Business

Give Grace to Grow

by Nursetopia on January 23, 2014

Grace. 

It’s a beautiful word. I use it a lot in health care – to talk about professionals in their work in addition to encouraging professionals as they learn. We live and work in an immediate culture. We have to have and do and be everything – all at once – now. It seems as though there is little to no time given to individuals to learn these days, and I mean this as an expectation from both the teacher/supervisor as well as the learner. We set unrealistic expectations of ourselves and demand that we know everything on day one.

I know because I am the same way.

I picked up a phrase, a philosophy, really, from my brother-in-law, a pastor, about a decade ago. He always used to say, “Give people grace to grow,” meaning we all make mistakes, and we all learn from our mistakes; allow people to have time to make mistakes and learn from them. This has deep spiritual meaning for me in the workplace – in health care – today, and I frequently tell this to team members as they are orienting or learning a new system or process. I whisper it to myself at times, as well.

Grace to grow. Grace to grow. Grace to grow. 

Growth takes time; growth takes patience; growth takes grace. Provide your life with some space – some grace…to grow.

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Do You Care Enough to Know Their Names?

by Nursetopia on January 22, 2014

Poor_TellMeTheirNames_Nursetopia

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MashupSundays are lovely days. They “refill my tank” in many ways – spiritually, emotionally, and physically. I seem to “catch up” on a lot of things on Sundays, with reading being one of those. If you’re looking for some interesting bite-sized readings today, here’s a little bit of what I’ve been filling my head with lately:

What about you? What caught your attention this week?

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Slow Progress is Still Progress

by Nursetopia on January 17, 2014

Slow. Slooow. Slooooooooooow. Like a snail moving-in-molasses-on-a-cold-day slow. It’s painful. Especially to those who are accustomed to quick movements, stealth flow, and instant responses. It’s almost unbearable. And, yes, for some, it’s definitively unbearable and they must move on to save themselves. Adapt or die. This is true for the brain, as well.

I get that. I understand it. I know the feeling. I like strategic, quick moves and results. I enjoy bouncing from completed initiative to completed initiative. I really love seeing a strategic plan for a project in retrospect, and I’m one of those people that tend to push others to accomplish what seem like unrealistic deadlines and goals within tenuous timeframes. Funny thing – people end up reaching those deadlines and goals and astounding themselves…but I digress…

There are times when stealth just won’t cut it. The “yesterday” deadline is [yawn] over-rated, and the only way success is measured is inch-by-oh-my-save-me-this-is-painful-inch and moment-by-Really?-I-feel-like-I’ve-been-at-this-forever-moment. On more than one occasion in my career, I have had to readjust my pace for the health and well-being of my team.   Sometimes I slowed down, and other times my team acknowledged it was ready to pick up the pace. In all matters, the organization, the programs, the quality of patient care propelled forward. Fast or slow. Why?

Because progress is progress. While it can be mentally strenuous for leaders, sometimes slow and steady is necessary and ends up leap-frogging others who traveled at break-neck speed. “Haste makes waste,” anyone?

Have you ever lived this lesson?

Copyright ant.photos via Flickr Copyright ant.photos via Flickr

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It’s a silly mistake, but leaders make it everyday – overlooking people for a position simply because the applicant lacks experience. I know because I’ve been guilty of this. I’ve also experienced this mistake as an applicant, as well.

Sure, experience is important, especially for some roles. Experience brings wisdom and know-how and can develop a program or a business quickly. But many times, a role can offer experience to a candidate, a candidate with passion and potential.

Right after I finished graduate school for my MSN and MBA many years ago, I applied for an open nurse manager position in the hospital I had been working in for three years. The hospital had grown me as a new nurse, my unit leader had done everything in her power to make me a success, working with me and my grad-school, growing-family schedule to ensure patient care was covered and I had a full paycheck. The management role wasn’t a specialty stretch for me, but when I spoke with the assistant chief nursing officer about the position, in an informal interview, she told me I didn’t have enough experience to manage a nursing unit. She really did discourage me rather than validate my passion and work ethic to dive deep into the information and personally grow while developing the organization and people around me.

As it turned out, that was a shaping moment and likely one of the best things that could happen to me. Of course, hindsight is 20/20. Shortly thereafter, I moved to a new city, and ended up leading a statewide program for the Texas Nurses Association that catapulted my career and developed me as a leader in many ways. I had absolutely no experience leading such a program. But, the executive director, the team, and the entire organization took a chance on me, looking at my past patterns of initiative and hearing my passion. Thankfully; I owe much of who I am as a nurse leader to them.

I think about both of these instances when I look at resumes/applications and interview people. Experience is great, but if I interview someone with experience and they don’t have passion or drive, I quickly turn my attention to other applicants.

Potential is often just as important as experience yet frequently overlooked. If you regularly hire people, how do you manage the experience-versus-potential balance?

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The Most Formidable Teacher: Experience

by Nursetopia on December 30, 2013

She’s one tough teacher. Sometimes, if you’re lucky, you can learn from her substitute, which regularly teaches everyone else. At the board – exposed, in front of the class – you won’t ever forget her lessons, though. Oh no. Rarely does she have to re-explain herself, and when she does – lookout; her repeat exams are just downright brutal. There is no curve, and every question matters. If you don’t know the answer, you better find out, and yes, there are such things as “stupid questions.” You’re going to want to commit her suggested revisions to memory. There will be a pop quiz when you least expect it.

[Sigh]

Can school please be over now? What? No winter vacation? Maybe if I just avoid eye contact she won’t call on me.

Oh. Crap.

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Screen Shot 2013-12-29 at 2.06.37 PMI enjoy knowing about my team members – what they like to eat, to do with their spare time, and how they want to be recognized. Over the years, I’ve used many methods to keep track of this information. Early on in my career, I kept small pieces of info about team members that I learned in passing or in brief conversations – names of loved ones (including pets), favorite foods, books s/he was reading, etc. It always helped when I wanted to recognize someone or convey my concern/excitement for the team member by sharing his concern or excitement for his loved ones.

Over time, I used individual “About You” sheets for team members, and I included it in team members’ on boarding processes. It’s a regular item I request from new-hires. I scan and save the digital file and pull it up whenever I need it, which is often as I like to recognize people or leave small, random thoughts and gifts of encouragement.

A few months ago I made my own About You sheet to match my style and include exactly what I wanted in the tool. There’s no use in me keeping it all to myself, so here’s a small gift – the About You sheet – for you and all those you oversee. Enjoy!

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Hooray for the holidays! And a little bit of downtime to lay back, spend time with loved ones, and peruse the news. Here’s some of what I’ve been checking out these days:

What have you been reading this holiday season?

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MashupHere’s a smattering of what I’ve been reading lately:

What are you reading these days?

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Every Day Excellence

by Nursetopia on September 27, 2013

I have had the privilege of interacting with many, many, many disciplines and departments recently. Each time, I have walked away thinking, “Man, what a great team!” 

One person doesn’t make a team; numerous people do. Everyone has a skill, a part to contribute. And, excellence happens every single day – right in front of our eyes. Yet we choose not to see it because we aren’t really looking for it. Excellence has become the expectation, the norm; I assure you, it is not always the norm.

Point out the everyday excellence that is happening around you. Many people think they’re “just doing [their] jobs,” but recognize someone who does the excellent work every single day. And keep knocking your own work out of the park even if no one else sees it. It’ll come back around to you. It will.

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