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March 2, 2020

Practice Expectation Spotlight

Practice Expectation Spotlight: RN Responsibilities

Maintaining a respectful attitude

We all are responsible for promoting a practice environment that supports responsibility, professional development and a respectful attitude. As we said last month, this may appear easier said than done when we work with people who use different communication styles.

In last month’s scenario, we saw that it took some time for Alma Comms RN to adapt to a new pace and workplace expectations in her position. She felt comfortable to volunteer for training in a new practice when no one else volunteered. When asked by her Manager to speak to these training sessions, she was not prepared as she would have liked and was told by a team member “That sure wasn’t your best.”

After agreeing to chat in private on their next shift, Alma shared how she felt and asked what her colleague hoped to achieve by making that statement. The team member admitted that it’s not Alma’s fault, that she is just under a lot of stress due to lack of staff and will bring it up to the manager.

What if the team member responded differently?

What if her co-worker responded with “We’ve all been under a lot of stress and I don’t like when an RN who just learned to manage her workload goes for off-site training and no additional staff is replaced during that shift.”

Naturally, Alma may want to defend herself. She may even feel justified since other team members have acknowledged she does meet her workload expectations.

However, Alma knows that she asked to understand the viewpoint of this team member. To her check her understanding, she paraphrases “You’re unhappy with the workload when I went for the training.” If her team member confirms, Alma may then ask, “What do you think you might need from me the next time this comes up?”

Her team member offered some ideas to succinctly clarify her documentation so that another RN covering her workload can more easily understand the patients’ health status and care plan.

In the end, Alma responds with a similar response to the previous case scenario, “Thanks for the input. Moving forward, can you come directly to me in private if you have comments about my work or our workplace relationship?”

Remember, having an exit strategy can assist you to be prepared. An exit phrase statement includes, “Can I get back to you later today after I think through your points?”