Animosity between the shifts?

  1. I work in a 200-bed rural hospital. It's the only hospital I've worked in since graduating nursing a couple years ago, so it's the only thing I know. As time goes on, it's becoming more apparent to me that the staff on certain shifts are nastier than others. My shift (night) and the evening shift staff get along well and socialize a bit at shift change. But day shift on our unit aren't as chummy, they only talk amongst themselves when they arrive, despite attempts by my shift to make small talk with them. I've come to realize that this has always been the case, but recently, it's been getting worse. Some of them only say good morning to our shift after we tell them good morning first, but they rarely say anything to us. Actually 98% of the time, the only times that day shift says anything to us is to tell us what we did wrong the day before. When they say nothing to me except to tell me what I did wrong or what I should have done, it makes me feel like they think I'm incompetent. It's getting to the point that they don't even talk to us, and we just approach them if there's a change in a patient's condition while they were in hearing report. I know it shouldn't bother me, but they're so unfriendly that I can't help but to take it personally and feel bad. Everyone on night shift went to the manager in hopes that they can fix this problems between the shifts, so I hope the situation resolves or at least go back to the way it was when they'd at least say hi first. The question I have for all of you is this: I'm going to move to a larger city later next year and hope to work at one of the major hospitals. I worry if what's currently going on on my unit is the case at all hospitals. At my future new job, I really hope to work with friendly, helpful people who'll make me feel like I fit in, or at least give me positive feedback. Or should I just get used to other nurses (and shifts as a whole) being snobby to others like this?
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  2. 22 Comments

  3. by   DutchgirlRN
    I would say get used to it. My experience wherever I have worked is that the shifts do not get along and the different depts do not get along either.
    I don't know why this is but it just is. The day shift always blames the night shift for not getting things done and thinking they sit around all night. The night shift blames the day shift for not getting things done and for thinking they are primadonna's. PACU get irritated when we are not ready to take report whenever they wish, ER gets irritated about giving report also. They always wait till shift change to bring the majority of the patients who have been there all day anyway. SDC brings patients up to recover and go home when they are ready to be discharged in 10 minutes because they don't want to stay 10 minutes later than 5:00 pm. OR gripes because they have to come and get their patients because we're too busy. The OB nurses and CCU nurses absolutely hate to float to med/surg. Med/surg nurses absolutely hate to float to SDC, ER, or CCU. Everyone thinks the CCU nurses believe they are better nurses than the rest of us and it goes on and on. I don't know why this is but it just is. It's sad. There's no reason we shouldn't all be able to get along. Our day shift and night shift never speak to each other unless it's in regards to a patient.
    Last edit by DutchgirlRN on Nov 13, '05
  4. by   meownsmile
    Not all places are like that. Sure there is some friction between individuals maybe, personalities sometimes clash but for the most part i havent felt that where i work. I would hate for you to think it is like that everywhere, it isnt.

    There used to be groups around my facility that seemed clickish, but i hope ive helped to get rid of that. Be yourself, try to keep negatives out of any conversation with other shifts, try to find interest in their lives and/or kids outside of work. Youll be ok and if some are a bit standoffish,, maybe its just their week to be stressed out, let it go.
  5. by   KatieBell
    It sounds pretty bad, and communication is really necessary as IOM reports show that change of shift- transfer of care to be a particularly dangerous time for critical patients.

    Maybe you all need to go on one of those silly team building workshops? They work weel, as long as a few people keep up the momentum a few weeks after and beyond. And management has to not encourage this competition between shifts, it is actually damaging to the patients.
  6. by   JaneyW
    Your post made me think of my old hospital. There were only two shifts (12 hr) and the feelings ran hot. I recently went to another hospital--big teaching hospital--and it isn't like that at all. Much more professional. I think it is because there are so many more nurses and with the docs there 24/7 the day shifts and night shifts aren't as different.

    So, don't think it is like that everywhere. Try to be a bridge. Be pleasant and realize that night nurses tend to get blamed for things. Don't take it personally. Do they know/remember what it is like at 3am??? I sure do. Hang in there.
  7. by   Super_RN
    I get along with all the shifts where I work, but I see a distinct personality difference. I think that runs everywhere though.
  8. by   bth44
    Quote from super_rn
    I get along with all the shifts where I work, but I see a distinct personality difference. I think that runs everywhere though.
    "distinct personality difference"? What differences do you see between the staff on the shifts?
  9. by   fergus51
    Our day shift also has a very different vibe than night shift. Night shift is a lot more laid back and doesn't sweat the small stuff. Days can be a bit... anal retentive.
  10. by   hrtprncss
    Best thing to do is once in awhile take a shift opposite of your's, but of course it's not always possible. Besides if the other shift is short staffed then you will be more than likely appreciated. As oppose to them taking extra patients.
  11. by   Super_RN
    Quote from fergus51
    Our day shift also has a very different vibe than night shift. Night shift is a lot more laid back and doesn't sweat the small stuff. Days can be a bit... anal retentive.
    Agreed! A previous poster asked what I mean by distinct personality differences, this is one of them. I work in ICU, so I do sweat the small stuff, but not the miniscule things I think night shift is more self sufficient. Day shift is always staffed better (that's everywhere, I know) but always asking for more help. Night shift does all the orders (no secretary), all patient care (which I like, we don't get aides), and no housekeeping. We need a bed in the middle of the night after transferring someone out, then we clean the room. Don't get me wrong, I love our dayshift. I am just saying that there are differences in our personalities.

    Super
  12. by   Daytonite
    This is one of the consequences of gossip. When nurses of one shift start trashing another shift for things that have been done wrong (in their estimation) it affects the whole group. Now, I happen to think that a good deal of animosity could be dealt with by you by trying to make some personal contact with some of the day shift nurses. I developed relationships with them by asking things like "did I leave everything in good shape for you yesterday?" and if they tell me I didn't I listened to what they had to say and tried to accomodate them in the future. Another way to ask (in case they can't honestly talk with you) is to say "what can I do to make your shift get started easier". Remember, a relationship is a two way street with 50/50 give and take. Everyone must be willing to compromise, but someone has to start the ball rolling, so why not let it be you? You may have to be a little persistent to finally get someone to tell you what their beef is with the night shift, but once the door is open good things can come of it. The other part of this is to follow up on things that are said. That builds trust. Once you get the communication lines open by clearing up any problems you have with the shift work, then it becomes much easier to start talking about other things.
  13. by   RN12345656
    It really doesn't matter if you are in small community hospital or a large teaching hospital, there will always be the animosity between shifts. It is unfortunate, but that is just the way it goes. The day shift greets the docs, carries out the orders, deals with families, and handles most of patients coming and goings throughout the day. The night shift has to stay awake and function and make the middle of the night calls to the attendings.
    The day shift will always be upset if the night shift forgets to do something, the night shift will always be upset if days forgets to do something. The day shift has issues b/c the night shift receives a night pay differential. The night shift has a belief that days are "high and mighty". It would be ideal for each shift to recognize the differences that occur during the day/night shift and just get along. Maybe it's because we are a female dominated profession..it's the estrogen...and when different female personalities collide...issues occur.
    I work both shifts. I understand both sides.
    Personally, I feel it should be mandatory that all facilities/hosptials rotate shifts--that way everyone gets a taste of how each shift operates..therby reducing the animosity between the shifts. I realize it will never happen..so we will continue to perpetuate the animosity within the workplace.
  14. by   Super_RN
    Also, rotating shifts is not mandatory where I work, but we all pick up extra on different shifts. Maybe that is why we get along so well?! I don't go in because the supervisor asks me to, I go in to bail out my co-workers. I know I don't like to be stranded in the middle of the night just as much as day shift doesn't like to be stranded.
    Super

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