New Manager Under Fire

  1. Dear Nurse Beth,

    I am an Assistant Nurse Manager (ANM) on a
    medsurg unit (glorified charge nurse). I've been told I don't give people enough time to hold themselves accountable before I approach them, so I backed off. Now I'm under fire for not making sure they're doing the right thing, even after I asked them if they need help and they deny it.

    A float charge nurse also reported me for throwing away her potential schedule for night shift when the schedule didn't have the right nurse to patient ratio. I threw it away and finalized it with my secretary, which is how we do it every night.

    But apparently I was rude for not making this float CN's schedule, the SCHEDULE. Good grief, IDK how to win in all of this political BS. I just want to work, help where I"m needed, and make sure our patients have the best possible outcomes. Any advice on how to be "politically" better? Because I"m going to be honest, I must be seriously lacking in that area. Like oblivious, but not mean.

    Dear Reported and Under Fire,

    Do you feel as though you're swimming in a new pool and with sharks? Sometimes that's how new managers feel. You're in Reality Shock with your job.

    As a clinical bedside nurse, you do your job and it's rewarding. Outstanding clinical nurses (probably like yourself) are selected to become managers but soon find it calls for a new set of skills and a more political environment. You are definitely more of a target.

    It becomes more than doing the right thing, which you do know how to do. A novice manager throws away the schedule and fixes it according to nurse-patient ratio requirements, angering the float CN. A seasoned manager guides and directs the float CN to correct the schedule.

    A seasoned manager reads between the lines when nurses say "I"m fine, I don't need help" and acts accordingly, and knows that doing the right thing or being right...isn't enough in and of itself.

    It takes more energy and may feel less direct that you're used to. Everyone is your customer. Focus on listening and understanding. Good luck and I hope this helps.

    Best wishes,

    Nurse Beth

    Author, "Your Last Nursing Class: How to Land Your First Nursing Job"...and your next!
    Last edit by tnbutterfly on Jan 9
  2. Visit Nurse Beth profile page

    About Nurse Beth, MSN, RN

    Joined: Mar '07; Posts: 1,573; Likes: 4,728
    Nursing Professional Development Specialist; from CA , US
    Specialty: Med Surg, Tele, ICU, Ortho


  3. by   llg
    Like Nurse Beth, I have seen many new managers and staff educators struggle with this aspect of leadership practice -- and it is something I have struggled with myself at times. I agree with Nurse Beth's response completely. It takes time, practice, patience, and lots of listening to develop those political skills.

    I sometimes have to remind myself that it is not just my job to get things done -- it's my job to help other people get things done. My "end target" is not just the task itself: my end goal is to help the other person complete that task or reach that goal. Ask yourself, "What can I do to help this person get the task done?" And be sure to ask the other person, "What can I do to help you get this task done?" Be specific about the task when you ask the question and that will serve as a reminder to them about what the expectations are. A general "Can you help you with anything?" often is not specific enough as the socially correct thing to say is often, "No, I'm fine," even if the person needs help.

    Does that make sense?
  4. by   Leader25
    Why did you become a nurse?Go back to the bedside that is what nursing is,the backbone of the place.
  5. by   dufusbug
    I have to agree with llg & Leader 25 wholeheartedly. I have been a nurse for over 30 years and practiced as the DON in a LTC facility for only 1 year. In spite of the
    various roles throughout my career, the management position was clearly not my cup of tea. I MUCH prefer the bedside role than managing others. I have heard the "no, I'm fine" reply all too often and found it hard to determine exactly what it was that my colleague needed help with...I felt like I needed to be a mind reader. And now that I am no longer in management I can say that I am a MUCH happier practitioner these days!
    Last edit by dufusbug on Feb 11 : Reason: deleted one word and substituted it with another