Ask the nursing expert: delegating staff complaints and dealing with other department heads

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Ask the nursing expert
Ask the nursing expert

I am very frustrated with staff members who run to me as director of nursing, with absolutely everything they see one of my nursing staff doing that they think is out of order. How should I handle this?

I have had this same “issue” in some of my buildings throughout my career. Some of what is told to you needs to be addressed by you as the director of nursing. If you have nurse managers, refer the complainers to them.

If you have an assistant director of nursing, refer the complainers to that person. Explain to the person complaining that she should utilize direct supervisors first, unless this issue is an emergency!

Some of these complaints are personality-related issues and have little to do with work performance. If all else fails, talk with your administrator about an announcement at your department head meetings.

I want to approach my administrator about some of the unfairness concerning other department heads. These include consistent lateness, lack of participation on any committee or even QA attendance, excessive personal phone calls, and always complaining that they are overworked. Am I asking too much?

This is a question for your administrator. Ask for his/her expectations from his/her team, and whether accountability from the director of nursing outweighs peripheral departments. If he/she says yes, try asking for an explanation so that you have a better understanding.

If you do not get an answer that is comfortable for you, you and others could hold a grudge against some department heads, and this would contribute to an unpleasant working environment for everyone.