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Published: Tuesday, 8/29/2006

Ask The Good Girls

Dear Good Girls,

I m writing to you because my managers and coworkers are at a loss about what to do. I work in a hospital where we do shift work. Frequently registered nurses (RNs) and certified nurse assistants (CNAs) come in up to a half hour late for their shifts. Even though this has been going on for several years, no disciplinary action is taken. We are on an honor system for our time sheets.

At a meeting last week, management again brought up the issue to a few staff people and asked for their suggestions. One manager asked whether we should penalize the nice employees those who are willing to work extra shifts or change their schedule around. She also wanted to make an exception for someone who is late due to personal issues.

It is a great hospital and I am sad to see how this issue has affected patient safety, staff morale and hospital finances. What are your suggestions?

Dear Reader,

It s hard to believe that chronic lateness is tolerated among the staff at any hospital. The cure is just what you mentioned: disciplinary action.

Since your lax managers seem immune from taking action, Vicky Bermudez, regulatory policy specialist for the California Nurses Association, Oakland, Calif., suggests two options. If you can gather enough nurses who are disturbed about the situation, present your concerns as a group. Start with your managers. If you still encounter resistance, bring the matter up the chain of command.

If you have to go it alone and do not feel comfortable going public, Bermudez suggests sending a memo that documents your concerns on a confidential basis to the quality assurance department. In either case, you will be doing yourself and your fellow nurses, not to mention your patients, a great service.

Career Caution

Dear Good Girls,

I am a freelance illustrator with so few clients I ve decided I need a new career. My husband thinks I should enter teaching through one of those programs that trains career-changers how to teach in the inner city in a matter of months. He says I would be good at teaching, plus I ll have health benefits in case something happens to him (heart disease runs in his family). In addition, I would get off of work around 3 p.m., leaving me plenty of time to take care of our children after school, make dinner, etc.

The problem is this: the more I think about it, the less I like the idea. I would find working in an inner city school too emotionally taxing. I hate seeing schools that do not give their students all of the advantages my children had. It would break my heart to see these children day after day and not be able to do much to improve their lives. Am I letting my emotions get in the way of a good career move?

Dear Reader,

Someone like you that is highly attuned to their emotional responses should trust her inner doubts. While your husband has good intentions, he does not seem to have much insight into what would be a good fit for you. Keep searching for new options, perhaps with the help of a career counselor, where your heightened sensitivities will be an asset rather than a liability.

Leslie Whitaker Got a problem at work? Leslie Whitaker, co-author of The Good Girl's Guide to Negotiating, would like to hear from you. Send Leslie an e-mail at goodgirls@contentthatworks.com or write to P.O. Box 5063, River Forest, Ill. 60305.

By Leslie Whitaker

CTW Features

Copyright CTW Features



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