- Russian immigrant
Recently graduated with master’s degree in nursing
- Bachelor’s in engineering back home
Works at a local community hospital in ICU
A few weeks after orientation ends at her new place of employment, Natalie finds herself questioning her choice to become a nurse. She finds it hard to go into work because she is feeling insecure and has self-doubt.
Also meet Susan and Pam, two nurses that have 10 years of experience, but only have ADN degrees. They told Natalie “What are you doing here?” “I thought you had a masters degree. Why dont you know anything?
Natalie discusses this issue with one of her professors. Her professor offers the following recommendations:
Don’t do anything at this point. This is normal behavior for other nurses dealing with a novice. Time will prove your readiness.
- Review the conflict and try to think of the other experienced nurses’ perspectives. Again, time will prove your readiness.
- Speak up now and remind the other nurses that you are a brand new RN and will have a learning period.
- Any of these theories from the chapter explain what Natalie is experiencing. Select each theory to learn more about how each applies to her situation.
- Role Theory: Role Behavior – As a new graduate and new nurse, Natalie needs to negotiate appropriate role behaviors with patients, coworkers, and medical staff. Role strain or stress, including role incongruity, can occur when the individual’s expectations (her view of the caring role of the nurse) conflicts with the requirements to learn to manage complicated equipment and medications.
- Conflict Theory – As noted in the text, conflict is often grounded in issues of power/authority and domination/subjugation. The two nurse colleagues are struggling to hold on to their position of power related to their experience because they are probably threatened by Natalie’s advanced degree.
- Social Exchange Theory – Natalie has noted that reciprocity is lacking in her relationships with the two experienced ADN nurses. As a result, she feels like resigning (withdrawing from the situation).
- Reflect on which option you think would be best for you. Then select the Review button below to see why Natalie’s professor offered the options she did. *I chose Role Theory*
Natalie recognizes the issues of role behavior and role incongruity and seeks out one of her professors to discuss these. The professor reminds her that this is a normal process and that she needs to give herself some time to learn her position (the professor might refer her to Benner’s Novice to Expert, discussed in a later chapter). She tells her that as she becomes more comfortable with the technical requirements of her position, she will find she is able to again put the caring aspect of nursing in the forefront.
- As Natalie reviewed her information on conflict and individualistic social exchange framework, as well as recognizing that the other nurses were struggling to maintain their own power (and self-concept), she was able to change her approach. She praised the other nurses for their knowledge and experience. She remained humble and quiet as she gained more experience and knowledge. She quietly reminded them that, despite her degree, she was still a new RN and so she appreciated having knowledgeable nurses like them around. She hoped that this would make them feel less threatened.
How to solve
Case Study Reflection
Based on the given case study, Natalie Kazakova, a Russian immigrant with a master’s degree in nursing, is feeling insecure and experiencing self-doubt as a new nurse at a local community hospital in the ICU. She also faces criticism from two experienced nurses who only have associate degrees in nursing (ADN).
In order to address Natalie’s concerns, her professor offers the following recommendations:
1. Don’t do anything at this point and give it time: The professor suggests that Natalie’s feelings of insecurity and self-doubt are normal for new nurses. With time, she will gain the confidence and experience necessary to feel more comfortable in her role.
2. Review the conflict and consider the perspectives of the experienced nurses: The professor advises Natalie to try understanding the viewpoint of the two ADN nurses. By empathizing with their position, she may gain insights into their behavior and find a way to build a better relationship with them.
3. Speak up and remind others about her learning period: Alternatively, Natalie can proactively communicate with the experienced nurses, informing them of her status as a new registered nurse (RN) and expressing her need for a learning period to acquire more skills and knowledge.
4. Explore theories related to Natalie’s situation: The professor mentions that theories can provide insight into Natalie’s experiences. Specifically, the professor suggests exploring Role Theory, Conflict Theory, and Social Exchange Theory to better understand Natalie’s feelings and the dynamics at play.
After following her professor’s advice, Natalie recognizes the importance of role behavior and role incongruity, and discusses these issues with her professor. The professor reassures Natalie that feeling insecure and needing time to learn is a normal process. Additionally, the professor suggests that as Natalie becomes more comfortable with the technical aspects of her role, she will be able to prioritize the caring aspect of nursing.
Furthermore, Natalie reflects on the theories of conflict and individualistic social exchange framework. She realizes that the ADN nurses may be struggling to maintain their power and self-concept, leading them to feel threatened by her advanced degree. With this understanding, she changes her approach by praising the other nurses’ knowledge and experience, remaining humble and quiet as she gains more experience, and gently reminding them that she still values their expertise as experienced nurses.
In this case study, we explore the challenges faced by Natalie Kazakova, a newly graduated nurse with a master’s degree in nursing. Natalie’s feelings of insecurity and self-doubt are compounded by the criticisms she receives from two experienced nurses with ADN degrees. To address these issues, Natalie seeks advice from her professor, who provides various recommendations. Through her interactions and self-reflection, Natalie learns the importance of role behavior, understanding others’ perspectives, and adapting her approach to build a positive and collaborative professional environment.