No, really - what is your EMERGENCY?

This used to be the journal of a nursing student at a prestigious 4 year university that will still remain unnamed. This is now the journal of a Registered Nurse working in an Emergency Department in a major US city. All names have been changed to protect the stupid and the mean. There is no educational value in this journal, sometimes it will be downright mean and catty - this is where I come to vent!

Saturday, June 11, 2005


I'm in special program this summer for student nurses. We work on a floor under the supervision of an RN preceptor doing Nurse Aide duties. We are also supposed to be learning how the nurse organizes his/her time, how they prioritize, and how they do their assessments. We also attend weekly meetings with the other students and the nurse educators who are sponsoring us. All in all, it is a great program, we work full time and are paid and get to have some good experiences. My problem with the program lies in the nurse educators. These are nurses who are all MSN's and who monitor and help keep the RN's on the floors within competencies and up to date on the lastest policies and procedures. Well, one in particular (the one for my floor) has taken to using us as spies to see what is really going on on the floor. This puts us in an awkward position because we have to watch everything we say around them to make sure we aren't diming out the nurses on the floor. I mean, I would say something if someone were doing something dangerous, but most of their short cuts are just that: short cuts to save time and are totally safe. Besides, I hardly think I have anywhere near the experience to be critiquing anyone on their technique!

I was telling my preceptor how I felt like the nurse educators were using us as spies and he said that they did the same to him when he was a new grad/new hire. This technique is not good for retention or morale. Does anyone really want to work in a place where they are always worried about who is spying on them? I don't. I understand the need in our society for healthcare workers to do everything according to policies and procedures so as to minimize the risk for/during lawsuits. But wouldn't it be nicer (I guess this is my naivete), to empower (good buzzword) and then trust your employees to do the right thing! All distrust and deception does is undermine authority and lead to angry workers who are more likely to do things wrong just to get back at you.

I have spent several years in the military as an officer. Everyone told me that when I became a nurse, I would hate it because I wouldn't be in charge and I would have to take orders from doctors. Let me set something straight: I don't care who you are, nurse, doctor, enlisted, officer, you are always taking orders from someone. From Privates to Generals, we all take orders from someone, I'm used to that and that isn't my problem right now. My problem is watching talented nurses be undermined in their duties by not being trusted.

I don't think I will be applying for a job at this institution when I graduate next year.


  • At 10:55 AM, Anonymous Ruth N. said…

    I so agree. Leadership and teamwork are essential elements of how nurses work together, and managing a team of people by spying on them isn't a productive way of encouraging them. I wouldn't want to work there either.

  • At 4:39 PM, Anonymous Once A Marine said…

    Yolanda, you are a lost hippie. Thats a compliment in case you wondered. I had the pleasure of knowing you but not really knowing you a few years ago. Never pegged you for who you are. Your commitment to do the right thing and faith in the human kind is refreshing.

    Good Luck!

  • At 1:30 AM, Blogger Bec said…

    Welcome to Nursing! Your work as an officer in the military will serve you well in this profession. Taking orders isn't the problem, it is making sure that what they are telling you to do is right, proper, and covered in the policy and procedure manuals. The nurse educators that you are dealing with are wrong but they are not unique. I have a degree in nursing also and this is my 30th year working. I always find it annoying that the nurses with all the initials behind their names can't figure out how to put the cover on a suction bucket so that it actually suctions. Hang in there. Not everyone in this profession is a prima donna or heading the NIA (nurse intel agency). Again, welcome.


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