AmericaNurse News
June, 2003

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Management is an art-the ability to learn everything and do everything and then not do it-encourage others to accomplish tasks so that you can create the bigger picture, put out the fires and make it appear that you are not doing any of the work while you work along with everyone.  Someone once said, You, don't act any different as a manager."  I responded, "How would you know, I have never not been one."  This is true. As soon as I graduated from Mt Sinai Hospital Nursing School in Chicago, I went to work on the psych unit and the E.R. Both times, I was immediately put in Charge due to emergency staffing  voids. Then I switched hospitals and became the new Charge Nurse on the P.M. shift. I then started my own Independent Nursing Practice where I was the 52 per cent owner and boss-became the VP of yet another company concurrently and then started my own Private Duty Nursing Service and Movie consulting firm as well as a TV production company as producer. I have learned that the team nursing theory in our hospital education program was a fine teacher for future endeavors. A few years back, I was luckily included in several seminars at Harvard, Wharton, The University of Chicago and other prestigious schools. Our courses were in management. I was surprised to find out that I had the advantage over other women who attended other great schools because I had learned the case study method which encompassed all areas about the patient and their diagnosis and now I could apply these principles to learning about business and management.

They say if you can manage one business, you can manage any business. I wonder if that's true since most entrepreneurs at least learn every small detail and know each part of their business and it seems that is why they are so successful. The biblical word for "manager" is the word "oikonomos" from which we get the word economics. It literally means steward of the house. Next to the master himself, no one had greater authority than the "oikonomos". It was someone the Master completely entrusted his property. He didn't have someone controlling his spending or dictating his decisions. No one looks over his shoulder. The manager is given a lot of resource to work with and a lot of latitude to use it. Accountability is a big factor and it comes hand in hand with responsibility. Mutability or the willingness to change as demanded by changes in business or patient care is a necessity. Adaptability is a big factor as you deal with diverse thoughts, educations, personalities and people. It necessitates you as the manager learning from everyone and then supplementing what you learn to anticipate, participate and initiate all the work that needs to be done.  As much of a challenge as it has been, I love to be involved in management and make change for the better-as Nurses we all want to make a difference.     

Karon White Gibson RN is author of Nurses On Our Own a true story of her adventures and obstacles in hospitals, in independent practice, as an executive and entrepreneur, a registered nurse, a safety and first aid manager in an indoor amusement park, the charge nurse in ER and psych and a First Aid Movie location set nurse for major motion pictures such as Risky Business and Dr. Detroit.   You may contact her at or or at 815-773-4497, the voice mail for several of her TV shows.