I was passing off report the other day to a nurse who was going to be receiving the patient from my floor. I know the burden that this can be in the middle of a crazy shift, but lets be real….we’ve ALL had to do it! It wasn’t like I said, “I’m going to call this nurse at the WORST time possible, transfer this patient an hour before shift change, and make her life miserable!!” No my friends, that is NOT how it went at all. I literally did everything possible to make sure this patient’s care was completely done for the day, and all this nurse had to do was get the patient settled and pass him off at change of shift. We had to make room for a patient coming from a procedure, and I needed to get this patient transferred STAT!
In all honesty, I got what I expected on the phone. I got a very negative attitude and short, sharp questions. It was painful to give report. I get that our days can be completely crazy, but there is no reason to take it out on someone else. Especially another nurse who knows what it’s like to walk a day in your shoes. Listen folks, it’s not hard to smile and say thank you. No need to make an already stressful job more stressful. After a 45 minute attempt to call report, I finally transferred my patient. And you better believe my patient was well aware that his receiving nurse wasn’t so kind with the look on her face when we rolled up.
THIS is not okay. THIS makes me cringe. I watch nurses like this everyday, make it harder for the people around them. It’s not just the nurses. It’s the doctors. It’s the secretaries. It’s the food liasons. It’s the techs…it’s not just the nurses that are contributing to a negative environment at times! Let me make a point to say that I work alongside some AMAZING people in these areas who MAKE my day when I work alongside them! We have to understand that EVERY person in this hospital is an integral part of patient care and satisfaction! We ALL have to take responsibility for our attitudes and actions. I’m not just talking patient satisfaction, I’m talking employee satisfaction as well! We have to learn to be kind to, respectful, and work with one another while maintaining a positive attitude.
I get that our days can be stressful and it can become extremely easy to take your frustration out on others, but there are some people that I feel have a chronic issue. We know the difference between someone having a bad day and someone who is always like this. I know that you guys know those people too! It’s not fair to constantly bully and take out your frustrations on someone else. There is a proper way to effectively and respectfully talk to your fellow nursing colleagues.
1. Be Respectful of Their Time: I know what it’s like to not be happy with things outside of work. It’s hard to NOT bring that emotion with you. But just remember: The person you are giving report to has been there for 12 hours. The person you are receiving report from has been here for 12 hours. You both need to get your rest and take care of “you”. Don’t drill them with a million questions that you can look up. Let them give report. Note in your head (or on paper) what you need to ask if it wasn’t answered. Be respectful of their time. You’re a strong nurse. Report should take no longer than 5-8 (there are some exceptions) minutes. Look up what you can after, and move on. Coming from the girl who struggled greatly with organization and time management, you can take care of it if I can.
2. Talk and Listen Respectfully: If you are concerned about something not being done, or something being done that shouldn’t, don’t address it with a condescending tone. Calmly ask them about it. Work through it. Sometimes there might be an order written or a perfectly good reason why something was done (or wasn’t done) that you didn’t know about, and it just hadn’t updated on your assignment sheet. I know for me, I work on a floor a lot where night shift understands the rat race that day-shift can be! They don’t give me lip about the UA ordered that afternoon that wasn’t completed. They say, “ No big deal, I’ll get it tonight.” That’s a HUGE relief having support when you’ve been fighting a hard, bloody, sheath pull near the end of shift. That’s the least they could do! There are some things that can’t be overlooked, but the little stuff we don’t need to have an attitude about. You have 12 hours a head of you to catch some urine. Help a sista out….no huffs and puffs.
3. Pick Up Where They Left Off: Don’t grumble and groan at a “bad” report (as in a difficult patient). Sometimes days can be crazy. As ridiculous as it sounds, it makes someone feel bad passing off or receiving report from a negative person. It’s in our nature that we don’t want to displease anyone. If you find out you have a difficult family or a patient that jumped off the “Hot Mess Express”, just take a deep breath. Listen to report. Ask appropriate questions, and take on your day. You know that off going nurse had a rough day or night. Get them home, and pick up where they left off. You would want the same for you.
4. Directly Ask For Help and Give It Freely:During your shift, be there for each other. If you have a problem or issue with something, rationally (but directly) discuss it. You’ll get a lot further with a calm demeanor and respectful words than you would complaining and pointing fingers. At the end of the day, no one wants to see anyone disrespected or hurt. It’s easy to fall into a negative mindset when you’re short staffed and acuity is sky high. Lend a hand when possible. Do the best that you can. Be there for your fellow nurses. It promotes unity and leads to an overall feeling of security and support. We all need that stability in our crazy days.
My Biggest Takeaways:
-Listen, speak when necessary. Let that nurse finish report and then ask questions.
-Don’t ask something that you can easily look up (that you don’t need to know right at that moment.)
-Don’t roll your eyes or walk away before that nurse finishes giving you report. It’s rude and inconsiderate. It shows that other nurse that you could care less about what they have to say, despite caring for that patient for 12 hours. Even if “ you got it”, just listen.
-Don’t take out your anger out on the ED nurse giving you report or the nurse from another floor who is transferring a patient. They are simply doing their job. Just like you. This is part of it. Don’t snap or hang up on anyone. Kindly converse and calmly explain your needs/concerns if there are any.
-Say Thank You, Smile, and and reassure them you have it from here. I know nurses who have cried and eaten themselves up on the way home from work because of how another nurse treated or disrespected them at change of shift. How would it make you feel if the attitude you CHOSE, made someone else cry and dread coming back the next day?
I wrote this blog today because as a float nurse, I witness the disrespect on many levels in many areas. It’s not just on your floor and at your hospital. It’s everywhere. The only way we are going to succeed and be satisfied in what we do is if we have each others backs, support one another, speak kind words, constructively criticize, and continually encourage one another. This job is too hard and too demanding on its own. Lets do our part to keep the burden light.
I’d love to hear how you feel we could better support and respect one another on the floor and in the hospital! Please comment or email me at:
Remember to smile and say thank you.
Your Heart Is Mine,