Ask the nursing expert ... about juggling responsibilities

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Angel McGarrity-Davis, RN, CDONA, NHA
Angel McGarrity-Davis, RN, CDONA, NHA

How can a director of nursing juggle all the day-to-day responsibilities and still be available to the needs of his or her staff?

In this fourth and final installment in the Nurse Leadership series, I'll explain one favored leadership style. Betty Frandsen, RN, NHA, MHA, CDONA/LTC, describes it best as Management By Walking Around (MBWA). Nurses are constantly on the go, checking on clinical issues, dealing with patient and family needs and attending to other matters. You need to observe, evaluate, develop and demonstrate your interest in the staff and their work.

DO IT FOR EVERYONE. Spend time with the people who report to you.

DO IT FREQUENTLY. Let them know you are genuinely interested in them, not just about the job.

GO ALONE and ASK QUESTIONS. You're more approachable alone. Find out what staff need to do their jobs. Don't intrude. Listen.

DON'T LET THEM TELL YOU AND NOT THEIR DIRECT SUPERVISOR. Remind them to follow the chain of command but be sure to follow up and follow through privately with the supervisor in question.

SHARE YOUR VISION. The dream you see for your facility will never come alive if staff aren't aware of your vision and goals. Empower them to give input.  

BRING GOOD NEWS. Be optimistic about building the dream, improving outcomes and changing the culture.

DON'T FORGET TO HAVE SOME FUN. Laugh a little, have fun at work.

CATCH THEM DOING SOMETHING RIGHT. If you see a success, STOP, say thank you, applaud a job well done.

If you put these tips into practice, employees will be motivated, goals will be achieved, teams will be stronger. You can truly make a difference, not only for those in your care but also in the lives of your hard-working caregivers and managers.

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