The most popular article on my blog is where I describe reflection using my adapted Gibbs model for reflection and a worked example. It also advertises my Nurses Reflection Diary available from Amazon and my best-selling book.
To add to my two other worked examples, I add another. An incident between me, my manager and a sales executive where I worked at the time. I call it…
Stage 1 – Description
My manager asked to see me. Another of his direct reports was off sick due to an accident on a customer site. Seems she had injured her ankle.
“Could you give her a ring Jane and see if we can do anything to help?” He said, I never noticed the way his eyes avoided mine at the time.
I rung her later. She immediately launched into a scathing attack on our Company and how she was likely to be off for a few weeks. I listened and explained we could help her with risk assessment, rehabilitation, medical appointments, sort out working from home etc etc. She stopped me mid flow.
“What about my dogs?” She said.
“Er your dogs?” I said
“I asked for help with dog-walking. They are three Afghans. They need exercise.” She said
For one terrible moment, I thought she wanted me to walk them.
“I’m sorry, I can’t help with that. I only…”
That was the last coherent sentence I uttered. Miss X went off into a massive hissy fit about how I should authorise funds for dog walking, it was all the Company’s fault.
Anyway after about 10 minutes of ranting she put the phone down on me.
My manager came to see me later after I reported back. He had smoothed things over, he told me and authorised a dog walker and I gather it had all gone rather well for him. He was amused by my experience.
Stage 2 – Feelings
I was annoyed with myself for not asking for a management referral form from my Manager – it is the standard practice but it an unusual situation, senior people asking for help. I wanted to help everyone out. I was angry with my Manager too – he knew exactly what was about to happen to me and he let me walk into it.
I thought Miss X would be perfectly reasonable given her senior position in the company – I also thought she would understand my role. From her tirade I discovered she thought I was a welfare office.
Stage 3 – Evaluation
There was nothing good about this experience. I came away feeling hurt and confused by both my manager and Miss X. Turns out Miss X is a notoriously difficult employee and awkward on a good day. I guessed the reason my Manager asked me to call was because he was dreading the call he might have to make. I broke the ice for him. Great tactics for him and I fell for it. He knows the procedure of management referral, discussion, questions to ask Occ Health etc. Usually he is stickler for process. I should have suspected something fishy.
Miss X too – what a nightmare. She was determined to have her own way and no one stood up to her because, it turns out, she is the best at what she does. She is friends with the MD and everyone is terrified of her. There is no excuse for that type of behaviour. Giving in and authorising payment for dog walking is something I have never ever come across before. But no-one batted an eyelid. What Miss X wants she gets and that includes my dignity.
The worse thing though is my tendency to want to please people. I admit I was flattered to be ‘in’ on the incident and the fact that my manager had actually asked me for help (I rarely saw him.) Also Miss X was high up in the organisation. I would rush in like superwoman and save them all. So, I forgot all the rules of the management referral process.
Without this, I felt exposed and vulnerable. Also, it could have been worse, I might have gone to her house and been assaulted. Maybe that is an exaggeration but it’s a valid point. I acted like a non professional.
Stage 4 – Analysis
I rarely make procedural mistakes; I think procedures are the framework for solid practice. I love policy and have seen so many problems, such as this, happen when you do not follow procedure. So this incident is a good reflection opportunity.
Sadly, it does make sense as I look back. Nurses love to help people. That’s what we are in the business of – yet I must acknowledge that other people have different agenda’s than my own. I tend to take people at face value and that is great in everyday life but in company life there is a lot more at stake, promotion, money, face saving and avoiding difficulties.
Stage 5 – Conclusions
My main area of concern is to stop and think when my natural instinct is to rush in. I will not make this mistake again even if it does make me look like a jobsworth.
From now on I will always insist on a the correct procedure no matter who pleads with me to step outside of my professional parameters. Many times it has gone right but this time – no, and the consequences made me feel small and disrespected.
Stage 6 – Action
I left the company not long after the incident – for other reasons. I was glad to leave the incident behind because every time I saw my Manager I wondered what he really thought of me and resented the trick he’d played. My next Manager will not catch me out like that again nor will I ever see an employee without the proper management referral process being followed.
Linked to NMC Code of Practice 6 – Practise Effectively
Further Resources for Reflection Practise for Nurses
- NMC Code of Practise on-line
- NMC Guidance Sheet – Reflection Practice
- Nurses Reflection Diary – Revalidation Workbook by Jane Coombs available from Amazon for only £4.99 buy your copy today
- Reflection 1 Worked Example: Night Duty Drug Round
- Reflection 2 Worked Example: My Infographic Error
Listen and subscribe to my podcast on this incident too. Working Well Sometimes – available on Itunes and Stitcher or listen here.