secrets to succeeding in nursing management: Meet Selma Turgut

Selma and her niece and nephew

Selma and her niece and nephew

Selma Turgut has been a nurse for 16 years in a variety of units, but most recently was the Nurse Manager of Pre-op, PACU, and GI lab. Here’s what she had to say about the challenges of being a Nurse Manager

To find a balance as managers with all that we juggle is challenging, but my biggest strengths that carried me through the challenges have been my hands-on management style, my non-existent ego, and a leadership grounded in empowerment, advocacy, humanness and engagement.

My repeated phrase was “your success is my success.” I lived by that and took that very seriously. Which at times required more hours and greater engagement, but this is where the magic happened. I gained respect as a leader and staff worked harder and supported me as well as the unit because I was side by side with them.

What do you love most about nursing?                               

There is SO much I love about nursing. We are given an opportunity to enter patients and patient’s families’ lives at their most vulnerable time. This comes with a great responsibility to be a source of kindness, light, knowledge, inspiration and an emotional healer. Taking that opportunity to engage and share your authentic self as you give excellent clinical care is an incredible, soulful experience.

That is why I love this quote by Mother Teresa:  “Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God’s kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile.”

Tell me your biggest pet peeves about Nursing.  

I usually am that annoyingly peaceful nurse, but I do have at least one pet peeve. It is disconcerting when people work in silos and don’t collaborate to achieve goals. Our patients require a multi-disciplinary approach when our goal is to serve and give excellent clinical and holistic care.

Some managers or supervisors are the source of bullying, while others turn away from addressing these behaviors. How have you handled that as a manager? 

Bullying is alive and well in the workplace. Yes! My mantra with these issues is to address these matters immediately head on using authentic, intentional dialogue. A dialogue of openness, but assertiveness that sets the tone and culture that one needs in their work environment.

What throws you off balance and how do you know you are out of balance?

When I haven’t balanced my life outside of work with enough self-care to emotionally refuel I get impatient. The authentic, intentional dialogue I have with my patients and colleagues doesn’t happen so easily when I am off balance. I can’t afford to be off balance. Relationships are far too important in our line of work.

What brings you back into balance?

A myriad of self-care practices such as practicing gratitude, going to indoor cycling and yoga class, connecting with loved ones  (especially the precious nephews and nieces I have), meditating, actively giving back to the world by being part of humanitarian projects, and taking the time to acknowledge the hard work I do.
I also do different things outside of nursing like managing an indoor cycling studio - Vie2 Cycling Studio.

Can you share a bit about the humanitarian work you have done and the impact it has had on you?

I have been actively volunteering in a variety of public health projects locally and internationally for the past 10 years. During that time I provided services and witnessed a myriad of social injustices - lack of health care (Guatemala), international exploitation of young girls (India), socioeconomic disparities in urban environments, international displaced persons of war (Iraq), and domestic homelessness. Witnessing the lack of basic human rights has deepened my desire to be a greater advocate for vulnerable population and become an agent of sustainable change. This is why I am pursuing my Master in Public Health at UCLA.

What advice would you give to new grads starting out or nurses interested in going into management?

Be kind to yourself as you are learning. Find kind, trusting souls to be your mentor (MD’s, nurses, etc.). Share your authentic self with your patients—They will love your energy and you will feel the amazing joy of making them happy and safe.

Selma at Vie 2 Cycling Studio - the cycling studio she manages. Nursing skills are very transferable.

Selma at Vie 2 Cycling Studio - the cycling studio she manages. Nursing skills are very transferable.