Heard the phrase “anything that can go wrong, will go wrong”? Yep, Murphy’s Law is prevalent in nursing leadership and management just as it is in other areas of nursing and health care. Here are a few gold-standard Murphy’s Laws for nurse managers and leaders.
1. The day you’ve set aside and diligently blocked from meetings will be the day a stomach virus sweeps through the unit, causing severe short-staffing to the point of needing your clinical assistance for direct patient care. Good job blocking that calendar, and best wishes for “catching up!”
2. Your boss is guaranteed to call you on the one day you leave the office early. And he’ll need some numbers for a report within the hour.
3. The “Can-I-Have-5-Minutes?” conversation will take over your next scheduled meeting – that you lead – and end up with at least three action items to complete.
4. A patient will request to speak with you right as you realize you have yet to empty your bladder during the day.
5. The moment you are fully staffed, at least two team members indicate they need leaves of absence.
6. The probability of Joint Commission showing up for your organization’s unannounced survey increases with the number of days remaining until you leave for your long-awaited vacation.
7. The week after you ask team members to purge storage closets will be the one week of the decade in which something from that storage closet will be requested.
8. Minutes before your budget is due you will remember an ancillary expense that could potentially lead to a major variance.
9. The copy machine will jam and run out of toner as you try to print your presentation for the multidisciplinary board.
10. The candidate you love for the open position will be screened out of the HR system via a glitch, leading to weeks of attempted correction.
Creating these just makes me laugh. Leadership is a trip. In so many great ways.
What other Murphy’s Laws do you have in nursing leadership and management?