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Reluctant to change


I'm a nurse-manager in a unit that's switching to a paperless documentation system. The nurses all like the new system, with one exception: Amy, an RN who's worked at this hospital for over 30 years. She's wonderful with patients but intimidated by computers. Although she's taken the training sessions, she refuses to use the new system consistently.

I believe in letting everyone learn at her own pace, but Amy is falling far behind the rest of the staff. What's the best way to handle this?—S.K., IOWA

Most of us are reluctant to change comfortable habits that have worked well for us in the past—even if someone comes along with a better idea. If Amy is nearing retirement age, her reluctance to embrace the new system could be compounded by feeling “left behind” and having less in common with her younger, computer-savvy colleagues.

Our consultant suggests that you sit down and talk with her, person to person and nurse to nurse. Encourage her to share her concerns and reassure her that those are very normal feelings. You must also remind her that learning this new skill is now part of her job, but stress how much she stands to gain professionally: less paperwork, less risk of error, more time to spend with patients. Those advantages are sure to appeal to any nurse who loves working with patients.

To help her overcome mental stumbling blocks, arrange to have her work with a mentor who will help her become more proficient with the new system. When she sees for herself how the system eases her workload, we predict her resistance will fade.

As you supervise and support Amy, accentuate the positive. Mastering an important new skill is tremendously empowering at any age.

Nursing2005, will seek professional advice on any reasonable question connected with nursing. Send queries to Advice Editor, Nursing2005, 323 Norristown Rd., Suite 200, Ambler, PA 19002, or e-mail to Put “Advice” in the subject line.

© 2005 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.