Week 13: Motivation

  1. What I Learned: Welcome to week 13! The end is near, and I am getting pretty excited.  This week we learned and talked about motivation in the workplace… I learned how important it is to be sure that the nurses working on a unit (or in any job really) feel motivated and excited about their work, careers, job, hospital, and team.  Increased motivation typically means increased quality care and safety for patients.  I also learned a lot about different strategies that can be used to create a motivating climate.  Some of the ones that stuck out most in my head include encouraging employees to voice concerns, allow for flexible schedules if possible, become your employees’ friends, be fair and consistent, encourage team work, and reward desired behaviors. 
  2. Team Activity Recap: This week we had a team discussion that had us pretend that we were a nurse leader on a unit and were tasked to come up with a 7-part program that would motivate the staff members on our unit. It was really interesting and beneficial for me to read the creative ideas that my team members came up with.  We had a lot of similar ideas, but there were also many ideas that I hadn’t thought of.  I was grateful to be able to read their ideas and responses because most of my team members are currently working, and I am not.  This allowed me to gain some insight from real-life experiences that they have gained through their work.  I loved Nate’s idea to be on top of conflict resolution and limit any gossiping or back biting.  This is something I didn’t think of, however it can most certainly tank the unit’s morale and diminish employee motivation.  Overall, my team and I worked really well together this week with participating in the group discussion and consensus.
  3. Applying to My Career: When I become a nurse leader one day, I hope I am able to implement the various strategies and ideas that I have read about and learned from this unit’s readings, lecture, PowerPoint, and team discussion. More than anything, I want my employees to respect me as their leader, but also feel that I am their friend.  I think that this type of employee-staff relationship can do wonders for many things on the unit, including employee satisfaction and motivation.  Until then, when I become a bed-side nurse I will try to participate and be involved with any of the ideas that my nurse leaders come up with to help increase unit motivation.  I will also take personal measures to try to find ways to increase my own individual motivation each day.  For me, this will consist of coming up with small and long term goals that I can personally work to accomplish each shift.
  4. Personal Feelings: This was a good week. I’ve written a couple papers on nurse burnout, and I feel like the things and motivation strategies we’ve discussed this week are things that can really prevent it, or at least greatly delay it from occurring.  I hope that the unit I work on soon will try hard to create an environment of motivation because it really does feel good to be recognized for the hard work we put in as nurses to care for our patients.  I know that in school, the teachers that made a real effort to motivate their students to do well and be good nurses had the greatest impact on me as a student.   


Motivation clipart: https://workplaceinsight.net/lack-of-motivation-at-work-impacts-both-performance-and-mental-health/

Week 12: Conflict Resolution

  1. What I Learned: This week was mainly focused on conflict resolution. I really enjoyed learning more about the various communication styles that are both effective and ineffective when dealing with conflict. I also read and looked into a lot about active listening.  I think we throw that term around so frequently in nursing school but many of us don’t listen as effectively as we think we do.  My favorite definition of active listening comes from one of this week’s readings and is “actively absorbing the information given to you by a speaker, showing that you are listening and interested, and providing feedback to the speaker so that he or she knows the message was received” (Soin, n.d., para. 6).  I also learned that when listening, reflecting and probing are better to do than advising or deflecting.  My favorite activity of this week was our movie review.  We were assigned to watch the movie, The Guardian and pick out various conflicts that occurred throughout the film.  We then had to identify ineffective and effective conflict resolution techniques.  First of all, I love love love this movie.  It’s one of my all-time favorites!  But it was really valuable being able to see the things that helped resolve conflicts, as well as the actions and communication styles that made them worse.  Finally, we also learned a bit about collective union bargaining this week.  I had never even heard of the term before this week… and to be honest, a lot of it still kinda confuses to me!  But I do have a new respect for leaders who do this type of bargaining!  It requires great leadership, effective communication, and a lot of strategy!
  2. Team Activity Recap: This week we had two discussions. One was on conflict resolution and different communication techniques.  The other was on the collective bargaining activity we did individually.  The collective bargaining discussion was fun because I got to see my teammates’ approaches and strategies of increasing wages.  It was interesting to see how luck played into the final outcome of each teammate’s bargaining.  I enjoyed reading each of my teammate’s definitions of conflict, aggressive communication, and assertive communication.  It was clear after completing this discussion that assertive communication is key when it comes to resolving conflict.  Many of my teammates offered great tips for resolving disputes and arguments in the work place.  Some of the main themes we had flowing throughout the discussion included:  address conflict immediately, deal with it head-on, be respectful, and be active listeners. 
  3. Applying to My Career: I will no doubt have to deal with conflict in my future career as a nurse. There will be conflicts between fellow nursing co-workers, between patients, between nurses and patients, between nurses and physicians, and between staff and administration.  I could go on and on.  I hope that when these conflicts arise, I will be able to better manage and resolve them by applying the techniques and communication styles I learned through the movie, the readings, and the discussions this week.  I will always address the conflict or any tension immediately and in a private quiet setting.  I will practice excellent active listening.  I will try to use assertive communication and avoid aggressive and passive communication.   
  4. Personal Feelings: It was a good week! I can’t believe that we only have 3 more actual weeks left.  As I mentioned a few times, I really enjoyed learning about conflict resolution this week.  I think the most beneficial activity I completed was the movie review on the Guardian because it made me see the principles I was learning about in real-life situations and also made me apply them to work setting situations.  I am a little nervous about having to face and/or deal with conflict in the future as a nurse because I tend to avoid it at all cost!  I hate arguing and tension so I think I tend to be a little passive when it comes to resolving conflict.  I plan to work harder at being more assertive from now on.


Conflict resolution clipart: http://abroadship.org/training-course-conflict-management-and-resolution-spain/

Soin, R. (n.d.). Listening effectively. Retrieved from http://www.wright.edu/~scott.williams/skills/listening.htm

Week Eleven: Strategic Planning

  1. What I Learned: Welcome to week eleven! This week in leadership, we learned about operational and strategic planning.  Before listening to the lectures and completing the activities, I had never even heard of the term “strategic planning” before!  My favorite “definition” of strategic planning is coming up with a plan of how an organization can move from where they are now to the Utopia they hope to become.  Many factors play into a company’s strategic planning such as the organization’s mission statement, vision, values, and beliefs.  I learned that strategic planning forces a person to think outside the box and to have a “business” mind set.  I also learned the importance of having short-term goals to help you reach the long-term ones.  If a company only thinks about and sets 5 year goals, it is not very likely that they actually achieve them because it’s hard to know where to start.  Instead, the company should set intermittent goals to work towards along the way such as 12 month, 24 month, and 60 month goals.   
  2. Team Activity Recap: This week we had a big team activity that required us to compete together against another team. We were assigned a certain “town” and were given the directions to try to increase the market share and profits of our new healthcare systems.  This really forced me to think outside of my normal “caring for the patient” nursing mind frame!  I had to think in business terms of how I could generate the most revenue and grow my system.  We worked pretty well together as a team with generating a few 12, 24, and 60 month goals for our town’s system.  We mainly focused on growing our current hospital, expanding the emergency services, and growing a network of primary care physicians in both our and our competing town.  We also had a team discussion this week that required us to come up with a consensus on what MSN program we think is best for UVU.  The majority of us thought that a nurse practioner program would be the most beneficial for the school and city because there aren’t very many of these programs existing in the state of Utah.  I once again learned a lot from my team mates and their unique ideas and perspectives.
  3. Applying to My Career: I will have to become familiar with and take part in strategic planning if ever (when) I start working in higher leadership roles and/or in hospital administration. As of now, it’s important that I realize that just because I am not in administration yet does not mean I can’t take part in or start practicing my strategic planning skills.  I can start by setting goals (short term and long term) for myself and my unit.  I will try to do my best to help execute  whatever goals and/or plans are taking place on the unit I am working on.
  4. Personal Feelings: I think that strategic planning is extremely important and critical to keep a hospital (or any organization, really) competitive and growing. I really liked learning about how we can apply our values and beliefs into strategic plans for our hospitals as well.  I’m not very good at having a “business mindset” so to speak, and I really had to stretch myself with these week’s activities since they weren’t really focused on patient/nursing care. 


Strategic planning clipart: http://impulsiodenegocis.com/en/servicios-empresas/strategic-planning/

Week 10: Managing Change

  1. What I Learned: Hello and welcome to week 10! This week we focused on change…. What it is, why it exists, theories of it, and how to embrace it rather than reject it.  There were quite a few good lectures and readings this week that helped me learn a lot about change and how I personally tend to respond to it.  One of the very first things my professor said in his lecture this week was something along the lines of “One of the only constant things in this universe is CHANGE.”  This statement really stood out to me because it is SO true!  Especially in the field of medicine and nursing.  If there is one thing that I can always count on, it is that things will constantly be evolving and changing in all aspects of my life: school, work, family, church, etc.  I also learned a lot of good tips on how to handle change as a manager from a few of the online readings we had this week.  I learned that instead of imposing or forcing change on people and my future employees/co-workers, I need to involve them in the change.  It’s also important to set short-term goals rather than just introducing a major change and expecting the whole floor to switch their mindset and hop on board.  I also reflected a lot about myself and how I respond to change. 
  2. Team Activity Recap: This week we had an interview that we completed from back a few weeks ago on budgeting as well as a discussion on change management. The budgeting interview went really well.  I interviewed the owner of a small Utah landscaping company.  It was interesting to see how budgeting for a small little company compares and contrasts to a large organization such as a hospital or nursing unit.  For our discussion this week, we were required to read a story titled “Who Moved My Cheese.”  We then were told to try to identify who out of the four characters we identify with most.  Initially, I said that I identified a lot with Sniff because I usually am able to sense when a major change is about to occur.  After reading many of my group member’s responses, however, I think I am also a lot like Haw because I tend to deny that change is taking place at first… but eventually adapt to it and embrace it.  The reading made me realize that I need to have a bigger perspective when it comes to change so that I am able to see past the initial frustrations that occur and look at the big picture and benefits that will come along with it.
  3. Applying to My Career: As I have mentioned above, change is 100% inevitable in the field of nursing. New procedures and treatments are constantly evolving, new equipment and technology is always being invented, medicines are constantly changing, etc.  Because of this, I need to just accept the fact that I will always be needing to accept, adapt, and embrace the many changes that will be coming my way.  The longer it takes for me to accept that a change is happening and is inevitable, the fewer frustrations I will feel.  Also, I want to apply the things I learned from reading about Kotter’s change model to my career if I ever am in a managerial or leadership position and decide to implement major changes on my unit.
  4. Personal Feelings: I personally hate change. But, as I’ve mentioned numerous time this week and in this blog post, I am going to be constantly dealing with it not only in work but in life.  Because of this, I need to make a conscious effort to try to embrace it and search out the positives in the changes that I encounter throughout my life.  I am hopeful that after this lesson, I will be better equipped to do this. 


Time for change clipart: http://worldartsme.com/healthy-change-clipart.html#gal_post_34764_healthy-change-clipart-1.jpg

Budgeting Interview

Person Interviewed Information:  I interviewed Brett Burr who is the owner of the landscaping company called Yardworx. Brett is in charge of all the budgeting for his company.

 Interview Questions & Answers

Question 1:  What actions are completed if a budget is exceeded?

  • A study large or small is conducted to determine why the budget was exceeded.  Once a determination is made that it is not a bookkeeping error, if the expense was justified and approved and if it is only a one-time occurrence, then evaluation is conducted to determine if there are other expense categories that were not used during that same month to off-set that expense. This off-set frequently can resolve the one-time or limited occurrence.

Question 2: How do you divide funds between departments?  

  • This doesn’t really apply to my company since I don’t have different departments.

Question 3:  What is the hardest thing when it comes to sticking to the budget?

  • Determining if something is needed or just wanted.  If the expense will create revenue going forward or if it is an expense burden.

Question 4:  Do you have a part of your budget that is consistently over budget?

  • Not usually, although fluctuating expenses such as fuel and other variables are difficult to predict as they are never congruent with previous budgeting periods.

Question 5:  What is usually the first area you look at when making budget cuts?

  • Fixed costs and how they can be reduced & employee value i.e. are they contributing to the growth and value of the company.

Question 6:  Do you consult with departments before making cuts to their budget?  And/or is there anyone you consult with before making budget cuts?

  • Usually vendors are the first go-to for this.  Having dialogue with them to see if they have ideas where expenses can be reduced.  Usually they do.

Question 7:  How often do you adjust your budget?

  • Bi-annually.

Question 8:  Do you give any incentives to staff members for meeting the budget?  If yes, what? If not, what is used to motivate staff to hit the budget?

  •  We operate on an incentive program that includes more than just financial efficiency.  It also includes job performance, customer satisfaction and creativity.

Question 9:  When planning a budget for a department or your organization, what percentage do you usually allocate for employees’ salaries?

  • 35%

Question 10:  What would you say most companies struggle with when budgeting?

  • Obtaining realistic and ACCURATE financial information that becomes MEANINGFUL for making decisions and then using the historical data to make changes, some of which are difficult.

Summary & What I Learned

In summary, Brett’s owns a relatively small landscaping company who formally adjusts his budget bi-annually but still spends a good portion of his time and effort on various aspects of budgeting.  He allocates about 35% to employee salaries and the rest is spent on things like equipment, repairs, and fuel for machines and trucks.  He does not give any incentives to his employees to stay within budget, and this approach seems to work well for his company since there are so few employees.  It is more beneficial that they are given incentives based off job performance, customer satisfaction, and creativity.  I can tell that Brett has been doing this for a long time and therefore seems to know how to evaluate and stay within his company’s set budget pretty well.  He emphasized that it is essential that companies must always obtain realistic and accurate information when making and adjusting their budget.  I have learned from this assignment and the other related budgeting assignments that there are many different ways to go about budgeting.  A lot of it depends on the size, type, and function of the organization or company.   



Week Nine: Career Development & Staffing

  1. What I Learned: I can’t believe that another week has gone by and we are already more than half way through with the semester! This week was a good one, we learned about two different topics.  First, career development.  I really enjoyed listening to this lecture.  I learned and realized that even through right now, I do kind of feel like “I just want to be a bedside nurse for the rest of my career,” I actually have a really long ways to go!  If I work until I’m, let’s say 55… I still have another 30 years of bedside nursing ahead of me!  There is a good chance that I change my mind before then!  Because of this, I know that I need to have some type of career development plan so that I can continue to grow and feel productive in my nursing career.  I for sure want to work in managerial positions after a few years of bedside nursing… so this is a good place for me to start.  I can even see myself enjoying work as a nursing instructor!  Or even a NP (even though I can’t even stomach the idea of going back to school right now J)  I know this will change after time though.  So anyways I put together a couple different options and game plans for myself this week.  One is geared toward NP, one toward a master’s in education.  Both have many of the same steps in the beginning which is good so that I can continue to progress and work toward my goals without having to 100% decide on one.  I also learned a lot by my readings this week.  I pretty much was reminded how amazing the profession of nursing is because it allows us so much flexibility and mobility.  The other topic was staffing and scheduling (which I learned are two different things).  I had no idea that there were so many different theories and ways to go about scheduling (centralized vs decentralized, etc.).  I also didn’t know how much time it takes to staff and schedule.
  2. Team Activity Recap: This week, we had two group discussions and one group “staffing” assignment. It may just have been me and my perfectionist mentality, but the staffing assignment was super time consuming and difficult for me to wrap my head around!!  Trying to figure out how to make sure that there was the correct nurse to patient ratio and enough charge nurses charging and enough CNAs for each shift was really hard at the beginning!  I was glad I had my team to help.  We work pretty well together.  I think we all realized that once we got the table made and organized, and started putting nurses into different shift slots, it became easier… kind of like a game.  It definitely gave me a lot of respect and gratitude for the nurses and people who do scheduling multiple times a year!  It is very time consuming.  I can’t imagine having to deal with trying to make actual people happy while doing schedules too!  At least for our assignment, we could throw nurses wherever we wanted them without actually having to take their own schedules and holidays into consideration.  For this week’s staffing discussion, I learned that many of the hospitals (at least in Utah) do scheduling the same way with a 3 to 4 month block and based on seniority.  Nurses with the most experience get to choose their schedules and the nurses with the least experience kind of get whatever is left over.  I also enjoyed hearing what everyone’s career plans were in the career development discussion.  I was once again reminded how incredible the field of nursing is because it truly gives us so many different options and flexibility.  Some of my team members wanted to stay a bedside nurse forever, others wanted to become nurse practioners, some nursing instructors, and some humanitarian/community health nurses. 
  3. Applying to My Career: After this week, I know that I need to always be asking myself “what’s next” so that I can have a plan set with goals in place that can help me reach my full nursing potential. I have a 5 year plan set up and now I just need to work on the first step which is finishing up this dang bachelors degree and getting experience working as a bedside nurse wherever I can get hired!  I always want to have the “continual education” mindset because even if I do decide to stay a bedside nurse for my entire 30 year career, I will still need to be up to date and learning new things so that I can provide the highest quality and safest care to my patients.  The medical world is constantly evolving so I need to be able to keep up!  This week has also taught me that I need to expect to be working nights and weekends for the first little bit of my career since staffing and many schedules seem to be based off seniority.
  4. Personal Feelings: I think I kind of scattered my personal feelings throughout each of these questions, but in summary, this week made me excited to see what lies ahead in my future with nursing. I also feel grateful for managers and others who are in charge of scheduling.  It is no easy task and requires a lot of time and effort, especially when trying to appease many different employees. 


Notebook clipart: https://ubisafe.org/explore/applicancy-clipart-staffing/

Week Eight: The Future of Nursing

  1. What I Learned: This week, I got a glimpse into what the future of nursing could be like. The lecture this week was given by a woman named Dr. Rosa Maria Gonzalez-Guarda.  She talked about a lot of very interesting and more than anything exciting things related to what our future as nurses may look like.  I learned that although there are many challenged being faced by the nursing profession (like nursing shortages for example) there are many goals and positive things that lie ahead in our future.  Some of these goals include ensuring that we can reach our full capacity, becoming life-long learners, obtaining higher levels of education, and even occupying leadership positions in the health care field and administration levels.  After watching the lecture and participating in my group discussion, I have learned that the future of nursing is bright!
  2. Team Activity Recap: We did not have any specific “team activities” this week, however we did have a group discussion which I really enjoyed. It was interesting to learn and hear what my team members think and feel about the future of nursing.  Because I am not currently working (and they all are) I was able to gain more insight and learn that we are already headed in the right direction in attaining many of the goals addressed in the lecture.  For example, many of my group members are being reimbursed by their organization for their tuition for the bachelor’s program.  This shows that organizations are already starting to require ever increasing levels of education for their nursing work force.  Some of my team members also pointed out that we still have a long way to go in reaching some of the other goals.  Mind sets need to be changed and regulations need to be adjusted in order for nurses to be able to reach their maximum potential.  My team all agreed that although it may be hard to achieve some of these goals, they are all attainable!
  3. Applying to My Career: This week’s lessons just reaffirmed to me the importance that always have a “continuous life-long learning” mentality as a nurse. Medicine is always changing and they are always coming out with new medicines, treatments, technology, equipment, etc.  so it is very important that I stay up-to-date with everything.  This means going to research conferences, reading research articles and studies, and joining nursing associations and networks such as AWHONN.  I can see why it is so important to continue education, which is why I am in the bachelor’s program now.  Although school can be tough at times, I don’t think I will ever say “I wish I didn’t get my ____ degree.” 
  4. Personal Feelings: This week’s lecture, reading, and discussions made me feel more excited than anything else. I have a strong passion for nursing, and it makes me very happy and hopeful that others recognize how important the profession is.  I think that all the ideas mentioned by Dr. Rosa were great and I am excited to see which of them start developing over the next few years as I begin my career as a nurse.  I hope that others will embrace these changes instead of reject them!!


Nursing School clipart: https://www.cafepress.com/+i_love_nursing_school_puzzle,1444811405

Week Seven: Managing Healthcare Resources

  1. What I Learned: Happy October! This week in Leadership we focused on my least favorite subject… MATH!!! And by math, I mean budgeting.  We focused on how to best manage healthcare resources.  I’ve learned that this is a huge part of being a manager or in a leadership position.  I never had really thought about it before!  I’ve come to realize that as healthcare costs continue to increase, it is going to be my responsibility in the future as a charge nurse or nurse manager to be able to figure out how to maximize my floor’s resources while spending the smallest amount of money possible.  One of our readings this week was a “Step-by-step” guide on how to make a personal budget (Vohwinkle, 2018). After reading this, I realized that budgeting for myself and/or my family is actually is pretty similar to the budgeting that takes place in a hospital unit.  In order to keep my house in order, my husband and I have to sit down every month or so and “re-figure” out our budget.  How much money are we making after taxes and church expenditures?  How much money is needed every month for rent, school, and car payments?  How much is needed for groceries?  Do we have any extra “spending money” this month?  In order to keep a hospital unit in order and running smoothly, nurse managers must also sit down every so often and re-evaluate the unit’s budget.  How much is the unit spending on supplies?  How much is being used on staff salaries?  Do we have any extra “spending money” this month to use for bonuses or extra staff perks?  It can be frustrating and a little time consuming, but after listening to the lectures this week and reading the various assigned articles, I have come to realize how important and absolutely necessary it is for nursing managers to know the skill of budgeting!
  2. Team Activity Recap: This week, we came up with our questions for the Budgeting Interview which will complete next week!  I probably could have asked 100 questions because I am so new to the idea of budgeting in terms of for a hospital unit.  My teammates came up with a lot of great questions so I am anxious for next week to be able to get those questions answered in my interview.  I already have my person picked out!  The main team activity we had this week was a discussion regarding a budget-cutting activity we completed individually earlier in the week. We were given a Med/Surg floor’s budget and were asked to cut the monthly budget by 10%!  I was seriously so confused when I first looked at the assignment and it took me a good chunk of time to try to figure out what the heck I was looking at.  After spending some time on it, however, it became sort of fun… like a game!  It was also super interesting to see what my team members ended up doing for their budget cuts.  They thought of a lot of great ideas that I didn’t think about!  I hope that when I become a nurse manager someday, I will be able to get help and work as a team with some of my fellow managers!  We all agreed that we would try our very best to not have to ever make cuts on the nurses’ salaries because we thought it was very important to keep our employees as happy as possible.  Happier employees will be more willing and put forth more of an effort to help us in our efforts to cut the unit’s budgets.   
  3. Applying to My Career: As I mentioned before, when I previously thought of a “nurse manager” job description, budgeting never came to mind. I realize now how big of a responsibility it is for any manager working in the workforce.  I’ve learned that budgeting really is a skill.. And I most definitely need to keep practicing this skill before I will ever feel comfortable being in charge of managing budgets and making financial decisions for an entire unit!  This week’s budgeting activity was most certainly a step in the right direction, though.  Even as I work as a bedside RN, I can try to think more about my unit’s budget and always try to find ways that I can help contribute to saving money. 
  4. Personal Feelings: I’m starting to think that being a nurse manager is going to be a lot more stressful than I initially thought. There are just SO many responsibilities that I never thought much about!  Hiring, firing, interviewing, budgeting, disciplining…. Gosh I wonder if I’d rather just stick with being a bedside nurse!  At the same time, however, there are certain aspects of the managerial side of things that I really love.  I’m sure (hopefully) with time and experience, a lot of these responsibilities (particularly budgeting) become easy and more natural for me. 


Budget clipart: https://www.canstockphoto.com/illustration/budget.html

Vowinkle, J. (2018). Make a personal budget in 7 steps. Retrieved from https://www.thebalance.com/how-to-make-a-budget-1289587

Firing/Disciplining Interview

Person Interviewed InformationI interviewed Jeremiah Young from Elite Home Security Services.

Interview Questions & Answers

Question 1:  What is the number one reason you fire someone?

  • Dishonesty.

Question 2: How many chances or warnings do you usually give someone before terminating them?  

  • We say that we follow a ‘three strikes and you’re out’ policy… but realistically we typically give employees many more chances before actually resulting to termination. I’d say anywhere from about 3 to 5 is typical. There have also been a few times when an employee was caught doing something dishonest… we fired him on the spot.

Question 3:  What are your steps of disciplining an employee? What do you start with and if that doesn’t work what are your next steps?

  • It varies on each situation.  Typically, we start with a verbal warning.  Nothing is documented for this warning and nothing goes into the persons file.  The next step is written warnings… usually we will do two or three of these.  Each time an employee gets written up, we meet with HR and the individual’s team lead or immediate superior to discuss the next course of action and set goals and expectations.  If the individual still continues to not meet the previously agreed upon expectations, they are subject to termination. 

Question 4:  Are there ever times that you want to fire an employee but cannot legally do so?  If yes, explain.

  • No, I have never been in a situation like this. I really haven’t had to fire very many employees to be honest.  Things have to get pretty bad for it to come to that.

Question 5:  Do you consult with other people before firing or disciplining an employee? If yes, who?

  • Yes, I consult with my superiors and fellow managers. HR is always contacted before firing someone and on occasion, I meet with the employee’s co-workers.  Often times, these are the people who know the employee best and understand the details of the situation better than me or any of my fellow managers do.  A lot of times, co-workers are the people who bring the problem employee to our attention.

Question 6:  Does HR have to be contacted a certain period of time before firing an employee? Who else is usually involved in the Firing process of an employee?

  • No, there is no pre-set period of time. HR does however have to be contacted before the termination actually occurs.  Usually, it is just the manager who fires the employee.  As I mentioned, if needed, I will talk to other managers, my boss, and any co-workers who know and have experience working closely with the problem employee.  

Question 7:  Do you offer severance pay or any compensation for employees when they are fired?  If yes, are there any circumstances where you wouldn’t offer anything?

  • Yes, we typically try to offer severance pay. Once again, this is largely dependent on the situation and why they were fired. Times that we do not offer pay or compensation is when the employee is being terminated due to dishonest or illegal actions or if he or she was involved in any type of sexual harassment/assault.

Question 8:  Is it common for an HR employee or other management to be in the meeting when firing an employee?

  • We always try to have at least 2 members of management or HR in those types of meetings.  It avoids “he said she said” types of things from coming up in the future. 

Question 9:  What is the most difficult aspect of having to discipline/fire an individual?

  • It’s hard when you can tell that the individual has a lot of stuff going on in their personal life. It’s tempting to just say “never mind” and try to give them additional warnings and chances… but it comes a point where you have to separate those feelings.  You have to keep the team and organization’s best interest at mind.  

Question 10:  When having to discipline/fire an employee, do you find it hard to separate your personal feelings for that employee from the task at hand?

  • When firing a person, I’ve had to learn how to see them only as an employee of the company rather than as a friend or fellow co-worker.  There has only been one time that I can remember ever having to fire someone that I was very fond of.  And yes, it was extremely difficult and I still feel bad about it.  Just part of the job.

Summary & What I Learned

In summary, it seems like Jeremiah and his company does everything they can to prevent their employees from being terminated.  The main reason for termination at Elite Home Services is related to dishonesty.  It is clear to see that they do not tolerate dishonesty at all… and will even fire someone without warning if they learn of his/her dishonest actions.  I learned from this interview that a lot of my questions really “depend[ed] on the situation.”  There doesn’t seem to be any crazy strict “pre-set” rules and steps that have to be taken every time an employee needs to be disciplined or terminated.  The importance of always having more than one person in meetings with problem employees was once again emphasized during this interview.  I definitely got the vibe that this company wants to see their employees succeed and will do what it takes to help them do that.  I think a lot of organizations are this way.  I can’t imagine having to fire someone!  As I’ve mentioned a number of times, confrontation is not my thing and I have a really hard time with disappointing people.  I know that this is something, however, that I will have to do someday as a nurse manager.  I will have to learn how to separate my personal feelings and always try to keep the unit’s and patients’ best interest in mind.           




Week Six: Ethical Responsibilities

  1. What I Learned: Welcome back! Another week, come and gone! I can’t believe its already almost midterms. This week in Leadership we covered the topic of Ethics.  We had many different activities including lectures, quizzes, a movie review, an interview, and two group discussions on ethical dilemmas and decision making.  I learned many things this week about ethics and how the topic relates to nursing and leadership.  One thing that I learned quite a bit about was ethics committees.  Before this week, I was under the impression that these types of committees were made up by employees (healthcare workers) of the hospital! I also thought that they were somewhat like the “judges” as in they were the ones who make the final decision whenever an ethical situation or dilemma arises.  I know now that I was very wrong in my understanding.  Ethics committees are made up of people from various professions.  They also don’t even have any say in the decision-making process!  They are purely there to help that a fair, inclusive, and consistent process is used to solve difficult ethical dilemmas.  If the family or doctors on the case decide that they don’t like what the ethical committee has to say, they can completely ignore it!  They are only there to be a “sounding board.”  I also learned that the average, bedside floor nurse has the power to bring an ethical dilemma to the ethics committee on his or her own.  She does not have to first go through management or any other upper level personnel. 
  2. Team Activity Recap: This week’s team activities included coming up with questions to ask for our Firing and Discipline Interview as well as two discussion posts. We’ve definitely got a system down when it comes to the Interview Question assignments.  The discussions were both on very interesting topics. One had us find an ethical dilemma on the internet that we had to read and come up with an opinion on how it should be handled.  I really enjoyed reading everyone’s posts… and actually ended up agreeing with most everyone’s opinions of how they would handle each situation.  The other discussion was about a specific ethical scenario that had us decide whether we believed it to be ethical or not to discontinue dialysis on a patient who was declared to be brain dead and in a vegetative state.  The family had wishes to continue the treatment, however the healthcare team did not feel it was ethical to do so.  This case was a toughie for me!  I enjoyed reading each of my team member’s viewpoints. 
  3. Applying to My Career: While reading the many different ethical dilemmas on the “Ethical Responsibilities of the Nurse Leader” discussion, I was constantly asking myself “What would I do in this situation?!” It actually kind of made me feel super nervous for when I run into these situations in my future nursing career. There were SO many cases that I seriously could not decide what was the most “ethical” thing to do! I think it is really important and good that nurses, especially ones with little experience (like me), do activities like the ones we completed this week because it gives us the opportunity to figure out ahead of time where we stand morally and ethically.  Now that I have a better and more accurate understanding of what ethic committees are, I will not hesitate to use them if I feel it to be necessary!

4. Personal Feelings:  As I mentioned above, reading about all the many difficult ethical situations made me feel really nervous about running into them with my future patients and in my future career as a nurse!  I have always had a hard time with ethical situations because I can always see where both sides are coming from.  Plus, I am a pretty indecisive person.  Throw in the fact that I tend to be tempted to let my emotions regulate my decisions… and you can see why I get so uneasy about having to deal with this type of thing!  I just always need to try to keep my patient’s best interest in mind and put any personal emotions aside. 


Got Ethics clipart: http://www.clipartpanda.com/categories/ethics-clipart