When I am working as a nurse consultant, I am aware of and concerned about a gap between senior management and staff. When I am wearing my scrubs and working in direct care, I am also aware of and concerned about a gap between senior management and staff. I see a big disconnect at times and believe that it interferes with individual and organizational collaborative capacity to provide safe quality. Especially in such times of major change and uncertainty!
Direct care nurses complain about under-staffing, pay cuts, lack of full time opportunities, pressures to eliminate overtime, diminishing benefits. Senior managers wish staff could understand budget limits, regulatory mandates, and consumer satisfaction.
I believe that a healthy connection or reconnection between nursing staff and senior leadership can happen with focused training for the nurse middle management team! I believe it so strongly that I want to offer special rates to hospitals willing to let me work with their team providing targeted communication training in giving and receiving feedback and possibly some coaching for individuals struggling with new skills and difficult dynamics.
What are the steps?
1. Make a decision to improve and standardize nurse manager’s communication skills.
2. Get me in the room with your team for a day or two half days. (In some cases extra time together may be helpful). I will create a safe environment and engage them in honest dialogue about challenges they face in communicating concerns from senior leaders to staff and visa versa. I will teach the principals of giving and receiving constructive feedback and together we will create opportunities to practice both in the workshop(s) and on their own after we’re done. We can also discuss incorporating Medical Improv into the process.
3. Make me (or other consultant) available privately to team members who need additional coaching support to develop and apply the skills to real world situations for a finite period of time. There may be one or two people or particular conflicts that are holding the team back and may benefit from focused work.
As a result, organizations will have a team that can set limits respectfully, advocate for critical resources, address disruptive behaviors, develop supportive and respectful peer relationships, and lead culture change efforts. This will contribute to improved morale, safer care, and optimal patient experiences.
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