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Staff Meetings: What Are They Good For?

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by steelydanfan steelydanfan (Member)

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Altra is a BSN, RN and specializes in Emergency & Trauma/Adult ICU.

6,255 Posts; 40,228 Profile Views

Staff meetings are a tool.

Whether that tool is a shovel, a sledgehammer, or a building block ... is up to the unit, both staff and management.

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Altra is a BSN, RN and specializes in Emergency & Trauma/Adult ICU.

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I can't believe people are talking about this. Doesn't everybody everywhere have staff meetings?

Nope. I have worked in a unit where there were no staff meetings, ever. It would have been waaaayy more give-and-take than that manager could have handled.

Her standard modus operandi was more like ... get direction from upper management ... communicate it to a few selected staff ... then when idea/project/directive failed due to lack of communication ... use it as a "standard of performance" measuring stick with which to beat the rest of the "noncompliant" staff.

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MassED has 15 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in ER.

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I wouldn't know. I don't go. The last (and only one) that I've been to where I currently work, it was mandatory, and it was an adversarial meeting of the worst kind. There's a reason I never go.

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Ruby Vee has 40 years experience as a BSN and specializes in CCU, SICU, CVSICU, Precepting & Teaching.

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staff meetings depend somewhat on the staff and somewhat on the manager. i've been to staff meetings that were a wonderful font of information about the policy changes that are coming and how we can make them work for us, new equipment inservices, and general problemsolving sessions.

and then there was the staff meeting where the manager announced, in front of half of her staff, that any nurse who would stay in the icu for 10 years was merely mediocre. (at that time, in late october, fully a third of her staff had been there a decade or longer. by christmas, two of them were left.)

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suanna has 30 years experience and specializes in Post Anesthesia.

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our meetings tend to be worthless because we have a few nurses and cnas who have not mastered talking to the powers that be. they have the alpha female gene and..........well, sometimes it seems everyone thinks they are right as long as they are the last one to speak.

and the minutes from the meeting, for a good reason, never actually reflect what was said at the meeting. for example:

said at the meeting in which manager and cna went back and forth:

"if you people expect raises, we need to focus more on our pg scores. i mean, really, what do you expect our scores to be when half the shifts don't even fill the water pitchers."

"so our raises are going to depend on pg scores this year?"

"if our pg scores don't improve, there won't be a hospital to give you a raise. people have options these days and we take pg scores very seriously, its what people refer to when comparing hospitals."

"really? you take pg scores "seriously" [and yes, she did the air quotes]? while i agree if they stay the same, there won't be a hospital here, but idk how seriously they take them. while they say they want high scores, they cut everything back that would bring them the good scores. staffing has gotten worse since i've started here, and it wasn't very good to start."

"jobs are scarce right now [what that had to do with anything is beyond..............everyone except the manager]. every hospital is making and continues to make cut backs. we feel our staffing levels put us in position to be more than competitive with the other hospitals in the area. but more teamwork and less (fill this in with the common manager c/o........talking instead of working, being on the internet, staff infighting).

"competitive? they think the staffing is [yes, again, the air quotes] competitive. they might be, but like you said, everyone is cutting back, so you are competing with people who are underachieving. if you want the scores you say you want, you have to do better, not just [third time, air quotes] competitive."

"[a second time, starting to get why its coming up] jobs are scarce right now. administration has been more than generous in its staffing decisions. if it doesn't work, their first action will be to seek people that can make it work, not increase staffing. i'm just trying to help you all understand we can improve scores (reinsert c/o talking, internet, infighting that all must stop)."

"i can assure you, i've worked in a lot of places on night shift and this place doesn't stop at night like everyone thinks. forget about water pitchers and call bells, we're lucky if we can deal with all the emergencies and keep the nursing home patients they keep accepting from falling. don't you think all the rapid responses lately are because of your staffing cut backs? [a very insightful detail about the rapid responses, but the "nursing home" patient part was bellow the belt, manager had a friend's mother placed on the unit to get her out of a bad nursing home, and yes, said friend's mother fell]

"[turning red] staffing isn't going to change, its just not going to change."

"pg scores are not going to improve, they just are not going to [of course, air quotes while saying it all]"

meeting's minutes the next day say:

"pg scores discussed, must improve them and overall staff attitude."

this is a r/l example.

i know this was a long quote but i am responding to your example. from my point of view your staff is disfranchised and marginalized. there worth and contribution to your unit is being measured by a scale that they don't respect (pg score) and don't feel they can impact. rather than discuss an obscure number can you identify specific problems within the unit population that you see as an opportunity to improve patient care. have you asked them to rank thier problems in providing optimal patient care. what solutions do they offer for the problems they identify. i'm sure there is no solution that will meet all needs for all people, but if your staff feel they have your support within specific guidelines then they can offer solutions they think may be effective for all concerned. empowering people to change what they feel is important for the better can go a long way to getting them to make the changes you feel are important.

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eriksoln has 15 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in M/S, Travel Nursing, Pulmonary.

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I know this was a long quote but I am responding to your example. From my point of view your staff is disfranchised and marginalized. There worth and contribution to your unit is being measured by a scale that they don't respect (PG score) and don't feel they can impact. Rather than discuss an obscure number can you identify specific problems within the unit population that you see as an opportunity to improve patient care. Have you asked them to rank thier problems in providing optimal patient care. What solutions do they offer for the problems they identify. I'm sure there is NO solution that will meet all needs for all people, but if your staff feel they have your support within specific guidelines then they can offer solutions they think may be effective for all concerned. Empowering people to change what they feel is important for the better can go a long way to getting them to make the changes you feel are important.

ehhhh,...........mmmm................I think I gave the impression that I'm the manager or something. Nope.

I'm the guy sitting in the back laughing at everyone else.

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tokmom has 30 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Certified Med/Surg tele, and other stuff.

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Old manager meetings were complaint sessions. Our new manager makes them educational. She invites different disciplines in the hospital to discuss their issues and do case studies. We might have reps come and show us a new product. If a nurse has something to present from a committee, they are invited to attend.

The nitty gritty stuff like satisfaction scores, caught in the act notices, and all the fluffy stuff is presented at a 15 minute huddle between day and noc shift, every 2 weeks.

Otherwise, there is a white board in the breakroom that problems are posted on and people can respond with solutions.

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