Nursing Voices

Monday, January 29, 2007

Count Me In

I want to form a committee.

I hereby volunteer to chair the Committee for Outlawing Committees that Accomplish Absolutely Nothing Except Wasting Valuable Time (COCAANEWVT). Anyone care to join me?


As a *lowly* staff nurse, I am subjected daily to the whims and wishes of upper management. Start a new type of charting starting by this deadline, go to this inservice on one of the above days, try to work amicably with nurses from postpartum when they need your help, don't forget your core ideals, have face-to-face conversations when you disagree with coworkers, make sure you pick up your shoes in the locker room... and on and on.

You might hypothesize that a good way to mitigate this problem would be to join one of the numerous committees that are dependent on staff nurse participation in order provide input and encourage change in the workplace.

If only it worked that way.

Despite the best of intentions, committees with which I have been involved rarely accomplish any tangible change. We spend hours brainstorming great ideas that should improve the flow of our work, the effectiveness of our communication, and the professionalism of our practice. But first we must delegate responsibility for each new concept to a subcommittee, survey staff as a whole to guage what kind of reception this change will receive, propose said idea to management for approval, and create posters and inservices so that everyone will know how to alter their practice.

Oh sure, we spend hours on implementation and evaluation of new ideas. We are congratulated by managers for our active participation in these processes. Thank you for all that you do to improve our unit, blah, blah, blah...

Does anything ever really change? No.

The finance committee has been hard at work. There are reams of paper lying around somewhere to prove that the new charging system in triage is more effective than the old one. Or were the papers used to disprove it? Who knows. And I'm sure the new Good Job forms work infinitely better than the outdated ones. Good thing the central values committee spent weeks on that. Now, how can we solve the problem of inadequate staffing during peak scheduled procedure times? Let's send an OB tech to the recovery room to help and make the secretaries do baby baths. But we'd better filter that idea down through the OB tech and secretary committees.

Last item on the agenda: the inconsequential issue of low staff morale and poor RN retention?

Let's pass that one on to the shared leadership committee. I'm sure they'll have that one solved in no time.

Meeting adjourned.


Mother Jones RN said...

I second the motion !


Labor Nurse said...

Oh my goodness, I think we work together! We work for the same type of management!

AtYourCervix said...

sounds like we work for the same hospital.....we have nursing committees, sub-committees, chairs, members, etc, etc.

I was just thinking the other day, the same thoughts you put into words on your blog - do we ever really change anything with our committees?

Undoubtedly - NO.

I used to be on the "peer review evaluation" committee. To be honest, it bored me to tears. I've signed up for the "practice council" this year. We look into policies, procedures, pharmacy guidelines and nursing guidelines, and research if there is literature out there to support any necessary changes.

Wish me luck.

Anonymous said...

my question is why don't i ever get picked to be on the birthday committees, only the really sucky ones that suck out your life force. and why does your annual raise depend on how many comittees your on?

JustCallMeJo said...


I accidentally somehow got roped into our hospital's nurse practice council. It is inconsequential.

I have a theory. Most nurses have never worked in a field where meetings do things. So they don't know how. Every time I go to NPC I raise my hand and suggest stuff, and it gets considered, and people nod and say, what a great idea, we're so glad to have fresh eyes, blah blah, congratulating themselves for doing Better For Our Hospital...then the meeting is adjourned and nothing happens.