Beat Down Burnout

How Are Your Skills at Boundary Setting?

Setting boundaries in healthcare has become a minefield. By that I mean I speak with nurses whose time off is not honored. They get called back to the hospital when they are not on call or backup call. I see physicians who are hired for a position with a specific skillset. Then, when they arrive onsite, they find that the job requires a higher set of skills than what they possess. They are coerced into using skills that have become rusty, or ones that they aren’t fully trained to use. These types of boundaries are often inflexible and come with negative consequences.


People hear me speak about this and their immediate action is to talk about moral injury. Yes, this makes me concerned about moral injury, too. What if we could set boundaries so that these sorts of things didn’t happen? What if we could prevent scenarios such as this? Or correct them right after they started? Wouldn’t such action be better than crying moral injury? Wouldn’t that be more effective, in terms of giving us a safer, more productive workspace?


Clear boundaries are a kindness to everyone. They let others know your limitations. They are an opportunity to stay productive and happy. Boundaries give you flexibility. When we work past our limitations, we are prone to outbursts, meltdowns, and burnout.


It’s not pie-in-the-sky. Setting boundaries isn’t magic. It’s a skill. It’s learnable. I find that exciting. It’s up to you to move on this and do something. Boundaries are based upon our culture, and our values. Learning this skill is dependent upon knowing your core values and the core values of the other party, the one with whom you are setting your boundaries. To learn your values, or your BANKCODE, see the link below. The bottom line is you must know these values to be able to set boundaries.


Start with learning your own core values. See how these values color how you interact with your world and the people around you. See where your values line up with theirs and where they don’t. It is a helpful exercise to get the code of family members and close work colleagues as well. In other words, know your team. Knowing these codes and these values when you go into a meeting to set boundaries will build your confidence and place you in a more powerful position. It is going to make you more successful.


Each Bankcode has a language based on its 12 core values. Setting boundaries with someone of another Bankcode requires speaking to them in the language of their code. This may take some practice or even some training, but in time, you can Learn the Code, Speak the Code, Live the Code.


In general, there are three codes we find in healthcare. We find the Blueprint in the C-suite, where they live by a code of systems, credentials, and rules. Our physicians tend to be more Knowledge, valuing learning, technology, and expertise. Our bedside staff are mostly Nurturing. They live by relationships, teamwork, and significance. (If you’d like my top 3 tips for communicating with these 3 types of codes, go to the link below). The person who can master shifting between these different values, while using high emotional intelligence, will emerge as a true leader in a healthcare organization. He or she will harness the ability to set healthy boundaries between all these different groups and increase harmony, safety, and productivity, while giving their team more freedom to be themselves.










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Nanette Nuessle