Communication; Hiring and Placement; Motivation

sylvIa’s choIce

Primary Topic—Employee Problems and Problem Employees

Additional Topics—Communication; Hiring and Placement; Motivation

When head nurse Sylvia Miller was faced with the opportunity to promote one of her staff members to a charge nurse capacity, she found that she was not lacking apparently qualified employees. In fact, after sorting through several possibilities Sylvia was left with two equally appealing candidates. Jane Wilson and Hilda Ross, in Sylvia’s opinion the two best nurses on the floor, appeared equal in qualifications and experience in just about every respect.

It was evident to Sylvia that Jane and Hilda both wanted the position; each had made her desires known to Sylvia upon first learning that the position would be avail- able. Jane and Hilda were energetic, willing, and apparently career oriented.

Sylvia eventually made her choice and promoted Jane Wilson to charge nurse. Although she did not discuss the ultimate basis of her decision with anyone, Sylvia admitted to herself that her decision was based largely on personality—Jane seemed friendlier than Hilda and more able to relate to other people on a one-to- one basis.

Jane Wilson eagerly accepted the promotion and plunged into her new role with enthusiasm. Hilda Ross expressed some initial disappointment, which seemed, at least to Sylvia, to dissipate rapidly.

However, 6 weeks after Jane’s promotion it was plain to Sylvia that Hilda Ross had changed both her outlook and her behavior. Where previously Hilda had always seemed willing to do more than her share of work, she now seemed content doing just enough to get by. Although never overly talkative or socially outgoing, Hilda now seemed all the more silent and withdrawn. Worst of all, at least to Sylvia, was Hilda’s apparent practice of resisting instructions from the new head nurse and creat- ing obstacles for Jane.

Sylvia realized that she had a problem requiring her active involvement when she overheard Hilda Ross grumbling about how “a person has to be the head nurse’s buddy to get anywhere around here.”

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1. How might unintended personal bias here have intruded in Sylvia’s selection of Jane over Hilda?

2. What do events subsequent to Jane’s promotion have to say about Sylvia’s choice of a charge nurse?

3. How should Sylvia go about dealing with Hilda Ross?

Case 41: Sylvia’s Choice      97

© Jones & Bartlett Learning, LLC. NOT FOR SALE OR DISTRIBUTION. 8645

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