I can truly appreciate a prospective Administrative Official utilizing the data gathering pocess of problem-solving PRIOR to taking on such a position. All too often, Administrators hit the ground running. It is a common belief that areas of concern will often resolve in and of themselves. If not, there's always the approach dealing with prolems as they arise. The approach of "putting out fires" is not a good method to sucessfully and consistently deal with concerns. It's merely a short term fix. I applaud your approach.
There is no way I can cover every area in this reply. I'm sure you're aware of that. However, I have done a little free-verse stream of consciousness thinking. I will note areas that I believe to be in need of discussion.
First, and foremost, put principles above personalities. Personalities and behaviors become a major area of expended energy on Psychiatric Units.
Staff Members can sometimes tend to get into power plays with Patients. It's almost like Staff Members say to Patients, "I know what's right for you and you should follow my directions." Even though Patients have been found to have an altered mental status to the point that they cannot adequately function in society, they still pocess the power and the right to make their own decisions.
But also remember that a logical approach, no matter how well it is put forth, will usually not work with a delusional Patient. That's why it's termed a delusion; a false FIXED belief in spite of evidence to the contrary.
Expect unexpected behavior. From both Patients and Staff.
Consistently reinforce with the Staff the fact that Psychiatric Patients are expected to have abnormal behavior. Mental Illness affects the normal Cognitive and Emotional functions of the Individual. Health Professionals do not expect, for example, a liver with advanced cirrhosis to suddenly function normally with a little treatment. Nor should we ever expect a chronic Schizophrenic to consistently behave within the realms of normalcy after being med compliant for a while.
All too often Staff Members get into "who can top who" on the retelling of stories of unusual behavior of the population they serve. It becomes a gossip and pecking party rather than an objective approach to the behavior with methods to successfully deal with that behavior
Keep everything objective. Once emotions, on the part of Staff in a crisis situation become involved, logic goes out the window. A logical approach, with obtions and boundaries, is always the best approach.
Praise in public and critisize in private. We all like to have our successes publically noted. Our shortcomings need to be discussed privately were we can feel free to work on them without pubic scrutiny. Peer pressure should only be used within positive realms. Follow the one who knows the way, so to speak.
Adopt a Program with guidelines that the Staff and Patients need to follow. The 12 Step Program is a jewel. It pocesses the instuctions for appropriate and productive approaches to life's situations. Emotions Anonymous is an appropriate program for Psychiatric Units.
Years ago, I owned a book that I believe was titled Meditations for Managers. (My best books are somewhere on somebody else's shelves.) It gave some really good tenets and approaches. As I have not been a Manger in an Administrative role for about seven years now, my focus has shifted. I now focus primarily on Patient and Peer relationships.
Being an Administrator, like anything else in life, needs to be an ongoing program of progress. You have made a valiant beginning. I believe you will continue your endeavor with a similar belief.
The best to you, DoniaRNInformatics.