What’s Your Workplace MO?

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Improving nurse and certified nurse assistant interactions

November 15, 2019

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Megan Guido:
Welcome everybody, this is Megan Guido with What's Your M.O. in Healthcare? And today I have a very special guest, Amber Roberts, who is a certified color code trainer. She and I have worked together for over a year now teaching color-code and I'm thrilled to have her on the program as a fairly new color code trainer. She is a red-yellow and I love to have red-yellows on my show because those are the colors that I am the least of and I think we make a great compliment as a team.

Amber Roberts:
Hi, glad to be here. Thank you.

Megan Guido:
Amber, you are a nurse. And then tell me what your capacity is as a nurse and what you're currently doing.

Amber Roberts: 
I've been a nurse for 22 years years. And for 17 of those years, I worked as an obstetrical nurse, and so labor and delivery, postpartum nursery. And for the following seven years I was an assistant nurse director. And then since 2015, so the last four years, I have been a nurse educator but that includes education for everybody that works in a hospital, not just nurses.

Megan Guido:
Great so you made a bit of a career change there. So Amber, can you tell us a time at work where you had a strong reaction as a red personality, and that interaction didn't go well, in hindsight now that you know the color code skills, you could have handled that interaction differently?

Amber Roberts:
Yes, absolutely. I was actually a working manager and we had a delivery and we had a situation where a baby was not doing well, didn't have a heartbeat, wasn't breathing. And I had all my equipment out and this and that and I went to grab a piece of equipment that's always there and it wasn't there. And long story short, it's because the baby area didn't get stocked by somebody else. And when we were doing the delivery, I said, "Please go check, make sure everything's set up and we'll be ready to go. I'm expecting a shoulder dystocia so this might not be a good baby." And so I trusted that they did all of that, well long story short when it was time to get the baby back to this world I didn't have the necessary equipment. The baby did live and did great and was fine and wonderful.

Amber Roberts:
But how I handled it later, about an hour later, was asking that CNA (certified nurse assistant) what they were thinking, and the person happened to be pregnant, the girl, and I said, "What if that was your baby in there? Would you have wanted me to have the equipment or not to save your child?" Which was very, very direct and unnecessary really. And so I was under stress. I felt I delegated, which is typical behavior of a red under stress, And then I let them know how I felt exactly after which they didn't ask me for the feedback. I just offered it.

Megan Guido:
So looking back on that now that you know what you know about yourself and what some of the other strengths are from the other colors, how do you think you might have had that conversation?

Amber Roberts:
I definitely think I needed to retract myself out of the moment for a day or two and really think about what happened. I mean, we had a good outcome. I didn't need to go rant right away, nothing was going to get solved. And really grabbed from some of my blue strengths which would have been to process and then have a conversation calmly and be like, "I have a problem and I need your help, how can we make sure that this doesn't happen again? Because in our delivery the other day I didn't have," I can't remember what it was the ET tube or something. And just process it together instead of it being an accusatory thing because I could have easily double-checked it earlier, but I didn't. I delegated it during a stressful time and so there were things that we both obviously needed to do. It wasn't just a one-person show. So definitely grab from another color.

Megan Guido:
And reds have a tendency to be pretty reactionary and even being able to say what emotions you were feeling at that time could be pretty impactful to a blue to appeal to them because they understand feelings.

I think everybody has those episodes at work and not just in healthcare that you could look back and say, "Wow, now that I have these tools, how could I have managed that differently or had a conversation?" But what's so neat to see is that because you do have that awareness now of yourself, you can look back and say, "I probably should have taken a day to process this and think it and also learn, as a manager, what we could do to avoid that situation." So those are really great examples of how powerful color code can be.

Amber Roberts:
Not only in your work life but your personal life.

Megan Guido:
Amber, thank you for taking the time to talk to me and to be part of my new podcast and enjoy working with you as a new trainer and I appreciate who you are.

Amber Roberts:
Thank you.