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Celebrating books: ‘Should’ – taking back your power over words [to post whenever too busy for notes!] June 23, 2017

Posted by mariemanthey in Creative Health Care Management, Inspiration, Leadership, Professional Practice.
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In the midst of all the Symposium goings-on, we wanted to take a minute and celebrate the work of one of our CHCM staff member, Rebecca Smith. At CHCM she is involved in all the writing activities of the company, and also consults in the area of human communication/relationships.

Creative Health Care Management last year re-issued Rebecca’s book: ‘Should: How Habits of Language Shape Our Lives‘, due to its very useful applicability to the health care environment.

In ‘Should’, Rebecca explores the power of language at a psychological level – the power it has to hold us back or to move us forward. It is another non-silo work, applicable to everyone in every part of their life. Including, of course, nurses.

I had the privilege of providing the foreward for the 2016 edition and here’s an excerpt from that:

‘The culture of nursing is replete with all forms of oppression, but I have always thought that the most insidious among them is self-oppression, often referred to as victim mentality. There is no question that our work is hard or that there is, and will always be, more work to do than time or resources to do it. In fact, it is no mystery why people in all disciplines within health care might slip into feeling victimized or oppressed.

But that doesn’t mean self-oppression and victim mentality are the only choices available to us.

Self-empowerment — the opposite of self-oppression — is possible for all people in all circumstances (remember how self-empowered Nelson Mandela became during his time in prison!), and just as the name implies, it happens from the inside out. It happens because of the decisions we make to empower ourselves, and one of the most direct routes to doing so comes through noticing and changing the language we use to describe our lives. If our language is full of references to our own powerlessness, what kinds of stories do we end up telling ourselves about who we are, what we do, and how much we matter?

Part conceptual, part workbook, this work is full of concrete, applicable ideas. If you’ve already read Rebecca’s book, we’d love to hear about your experiences with her ideas. Otherwise we strongly encourage you to pick up a copy for your self-empowerment library!

 

RAA Part III – Achieving Full Experience of Will Power June 15, 2017

Posted by mariemanthey in Creative Health Care Management, Manthey Life Mosaic.
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This is part III of an initial series of articles about RAA. Here are links to the previous parts:

RAA Part I

RAA Part II

 

After 10 years of experience applying these ideas to professional roles and organizational structures, I began thinking about them in relation to my own life.

By this time one thing I knew for sure was that when nurses accepted responsibility for the Primary Nursing (PN) role, they experienced empowerment and manifested less victim behavior than before…..and much less than those who’s did not accept responsibility.

I also knew for sure that accepting responsibility was an experiential activity……not an intellectual activity.   You can’t just think you are responsible….you have to experience it, to literally place yourself in the position of being responsible, in order to have full access to legitimate authority.

In PN, this only seemed to occur when the nurse established a responsibility relationship with the patient.   The explicit establishment of that relationship was necessary in order for the nurse to experience responsibility acceptance. The closed door of power (personal or other) only opens when an individual experientially recognizes their responsibility.

So, my epiphany moment occurred when I asked myself the question of whether or not I had accepted responsibility for my life.

I immediately remembered with resentment areas of my life where I felt victimized.   My ex-husband, a former boss….etc.   With great clarity I knew that if I had truly accepted responsibility for all aspects of my life, I would not feel victimized by past events. As this thought process evolved, I recognized that accepting responsibility for one’s own life involves the three major components of behavior: thinking, feeling and acting.

So, accepting responsibility for my thinking meant I had to develop new thought processes.  Often, my thinking fell into automatic pathways developed over the passage of life.   These pathways needed to be examined and in many cases changed, as they led directly to victim thinking.

The new thinking required the development of new neuron pathways, and then also lots of deliberate practice until consciousness of choice became my automatic thought process in response to situations and events in my life. This involved learning to make space in my reactions to events and people for the experience of choice.

Likewise, accepting responsibility for my feelings meant I had to learn some skills for handling feelings in an appropriate way which also often involved changing the way I think.   The connection between thinking and feeling began to be more manageable. Further, accepting responsibility for my actions helped me recognize the connection between thinking and acting and how action can positively influence thinking and feeling.

This overall development required me to develop new ways of being in my life, and the results have been increased positive energy, increased choices, and increased well-being.

Nursing: More Work to do than Time Available June 6, 2017

Posted by mariemanthey in Leadership, Professional Practice.
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Nursing staffs often face unpredictable peaks in workload. These peaks can occur at any time and maybe be caused by any of a number of factors: unexpected admissions, sudden changes in patients’ acuity levels, or true life-or-death emergency situations.

These peaks are sudden, stressful, and highly charged emotional events.

As workload escalates, experienced staff members begin prioritizing and scanning: scanning the care environment, selecting the next most important thing to do, and doing it.

This triage process may go on for minutes or hours, is informed by high-level critical thinking, and results in  patients receiving safe and adequate care but not receiving every item of ordered or desired care.

Those non-delivered care items are not consciously omitted, nor are they forgotten. In fact, they lie waiting in the nurse’s professional- thinking brain space until the stress is over, the documentation is done and they have left for the day. On the way home, these ‘undone’ activities float to the surface and cause feelings of guilt, failure and anger – anger because the quality of care delivered didn’t meet the nurse’s own standard for care.

I believe that the treatment for this situation is to acknowledge explicitly throughout the profession and throughout the health care system that, as professionals, nurses have the right and the responsibility to determine what to do and what not to do when there is more work to do than time available.   And when questioned,  nurses need to be able explain their rationale for the decisions that were made.

Common sense requires recognition of this reality.

Recognition and understanding of heretofore  ‘hidden truths’ about nursing work can lead to much more productive research and practices, and can help dispel legacy myths about nursing practice…that we  always give total patient care.   That leads us right into the dysfunctional mind set of fear and guilt about staffing that now is all too often present in the life of a staff nurse.

More about ‘hidden truths’ relation to nurse resources and nurse workload in another posting.

Belief: Health in Healthcare June 4, 2017

Posted by mariemanthey in Creative Health Care Management, Inspiration, Manthey Life Mosaic, Thought for today.
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From the notebook of Marie Manthey, 1982

Belief:

CNM (CHCM now) believes that the relationship between mind and body is absolutely integrated and that the state of mind clearly influences the health of the body.

Management of health professionals, therefore, must consist of teaching this relationship as a management value and teaching managers how to manage their lives.

Basic principles of management should be taught at both the humanistic and scientific levels.

Advanced management training programs we developed promote the use of unique creative living approaches to solving complex organization problems.

Hospitals must be healthy so that the staff can help patients regain their health. The organizational diseases of disinterest, apathy, anger, isolationism,  generally negative interpersonal relationships and the illegitimate punitive use of power are manifestations of disease and can be treated by changing attitudes and perspectives and teaching basic truths of human existence and behavior.

Absence of RAA – Problems Universal May 16, 2017

Posted by mariemanthey in Inspiration, Leadership, Professional Practice.
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..Disparity in the balance between responsibility, authority and accountability at the personal, departmental and administrative levels of operations creates dysfunctional organizations and troubled human relationships.

Case Study Working Kitchen.docx

Case Study_Small Organization.docx

Nursing_More Work Than Time

Absence of RAA in the workplace leads to many problems and struggles that make it much harder to get the work done. Not only that, but the people involved are required to spend additional energy and internal resources just to continue on, all the while contributing much less to their groups’ effectiveness than would otherwise be the case.

Today we’re looking at some non-nursing examples, because RAA has universal applicability, and it can be easier to identify things when they are at a distance from one’s own situation.

At the top of this posting, you’ll see links to the case studies we’re referring to in this post. One describes a dysfunctional restaurant situation, the other a problematic instance in a small organization.

In both cases – symptoms are unhappy workers, managers on the defensive and not leading positively, and stressful work experiences.

The main issue is lack of clarity about the scope of responsibility.   When individuals don’t have clarity about the scope of their responsibility vis-a-vis mangers, etc., the workplace becomes dysfunctional.    Conversely, when the scope of responsibility allocation is clear, but commensurate authority is not delegated, the stressful workplace becomes dysfunctional.   And finally, when responsibility has been clearly allocated, but is not fully accepted by the individual, the workplace is stressful and becomes dysfunctional.   Responsibility Authority and Accountability need to be sequential and commensurate.   Any disparity or imbalance creates a stressful and dysfunctional workplace culture. When workers are given responsibility without authority and accountability, they are prevented from doing their useful best.

When managers are given authority but never held accountable, they do not have the opportunity to learn and grow.

Managers and staff perceive each other through their own filters, clouded by their own life experiences and expectations, and impacted by organizational and external forces outside the control of either of them.

Often people feel their situation is hopeless, and they just check out.

In these difficult times, it’s important for each of us to bring our best self forward in pursuit of our goals.  Success in one’s work life often results in the perception that one’s life is successful….and it is!    RAA and related concepts are useful in that process.

Acceptance of allocated responsibility is an important strategy because it results in actually experiencing the reality that we always have choices. We have small choices and a few big choices available to us pretty much continually, if we are honest.

The act of simply making a choice is powerful, even when the choice itself is small.

Like staff nurses who have more work to do than time available, everyone in the workplace needs to honestly assess to the best of their abilities and skills what most needs to be done, and then Own Those Choices. Letting go and trusting people to interact with us as needed in a healthy way about our choices (and their choices) frees up a wonderful amount of energy.

We can model the behavior we want to experience. We can manage our feelings from within the situation, look at it objectively, and assess the likelihood of it becoming something we  consider tolerable/optimal.

We can decide to stay in situations that we don’t like because of reasons that are valid – making even that choice is itself an improvement, and opens up other choices.

The suffering martyr/victim posture is limiting and destructive, and is never necessary or useful. By taking care of ourselves more, we’re also acting in the best interests of those around us (in the long term certainly).

We’d love to hear your stories of your struggles, journeys, lessons and useful insights!

 

 

A Labor Day reflection: CHOICE AT WORK! September 1, 2014

Posted by mariemanthey in Inspiration, Values.
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​​
I am one of the lucky ones….I knew nearly all my life that I wanted to be a nurse. When I was 5 years old, I was hospitalized for a month. During that period I truly felt abandoned by my parents and worse yet – when they did come – a very painful procedure was performed on me each time. The only positive moment during my stay was when a nurse named Florence Marie Fisher colored in my coloring book. For reasons only known to God, that meant to me that she cared for me….in the fullest sense of that word care.
I knew from then on that being able to do that for another person was exactly what I wanted my life to be about…..and I’ve never looked back!
What made it full of wonder is that I have been able to learn so much about how to live from my work. A beautiful framework for living came through my work when I was involved in the original development of Primary Nursing. The Primary Nursing framework builds the concepts of Responsibility, Authority and Accountability (RAA) into a dynamic whole that can serve to correctly inform the proper relationship among people….the proper structure for an organization….the proper content of a job description.

When each of those three elements – Responsibility, Authority and Accountability – are viewed in their proper sequence, functionality is enhanced. When Responsibility is legitimately allocated, Authority commensurately delegated and Accountability mechanisms are designed for recognition and education (and not for punishment)….then all aspects of an activity can be optimally functional, and personal relationships can be healthy.

But the most important thing I finally learned (sometime in my mid-forties) is that these same elements are at work in my life. The moment I call my epiphany occurred with a blinding flash of insight…..during which I instantly saw that as long as I blame someone else for whatever is wrong in my life, I am not accepting responsibility for myself. I decided to learn how to change that, and I have never found it necessary to feel victimized by any person or situation or institution again.
What does all this have to do with work? I believe we all have choices every day about all aspects of our work …..and that the choices we consciously (and unconsciously)make have the power to either expand our spirit….or to destroy it. I am continually amazed at how many people tolerate working in dysfunctional systems …..or in toxic workplace cultures.  I know there are many factors operating that may reduce one’s awareness or perception of choices. Nevertheless, I have come to believe that even in the most oppressive environments…consciousness of choice instead of focus on victimization is the key to being able to grow spiritually.
Ultimately, I think the real lesson to be learned is that we have a choice to manage ourselves…..or not. Self management means being aware of the importance of healthy interpersonal relationships. Open communication (no back-biting) functional trust and mutual respect are the three key ingredients to healthy interpersonal relationships. Open communication means taking the time to learn the tactful way to talk about difficult issues with co-workers….it is a skill we can choose to learn. Trust is a choice we need to be willing to risk giving…..because withholding it breeds only more mistrust….and mutual respect requires the judgment to see everyone (at all levels of status and education) as being of equal importance to the overall workplace morale.

And I have learned that morale influences the quality of the product (nursing service) more that any other single or combination of factors. In my world that means that the morale of a nursing unit staff will have more impact on the quality of care patients receive than does any other single or combination of factors. And morale is solely determined by the way staff members treat each other in the context of workplace realities, including the reality of more work to do than time available.
These incredibly valuable lessons came to me from my work experience…..and they dovetail completely with what I have learned in recovery.
Consciousness of choice ….of how to respond to my co-workers….of how to be present in my work…. of my values of integrity and authenticity…all of these and more are the opportunities of learning and growth I have received through my work. And I know that all of this came about because Florence Marie Fisher colored in my coloring book when I was five years old. She created a caring relationship with me…..and permanently influenced my life.
She never knew that. I published a book about Primary Nursing in 1979, and dedicated it to her. The publishers tried to find her, but where unable to. Recently I came across those onion-skin copies of the publisher’s letters to a couple of State Boards of Nursing trying to find her and remembered that they were unsuccessful in locating my Florence Marie Fisher. But I thought to myself that afternoon few months ago……Google! And so I googled her and found her obituary…which also listed her survivors. I have since had the pleasure of meeting her son and grandchildren and telling them about the impact she had….not only on my life…but also on my work, which has in turn influenced the experience of nurses and patients throughout the United States and internationally. Of course they had no idea…..her simple act at work of coloring in my coloring book was a sublime act of co-creation. As nurses we can all find ways to choose to color in a coloring book. It is a choice we have to make, individually, and repeatedly. It is a choice that will not be documented….cannot be charged for….and that has a major impact on the lives of at least two people, the patients we care for and on ourselves. The choice to ‘be with’ the patient, instead of just ‘doing for’ changes the nursing experience for each individual who experiences this choice.

Happy New Year January 2, 2011

Posted by mariemanthey in Professional Practice, Values.
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One of my New Year’s Resolutions is to post on the blog more often and use it for the kind of conversations that promote healthy interactions and pride in our profession.

One way I want to do that is to encourage nurses to reflect deeply on the meaning of our work, as the connection to our deepest values helps energize our work. It is rewarding to an individual nurse to appreciate deeply the privilege we have in alleviating pain and increasing comfort at any and all levels of our patient’s vulnerabilities. Experiencing this intrinsic reward is important for each nurse’s self-care.

Another  goal I have is to keep bringing up certain realities about staffing I call these “hidden truths”  that need to be acknowledged and understood by nurses and by the system.

  • nursing work is never done
  • nursing work is unpredictable
  • nursing work is uncontrollable (it is based on pt. acuity and  MD orders, neither of which nurses will ever legitimately control
  • there is always more work to do than time available.
  • prioritizing involves deciding what NOT TO DO when there is more work to do than time available.  The truth is there has always been and will always be more work to do than time available.

More of my thinking on this topic is in Creative Nursing Journal, Vol 15, Number 2, 2009.  The article is entitled, A Brief Compendium of Curious and Peculiar Aspects of Nursing Resource Management.  It is time for staff nurses to quit driving to work fearing they will be short-staffed and driving home at the end of their shift angry because there wasn’t enough help.

Finally, I encourage you to view this short video. It is meaningful for nurses and people at many different levels of being.

Happy New Year!

http://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_on_vulnerability.html

Salon at Marie’s on April 21, 2010 April 23, 2010

Posted by mariemanthey in Inspiration, Nursing Salons.
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Last night, nurses from around the country and Canada gathered at Marie’s house to discuss nursing.  They shared their frustrations, fears, joys and tears.  They unleashed their demons and revealed their angels.  They released the pains of old stories, and they uncovered the joys of past moments. They spoke of self-care, how to do it, when to do it, how to remember it, and when to honor it.  They shared little tips and encouraged each other. They spoke of the waves they ride throughout their lives and their careers, the highs and lows, and the ease and the difficulty of hitting their strides.  Through all of this conversation and sharing, it became clear that they were all participating in self-care.  They were supporting each other.  They were remembering that each and every nurse is part of a chain of wise, compassionate and skillful people who care for others in every moment of their lives, on and off the clock.  They learned that one of the best ways to implement self-care is to remember that in the most tense, intimate and vulnerable moments in the day in the life of a nurse, they are surrounded and supported by all of the other nurses all over the world standing in the very same place.

Note from Marie: this was written by a nurse who attended.  The salon was incredible — we all learned so much. My personal thanks to all who attended.

My August Salon August 10, 2009

Posted by mariemanthey in Creative Health Care Management, Inspiration, Nursing Salons, Professional Practice.
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This one was special in that it was scheduled (by me) right in the middle of a five day practicum on Primary Nursing.  This was the first Practicum I’ve ever done, and it was a delightful experience for me and for the attendees. We had a great time and we all learned a great deal.

In the middle of this event, I had a Salon scheduled. All the Practicum attendees opted to come, so we had a group of around 20-22 people. It was large, but the conversation flowed well, because so many knew each other already from the class.

The theme for the evening ended up being “self-care”  a huge challenge for many nurses as well as non-nurses.  The beautiful part was the recognition that if we are not taking good care of our own beings —  mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually — it is hard (if not impossible) to take good care of others.

I am looking forward to the attendees contributions to the blog…..bring them on!!

Conversations with Ourselves August 29, 2006

Posted by manthey in Creative Health Care Management, Leadership, Nursing Salons.
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When I first posted about the overwhelming response to my blog, I left off the comments emailed me by Gary Saltus, a physician colleague. Gary specializes in helping  groups through transformational change and is working with CHCM create a program to build Physician/Nurse relationships.

It’s a shame I left Gary’s comments out because they are so vital to this discussion.

Here are the highlights of Gary’s email, followed by my original response (again):

I enjoy and appreciate your constant journey of discovering more and more in nursing and health care. I keep coming back to your primary statement of talking to the different people in health care because it’s something you want to do. I imagine this is your purpose in life at this time –your constant search for discovery, wherever it takes you. I imagine this is the lens you use to see the world: How do we do health care better?

I agree with you about the importance of conversation, but I look at it through my lens of transitioning with individuals, teams, groups, and organizations.

The challenge as I see it is to get the people involved to have these conversations with themselves first, to learn who they are and what their purpose/vision is. They need this self-knowledge so they have the self-permission to present who they are to the interpersonal environment (another individual, team, and group) with confidence.

Before the individual, team, group or organization can tackle the difficult and major issues that you present in you blog, they must go through orientation, differentiation with resultant cohesion conversation with each other first. These are the stages of maturation according to John Cater, PhD at the Gestalt Center for Organization & Systems Development. They also must go through these stages in three phases. Assimilation, differentiation, and manipulation. Each phase brings the system closer with the common denominator being trust. This process is how I facilitate working with groups. So the bottom line is we can’t start tackling the big issues until the system has matured. The dilemma is that organizations don’t think they have the time to let the Nurses/Physicians/Administrators do this group work.

I admire your passion and drive to facilitate change in the Nursing/Health Care arena. Our passions are in attunement. Thanks for including me in your thoughts. I look forward to talking to you in the future about our passions and shared visions.

Gary, thanks so much for your thoughtful and insightful comments. I don’t have the grasp on gestalt that you do…but I definitely get the “gist” of what you are saying. I agree that the transformation has to start with the individual, and then move to groups and teams and that the employing institutions do not yet see the benefit of this kind of staff development.

Throughout my career I’ve been fascinated by how attitudes/behaviors of employees change as institutional and leader values change. I’ve seen so many dramatic changes (both positive and negative) in the lives of patients and nurses that I feel compelled to continue working with these issues. The issue of no time to engage in these discussions is really daunting. Also, the separation between professional cultures has erected many barriers to communication I am beginning to see coming down. Another thing that I find very interesting is that the barriers between nurse educators and practice nurses are also beginning to crack. Real light is beginning to shine through. One of the ways I get to see this is thru the monthly Nursing Salons which I have been doing at my home for the past five years. Attendees vary according to the email lists interests in coming on that evening. It is sort of a blend of the Open Space technology and Socrates Cafe conversation format. I have so enjoyed seeing nurse educators and nurse managers, staff nurses, alternative therapy nurses, public health nurses, etc all sitting around talking about some issue or another in nursing. A retired physician comes whenever he can. And you are right…..it really is about improving Health Care.