Conflict can be an everyday part of life and can happen frequently in the workplace. Clashing ideas and attitudes will always be present because not every person will think the same things or in the same way. Knowing how to manage conflict is the first step in preparing for it. This week I have seen some great skills and some less effective ones in managing conflict. Knowing the difference between aggressive and assertive communication is important in deciding how to go about resolving conflict. Assertive communication is confident and calm but aggressive is rash and demanding. Everyone desired to be heard and have their needs met. Compromise is key when resolving conflict. Its also ok to be vulnerable as well. Confidence can come from vulnerability. The Guardian movie showed us that sharing experiences and allowing for vulnerability can help resolve inner and outer conflict. Trusting others and resolving issues from a team perspective can help bolster relationships and skirt conflict in the future. I think one of the best ways I learned how to resolve conflict this week was through a relational approach. The relationships come first, listening comes first, and exploring resolutions together is a priority. In the workplace, I think this is always a possibility, even if all the steps aren’t taken, its important to always make sure you’re listening first and then talking.
I learned this week that there are a lot of factors that go into strategic planning. Times are definitely changing and companies need to keep up with those changes. Marketing is a huge part of that. Our world is so digital these days that without marketing there is no way to be ahead for the future. Planning is also about anticipating possible changes in the future. Without anticipating all possibilities, a company cannot be as adaptable and planning is is essential to be able to adapt to the changing market. In our strategic planning assignment there are a lot of factors that go into the future of a large company, marketing, education, funding, personnel, building, and maintenance are just a portion of what goes into strategic planning. Without thinking of each possibility within any of those factors, I think a company can head for failure. Strategic planning is best done with a multitude of ideas and takes a committee in my opinion. I would never want to strategically plan without the input and ideas of others. As for an old and new school of thought for planning I think the new school thought is really dependent on marketing. The focus shouldn’t be financial gain, it should be based on staying relevant.
I thought the readings for this week were helpful in not only understanding how necessary it is to change and adapt in the healthcare setting and in life but how to begin to manage those changes. It’s one thing to have the attitude of “change happens,” expect it and learn to anticipate it for yourself, but its more difficult to help others you manage have that same attitude. There are many people who are understandably resistant to change and I also can be resistant at times. Change can be difficult but its essential for personal and company growth and stability. Without change we can’t grow as people or as a healthcare system. The world is constantly evolving and finding the best ways to manage workflow, decrease wasted time, increase profitability and marketability, and better serve our patients to maximize their health and experience is essentially the most important when it comes to succeeding in the healthcare industry. I have noticed even within the short time I have been with my company that better health outcomes come about when the company focuses on changing to fit the patient’s needs. Its not only essential to anticipate and adapt to changes that will and should happen but its important to monitor for the need to make changes. I think sometimes we just let change happen to us instead and then adapt as needed but as managers we need to constantly be searching to make changes. Taking inventory of our workers patients needs is just one example of beginning to facilitate change. We cannot make necessary changes on our own though either, all staff needs to be on board and I think Koppler’s model of change is a great way to begin the process and ensure that the changes are implemented properly and that they are lasting:
- Increase urgency
- Build the guiding team
- Get the vision right
- Communicate for buy-in
- Empower action
- Create short-term wins
- Don’t let up
- Make change stick
I interviewed Chris who is in charge of budgeting for club and high school boys and girls soccer at Black Hills Soccer club. Chris likes to manage budgets for his teams and usually does so alone. He sometimes has his assistant to ordering and inventory to make budgeting easier. He does not have a special degree for his job but he did study finance in college although he never majored in it. The hardest part about budgeting is trying to raise enough money to allot for budgeting. Club teams are a little easier because there are set fees to be on the team and a lot of parents like to be involved in fund raising. High school budgeting is more difficult because fund raising is essential because any money that isn’t raised through fundraising comes from donations and not from the school budget. Some sports teams are luckier than others and some years are better than other and has a greater budget to work with. Chris looks over the budget “pretty frequently” just to make sure there are no surprise dips in the budget. He tries not to make changes to the budget unless absolutely necessary. He tries to maximize whatever money comes in and tries to plan for upcoming expenditures throughout the year. He really attempts to have a budget set a year in advance and has been doing this long enough where he is able to plan that far ahead. There is really no leeway in the budgets and if it is over, then it will be over for the following year and that means less equipment or less travel or cheaper jerseys, whatever needs to be done to save money so there isn’t so much of a hole for the following year. The first area he looks to make cuts is coaches’ gifts or equipment. He tries not to consistently go over the budget but it’s very difficult to plan travel expenses. The bill usually comes at the end of the season and change in gas prices, bus breakdown, emergencies, or change in how long a tournament will be are just some examples of factors that are not as easily planned for. The hardest area to cut a budget according to Chris is the equipment. Equipment is an easy way to make sure a player has a good experience or gets the proper and best training he/she can have but that adds up quickly and it’s easy to get carried away. Overall, a hospital setting is similar because you want the best for the patients and staff but not all factors can be planned for and there needs to be wiggle room in case unplanned expenses arise.
This week I learned a lot about the direction of my career future. Although there are numerous avenues I can take it’s important to recognize and plan for the basic timeframe that each of these avenues can offer. Nursing is moving toward higher education standards and getting a nurse practitioner degree is requiring an advanced doctorate or even phd. As I get further along and more comfortable in my career I need to start thinking about timing and cost associated with getting an advanced degree. Some programs can take you from a BSN-DNP within 3 years but thats at full time, and likely you are not working full time during the program. Financially this could be difficult depending on the family situation. During our group discussion I got to see some other paths that my classmates are interested in and we each have different ideas or things that we need in order to make it work for us. I think for my time frame and financial situation in life it might be a good idea to continue looking into joining the military. It has been on my horizons for 2+ years now and my husband has been very supportive of the possibility. I still have time to decide and need to first complete my BSN but I have the career plan mapped out and it can be adjusted as necessary. For my career goals I feel like this is the best plan. We also discussed staffing this week and what seems to be the best way to go about staffing. I think its such a personal preference as to what works best and every staff member has individual needs. I prefer M-F 8-4, which is what I do. It allows me time with my family and it shortens my day because I tend to get fatigued and feel useless during 12 hour shifts and the recovery time is not enough for me. Others like to have days off in between and I think that can be very useful. I think the best way to staff a unit is to have worker involvement by allowing them to voice preference and applying preference fairly each week. It really depends on unit needs at the time but I think overall, workers are able to get a good amount of preference to their work schedule and managers should do the best they can to fulfill it fairly.
I think this week has been one of my favorites in the learning material. I think it’s so important to be involved in the evolving field of nursing and to learn about where nursing is headed in the future. As a nurse I definitely want to be a part of reaching the goals and mandates set by my fellow nurses and those in legislature. I can be involved in the promising future of nursing. Just by continuing on in my bachelors I am a part of the nursing future. This allows me to train and perform at my highest potential and capabilities within my licensure. We want to have nurses being utilized as full partners in a value based health care system where primary care and prevention is forefront and interdisciplinary care is normalized. It’s fun to see the changes already taking place in healthcare since I’ve entered the field. It’s also interesting for me to see the differences between healthcare by state. I like that the scope of nursing practice is starting to become more uniform. I had a yearly training meeting at my job last week and we were able to really learn the ever evolving nursing scope of practice. There were things that I didn’t even realize I was allowed to perform. And then there were things that I realized I was doing that were technically out of my scope of practice but I learned them from my managers and I figured it was ok. It’s important that we always are educating ourselves as nurses, not just for quality and safety measures, but because patients deserve the best care possible and that can’t happen if we don’t grow in our knowledge and with the changing field of medicine.
This week was a bit tough for me because I don’t quite understand budgeting thoroughly. I only know how to budget for my own family and have never budgeted for a company before. For me, I need to be shown how to do things sometimes before understanding it myself. Our budgeting assignment was difficult because I was unclear on how and what I would be allowed to cut. After discussing with my group, and seeing how they cut the budget for the med-surg floor it made much more sense to me. I was trying to figure out the yearly budget and thinking too far ahead instead of dealing with what was available monthly to me. I tend to do that with a lot of aspects in my life. I can see a lot of the bigger picture and can envision the end but I don’t do as well with the details leading up to that and taking things piece by piece. I definitely need to practice budgeting. I would hope I never have to take on this role in the hospital setting, but it is possible. It is not my strong suit and I don’t enjoy that aspect of management very much. I know that I will need to use others as a resource in the future to help me with that until I can fully understand it on my own. For right now, I think its important in my nursing practice to recognize that others do need to set a budget and I can be very helpful as an employee to manage resources and do my best to not be wasteful. I can always look for more efficient ways to provide patient care and be on the lookout for potential problems that could lead to budget issues.
I interviewed Nathalie who manages a coffee joint called Café Elite. She works pretty closely with the owner so if employee discipline is needed she will always be in close contact with him to determine next steps. She hasn’t been managing very long and has only needed to terminate 1 employee but does experience a lot of turnover as it’s not a career job. Nathalie usually speaks to an employee face to face before work if discipline is needed. She tries to keep the atmosphere open and positive and since a lot of the employees are around her age she likes to be friends with them as well. She realizes that most of the employees are students or will not be at the coffee shop very long and most are part time employees. Most of the discipline that is required is based on employees missing shifts, or tardiness. Most of it is because of class schedules and the fact that some of the employees do not see this as a long-term job so they don’t take it very seriously. She doesn’t have specific documentation or rules that apply to disciplinary action because she likes to deal with it as soon as the problem occurs, which is usually attendance related. If an employee is consistently late she will try and work with their schedule or find out what they can do to get to work on time. Since employees don’t have vacation pay/pto or sick days, she really tries to be accommodating if they miss a shift but makes sure it’s for a good reason. The one employee she had to terminate had consistently missed shifts without finding coverage and did not have a valid reason for missing her shifts. Although the termination was deserved, she thought it was very difficult to do because she needed to find coverage right away and it made her job more difficult in running the shop. I think it would be very difficult to manage the discipline/firing of employees in a workplace where turnover is high and most employees have other career goals on the horizons. I think Nathalie has a good attitude and is realistic about what she can expect from her employees. Personally, I would set more boundaries with my employees just to set more of an example as a leader. Although she is similar in age with her employees, she should distance herself a little more to make sure her role as a manager is taken seriously. There is nothing wrong with being friendly with employees and it should be encouraged, but I don’t think trying to be “friends” is what I would do in this role. Perhaps if she sets higher expectations and enforces the seriousness of schedules, employees may take their own jobs more seriously. I have also learned the importance of explaining rules and making rules for disciplinary action. If employees have an understanding of tardiness or missed shift rules, they may make it a point to show up for work and on time.
I think this week has been the most mentally challenging thus far. Ethics is a difficult subject to delve into and so many real-life situations apply to what we have been learning. This is different than just what we see at work on the job, ethical issues and concerns are everywhere in life. As a nurse, I need to be able to recognize when these situations arise and know how and to whom I should report a concern to. Thankfully, at my job there is an ethics committee or always someone I can turn to when I have questions or need to report an issue. I didn’t fully understand the scope of practice that an ethics committee has. They make some of the most difficult decisions in my opinion. We can’t always let personal experience or emotions get in the way of deciding what is ethical even though the decision itself can be very emotionally taxing. In the movie we watched this week, it’s easy to see the struggle and benefits from both sides of the issue but if you strip down the issue to what is actually ethical there is no denying that creating a human being at the benefit of another is ethically unsound. I think with time and more experience I will be able to feel more comfortable with making ethical judgements as I need to be aware of what is ethical for the sake of my patients I serve.
I interviewed Lee who works for Alpine School District and he is in charge of teacher evaluations for student contracted and substitute teachers. He does performance appraisals more frequently in his job and likes to set the tone as more laid back so teachers aren’t nervous to receive feedback. He notices that most are usually open to the critique or praise so the atmosphere is conducive to improving. Usually it is him and the teacher that are present during the appraisal but occasionally a supervisor sits in. Lee says these interviews are very important because it’s a tough job and experience and desire to learn goes a long way in the profession. It’s one of those jobs that if you can’t manage you will not last long at all and the students deserve the best education and teachers. They must really take these evaluations to heart and make changes necessary. He is always looking for growth and adaptability out of these interviews. He wants to make sure teachers are learning from their mistakes and constantly self-assessing. He really looks for personal qualities such as appropriate and positive disposition in front the students, familiarity, organization, planning, and content knowledge. I think teaching is similar to nursing in that if you can’t handle the content or are not comfortable taking care of your patients, or teaching students then you will not last very long in the job. Students and patients deserve the best care and I think more regular performance appraisals are needed for these types of jobs.
Lee doesn’t like to see any employees that are not valuable, but sometimes if they’re repeating mistakes with the same outcomes, are not teachable, or unwilling to try anything new or take any sort of risks he cannot continue to work with those teachers. He loves to see increasingly more self-reliant and self-assured teachers with differentiated lesson plans as it makes his job easier. Lee is always looking for teachers who have set goals and can also achieve goals he sets for them. He will always ask them what they feel they need to work on, and then tell them what he think they may need to do before the next appraisal. He is trying to find permanent employment for these teachers. And the more obvious goals he provides include fine tuning lessons, figuring out what works and what doesn’t, and increasing self-awareness of what they’re and are not capable of. I think every employee whether a teacher or a nurse needs to be teachable. We cannot grow if we are not willing to learn from our mistakes or explore other ways of enhancing our job performance. I always want to be the kind of nurse that employers find teachable and I want to make this a priority for my future employees.
Lee prefers to use commentary rather than any kind of scale for performance-based reviews. In his words, “the scales are OK and I have to do them, but commentary is far more helpful to the teacher.” He prefers commentary mainly because he visits and provides feedback frequently to the employees and a grading scale doesn’t tend to cover all areas that he needs to be assessing, He will visit with the teachers typically every couple of weeks whether they’re open to it or not but it depends on the teacher and their needs and goals. They can always come to him for feedback throughout the day as needed. In terms of disciplinary action as needed, Lee will have a private sit-down talk and assess going forward what needs to be changed or improved before an appraisal even takes place. He will document the conversation and then also document everything discussed and what actions need to be taken to correct the issue. He will ensure that on the next performance appraisal, everything that was documented will be addressed. There has been one time he said that he needed to bring a supervisor in because the teacher had not made necessary corrections agreed upon. He had to let the teacher go after the performance appraisal as the teacher was unwilling to or unable to make the changes. I think as an employer, all you can do is give chances and ways to help an employee progress but if they’re not willing to try to improve then there is no place for them in that job setting.