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Under New Management: Nurses Share What They Like (and Dislike) About Their Managers

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Every nurse has one. Managers come and go, but some live on forever in our memory – for better and for worse. Some nursing managers know how to treat their employees better than others. We all have stories of working under someone we either love or don’t. Nursing is one of the toughest jobs in the world, and managing nurses can be just as difficult.

Hundreds of nurses chimed in to share their experiences of working as or under a manager. It’s giving us a whole new perspective on what it’s like to work on the floor:

We are not treated equally, and bad/diva nurses are rewarded.

-Kimberly

Unconcerned about inadequate staffing, interrupts during report to talk about vacation etc. Lets the drama queens and rumor mill fester. Recognizes her clique and ignores her non-favorites, ignores safety concerns.

-Jim

We’re so understaffed at our facility that we don’t have an actual nurse supervising us.

-Brandie

My supervisors come in and work if we’re super short staffed. They give us birthday gifts, Christmas gifts, seasonal gifts, etc.

-Lavender

The list of complaints would be as long as the CVS receipt.

-Phillip

Advice for new management, get out of your office and talk to your staff, find out what works and what doesn’t, DON’T reinvent the mouse trap.

-Martha

How they always say, “WHAT COULD U HAVE DONE BETTER?” Really? We bust our asses every day and that’s what we get! How about you guys put your running shoes on for an 8-12 hour shift with us. Then we could ask, “What could you have done better?”

-Erin

I can tell you what I didn’t like about our new manager who just started like a week ago. walking into the COVID ICU unit with ‘the suits’ (admin) doing ‘environmental rounds’ (and I mean checking the patient fridge for expired items and nurses’ station for covered cups of water) during a horrendous 4th wave of cases while we are out of ratio and proning everybody, not even stopping to say, “How are you?”, “Can we help you?”, “Thank you for what you’re doing (AGAIN)”. GTFOH.

-Amanda

Makes excuses for bad workers over and over again. Sweeps a lot of problems under the rug.

-Elisabeth

She told me to put a mask on and visit my patient (hospice nurse) after I’d been exposed to delta and was symptomatic.

-Samantha

I like that my current manager is approachable, understanding (putting work aside, she actually cares about you as an individual and your needs), and advocates what’s in her power for us floor nurses.

-Jessica

My previous manager was awesome! She may not have always ran things the “company way”, but she absolutely always had our backs, she got coverage, or she worked the floor with us! She was real, if you did wrong, she called you out on it and it was done. No grudges, no school games. I miss her more than she will ever know.

-Wendy

Hides in the office ?

-Amanda

My boss has this awful habit of trying to get us really good bonuses when we pick up a shift. She also always tries to work with our schedules. She’s always gowned, gloved and masked, helping us with an admission, getting vitals, assessments, documentation, central line dressing changes. Oh, and she is always advocating for better treatment of her staff.

-Ricky

What I disliked about the old manager was how fake they seemed. Always smiley, happy go lucky when they’d come in the early morning, while we were 1:6 with no aid all night.

-Madeline

When you go to management because “my door is always open…we’re a family” and no issues ever get resolved. Yup, that’s family for sure, sweeping everything under the rug.

-Hollie

I so dislike when a manager or supervisor feels threatened by others who have experience in the workplace, and they refuse to draw on what that person can teach. Height of arrogance to ignore or discount experience. To me that is the sign of a poor administrator.

-Janis

As a retired nursing supervisor, I have to say it sucks! I really tried to go to bat for the staff only to be stomped on by admin. It ain’t easy, believe me. If you have one that’s bitchy, so sorry but don’t take it personally. If you have one that helps, please let them know.

-Brenda

My manager: Don’t come to work if you have any respiratory symptoms, no matter how mild!

Also my manager: you say you can’t come in because you developed a chesty cough? It’s not that bad. You’re still fit to work. You’d better still show up.

-Yasmin

Always supports her staff. Her door is always open, and she is open for ideas and suggestions from all of her staff. When staffing gets tight, she disregards her tightly scheduled day and she makes the needs of the unit (staff and patients) her priority. She takes over and jumps in to take the burden off her staff. So thankful every day to be a part of her team. I know it’s a blessing.

-Amy

A nurse manager is only as good as their worst employee. For those of you that complained about your supervisor, we hope you find a way to work together, despite your differences.

These responses have been edited for clarity and length. 

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