Narrative Nursing

HVAC Nursing

Yesterday, my wife and I met with a HVAC professional about our home. If you’re not familiar, HVAC stands for Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning. This person is what the HVAC company calls “an energy geek.” His sole position is to discover ways to use lower amounts of energy, cleaner energy and, of course, to lower bills.

He also brought along a technician, Jimmy. HJimmy was the bearer of burden and got the task of climbing ladders into an attic where the temperature had to be at least 140 degrees. This is Florida, after all.

As soon as Jimmy’s head went up into the attic, the energy geek said, “Jimmy is one of our best. Whatever the problem is, he’ll find it.”

Is Jimmy really the best? How on earth should I know? But, when Jimmy’s co-worker tells me he’s the best, I believe him. Even if he’s lying, just taking the interest of the customer into account gave me comfort our home; our largest investment, is in good hands.

Is this any different than patient/caregiver interaction? We all have the ability to manage up. Nurses, especially. Simply telling a patient or family member positive things about another caregiver is managing up. It brings a level of comfort to those who are concerned. I’ve written about this in “I’m Here” and “The Other End of the Stethoscope”, but honestly, it wasn’t until years later that I even heard the term, “managing up.”


Please share a time when you have managed up by reassuring a patient/family member that another caregiver is quality and compassionate. Or, write about a time when you saw patients/families still concerned or frightened because a caregiver missed the golden opportunity to manage up.

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