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November 2011, Volume 41 Number 11 , p 12 - 13



I just got accepted to a critical care rotation program in a Level I trauma center. For my first rotation, I'm working in the cardio-thoracic ICU. I've been assigned to a preceptor who likes to gossip and has a negative attitude about the unit.I love this unit because nurses have a lot of autonomy. But like my preceptor, many seasoned nurses are very unhappy with management and planning to leave. I need a preceptor with both experience and positive energy to guide me in the right direction. Should I stay, or move on to the next rotation?-B.H., MASS.Our consultant, who has many years of experience managing ED and trauma units, has this advice: Don't believe everything you hear from staff who are angry or involved in gossip. Sometimes emotions can spiral out of control and take on a life of their own. Formulate your own opinions based on your objective assessment. If you love the unit, she encourages you to try these strategies before you throw in the towel. * Contact the nurse recruiter who worked with you during your hire into this position or a human resource representative, and ask for a confidential meeting. Provide a detailed overview of the situation you've encountered on this unit and your concerns. Nurse recruiters and employee relation representatives often work closely with hospital/nursing leaders on healthy work environment initiatives, and they may be able to offer some behind-the-scenes assistance. Clearly, intervention is needed to stem the flight of talent from the unit and address any real or perceived frontline management issues. * If your preceptor isn't a good fit with your learning style or personality, have a confidential discussion with your manager about your needs. Another nurse, possibly someone on another shift, may be a better choice and your manager can make a reassignment. If your current preceptor asks why, don't get defensive. Respond professionally with a statement like this: "After discussing my learning style with [your manager's name],

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