Foul Speaking Nurse..............

  1. Good Morning Everyone -

    Just got home from 3-11pm and have to go in tomm. for 7-3 so I'll make this brief. What do you do with a nurse (a new grad) who on three different occasions at three different times tonite - I heard her "Venting" because she was having a problem with a patient and their family. She used different variations of the F_ _ _ word at least six times she mentioned this patient and then several times speaking about another and then after work several times. From her explanation of the situation it seemed to me that she was not handling it well and chose to slander this patient anyway she could. I can understand her frustration but I am not sure if this is the best way to handle it. It's hard for me to see that this nurse is professional. If she keeps herself contained with her patients, then why does she think she can let loose with her colleagues? It's hard to respect someone when their mouth is full of crap. It shows bad character and that she has a hard time controlling her emotions. She is a mother of two children! I find it hard to take her seriously. I don't know her well enough to suggest she clean up her act. I know she just started a couple months ago but it just doesn't show good character. Granted we all have improvements to make. Is there anyway I can tell her that it really sounds bad? I really don't want to be the bad guy...............HB
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  2. 40 Comments

  3. by   Stitchie
    Is this an everyday thing? A stress thing?

    Does she say "I'm Mary RN, your f******nurse for this shift. Now let's get our s*** together and get some d***** work done around this h***hole we call our f****** job.:smiley_ab


    Personally, I'm not a nurse because it's a calling or anything. It's a job, and a good one. So, my limited experience tells me that she could be having a huge adjustment problem -- it's a shock to go from the gilded cages of nursing school to the blood and guts hard work of a busy unit. In school our instructors told us that our "sheer joy of helping" would be our reward and nursing is a 'benevolent' act. Right, but a girl's gotta eat, and pay the bills, and support the kids, too.

    So maybe you can tactfully ask her if her language has always mirrored that of a longshoreman or if it's the stress of a new job. Not in the condescending way we all have experienced and disliked, but out of concern about how she is adjusting to the rigors of unit life. We all know, it isn't pretty.

    She could be venting -- we're all human and need to vent. Is she screaming about every single patient or is she just nervous and trying to hide it?

    Perhaps when you have a quiet, unhurried moment to talk to her you can mention her language demeans her qualifications as a highly educated, intelligent person with a job which demands incredible responsibility.

    It is a hard job -- there is a lot of weight put on our shoulders and very little authority. That in inself is a recipe for foul-mouthed venting.

    I'm no innocent -- I've been known to let loose the occasional four letter word myself -- behind closed doors. My so-called friends went directly to my unit manager instead of me, and I've never trusted them since then. (I ended up leaving not long after anyway.) I have kids, and a temper, and thankfully they don't cross very often. If I find myself coming unglued I'll plug the kids into an Elmo video (they're only 2) and literally step out into the cold air (6 degrees right now) to cool off for a few seconds. A few deep breaths of that painfully cold air will drive your right back inside.

    I've also been known to break down and sob -- again, behind closed doors, because the stress of the job is sometimes overwhelming and scary.

    We all have our faults and our fears and our worries. We all want to do the best we can and be accepted and cared for by our co-workers. Perhaps this is a usual way of communicating in the nurse's home. A little TLC with a person like this goes a much longer way then telling her to shut the f@@@ up -- as much as you'd like to!
  4. by   rn/writer
    Quote from hbncns35
    Good Morning Everyone -

    Just got home from 3-11pm and have to go in tomm. for 7-3 so I'll make this brief. What do you do with a nurse (a new grad) who on three different occasions at three different times tonite - I heard her "Venting" because she was having a problem with a patient and their family. She used different variations of the F_ _ _ word at least six times she mentioned this patient and then several times speaking about another and then after work several times. From her explanation of the situation it seemed to me that she was not handling it well and chose to slander this patient anyway she could. I can understand her frustration but I am not sure if this is the best way to handle it. It's hard for me to see that this nurse is professional. If she keeps herself contained with her patients, then why does she think she can let loose with her colleagues? It's hard to respect someone when their mouth is full of crap. It shows bad character and that she has a hard time controlling her emotions. She is a mother of two children! I find it hard to take her seriously. I don't know her well enough to suggest she clean up her act. I know she just started a couple months ago but it just doesn't show good character. Granted we all have improvements to make. Is there anyway I can tell her that it really sounds bad? I really don't want to be the bad guy...............HB
    You don't have to be a bad guy, per se, if you use the sandwich principle. Take her aside and start out by telling her something positive. "It's nice to have a new grad on board." Or, "I really like the way you handled such and such the other day." That's the top piece of bread.

    Then you get down to business (the baloney layer?). "I do have a suggestion about another matter, though." Make sure you focus on the behavior and what it could cost her. "It's hard to concentrate on what you're saying when you use the f-word so frequently. And I'm concerned that if patients overheard you, they might form a wrong impression about you."

    Finally, the bottom piece of bread. "I really hope you do well here and this is an easy thing to fix, if you're aware of it. That's why I wanted to say something."

    Keep it short and sweet and do it with a smile.

    If she continues, you can try the following, if it applies. I had a similar struggle with our older son. He'd come over and in just a few minutes, the air would be blue with cursing. Not usually GD (I won't tolerate that), but everything short of that. I fussed at him and tried to reason with him with very limited success. Finally, I told him one (of many) reasons that I didn't like all the cursing was because the more I heard it, the more it started coming out of my own mouth. I told him I didn't want to talk that way, but hearing it so relentlessly wore down my resistance. I said that I would really appreciate some restraint on his part, out of respect and out of an understanding that his actions had an influence on me. He improved greatly. Now, when he starts slipping, I remind him that I'm vulnerable in this area and he cleans up his act.

    If you limit your criticism to very specific behavior and communicate your message in a way that is supportive and not "out-to-get" her, I hope she will respond well. It could be that, being not only new to the unit but a new nurse besides, she might be stressing. Swearing is a nervous tic for some folks--like smoking, drinking, overeating, etc. are for others.

    Remember to notice any improvement and affirm it.

    I wish you well.
  5. by   KrisRNwannabe
    I can say that at home, I swear like a sailor. The F word in my house is a noun, verb, adverb and what ever else!! That being said,, we work in a hospital not in a bar and it is not appropriate. and I would tell her so. In my hospital we don' have a centeral nurses station, we have pods scattered about through the unit. they are nice but they are very close to rooms and some people think they are sound proof! i am constantly reminding people to keep it down. some people just have to be reminded and it doesn't bother me to remind them!
  6. by   HappyNurse2005
    Does she say "I'm Mary RN, your f******nurse for this shift. Now let's get our s*** together and get some d***** work done around this h***hole we call our f****** job
    OH, I'd LOVE to say this some days!
  7. by   hbncns35
    Thank you for the comments - Its very possible that she might just be having a hard time adjusting and this is just her way of dealing with the stress. I have only been there a little longer than her but I am a PCT set to graduate BSN in May. I am not sure if a "talk" coming from me would actually help or hinder the situation. Perhaps it doesn't matter. I feel for her and it is rather distracting to hear her talk. She talked that way about four of the six patients she had. Perhaps it was just a bad night? I'll give her the benefit of the doubt and watch the situation. We are all known to slip on occasion but I just thought this was a little more extreme. Kinda makes you wonder what kind of care is actually being given.....................HB
  8. by   Jessy_RN
    I too admit to swearing like a sailor at home and in private, my etiquette changes at the workplace, around friends, family or public.

    Talk to her in private and let her know how it doesn't sound so nice at work. It's good to be aware of your surrounding and people.

    Good luck
  9. by   meownsmile
    If you do it at home it seems more easily done in public too. I like the sandwich suggestion. Using language like that is unprofessional to say the least especially in reference to a patient/family.
    I guess in some places using language like that could be considered insubordinate and also cause for dismissal if it wasnt corrected.
  10. by   Jessy_RN
    Quote from meownsmile
    if you do it at home it seems more easily done in public too. i like the sandwich suggestion. using language like that is unprofessional to say the least especially in reference to a patient/family.
    i guess in some places using language like that could be considered insubordinate and also cause for dismissal if it wasnt corrected.
    probably so, but not for everyone. i would have to guess that most people would be on their best behavior outside the home and in public. manners, etiquette and professional wise. even when you have guests in your home, you put on your best behavior (i would assume).

    as for me, i may curse at times at home in private, but certainly not around my spouse or in public. i am not trying to be cynical, just my example.

    i think she should be able to do it at home and be aware that it is not cute in public. while it is not cute at all, to expect people not to ever do it is a high expectation too. (unless you are extremely religious or a nun) which is perfectly fine.

    just my 2 cents.
  11. by   DidiRN
    The Pyxis machine sure has heard my foul mouth plenty of times....

    I'll only say that stuff at work if I'm super stressed, and only to myself, not within earshot of anyone (unless I know them very well of course). And certainly not even close to patients/families.
  12. by   Spidey's mom
    I like Miranda's advice on both examples. I don't tolerate foul language in my home and occasionally when my grown sons come home they initially start in swearing - unfortunately it is the way they talk around their friends.

    I do think that if you are used to swearing at home, at times of stress it is more apt to come out in a professional venue.

    My grandma always said "profanity is ignorance made audible". She would have switched my legs for cussing - or made me bite into Ivory soap.

    We had a CNA who was a great CNA but used the "F" word for a noun, verb and adverb . . . it was very difficult to get her to understand how bad it sounded. If you spoke with her about it, as you turned your back, she would flip you off.

    steph
  13. by   gr8rnpjt
    Quote from rn/writer
    You don't have to be a bad guy, per se, if you use the sandwich principle. Take her aside and start out by telling her something positive. "It's nice to have a new grad on board." Or, "I really like the way you handled such and such the other day." That's the top piece of bread.

    Then you get down to business (the baloney layer?). "I do have a suggestion about another matter, though." Make sure you focus on the behavior and what it could cost her. "It's hard to concentrate on what you're saying when you use the f-word so frequently. And I'm concerned that if patients overheard you, they might form a wrong impression about you."

    Finally, the bottom piece of bread. "I really hope you do well here and this is an easy thing to fix, if you're aware of it. That's why I wanted to say something."

    Keep it short and sweet and do it with a smile.

    If she continues, you can try the following, if it applies. I had a similar struggle with our older son. He'd come over and in just a few minutes, the air would be blue with cursing. Not usually GD (I won't tolerate that), but everything short of that. I fussed at him and tried to reason with him with very limited success. Finally, I told him one (of many) reasons that I didn't like all the cursing was because the more I heard it, the more it started coming out of my own mouth. I told him I didn't want to talk that way, but hearing it so relentlessly wore down my resistance. I said that I would really appreciate some restraint on his part, out of respect and out of an understanding that his actions had an influence on me. He improved greatly. Now, when he starts slipping, I remind him that I'm vulnerable in this area and he cleans up his act.

    If you limit your criticism to very specific behavior and communicate your message in a way that is supportive and not "out-to-get" her, I hope she will respond well. It could be that, being not only new to the unit but a new nurse besides, she might be stressing. Swearing is a nervous tic for some folks--like smoking, drinking, overeating, etc. are for others.

    Remember to notice any improvement and affirm it.

    I wish you well.
    This is an excellent suggestion. Very good points that everyone who reads can benefit from!
  14. by   Altra
    Quote from Stitchie
    Does she say "I'm Mary RN, your f******nurse for this shift. Now let's get our s*** together and get some d***** work done around this h***hole we call our f****** job.:smiley_ab
    Sorry -- this just about made me spit out my coffee!! Inappropriate, of course, but funny too! Thanks for the laugh!

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