As promised, you can now download the very practical and simple tool I mentioned in last week’s post (Not My Job: The legal perspective on updating job descriptions). I’ve created a Word file of the standard job description update letter, which you’ll find here. Don’t let its simplicity fool you; this is useful tool for legal risk reduction.
About the Word file: You can customize it to include your organization’s logo, address, and such. Use it as a simple way to document that your staff members understand changes in responsibilities and duties included in their job descriptions.
When you incorporate new practices or adapt to new standards that are reflected in updated job descriptions, you’ll simply ask each staff member to sign the letter acknowledging and committing to adhere to the revised job description, and place a copy in each employee’s file.
Many thanks to Dinah Brothers for this tool…
Dinah Brothers, RN, JD, is the author of The Essential Legal Handbook for Nurses (just released), sold as a set of 10 handbooks for staff nurses, and The Nurse Manager’s Legal Companion (release: July 2015), a book offering nurse managers guidance on everything from employment law to dealing with whistleblowers and everything in between.
What if you were free to create your own job? What would that look like?
Here’s a technique I use when I want to create something new, but don’t know where to begin. Look to the future for your answers. It’s called the Future Self experience. Here goes. Feel free to use this script with your team as well.
Get a notepad and a pen, find a quiet place without interruption, get comfy, close your eyes, and focus on breathing slowly for a few seconds until you feel yourself slowing down. [more]
I was recently reminded how much I love the Beatles when I saw their 50th anniversary TV show and the reunion of Paul and Ringo. They were definitely a huge part of my developmental years because of their creative music, their social consciousness, and their path to spiritual enlightenment.
See if these tunes bring new meaning to you as well!
Here Comes the Sun
Those cloudy and stormy days at work are going to soon be over and there is a bright new future ahead for you. If you’re stuck in negative thinking, start shifting to positive about all the possibilities ahead.
When I’m 64
Now is the time to look ahead toward what is next for you. It’s coming whether you like it or not, so start creating your exit strategy [more]
As a nurse manager, how often do you review the duties and responsibilities laid out in your staff job descriptions? The human resources department may “own” the files, but you probably review them when you have an open position. From a legal perspective, though, job descriptions deserve more regular scrutiny to ensure that duties align with your organization’s policies and procedures, and meet the standard of care.
For example, if new procedures have been introduced, staff must be trained, competencies documented, and job descriptions updated to support the revised standard of care. In the event of a patient injury, one of the first things the patient’s attorney will do is look for gaps in the standard of care, so you must be proactive in this area.
Dinah Brothers, RN, JD, suggests that, at a minimum, you review your staff’s job descriptions once a year. In addition, you must revise your staff’s job descriptions whenever any one of the following occurs:
- When there are professionally recognized changes to the standard of care
- When new medical advancements are accepted and implemented at your facility
- When new technology is implemented in your facility
- When policies and procedures change in your facility that impact the nurse’s role and/or job responsibilities change
Are you starting to feel old and out of sync with your current nursing position? Before you panic, this might be the first sign that you are starting to enter the pre-retirement phase.
Here are some of the signs:
- You are aware that you are the oldest one in the group (remember when you were the youngest?)
- You are getting more and more frustrated with healthcare because of all the high-tech, de-personalization, and focus on making money
- Your workplace has “lost its loving feeling” like it had in the past
- Going to work isn’t fun anymore
- You find yourself complaining more
- You are taking more and more meds for stress and health issues
- You know you are wise, skilled, and no one does it better than you, but it feels like no one cares
- You’re starting to think you don’t fit in anymore
- You’re wondering if the end of your career is near
- You don’t know what to do about all of this
If you’re lucky enough, there will be a moment in your nursing career where things don’t go as planned. No matter how carefully you plan or meticulously you control, your career choice starts to unravel. Instead of thinking this is a bad thing, it might be the point where the magic starts to happen and you embark on a new adventure.
I chose a nursing career based on what my college roommate was majoring in because I didn’t have a clue what I wanted to do. Even though my heritage said it was my destiny: my mother was a nurse, my grandmother was a nurse, and my great-grandmother (as the story goes) was a healer.
After all the hard work of studying to be a nurse, upon graduation I should have felt great about what I had accomplished, but what I was really feeling was “I don’t want to just sling bed pans as a nurse, there must be something more exciting for me to do.” As it turns out, my restless nature plus that wonderful nursing degree (for which I remain extremely grateful) allowed me to shift many times into many different nursing roles that provided me with great satisfaction in my long and varied career. [more]
I learn from every book I work on, but this latest one on accountability strategies really hit home. I now realize that when I say “I’ll try” to do something by a particular date, I haven’t truly committed to being accountable for the deadline. And when I hear the same words from someone else, I no longer take “I’ll try” to mean the commitment all managers want to hear from an engaged staff: the definitive YES.
I’ll try is what I say when I don’t really see how I’ll be able to make the commitment, but don’t stop to think about what’s in the way. Do I lack the resources, the bandwidth, or (worse) the interest? Am I just allergic to saying a simple “no” when I can’t squeeze the proverbial 10 pounds of sugar into a five pound bag?
As a manager whose goal is positive outcomes from an engaged staff, you need to train your ear to “hear” the difference between words that indicate accountability and those that fall short. Your staff can do the same, and when you’re all hearing and speaking the language of accountability, good things will happen.
To find out more about building accountability in your staff, go to the web page for the team-training handbook, Team-Building Handbook: Accountability Strategies for Nurses. For ideas on how to develop a culture of accountability starting with yourself, visit the web page for Accountability in Nursing: Six Strategies to Build and Maintain a Culture of Commitment.
Both are from Eileen Lavin Dohmann, MBA, BSN, RN, NEA-BC, the Senior Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer of Mary Washington Healthcare in Fredericksburg, Virginia.
This week I have the pleasure of reading the incredible responses we received to our Nurses Week 2015 survey. So many of you shared your insights, challenges, and hopes for the coming year—thank you! We’ll be emailing the winners of copies of Kathleen Bartholomew’s Team-Building Handbook: Improving Nurse-to-Nurse Relationships in the next couple of days. Keep your eyes peeled for our email.
Your generous responses help us understand your needs and aspirations, and we will try to return the favor by covering those important topics in this blog and in our upcoming books, webinars, and e-learning. For starters, I’ve revived a popular post from the past that deals with retention, identified by many of you as a top priority. Let me know if you recognize any of the 20 bad habits in yourself!
Retain staff by breaking these 20 bad habits
Peter Druker, often called the Father of Modern Management, made the following observation, “We spend a lot of time teaching managers what to do. We don’t spend enough time teaching them what to stop. Half the leaders I’ve met don’t need to learn what to do–they need to learn what to stop.” We simply need to [more]
How can busy nurses keep themselves on a healthy path? Coaching can help. You can start by doing some role playing in front of a mirror. Feel free to copy my lines if you need them
Reflection says: “Hello. How you are doing with your goal?”
You say: “Thanks for asking. To tell the truth, I don’t feel committed to my goal.”
Refection says: “What is stopping you?”
You say: “I don’t have support at home, so it is easy to stay with my old habits.”
Reflection says: “What is one step you can take to move forward with your goal?” [more]
I’d been struggling to find resources for a project and I was coming up empty. As my frustration grew, I finally said to myself: “Step away from the computer and go take a walk.” How many times have I advised others to do this as a stress management strategy and I wasn’t taking my own advice? So I did.
As I strolled along on a beautiful day with blue sky and puffy white clouds, my head started to clear and I could feel the creativity flowing.
So here is the “power of a WALK” and what it can do for you.
W - Walk off all the stress in your body. Keep walking until your pace starts to slow down into a rhythm, you stop thinking about everything you were doing that was getting to you before you started walking, your mind starts to open up to creative thoughts, and you start noticing your surroundings. Now you are starting to let in what will rejuvenate you. [more]