feeling threatened

  1. I have now been an RN for 3 years- two spent on a med tele floor and in January I will be completing my first year in coronary intensive care. I feel like Im being bullied by my co-workers. I am small, thin, quiet, young (Im 28) and shy. I look about 10 years younger then I am and Im not what you would call confrontational or agressive. I really wanted to work intensive care so I applied for a position and I got it during my interview. My orientation on days was as expected, people were nice, I felt like I learned a lot. When I came to nights, the first thing my night preceptor said was that she didnt want to orient me and that she heard I do not have critical care skills to make it in the unit. Well I dont know where that came from but It was repeated often and she micromanaged constantly and yet was such a hippocrite when it came to how she did things. I was expected to do things by the book while she had her own approach. Mind you I was not a new nurse but anyway I dealt with it- sometimes I would tear up in the bathroom or at home but could always shake it off. I got off orientation in May after I passed the PBDS, got 100s on all my cardiac tests, and was surprisingly given the go ahead by my orienter. Its now October and I still feel the eye rolling from some of the nurses when I ask questions or need assistance, I hear my name mentioned negatively, and I tend to get a lot of unneeded advice regarding my handling patients. The other night I had a patient who I needed to restrain, no one was there to help and they called a code on another floor. I was supposed to be part of the code team that day with two others. While they left for the floor I restrained my patient and was heading to the code when a nurse I worked with said " A code means now! Your too late to make a differnce" while another coworker said clearly "how did you get hired". What makes it worse is that nurse said it to a RN she was orienting in the unit. I decided to do what I always do and just withdraw into myself but this time I cant let it go. Why is it this hard? I keep going over and over in my head what is it about me. I feel like this job is starting to overwhelm me- I even started Lexapro for depression and I tend to bring some of my problems with me home which really causes my fiancee pain. He works in the cardiac cath lab and knows the nurses better then I and he said that they are just hard on me because Im too nice. What does that mean. I was considered such a good nurse on my other floor yet here they are doing everything in their power to break my spirit. I need some help-I have tried to become friends, ignored their comments, found answers on my own, and began to see a counselor to talk to. I just dont understand why its so hard.
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  2. 10 Comments

  3. by   cardsRN
    i'm sorry your new colleagues are being such "itchy-b's". i think that unfortunately, they are taking advantage of your non-confrontational style and the only answer is to call them out on it. the next time somone says something nasty to you try telling them that if they think you are doing something incorrectly, you would love to learn the right way but that you don't appreciate being addressed in that manner. if that doesn't work, try talking to the meanest one 1:1, telling her that her comments really hurt your feelings. most nurses really are caring people who don't want to shred someone's feelings. as mean as their exterior is. if that doesn't work then you can honestly say you tried to resolve the issue yourself and i would talk to your manager. as i'm learning, you find some strong personalities in critical care and some of them can be pretty mean. i don't know if it's the stress or if it's just the type of person the job draws, but it is what it is if you know what i mean. i'm pretty sure i can't beat 'em but i hope i don't wind up joining 'em...
  4. by   traumaRUs
    I am so sorry that you are having such a hard time. Some suggestions:

    1. While talking with your counselor, learn some assertiveness techniques. You don't have to completely change YOU, but you do need to learn to speak up and make your words count.

    2. Enlist the help of one helpful nurse in your ICU. Is there anyone who is supportive that you could talk with?

    3. Some floors/unit are just toxic. Does this ICU have a high turnover? Do they encourage new grads? (I know you are an experienced RN, but sometimes the attitude towards new grads; either positive or negative; imitates the pervasive thinking).

    4. Talk with the educator of the unit and see what feedback (constructive) that she can provide.

    5. As a last resort, look for another unit. However, if you do this and leave the unit, ensure that you discuss your reasons for your leaving: ie the less than supportive environment to include names, dates and exact wording used.

    I wish you luck - I'm sorry that you are having this problem.
  5. by   Pompom
    I would look them straight in the face and tell them if they have something to say about me to say it to my face! Tell them off, let your nurse manager know what is going on. You need to stand up for yourself. Good luck to you.
  6. by   endorphinrush
    I agree with TraumaRUs advice. Although, remember, bullies are typically cowards. If they jump on you and you act timid, they are encouraged. If you jump back, they typically back down. My unit is a CVICU and the attitudes in it are awful. I don't really enjoy working "there" but I do enjoy my job. However, I leave work at work. I do not take it home and I do not allow it to affect me in personal life. Do let it affect yours. Be assertive, exhibit quiet confidence. If need be, leave that unit. Sometimes, it is neccessary. Sad but true.
  7. by   AfloydRN
    This may sound rude, but grow thicker skin and remember you are there for the patients, not them.As long as you feel you are doing good patient care and feel good about yourself, the rest won't matter.
  8. by   daisywill
    Sounds like jealousy to me. I have the same problem right now. I am a new grad working on a Telemetry unit and most of the nurses are older. They all pick at me because I am 22 years old with a small frame. I am also very shy and quiet. But I willl stand up for myself. You can't let people bring you down. Be more assertive and aggressive but don't stoop down to their level. They are just jealous because they wish they were young nurses. Don't get depressed. Girl you don't need medication. You just need to be more confident and let them know that you will not take anymore of their rude comments and BS.
  9. by   deelyn
    Sorry you're having a hard time, though I'm not in the same line of nursing as you are, it sounds like we have similar personalities. When I have encountered "the Attituders" I have been successful by turning the tables, such as "I'm sorry your having such a bad day, would you like to talk about it?" or "Feeling a little burnt out?, I'm sure I'll have those days too, just all new to me right now." or try to push out a compliment like "I've noticed what a (professional)(kind)(caring)(detailed)(knowledgabl e) nurse you are and I admire you, if you have time could you give me some pointers. Maybe even call them out on their attitude with something like, "Sometimes I take a bad day out on others too, I won't take it personally, hope it gets better for you." Just some ideas, some things I've tried, hope it helps,GOOD LUCK!
  10. by   k3immigrant
    i agree w/ daisy will. your co-workers are jealous of you. I see myself in you & overtime, i've learned how to fight back & defend my ground. seeking the help of a counselor will help & also inform your manager about it. take that situation to push yourself to be a better person & a better nurse. above all, pray...pray...pray.
  11. by   Bibagirl
    I think time will help. Sorry you are having this problem!
    Role play with your counselor to learn some assertive techniques you can use, these will serve you all your life.
    Some seasoned nurses don't like new-ish nurses because sometimes they act stuck up or are know-it-alls. A know-it-all new nurse is insulting to a seasoned nurse, and besides she makes herself look stupid.
    Be confident in your strengths, and acknowledge your weaknesses.
    Be humble, but definitely don't be a door mat, they'll just take advantage.
    Be helpful, be professional, and say please and thank you.
    I know time will help, you might even become their friend.
    Good luck, keep me posted!
    Last edit by Bibagirl on Nov 24, '06 : Reason: worded wrongly
  12. by   MurseNeutron
    next time she tries to micro-manage take a 10cc syringe filled with air and nicely say with a smile on your face, 'if you dont get off my back ill stick this in your neck and walk off.' i bet she'll leave you alone then, lol.

    i found when i first got into icu nursing the nurses have a pride about them and they def. dont like new comers, but thats all nursing. just keep your head down and your ears open. soon patience and good work ethic will put you in the position to look up and be like remember when..... my turn
    Last edit by MurseNeutron on Nov 24, '06

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