Really? This is an actual statement that I heard recently from a nurse. My bad. I hadn’t realized that it takes extra time to smile and make eye contact while running through vital signs or checking on pain control. Of course this is as ludicrous as the statement. A salty old ER nurse made to me years ago saying, “They don’t pay me enough to be nice.” I guess being nice costs extra and that wasn’t spelled out in her job description. And apparently, being nice wasn’t required as a basic element of job performance or she wouldn’t have remained gainfully employed in that ER for 30 years.
What happens to make these nurses lose their connection to purpose? You might tell me it’s the staffing and patient acuity, but it has to be more than that. Being busy is the nature of the work. And I’m yet to see a nurse leader being stopped by a staff nurse just to say they are well staffed and enjoying a well-paced shift.
The nurse who had told me, “They don’t pay me enough to be nice,” was allowed to cop an attitude, be rude to patients, and ultimately damage the organization’s reputation.
If you have this type of character on your staff, it’s time to have a heart-to-heart talk. Let him or her know how they come across to others. Is this the reputation they want for themselves and the organization? You can’t afford to make this behavior part of your brand experience. Remember, what you permit, you promote.