Your Mission

Module 3: Your Mission

Before we dig in, a word of caution: Do not start with the goal of making a new close friend on the unit.

I point this out from the get-go because:

●    Many make this mistake

●    That can change the tone for the entire orientation process

●    It will make things like providing feedback, accountability, and performance reviews exponentially more difficult

●    It’s very easy for a natural connection with someone to morph into friendship, thus pivoting the priority from becoming a safe and autonomous nurse to having a fun and smooth shift

●    That can cloud professional judgment

●    Safely learning how to become a nurse is not merely learning tasks in isolation, rather performing many tasks at once with high levels of accuracy - something that requires an in-depth learning process

While I encourage you to be kind, welcoming, and warm, it’s important to be honest, challenge them, tactfully call them out when they need to step up their game, and more.

An athletic comparison

I will compare learning this to learning another skill: Basketball.

Imagine if you never played basketball before and hired a coach to teach you the fundamentals about the game and how to play to get you ready to play 5-on-5 in a competitive game - where people’s lives are on the line. Let’s compare two different coaches.

Coach #1

●    Personable, friendly, warm, kind

●    Other players enjoy his company

●    Naturally gifted

●    Talks a lot about personal things, great story-teller and conversationalist

●    Difficult for him to focus on the tasks at hand

●    Shows you skills (dribbling, passing, shooting) and checks it off of his list that you’re exceptional at them, whether or not you actually are

●    Gives you a book with the rules of the game

●    Always says you’re doing great, regardless of how you perform

●    Not sure where you could get better

●    Explanations and rationales lack context and detail

●    When you try to get more information about the “why” behind things, he appears to take personally, and you’re insinuating he’s not good at his job, so you back off

●    You never run sprints to get in shape

●    You never run drills to get practice with fundamentals

●    He doesn’t get other people together for you to play against

●    You just shoot around with him

●    Every day is easy and relaxed

●    You’re genuinely not sure what you’re bad at but are not progressing in confidence or getting better at skills like you thought you would by that point

Then, orientation is over. You should be ready to go now, right? You get into a game, and you can’t hold your own. You don’t know what you’re doing and can’t keep up. People look at you like, “Have you ever played basketball before?” Before you know it, you’re begging for someone to take your place and desperately want to forget about basketball altogether.

Was he a friend? Yes.

But, did he train you?

Coach #2

●    He’s friendly but very clear about expectations

●    He shows you how to dribble, then makes you do dribbling drills over and over again. He corrects you, gives you tips on improving, and encourages you when you do it right.

●    He does the same with passing, shooting, defense, and all the basic skills

●    He runs you to build up your endurance.

●    Every day you’re with him, you know it’s going to be pretty hard but worth it in the end.

●    He’s very clear about what you do well and what you need to work on.

●    He spends most of the time focusing on what you need to work on rather than what you’re already doing well.

●    He calls you out when you’re lazy.

●    He tells you about how to work with other people on the court.

●    He runs drills he clearly planned out with you over and over again.

●    All the while, he is explaining the rules of the game and repeatedly quizzing you on them until you know them backward and forwards.

●    He gives you printouts to read at home and then quizzes you on them the next day.

●    He gets some friends to come and scrimmage with you first with the 3-on-3 half-court, then 5-on-5 half-court, then full court.

●    At first, he plays in the game with you. But soon, he’s on the sideline coaching you.

●    He communicates where to go and what to do often but then backs off and lets you figure it out.

●    Then he only speaks up during the scrimmage when you need encouragement or are about to make a major mistake. Otherwise, he chats on the sideline with you during a time out.

●    You learn to trust yourself, your weaknesses and strengths, and how to function on the team and navigate issues.

Finally, it’s time for his coaching to be done and for you to play on your own. You’re ready. You are hungry for this challenge and want more. 

Would you call this person a friend? Possibly, but not the BFF you call when your spouse is being ridiculous, kind of friend.

This person is more like a trusted mentor than a close personal friend. (And that’s how it should be.)

Now, for the more important question: Did he train you?

Let’s take it a step further: Did he inspire you into your best work?

Surprise: You are a leader!

Through Preceptor Pro, we’re going to show you how to be like the second coach.

Our goal is to provide a structure for creating this atmosphere and relationship dynamics that enable authentic learning to thrive.

“Structure is essential in building anything that thrives.”

– Dr. Henry Cloud

Naturally, the only way to become a coach as effective as the one previously described, there’s going to be a lot of uncomfortable conversations. There will also be many times when you see the importance of something, but they don’t yet see the value in it. Some people hate being corrected. Some people are so nervous and scared that they won’t take any initiative at all. You may also have someone who struggles deeply with impostor syndrome, and every single misstep is like the end of the world to them.

Our job is to fully assess the person we’re assigned to train and where they truly are (not where we think they should be or where they’re pretending to be), tailor our techniques to meet their needs, and get the best work out of them.

Good leaders are keenly aware of the mindset and psychology of those they are leading. We invest time into learning that person and what motivates them, what makes them shut down, and more. It’s not being rigid about how you go about things and expecting the new hire to cater to your needs. It’s the other way around. That’s how you get the best out of people.

At the end of the day, what we want is a reliable teammate. That person we can put in the game and trust they’re going to (at minimum) perform to the degree that’s not going to sabotage our team effort and the progress we’re making. If we’re up by 10, we can’t put someone in who will be lazy on defense and let the other team take the lead. We’ve got to coach them into becoming reliable, who doesn’t need constant hand-holding, and with the right encouragement and challenge, someone who will rise to the occasion and become a valuable member of the team who pushes us forward to more wins. We want that person whom we can put into the game, and they’re going to not only make it, so we don’t lose the lead, but build even more onto it.

That’s the difference between mediocrity and greatness.

This work is not only a service to that individual but your unit as a whole.

My encouragement: View each new employee you’re training as a valuable and sacred opportunity to coach the next game-changer in your unit.

Transcript - Mission.pdf