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Ongoing Frustrations at work in health care Pt (2)- Avoiding the Blame Game.

Following on from part 1: ‘Ongoing frustrations in the NHS – What can you do?’ We know that when working in the NHS- it’s always someone’s fault. Managers never seem to understand why I can’t do everything now- or yesterday. And I can’t seem to ever understand why they think telling me something is ‘urgent’ will make it more possible to get it done… it just adds pressure and raises stress levels at work.


As a ‘shop floor’ Occupational Therapist, working directly with clients and patients, often in very critical circumstances, I know it’s always tempting to blame the manager- ‘they don’t know what they’re saying’, ‘Let them try and do it’. They never seem to see things from my point of view!

However, the fact is our managers tend to often be in the same position at workas we are… they’re also being told to ensure they get their staff to reach certain targets. They are getting their instructions from above (not quite God, but…) in the same way we are.

We are all a part of a whole working system. So what is affecting one part of the whole will be felt in equal measure in another part of the system. The blog ‘In it Together’ expands further on this point.

That’s why I’m suggesting we step back from the whole ‘blame game’ culture that can easily permeate our working environments. It doesn’t help us, it doesn’t help the person opposite us, it just pours more negativity into the system. If you haven’t read my previous blog ‘Who is Rowing your Boat?’ then do, it offers up a useful analogy to consider this point. We are indeed all victims of a dysfunctional working system (the healthcare system).

It would seem then, that if we are going to avoid the blame game, that just leaves us one option instead: to consider ways that we can work towards creating understanding.

So the next time you hear someone say: ‘We need this assessment done ASAP, otherwise so and so can’t be discharged, and it will be holding up a bed, and we have 20 people waiting to be admitted…[and it’s your fault- or that’s how you’re left feeling], keep the following useful points in mind:

  1. You are ONE person,
  2. You are not responsible for the failings of the whole NHS (You are not that powerful)
  3. That person speaking to you is projecting THEIR insecurities and anxieties unto you- don’t take it onboard!
  4. Let them know when you will reasonably be able to complete the job task requested.
  5. Don’t take it too seriously; Turn on your heel and Move on.

The last point is particularly important- as there is no point remaining in a two-way exchange that is fuelled by fear and anxieties. Read ‘Three free and easy tips to diffuse every Situation’ for tips on how to work through work place arguments/ disagreements.

See here for other events we have that can be of help.

photo credit: <a href=”″>DRAFT</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>(license)</a>

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