IT'S ALL FREE! 3 Steps for Complainers and Blamers

When I was a staff nurse, I worked with two RNs who often complained to each other about how busy they were and how they never had enough time. Those two would lean against a wall in the nursing station for 20-30 minutes at a time and complain about management, physicians, coworkers, and patients. Then the RNs would blame those people for their lack of time. They didn't seem to realize that they could have provided a lot of patient care in the time they spent talking with each other. Complainers and Blamers aren't isolated to staff nurses. Many legal nurse consultants use the same tactics. Are you one of them? If so, there are three steps to take.

We all have the tendency to believe that we're better than other people are. This bias makes it easy to rationalize that other people are the cause of our problems. When the Complainers and Blamers are LNCs, they tend to blame attorneys, other LNCs, LNC courses, and their staff members, if they have them. Here are a few of the complaints I've heard from new LNCs: "The attorney didn't give me enough time to do a thorough case review." "I went to my local chapter meeting, but no one would help me get clients." "I took an LNC course, but it didn't tell me how to start." "I couldn't get the report out because my secretary screwed up."

Granted, staff nurses and LNCs may have some legitimate problems caused by others. If that's the case, approaching those who caused the issue in a problem-solving way is good place to start. For example, if your secretary made a mistake, you can try, "I wasn't able to get my report to the attorney on time. Let's look at how we can avoid that situation in the future." However, there are nurses and LNCs who lack the insight that their own behavior contributes to their problems. If you're one those LNCs, it's time for some self-reflection about your problems. Here's how:

1) Give yourself a break. Everyone makes mistakes.  Rather than complaining and blaming others, identify the problem as a learning opportunity.

2) Recognize that most problems aren't one-sided and that you might be contributing to it. For example, why didn't you have enough time to conduct a case review? Did you fail to ask enough questions about the case? Was the deadline unrealistic? Did you have other commitments that interfered with the case review? Did you need extra time to research unfamiliar medical diagnoses and standards of care? As you can see, each question suggests a different solution.

3) Sort through the various solutions and put the appropriate ones into action. For example, if you didn't ask enough questions about the case, write down the questions you'll ask in the future. You might ask these questions: How many medical records are there? When do you need the results of my review? Do you need a written report? What is the deadline? What are the key issues in the case?

Venting by complaining and blaming can feel good initially. However, in the end, those actions can prevent you from achieving the insight you need to become a successful legal nurse consultant.

...Katy Jones