Got Staff Meeting Nightmares? Managing Awesome Opportunities


Got Staff Meeting Nightmares?

Managing Awesome Opportunities


Staff meetings are an amazing medium for facilitating change. When staff groups have meaningful and positive conversations with one another, they strengthen their professional and collaborative relationships. Yet, how many times have you heard staff members leave a meeting and comment, “Well that was a colossal waste of time!” How do you structure staff meetings that inspire staff to attend? This chapter will provide you with tips on how to create meetings that will engage staff and encourage them to assume ownership for their outcomes.


In this chapter, you will learn:

1.    Information about how to create conversations that matter

2.    Strategies to inspire staff from apathy to action

3.    How to manage communication at staff meetings


Do you sometimes feel as if you are on a sinking ship when it comes to staff meetings? Is attendance plummeting? Is scheduling a staff meeting becoming more difficult, getting staff to attend harder, and holding staff attention taking on nightmare proportions? In an era when time is a precious commodity, information overload is the new “normal,” and demands on staff are never ending, scheduling a staff meeting is not an act of whimsy. Staff meetings must pack a punch by being worthwhile, interactive, and productive. If you are scheduling staff meetings and no one attends, it is time to make changes.

Luring staff nurses from the bedside or practice setting is difficult due in part to their work ethic and the belief that staff meetings interfere with patient/client care. In fact, “patient/client care” is the number one reason given by staff for not attending a meeting or leaving before it is over. While this is sometimes true, it serves as a ready excuse to avoid sitting through meetings characterized by “bobblehead” behavior and the belief that “nothing is happening” or “nothing ever changes.”


What if staff meetings became:

    An important opportunity in a safe place to talk to colleagues about things that matter?

    A medium for personal and professional transformation?

    A vehicle for strengthening workplace relationships?

    An opportunity for nurse managers to deepen their understanding of staff members, identify “hot spots,” or create teachable moments?

When meetings are linked to professional development, opportunities to strengthen workplace relationships, and improve professional practice and quality of work life, staff members will come.


The need to schedule a meeting will vary with each practice setting. The most important considerations are:

    What is the purpose of the meeting?

    How will the meeting fit with the mission and vision of your practice setting?

    What do you want to accomplish?

    In building the agenda, what opportunities exist for interactive staff learning, conversations, problem solving, or relationship building?


    Develop an agenda by seeking input from staff and adding items you want to bring forward.

    Define your purpose: Nice to know, need to know, need your ideas.

      images    If the purpose is “nice to know,” they won’t attend.

            If the meeting is “FYI only,” you may want to consider another approach (e.g., a note in a communication book, e-mail, text message, or memos on the back of the bathroom door). Get creative about messaging.

      images    If the purpose is “need to know,” they may attend.

            If the purpose is to share information about an issue and receive feedback regarding the impact or their overall reactions, then schedule a meeting.

      images    If the purpose is “I need your input or feedback,” they will attend.

            When there is opportunity for new learning or a requirement to receive creative input from staff about how to manage a change, develop a new idea or process, or resolve an issue, staff are likely to attend.

    Align the purpose of the meeting with your mission and vision.

      images    Mission matters. How does the meeting complement or enhance your mission? Is it an opportunity to learn about a new process to improve care or strengthen the quality of workplace relationships to enhance communication among team members? Tell the staff how the meeting furthers achievement of the mission and meets their needs for quality improvement.

      images    Value the vision. How will the meeting help you and staff members move toward achieving the vision for your clinical practice setting?

    Determine what you want to accomplish.

           While planning the meeting, in your head, answer the question on the minds of your staff that will determine their attendance: “What’s in it for me if I attend?” They may actually get excited about attending a meeting that will be of benefit to them. The “What’s in it for me?” question creates interest and peaks their curiosity.

    Create opportunities to learn, converse, and relate.

           Build in the opportunity for discussion among and between staff members during the meeting. For example, if there is a particular issue that requires staff input, do the following:

      images    Divide the entire group into smaller groups.

      images    Provide each group with questions to guide their discussion.

      images    Have each group record notes highlighting their discussion.

      images    After 15 to 20 minutes, have each group provide feedback to the larger group.

      images    Make notes of key points on a flip chart.

      images    Develop an action plan in which staff members volunteer to take responsibility for specific tasks.

      images    Schedule a follow-up meeting or session.

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Dec 16, 2017 | Posted by in NURSING | Comments Off on Got Staff Meeting Nightmares? Managing Awesome Opportunities
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