Web site spotlight: Special requests: Put yourself in staff members' shoes

Staff Development Weekly: Insight on Evidence-Based Practice in Education, October 17, 2008

By Deanna R. Miller, RN, MSN/ED HCE, manager of inpatient units at University Hospitals Geneva (OH) Medical Center

We have all had our staff come to us because of a special need or request. Perhaps they need a day off for an event or opportunity that could not be planned ahead of time. Maybe their child is ill and needs to be taken to the doctors, or the parent of a staff nurse's boyfriend dies and it is not covered under the facility’s bereavement policy. How do you handle these? When I was a new manager, I can remember not making any exception and following the rules to the T. Over the years, I have learned that, just as in nursing practice, I must think outside the box when handling the personal issues also. Here are my decision process steps for those personal requests:

  • I first place myself in the shoes of the requester. How would I feel if I were in their predicament?
  • Is it a "once-in-a-lifetime" opportunity?
  • Will saying no have a negative affect on the emotional or physical well-being of the requestor or their loved ones?
  • How will it affect my unit if they are absent, and do I have alternative to replace them during their absence?

Editor’s note: This excerpt was adapted from ”Managing those special requests,” found in The Leaders’ Lounge at Get a free trial membership that will give you 30 days to test drive all the exciting features on the Web site.


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