Finding A Workplace That Does Not Suck Series Concept #1: Team building

I was sitting at the nurse station on my unit when my boss walked by after interviewing a potential addition to our quirky team. All of us introduced ourselves and sent good wishes toward their

Source: Work Families: Where Nursing Shines

Finding A Workplace That Does Not Suck Series Concept #1: Team building

This article resonated with me. Actually, it got me thinking.  I would agree that work families are emotionally possible, but they have to be cultivated….and can be shaped by the people that are on the team. People can be outgoing, shy, intellectual, snarky, sarcastic, etc.  Everyone brings something to the workplace table.  As long as there is good communication, the team will grow.  The subsequent trust and commitment will make the workplace enjoyable and meaningful.  That can make a great shift fun, and a difficult shift bearable.

However, the team needs to bond organically. It can’t be forced.  Perhaps stating the obvious, but years in a variety of jobs over the years tells me that it isn’t obvious to some….namely, employers.  Unfortunately, businesses and corporations want all of the benefits of the teamwork – but are not aware of/understand/nor care about creating the environment to support a team. No, it’s not boring meetings. No, it’s not getting low-budget bling (lanyards, water bottles, etc.) with corporate logos on them.  More often than not, bosses paraphrase the empty parental solution to siblings that aren’t getting along:

“I want you all to get along. I don’t care how you do it.”

That ranks up there with “don’t make me come back there” and “I will turn this car around and we will go STRAIGHT home!” These statements remind me of my  childhood memories of sitting in a large, light blue Ford station wagon barreling down a distant highway during the 1970s.  We learn, at an early age, the difference between a real and empty threat.  The surface truce with siblings could be masked in front of the parents, but the resentment over such trivial things as this-is-my-side-of-the-car-and-thats-your-side arguments did not fade as easily.  The same can be true of co-workers. One moment, they can be civil and stand-offish to outwardly hostile.  This is what is known as “drama.” It exists, to some extent, in all workplaces.  At high levels, the drama can be as stifling as someone seriously ripping a fart in the med room.  This spontaneous analogy being obvious.  You don’t want to be there, but you have to be.

The synergistic power of having a great team of people is incredible.  As a nurse (extending to any medical field, I suppose), it is even more important.  We face very intense moments that require us to focus, assess, and act on our training, skill sets, and emotional resources to keep our patients safe and healthy.  Research identifies the negative emotions as impeding our ability to provide safe care. When our managers and coworkers function as resources and support; we can maximize our care.  However, when the work environment leaves you feeling alone and overwhelmed; you don’t have enough emotional resources left to be the best nurse/worker you can be.

The bottom line: Regardless of the source of your motivation to work, if you don’t want to be there; it is likely time to move on and work somewhere else.

Study: Men Who Post Tons of Selfies Have Psychopathic Tendencies


I have already found it annoying that people who initiate conversation with me, then use their phones during that conversation, to be annoying.  I have also been somewhat creeped out by people who can’t seem to get enough of their own photos.  It’s like being your own paparazzi. You love yourself in a celebrity-like way, as well as tapping into the zeal of those who chase that celeb around.  Narcissism never had it so good.

Here is the Jezebel article that references the study

Top 10 Things That I Love About Nursing


10) Patient Education –  I have always wanted to be a teacher.  As it turns out, nursing includes quite a bit of that.  The good news is that the audience is only patients and/or their families, instead of 35 bored, distracted teenagers.

9) Patient Advocacy – There is something very empowering about being the voice of a patient, especially one that is not able to speak up for themselves.

8) Teamwork – There is something very synergistic about working with others, especially if there is a good sense of teamwork.  Coworkers go beyond being other people at work.  They become friends (or work family, at times) and everyone looks out for each other.  The support and encouragement from them can give you more energy to get through a rough shift, as well as make an smoother shift seem even better.  It is also empowering to be able to share insight and discuss how to manage new issues as they arise.  Unfortunately, not all employers provide and/or maintain this kind of environment. Sometimes, you have to work to find them.

7) Scrubs – Having spent decades in the corporate world, I can speak from experience that dress clothes and neckties suck.  Scrubs rock.

6) Improved Time Management Skills – The constant practice of assessing the situation, available resources, and knowing how long it takes to complete a task carries over into my personal life.  Juggling family demands, as well as academic and social demands seems easier, if that makes any sense.

5) Confidence – I am far from being an experienced or expert nurse, but I have faced down some fairly emergent situations that do provide some perspective on what it means to be in a crisis.

4) Doing Something Meaningful – Some people look to make a difference in the world. It is not a requirement, but when applicable, can add an extra layer of satisfaction.

3) Respect – Nurses rank as the most respected and most trusted profession.  I chose nursing because of the overwhelming desire to take care of others.  However, it is nice that I am in a profession that is respected.  It can be troubling, and sometimes annoying when new acquaintances (and even strangers) solicit me for my medical opinion.  A cashier at a gas station, one morning, started rambling on about changing medications. I did not know her.  I just wanted to finish my drive home to get some sleep.  I told her to ask her primary care physician.

2) Evidence-based practice – Anything a nurse does is based on evidence-based practice. In other words, nurses study an issue… research….test the findings….then use that data to shape our practice.  Not only does science rock, nurses use it to support their work.

1)Plenty of opportunities to learn – There are so many aspects and layers to nursing that the learning process is always on-going.  Our profession requires continuing education credits, but there is always formal training at work (on-line/in-person classes) as well as informal training (getting a patient with an illness/injury that you’ve never seen before).  For those of us who pursue more education, there are always classes toward a bachelors, masters, or even doctorate.

Strange Women Want To Talk About Your Genitals


The latest rounds of commercials have various women wanting to talk about the “romantic arts” that involve male genitalia.  Nobody knows who they are.  They invite complete strangers  into their luxurious homes. then suddenly, they want to be confidants and advise us about what our partner (it’s not like she’s asking to see the results of taking these ‘little blue pills’) wants. There is also no mention of credentials that involve training or certification of a medical or psychological nature.  We don’t even get to hear a mention of any counseling in this woman’s background.  Sounds risky, even before considering that taking the advice of a random female to apply to another relationship is inherently foolish and/or dangerous. Imagine THAT conversation!

Would you discuss your genitals with a complete stranger on an elevator? In the check-out line in Wal*Mart? What if this woman step out of a non-descript van with the words “Free Candy” spraypainted on the side of it? THE ANSWER IS NO. Which, of course, leads to the question of who is the target audience is.  There are many different scenarios where this (and the competitor) can be used, even in non-romantic scenarios.  Had this woman and her counterparts had some medical training, they might have known that. Does this woman even know what happens after “lasting longer than four hours??”  Try surgical intervention.

Maybe even Kelly Hu (Actress who plays Deathstrike on the X-Men movie series) who has joined the odd bevy of genital-curious women could even a strange portent ….as she plays a character that have adamantium claws (what was that about ‘surgical intervention?). It’s not like we really know her either, nor is she any more likely to want to see what happens with pill administration here, too. Goes to show you that you can’t believe everything on television.


Consider yourself warned!


Sparkonit: Are You A Genius? Are You A Genius?

Have you ever wondered what geniuses have in common? A number of experiments have been conducted to find that out and some peculiar behaviors have been observed among people with high IQ. How anyone turns out to be genius is due to their genetics. So genetics of geniuses definitely differ from “not so genius” ordinary people, but these brainy people do have similarities in their genetics that lead most of them to possess similar qualities. How would you recognize a genius if you come across one?

I liked this article. The content does hit, somewhat, close to home. I am not saying that I am a genius. I do consider myself creative, but I do feel that my mind works differently than others. I am not about to share details about some of the more personal things the list reveals, but I will say that #3 which has to do with socialization rings true.

However, I am horribly disappointed with the accuracy of one point on the list. If only #18 were actually true. =(

18. Being Skinny

Obesity has been shown to decrease IQ over time. A research led by French scientists found that people with Body Mass Index of 20 or below do better in vocabulary test than people with BMI of 30 or more.

Proof: High BMI Tied to Poor Cognitive Function in Middle-Aged Adults

Five Word Poetry Challenge: Bubble, Book, Random, Vivacious, Ransack

(Author note: A reader sent me five random words that I have to put together in one poem. The winner gives the next challenger their five words.)



My heart’s a bubble
Carried delicately on Emotional wind
Its contents, a book
Filled with verse, rhyme and statements
Would you care to look?
Random memories
Cascade before my mind’s eye Warm and bittersweet
Love, ripe off the vine
She’s buoyant and vivacious
I’m more than lucky
Sad moods can ransack
Let the dazzling light of faith Scatter the darkness.

Who will be my next challenger?


Attempting Poetry #1: The House At The End Of The Street


I walk to the house
at the end of the street
Dark muddy ruts weave a path
I follow them towards the door
The cold damp Winter air
carries acrid scent of decaying leaves
and burnt wood
into my lungs

Approaching the house
its windows frame of darkness
and Burst of wind masks
any possible sounds of life within

Stepping closer
the curtains dance
through windows without glass
then stop
as the breeze retreats back into the nearby woods

The house doesn’t seem as welcoming as before
and my walk less peaceful

You Got Your Religious Peanut Butter In My Political Chocolate


A recent LinkedIn article appeared in my news feed about a business owner who lead his subordinates in a Christian prayer group before the work day started.  There were approximately a dozen or so comments; all, of which, were reaffirming the event as “exactly what we needed” and “tired of all of the political correctness.” This reminded of a situation that I faced in the workplace – years before – where the owner was stopping by everyone’s desk with a friend of his running for a political office.  The owner’s friend was collecting signatures to be put on the ballot. As they approached my cubicle, I heard the owner say, “Oh, we can’t get his (my) signature, because he’s a (different political party).”  What is the common theme of these scenarios? That any perceived differences can be held against you. While it may not be life-threatening, the difference of ideology and/or faith can lead to a spectrum of problems that can lead to negative outcomes…..and make the relationship adversarial.

I remember a time, many years ago, that religion and politics were completely off-limits. It was a society norm to leave that out of any discussions; just like the topic of salary.  I am not sure why that has changed. Sure, you could have some personal items on your desk; but they were typically the innocuous family members, crafts made by offspring, or other tchotchkes.  Rules already existed to prevent anything in the workplace that cause people to feel uncomfortable, including sexually suggestive items.  It is likely that most jobs, at this point, require employees to sit through presentations that state discrimination against race, culture, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or any other minority issue.  Employee handbooks are legal documents. It is a contractual agreement between employers and employees. You sign off that you understand the content, and agree to follow it – and accept the consequences when the rules are broken.

I think the best solution is to keep politics and religion out of the office. Unless you work for a specific religious organization or political organization, faith and political ideology should not have any role in your work.  Public or private companies should have very specific rules that guides the business, as well as employees about the absence of these issues in the workplace.  Rules already exist to not solicit coworkers with various charities or fundraisers.  Unfortunately, there is a blending that generate lots of problems.  It is also not a case of impinging upon freedom of speech, necessarily

There are consequences for having religion become visible in the office. Any office is usually going to consist of a range of beliefs, which aren’t necessarily in conflict. However, some may feel more compelled to “witness” or proselytize their faith to others.  The other employees that do not share those beliefs are essentially compelled to be there because it is their livelihood, not the voluntary choice to attend a religious organization.  Even though religious faith is generally considered a private issue, yet some take data like the research data that says 77% of Americans are Christians as “might makes right.” Of course, that implies a unity that is not necessarily real – as approximately 50% are Protestant-based beliefs and  roughly 20% are Catholic. While both are considered Christians, they do not share all tenets.  A distinction rarely made in the media, as mentioned in these cases. Atheists and Agnostics are faced with hearing messages they do not necessarily want to hear.  Non-mainstream faiths may be met with even more antagonism.  How does that antagonism play out at the work place? You get bullying.  So, it is clearly bad if it is coworker-oriented. What if it’s your boss/manager/owner? You can find yourself out of a job. It doesn’t matter if you practice Wicca, Islam, Christianity, or are an atheist. The social stigma of not sharing religious affiliation, while overt enough to make the alienation very real; it can be covertly presented as seemingly legitimate appearing issues of tardiness, poor performance, or other legal avenues to terminate employment.

For those of you who don’t believe there is any persecution…ok, that’s a strong word. How about alienation or ostracism; pick any of the following labels (above) and announce that you belong to that group to your coworkers, classmates, and family. See what kind of reaction you get. Make note of how your relationship may change with them, and whether or not you feel that you’re under more scrutiny than before.

Side note: I am not going to pretend that this issue is one-sided. I am also aware that there are global issues at play here. Religious persecution, especially in less democratic countries, can include killing those who either practice a different faith or no faith at all. Examples can be found herehere, and the historical examples of the Holocaust. This is the extension to the extreme; a trajectory of where the hate can lead.  If we add killing others for ideological reasons, there are far too many to list. Google things like The Sino War (1937) where the Japanese Army marched on the Chinese city of Nanking, the Katyn massacre in Poland (1940), the Killing Fields of Cambodia/Pol Pot (late 1970s), and much more, unfortunately.  I am not linking to these very extreme examples, because they are graphic and disturbing.

As my recent theme of apocalypse were to occur, I have a feeling that humans may fall back into dangerous, lethal habits. Go back even farther in history and the pattern continues. The Middle Ages, not only had their share of the hate; they even had instruments to help them express that hate.