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How to Communicate with Your Nursing Supervisor

How to Communicate with Your Nursing Supervisor

Linda Childers | Monster Contributing Writer

Maybe it’s the whiny colleague who makes your 12-hour nursing shift seem twice as long or the turf war raging between the nurses, physicians and technicians in your department. Or maybe you’re just tired of feeling overworked and underappreciated. Whatever the scenario, you sense that changes are needed before you lose your sanity or start looking for another nursing job.

Whether you want to improve morale in your department or resolve a conflict with another nurse, your success in doing so will largely depend on how skillfully you bring up difficult issues with your supervisor and how well you guide that conversation in a productive direction.

“When there’s a problem at work, I meet with my supervisor and discuss all of the pertinent facts,” says Kathy Sommese, a nurse supervisor with Kaiser Permanente in Oakland. “I approach our discussion with a collaborative attitude, without being hostile or demanding, and I offer solutions on how I think the problem can be resolved.”

As a supervisor, Sommese also appreciates it when her employees attempt to resolve problems on their own.

“If a nurse is having a conflict with a coworker, I encourage them to sit down together and talk openly about what’s bothering them rather than acting out their unhappiness,” she says. “If they’ve tried to work it out without success, it’s time for me to intervene.”

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