Authors

  1. Hader, Richard PhD, NE-BC, RN, CHE, CPHQ, FAAN

Article Content

News headlines are frequently dominated by accounts of high profile, seemingly respected individuals accused of personal or professional shortcomings. Illegal or immoral activities appear to be commonplace for those who are well established and have excelled in their careers. What ignites poor decision making among people who appear to have everything? Do they understand that their actions may result in dramatic untoward effects on their careers and personal lives? Is bad behavior generated from a sense of entitlement?

 

Whether it's elected officials who've accepted bribes or the revelation of the tumultuous affairs of sports figures, a common thread appears to be that the individuals involved all developed a strong self-confidence and an overinflated ego-both rationalized by a sense of entitlement. Many individuals who have their trespasses exposed believe that because of their societal rank, they no longer have to follow a standard set of rules or behaviors reserved for those who are less successful than they are.

  
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Nurses aren't immune from making poor professional choices. Some nurses have a tendency to believe that because of their tenure within an organization or their years of experience, they should be pardoned from the basic expectations of their positions. Minor infractions might include taking longer than allowed breaks, tardiness, excessive absenteeism, or inappropriately verbalizing their frustrations. As nurse managers we need to be consistent on how we deal with these issues. Both senior and junior nurses within the department will be carefully examining the situation to see if you distinguish the manner in which the issue is handled. Your credibility will be severely damaged if your actions aren't consistent for all and appropriate for the situation.

 

Nurses need to fully understand that they're in a profession that's governed by regulatory agencies. Failure to fully comply with established principles and guidelines may yield detrimental results. Breaches in practice such as failing to sign opioid wastage, writing orders from physicians without appropriate authorization, and making clinical decisions outside the scope of practice are all examples of behaviors that aren't only wrong, but may be illegal as well. Failure to follow established principles in behavior may not only result in losing a job, but also culminate in the forfeiture of a state nursing license or even imprisonment.

 

As nurse leaders we need to appreciate that our role in the organization doesn't abdicate our responsibility to consistently act in a manner that's in accordance with the standards of the profession. It's imperative for us to role model conduct that's of the highest standards and not fall prey to believing that the leadership role we hold allows us to behave inappropriately. Most nurse managers are responsible for managing millions of dollars and leading many team members. The highest degree of integrity and honesty must be consistently practiced to maintain a safe and fair work setting.

 

Tenured team members and leaders commonly receive privileges that more junior members need to earn. Seniority benefits commonly include higher salaries, better parking, more vacation time, and other earned rewards dependent on the social and economic status of the organization. These types of privileges should be preserved and enhanced but shouldn't jeopardize the organization's integrity. The benefits that senior staff and leaders receive should be based on the wisdom they impart to others. Experience should never be construed as an authorization to act in a manner that's inconsistent with established standards and principles of the profession.

 

Richard Hader

  
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nursing.management@wolterskluwer.com