As anyone who has ever worked in a hospital can tell you, dealing with a myriad of illnesses and injuries is not the most complicated part of the job. In reality, dealing with hospital politics can be one of the most stressful issues. Since the way you are perceived by your supervisor can have a tremendous impact on your raises, promotions, and continued employment, it is vital to avoid negative situations and to react to such situations in a way that will help you maintain your reputation as a professional. To give you an advantage, here are some easy solutions to five of the stickiest hospital problems you may face:
- Arguments – Whether you are being antagonized by a coworker or are simply the recipient of some heated venting about someone else, express empathy without agreeing or saying anything negative about anything job related. Avoid making enemies at all costs. After all, the enemies you make today may be the bosses in charge of you tomorrow. Regardless of your personal feelings about a boss or coworker, keep them to yourself and you will be glad you did.
- Making mistakes – Nobody wants to be in trouble, but if you make a mistake the worst thing you can do is to try to hide it. Nobody is perfect and mistakes are to be expected. If your error is relatively small, apologize to your supervisor and offer a true explanation of how you messed up and what you learned from the mistake. If the error is large, find the physician in charge and be complete honest. While you may face repercussions, you will be demonstrating maturity and honesty that will salvage your reputation among your colleagues.
- Difficult patients – It can be difficult to admit that you don’t know something. However, if you are assigned a patient that involves care that is new to you, don’t be afraid to ask other nurses for help. This is also a good tact if you have a patient who is rude or abusive. If you find yourself with a patient that will not allow you to provide the proper care, see if you can switch with another nurse. Sometimes, people just do not mesh. Don’t take it personally. Just stay calm, work out a solution, and move on.
- The staff gossip – Hospital staff face a great deal of stress and emotions can get out of control. If you feel insulted by someone, take the time to cool off and then calmly and professionally discuss the issue with the other person. If someone is talking badly about you or spreading gossip, calmly remind them that they are guilty of harassment and ask them to stop. If the situation continues, go to HR and file a complaint. Above all, avoid reciprocating by talking trash about the other involved party. This only brings your reputation down.
- Sexual harassment – Sexual harassment, whether blatant or subtle, should be handled immediately. The first step is to have a calm, rational conversation with the person harassing you. Tell them that you feel uncomfortable and ask that they stop the offensive behavior. If the behavior continues or worsens, speak to your supervisor and/or go to HR.
By maintaining your professionalism and composure during some of the toughest hospital situations, you can be sure that the difficulty will pass and that you will remain your professional image and dignity so you can continue to do the career you love.