Week 16: Wrap Up

  1. What I Learned: Welcome to my final Reflective Blog post for my nursing leadership class. What a semester!  We have learned and touched on SO many different interesting and valuable topics over the last sixteen weeks including hiring, firing, ethics, team building, staffing, change, strategic planning, motivation,  risk management, and even collective bargaining.  It’s hard to summarize what I’ve learned throughout this entire course in only a few sentences… so I will try to just mention the main things that have stuck out to me most.  First and foremost, I realized that a nurse leader has so many more responsibilities than I had first understood at the beginning of the course.  Initially, I thought that a nurse manager was in charge of hiring, firing, and scheduling.  I now have learned that they also have to deal with so much more than those three things.  Our lesson on budgeting has caused me to gain a whole new level of appreciation for not only the leaders in healthcare, but also for those in all areas of the workforce.  On that same line of thinking, I’ve learned that there is much to be learned from leaders and managers in other occupations and lines of work.  Conducting several various interviews this semester was very beneficial and eye opening for me because each individual was able to offer a different perspective and unique insight into whatever topic we were learning about that week.  This course has also taught me how important it is to have a culture of teamwork and unity on a nursing unit.  Managing a nursing unit is no easy task, but if your employees trust you and eachother, everyone can work together to make sure that everything is running and operating smoothly… allowing for all the health care personnel to deliver safe, high quality patient care. 
  2. Team Activity Recap: I have really enjoyed working with my 4 team members to complete the various activities and discussions required for the course. I think my favorite things about the course, actually, were the team discussions.  I was able to learn so much from the unique insights that each of my team member had to offer.  Because I am not able to be working as a RN right now, I have appreciated being able to read different experiences that my team members have had working on their units.  This has helped me be able to better apply this knowledge to my future career as a nurse.  The teamwork in this course also helped me develop a lot of my own personal leadership skills.  Each week, I (with the help of my team) had to coordinate who would be in charge of the consensus, split up various tasks and responsibilities,  and determine who would be turning in any team assignments.  I’ve learned the importance of sending “reminder” texts or emails throughout the week to ensure that assignments are completed on time.  Each of my team members were always so willing to help and do whatever was needed to successfully complete any assignment or discussion.  One of our team members had a baby in the middle of the semester, and together we were able to try to lighten her load a little bit on of a few of the assignments that were due right after she gave birth!  It was pretty cool!
  3. Applying to My Career: This class has definitely given me a better, more accurate understanding of all that comes with being a nurse leader, manager, or supervisor. It is a lot of work… and I don’t think I’ll be ready for it for another few years.  I do, however, love that I can have something to look forward to in my future.  It’s extremely motivating to know that I always have the option of developing my career further… whether it’s to charge nurse, nurse manager, or even nurse practitioner.  I’ve also come to realize that I don’t have to wait to be in an official “leadership position” to start being a leader.  As I strive to strengthen my existing leadership qualities and develop new ones, I will be able to be seen as a leader by my fellow nursing co-workers as well as by my patients.  Various lessons and activities in this course have also helped me realize some of my weaknesses as a leader.  For example, I know that I tend to shy away from conflict.  Instead of confronting a problem when I notice one, I resort to ignoring the problem and trying to pretend it doesn’t exist.  This is a very ineffective conflict resolution technique that will only end up worsening the problem down the road.  Another thing I’ve learned about myself is that I am a bit of a micro manager and perfectionist.  When I become a leader on a nursing unit, I need to let some of this OCD perfectionism go.  I need to be able to delegate responsibilities and tasks to my co-workers and employees instead of trying to do everything on my own.  I also struggle with confidence… mostly because of how little experience I have as a nurse.  This can cause others (my fellow co-workers, my superiors, and even my patients) to doubt my abilities.  To try to prevent this from happening, I am going to try hard to act as self-assured and confident as I can so that others feel that they can trust, depend, and rely on me. 
  4. Personal Feelings: Once again, I feel like my personal feelings are kind of scattered throughout this whole post… however some of the feelings I am currently feeling are relieved, excited, grateful, and nervous! I am relieved that I have finished yet another semester of nursing school!  Christmas break… here I come!  I am excited to apply the different things that I’ve learned from this course to my future as a nurse.  I am also excited, in general, to start working as a nurse.  I am very grateful for all the lessons and insights I’ve gained by taking this course!  Likewise, I am grateful for my team members… as they have made this class very enjoyable and smooth for me.  Finally, I am grateful for all the time and preparation that my professor has put into creating this class.  Lastly, I am nervous for what lies ahead in my future as a nurse leader!!!  These are good nerves… but nonetheless, nerves.  As I’ve mentioned already many times, there is SO MUCH that goes into being a nurse manager.  It’s intimidating!!  I am hoping that after I get a few years of experience working as a bedside nurse, I will be able to feel more comfortable, confident, and ready to take this next step in my career. 

References

Leadership clipart: https://pixabay.com/en/photos/leadership/

Week 15: Risk Management

  1. What I Learned: This week, we studied risk management in healthcare as well as the legal responsibilities of a nurse leader. I really enjoyed listening to the lecture this week, as it was given by Karie Minaga-Mya, who was (and might still be?) the experienced risk manager for leadership in the urban south region back in 2004.  She did really well at making these somewhat difficult concepts relatively simple.  She explained that risk management in healthcare involves various activities and policies which are aimed to increase patient safety and decrease liability exposure.  A risk management team has the goal of preventing harm to patients and reducing medical malpractice claims.  It seems that a risk management team is very similar to a continuous quality care improvement team, however they deal a little more with legal stuff.  I learned from my reading that the following things are helpful in risk management and creating a culture of safety on whatever unit or floor a nurse is working on: Practice mindfully recognizing personal limits, respond justly to any errors made, seek and provide feedback regarding safety practices, and use safety checklists and other tools, as available.  After this week, I have a better understanding about all that occurs when a problem or adverse event occurs in a hospital.  Finally, I learned the importance of having excellent documentation and charting!  This can either make or break you if you ever become involved in a law suit. 
  2. Team Activity Recap: This week, we had a very interesting topic for our group discussion. We were given a case study which involved an agitated and intoxicated patient being brought into the Emergency Department.  Due to a series of events (missed checks, failure to search patient for contrabands), the patient was severely burned when trying to escape from restraints using a cigarette lighter.  We were asked a series of questions regarding what our course of action would be if we were the Nurse Leader in this situation.  It also had us consider various legal ramifications and any changes that needed to take place to prevent events like this from happening again in the future.  I think I learned more about risk management and legal responsibilities by completing this group discussion than I did by anything else we did this week.  I learned a lot about sentinel events, which are unexpected occurrences in health care that either do or have the potential to cause death or serious physical or psychological injury to an individual.  The case study used in our team discussion definitely qualified as a sentinel event.  It was really beneficial to read my teammate’s various approaches to dealing with the scenario.  Each offered many unique insights and perspectives.  I particularly enjoyed reading each of my team member’s ideas on the changes that needed to occur to prevent the incident from happening again. 
  3. Applying to My Career: This week, I’ve learned the importance of careful, accurate, and thorough charting. This is definitely easier said than done.  I know that I will have very busy shifts and it will be tempting to slack a little on my documentation to save time.  Because of the things taught and discussed in this risk management lesson, I hope I am always able to remember that being casual in my charting is never a good idea.  I also want to always be sure that I follow policies and protocols to the best of my abilities.  I know that these things are put in place for a reason, and the closer I follow the guidelines and checklists created by CQI and risk management teams, the more likely I will be able to keep my patients safe and avoid any adverse events.   
  4. Personal Feelings: Talking about legal ramifications and medical errors absolutely terrifies me! Scenarios and situations like the one in the case study could very easily happen to me or any other nurse in the medical field.  My worst nightmare is being involved in some type of legal or malpractice suit!!!  To help prevent this from ever happening in my future, I must never become lazy with my nursing skills and charting habits.  I need to always follow protocols and never take short cuts.  I really enjoyed this week’s lesson because I love learning about how I can improve my patient’s quality of care.  A nurse can really “make or break” a patient’s hospital experience depending on how much effort he or she puts into providing high quality and safe care. 

 Reference

Risk Management Clipart: http://clipart-library.com/clipart/1015361.htm

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.   

References

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.

References

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. 

References

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. 

References

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. 

References

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!!

Reference

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. 

References

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