Firing-Discipline Interview

I interviewed Keith who is the manager of the collections department at NorthStar. From this experience, I learned that many organizations follow a similar discipline process. These often include verbal warning, written warning, and final written warning. However, I also learned that some managers will try to avoid the next step of the process by putting employees in a “probation period” in which they have a plan to correct or improve the employees behavior. I think it is important to recognize the importance of communication with your employer or leadership. If you have received a warning of some sort, I think most leadership members are willing to help you resolve an issue if it is not something you can do on your own. 

    1. What is your process of steps to take before firing an employee? The formal process of steps to take before firing an employee is set by the company. We do a verbal warning, a written warning, and then a final written warning.
    2. Who else is involved during the firing process? It depends on why the individual is being fired. Typically HR and myself.
    3. How many steps are involved from first offense to dismissal? If we follow the process usually 3. This can always change depending on circumstances and what the offense is. Some offenses I will not go as far as doing a written warning after one verbal warning. 
    4. What does your disciplinary plan usually look like? If I am not following the three step process, sometimes I can put an employee on probation. If there is an issue that may take time to resolve or performance needs to be improved, I will work with the employee to develop goals and expectations to be met. This allows me to check in on their progress and intervene before further action is taken. 
    5. Do you collect anything from the employee before termination? At the time an employee is terminated I collect their badge and parking pass.
    6. Do you offer warnings before disciplinary action or dismissal is taken? Yes unless it is a very serious and fireable offense. 
    7. If disciplining or firing someone goes wrong, or the employee responds inappropriately, how would you handle that? I can get HR or security involved if it comes to that.
    8. Do you give the employee an opportunity to “defend themselves”? Do you offer second chances based on what they say? Most of the employees I have had to fire have had several discussions with me prior to dismissal. I do want to know their perspective on things, but I try not to jump to conclusions. Once I am at the point of firing an employee, they have already had several chances to discuss their behavior with me. Because I am not quick to fire employees, I usually do not offer second chances. 
    9. After firing an employee, how do your other employees typically respond? I have never had any issues with other employees getting upset. Typically issues leading to an employee being fired have taken a toll on the other employees, so they are understanding of the situation. 
    10. After disciplinary action is taken or someone is fired, how do you motivate your other employees? How do you keep your other employees accountable? Our department is very goal motivated and oriented. Individuals are compensated based on their own performance, so this is not usually an issue. The only negative impact is sometimes a heavy work load for a few weeks. 

Week 6 Reflection

I really enjoyed the unit this week. I feel like up until this point, ethics committees have been kind of this mythical group of people that exist and are never seen. It was interesting to learn more about when ethics committees should be involved, who is on an ethics committee, and what their purpose or goal is. I learned that this is a resource that is not utilized as often as it could be (I think Sean said 3 times a year on average). 

The team activities this week were much less controversial than I was expecting them to be. I was surprised how well our “ethics committee” was able to come to a consensus about what our recommendation for the scenario would be. Many of us were able to find guidelines on discontinuing dialysis, which made our opinions much easier to validate. I can see it being much more challenging when a dilemma arises that has not been encountered quite as often and there are no “guidelines” in place.

I think handling ethical dilemmas has to be one of the most challenging aspects of being a leader in the healthcare system. There are so many ethical dilemmas that could potentially arise. Each patient and each scenario will have their own complications or interesting factors to take into consideration when trying to arrive at an ethical solution. I feel like it is important to be sensitive to identifying ethical concerns in our nursing practice. Being aware of the resources we have as nurses when an ethical dilemma arises is definitely beneficial. 

Performance Appraisal Interview

I interviewed Dr. Carter (Dentist) for this assignment. He owns a dental practice in Salt Lake City where I used to work. This was an interesting interview for me because I worked for him for many years, so I knew a lot about his process of evaluations already. With small businesses/companies, I think it is much more common for performance appraisals to be less organized or formal. Comparing my experience working for Intermountain and his dentist office makes it apparent why this is the case. In a small setting, Dr. Carter literally always knew what I was doing. He could easily assess my performance and I often got feedback throughout each shift. It was not uncommon for him to recognize when I was doing a good job or to show me how to be faster or more effective. He had very high expectations of his employees but also provided plenty of rewards for our performance. We got pedicures once a month as an office and got to go on a paid vacation once a year if we met all of our goals. Working at intermountain, there are many more employees to keep track of. With a bigger setting, it is not always as easy to give or receive feedback on a regular basis. Because of this, I think it is important to have a formal performance evaluation. 

Here are answers from the interview: 

1. What criteria scale do you use for performance appraisals?

“We are still deciding on how to conduct our performance appraisals, as you probably noticed. We have tried a few different approaches but we do not have a formal criteria scale we are sticking to currently”

2. How long do your evaluations typically last?

“About 30 minutes for each employee.”

3. Do you include peer evaluations? Why or why not?

“No. I feel like we work closely enough with each of our employees to gather the information we need to analyze their performance. If an individual has a concern or would like to recognize another employee they have the chance to do so during their evaluation”

4. How frequently do you hold performance appraisals?

“Formally, once a year. I tend to meet or check in with most of our employees at least 2-3 times a year.”

5. How do your performance appraisals tie into determining salary raises for your employees?

“Typically we have an idea ahead of time how much a salary will be raised for an employee. This is something that will be discussed at the conclusion of the performance appraisal.” 

6. Do you provide an opportunity for employees to express concerns about their performance or growth prior to beginning a formal evaluation?

“I like to think that employees feel like they can approach me on a regular basis to express concerns.”

7. Do you feel like your current protocol for performance appraisals have lead to stronger relationships between you and your employees?

“I think any time I spend with an employee discussing their strengths, weaknesses, and contributions can lead to stronger relationships. I feel like employees would benefit from having a more set experience for performance appraisals so they know what to expect”

8. How do you organize your performance appraisals with so many employees?

“This isn’t really an issue since the staff is relatively small. The most challenging part is just setting aside time for these since we run such a busy schedule.”

9. What are some positive outcomes you see from conducting performance appraisals?

“I like to make sure our employees know I appreciate how much they each contribute to our team. I think performance interviews are a great time to communicate this.”

10. Are there any negative outcomes you see from conducting performance appraisals?

“I have to give raises. Our employees definitely earn them and I like to please my employees but it is money I have to wave goodbye to. Actually negative outcomes? There is always a chance someone could take any critique or feedback very personally.”

11. What role does goal setting and accomplishment play when it comes to evaluating your employees’ performance?

“We mostly focus on goals as a team. Each of our employees definitely pull their weight to reach our team goals.”

12. How do you handle underperforming or problematic employees?

“I usually have Wendy (his wife/office manager) deal with problematic people. She is much better at dealing with problems without upsetting people. If there is someone underperforming on a regular basis they aren’t around long”

Week 5 Reflective Journal

1. What did you actually learned from the unit.

I thought the lectures this week contained a lot of useful and interesting information! I learned to never discipline an employee on a Friday and that it is okay to be average in your evaluations (especially as a new nurse who has limited experience!!). I also learned about the importance of having a second person present for any type of discipline and why it is important to ensure adequate preparation has been completed prior to confronting an employee about an issue. 

2. Discuss your feelings/experiences from the team activities? Did it change your opinion on the subject? If so, how? If not, why?

I thought the team activity about dealing with a “problem employee” was beneficial. The scenario discussed brought up a lot of thoughts about when it is appropriate to discipline an employee. It also made it apparent that it may sometimes be difficult to discipline an employee because of things you know about them personally. For example, this specific employee was a widowed single mother of six children. I think a lot of people have empathy and understanding for reasons why she may not be volunteering to pick up shifts. In this scenario, the importance of the department policy is very evident. 

I did not like the discussion about the “greatest leader of all time”. I feel like it is important to identify characteristics or strengths of great leaders. However, there are so many great leaders it is hard to pick one specifically. I feel like it would have almost been more beneficial if students were asked about their best boss/manager ever and what strengths they would draw from them, or what they may do differently. 

3. How you will utilize the information learned in your nursing practice.

I can utilize this information by being aware of my department policies and the expectations my unit has for me. I think I can also be more prepared for the employee evaluations in order to get more out of the time I have to reflect on my own performance with a member of the department leadership. 

4. You personal feelings about the material covered.

I feel like this week gave me a lot of good insight into the roles and responsibilities of the leaders on my unit at work. I have a greater appreciation for the work they do and for the time they spend to meet with their employees for evaluations! 

Week 4 Reflective Journal

1. What did you actually learned from the unit. 

I thought this week was a fun unit. I feel like I learned a lot about people’s different personalities, strengths, and expectations. Conducting an interview about interviews is something I wish people had a chance to do before being interviewed. 

2. Discuss your feelings/experiences from the team activities? Did it change your opinion on the subject? If so, how? If not, why?

I had a good time doing the team activity this week. Once all of the coordination was out of the way, it was nice to actually interact with my team members! The activities definitely required individuals and groups to be able to communicate. It taught me that a challenge and reward of working in groups is getting different perspectives on things. One activity was not super clear with instructions, and it was interesting to hear how each individual interpreted it and how we were able to merge all of our understandings together to (hopefully?) complete the activity correctly. 

3. How you will utilize the information learned in your nursing practice.

I will use this information as a reminder that not everyone will always think the same way as me. However, it is important to be able to listen to other people’s understandings or explanations. Being able to share our strengths and understandings can make an entire group better. I also think it is a good reminder to be clear about what we are trying to communicate. Closed loop communication is a big deal, and helps eliminate misunderstandings. 

4. You personal feelings about the material covered.

I feel like this course gives me a new theme or topic that I can take to work each week and really focus on improving. I have enjoyed that aspect of this course!


Hiring Interview

Below is the list of questions my team and I put together. Summarized responses from my interview are in italics. 

  1. What is your process for selecting individuals to interview?This is a process that is always changing. We have used a few different websites to collect resumes, references, etc. over the years. It also depends on what position we are hiring for. 
  2. What are important things you look for on a resume? Again, this depends on the level of the position we are hiring for. If it is an entry level position, I just like to see that the person is capable of creating a professional resume. If it is a higher level position we are trying to fill, I look for more applicable work experience, duration of previous positions, and their qualifications. 
  3. How carefully do you review a resume before interviewing a candidate? Not as much as people think I do. I rarely read job descriptions or responsibilities. People tend to add things that sound impressive. I am usually just trying to gather a basic idea of if an individual seems qualified for an interview. 
  4. What are you looking for when you reach out to the interviewee’s references? Red flags. I do not give much credit to any personal references, unless it is someone I know. If former employers have negative comments about an individual, I do take it seriously. Although there may be circumstances that are out of an individual’s control that could affect what an employer would say, I have found as long as it does not seem like they are trying to gossip about the candidate, most people will not say anything negative unless they have a legitimate concern for a company to hire an individual.  If they bring up excessive absents, tardies, or conflicts at work, I would definitely hesitate to hire that individual. 
  5. Do you ask potential coworkers, HR, or other leadership to be in the interview with you? Yes. We usually have at least 2-3 individuals in every interview. Often whoever would be the person’s direct supervisor and someone from HR if that is possible. 
  6. Do you usually have a pretty good idea about whether or not you would like to hire an individual as soon as the interview is over? Yes. 
  7. Do you appreciate it when individuals follow up with you after an interview? Yes, sometimes. If I tell them we will get back to them in two days and they try to follow up with me the next day, that is annoying. 
  8. How long do your interviews last? This also depends on the position we are hiring for. Anywhere from 20 minutes- 2 hours. 
  9. Are there any major red flags you keep an eye out for during an interview? If the person has a lot of negative things to say about every job they have ever had, I get worried. If they are significantly late without communicating that they are going to be late, I also worry. I am not too critical about insignificant details, but I can usually tell if someone seems like they will be a good fit.  
  10. How important is it to you that the interviewee ask you questions? What kind of questions do you hope they ask? Do not ask about vacations, days off, or things that would make you sound like you are already trying to get out of work. Do not only ask questions about salary either. I do not particularly care what they DO ask, but I do seem to find that people who are interested in the position will come prepared with at least one or two appropriate questions. 
  11. What qualities and skills do you look for in every interviewee? Hard-working, capable of learning and adapting, not super annoying, reliable, honest, respectful. 
  12. What impresses you most about a potential employee? I don’t know. 

I interviewed my dad, John. He is the CFO for a large global company called Jain Irrigation Systems. Although he stopped caring about my questions by question 12, I thought this experience was beneficial because he has been involved in hiring a massive number of people throughout his career. I also know he didn’t just tell me what employers would want people to think. It was funny listening to him talk about his interview process and reflecting back on mine. He was not interested in any fluff or rehearsed answers. If he is hiring for a high ranked position, he values references and the individual’s ability to do their job. He said if you ask the right questions, you can easily tell if they are qualified and if they know what they are doing. He also made it obvious that things that are drilled into your head like not to say ummm really do not matter all that much if you are a good worker and have the experience necessary to excel in the position. Although I wanted to argue with him about some of the things he said, he has always helped me prepare for interviews and used to help me with resumes, and I have never not gotten a job I interviewed for, so he must know something. 

Week 3 Reflective journal

1. What did you actually learned from the unit.

I learned a lot about the hiring experience from the leadership side of things. I honestly had not really thought about being on the leadership end of hiring. It was interesting to consider what factors play into the hiring process and selecting a candidate. I also enjoyed hearing about the pro’s of turn-over vs the cons of turn-over.

2. Discuss your feelings/experiences from the team activities? Did it change your opinion on the subject? If so, how? If not, why?

I feel like the team activity was thought provoking but not very controversial this week. We did not really have much of a debate in the process of choosing which candidate we would hire given the circumstances leading to the position opening. However, it was interesting to discuss this scenario and when circumstances may make it more ideal to hire from within a department vs. an external hire. 

3. How you will utilize the information learned in your nursing practice.

I think understanding this content will help me in the future if I happen to be in a position when I am being interviewed or in the future if I am asked to be part of a hiring process. 

4. You personal feelings about the material covered.

I feel like this material is helpful to improve my own ability to perform well in interviews. Considering the perspective of the indidivuals conducting an interview and those involved in the hiring process can give you an advantage. 

Week 2 Reflective Journal

1. What did you actually learned from the unit.

I learned from the unit that there are several leadership strategies and theories. The research, movie, and discussion I participated in lead me to believe a crucial element of leadership is being able to identify that there is no one correct way to be a leader. Understanding one leadership theory or strategy will not make you an excellent leader. Leaders must understand principles of leadership, but must also be able to incorporate personality traits, skills, and reactions of others to progress as a leader. 

2. Discuss your feelings/experiences from the team activities? Did it change your opinion on the subject? If so, how? If not, why?

Working as a team, I think one of the things that served as a small obstacle was recognizing the need to identify what we consider to be the definition of a leader. As we were faced with the task of deciding who, out of a list of many prominent individuals, were leaders, I realized each individual had a slightly different idea about what the criteria is for an individual to be considered a leader. For example, there were some people who are excellent role models, but not necessarily leaders. Some individuals made an enormous impact on the world or a society, but were not leaders. 

It was difficult to say that Albert Einstein was not a leader, because his work made an enormous difference in the world. Florence Griffith Joyner is record holding female runner. She may be an inspiration for a little girl who wants to be a runner when she grows up. But does that necessarily make her a leader? 

For the purpose of this class and assignment, we decided as a group to focus on individuals who were effective in actually leading and motivating a group of individuals toward a common goal. A true leader should be part of the group they are leading, and this excluded many of the individuals who were admirable or historically important, but not on our list of leaders. 

3. How you will utilize the information learned in your nursing practice.

I can utilize the information from this unit by referring back to the “Characteristics of Leaders” assignment. I actually found all of the statements to be very helpful. If I am able to keep these characteristics in mind throughout my nursing practice, I have no doubt I would be a better nurse, role model, and leader. 

Leadership is about: 

  • personal mastery
  • values 
  • service
  • the management of meaning
  • balance
  • continuous learning and improvement
  • effective decision making
  • modeling
  • integrity

4. You personal feelings about the material covered.

I feel like I have a lot of changes I could make in order to be a better leader. I really enjoyed the opportunity I had to complete the DISC test, because it forced me to consider what my leadership style is and what I can contribute to a group. I also considered which traits I admire in my own leaders. I realized I have had several different leaders or managers that were excellent, and many of them had very different styles. I feel like almost anyone can be a good leader if they are aware of their goals, their personal strengths/weaknesses, and the needs/reactions of their followers (employees, etc)

Characteristic of Leaders

1.       Leadership requires personal mastery – Nurses demonstrate leadership when they show competence and mastery in the tasks they perform. Nurses are deemed competent by means of a license to practice nursing (NLN 2010).

2.       Leadership is about values – Nurses are successful when they have a well developed set of values that accentuate the responsibilities of a nurse. These values include compassion, dignity, altruism, autonomy, and social justice. Nurses demonstrate leadership when they embrace these values during every shift. 

3.       Leadership is about service – Nurses demonstrate leadership when they make their job about service. When the endless responsibilities of a good nurse are summarized, nursing is all about service. While some roles and tasks may seem tedious, a leader will recognize these things are done with the patient in mind. A leader will radiate a spirit of service for co-workers and patients. 

4.       Leadership is about people and relationships – Nurses exemplify leadership when they recognize the importance of individuals and relationships. Leaders will strive to respect individuality as well as promote healthy uplifting relationships. Whether this is between co-workers, families, or patients, a nurse should recognize the role relationships play on an individual. 

5.       Leadership is contextual – Nurses are often jumbled in complicated situations. A leader will be able to recognize actions that should be taken amidst contextual information. A leader can pick up on potential issues and identify steps or actions that may help to prevent or resolve issues. 

6.       Leadership is about the management of meaning – Nurses frequently must be able to identify and interpret different styles of communication. When it comes to providing competent patient care, a nurse should strive to be able to identify the meaning of what an individual is communicating. 

7.       Leadership is about balance – Nursing is a never ending balancing act. Whether you are trying to balance your responsibilities or balance the hyper-hypo-tension teeter-totter, a leader will have the experience necessary to achieve or strive for balance. 

8.       Leadership is about continuous learning and improvement – Nurses should never feel stagnant in the process of their career. A leader will be able to identify learning experiences and will strive to improve their capabilities. 

9.       Leadership is about effective decision making – A leader must demonstrate the ability to make difficult decisions. A nurse should be competent and confident in their skills to the extent that they can make good decisions on the tip of their toes.  

10.   Leadership is a political process – The healthcare system can be a complex system to navigate. A nurse who is a leader will understand the chain of command and when to escalate an issue. 

11.   Leadership is about modeling – Nurses are leaders when they are role models for others. Leaders are able to conduct themselves in a way that should be a guide and a standard for others surrounding them. 

12.   Leadership is about integrity – A leader will advocate for weak or vulnerable populations. A nurse must have the integrity to recognize that they should advocate for patients who are often in a vulnerable position.

Personality Tests

I completed the DISC personality test. D is for Dominant, I is for Influential, S is for Steady, C is for Conscientious. I found the results of this test to be interesting! To summarize my results, I was not predominantly one column. Rather, I had a tie for number of adjectives in column 1 and column 4. This would mean I am Dominant (column 1) and Conscientious (column 4) . When I first read the results I thought they were odd because those two categories initially seemed to be kind of opposite to me.

As I read the explanations, I realized why these two categories were an even split for me. There were definitely aspects of the Conscientious description I match. Avoiding confrontation is something I do about 90% of the time. I am typically fairly accommodating. I believe one of my strengths is definitely identifying potential conflicts, and I am usually able to implement changes to prevent or resolve issues. I am precise in my work and I pay attention to important detail. However, I do not thing I am very particular or picky about what I do, I just have high expectations for my work performance. I find some details to be irrelevant, but I do well when I know certain details that are helpful to me. 

However, I can definitely see hints of the dominant personality as well. I usually like to get things at work done fast. I am definitely results oriented at work and I am efficient. I do no often run into conflict with others in the work environment, but when I do it is usually because there is a occurring issue or there is an issue involving something I am very passionate about. 

I can definitely see how I can identify with both of these personalities. I think part of this variance in results is also because I feel like I have a very different personality at work and at home. At work, I often work with more speed and that is where I am also more detain oriented. At home, I am generally laid back and I like doing things at a slower pace. I am fairly systematic in my routines at work, but I am much less organized at home. Even the cleanliness of my workplace and my home is different. While my home is not messy, I am definitely more laid back when it comes to cleaning up at home. At work, I prefer to keep my workplace clean. I am usually very conscientious of  cleaning up as I go, so everything remains clean and tidy. At home I am more outspoken, at work I am often reserved. At work it takes a certain occasion or person to break me out of my shell. With family and friends, I am very social. 

This will effect my leadership style because I have to be aware of when I should step up and embrace my dominant side, and when being more conscientious will be beneficial. Ideally, as a leader at work I think it is good to be conscientious when planning and accommodating individuals based on their strengths and weaknesses. However, there are definitely scenarios in which I should be more outspoken. I also have to be able to identify when it is best to take a firm stance. 

For fun and reflection, here are my results: 


  Column 1 Column 2 Column 3 Column 4
1 Strong-Willed Persuasive Kind Humble
2 Independent Sociable Pleasant Cooperative
3 Bold Lively Loyal Passive
4 Competitive Cheerful Obliging Open-minded
5 Daring Humorous Calm Precise
6 Pioneering Trusting Lenient Tolerant
7 Persistent Entertaining Obedient Neat
8 Energetic Sociable Lenient Peaceful
9 Risk Taker Good-mixer Patient Precise
10 Determined Energetic Self-controlled Systematic
11 Aggressive Charismatic Good-natured Careful
12 Restless Talkative Controlled Conventional
13 Decisive Popular Neighborly Organized
14 Adventurous Friendly Moderate Receptive
15 Brave Inspiring Submissive Shy