1. Salladay, Susan A. RN, PhD

Article Content

Last year I changed hospitals, accepting a new position as a unit manager (UM). My boss, who previously filled the position, was promoted to assistant vice president of nursing. I love my job and have done well, with documented improvements and cost savings and a 65% increase in staff morale on the unit's satisfaction survey. So what's the problem? My boss constantly tries to micromanage everything I do. Last week she said my proposed budget was "unreasonable and unprofessional." When I asked what she meant, she said that her boss, the vice president of nursing, had complained that I was trying to hog resources for my unit. Then she told me that she was "forced" to cut my staff education budget by 75%. This made no sense to me so I spoke directly with her boss, who said she hadn't even seen my budget proposal yet but encouraged me to "keep up the good work."


For whatever reason, my boss seems determined to undermine my hard-earned success. How should I handle this situation?-H.G., WASH.


Hospitals typically have policies to address employees' rights of grievance, particularly regarding harassment. Check your human resources manual to make sure that policies cover situations beyond sexual harassment.


But before pursuing this route, try resolving the situation in a constructive way. For example, ask other UMs for insights about your boss's management style (because you're new to the hospital) and for help troubleshooting the types of issues that have arisen between you and your boss. Be sure to maintain a professional tone and avoid making accusations. Document every report and communication with your boss and cc the vice president of nursing as appropriate. Save copies for your personal file.


You may believe that your new boss is a control freak who's trying to sabotage you, but thinking like this can cause you to doubt your own good judgment - and that diminishes your confidence. So avoid negative thinking. If your own actions are honest, trustworthy, and above reproach, you'll never be on the defensive.