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Accountability looks good on you (and your staff)

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 I'll Trymake 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.


accountability book and handbook togetherTo 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.

And the survey says… Staff retention (try to break these 20 habits)

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]

Rock Your Health: How to coach yourself to be healthier

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]

Walk, don’t run, for wellness

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]

Save yourself: Tips for protecting your valuable time

First, a couple of brief items:

Better Meetings, Better Outcomes: You can download the PDF I promised a few days ago, “What am I doing here? Tips for being accountable in meetings,” here.

Nursing Survey Ends 5/27: Our 2015 nursing survey is still open if you want to share your thoughts and (not incidentally) participate in our drawing for Team-Building Handbook: Improving Nurse-to-Nurse Relationships. Here’s the link:

Next, my confession.

I’ll admit it, I peeked—I couldn’t resist the temptation to look at the results of our ongoing 2015 nursing survey to find out the biggest issues facing nurses today.

Would you be surprised if I mentioned that time (not enough of it) is as common a concern today as it was in the 2013 survey? To relieve some of your pain, I’ll share some great tips from Sharon Cox, [more]

10 ways to be healthy in retirement

Are you a nurse who is close to retirement or considering whether early retirement is an option? Here are some ways nurses can retire well.

R – Rejuvenate yourself with rest whenever possible. We are so busy all the time that now is the time to fill some of your free time by winding down and resting. Rest becomes more important as you age (whether you want to admit that or not) so fit in those naps to restore your energy so you can keep up the pace of living the good life. Boomers always have a lot to do and need energy to do it, so try to work it in. People who take naps live longer too!

E – Enjoy the company of other retiring Boomers. Now we have time to reconnect with old friends from our early days. Remember those school mates you grew up with? It’s never too late to reconnect and reconstruct those old memories.

T – Travel to the places you’ve always dreamed of. What are you waiting for? The time is now. If money is no object, just go. If it is an issue, get creative. Teach classes on board ship and get your trip paid for (I did this several times!) Organize a trip to a place you want to go and be the tour guide. Volunteer to be a tour guide for trips that someone else is organizing. Exchange houses with a family from another country you want to visit. There is always a way to get what you want if you apply some creativity to the process. [more]

What am I doing here? Tips for being accountable in meetings

We’ve all been in meetings where everyone nodded and appeared to agree to something, but a few months later, nothing had changed. Why does that happen?

Because all they’ve agreed to is that they’ve come up with a good idea.

No one committed to a specific plan to make that good idea happen. The meeting organizer most likely didn’t set proper expectations and didn’t ask for specific, measurable commitments. The people attended the meeting, but didn’t have enough context to actively participate. They didn’t have the tools to make a commitment to action, and to hold themselves accountable for real results in a few weeks or a few months.

Great meetings that result in action, improvement, or resolutions are a joy to attend.

The next time you’re invited to a meeting, follow these suggestions so you’re prepared to be engaged and contribute rather than sitting for an hour as a passive participant. If the invitation didn’t explain the purpose of the meeting, if it included only a sketchy agenda, or if it didn’t include one at all, ask the organizer the questions in the following table prior to or early in the meeting.

Meeting questionsAgreeing to a good idea
just isn’t good enough.

Try using these questions to create a structure for great meetings that result in a better understanding, clarity of purpose, and positive outcomes.





Note: I’ll have the table as a download for you in a few days. Look for a link in a future blog post to share the tips with your colleagues!

Excerpted from Team-Building Handbook: Accountability Strategies for Nurses and Accountability in Nursing, both by Eileen Lavin Dohmann, RN, MBA, NEA-BC, and published by HCPro.

10 steps for training your brain to get what you want

We have power within ourselves that we often either don’t know about, have little faith in, disregard, or just don’t trust. But if we understand that we can change our situations through education, opening up to newness, or practicing a different perspective or thought pattern, life can be different. And if you believe, you can conceive!

I’m a fan of the Law of Attraction and have had some success, but you don’t have to be a follower of the Law of Attraction to bring what you want and need into your life. Here are 10 simple tips you can use to retrain your brain to open the door to attracting positive outcomes.

A – Allow yourself to be open to the possibility that you can have whatever you put your mind to

T – Think positive thoughts [more]

Free Webcast: Techniques to improve critical-thinking skills

HCPro is celebrating and recognizing nurses all week long with special giveaways, prizes, and promotions.

OnDemandWebcastEnjoy this FREE webcast on us!

Critical Thinking and Patient Outcomes: Engaging Novice and Experienced Nurses

Join renowned critical thinking expert Shelley Cohen, RN, MSN, CEN, for a 90-minute webcast for nurse managers, educators, and nursing professional development specialists about strengthening nursing staff’s critical-thinking skills.

This program provides practical strategies for developing critical-thinking skills in novice and experienced nurses. It discusses how to foster an ongoing program that emphasizes critical-thinking skills and how improved critical thinking can impact patient outcomes.

To access this FREE webcast, enter discount code EW323823 at checkout.

And be sure not to miss…

Yesterday’s post has links to a 20% discount code on all nursing products, a BOGO on books and handbooks, and other activities of interest…

BOGO: Buy one, get one discount on nursing books

Take advantage of HCPro’s Nursing BOGO event: Buy one nursing book at full price
and get the second one at 50% off* now through May 18, 2015.

second bookClick here to download HCPro’s 2015 Nursing Catalogue,
or go straight to our online store to start shopping.

To receive the discount on your second book, please enter
discount code EO323822 at checkout.

*50% off lesser or equal value product.



⇒ 5/4: Who inspires you? There’s still time to submit your favorite quotes in posted comments, here.

⇒ 5/6: You can still use the 20% Nurses Week discount offered in this post (though it can’t be used in combination with the BOGO discount).

⇒ 5/8: Enter our 10 question survey here for a chance to win a copy of Team-Building Handbook: Improving Nurse-to-Nurse Relationships, by Kathleen Bartholomew.