5 Tips for Navigating the Company Holiday Party

5 Tips for Navigating the Company Holiday Party

The holiday season brings lots of chances to get together with coworkers in both casual and more business-geared settings. The holiday work party is sometimes a confusing mix of both, and it’s worth giving some thought to the best way to approach it.

Holiday parties can seem like a time when you can let go a little and have fun with your coworkers, especially if some are friends you see outside of work hours. But your coworkers aren’t the only people celebrating at the holiday party – your supervisors (and often managers above them) are frequently there as well.

So while you should relax, mingle, and have fun there are a couple of things to keep in check.

1Don’t Overindulge

It has been said many times, but can be said again—the holiday party is not the time to have too many drinks. Not only can you say or do something embarrassing, but you are doing that in front of people who might consider you for a promotion. If you come unhinged at the holiday party, they might remember that and question your overall judgment.

2. Show Your Best Self

Just as you don’t want to be remembered for the spectacle you made after having a few too many, you also don’t want to shock people with inappropriate comments, political opinions, or gossipy stories. If your coworkers turn to you for the latest dirty joke when you all go out to dinner, keep it there and not at the holiday party.

3. Do Mingle

Make sure you do catch up with people, but it doesn’t have to be all about work. Now isn’t the time to hit someone up for a job offer or to regal them with facts and figures from your latest reports. Don’t spend the night talking shop, but do spend the night making a genuine effort. If you know a colleague helped a patient figure out how to cope with a demanding medication schedule successfully, by all means pass a compliment on to them. And don’t neglect to greet your boss.

4. Don’t Skip the Party

Even if you really dread holiday parties, you don’t get a free pass to skip. Part of building relationships and being a team player means having to attend at least for a while. Don’t make it obvious that you want to leave (for instance, make sure you at least take your coat off!), but stay just long enough to chat with a few people, eat some of the food, and have people know you were there. Then you can make a graceful exit.

5. Plan Ahead

If office parties are especially tough for you, spend an hour the night before planning who you would be comfortable chatting with (but you can’t just pair up with your favorite buddy). Also memorize a few questions to break the ice and keep conversations from stalling. People love to talk about themselves, so you can ask what they have planned for the holidays or what they like to do in January. Keep the topics neutral and broad.

Office parties can be a trial, but they can also present great opportunities for you to reinforce your professionalism and get to know the people in your work setting. Take advantage of the opportunity and enjoy this unique part of the holiday season.

8 Ways to Handle Criticism at Work

8 Ways to Handle Criticism at Work

No one is perfect, and no matter how hard you work at your job every day, some things won’t turn out the way you planned. You might beat yourself up for making an error or saying something you didn’t really mean, but when someone else calls you on it, it takes everything up a notch.

How can you respond when someone criticizes you at work? Taking criticism is one of the hardest parts of professional life. No one likes to hear someone else say something negative about how they performed.

But is all criticism negative? Here are eight ways to deal with someone else’s comments.

1.Take a Deep Breath

Whatever comes to your mind first is not something that should come out of your mouth. Of course you are going to be defensive when your boss tells you a patient complained about your timing with medications. Maybe she doesn’t know the back story that you tried to give meds and was asked to come back after the patient’s visitors left.

Don’t expect the other person to know your side of the story, and keep that in mind when you want to reply with a biting comment. Escalating the conversation to a nasty tone will make things worse, not better.

2. Listen Carefully

All criticism is not bad. While it may be hard to hear, the meaning might not be negative in tone. If someone is telling you that you did something wrong, think about the reasons behind what’s being said.

If the comment has to do with patient safety or satisfaction and you did mess up, this is an opportunity to do your job better. If the remarks have to do with an action that’s based on a bigger, systemic problem, the criticism can open the door to discuss how to make things better for your whole unit.

3. Be Cordial

Keep your tone steady and even while you are talking. Don’t pull others into the conversation and don’t start blaming other people. If your coworkers were part of the problem, you don’t have to take all the blame, but you do need to think about how to present your information.

If you’re able to, tell the person who is criticizing you that you hear what they are saying and you want time to think about it so you can have a thoughtful discussion. Ask to return to the topic in 24 hours and then get back to them in that amount of time or sooner. If both sides are feeling defensive and heated, this time allows each of you to cool off a little.

4. Reflect Honestly

Is a coworker upset with you because you leave the nurse’s station a mess? Is a new nurse feeling overwhelmed with the patient load you have given her?

If the criticism isn’t based on completely false information, step back and assess. What role are you playing in the scenario? What did happen that caused someone else to point it out to you? What can you do to fix the problem?

5. Work on a Solution

You’ve been told there’s a problem or an issue and that you played a part in it. Now it’s up to you to try to figure out how to make things better. No matter how difficult it is to do, stepping up and accepting responsibility for your actions is important for your credibility. Your colleagues will have much more respect for you if you don’t overreact to criticism or try to deflect the blame.

6. Keep It Quiet

You might want to bad mouth your boss for criticizing you (especially if it was done in front of others), but resist that urge. Keeping a positive and professional attitude will do more for your professional reputation than getting the personal satisfaction of complaining about your boss.

7. Keep an Eye on the Future

When anyone is criticized at work, people often remember how a person reacted first. Years later, colleagues might not remember the mistake you made, but they will remember if you responded professionally and appropriately or not. As you could potentially someday report to any of those people, have an interview with them, or even become their boss, how they perceive your action can have lasting impact on your career.

8. Move On

You are not perfect and you will make mistakes. Some of those mistakes will be judged more harshly than others and not always fairly. Try to turn any criticism around so that you improve in some way moving forward. If the criticism was biting, unfair, and not based on fact, you might learn how to deliver criticism correctly when the shoe is on the other foot. If the criticism is right on target, make changes to correct whatever you can and to ensure the mistake won’t be repeated.

Whatever you do, don’t let the criticism knock you down. Learn, take responsibility, and keep moving forward.

5 Unprofessional Don’ts Every Nurse Must Not Utter In Front Of A Patient

5 Unprofessional Don’ts Every Nurse Must Not Utter In Front Of A Patient

As a professional nurse, you probably come across a number of awkward situations and people in a full day’s work that sometimes a slip-of-the-tongue just happens. But that’s still no excuse because you pretty much knew what you were getting into before signing up for the job.

Nursing is a career that requires as much verbal control as a sound understanding of performing medical tasks without bringing about too much discomfort to a patent both on a physical and emotional level. Here are five don’ts that you as a professional nurse must not let slip out of your mouth to make the patient you’re looking after feel uncomfortable.

1. “I don’t know; that’s what the doctor said.”

This is the biggest and most annoying mistake of them all. Knowing what the physician has planned as a part of a treatment for a patient that you and the physician are collaborating on is actually part of a nurse’s job description–there’s no other way around that. And not knowing what the physician has planned not only brings your ignorance as a nurse out in the open, but it also diminishes your value within the health care system. So make sure that you fully understand what the physician has planned and try to have your queries answered before you face the patent when the physician isn’t around to avoid a rather awkward confrontation and being misjudged.

2. “I haven’t done this before, but don’t worry.”

And after hearing that, most probably every patient will respond with something in the likes of “Then maybe you shouldn’t” because you probably have given them every reason to be worried with just those few words. If you’ve been asked to perform a particular medical task for the first time, the last thing that you should be doing is making the patient feel insecure because that way he or she may just begin to doubt the quality of the service being provided within the health care system. Imagine a mom taking her kid for a flu vaccination and you utter those words. She’ll definitely not be risking her kid in your lap. Although providing better pediatric health care is not that difficult and bears the lowest risk, you should still get into the shoes of a mother. What you need to do is prepare yourself by reviewing guidelines and policies, and bringing in a more experienced nurse for assistance. And yes, don’t worry–there’s always a first time for everyone.

3. “They don’t treat nurses well here.”

Well, after taking into account the fact that nursing pays more than just well, that’s probably a lie. And even if it isn’t, it’s rather unprofessional on your part to rant about the shortcomings of the health care system you work in front of the patients you’re looking after. Patients generally look at the nurses attending to them as an extension of the quality and the services the entire health care system provides. Trashing the system pretty much equates to trashing the credibility of the entire system as well as your own; and this is something you wouldn’t want to do, would you?

 4. “I don’t know why you’re on these meds.”

Much like being completely ignorant to what the physician has planned for the patient, not knowing why the patient is being given a particular medicine (or more) can actually turn out to become a matter of life and death; you wouldn’t want to give someone dehydrated due to food poisoning more diuretics to completely drain them out, or send the blood pressure of a patient who’s already experiencing high pressure off the charts also by giving them the wrong pills. To avoid unwarranted drama, know the medicines and know why the patient needs them; patients never stop asking questions and doing your job right never hurts.

5. “You don’t have much time left.”

Now why would you even do that? You’re not the bearer of bad news! Let’s just say that there are some things that physicians are simply better at conveying to the patient than a nurse. Physicians almost always have a scientifically logical explanation ready at the tip of their tongue to handle such a situation, so let them share that part of the really bad news.

Always Act Professional – Here’s Why

Always Act Professional – Here’s Why

Have you heard the latest job interview nightmare that went viral on social media?

It seems a London subway car was especially crowded during rush hour. Matt Buckland, who works as a recruiter, had stepped aside to let another passenger on the Tube and inadvertently ended up in another man’s way. Immediately the man reacted by pushing past the recruiter and saying something incredibly rude.

Bad start to the day, but not a situation we haven’t all seen in one form or another, right?

Later that day, that very same recruiter has an interview scheduled with a job seeker for a job opening he’s in charge of. When the candidate walks in, the recruiter immediately realizes it is the same man who treated him so rudely in the subway car.

Would you want to be that job candidate?

Although the recruiter says the candidate wasn’t a good fit for the job and that’s why he didn’t land the position, you have to wonder if he even stood a chance after his tantrum on the train.

What’s the lesson here? It’s pretty obvious that being professional in all aspects of your life pays off. You never know when the person you interact with at the grocery store or on the road could be a key person in your future professional life.

Does that mean you always have to be on guard? Well, in a sense, yes. I recently visited a place of business and heard an earful of complaints from the very professional staff members. I was there on unrelated business, but I wondered all the way home why they just assumed it was okay to tell me what they did. What if the boss they were complaining about had been my neighbor or my cousin? How did they know I wouldn’t turn around and say something to their boss?

In the end, they really couldn’t know if I would keep their complaints quiet, and I think that’s a risk that’s never worth taking. Whether you are actively looking for a job or not, acting in a professional manner in all aspects of your life is sensible. For one thing, being polite to people is the right thing to do. It sets a good tone and a good example. Even in times of conflict (your meal at a restaurant arrived and everything was wrong, for example), maintaining a calm demeanor and treating other people with respect is how to handle it.

Even if no one else sees you being polite, you will foster a reputation of level headedness as it becomes part of your routine. In contrast, if you’re someone who routinely blows at the slightest upset, whether at work or away from work, that behavior will follow you wherever you go. In fact, people may hear about it before they even meet you, and that can impact your career in ways you’ll never know.

So the next time you’re frustrated in a long line or irritated at the person on the subway who keeps bumping into you, keep your cool. You never know how it will change your life.