1. Raso, Rosanne RN, CNAA, MS

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QI've been at my job for 5 years now and still really enjoy it. However, recruiters tell me that I shouldn't stay at the same organization too long. What's considered "too long"?


There's no such thing as a set "too long" period in a position; that decision is relative to your career goals, personal job satisfaction, workplace, market dynamics, and even chance. Opportunities sometimes arise that are too amazing to turn down even when you're not looking. If your career goals include advancing your scope of responsibility, authority, or involvement, or even changing your practice arena or role, then you should be looking for other prospects. But keep in mind that those opportunities can also happen in your current job.


Discuss your goals with your manager and make a career development plan. Consider taking on a new project or an additional area of responsibility. Join a committee or start working in an adjunct role in a local nursing school. You could even start in a succession plan for the next level of responsibility. The possibilities are endless if you're in an environment that supports you and values leadership development.


Your resume will then reflect continuous growth, even though you're holding the same position. When I'm hiring, I look for a track record of growth and accomplishment, not necessarily length of time in the same job. Remember, recruiters are incentivized to place you in another job, not keep you where you are!! The most important things are to enjoy your work, make a difference, continuously learn, and meet your personal career goals; it's not "too long" if you're achieving those points.

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QMy administrative assistant is excellent, but she frequently oversteps her boundaries and makes decisions without consulting me. How should I address this without offending her?


It seems that performance management is always the most challenging function in our leadership roles. There are many resources to guide you on appropriate strategies including books, workshops, webinars, and even your facility's human resources department or internal labor relations experts. I use the model in the book Crucial Confrontations by Patterson, Grenny, McMillan, and Switzler.1 This publication describes crucial confrontations as face-to-face accountability discussions. Confrontation doesn't have to be negative; it's a difference in expectations to be managed and often proves to be a learning experience for both parties.


The first step is to prepare yourself and get to the root of the problem. (Is this about the decisions your assistant is making or does it run deeper in that you feel your authority is being undermined?) Be clear on the content of the issue. Looking at intentions and consequences also helps us understand what we really want to address.1 Has he or she made poor decisions? And if yes, why were they poor? Then you have to "work on yourself" so that you have the conversation in an objective and informed way. You don't want to confront your assistant in a negative or punishing manner with an assumption that he or she's behaving badly. Describe the gap between what you expect and what you're seeing in a factual and respectful way, and make it clear you want to clarify expectations. End with a mutually agreed plan for the future. And of course, do it privately. You'd be surprised at what you find out: Your assistant may be completely well intentioned by trying to make your hectic life easier, or she may have misinterpreted signs from you that she should be making more decisions.




1. Patterson, Grenny, McMillan, Switzler. Crucial Conversations. McGraw-Hill Professional; 2004. [Context Link]