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How do I deal with a demanding nurse manager?

As a parent I let my expectation be known to my child and they can work within those expectations when making decisions on her behavior (note:  it does not always work with a four year old, but it’s never to soon to get her learning).  As an ED nurse dealing with a large amount of psych and intoxicated patients, I let my expectations be known with them (note:  it does not always work with an intoxicated college kid, in fact even less than with a four year old).  And, as a manager I let my expectations be known to my staff.

On the first day I was on the unit, I told my staff what my expectations were.  These expectations were pretty simple.  I expected everyone to be at work, to be at work on time, to do their jobs while they were here and to follow hospital policies to ensure we are providing safe and effective patient care.

I have found that expressing my expectations and listening to the expectations of my staff helps all us focus on what is important in our day to day operations.  They know where I am coming from and I know where they are coming from.

I found this is great practice as a nurse, too.  In the morning when I am introducing myself to my patients, I find out what their goals for the day are, or what they expect to get out of it and me.   And I am able to express my goals for them and I want expect from them to meet those goals.  Usually, are goals are pretty similar and things work out wonderfully.

By giving your expectations of kids, patients or staff, you are able to hold them accountable for their actions or behavior.  If you told them from day one that they you expect something from them and they can not, or refuse to, do that then you can hold their feet to the fire.  That also goes the other way if I am expected to do something by my staff and I don’t perform, I would expect them to call me out.

So, my expectation of all of you is to talk one idea from this and use it in your daily practice….and I will hold you all accountable.

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Rob Cameron

Rob Cameron is currently a staff nurse in a level II trauma center. He has primarily been an ED nurse for most of his career, but he has also been a nurse manager for Surgical Trauma and Telemetry unit. He has worked in Med/Surg, Critical Care, Hospice, Rehab, an extremely busy cardiology clinic and pretty much anywhere he's been needed. Prior to his career in nursing, Rob worked in healthcare finance and management. Rob feels this experience has given him a perspective on nursing that many never see. He loves nursing because of all the options he has within the field. He is currently a grad student working on an MSN in nursing leadership, and teaches clinicals at a local university. Away from work, Rob spends all of his time with his wife and daughter. He enjoys cycling and Crossfit. He is a die hard NASCAR fan. Sundays you can find Rob watching the race with his daughter.
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