Unprofessional Behavior

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    How do you deal with, or plan to deal with, unprofessional behavior on the part of other nurses on your unit? I know many of us come to nursing as a second career, and I've read many comments about how nurses do not act as professionally as people in other industries.

    I've seen lots of nurses who just keep their head down. That might be okay to avoid stupid gossip. But what about the stuff that borders on malpractice, like not doing ROM on comatose patients but charting that you did, or not taking pain seriously and ridiculing a patient DXed with a bonafide extremely painful condition as "just drug-seeking". Or privacy violations, or racist labelling of certain groups as inappropriately demonstrative in their grief or pain?

    I so don't want to become a lousy, unprofessional nurse. But I also have to survive socially. Maybe being quiet and not sitting in the break room/nurse station is the only answer? What are your thoughts?

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  2. 33 Comments...

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    We have a new grad RN that on 3-11 shift is doing cartwheels in the hallway and no shes not a 20 something! I told the LPN who was orienting her she needs to let her know this is so unprofessional! How will the other nurses and STNAs ever take her as a superior with her actions!:uhoh21:
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    It's up to each & every one of us to set the example & raise the bar.

    Even when someone is saying something stupid in the breakroom, than can open the opportunity to dialogue.

    Just keep in mind that when people need to blow off steam & vent, they will often say things they would never say outside the room. That's OK.

    Plus, it's really, really easy to cross the line into being preachy.
    MsbossyRN likes this.
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    I just graduated, and will be starting work in June. While I was in school and doing clinical rotations, I saw lots of behaviors from "seasoned" nurses that I consider unprofessional. Some things I discussed with my instructors because it really bothered me, since it goes against what we were being taught in school.
    The best advice I was given echoes MR Chicago RN. As nurses, we need to set an example for others in our profession. If you see issues with another nurses actions, do not be afraid to discuss it with them (in an appropriate manner). Tell them why it bothers you, and give them a rationale for why it isn't appropriate. Teach them how it affects patient care. Ask them to think about their actions, comments, etc., and offer suggestions on what an appropriate action would be. Just because you are a new grad does not mean you don't know what is right! If the problem does not resolve, do not be afraid to go to your manager or team leader to discuss it (they may not know it is a problem), but let the person you are having issues with know that you are going to discuss the problem with a supervisor first, otherwise you will create unnecessary resentment and animosity. They may still be angry at you for reporting them, but they will respect you for letting them know in advance they are being reported.
    HIPPA issues should be stopped immediately. If you see a confidentiality breach, speak up and tell them to stop their discussion. If they continue, report the people immediately.
    I understand the need to vent about a difficult patient or family, but in reality, if discussed with other people who know who you are talking about, it is a HIPPA violation. If you need to vent talk about how YOU are feeling, not about the actions of the patient or family. If you REALLY need to talk about a particular person, go to your supervisor.
    Remember about pain, what is a 2 to you may be a 10 to someone else, and every culture and individual demonstrates pain differently. If its a real problem discuss the need for an "in-service" for the nurses about pain manifestations. All pain complaints should be treated as legitimate issues and all patients should be treated with respect no matter what their circumstances. "Drug -seeking" is a bad word as far as I am concerned, even if the patient is a "frequent flyer" with a history of addiction. Addiction is a disease, and if you are really concerned, discuss it with the MD, and talk to your patient. You may find thay want help, but don't know where to go or how to ask.
    Always be an advocate for your patients!
    Good luck, and I hope that wasn't too "preachy", it's just an issue I feel very strongly about.
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    TY Amy and Chicago RN. I agree with you completely. Right now I am still just a student, graduating in a month or so. But I am really disturbed by nurses not applying such basic knowledge about pain, cultural competence, and HIPAA (HIPPA?) in practice. I know they know better.
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    My friend who is the nurse floor manager spends 85% of her time dealing with desputes between female nurses and other female personal. After you grad and start working the backstabbing, gosping, holding grudges will began. This comes from a passive-agressive behavior that most nurses have. It can be solved by being assertive and not letting otherx step on you.
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    I too have encountered some of the same unprofessional behavior. I thought maybe I was being too sensitive or maybe its because I am older than most on my floor (I'm 36) but I couldn't believe the comments coming from my co-workers about patients and their families. Yes--patients can be demanding and even annoying but we have to remember that when most people are sick we are not going to see their "very best" side. To make matters worse I was on a bone marrow transplant floor- you think there would have been more caring & empathy shown towards the patients. I witnessed very little of this.
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    Be the change you want to see.

    I see unprofessional behavior at work but I ignore it. If I say something, I open myself up to being talked about and drama will follow. I figure that saying something isn't going to change another persons behavior so I stay out of it. Besides, I am not in charge or in an administrative position so it's not my business to correct my coworkers. I am only responsible for me and my actions. When other nurses complain about families I always say that I would probably be worse, I can't imagine how it would feel to be a visitor in my babies life (I work in a NICU). If someone were in danger I would step in but otherwise I prefer to fly under the radar.
    JRP1120, RN likes this.
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    I've observed that nursing has a very bizarre professional culture.

    For instance, physicians abide by a 'no-snitch' code of ethics, where they usually will not snitch on other physicians for wrongdoings. Physicians and gang members are rather similar in regards to snitching, because they typically will not rat each other out. Nursing, on the other hand, has a very punitive culture, and many fellow nurses seem to love to snitch on their coworkers for the pettiest of matters. Countless nurses will report their coworkers because "I just had to report it." I do not see this escalated level of tattle-telling occurring in other so-called professions.
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    wow cartwheels down the hall.. gees she must be limber.. maybe she should join gymnastics .. rather than down the hallway ... i hope somebody spoke to her... i can barely walk down the hall .. let alone cartwheels... holey moley... ahhh to be young again...
    caregiver1977 likes this.

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