Published Jan 22, 2004
I am a new nurse graduate, and have a nurse management job. I have been working for only about six months. I absolutely love my job. I thought I was getting along fine with all my co-workers, until I got a "wake up call" today. Three department head co-workers took me in front of my boss, and practically tried their best to embarrass me and put down my work performance. I had no idea how some people felt, as I am a hard worker and only want to do my best at my first job after graduation. My boss told me not to worry about this, and said she knew exactly what they were trying to do. However, I can't help but be upset about it. Is this what most nurse managers have to go through when starting a new job? What is the best way to handle my situation? These co-workers are going about the rest of the day as if nothing happened. I want to learn from this experience, whether it is to realize I am not going to be a good nurse manager, or simply that there are always going to be co-workers who will test me to see how much I can take of them. Please give me your advise. Thank you.
Nursing is tough and they always eat their young (or new). Being a nurse manager after only six months is great, but you are going to get a lot of flack for your lack of experience. Being a manager is always hard because you are always caught in the middle of what you would like to do for your staff and patients, and what your boss who only wants to see a balanced budget. It is even harder, when you do not have any nursing experience.
Since you have chosen to be in management, you will have to accept all the back stabbing that will go on behind your back from peers and subordinates alike. Work hard, don't take it personally, and try to find the balance between a nice working environment for your staff and meeting the budget and fiscal responsiblities of the hospital. Good luck.
barefootlady, ADN, RN
Be professional, be fair, ask for feedback from staff. Realize some coworkers will never like you or be satisfied. Develop a thick skin for this type of worker. Keep a honest, open relationship with your Don. Good Luck. I would have been too scared after only 6 months to attempt to be a NM.
RNPATL, DNP, RN
Hi Kandis ....being in management with a limited nursing background can be and will be a challenge for you. Nursing leadership roles are some of the toughest jobs out there. A successful nurse leader is one who wants to learn from his/her mistakes and can grow from them. Unfortunately, being in this role, you are really in the middle. Senior management is concerned about their fiscal responsibilities: which include physician recruitment and retention (which generally translates into revenue for the hospital), patient satisfaction, staff staisfaction (generally measured on RN retention), and a host of clinical and regulatory measures.
On the other hand, your staff is more concerned about having the tools, equipment and staffing to best do their jobs. Sometimes nurses on the unit are challenged just meeting the basic needs for their patients. With the nursing shortage, a good manager recognizes the challenges of his/her nurses and provides as much support and visibility as possible. Being available to the nurses is the most important aspect of being a good nurse manager. Sometimes, the staff align you more with nursing leadership than as an advocate for them. This is probably the hardest line to walk. You have priorities to run a successful unit and you must have nurses that support the mission. A truly successful manager can balance the priorities of both levels and in the end, the patient wins. There are days when you are successful with this balance and then there are days when you are not. As I said before, it is a tough job!
Often, peers (other nurse managers) are faced with the same challenges you are faced with in running your unit. I have found over my years in nursing leadership positions that developing a good relationship with your peers helps you to grow in the position you are in. However, as is true with any job, there are peers that have their own agenda and desire to make you feel that you are not doing what you should.
Here are some suggestions for your situation, perhaps they will help. First, I would schedule a meeting with each of the "other" managers that had issues or concerns with your performance. Talk with them 1 on 1 and separately. Listen to what they have to say and then evaluate their feedback based on your individual perceptions of how you feel you are doing. If you believe there is room for performance changes, make those changes in a way in which you carry out your responsibilities. The next step is to look at your unit's performance. Are your nurse retention rates good? Are you keeping good qualified nurses on your unit? What about your patient satisfaction levels? Are they as high or higher than other units? Ask for feedback from your Chief Nursing Officer or other responsible supervisor (depending on the environment you ar working in). Finally, is your unit fiscally in good shape. Meaning, are you running on buget, over budget or under budget. If you can honestly answer these questions with positive outcomes, then perhaps the other managers are not as successful as you and maybe there are other issues for them.
I have found over the years that nurses do eat their young. But moreso than not, we are a caring and nurturing profession focused on developing new nurses to become successful. I hope these suggestions help and please post your progress on this site so we know how you are doing.
Kandis, Good luck to you, you have tough job a head of you. I personally think that my manager is a great leader and advocate for her staff. She is fair, eager to help her staff to obtain whatever equipment we need if the budget allows. She asks for input from staff re: most issues because she realizes that we are the one's most affected by changes to the unit and makes herself available 24/7.
But there are some battles that she is not able to win, we realize that, we know that while we may not win, it wasn't because she didn't fight for us with administration.
As awesome as she is, there are still some staff members who talk badly about her. I don't understand it! She is the reason that a majority of the staff have all worked there for 10 years or more!!!
I think another of the reasons Ann is so highly respected by the nurses and dr's that we work with is because she still works at least 1 night a week as staff nurse-so she truly knows how things are "on the other side of the bed".
As someone posted earlier, not everyone is going to like you and there won't be a thing you can do about it. But you can do your best to be accessable to your staff, get to know them, what their concerns and frustrations are. Work side by side in the trenches with them, they'll be more likely to stick beside you if they think you are for them rather than against them.
Chaya, ASN, RN
If you can think of a neutral way to say it, let it be known to your staff that you welcome feedback, but in the form of CONSTRUCTIVE criticism, and that they need to communicate their concerns to you or you cannot know what these are!
i am looking into going into nursing and am interested in administration.
i wondered how you were able to get a position in management right after graduating. do you also have a masters?
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