Reflective Journal – Week 16

The end is in sight! This is my last semester and I’ve only got a week left. Me and my family are ready for the next chapter in our lives that follows my bachelors, whether its NP school or not.

This week was about Risk Management, and from the lecture from the Risk Manager at UVH I think I learned that the Risk Managers are really on your team. I think most nurses feel like the risk managers are there to accuse you of things you did wrong but thats not the case.

As far as my article I chose, it said some of the responsibilities nurse leaders are knowing the policies and procedures of the organization you work for, and assuring that the unit is appropriately staffed. These two responsibilities help to reduce the risk of adverse events from happening.

Reflective Journal – Week 15

I know we still have about a week or two’s worth of work left, but its starting to feel like I’ve finished with this class. Putting the professional portfolio together has been a learning experience. Its like a resume, where if you get stuck and don’t know what to put, you really have to think and find a way to express your accomplishments in a way that makes you seem valuable. I think its a valuable  skill to have as a look towards applying for grad schools or moving up at this hospital.

The lesson this week has struck a chord with me. Motivation has been something thats been a bit of an issue for me at my new job. In the interview I was promised certain things like working days and working in the ER, and so far I have just worked a mix of days and nights shift on the med/surg unit. I did not move my family down here to work night shifts on the med/surg unit. So I have been a bit discouraged. But working through this module has helped me see the issues from a different perspective.

Moving forward, I’ll try to see these issues from my managers perspectives. I understand that there are a lot of limitations being in a rural hospital. We don’t have the luxury of pulling from different floors for example.  I think my dad said it best, “put your nose to the grindstone and they will let you work wherever you want.”

Reflective Journal – Week 14

This week we have talked about conflict resolution and learned different ways to manage conflict. What I really enjoyed was watching The Guardian and playing the game where you advise the Lieutenant on his conversation with the local tribe leader.  What I liked about the Guardian was that it showed how it is possible to work through your conflict and work effectively with the person you were clashing with. I liked the game because it showed how sometimes people just don’t follow your directions and can make mistakes no matter how well you explain or teach to them.

In our discussions, I think whaat stuck out most to me was that we need to focus on the big picture when resolving our conflicts. We will have to continue working with the person after we’re done arguing with them, so we need to come to a solution that works with both. I think all nurses generally want the same thing, to be great nurses and provide great patient care. Remembering this helps me to resolve my conflicts without using aggressive communication.

Moving forward, I will try to realize when I am using aggressive, passive, or passive communication and shift towards assertive communication. I think responding to aggressive communication can be the turning point of the conflict. You can either respond aggressively as well or take the high road and be calm and respectfully state your wants and needs.

Reflective Journal – Week 13

I guess you could say ‘the end is nigh’ with the semester.  We are starting to get close to the end of the semester and spring has sprung. We’ve started preparing our yard to plant grass and are ready to till. We are just waiting another week or two for the right time to till and plant. Working out in the yard has given me some time to think about the material for this week, in addition to some other things.

This week we discussed strategic planning in leadership. The topic has always seemed foreign and distant, like only the administrators and marketing managers are the ones who worry about it. This week I’ve learned thats not the case and as nurse leaders we have the opportunity to give input and feedback on the process.

As I am writing this, we are still working on the strategic planning assignment. It seems that these group projects are never ready to turn in until the last person has worked on it, hence me turning this in early since I work Sunday night. It will be interesting to see how we plan and market into each others cities. It seems inevitable that we market and “poach” into each others zones, though its not personal, its just business. It will be interesting to see how it plays out.

Reflective Journal – Week 12

This week was about managing change. A fitting topic since I have been undergoing a lot of change in my life right now by moving to a small town and changing jobs. This week I learned a little bit about myself and how I handle change. After listening to the lecture and watching Who Moved My Cheese, I learned how I often respond to change and how I really should be reacting to change. It also makes me think about what it would be like to be a manager and undergoing big changes that many in the department wouldn’t like. 

As I was watching the Who Moved my Cheese video I thought it was interesting the things Hay was writing on the wall. He wrote those things as he learned and had personal epiphanies and he wrote them in order to help Hem find his way should he ever give up living in the past. I also don’t think I thought about Sniff and Scurry enough and how they handles change. Sniff seemed to be the one finding research and deciding where to look next. Scurry hurried forward with the information Sniff gave him and followed his directions well. They made a good team in finding new cheese quickly.

Moving forward in my career I will hopefully now look at change a little bit differently. Will I be like Hem and refuse to adapt to new methods? Or will I be like Scurry and follow directions in hope of finding satisfaction of new cheese? At any rate I think if the change is good, we should all try to adapt to change quickly and try to help those who aren’t so good at adapting to change so we can all work effectively together as a team. 

Budgeting Interview

This week I interviewed Bill Keel, the director of networking for Digicert, a web communications security company based out of Lehi. His budget for this year was $72M and his department is very busy this year with the acquisition of Symantec.

The thing I liked most from this interview was learning how easy and beneficial it is to include your team when facing budgeting concerns. Bill talked about how with each decision on setting up networks he will inform his team on their budget and attempt to save money while maintaining quality. When I asked Bill if this was a company wide policy to involve his team so much in budget questions he said that as far as he knew he was the only manager who didn’t prefer to solve budget questions himself.

I also learned how your budget can differ year to year in a growing company. His department previously had a $24M budget but with the acquisition of Symantec the companies expenses have grown. During this acquisition the company CFO, who he reports his budget to, is more relaxed. Bill states he has not come over budget yet, but he has to present his budget every month to the board and CFO and must be accountable for it.

It was also interesting to learn how this company incentivizes saving money for the company. If the company has done well enough, they will give their employees something called a “digitrip” which is basically a company financed vacation for your family. Whats interesting is you can only go on the digitrip and not cash it out, the company only reimburses you after you have made the travel arrangements. Bill said he was able to completely finance a trip to Europe last year thanks to this reimbursement.

In summary, I learned most from this interview an effective management style when it comes to budgeting. It has helped Bill to include his employees when making budget decisions. I also learned how your management can be flexible on the budget depending on different things that are happening with the company.

Reflective Journal Week 10

This week we’ve focused scheduling and career development. Both interesting topics. Career development has been interesting to discuss. I’ve received valuable insights from my group members.

While discussing scheduling I have learned about some other good methods that my group members have on their units. It seems like most methods favor nurses with seniority, which is fine, but I think there needs to be more of a balance to keep newer nurses. Someone mentioned that they left their floor because the scheduling was so bad and I think that happens a lot. I like the methods that made newer nurses only work every other weekend and rotate holidays. 

This will change the way I look at scheduling and the possibilities for scheduling in the future. Currently on my floor the manager and the timekeeper primarily deal with scheduling but perhaps I can volunteer to help take some of the load of my managers plate.

Reflective Journal – Week 9

This has been a peculiar week. I have felt particularly disconnected from my school work for some reason. Maybe its because I listened to all my lectures on Tuesday then put off most of my assignments until the weekend. It may also be the fact that I have worked nights this week when I have been used to days. It has certainly thrown off my schedule.

Anyways this week we discussed the future of nursing and listened to an interesting presentation on where nursing is going. I learned what goals have been set forth for the profession and that is widely accepted as a consensus. These goals include diversity in nursing, more nurses with higher education, more nurses in leadership positions, and increased research about nursing and by nurses. While I agree with most of these goals, I am just a bit hung up on receiving higher education. I am usually in favor of more education but in this case I feel like it is not in everyone’s best interest to go on and receive higher education. While I don’t think it is Dr. Gonzales-Guarda’s intention for every nurse to pursue higher education, I do think its worth noting that there are many nurses who can best help the profession by sticking around and being great resources and coaches for newer, less experienced, nurses.

I feel that I will use this information in my practice a bit differently than other nurses in the class because I now work at a smaller hospital. I think that this unit has provided me knowledge and ideas of how to progress in my own career, and I place high value on that.

Reflective Journal – Week 8

This week has been another busy one for me and my family. Will it be any other way while I am in school? This is my last semester so the lights at the end of the tunnel. This week we focused on budgeting. Sean warned this would make us fall asleep if we didn’t have anything else to do while listening to this lecture and he was right.  This was definitely the hardest for me to finish so far.  I still learned some valuable things however.

 I learned how complicated the physical budget can be when you’re looking at it on paper. I also learned how complicated it can be when you have to cut back on your budget somewhere. I must have poured over that budget for more than an hour before I even started writing anything for that assignment, and I’m sure if I were a real manager I would have needed to pour over it for way longer than just an hour. The team activity this week was a little disorganized because I feel like we all interpreted the directions for the assignment differently. I made very specific areas we could cut while others only made general areas we could cut. I guess it shows how people would have different approaches to the budget in real life.

The changes I will make to my practice going forward are that I will definitely try to be less wasteful. From this assignment I can see how wastefulness could eventually lead to a meeting of a board of directors who could consider lowering my overtime opportunities in order to stay within budget.


Reflective Journal – Week 7

School continues and life goes on. This week was another great week. Me and my family are starting to get settled in at our new place in Monroe, I’ve enjoyed my new job and am reaching the end of my orientation, next week I’ll do my night shifts then I’ll finally get to be on my own. Each Monday night I’m driving up to stay with my sister so I can attend my on campus classes Tuesday mornings. The snow storms have made that drive interesting.

Anyways, this week our team was set up for debate. Or at the very least lively discussion. One of the topics was Who makes better leaders- Men or Women? Its’s hard to have a lively debate online on the discussion boards but I did enjoy hearing what the ladies in my group had to say. I’m the only guy and I answered women. I have to say it was in part because I didn’t want to stir the hornets nest but also because I honestly believe the best manager I’ve had was a woman. My mind wasn’t changed on anything, but it did make me want to be the kind of manager one day that will make an employee say “he was the best manager I ever had”.

The interview I had was with an upper level Walmart Market Manager. When I say high up I mean it – he managed multiple stores across several states and traveled a lot. I’m lucky because he’s my wife’s uncle and was happy to help with the assignment, though when we started it didn’t feel like an assignment, it was so interesting. The answer that I liked the most was how in a particular story he regretted not sticking up for his employees like he felt he should have. He was promoted several times so I know he was a good manager, but it changed the way he managed his employees.

I definitely would like to make it to a management position here at this Richfield hospital. One barrier I foresee is that most of the nurses are women and I worry that I will not be able to relate to them very well or we ill have communication differences. This unit though has helped that a bit though. I’m not saying I will be a manager the year or even in 5 years but going through the material has opened my eyes to professional differences between both sexes that I hope will help me in the future. Garths interview also provided valuable insight and I’m glad to have him around for more questions in the future.