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What nurses should look for in a boss


We all have dreams and goals for our personal life and career.  Whether you are a brand new nurse straight out of school or a seasoned nurse looking toward your future, we all need a little bit of help and guidance.  That is why a mentor is so important.  Not only to help you as a nurse just managing like I have talked about in the past, but as a nurse looking at your career in the future.
I have a couple of examples of what I am talking about, I am sure you will see what you should be looking for in a manager, and what can hold you back in your career goals.

When I am welcoming new employees to my unit, I meet with them on the first day to discuss my expectations of them, and to learn about what their goals are.  I make it clear that I know that they are not going to be working for me for ever, and that I want to help them grow as a nurse while they are on our unit so they can reach those goals.  Whether that is moving to the ICU, the ED or L&D, I know they have goals, and if I know those goals, I can help them achieve them.

This is new for a lot of nurses who are used to their managers expecting them to stay on the unit forever.  They are not used to a leader helping them and coaching them to meet and hopefully exceed those goals they have set for themselves.

Contrast that to my situation.  My organization is going though a lot of changes in the department of nursing.  Directors higher up the organizational chart have left, opening new opportunities for those managers that are looking to move up to these positions, like myself.

Last week I sent an email to my boss explaining that I am interested in moving up the ladder.  I explained my goals and asked her if she could support me and mentor me in these new positions.  I explained why I felt that I would be the perfect candidate for one of these positions and the positive changes I could make.

I received an email back that really just shot me down.  She was completely unsupportive and did not provide any positive support or feedback.  I am disheartened, and disillusioned with her and this organization that I have put some many years into.  I am seriously considering leaving because of the lack of support given to me.

Which one would you like to have?  Somebody that wants to know your dreams and helps you to achieve them, or somebody that doesn’t ask, and doesn’t seem to care or support you when you tell them?

Pretty easy choice for me.

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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