Jacqueline Vance, RNC, CDONA/LTC

Doesn’t anybody read emails anymore?

Oh, you’re going to answer that of course you do. Of course you read emails. But do you really read your emails? 

Like read the entire email? If you’re like most people, I’m going to challenge you and say you don’t. You just kind of skim it while juggling balls and answering calls. 

Case in point. I was holding a regional training session once. Now, I admit I used to write a rather long email. So, when people got confused as to the details, I thought, “Well, Jackie, no one wants to read ‘War and Peace’ in an email.” Shorten it up and put the important stuff in the first sentence or two. 

So, I did that for the next training. And yet still I got replies right before the classes that they didn’t know where it was held, and they got the dates confused, and they didn’t know what the students needed, etc. I had to fix this. There is not only time but expense per student with each class. Materials, training supplies, books, catering, etc. 

So, I figured that I had the perfect answer: I would put the important message in the subject line. XYZ training held at such and such location on dates A, B and C. Perfect, I thought, no one can miss this. And yet, the day before the class, I get an email from one facility that told me that they thought I was bringing the class to their location and that their nurses were not prepared to go to the location it was being held at the next day. 

I’m like how, how can anyone have missed that message when each and every communication about the training was in the subject line?

But then, I realized everyone is multitasking. Come on, I’ve seen you all on those Zooms where someone is saying something important, and a person walks in your office and just because you’re on mute, you think it’s OK to carry on a conversation. But then, when the rubber hits the road, you have no idea what the new thing that was implemented or what that new regulation is that was discussed on that Zoom, or that new company policy is, because you were multitasking.

There is actually research about how bad multitasking is in the workplace. Sure, you can watch a TV show while playing solitaire on your iPad and catch the gist of the show and no big deal. But at work, it’s different. 

Several studies have shown that high multitaskers experience greater problems focusing on important and complicated tasks, memory impairment of new subject matter, difficulty learning new material, and increased stress levels. In fact, distracted employees can quickly lose focus on important tasks, often resulting in the loss of productivity. 

So, yeah, you have to read those emails. But seriously, set aside a time to do so. Put up a “Do not disturb” unless someone’s cut an artery, there’s a fire or a surveyor just walked in on penalty of death. And read them, REALLY read them. Believe it or not, you’ll save time by not multitasking and absorb more info too. 

And maybe put up that sign when you’re on that Zoom. Just saying.

Just keeping it real,

Nurse Jackie

The Real Nurse Jackie is written by Jacqueline Vance, RNC, CDONA/LTC, Senior Director of Clinical Innovation and Education for Mission Health Communities, LLC and an APEX Award of Excellence winner for Blog Writing. Vance is a real-life long-term care nurse. A nationally respected nurse educator and past national LTC Nurse Administrator of the Year, she also is an accomplished stand-up comedienne. The opinions supplied here are her own and do not necessarily reflect those of her employer or her professional affiliates.

The opinions expressed in McKnight’s Long-Term Care News guest submissions are the author’s and are not necessarily those of McKnight’s Long-Term Care News or its editors.