September 24, 2008 | | Comments 0
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Get your facility into debate mode

p>by Shelley Cohen, RN, BS, CEN

Most of your staff members are probably keeping an ear tuned to the presidential prospects for the upcoming election. With this is mind, many will be listening to and watching the debates between both the presidential and vice presidential hopefuls. This is a wonderful opportunity for nurse leaders to take advantage of the debate and relate to the workplace.

The structured debate can serve as a springboard for initiating change, implementing evidence-based practices, or even defining unacceptable behaviors for a department. When staff have a chance to hear the pros and cons, as they do in a debate, they learn how to validate their needs. A controlled, professional, yet fun, environment of presenting both sides is what the debate process has to offer. Examples include debating changes in holiday scheduling, or how patients are assigned.

To get into the debate mode, start with these steps:

1. Provide the staff a list of current practice issues and have them vote on the two issues of greatest concern to them
2. Post the date you will be holding the debate (in place of a staff meeting) in emails, on bulletin boards, or both
3. Invite someone from fiscal services and administration to evaluate the debate
4. Display a poster of five keys to effective debates for one week
5. Post Web sites where staff can learn more about debating, such as www.articleinsider.com
6. Have staff select one peer who will oversee/facilitate the debate and develop the ground rules for the debate
7. Provide a debate worksheet to get them started

What are some other ways to engage staff in the debate process?</p

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Shelley Cohen About the Author: Shelley Cohen, RN, MSN, CEN, is the owner of Health Resources Unlimited, a company she founded in 1997 to meet the ongoing professional development needs of nurse managers and emergency department nurses. With a passion for dealing with the realities of the challenges in healthcare delivery, she embraces a direct and humorous approach to problem solving, her consulting work, and training programs. As an author and national speaker, she brings more than 30 years of nursing experience to a platform that is relevant and timely. Her ability to maintain a current perspective of nursing issues is accomplished through her role as a prn staff nurse. As an advocate for children in foster care, Shelley and her husband, Dennis, operate a non-profit organization, DoubleCreek, at their home in Tennessee.

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