Nursing is a busy and demanding career. When you do a good job, you expect to be acknowledged and praised. However, there are times you will experience criticism as well.
In this article, I share some tips on what you can do when criticized.
While relating to other nurses, you are bound to receive some form of criticism, whether it’s constructive or not. Be willing to hear what people are saying whether it’s coming from the doctor, your supervisor, the patients or the patient’s relatives. Receive the message simply, and do not be quick to think there is an ulterior motive or hidden agenda when something is pointed out.
Listening is easy, yet most of us often find it hard to do. It’s important to listen when criticism is being shared, understand the issue well, and decide if it is true; the cause of the problem, and if you can do something about it. Remain open to criticism and do not take it as an attack on you or your work. Being open will enable you to give a proper response or reaction.
Criticism can raise conflict and tension between two people. It is important to stay calm and respond to the critic with the utmost respect. If the issue is something that is beyond your scope of practice, let them know, and refer them to the relevant department. Reassure the critic that everyone is doing their best to ensure that the matter is attended to as soon as possible.
Improve if you can
Constructive criticism can help create awareness of areas that you need to work on. Look out for the changes that this will bring in the workplace and with your relations to others. If you want your nursing unit to flourish, always ask your patients to evaluate the care. Evaluation is the only way you will know where your weaknesses are and where you are strong.
Communicate clearly your thoughts and feeling so that it never turns into a blame game. Poor communication can lead to finger pointing and blame which only creates a toxic environment. Communicate often and stay positive all the time.
When you embrace criticism and improve on your areas of weakness, the work-related stress you may be experiencing will reduce significantly. Communicating instead of getting defensive, promotes healthy relationships. Having a different perspective about the criticism is a good way to improve your work. The outcome of criticism is totally dependent on your actions and interpretation. With this in mind, I believe that you are now better placed to handle criticism at work.