Mean coworkers? - page 2

Hello! I am new to correctional nursing.. and to my great surprise/relief I find I really like it... except for this one thing I don't understand. Why are so many of my co workers in medical so... Read More

  1. by   Nursing0929
    Just based on your post alone, it sounds like you have never worked in the Prison system is that correct? I ask that because you seem to have very strong opinions against the people who are actually housed as inmates. I am not ashamed to say that I personally have one family member in prison and a close friend who is also in prison, so for you to make such judgementail comments about people that you have never dealt with is very offensive to me.

    I think that as a nurse instead of judging how we think certain people will behave as patients, our main focus should be taking care of these patients no matter who they are or what they have done. I believe that all people make mistakes whether they are in prison or not, and we just need to move past and disregard that and do what we were trained to do.

    This is just my opinion. I am a nursing student at this time and have also not dealt with any patients at this point, came to this site for information, but if I continue to scroll down and see more negative comments as this one, then I need to find someplace else to read about how a nurse handles the things that comes their way in their career.
  2. by   howardsgirlfriend
    The culture of corrections nursing is different than acute- and long-term care. There. I said it. Most of us probably have mean co-workers, but corrections culture is fundamentally different, and if you can understand and adapt, both you and your inmates will benefit. In case you're wondering whether I know what I'm talking about, here's my history: 33 years in nursing, 29 of them as an RN, 18 years in acute care, and 13+ years in corrections. I have worked in a jail and two prisons, at both staff and management positions. I currently work at my state's "big house." Corrections culture differs in several ways, that make even nice nurses seem "mean." Like it or not, that's how it is: Directness. In corrections culture, the only effective way to communicate is the direct approach. If you need assitance, say that; don't use the indirect approach, which goes something like this: "So, how's your shift going? Are you busy? I'm just swamped...." Preparedness. We have to be prepared to respond to any type of emergency. In order to maintain that preparedness, we have to perform our routine tasks as effeciently as possible. My facility could have a "man-down" at any moment, and I have to be ready. I can't afford the luxury of relationship-bonding activities, such as taking breaks together. This is also why I try to avoid saying anything like, "I'll look into that," or "Let me see what I can do," when there's an established process already in place to address a problem. If I'm spending my time and attention on issues that could be addressed in some other way, I'm not prepared to react to the unexpected. Plus, if I don't follow up, I lose credibility. Better to say, "I can't help you with that--you need to send a kyte." Inmates as second-class citizens. At least in the US, and particularly in female-dominated activities, we like to pretend that "we're all equal here." In acute- and long-term care, we even put our patients on a level higher than our own. In corrections, staff MUST outrank the inmates. We have a paramilitary culture, and like it or not, that means inmates are at the bottom of the heirarchy. This is not good or bad; it just is, and the sooner you adapt to this, the better. Furthermore, the inmates understand and expect this, so THEY don't take offense at what might feel like rude behavior to you. In fact, if you try to treat them as "equals," according to the acute- and long-term care standard, they might think you're attracted to them, or at least naiive and vulnerable to exploitation. In my experience, this process is often where nurses who are accused of "being too nice" are falling short. Boundary issues, and finding ways to be therapeutic without boundary violations. Of course, you can't do all the easy things we do in acute- and long-term care to make our patients feel better. We can't give them a hug, an extra snack, or a phone call that isn't authorized. It's a challenge to find ways to maintain the therapeutic relationship, while avoiding boundary violations. Some staff can't do it, and try to keep themselves safe by being mean to everyone.
  3. by   rottensox
    Quote from 9064
    Hello! I am new to correctional nursing.. and to my great surprise/relief I find I really like it... except for this one thing I don't understand. Why are so many of my co workers in medical so mean? They treat the inmates... not just like children though I see a bit more of that than appears necessary... but downright mean.... and they do it to each other to! There is so much backstabbing.. god help you if you work together with someone else & assume they did their end of the task. I learned real fast not to! The gossips is horrible, never a nice word to say about anyone. Not everyone is like this.. thank god or I'd be gone already.. but probably 2/3 are. I have actually gotten grief from someone... (under me, actually)... that I am 'too nice", as in she said to me "You think you are so much better than me just because you are nice to everyone". I was speechless, said only, "excuse me" so I could get by her to my job & even that was taken as an insult. And I'm not "nice to everyone", I'm nice to people until I have reason to be otherwise. It has gotten to the point, very quickly, that I just do my job & shut the you know what up. I pretend not to hear some of the awful things they say to each other about anyone who isn't there to defend themselves.. if I can't just walk away, but it is hard & I just hate it. But now the real mean ones are coming after me. One made me walk back in from the parking lot after shift because she found a piece of paper on the floor & she wanted me to pick it up. I told her "no" & left. I'll bet that first paycheck she wrote me up. Another set me up sure as I am sitting here. Were I a little less streetwise not only would I have gotten in trouble but lots of meds would have come up missing. No way that was anything but intentional. They were found stuffed in an disused corner. Come on! What kind of sick game is this? Suggestions? I have never had trouble getting along with people before. The guards like me well enough. I have had many compliments on how I handle the inmates, you know, with respect but take no BS. Guess how well those compliments go over with the meanies? The saving grace is the supervisors are NOT that way. They drop hints that lead me to believe they know & understand but otherwise seem to do little about it so long as it does not endanger anyone. (Though moral is surely dying..) It seems the lower the level of training, the worst they act. I am open to suggestions, comments... anything. I like this job & want to stay there. Thank god my shift is the.. uh...dare I say "Nicest"?
    Hi there nursing newbie,
    I have worked in correctional nursing in Australia for many years and I found it to be appalling. Not the inmates/patients but many of the nursing staff - they are so toxic in their attitudes and behaviour. I watched while my colleague and friend was set up by other nurses, over and over many times until she was forced to resign and leave. She is a mental wreck from the lies, betrayal and now unemployment. It was easy for the toxic nurses to do this to her; on any given shift two nurses would say they saw her ''do something'' (verbally abuse / steal / bring in contraband / assault ). This ''event'' would be reported to a supervisor and backed up with a written account; each of the toxic nurses being the other one's ''witness''. A core group of six nurses contributed to this web of lies about her, producing their ''evidence'' over a period of nearly a year. She was suspended and investigated and could only proclaim her innocence to the internal charges. The nurses union was not strong enough to stop her from being forced to resign or be terminated. The clinic boss had told me to ostracise her, which I refused to do. As a result I was shifted out of my full time position and made part time; only two shifts per week. The clinic boss had said ''she is mad, she is trouble and we have been trying to get rid of her for years.'' Well the boss and his ratpack of corrupt nurses willing to do his dirty work eventually succeeded.

    Be careful, the ground rules of normal society don't necessarily apply inside the prison walls, even in the health clinics and inpatient areas. The psychopaths are not always inmates - sometimes they are the corrections officers and sometimes they are your nursing colleagues. Your genuine aims to be therapeutic can be compromised in a system that punishes nurses for caring too much, for treating the inmate as a person, and for wanting to do what is morally and ethically right. If your principles and values are being trodden on too much, then leave. The alternative is to stay and change into a mean spirited prison nurse in order to fit in with your surroundings.
  4. by   Orca
    One thing to bear in mind: Interactions that may be perceived as "mean" may be anything but. It is easy to draw incorrect conclusions from what you are observing. Many of the tenets we operate under inside the fences are counter to everything we were taught in nursing school. An abundance of kindness shown to inmates is often misinterpreted (by them) as either a weakness to be exploited or romantic interest to be pursued. Terms of endearment are to be avoided altogether (these are commonly used in hospitals, particularly with the elderly). It is critically important to maintain a professional distance, and "hands on" nursing should be confined to only what is absolutely necessary to get the job done.

    We have to be mindful of things that aren't even a concern in other nursing environments. I am never in a room alone with an inmate (even an injured one), I never put a sharp down even for an instant, and I never turn my back to an inmate. This is a potentially dangerous environment we work in, and some adjustments have to be made. Outsiders could easily interpret as a lack of caring things that are merely safety measures. The inmates I treat still get the best care I can offer. I just have to be careful about how I deliver it.

    There are also the manipulators, who are constantly testing you to see what they can get out of you. Sometimes a blunt, direct response is all they understand.

    There is also the possibility that your coworkers are just burned out, that they have been at this job for so long they have become jaded and dismissive. Only time spent working with them will help you tell the difference.