Exciting News! Wendell Potter’s Journalism Project (Tarbell) to Educate Us About Important Issues!

By Meg Helgert, FNP

Wendell Potter will bring to light new information regarding the millions of dollars flowing between health insurance companies and politicians on the Hill. This is where Citizens United will need to be brought down and illuminate the kind of pressure lobbyists bring to bear on our government officials. Money much of us do not have to peddle influence. He has been leader in a large health insurance company and saw firsthand people waiting in line for hours to get free health care which changed his mind forever regarding what needs to be done.

Check out RJ Eskow’s video interview with Wendell Potter on youtube!

I highly recommend health care providers donate to Tarbell and help shape health care policy along the way.  (Twitter  and Facebook )!

Why the name, Tarbell?

Their guiding spirit is Ida Minerva Tarbell, one of the most important journalists in American history. Ida was the first of a group of early 20th century “muckrakers.” Their investigative reporting of the corporate titans of the Gilded Age contributed to the forced breakup of huge monopolies and also to important antitrust laws and campaign finance reforms. They aim to do her proud.

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Passive, Aggressive, & Passive-aggressive Behaviors as a Consequence of Lack of Listening

Assertiveness is not only about speaking up, ironically it is also about listening and being heard. Being assertive means speaking up about your own needs while being respectful of others.  As such, there is an inherent relationship involved in any assertive behavior.

Really, you can’t be assertive by yourself! 🙂

This is partly why assertiveness can get complicated.  Think about this for a minute.  If you speak up to someone and they don’t respond, what might you do?  Try again and speak louder?  Maybe do something like tap them on the shoulder or make a noise to get their attention? If that works, great, you can continue on with your conversation.  But what do you do if it becomes apparent that the person you are trying to speak too is ignoring you?

  • Grab them and scream?
  • Talk about how you were ignored to others behind the person’s back?
  • Forget about speaking up to this person, ever.

See how these responses could be labeled aggressive, passive-aggressive, and passive? Even though they might not be mature reactions, they might be understandable when someone is feeling ignored. Especially if this is a chronic pattern. Something to think about in terms of creating and sustaining cultures of safety, right?

Nurses are required to be assertive for patients’ needs, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be assertive for their own needs too. The more you explore assertiveness as a behavior that occurs in relationship, the more you will see how complex it is!

If you are curious about the relevance of this concept in healthcare, check out these two posts:

Using Validation to Honor Folks with Dementia and Avoid Power struggles!

Here’s a 3rd and Essential Step for the Two Challenge Rule

And let me know what you think!

Posted in Assertiveness, Communication in Healthcare, Complexity in nursing, Diversity, Healthy Workplaces, Listening, Patient Advocacy, Patient Safety | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Third Door #5: Overheard Mean Conversation!

Originally published in Nurse.org on 2/22/2017

Dear Beth,

I recently overheard a conversation among several home health nurses that I was uncomfortable with, and I’d like to hear your thoughts. Basically, one nurse was describing another nurse’s behavior with a patient, and the group was laughing; the nurse being talked about was not present. The conversation went something like this:

I heard that Peggy told one of her patients, Mrs. Jones, that she needed to stop humming while she was prefilling her insulin syringes.

To this, some of the other nurses responded with laughter and brief comments such as:

Nurse 1:  Oh, brother; I like Mrs. Jones’ humming.

Nurse 2:  Peggy can be very bossy; that’s why she gets a lot of complaints.

Nurse 3:  Why did she need the patient to stop? She couldn’t do the prefill with humming?

I’m the newest nurse on the team and have only been with this organization for a few months. I don’t really know how well these nurses get along; I did sense a sarcastic tone and it made me cringe. Is this harmless chatter or something more serious? Should I have said something, and, if so, what?



What are your thoughts for LEFT ME WONDERING?

 Read my answer at Nurse.org!

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