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How do I deal with an uncooperative employee?

You know that delegating is the way to go, but what do you do when another employee simply won’t do what you’ve asked?

First, try to figure out the reason behind her behavior. Did she understand your request? If you’re honest with yourself, were you completely clear in your directions? If you said, “Don’t forget to do morning cares,” and then become upset because Mrs. Harris hasn’t had her bath before 9 a.m. physical therapy, the fault is yours, not that of an uncooperative employee.

If you were clear and your instructions weren’t followed, it’s possible that the employee is lacking something she needs to do her job—knowledge, time, support. So talk to her. If you find out she’s uncomfortable washing hair because she never really learned how to wash the hair of a bed-bound patient, teach her. Sure, it’s a time-suck, but spending the time now could save you time in the future.

And what if the employee understands you perfectly, knows how to do her job and just doesn’t do it? Then it’s time to take disciplinary action. Refer to your facility’s policy and procedures, but don’t be afraid to act. An uncooperative employee hurts the performance of the entire team.

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