Wanted: People who can identify and then solve their own problems

Recently, I seem to be approached by more and more people with what amounts to "I have this problem, and I want you to fix it".  This is usually medically related (IV access, meds), but is often just personality-conflict in action, or occasionally plain sloth.

 Yes, you have identified a problem: Congratulations!  However, that skill is not terribly unique.  You want to be unique with your quiz?  When you find a problem, come up with a solution!  It doesn’t have to perfect, but should be plausible ("We’ll give them a million and a new identity" would be a good soultion for many folks, but isn’t really tenable).

I know my job exists essentially to solve the problems of others, but that doesn’t mean I want to solve every problem that can occur.  (I don’t know about validating parking, and, truthfully, I could care less)(I’m sorry your patient is unpleasant, but as there is no pleasant-pill, and if there was I couldn’t force them to take it, you need to get over it).  Yes, I’m pretty good at what I do, but I’m not indispensible, and would like for You to show me how good a problem-solver you are.

Stumped?  Bring me the question.  I may not have any ideas, but I’ll try.  However, I’ll bet with just about 15 seconds of cogitation you could come up with several ideas that would solve the current problem, make you look a little smarter, and frankly expand your problem-solving horizon, ultimately making you a better caregiver.  Occasionally, the question won’t even be necessary!

 So, think: then ask.  I’ll be glad to answer.  If needed.


Comments

  1. Bad Shift says:

    I ask: “What did you have in mind?” Unfortunately the answer is often a blank stare. Worse than what you describe is when the problem gets referred to me before it is even identified. For example, “the wife of the patient in room one wants to talk to you.” “What about?” “I don’t know.” “Did you ask?” “No.” There has to be some fielding going on. The quarterback can’t throw the ball, block, catch, and then run. Whoops that was 2 different sports metaphors. I should really sleep between night shifts and reading your blog, GD!

  2. Beary Potter says:

    Sounds like the educational world, too! Hang in there!

  3. emt2doc says:

    Re: “the wife of the patient in room one wants to talk to you.” “What about?” “I don’t know.” “Did you ask?” “No.”

    Perhaps they’re not sure how to screen for you. “May I tell him what it’s in regards to?” This is where I love having sales and receptionist experience. Somewhere along the way, I have found that worded exactly as so sounds the least like screening.

  4. Of course there’s a “pleasant-pill”: Ativan! and frankly, there isn’t enough of it in the world. Unfortunately, you can only give it to your patient, and not their high-strung family members.

  5. Whew! I feel better. I was wondering if I was the only one who experienced a continuous mind numbing minute by minute barrage of:

    “Dr. I can’t start an IV in bed 2″
    “Dr. The patient in D is driving me crazy”
    “Dr. the patient in G has no clothes to wear home
    “Dr. Nobody is here to pick up the patient in 4″
    “Dr. Bed A doesn’t want to cooperate with treatment”
    “Dr. the patient in 9 is refusing his test”
    “Dr. the patient in 4 is still having pain”

    etc…..

    In the case of the last patient these things have already been anticipated by me. The nurse gave 5mg of morphine but fails to read the entire order written that states “GIVE 5 MG MORPHINE EVERY 20 MINUTES AS NEEDED FOR RECURRENT PAIN”

  6. This quote might help you feel a little better:

    “When people stop coming to you with small problems, you have stopped being their leader”.

  7. NoAcuteDistress says:

    Or how about:

    “When people stop coming to you with small problems, you have stopped being their mother.”

  8. Bad Shift says:

    I thought about this tonight during my shift and decided to try this tactic: “What would you like to do?” The best response was to a J-tube problem: “I guess I can go to central supply and see if we have an adapter.” This from someone whom I expected to shrug. So it worked pretty well. I don’t want to overuse it, though.

  9. TheNewGuy says:

    Independent thought is such a rare, fragile bird… I always encourage initiative whenever any of my staff displays it.

    Think and problem-solve… have a suggestion or an idea before you come ask me, because I’ll simply ask you “what do you want to do?”( “I don’t know” or “I’m just conveying the message” is generally not an acceptable answer).

    Nurses are professionals in their own right, and I try to never let them lapse into being robots (mindlessly going through the motions undoubtedly makes the shift go faster, and is certainly easier than expending effort to wrestle with problems, but that’s not what that RN or LPN degree is for).

  10. “Of course there’s a “pleasant-pill”: Ativan! and frankly, there isn’t enough of it in the world. Unfortunately, you can only give it to your patient, and not their high-strung family members.”

    Hmmmmm, Ativan isn’t the answer (trust me, I know). . . Let them be high-strung, then come back here and blog about them. ;o)

  11. Soar Loosers says:

    “Duly Noted!” implying now f’off and don’t bother me unless the patient is coding.