I notice a trend...

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    with mean-spirited, manipulative, and conniving coworkers. How do you deal with them? What do you do to make YOUR work time enjoyable or manageable?

    I realize that there are a bunch of threads on this topic on this forum, but I would like to read about recent experiences. I started a new job at a place that has hired a new person in years. I feel like an outsider and although I am pleasant to my coworkers, I do not feel comfortable there. I am aware that fitting in takes time. I just want to go to work to work and care for the patients...nothing more, nothing less.

    I guess I am asking for help here. Quitting is not an option because jobs are difficult to secure.
    lindarn likes this.
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  3. 17 Comments so far...

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    Just concentrate on your patients. The rest will come with time.
    kvd_RN, 1uvakindmom, pinkchris2000, and 9 others like this.
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    Unfortunately I've become really passive. I DON'T recommend this. If I could just concentrate on my patients and not deal with other people it would help. Talked to a coworker last night and she recommended immediately saying to the offending coworker. 'You're being a bully right now." I'm hoping to try it out but we'll see.
    Poi Dog likes this.
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    Unfortunatley I have worked in more places then not where people were just not nice. Where the environment was just toxic. Has made me want to leave nursing sad to say. So I can't say as I have advice but wanted to say I feel for ya and my heart goes out to ya. Keep your chin up.
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    Sometimes co-workers can make or break a place. Never ask them to help you out/cover a patient-they could potentially cause an issue for you. Leave the nurse's station/med room/break room when they start to gossip. Sticking to yourself is the best advice I can give. Some people will notice that you do not gossip, are not manipulative, etc. after a while and hopefully start to open up. Do not trust them until they have earned your trust.
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    i basically had the same problem as you have described when i first started working at my current place of employment. i am leaving in a week after working there well over a year... i would have left earlier but like you i could not do so due to lack of employment opportunities in my area and my lack of nursing experience at that time. anyway, to better my situation i talked to my bully co-workers, the bully charge nurses, and all of their minions one-on-one and got results.

    similar to grade school, bullies target people whom they perceive as weak! they tend to stay away from or act respectful to people who tend to challenge them in any way. in fact, confronting the offenders helped me to fit-in better with them so that i could do my job more effectively. today i am not a friend to any of them, but they learned from our conversations i was not going to tolerate unprofessional and disrespectful behaviors any more, which has helped me to get my job done.

    for example, if the bully tends to confront you in front of patients in a disrespectful manner, speak up in front of your patients and let that co-worker know that she (i have yet to have a guy act this way) is behaving unprofessionally and that she needs to back off now and you two can talk later. the reason i write that it is necessary to state this in front of your patients is because their disrespectful behaviors in front of your patients creates an environment where your patients may choose not to trust you as his/her nurse.

    by the way, the environment i am leaving is awful. it took everything in me to get through one shift. i look back and am surprised i survived well over a year when other nurses with way more nursing and life experience then me left within months of starting (this includes three nurse managers). the bullies have created such an abusive environment that most of my co-workers who have remained are in the process of leaving in the next few months.

    the bullies? of course, none of them have plans of leaving any time soon. this is ok... i am so happy that i am leaving i can not express my joy in words!! i hope the same for you too!!! in the meantime, stand your ground with them and they will learn to back off, though they will continue to gossip. gl!
    Last edit by MBARNBSN on Mar 2, '11
    Poi Dog and BrookeeLou_RN like this.
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    I'd say just be yourself; know and accept that you cannot please everyone, and consciously remind yourself not to participate in any of those behaviors that you find undesirable in your coworkers.

    I have a fairly strong and intense personality, and it seems most people either love it or hate it, but I became a much happier person when I abandoned the need to gain everyones approval and focused more on earning respect. I know it's awkward at first, but things tend to settle where they will and it gets better. Remember, although it's been years, each of them was the "outsider" at some point.

    If it truly does turn out to be a toxic environment and you are somehow able to maintain your happiness, sanity and do your job well without having to leave, then I do believe you have an amazing superpower. If it were me, I'd be stalking the employment ads stat.
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    Since you're the new kid on the block, you'll have a fresh pair of eyes.

    You could also try being kind to each and everyone of the staff consistently. And if you find that one or more of them treat YOU disrespectfully/unkindly, talk to him/her in private and ask if there's something that made them feel that way AND that you also want a good team working environment that focuses on the patient. THis may take several multiple attempts for each individual but eventually they may accept you and treat you as one of them.

    if not, you did your best. There's a principle - "do not let the sun set with you in a provoked state" - so if something bothers you (so much that you can't sleep), talk to them and work it out - if at all possible.
    Poi Dog likes this.
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    Difficult to be the new kid on the block. All eyes on you, assessing and gossipping about everything they can about you, are u nice or mean, are you good at your job or bad, are you a threat or a ally. None of this should matter but it does when u try and show up and do your work. For me over the years i have found dunkin doughnut cofee and sweets help me manage my floor on the overnite shift and thus i may not want to socialize with some of my co-workers out of work, my treats go a long way to keeping staff stress from expanding on the overnite shift
    BrookeeLou_RN likes this.
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    Quote from ponytailman
    Difficult to be the new kid on the block. All eyes on you, assessing and gossipping about everything they can about you, are u nice or mean, are you good at your job or bad, are you a threat or a ally. None of this should matter but it does when u try and show up and do your work. For me over the years i have found dunkin doughnut cofee and sweets help me manage my floor on the overnite shift and thus i may not want to socialize with some of my co-workers out of work, my treats go a long way to keeping staff stress from expanding on the overnite shift
    So funny that some coffee and doughnuts could ease tensions on a floor, but I can definitely see how that would take the edge off! Nice to know you found a way to relax people a bit.
    Poi Dog likes this.


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