Flexibility for nurses as well as for everyone in a job is something that is desirable. Most people do not like to be told how, what and when to do things. Let’s take a look at this in more depth.
Flexibility At Work
Most people know what their job requires and entails. Maybe when we first start a job we need to be apprised of this, but then the person should be able to do the job without constant supervision. As long as we get done what is expected of us each day one should have the flexibility to do it in the order that he sees fit as long as it is accomplished by the end of his day. Sometimes things need to be done in a certain orer, but otherwise it should not matter when he works on it.
I was teaching a class in nursing one day and talking about doing things as the patient wants them done. An example that I gave was the order in which the nurse gave the patient a bath. I was telling them about a patient that wanted his feet washed before he had his face washed(sounds crazy, doesn’t it?). This goes against the way that nurses are taught to give a bath, but does it really matter? Well, not to me or to most people, but to some supervisors it might since the caretaker is not following protocol.
Flexibility—-If the patient wants it to be done in this order and as long as it is not hurting htm, I think it is perfectly ok. Of course you would use a clean cloth and change the water so that it is clean, too, do it his way. It is not worth it to upset the patient over something so trivial and stupid, yet, sometimes it is huge issue.
I am sure that there are many situations where an issue is made out of little things at work.
Everyone likes to have some flexibility in their job. It could get to be very boring if one does the same thing day after day, hour after hour, for most people. That may not be true to everyone. Sometimes it may give the worker a sense of security, but my guess is that this is not usually the case.
How Management Views Flexibility
The example that I gave above may tell you how management feels. This is not always true and certainly not true of all supervisors. Hopefully this is changing in the workplace. Many times supervisors feel like they have to be in control. If one of the workers is flexibile maybe what needs to get done will not get done or done correctly. Really? Is this really true?
It sounds like the manager is insecure.
What would happen if the worker was allowed to be flexible? My guess is nothing. The job will probably still get done and probably done right and without incident. The worker and the manager will probably be less stressed and all will even go better than if management had an issue with the flexibility.
Studies have been done with big companies and it has been found that when staff is allowed to have some flexibility, they actually give more and perform better than when not allowed to do things less flexibily. I remember reading about one company that even set up a place where staff can take a short break and a short nap if the person felt that he really needed it that particular day. The company actually got more work from the person after he had a short rest than he would have if the person just struggled to keep going when he was so exhausted.
Nurses And Flexibility In Traditional Jobs
It is amazing how trusting supervisors are of their staff. Do they really think that staff is going to do something that will hurt patients if the supervisors are not on their back constantly? Have they ever heard of th theorist in psychology called Carl Rogers, who says that all living organisms move in a forward, positive direction that will enhance their being. If one believes this how can one not believe that a care giver is going do all that he or she can to to make his patien’t life better? The care giver does not need to be watched constantly for fear that the staff member will do something that will hurt the patient and consequently the hospital. He can be flexible and when it is not a good move, he will not do it.
However, nurses have very little flexibility in hospitals and other traditional health care facilities. Most hospitals won’t even trust that staff will get to work on time. The have to punch in. Actually if the person were allowed to be flexible even in this little thing, most of the time staff will not only get there on time, but even arrive early. I have a relative that works in a hospital and she just about always gets to and plans to get to work twenty minutes early every day and chances are that if she is late she will stay late to make up that time.
What if her son is in a concert that evening? Why can’t there be flexibility that would allow her to leave early that day so she can go this and stay late tomorrow to make up the time? Oh, I know; not everyone would do this, but maybe if they were given more flexibility staff would work harder and give more to their employer.
I remember reading in a parents magazine about this particular hospital being so good to their working mothers. They went on to say that the mothers with small children were given the flexibility to stay home if there was a snow day or if the child was ill. I said, “Really; is this the same hospital where you work?” Her experience was that you might face discliplinary action if you do this. There is no flexibility. One is allowed x number of calls in and then discliplinary action will be taken which might even mean losing your job. Mothers can not control the weather. What are you supposed to do if you have little children?
Other Jobs for Nurses Where Flexibility Is A Given
I think I have already touched on this subject. If a person has some flexibility in their workplace, probably the company will get more from their employees. When a person has some flexibility he feels trusted and when he feels trusted he feels better about himself and wants to do and give more.
I have worked in jobs where I had flexibility. One of these jobs was at a home care agency. When I first started working there we had to be there at a given time and left at t given time, even if we had seen all of our patients done all of our paper work. Then their policies changed. We no longer had to start our day at the office or end our day there and stay until 4:30 PM. We had to see out patients, do out paper work and make calls that were needed for patient care and attend meetings when scheduled. What a difference this made. Our time was our own as long as we saw our patients and got everything done. We could do our calls and paper work from home. We now had flexibility. It was great and most of us actually put in more time and effort than when we had to be in the office.
I worked in a prison as a supervisor and had flexibility. Some days I worked late and some days I went in late. Again I just had to get my work done. When I taught in a school of nursing I had some flexibility, too. There are a lot of jobs for nurses in sales where she comes and goes as she pleases and is able to work from home some of the time. My guess is that in all of these jobs people put in a lot more time than in jobs where you have to be in the building at you station for eight hours.
Nurses as writers today and there are a lot of telecommuter jobs coming into existence. Another nontraditional possibilty is to own your own business on-line. These of course give you a lot of flexibilty. You don’t have to work a given number of hours a day or time of day. You can work in the middle of the day if you want to and you can take time out to do your house work and pick up the children in between working at these jobs.
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There are a lot of jobs in healthcare that can not be flexible as far as being at the facility for eight hours to provide direct care, but even here it is possible to give nurses more flexibility in how they do it and the hours they work and many other ways. Hospitals need to explore this and provide healthcare workers with more flexible. Hospitals will reap the reward if they do so.
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