Raising the Bar with SBAR: How to Communicate Effectively

One of the most intimidating parts of starting any new co-op is learning to communicate effectively with both your peers and your senior colleagues. Professionally and concisely explaining your views is difficult, and the potential for misunderstanding is high. In life or death situations that require a quick, informed response, improper communication can lead to unintended negative consequences. That’s why the healthcare community has almost universally adopted the SBAR procedure, which is designed to give the most relevant information as concisely as possible and take the guesswork out of decision making. Having a script to follow helps reduce the intimidation felt by more junior members of the team and helps increase confidence as well. SBAR is not just useful for healthcare workers, however. SBAR can help communication in every field, as long as you follow the steps below.

S- Situation

This is essentially the “why” of your phone call. What prompted you to pick up the phone in the first place? This is usually brief and confined to a sentence or two. The provider needs to know the main issue facing the team or the patient. The other major part of “S” is identifying yourself and your role. Don’t just launch into the problem without letting the person on the other end of the conversation know why they should be listening to you,

Real World Ex: “Hello John, this is Julia, the team leader for the testing program. We just ran the new software from your team and discovered a few bugs that need to be worked out before the launch.”

B- Background

This is where you provide the facts necessary to justify the call. It is also a way to reacquaint the provider or manager with the case. Managers and doctors work on many projects on a daily basis and may not remember every detail. Also, please be sure to have all relevant info in front of you when calling (vital signs, important dates, specific numbers or lab values, etc.). There is nothing worse than being asked a question and not having the answer. No one expects you to remember everything about a patient or product- but you must be able to look up the information quickly and accurately when required,

Real World Ex: “Jake from your team had sent us the Alpha software to test for any issues. The launch date is currently scheduled for Thursday. As we ran our basic testing we discovered that it tends to crash and is very slow with more than minimal use. Additionally, there are issues with security as we were easily able to obtain user passwords during our test.”

A- Assessment

This is where your knowledge comes into play. You know the patient or situation best and you likely have the knowledge to understand what needs to happen next. As a result, the provider or client will look to you for your assessment of the situation. You should have this analysis ready before calling the provider or manager.

Real World Ex: “I believe the software will need more time before launching due to the bugs presented.”

R- Recommendation

Based on the situation presented, what do you feel is the best course of action? Again, you should use your prior knowledge when deciding what to recommend and you should definitely know what your recommendation is before calling.

Real World Ex: “I think my team should run some additional testing before we give this to the client for approval. I’ll need at least three days to run the tests I need to feel comfortable with the software. In light of that, I believe the launch date should be postponed and the client notified so that my team can run the additional testing.”

SBAR is a tool that can be easily implemented to improve communication and ensure that team members receive the most pertinent information in a timely manner. It can be used over the phone, in an email, or in person to ensure that your views on every situation are communicated effectively. While SBAR is crucial for healthcare workers, it is relevant and needed in other areas as well. It saves time while making you seem knowledgeable and ready for any situation.

Julia Thompson is a second year Nursing major in the Bouve College of Health Sciences. She works as a nursing assistant at South Shore Hospital and is currently on her first co-op at Boston Children’s Hospital. She is the secretary of the Northeastern University Student Nurses’ Association and is also involved with Bouve Fellows. Feel free to contact her at thompson.jul@husky.neu.edu with any questions. Connect with her on LinkedIn and follow her on Twitter.

Beyond the Green Line: Silicon Valley, CA

Beyond the Green Line: Silicon Valley, CA

BEYOND THE GREEN LINE is a blog series featured on the Northeastern University Career Development Blog, ‘The Works.’ Each post highlights a major city and gives you an inside look at the local food, culture, music scene, the industries that are thriving there, and some current job openings in the area.’

You may have already read “Beyond the Green Line: San Francisco,” but we felt that the Silicon Valley deserved it’s own post entirely. The ‘Silicon Valley’ refers to the southern portion of the San Francisco Bay Area and includes San Jose and the Santa Clara Valley and was named as such because of the production of silicon semiconductors. The area is now known for its booming biotech and software industries and is often considered the heart of the technology world.

There are at least 20 Fortune 500 companies concentrated in the Silicon Valley area alone, depending on where you draw the boundaries. These include Apple, HP, Google, Facebook, Netflix, Tesla and many of the other most innovative companies you can think of. However, if you’re more interested in working for a start-up than a major corporation, lucky for you there are literally thousands of startups based in the Silicon Valley.

In 2015, Northeastern University actually opened a Silicon Valley hub, offering advanced degrees in STEM fields through partnerships with several companies. Almost 400 NEU students have worked in a co-op role over the last year alone. There are also over 5,000 Northeastern Alumni currently living in the Bay Area, so you’d be in great company there.

NU alumna Ana Gvalia loves living in the San Francisco area. She shared:

“After graduation I moved to San Francisco to work at a startup to learn more about entrepreneurship and innovation. The city is an amazing place to meet young, aspiring founders as well as seasoned, experienced business leaders. Every day I learn something new and everyday is a new adventure!”

 

Food and Drink:

  • There are 22 wineries to visit in the Santa Clara Valley
  • Try “gourmet” ramen, made popular first by Orenchi Ramen
  • Enjoy very fresh food thanks to the growing farm-to-table trend
  • Several funded startups are even developing meal replacements that are gaining popularity

Culture:

  • Visit the museums – there are several technical museums like the Computer History
  • Museum and the Tech Museum of Innovation
  • Go to the Ballet San Jose and Symphony Silicon Valley
  • Learn about traditional Japanese culture at the Japanese Obon festival
  • Stroll through the SoFA arts district

Activities:

  • Relax at a nearby beach, like Half Moon Bay
  • Root for the 49ers and the San Jose Sharks
  • Visit the Winchester Mystery House
  • Go to the San Pedro Square Market for local vendors and live music
  • Attend free lectures at Stanford
  • Visit the HP garage, the “birthplace of Silicon Valley”

Job Opportunities – log into NUcareers to apply!

Companies with Current Postings:
Airbnb: Software Engineer – Full Stack, Job ID 181535
Apple: Software Engineer – Data Scientist, Job ID 1821887
Cisco: Full Stack/Backend Engineer, Job ID 1821882
Dropbox: Product Designer, Job ID 1821705
Facebook: Data Scientist – Analytics, Job ID 1821699;
Software Engineer – Network, Job ID 1821701
Github: Git Infrastructure Engineer, Job ID 181704
Google/Alphabet: Software Engineer, Job ID 1821695;
Credit Research Analyst, Job ID 1821696
GoPro: Software Engineer – Media Discovery, Job ID 182163
Lyft: Business Intelligence Engineer, Job ID 1819885
Pandora: Software Engineer, Job ID 1821707
Plethora: Prototype Machinist & Programmer, Job ID 1821372
Quantcast: Software Engineer, Job ID 1816127
Twitter: Data Scientist – Ads Marketplace, Job ID 1821702
Visa: Business Development Analyst, Job ID 1819880

Additional Companies:
Box
Chegg
eBay
Sun Microsystems

Coming up Soon: Beyond the Green Line – Denver!
We want your feedback!
Feel free to leave us a comment if there’s anything we’ve missed or a particular city you’d like us to profile. If you’d like to have your photos considered for the next post, send over your Denver photos now!
This post was authored by Molly Osmulski, a third year Northeastern student. Molly is working toward a degree in Marketing with a minor in International Affairs. She works part time at the Northeastern Career Development office and has previously completed a co-op at Travel + Leisure Magazine in NYC and has studied abroad at the London School of Economics. When she is not studying or searching for her next co-op, she loves travelling, thrift shopping and trying new foods. You can contact her at osmulski.m@husky.neu.edu.

Sources:
http://www.forbes.com/sites/jimhandy/2012/05/30/what-is-it-like-to-live-in-silicon-valley/2/#532e6ac16e9c
http://www.businessinsider.com/tech-startups-will-never-leave-silicon-valley-heres-why-2015-12

So, Why Do You Want To Be A Nurse?

It’s the most common question any nursing major will receive during the interview process, whether for school or for co-op positions. “Why do you want to be a nurse” is ubiquitous, and with good reason. Your answer says a lot about you and your motivations, not to mention where your passion lies. I’ve heard many variations on a theme in the answers to this question, ranging from sincere to predictable and fake. Here are the two best ways to answer this question if you find yourself without a “classic” response!

1.       The Heartfelt Approach

If you became a nurse because of a personal experience, this answer is for you! For example, if you spent time in the hospital when you were young due to your own illness or a relative’s, and that’s where you discovered your passion, your answer will come across as genuine and give the interviewer a great idea of who you are. But beware! This way of answering can backfire if you stretch too hard to make a connection. If you didn’t have an epiphany in the midst of a medical crisis, please don’t try to make one up. You will just come across as phony, and nurses can spot an exaggerated story a mile away.

Example: “When I was twelve, my best friend John was diagnosed with cancer. I visited him every day in the hospital and found myself fascinated by how the nurses cared for him. They saw him more than the doctors did and always took the time to make sure he was doing OK. I knew then that I wanted to be a nurse someday so I could help people the way my friend was helped.”

2.       The Realistic Approach

Let’s face it, there are many benefits to nursing that have nothing to do with patient care. There’s the flexible scheduling, the many varied career paths and specialties, not to mention the job security. So if you became a nursing major for any of those reasons, good for you! These are perfectly valid reasons for entering the nursing profession. The problem, however, is that flat-out stating this in an interview makes you come across as caring only for the money, not the patients. Many interviewers see nursing as a lifelong passion, not “just a job,” so if the realistic approach is not taken tactfully, this answer could set a sour tone for the interview. One way to prevent this is to explain your evolving passion for nursing alongside your practical thinking, proving that you are pragmatic about your future career, but also have a passion for it.

Example: “I first applied to nursing school because I liked the flexibility involved in the profession and the job availability in my area. But now that I have been in nursing classes, I realize how much I love nursing in addition to all of the practical benefits it provides. I am excited about my career choice and couldn’t imagine myself doing anything else!”

My story mixes the two, and I’ve found that my answer works because it feels real. I always had a passion for science and taking care of others from a young age. I also really loved working with kids in summer camps and after school plays. When high school started and I began thinking about my career and college, nursing jumped out at me. When I volunteered at my local hospital, it all clicked for me. I loved making people feel better, and to me, the nurses were superheroes. The same spirit of discovery that I loved about science is at the heart of nursing as a profession. Being a pediatric nurse means caring for the whole family, not just the patient, and that appealed to me. I applied to NU Nursing and never looked back because I knew I had made the right choice and found my life’s passion.

No matter what your reasons are for entering nursing, just know that this one question does not define who you are or who you will be as a nurse! Whether you decided to be a nurse for the practical benefits or the emotional rewards, what matters most is what you do at the bedside for the patient every day.

Julia Thompson is a second year Nursing major in the Bouve College of Health Sciences. She works as a nursing assistant at South Shore Hospital and is currently on her first co-op at Boston Children’s Hospital. She is the secretary of the Northeastern University Student Nurses’ Association and is also involved with Bouve Fellows. Feel free to contact her at thompson.jul@husky.neu.edu with any questions. You can follow her on LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com/in/juliavthompson) and Twitter (https://twitter.com/juliavthompson).