“Exceeds expectations”

So, it’s evaluation season. Doing my own eval is uncomfortable for me. It feels like I am tooting my own horn, so to speak. I don’t like talking about myself. I don’t want to sit down and tell you about the great things I’ve done over the past year.

So, I sit down for my eval with my manager… As we start going over each section she tells me the ratings she has given me.

They were all “exceeds expectations”!

What?

I have been a nurse nine years. Every eval I have gotten was rated “fully meets”. I was always content with that. However, for the first time I exceed. My manager started mentioning all the things I’ve done that’s she’s noticed. She gave me compliment after complement for the care I deliver. I honestly didn’t know she paid that much attention. She manages over 100 nurses, she’s always on the move. However, she makes it a point to stop by our department and check in on us. She is always available. To be honest, she’s the best manager I have worked for. To know that with all she is doing, she still noticed my hard work, it felt great.

My actions are not so that I can be noticed. I just do what’s right for the patient. Ultimately, that who we are here for. I never thought I was going “above and beyond”.

It was a great feeling.

I’m in the right place. I’m definitely in the right place…

Appreciated

A while ago my nurse manager came down to the department I was in to check on me.

My nurse manager came to check on me.

The day was turning into a hot mess and I had to get help from our sister nursing department to help get things back on track and help me put out the flames. After things started to calm down, my nurse manager came down to where I was to check on me and do you know what she said? “Fred, I am so glad I hired you.”

Say. What?

Did… Did she just show appreciation for how hard I was working?

HOLY HELL MANAGERS DO THAT?!?

Turns out, good management does. I cannot even count how many times either my nurse clinician or nurse manager has popped up in the department giving us updates or just checking in.

I have never really had that happen before. In fact, I was so unused to it that the first time my nurse clinician came down to the department checking in I thought I was in trouble! I really thought I had gotten reported for something and was about to be written up! That is how little I was used to seeing management (unless they were asking if we updated our whiteboards).

I was talking to another floor nurse, in fact, the one from the last blog, and telling her about management coming and checking in and she was also flabbergasted. She, too, was only used to seeing management whenever there was an issue.

That’s sad.

I don’t place 100% of the blame on management, though. I know they are encountering the same problem. Their higher-ups only want to discuss what they are doing wrong, give them unrealistic expectations, and unrealistic time-frames to complete the unrealistic expectations. Meeting after meeting they get bombarded with complaints. It’s a miserable existence and I can totally understand why so many nurse managers leave the job.

This is a bigger problem with how hospitals are a business focused more on numbers than patients. It trickles down. Miserable management creates miserable staff, and that leads to the high turnover rates in the nursing field.

No one feels appreciated and that needs to change.

I am lucky enough to work in a department where I actually feel appreciated. Yes, we have our foolishness just like every other area in the hospital. However, I find myself far less stressed in this position. I want more nurses to be able to feel this way. I want it to get to a point where seeing management becomes a positive thing. I wonder how we, as a group, can change this?

Job hopping

How long do you typically stay in a position in your nursing career? For me, I have had every nursing job (just started my fourth one) for at least two years. Two years gives me a broad view of my position and allows me to decide if this is what I want to do and is there where I want to do it.

I’m sure there are some of you reading this and thinking “two years is a long time to figure out if you want to be where you are!” For me, not really (keywords: for me). I feel like the first year I am trying to become proficient in my job. I’m the new kid, I am learning how things are done here and establishing my own routine. Essentially, I am getting into my groove.  I learned that when I am the “new kid” I get frustrated and irritated easily and often times blame the job. I go through the “I don’t like this job” phase, not because the environment is bad but because I am not great in the environment and I can be a bit of a perfectionist. That second year is when I am really evaluating my job. By the second year, I am good at what I do. I know my skills, I have my routine, I know this place. I know my coworkers. I know my doctors. I know what type of patients I will see on a consistent basis. I know how the hospital works. I am typically in some sort of leadership role by the second year. This is the point where I can take an objective look at where I am and whether I want to continue. Do I really hate this job? Is it the people? The environment? Do I not enjoy this patient population? Am I burnt out? I feel like I can really make a less biased observation at this point. My “two-year” thing is not something I expect other people to embrace. I do feel like one year on the job is enough for some people to figure out if they like what they are doing. And let’s be honest, those of us that have had more than one job can think of one place that we have worked where we knew we were in the wrong place before we hit that first year!

What I wonder is how soon is too soon to bounce to the next job? I have some nursing friends that have had several jobs in the same amount of time that I have been in one place of employment. Experience-wise, I would assume that it looks great to a potential employer. I mean, this person looks like they know a little about everything. However, I also wonder if having several jobs for a short amount of time makes a person look like a job hopper? Do some hiring managers see this as a “red flag”? Would a manager want to invest in an employee that may leave quickly? I have asked a few people that were or are responsible for new employees and they each said that they look for a year at least.

So if I have any hiring managers reading this: what are you looking for? How soon is too soon to go from one job to the next? Do you even pay attention to how long we are in a position?