What would you do if your supervisor asked you to do something that you think may be questionable? Would you follow the order or would you question it?
Let me give you some examples to consider:
- You work homecare and you never see your supervisor. She tells you to sign her name on your time card so you can get paid. What would you do?
- Your supervisor asks you to “fill in the holes” on the turning sheet because State is coming soon to inspect the facility. What would you do?
- Your supervisor in the ER tells you that “for patients with abdominal pain, when the doctor is busy, we always go ahead and start an IV, draw CBC and BMP as well as get an x-ray. Go ahead and do that.” What would you do?
- You’re a student nurse and the nurse on your unit asks you to administer medication to a patient even though you are not licensed and do not have authority to do so. What would you do?
Each of these scenarios is an actual situation that I have encountered in my practice. In all four, the nurse responded by doing what their supervisor said.
However, if they had used their GIFTS with the “I” in integrity, the first nurse would not have signed someone else’s name to your timesheet, even if it means that she wouldn’t get paid in a timely manner.
The second nurse would not have “filled in holes” on a turn sheet unless she had personally performed that activity and identified it as a late entry. Nurse number three would not have started an IV, draw labs or have an x-ray done without a physician’s order. And the student nurse would not have administered medications to the patients.
Each of these nurses said that when asked by their supervisor to perform these activities, they had a little twinge in their gut and wondered if what they were being asked to do was proper. Regardless of the hesitation, they performed the tasks anyway because they were directly ordered to do so by their supervisor.
That is where “trusting your gut,” the “T” in GIFTS, comes in. All four of these nurses were disciplined before the Board. Therefore, always trust your gut and be in integrity. And, when in doubt, question! Also make a record of what you questioned so that, if the matter ever comes up, you will have that documentation.
So, the next time when you are in a situation and wondering if something is the right thing to do, use your GIFTS to help you determine the right course of action to take.
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