I was recently telling a good friend of mine about one of the best job candidate interviews I ever conducted. It was with a gentleman for a nurse leadership position, and I had arranged for a team interview with the rest of his possible future coworkers after he and I talked.

One of my team asked him a question related to how he would gain the trust of the nurse managers with whom he would have a interdepartmental relationship with.

His response was one of the most poignant answers I have ever been given in an interview.  He said something like (I am paraphrasing here), “I don’t have to tell my children I am their father. They know I am their father by my actions. I protect them, I teach them, I model behavior for them, I sacrifice for them, I care for them to the best of my ability. It’s not what I say; It’s what I do.”

Wow. Wouldn’t it be great if all nurse leaders didn’t feel like they need to go around listing all the highlights on their resume (a humility lesson I once learned myself) but rather show their team by their actions that they deserve to be in the position of leading? (I once learned it myself when I thought I had to tell people what I knew instead of show them what I knew. Totally turns people off, especially nurses who think, “Who does she think she is?” Trust me, shut up and just show them!)

Let’s face it, we’ve all had that one person who constantly brags about how great he or she is but doesn’t know their Stage 2 from a surgical incision!

I understand that letting your actions speak will take time. And we can only hope the habitual process of colleague cannibalism that occurs in nursing doesn’t push the good leader away before their actions prove that they deserve to be here.

(I know I am digressing here, but in all the years I have been in nursing, no one has yet been able to explain why nurses go on the attack mode in this way. I mean, seriously, are nurses masochists that enjoy being “numerically challenged” when it comes to staffing levels?)

But back on topic. Don’t say who you are but be who you are. Then when someday someone asks, “Who’s your daddy?” they may be pointing to you.

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.