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Incredibly Easy blog
The Incredibly Easy blog will expand on selected topics presented in the print journal.
Monday, December 15, 2014

Over the last few weeks, I’ve participated in two separate improvement teams. I was mentally reviewing the progress of both teams and where we’ve yet to go, and it occurred to me that, in both cases, the classic phases of group development were followed. These four stages were first described by Bruce Tuckman in 1965: forming, storming, norming, and performing.

The first stage - forming - is the team or group stage in which the team is initially gathered. Introductions are made and the process of getting the group to open up begins. This can be a difficult phase due to lack of trust and comfort. The members may share common jokes about the organization for which they work; there may be long silences and uncomfortable pauses.

The second stage - storming - may be eased into or may hit like a storm. The storming phase is where the group lets it defenses down and begins sharing. Ideas and feelings may be contradictory, feel accusatory in nature, and illicit strong counter-responses. This phase is critical to the team’s growth and productivity. In order to tackle a problem, it must be revealed in all of its ugly glory and viewed from the many angles and perceptions of those in the room.

The third stage - norming - occurs as the group begins to discuss solutions, barriers, and common threads. Communication improves and the team is developed. In the final stage - performing - the group becomes productive and issues are resolved.

These phases can be exhausting, but they’re worth the effort. Have you been part of a team recently? Did you experience the stages? How did your leader assist you along the way?

Lisa Lockhart, MHA, MSN, RN, NE-BC
Nurse Manager, Specialty Clinics
Alvin C. York VA Medical Center
Murfreesboro, Tenn.
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Monday, December 08, 2014

Conflict resolution is a requirement in our healthcare facilities. Conflicts may arise between a physician and a nurse, a caregiver and a patient, or a nurse and another nurse. Here are some helpful hints and rules of survival when conflict arises between yourself and a coworker.

First, never allow conflict to occur in front of patients and their families, physicians, and other staff. This not only looks bad for both of you, but it also diminishes credibility. Next, remember that it always takes two to engage; you’re each playing a role in the conflict. If you must, walk away from the situation and come back when you’re composed and the environment is more appropriate.

When you and your coworker discuss the issue at hand, stay focused on the issue; don’t wander off into left field about other irritations. Be direct, focused, and clear with your communication. And, above all else, listen to your coworker’s point of view; you may have something to learn.

Conflict is inevitable no matter where you work. There will always be disagreements and triggers. In the upcoming March/April 2015 issue of Nursing made Incredibly Easy!, we’ll discuss conflict resolution and personality styles to assist you in broadening your tools to help manage conflict. What’s your approach to conflict? How do you respond when it arises in your workplace?

Lisa Lockhart, MHA, MSN, RN, NE-BC
Nurse Manager, Specialty Clinics
Alvin C. York VA Medical Center
Murfreesboro, Tenn.
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Monday, December 01, 2014

I spent Thanksgiving like many of you did - celebrating with family and friends, eating too much, and sleeping it off. During my visit with family, the topic of working on Thanksgiving came up. There was much angst expressed regarding stores being open on the holiday and the horrors of Black Friday crowds. There has been a lot of publicity about how terrible it is that store personnel have to work on the holiday, and I agree. But let’s not forget those who must work the holidays to keep us safe. Whether police officers, firefighters, physicians, or nurses, they were there working - all day, all night, and every day in between.

I don’t regret for one moment being a part of that faithful crowd of professionals. As a nurse, I’ve worked every holiday for years in row. As a manager, I’ve been summoned out of every party or event you can imagine. I now have the pleasure of being off on those holidays, but I don’t forget for one moment what it’s like to spend a holiday administering to the needs of others. Actually, I feel honored. For some patients, our presence is their present and our care means the world.

I celebrate all of you who’ve chosen to make caring for others your mission. Thank you!

Lisa Lockhart, MHA, MSN, RN, NE-BC
Nurse Manager, Specialty Clinics
Alvin C. York VA Medical Center
Murfreesboro, Tenn.
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Monday, November 24, 2014

Multidisciplinary teams are an essential component in our healthcare system today. There was a time when there was one authority in healthcare: the physician. Thankfully, times have changed. I remember when The Joint Commission first began rallying behind the use of multidisciplinary documentation forms in many hospitals. The form required team members to chart on a common tool, usually regarding the care plan. However, this seemed like it was only giving lip service to the process and not embracing it.

More forward thinkers began to embrace the concept, and the idea of multidisciplinary rounds was born. A team of providers, including physicians, pharmacy, nursing, respiratory, physical therapy, and case management would gather and discuss difficult patients. Actual conversations regarding discharge planning, medication questions, progress in therapy, and barriers to care began to occur, and the results speak for themselves.

In our complicated world, it’s impossible for a provider (no matter how brilliant) to embrace and manage all aspects of the healthcare system. Indeed, multidisciplinary teams are essential for our and our patients’ survival. How are these teams managed where you work?

 

Lisa Lockhart, MHA, MSN, RN, NE-BC
Nurse Manager, Specialty Clinics
Alvin C. York VA Medical Center
Murfreesboro, Tenn.
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Monday, November 17, 2014

I read an interesting editorial today by a nurse leader. It centered on leadership at the bedside. At first glance, I thought the author was speaking about leaders working at the bedside. Well, not exactly. The editorial was actually referring to empowering nurses at the bedside; arming nurses who work at the point of care with education on process improvement techniques. In addition, we need to ignite our passion for self-improvement and continuing education. This is where evidence-based practice meets current practice (not policy) head on. When we are educated and empowered to look at practice and outcomes, we can ask the question: “Is there a better way?”

What’s the environment at your organization? Are you and your peers encouraged to look at current processes inquisitively? Are there provisions for continuing education outside of mandatory education? What’s your process improvement modality? Does your facility provide Six Sigma training? Spend some time with your quality improvement team and find out. Ask what executive support for this vital process looks like. Become empowered!

Lisa Lockhart, MHA, MSN, RN, NE-BC
Nurse Manager, Specialty Clinics
Alvin C. York VA Medical Center
Murfreesboro, Tenn.
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NursingMadeIncrediblyEasy
The mission of the peer-reviewed journal Nursing made Incredibly Easy! is to meet the ongoing educational needs of nurses in a refreshingly original, easily understood format.

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