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Think About It
A forum for discussion of the latest news and ideas in nursing management and healthcare.
Friday, April 15, 2016
I had a very engaging conversation with a group of peers this past week. The topic was salary and whether it’s a measure of success. Depending on whom you ask, the measure of professional success varies. Some will eagerly speak of promotion and financial gain, whereas others will talk of meaning in their work and personal fulfillment. It seems that the beauty of nursing as a profession is that it enables the licensed professional to experience and explore so many different avenues. Additionally, your goals and aspirations will change as you grow and develop as a professional.

What’s your measure of success? After 30 years in nursing and many years in management, I’m rethinking some of my goals and attempting to balance where I am with where I want to be. I’m asking myself: What’s my passion? What can I live with and what can’t I live without? What’s my personal definition of success? When was the last time you had this conversation with yourself and evaluated your personal and professional goals? Is where you’re at where your passion lies? Or is it what you think you must do because you’ve invested so much of your career into this path? It’s so important on so many levels to take the time for self-talk and self-evaluation. Go ahead and have this conversation with yourself!

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

Thursday, March 31, 2016

This week I’ve been researching employee satisfaction. The literature supports the idea that high job satisfaction is directly related to frontline managers’ relationships with staff members. As a manager myself, I know that some of my peers will disagree with this theory. I’m mixed in my view. I agree that the frontline manager “sets the tone.” He or she is the main link between point-of-care staff and upper-level decision makers – the “voice” on both sides of the chain. Managers are the cheerleaders, supporters, enforcers, and trackers. However, my peers are correct that managers are only as good as the executive team allows them to be. This means that much of what’s said and done is delegated from above and the frontline manager is caught in the middle. But I remain convinced that this isn’t as impactful as managers’ investment in their teams.

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

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

I read an article this weekend about employees feeling appreciated. It discussed the 19 signs that you’re valued--or not--by your employer or supervisor. These common indicators are applicable to any profession. One warning that you aren’t valued is that your supervisor offers no feedback, guidance, or support. This is huge because it indicates that he or she is uninterested in your efforts. With this in mind, there are several items that fall into this category: passing a qualified person over for a promotion, bullying, failure to ask for input, failure to include the employee in decision making, and failure to provide feedback on the results of a process change or action plan. Monetary compensation was mentioned, but I believe this comes into play when employees don’t feel valued. Money matters, but it speaks much louder to a disenchanted employee. Other items included no interest in the employee personally; discussions are solely work related or there’s no interaction; and organizations that are so consumed with the bottom line that the employee’s needs for a personal life, family, and personal development aren’t taken into account. This is just a small sampling of the article, but it’s impactful if you think about the messages. How’s your work situation? Does your organization care about you?

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

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

I’ve had a situation this past week in which bullying has to come light yet again: nurse on nurse and so unnecessary. But then isn’t bullying always unnecessary? What makes this even more tragic is that it came under the guise of reporting a wrong. Don’t misunderstand me here, if something truly wrong has occurred, it should and must be reported. If there’s discrimination, it must be dealt with. However, when an occurrence is reported or false allegations made for the purpose of bullying, it takes things to another level. The nurse’s licensure, employment, and reputation are now placed at risk due to an unfounded event. This is felt on many levels. It shows our colleagues that they can be punished for standing up for themselves, being a bully pays off, and dishonesty is rewarded. It also creates a hostile work environment. Of course, there’s yet one more victim: the person who actually has a valid concern. He or she may be trying to report a wrongdoing and/or shed light on a mistreatment, but may now also be fearful to report or not be heard when he or she does seek help. Everyone suffers when lateral violence, bullying behaviors, and accusations are allowed to occur without reprisal. Have you experienced this at your organization?

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

Monday, February 29, 2016

One of the many “perks” to choosing nursing as a career is that we have myriad career opportunities within our profession. I’ve been a manager for over 22 years now and recently discovered that I have a passion for process improvement. I already play a role in process improvement; as a nurse manager, it’s a large aspect of our job. But, recently, I’ve sharpened my skills in process improvement methodologies to make the data we collect actually mean something in the real world. This means developing a cycle of learning that turns data into real change. Engaging the people at the point of care to not only collect data, but also problem solve. Using Lean, Six Sigma, PDSA, or whatever methodology you find appropriate to transform from your current state to your ideal state. What’s the process within your organization? What’s your role within that process? Do you find the process meaningful? Creating a culture of safety and process change is vital to every organization!​

Lisa Lockhart, MHA, MSN, RN, NE-BC
Nurse Manager, Specialty Clinics
Alvin C. York VA Medical Center
Murfreesboro, Tenn.
About the Author

Nursing Management
“Think About It” is an extension of Nursing Management. Here, you can read and discuss professional information geared toward helping nurses excel as leaders. This blog tackles important topics without the worry of print publication deadlines!