Nunc semper ut purus sit amet ultrices. Business is all Greek to me, or so I thought.
Though I completely understand the nursing side of things, those business principles are still a bit foreign to me. Wayne on the other hand has combined his MBA skills with his nursing skills. He reads these “fascinating” entrepreneurial books and then tries to explain them to me. However, since I don’t have any formal business training, I soon find myself lost in the weeds. So again, Wayne has to try to explain things again and again to make it relatable.
For example “revenue” and “expenses” have no meaning to me. However, when he says it’s similar to a patient’s “input” and “output” (with the goal to have a residual (runway cash reserve)) then everything clicks!
Now, this is where it gets interesting…
I apply the business-related knowledge I get from Wayne directly to the front lines of nursing every single day without even realizing it!
Here’s the most recent example: A few weeks ago, after I got home from a shift, I told Wayne about how I used the information he shared with me from one of his books – “The Art of Start Splitting the Difference”. Well, Wayne was convinced he had not read a book with that title – yet!
He said, “Do you mean “The Art of Start”, “The Startup Owner’s Manual” or “Never Split the Difference”?
“Well honestly, I don’t know anymore…” I responded.
“Which one has the ex-FBI hostage negotiator?” Wayne quickly replied.
“Never Split the Difference!” and I matched him with an equally as enthusiastic, “That’s the one I meant!”
So, I explained to him that while I was precepting a nursing student (as I often do), she turned to me and asked…
“What if the patient’s mother walks up to me and demands to know the infant’s lab results at that exact moment?”
“Well,” I explained, “First, we ensure we have an open body posture, look her directly in the eyes and resist the inner Samuel Jackson-esque voice tonality.” Imagine Samuel saying, “YOU CAN’T HAVE THEM, MUTHA..”
You get the idea…
“She’ll get defensive and rightfully so.”
“Second, do not say “I’m just the student”. You’ll belittle yourself and your knowledge in front of her.”
I continued by saying, “You’ve made it this far in your schooling through hard work and commitment and you rightfully deserve mutual respect.”
“My recommendation,” I stated, “would be to educate her on what is in accordance with the hospital policy. However, stating policy alone will not likely yield a positive response. Therefore, I’d recommend you start out with an open body posture, facing toward her, and while speaking, smile wide.”
She asked, “Why the smile?” To which I explained, “It changes the tonality of your voice. Don’t believe me? Try it and you will see.”
Moving on, I said, “Third, gain her trust”. This is really the heart of the issue. To do so, we need to guide her from an emotional state to a more logical one. And we do this by first acknowledging her concern through asking an empathetic question. I’d lead off with, “I understand you are concerned about the progress of your loved one. Correct?”.
Building up, I’d state, “According to our hospital policy, only the doctor can discuss specific lab results to avoid any confusion and ensure you have the information needed to make informed decisions. The doctor will be happy to do this during rounds at 10 am.”
In that conversation, I had used a business tactic! Unbeknownst to me, I was “framing and architecting the situation”. The striking thing is, I had never tried to reconcile the two concepts before; nursing and negotiating. It turns out nurses are some of the best deal-makers out there, day in and day out. You may call it “diplomacy”.
But over here, we just call it “getting shift done”!
What do you think? Is there anything you’d add to this negotiation or any books you think we should read? If so, let us know!