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Accepting Criticism At Work

Posted Oct 28 2008 9:58pm
In travel nursing, you must be able to accept criticism. You are going into a jungle of many different animals and if you are the meek little domestic tabby then you are going to be eaten alive. You are the one making the big bucks, and some will have the expectation that you have to be perfect and you have to work harder than the others. When you aren’t perfect, someone will tell you about it.

When someone approaches you with something that you have done that makes them angry enough for them to tell you about it, you first need to ask them to talk to you about it when the time and place is appropriate. In other words, don’t let them criticize you in front of patients or other co-workers. Invite them to set down with you at lunch and discuss their problem with you.

After they voice their opinion about why they are upset at you, then ask for specific examples of what exactly you have done to cause the problem.
Actively listen to what they are saying. Are they putting you down to lift themselves up, or is it actually something that you could improve on? Are they rambling on just to hear themselves talk or are they actually making sense? What is their motive? You must consider the source. There are people who will argue with anyone and will gripe about anything just too see your reaction. The gripers usually are not hard to find either. Usually they have something to say everyday about how they think that things should be run.

There are also those people who target you, as the traveler. They don’t like travelers and they won’t let up on you until they think they have won. These people are more of a challenge and may have to be reported to the recruiter or the nurse manager. This kind of conflict will affect the whole unit by bringing down morale.

After you have heard what they have to say, then you need to separate the fact from fiction and the important from the trivial. Is what they are saying going to matter in a week or in a month? Will it make a change in your nursing professionalism? Keep all the useful information and discard the information that may be used to crush your self-esteem and work ethic. +

Discard all the negative feelings also. Ever worked with a charge nurse who all they ever did was charge? Although these people may seem to be bossy and griping all the time about you not getting things done the way they think it should be done. You must discard the negative feeling that all they ever does is set around and boss people. Tell the charge that you are doing the best job that you can. Think of it as she is just attempting to guide you and help you remember what you need to do. Sometimes reminders are great, but sometimes they can give you bogged down feeling… just don’t let the negative feelings take over the situation.

After you have listened to what they have said, take that information home and digest it. What did they really say? What did they really mean? How can you change to make things better at the work place. Remember that we can’t change how other feel, but we can change our WE feel about others.

Written by Epstein LaRue, RN, BS, author of "Highway Hypodermics: Your Road Map To Travel Nursing", "Love At First Type", and "Crazy Thoughts of Passion."
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