Today was a good day. My boss challenged me to spend a day working in the role of one of my nurses in my department. The idea intrigued me. Although I have covered weekends and helped out, my team had never seen me in their role. It was kind of like being an undercover boss without the cover!
We started with a team meeting. My surprise was the surprise in the room. Jaws were open. Some openly chuckled–almost daring me to do it. Others giggled nervously. We had a team member call in and I was going to do her role for a few hours in the afternoon. My job was answering the new patient hotline.
My first challenge was the headset. Really? I could not figure out how to turn it on!! I thought I was ready. It was my turn in the queue. My heart actually skipped a beat or two. Ring, ring! I could’t hear anything! Dang that headset!!
After the first call and equipment malfunction, I felt quite comfortable. Nurses in that role need to be comfortable with the equipment and various computer programs. They need to think quick on their feet and be ready for those patients that say anything! After working in this role, I understand some of the challenges and resistance that I sometimes get in this role. Multitasking and thinking quickly under pressure are tough skills!
My biggest lesson was how my team reacted. I believe they appreciated my effort to understand their challenges. Some of the group teased me. Others offered encouragement. Some just nodded. I felt good knowing that my team knows how much I care.
For those of you in leadership roles, I challenge you to consider taking a step outside of your box. Take a walk in someone else’s shoes. You may be surprised by how much you will learn about them and yourself!!