One Nurse’s Nightmare Part II

Hopefully you read One Nurses Nightmare Part I and had a chance to think about what insights it might hold. In this second part of the series I will share a lesson I learned that is well illustrated in my nightmare.  It won’t make sense if you didn’t read the nightmare fist so go back and do that now.

The first truth I saw in my nightmare was something it took me at least a year or more after the dream to figure out.

   “Doing” is over-rated in the nursing profession. (GASP!)  We are a bunch of doers who think the leader has an MD or DO after her name or the title of manager.

We value the doer. We value being a great doer.

When you hear a nurse talking about a coworker being a good delegator it is most definitely not a compliment, but it should be.   Yes, it is important to work with a team of doers who know how to jump in and get the work done, but it is also important to be a leader directing your team in how to help you. Sometimes it is best to be the doer, like when you are helping your peer with a difficult situation.  Let them lead, listen and do.  But other times, the best thing you can do as a nurse is learn how to stop doing and just lead.

Clear communication and delegation is a form of leadership. Something I clearly needed to do more of in my nightmare.

I look back on my career and can think of several times I needed help and wasn’t able to direct the team in what I needed from them.  This is assuming you have someone to delegate to, communicate with, lead.  I could have turned my nightmare into a wonderful dream by communicating like a leader:

“Manager, can you get housekeeping to clear this room of furniture stat?”

“Nurse Alice, will you please get a nurse or CNA and transfer this patient into bed while I assess my other patient who just arrived?”

“Nurse Jen, will you please get them some bed-bath supplies and linens for Nurse Alice?”

“Educator, can you show me where the foley catheters are and how to place one without dropping it?”

“Family, the CNA will show you where the waiting room is. We will be ready for you to come back in about an hour.”

“CNA, once the patients are taken care of I’d like to talk to you in private.”  (You didn’t think I was going to let her yell at me without talking to her about it did you?)

  • Cluttered room—solved with leadership, not trying to do it all myself.
  • Two patients needing me at the same time—solved with delegation, a form of leadership.
  • Family members in the way—solved with diplomatic directions, a form of leadership.  AKA being bossy.
  • Managers, educators and charge nurses who appear to do nothing but clog the hallways—solved by telling them specifically what I needed from them.
  • CNA’s with attitude—solved later but dealt with by asking the CNA to meet with me in private. She probably wouldn’t have been so mean if I had just been a leader to begin with.

It sounds so simple now.  If only I had known this in my dream.  I needed to be bossy.  My wish for you is that someone tells you that you are being a little bossy.  That means you are more than a doer and are able to get what you and your patients need from the resources you have on hand.  Good job!  When I talk about a nurse being a good delegator I am going to mean it as a compliment from now on.  I hope you will too.

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