Dear Nurse Marge,
Most of the nurses I work with can’t wait to get out of work when the day is done – if you’re standing in their way once they’re finished giving report, look out because you’re going to get run over! But there’s one nurse, we’ll call here Chatty Cathy, who just does not want to go home.
And I get it, because she’s got a loser husband at home who doesn’t do anything besides complain, a teenage son who dropped out of school and won’t get a job, and two twin daughters who are the terror of the high school – when they can be bothered to go.
How do I know all of this? Because Chatty Cathy tells me all of it, in long and excruciating detail. The best part is that she does this DURING report, woven in between details about new admissions and medication changes and the thirty seven things management wants done differently today. By the time she’s done, I’m already late getting started, and I feel like I spend the entire shift ‘catching up’ – even though I’m getting to work on time. Even early.
What do I do about Chatty Cathy? I can’t blame her for not wanting to go home. I wouldn’t want to go either! But she’s messing up my day and it’s making me nuts.
Not My Problem!
Dear Not My Problem,
Chatty Cathy might not want to go home, but she doesn’t need to screw up your day, either. The trick is to give her a third option: something that she wants to do, that’s fun, that encourages her to give you report quickly and get her out of your hair and onto happiness.
Maybe you could suggest some of these things to her. Mention there’s a great sale at a local store. Maybe you could slip her a gift card for the local coffee shop. Tell her about the fabulous parade scheduled for later that afternoon. A few gentle suggestions might be enough to get her headed in the right direction. Sometimes people need to hear that they have other options besides work and home – even a walk around the park has got to be more fun than spending extra hours on the unit!