The Difference Between Being a Complainer and a Consultant is Being an Expert


Throughout my informatics,  nursing and pre-nursing career I have worked with a variety of people. In this time, I have found that that working with different groups of people has allowed me the opportunity to experience different ideas about the way things should be done. Sometimes people can work well together when they differ in a opinion and sometimes not so much.

While  I’ve always been of the opinion that everyone is entitled to an opinion, there were times in my life when I haven’t expressed this as gracefully as I might now. There were times in my past that I might have come off as more of a complainer than a problem solver.I saw huge flaws in processes and policies and would point them out readily but didn’t often a solution to the problem anywhere near as often. Part of this had to do with the fact that I was growing and learning how to communicate effectively, but another large portion has been the role I’ve been in when I notice a challenge.

When I worked on the floor I was always trying to find ways to make things better. I had gotten past my hangout on just finding the problems and had moved onto creating solutions. But I was in a position where I wasn’t taken seriously and my ideas were not something that the organization I was employed for considered valuable. This was devastating to me. I saw similar things happen to other nurses who tried to take initiative to make something better only to be shot down by other nurses or management and be told “This is the way it’s always been.”

Can I just say that I HATE the phrase “This is the way it’s always been.”

Nurses are in a role where we see problems and we think of ways to solve them. One day it might be a difficult would the next it might be the staffing on the unit. Our brains are just wired for problem-solving because beat this into us in nursing school. So why aren’t are problem solving abilities leveraged for more than task-oriented patient responsibilities? Why aren’t we being taken seriously when we have the solution to serious problems?

Fortunately there are some nurses that find a way to make a different and solve problems. While you might moan and grown because a new initiative related to evidence-based practice, these are the very solutions that make patient care better.

As a informatics nurse I feel that more than ever I am that I am valued for the opinion and experience.  I get to utilize my problem solving abilities to help with process improvement to improve patient care. It’s so awesome that part of my job is making someone else’s job little easier  and helping to make technology enhance the care they provide.

Recently I came to the realization that even thought I had great ideas when I worked the floor I didn’t have the years of experience or title = to be taken seriously. All those years I spent on the the floor making suggestions and trying to make things better and I was never seen as problem solving. I was was always seen as complaining. The only thing that changed  since thing was a few extra years of experience and the addition of a title and an office in IT. I still have the same ideas, the same personality, and the same outspokenness.

I want to leave a legacy of improvement and innovation wherever I go. When I was on the floor I was really seen as a a nuisance.

I still don’t really understand why. I mean, I do, but I don’t think it’s right.

Why are nurses supposed to silently bow in line and peacefully do exactly what we’re told? Why can’t we be the one’s to solve the problems? Why can’t we be taken seriously when we have ideas that are bigger that us? Bigger than a single nurse a single unit or a single hospital even?

There are tons of people who see it problems and solve them and they’re not called complainers. They are consultants and they are valued for their opinions and experience. But if they were a nurse on the floor and they were doing the very same thing they would just be called complainer.

I encourage you that if you are problem solver and your called a complainer don’t let that discourage you. Find a way to elevate yourself and grow your career and one day you’ll be seen as an expert.  One day you will be appreciate what you are doing. Refocus your attention and your energy  make sure that you are not seen as a complainer complainer, but instead are seen as a consultant


  1. pjRN says

    I relate to your post so much it is uncanny and I agree wholeheartedly.  The last 7 of my 37 years as an RN have been as an informaticist and only the last year have I begun consulting.  I love it and I love how many different opportunities my profession has afforded me over the years.  Thanks for sharing!

    • says

      Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment. It means a lot when people take the time to comment. :)

      Nursing has so many flavors. When you’re bored of one you can try another!

      Are you traveling or doing remote work as a consultant?

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