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How do you deal with favoritism without risking your position?

Thursday February 2, 2012
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Dear Donna,

I am working in an ICU at a small, private, community hospital. The salary is excellent, and I am the only breadwinner in my household. However, the facility has a definite clique, and only certain staff are able to get assignments that are in any way challenging. Most of our patients are from local nursing homes and would really be telemetry patients in a larger hospital. Several of us are really annoyed that we are losing skills, as we never get to use them. Is there a way to handle a situation like this without risking the loss of our positions? We have not been able to figure out how to handle this effectively and not get on the bad side of the charge people.


Dear Donna replies:

Dear Connie,

It is always challenging for me to address a situation like this without knowing all the details and the players. However, based on what you are telling me and my limited understanding of the particulars, I would start by having a heart-to-heart with your supervisor (rather than the charge nurse) about your own personal interests and desires to do more of whatever it is you want to do. Phrase it in a way that indicates you want to be better at your job, be challenged and stay sharp with knowledge and skills. Do it in a very upbeat, enthusiastic way. I wouldn't bring up anything about favoritism or cliques. Just express your own needs and interests. Other individual nurses should do the same, rather than approaching it as a group, which could appear threatening.

Your review is a perfect time to bring it up, but it doesn't have to wait until then. Make an appointment to meet with your supervisor or manager and prepare what you want to say beforehand.

Best wishes,

Donna Cardillo, RN, MA, well-known career guru, is Nursing Spectrum/NurseWeek’s “Dear Donna” and author of “Your First Year as a Nurse: Making the Transition from Total Novice to Successful Professional” and “The ULTIMATE Career Guide for Nurses: Practical Advice for Thriving at Every Stage of Your Career.” Information about the books is available at www.Nurse.com/CE/7010 and www.Nurse.com/CE/7250, respectively. To ask Donna your question, go to www.Nurse.com/asktheexperts/deardonna. Find a “Dear Donna” seminar near you: Call 800-866-0919 or visit http://events.nursingspectrum.com/Seminar.