A few years ago I had a great coaching opportunity with a wonderful emerging nurse leader. We were just two weeks into our coaching relationship when she had an epiphany about one of her staff nurses that helped make a positive shift for their whole team.
During our coaching sessions “Debbie” shared her frustrations about “Sarah,” an informal leader on her team. When I asked her to share specific examples and statements that annoyed her, Debbie had no trouble ticking off three or four stories.
After listening to her examples, I asked if she could see a theme woven throughout the stories. She paused, thought, and I could see the lightbulb go on. She said, “Oh my gosh, Sarah is blaming the patients for her dissatisfaction. She thinks that patients are a disruption in her day. They are the reason we are all here. Not a disruption.”
If I had a dollar for every time I heard physicians and staff lament about how difficult patients make their lives, I’d be writing this blog from my private island just off of Belize. This type of thinking is more prevalent than you may know. And, when accepted, fosters a culture of blaming patients. Don’t let it happen.
I believe that people choose healthcare careers because they care and want to make a difference. I also believe that when busy and stressed, they can fall into negative thinking patterns that feed poor morale. Help spot the statements, and challenge the speaker to reframe it. When you do, you’re helping them to develop personal awareness and reconnect to the purpose of their work.