some advice. I am a new manager and my RN staff is, for the most part, pretty wonderful. My receptionist and aides, on the other hand, feel abused and and unappreciated by the RN's.

    From what I am observing and hearing from the ancillary staff, I think the RN's are so close knit and cohesive that they don't realize they are ignoring the receptionist when she speaks to them. I also see that each RN forgets there are 16 other RN's asking the 3 aides to do things and don't realize how busy the aides are.

    I have an RN staff meeting once a month with minutes recorded, because only half the staff is usually in attendance. The ancillary staff used to meet once a month, but the former manager stopped meeting because it became a B#@%* session.

    Any ideas?!
  2. Visit yankeecamper profile page

    About yankeecamper

    Joined: Jan '03; Posts: 18
    SDSU/PACU supervisor


  3. by   ACNORN
    First, I'd like to say don't feel alone with this problem. I have worked in several management positions in different facilities and this issue has been present to some degree or other. The staff usually don't appreciate the challenges of another's job. Everyone usually assumes they have the most to do, they believe they are working harder than everyone else, and their is little tolerance to have one's "routine" interrupted.

    I have a few suggestions:

    1. Have staff meetings for all of the nursing staff to attend at the same time (RNs, LPNs, aides, receptionists, and anyone else who reports to you. By having separate meetings based on job class, you may be creating a culture where good teamwork and respect for the work of each team member is not valued.

    2. Ask your staff for ideas on how to fix the problem.

    3. Ask your company to provide communication training. Unless the nurses are purposefully trying to be rude, they obviously don't understand the negative message they are sending by not making eye contact and responding to the receptionists.

    4. Ask your company for customer service training. If the nurses and aides perceive the receptionist's frequent communications about a patient request to be an annoyance - then it is likely due to frustration on their part that their routine is being interrupted (i.e. nurse trying to pass meds and has to stop to help with a patient who needs to go to the bathroom because the aide is already helping another patient). The staff need to understand that part of their job is responding to the needs of their patients and seeing things through the eyes of their patients. Assuming your patients are not crashing and a stat intervention is not needed, what is more important to their patient - getting that med right on time or not being incontinent in the bed? The nature of our work is prone to frequent interruptions. Quite frankly, patients don't care about our routines and schedules. The staff have to understand that and accept it.

    5. Re-evaluate your staffing pattern and mix. If there are more requests for unlicensed type of work and the nurses are having to stop doing things that licensed staff need to do, maybe you need more aides during certain shifts or certain periods of the day.

    6. Have the staff spend a day or two working with someone in a different job class (nurses working as a receptionist or aide, aides working with the nurse or with the receptionist, the receptionist working with the nurse or aide). Its expensive as far as your productivity, but it helps to let people experience the work of others and have their perspective broadened.

    7. Do something nice for your receptionists and aides. Nurses week is always May 6-12th. I make sure the aides and unit clerks have a recognition time too. Showing them appreciation for their job can help.

    In my facility we have a Perfect 10 program whereby any of the staff can nominate another staff member when something that exemplifies good team cooperation or when something out of the ordinary is done. The recipient of the nomination gets progressive awards - free meal in the cafeteria, Blockbuster gift certificate, movie theatre gift certificates for two, a nice facility golf shirt and coffee mug, etc. We give the awards out at the monthly staff meetings which gives staff an incentive to attend.

    Hope these ideas help some.
  4. by   yankeecamper
    Thank you to acnorn. Some of your ideas are in place already. I like the one about working with someone in another job class. How true the old cliche` about walking a mile in someone else's shoes. I also like the idea of all job classes attending the same staff meeting. I will attempt these.