Jacqueline Vance, RNC, CDONA/LTC

OK, yup, I am back to basketball metaphors. (OK, to be honest, it’s my dog that loves basketball. I don’t know if it’s the movement or the squeak of the shoes, but she seriously can watch it for hours!)  Anyway, go with me here for a bit.  

In basketball during preseason, they train, they learn. That is discipline. The actual definition of discipline is this: “the practice of training people to obey rules or a code of behavior.”

During the season, like in the middle of the game when things might be going south, the coach will bring the team into a huddle and give instruction, in the middle of the chaos.  The definition of instruction is this: “detailed information telling how something should be done, operated or assembled.”

Can we be honest here, please? Most of us get his mixed up. See, I think people have discipline and instruction totally backwards. During onboarding, we instruct and then, in the midst of chaos, we discipline. 

We barely cover the basics in onboarding and then expect our staff to just know how we do things or how to get things done. And when they don’t, we do what we shouldn’t and kill their spirit. And we wonder why our turnover is so high.

Don’t tell me “they know” unless you’ve done everything you can to mentor, lead, show, handhold, whatever. For example, if you haven’t shown your nurses how you want assessments done, don’t go all nuclear if their charting sucks. Or if you haven’t given a class on infection control, I mean details on donning and doffing PPE, where it can and cannot be worn, why it should be worn, etc., don’t get ticked off if staff are doing it wrong. 

Don’t assume they were taught somewhere else. And online classes don’t always hold someone’s attention enough for these important details. Give them examples, lead them, show them, discipline them from the beginning. 

And now, in the middle of the chaos that is COVID-19, let’s huddle and instruct. They’ve hopefully had the basics (discipline), but now is the time to get out on that court, boost your team’s spirits, help them in this crisis, and we will get through.

Who knows how long this season will be?

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.