Ask the nursing expert

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Ask the nursing expert
Ask the nursing expert
I “inherited” a nurse in a leadership position who is absolutely poison to the facility. How do I “professionally” confront her? 

This is a tough one. Usually staff is afraid to “rock the boat” with her for fear she will target them with her “poison.” I recommend you set up a performance review with her as her new supervisor. Ask her to do a self-assessment first and then sit down with her and your assessment. Ask her about professional goals and any obstacles she might have to reaching those goals. Talk with her about your expectations and the areas that you feel she needs to work on, including her negativity in the facility in such a key position. 

She probably will not agree that she is negative, but stand your ground. Write down areas for her to work on and ask her to write an action plan and return the plan to you and set a date.

She likely will grumble and secretly consult with her “friends,” but I am sure that they are glad someone is finally taking notice. If she is not able to develop a plan or disagrees with your observations and leadership, let her know that your facility might not be the best facility for her to accomplish her professional goals. 

I am working on developing what I will call my “core principles.” Can you make any suggestions on this? 

Spend some time developing a “Philosophy of Nursing” and your leadership style. Next, share it with your nursing leadership team and then your direct care staff. 

They will then know who you are and, what you value in nursing, and then will find their role in implementing your philosophy. Sometimes on those real hectic and challenging days when I feel that I am drowning in responsibility, I simply go back and focus on what I hold dearest in my career. 

Try not to use too many words to describe your core values. Perhaps four “cornerstones” could be enough (for now). ̆
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