Mean nurses and High Turnover

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    I've been working in this unit about 9 months now, and have seen staff come and go like no other. The girl who was my preceptor has turned evil, and is mean and condescending to me and other new staff. I've heard from fellow co-workers that people view her as being arrogant, walking around like she thinks she is "super nurse." She and a few others in our unit have this clique where they make the others feel isolated when we have to work with them. They gossip about others, especially nurses who might be pretty or confident in their knowledge/skills, and brag about situations where others may have made a mistake. They thrive on other's shortcomings and don't help out when there is a problem. I brought this up to my manager the other day, but it seems like nothing was ever addressed. Yesterday I found out that several of the nice nurses have either quit or went to night shift because they couldn't stand the attitudes and mean behavior of these people on day shift. Now, it's back to working with only a few people in addition to the group of mean ones.

    I appreciate your suggestions.
    lindarn likes this.
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  4. 20 Comments so far...

  5. 3
    This behavior tends to spread and will affect the whole organization. I would address the issues with Human Resources and then ask for a transfer. I worked in a hospital where one unit got so bad they finally closed the unit, fired or transferred everybody with no two in the same dept and after several months re-opened the unit. Blew it up and started over with new people.
    lindarn, hope3456, and linzz like this.
  6. 0
    I would never work at a place like that. It could destroy your career. I know of a certain hospital that has problems like that and they have a lot more trouble recruiting than most hospitals which have people waiting to get in.
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    Some units have a toxic culture dominated by a few pathological personalities. Good luck, if I were you I'd start looking at my options.
  8. 1
    Quote from poppy07
    I've been working in this unit about 9 months now, and have seen staff come and go like no other. The girl who was my preceptor has turned evil, and is mean and condescending to me and other new staff. I've heard from fellow co-workers that people view her as being arrogant, walking around like she thinks she is "super nurse." She and a few others in our unit have this clique where they make the others feel isolated when we have to work with them. They gossip about others, especially nurses who might be pretty or confident in their knowledge/skills, and brag about situations where others may have made a mistake. They thrive on other's shortcomings and don't help out when there is a problem. I brought this up to my manager the other day, but it seems like nothing was ever addressed. Yesterday I found out that several of the nice nurses have either quit or went to night shift because they couldn't stand the attitudes and mean behavior of these people on day shift. Now, it's back to working with only a few people in addition to the group of mean ones.

    I appreciate your suggestions.
    Find a new job as soon as possible. You won't be able to change the culture on your own.
    mykrosphere likes this.
  9. 2
    I actually have a similar situation in my nursing program - a clique that is high profile (one girl is a student rep), and they suck up to instructors yet treat some of their classmates rudely (myself included). Sometimes it seems they are more interested in "passing the boards" than learning the material. Two of them are inseparable to the point that I wonder if either could function in a nursing position alone. One was taking anti-anxiety meds early on the program.

    I have distanced myself from them and maintain a polite, cordial and completely professional stance with them. If I need to deal with them, I do it pleasantly. I will not be dragged down to their level. I am all about personal dignity lately. Many of my classmates seem to distance themselves as well.

    They have a "study group", where they meet at one's house with bagels and such - I'm doubting much studying is getting done since I know what they got on some of their assignments last semester. I myself have a 4.0 average.

    Nursing school is temporary, so I ignore as best I can and stick with the nice folks - I know I will do well. However, if it's that toxic at your job, I'd find a new position elsewhere, you can spend a lot of time and energy fighting it but you have to consider your own personal well-being.
    lindarn and hope3456 like this.
  10. 2
    Quote from poppy07
    I've been working in this unit about 9 months now, and have seen staff come and go like no other. The girl who was my preceptor has turned evil, and is mean and condescending to me and other new staff. I've heard from fellow co-workers that people view her as being arrogant, walking around like she thinks she is "super nurse." She and a few others in our unit have this clique where they make the others feel isolated when we have to work with them. They gossip about others, especially nurses who might be pretty or confident in their knowledge/skills, and brag about situations where others may have made a mistake. They thrive on other's shortcomings and don't help out when there is a problem. I brought this up to my manager the other day, but it seems like nothing was ever addressed. Yesterday I found out that several of the nice nurses have either quit or went to night shift because they couldn't stand the attitudes and mean behavior of these people on day shift. Now, it's back to working with only a few people in addition to the group of mean ones.

    I appreciate your suggestions.
    Ahhh....yes! The toxic princesses. Aren't they wonderful to work with?:wink2: I worked in the same type of environment my first year out. I stuck it out. Even though I was miserable. Once my year was up, I left. I now work in a more pleasing environment doing the same thing. The great thing about our job is that we can leave if we don't like it. That's what I did. My understanding is that my former job environment is still the same toxic envrionment. Our job is stressful enough. No need to add more to it.
    Leslie,RN and lindarn like this.
  11. 0
    Thanks to everyone for your replies.

    To add, I have a one year contract that I'm committed to. I wanted to stay in ICU vs. a different area in this same hospital as I want the best experience possible before I move and apply for ICU job elsewhere. It makes it really difficult day to day to work with the "toxic princesses" (VERY WELL PUT!), when they don't attempt to have conversation with you, act to busy when you want to take a lunch break and have them cover your patients, need help turning, etc. They even turn their nose up at you when you walk by, and whisper about other people you work with all the time. I hate it!

    To the nurse who also stayed the one year... how did you deal with it?

    It seems like this is so bad that every new nurse they hire finishes their orientation and then quits or transfers to the night shift.
  12. 4
    I have never understood why management tolerates those with negative attitudes....it's easier to get rid of the one or two "problems" than constantly trying to rehire people all the time.

    I mean, how bright doesn management have to be to figure that out?

    When management ignores that type of behavior, they give them permission to continue.
    mykrosphere, Leslie,RN, medsurgrnco, and 1 other like this.
  13. 1
    Quote from Hopefull2009
    I have never understood why management tolerates those with negative attitudes....it's easier to get rid of the one or two "problems" than constantly trying to rehire people all the time.

    I mean, how bright doesn management have to be to figure that out?

    When management ignores that type of behavior, they give them permission to continue.
    I know of an ICU that had a sick culture. A new manager was appointed and ALL staff are now required to rotate between two units. The upshot of it was that the unit is on the whole a pleasant place to work.
    lindarn likes this.


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