Dear Dallas Single Mom: I graduated from a nursing program after ten years in the legal department of a large multi-national corporation. I am now working as a weekend nurse as this was something I wanted to do in order to give back to the community. I just started my work as a nurse and as a new nurse I have a senior nurse showing me the ropes. This senior nurse has a specific way of doing things and likes them done in a very prescribed manner. I try my best to express appreciation and to reciprocate understanding with her. On a recent review, the director advised that this senior nurse said I was not very receptive to her instructions. I’m not sure what the problem is because I’ve always felt like I am a good communicator. I often wondered if it is because I’m a male and she is a female and so do we communicate differently?At times I know that I’m so worried about messing up that sometimes I am multi-tasking while she is giving me instructions. The environment in the healthcare field is very much responsive and minutes count – very different from a corporate environment. How can I be more receptive to her?
Sincerely, Un-receptive Weekend Nurse
Dear Un-receptive Weekend Nurse,
Communication has and CAN always be an issue irrespective of genders, seniority, titles, generations etc. While they say Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus that is just one issue in what seems like a host of many communication, work relationship and engagement issues that you and this senior nurse are facing. It seems that you are carrying the communication style you used in the corporate environment into an on the field, healthcare environment. Recognizing that those are two totally different environments, you may need to adjust your communication approach. Try to challenge yourself to recognize your communication comfort zones and how they would apply to the new environment and get rid of what doesn’t work. The parts that are uncomfortable, learn to put them in practice to expand your communication skill level. In the healthcare field, any mistake can be life and death so it is important that you try not to take care of everything yourself and learn to trust your team of doctors, nurses and senior nurses that are there to not just manage you but to teach you and care for patients. Take the time to not multi-task and engage and listen to the senior nurse, acknowledging what she is saying. If you are still not sure how you can be more responsive, just ask. This is a learning process for everyone involved and a career change is more than just a change in vocation, it promotes life and spiritual growth.
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