Right To Be Heard?
Nurse John , a new grad, is, of course, assigned the night shift in the ER. He has just finished his second week on the job. He is talking to his friend over a beer, right after work.
“I am not sure about this job. I love the “rush” when the ambulance backs in. The controlled chaos, the life and death of it all. But, when I told my co-worker she was using the “old” CPR protocol, she jumped all over me. I felt I was a 5 year old again-I am a grown man, nobody should be treated that way!!!”
Is being heard a right. Is your “voice” or your opinion at work lost in the cacophony of noise, that is the modern hospital environment.
Do you feel like a lonely soul, the only one who still cares, and “gets it” when it comes to taking care of your patients and doing the right thing?
Do you feel that the only thing that matters in your facility is saving money, even if that means cutting corners with patient care?
Do you feel that even in 2010 the Docs at your shop, still regard nurses with disdain, and as bedpan queens or kings, rather than valuable team members?
Do you feel you have a “right” to be heard. Rights are valuable. Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, and Martin Luther King have all written about the importance of certain in-alienable rights. But I don’t think the right to your “opinion” was included. You may think the First Amendment amendment covers you.
Try freedom of speech the next time you want to complain about the way the charge-nurse staffs the floor, or you complain that Dr Grumpy doesn’t say good morning-can you say unemployment line?
So how do you get heard, really heard, in a meaningful way?
Seth Godin has this list of 10 ways to EARN the right to be heard. The list in Bold is from Mr Godin. My comments beside the list are my own, with apologies to Mr Godin!
- Be Informed-How often are you busy, busting your butt, while one of your co-workers complains about a change in protocol. They haven’t bothered to read the memo that went out about the 10 deaths at another facility because of a safety issue with the drug or product.
- Be Rational- We all think we are worth more money, and you want a raise. But the hospital does have a budget, and times are tough. Are your desires realistic. Do you have potential savings you can offer, in efficiency, that might offset the salary bump. Have you been a “Linchpin”.
- Pay Your Dues-Don’t you love to hear the new grads go off on how “Stupid” something is, when they don’t even know where the crash cart is, or the names of their co-workers.
- Have a platform where a lot of people can hear you-Nurse Kim, a long time nurse blogger at Emergiblog, has recently written a rant about the controversy of having a National Health Nurse post developed. Many others have commented on her stance. She earned the right to be heard, by having developed a platform of well-written thought out posts on nursing over many years. You don’t have to have a blog, to do this. But you do have to earn the respect and ears of your peers.
- Be an impacted constituent, not a gadfly-Is it really helpful for housekeeping to complain about the blood on the floor after an emergency procedure.
- Represent a tribe of people with similar concerns-if your concerns resonate with your co-workers, and you have leadership skills, your opinion will carry much more weight than a lone voice.
- You have been right before-We all know the story of “crying wolf” too often. There is a reason we know that tale, because it’s true!!! If each of your comments or complaints has been found to be dumb, in-accurate, or just inappropriate, why should anyone care what you think. And of course, if your comments are always on target, and helpful, then….
- You are not anonymous-Anonymous complaints are rightfully ignored. If you don’t feel your stance justifies others knowing who you are, then you must not think it is very important!
- You have a previous relationship, and permission to interrupt-I automatically listen to someone I know- who has been there, done that, and has been in the trenches with me. But even then, always ask them, “Is this a good time to discuss something important with you?”
- Listening to you earns something of value-If you have a proven track record, then you will automatically get respect. If you have assisted someone with your knowledge, or helped even in some small way-your opinion will carry a lot more weight.
The next two, are my own.
- You have passion-If you feel strongly about a subject, everyone will know it, by your intensity, and emotion. They will give you a little more lee-way in listening to your thoughts. (Emotion doesn’t mean, crocodile tears!)
- You have a broad knowledge base-I am much more likely to listen to those who are not a one subject know-it-all. Unless I need someone for a problem in just that area. There is a reason we use the term “Renaissance Man or Woman”, with reverence. Those who have a width, depth, and breadth to their knowledge base, will always get my attention- over a one horse wonder.
Reader Comments and Questions:
- Have you had any problems getting heard?
- Do you feel as if you listen, as well as you speak?