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“Make Them Stop Fighting” May 16, 2008

Posted by mariemanthey in Academia, Nursing Salons, Professional Practice, Values.
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At last night’s (May 15) Salon, a Clinical Nurse Specialist told of an incident he was involved in yesterday, when another staff member asked him to “make them stop fighting”. The “them” was a Nurse Practitioner and a Medical Resident. The “fight” was a role conflict that surfaced during a patient discharge. You can guess. The resident said the practitioner was practicing medicine and the practitioner said the resident … well, you can fill in the blanks. This “fight” delayed the patient’s discharge by 5 hours!

This was one of the many experiences the 20+ guests brought to last night’s discussion. And this particular incident led us into an interesting and informative discussion of role conflicts: what they mean, how to deal with them, and how to avoid them.

Two of the guests had graduated just the day before our gathering and are interested in how to enter the work world in a healthy way. One guest was a nurse leader from Kenya, Africa, whose issues mirror ours in so many ways, even when the systems and the cultures are so different. She spoke of the problem of nurses not being confident and many people talked about ways to acquire inner strength as a nurse.

A topic brought up almost every month is the issue of “entry level” into practice. A related topic was the new roles being created in new education programs. ADs,BSNs, MN, CNS, CNL, DNP, Phd. Last night we eliminated some people’s confusion. Others learned about new developments. The discussion ultimately focused on the many complexities we face, and how we, as a profession, stay united in purpose and integrated in message as we continue to evolve.

As always, the contribution of individuals reflected the uncertainty and pain of change — but also the hope and belief that, whatever our preparation, our relationships with patients, with ourselves and each other is the key to honoring our covenant with society.


I encourage everyone reading this to, first of all, add your 2 cents worth to the discussion. I love to read your comments and will respond. Secondly, join me in a campaign to replicate these Salons. I am convinced that nurses desperately need a safe place to talk about the issues we face in daily practice, as well as the complexities of providing appropriate care in the broken health care system.

I will help anyone interested in getting one started. I have a new written description that summarizes my experience hosting one for seven years. The healing that occurs when these deep connections are made about important experiences is truly profound. And it is very easy to have a salon. Just ask and I will tell you how easily it can be done.

The wonderful thing about these gatherings is that there is no agenda, no minutes and no action steps! No carry-over from one to another. Each one is a total event in itself. We just come together in a safe environment, agree to professional confidentiality and use the Socrates Cafe format to handle the discussion. The result is hope and healing.

My goal now is to have websites throughout the US where a nurse can go to see the Salons scheduled in his/her city/town for the month! Nurses can then pick the one to go to based on their own schedule and the events location.

Several of us have started talking about how to do this. Frankly, we don’t have a road-map, but then,we didn’t have a road-map for Primary Nursing back in the late sixties. Look how that idea spread from one unit at the U of M to a world-wide movement!

I know this one can too.