Power Relationship Assignment

Power Relationship Assignment

Power Relationship Assignment

Power Relationship Assignment

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. Appropriately introducing yourself by saying your name, making eye contact, and shaking hands can immediately establish you as a powerful person. If nurses introduce themselves by first name to the physician, Dr. Smith, they have immediately set forth an unequal power relationship unless the physician also uses his or her first name. Although women are not socialized to initiate handshakes, it is a power strategy in male-dominated circles, including health care organizations. In Western cultures, eye contact conveys a sense of confidence and connection to the individual to whom one is speaking. These seemingly minor behaviors can have a major impact on how competent and powerful the nurse is perceived.

2. Attire can symbolize power and success (Sullivan, 2013). Although nurses may believe that they are limited in choice of attire by uniform codes, it is in fact the presentation of the uniform that can hold the key to power. For example, a nurse manager needs a powerful image both with unit staff and with administrators and other professionals who are setting organizational policy. An astute nurse manager might wear a suit rather than a uniform to work on the day of a high-level interdisciplinary committee meeting. Certainly, attention to details of grooming and uniform selection can enhance the power of the staff nurse as well.

3. Conveying a positive and energetic attitude sends the message that you are a “doer” and someone to be sought out for involvement in important issues. Chronic complaining con- veys a sense of powerlessness, whereas solving problems and being optimistic promote a “can do” attitude that suggests power and instills confidence in others.

4. Pay attention to how you speak and how you act when you speak. Nonverbal signs and signals say more about you than words. Stand erect and move energetically. Speak with an even pace and enunciate words clearly. Make sure your words are reflected in your body language. Keep your facial expression consistent with your message.

5. Use facts and figures when you need to demonstrate your point. Policy changes usually evolve from data presented in a compelling story. Positioning yourself as a powerful player requires the ability to collect and analyze data. Technology facilitates data retrieval. For example, Chapter 6 lists various quality initiatives that yield useful data, including bench- marks and dashboards. Remember that power is a matter of perception; therefore, you must use whatever data are available to support your judgment.

6. Knowing when to be at the right place at the right time is crucial to gain access to key per- sonnel in the organization. This means being invited to events, meetings, and parties not necessarily intended for nurses. It means demanding to sit at the policy table when decisions affecting staffing and patient care are made. Influence is more effective when it is based on personal relationships and when people see others in person: “If I don’t see you, I can’t ask you for needed information, analysis, and alternative recommendations.” Become vis- ible. Be available. Offer assistance. You can be invaluable in providing policy makers with information, interpreting data, and teaching them about the nursing side of health care.

7. In dealing with people outside of nursing, it is important to develop powerful partnerships. Learn how to share both credit and blame. When working on collaborative projects, use “we” instead of “they,” and be clear about what is needed. If something isn’t working well, say so. Never accept another’s opinion as fact. Facts can be easily manipulated to fit one’s personal agenda. Learn how to probe and obtain additional information. Don’t assume you have all the information. Beware of unsolicited commentary. Don’t be fearful of giving strong criticism, but always put criticisms in context. Before giving any criticism, give a compliment, if appropriate. Also, make sure your partners are ready to hear all sides of the issue. It’s never superfluous to ask, “Do you want to talk about such and such right now?” Once an issue is decided—really decided—don’t raise it again.

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