Is it possible for a sensitive individual to become a strong nurse?

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    Hey everyone! I'm a nursing student right now, and I wanted to get some advice from the more experienced nurses here

    I am pretty good at smiling and responding appropriately to rude people. The problem is that even little things bother me. The other day when I was volunteering in the hospital, I had a lot of things on my mind and wasn't really thinking straight. I walked into one of the patient rooms without knocking so I could turn the monitor away(the staff asked me to angle the monitors away from the entrance of the door).

    I know it was really rude of me not to knock, and I typically DO knock the doors (even though most of the patients are sleeping). No one really called me out on this before, until that day, where one of the family members asked me to knock next time. I quickly said that I was sorry and that I would certainly knock next time, but she didn't drop it. She went on and ON, giving me this speech about how her advice would "help me in my life", talking to me like I was a child. I apologized again and excused myself (after fixing the monitor as fast as possible), in which she turned to her sister to talk about me some more when I walked out. I was certainly getting annoyed, but I didn't show it in the slightest.

    Yes, I realize that I was very rude for walking in w/o knocking, and this is certainly a good lesson for me! I appreciate someone telling me when I do something wrong, but it was her condescending tone that bothered me. She wasn't yelling or swearing at me, but sometimes a condescending tone bothers me just as much as the other two.

    I hope that I turn out to be a terrific nurse when I graduate, but I also wish I could let the little things go. How can I deal with doctors, other nurses, patients and family members when I'm this sensitivel?!?!
    Last edit by liz90 on Jun 12, '12
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  3. 9 Comments so far...

  4. 3
    Being a nurse will toughen you up. You kept your cool, that's all that matters. I know students have to walk on eggshells, but keep in mind you won't have to take that kind of crap once you're working as a nurse. Apologize once and then go on with you work. Just walk away. You will have WAY more important stuff to do than sit and listen to some lady lecture about knocking first.
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    Lessoned learned it seems for you. I always knock as a warning as I open the door. My unit requires hourly rounding. If you are an independent pt who is having a bm or private convo , of course i apologize and let them know, hey I'm just rounding to make sure you are ok and don't need anything at the moment. However, If it is a vs, glucose, mandatory rx, then I say I am sorry to interrupt, carry on like I'm not here and ill be done momentarily.
    I run pt communication or fam communication like baseball. Two rude comments, Ehh Whatevah. The third however, I do stand up for my self as a profressional and let them know I understand your ( insert complaint here) so let's work through this but I won't be spoken to like that . So how about we do over? If that pause, rewind scenario still gives you trouble, I would get your charge to support you.
    ♑ Capricorn ♑ likes this.
  6. 1
    I do rude things all the time without realizing it lol. Alot of times you say "oops haha, that was dumb", but you realize that you are human too. Like the other day, I forgot that I told a pt they could go ahead and get dressed after being discharged from the ER, and I forgot to get them to sign something, so I went back into the room. The lady was like "ummm excuse me?!". I walked out and said, "oops sorry". She kept trying to say something, but I just left it at what I said, and she just kind of stopped. That was that, I made a mistake and shrugged it off. Dont let patients or their family make you look weak, because then they think you are incompetent or weak. You dont have to be mean to accomplish this, but sometimes you have to know when to put your foot down.

    In your case, I would have said, "Oh, I'm sorry, Im just here to fix the monitor. I will be out in a second."
    NCLEX will want you to say to the family, "Please, tell me more how I can be better."

    In real life choose A. On a test, choose B.
    ♑ Capricorn ♑ likes this.
  7. 1
    You will learn to not sweat the small stuff. Your story actually sounds as if you let it go, but the family was not letting it go. Anyone who does not know you and wants to "Help you in life" should really remove the plank out of their eye (or wherevere it is stuck) first before firing off at essentially a stranger.

    You will be doing fine a a Nurse...just remember, there are a lot of strange people out there, and I would say 95% of their strange and often rude behavior has nothing to do with you....even the "help you in life" lecture probably had more to do with the woman- (she may have been trying to exert control over a situation she has no control over etc), rather than you forgetting to knock. I was an Emergency Nurse for 11 years, and it was amazing how rude people are to each other, not just the patients, but also the staff...but when I realized that it was not about me actually but usually something about the other person, things went pretty well for me.
    ♑ Capricorn ♑ likes this.
  8. 1
    The family probably saw you as an easy target because you were a volunteer. Patients and family members often feel as if they have no control over the "hospital situation" and you were available. Another poster is right, you won't have to take as much nonsense when you are a nurse, but there will still be patients like this. I would have told the patient that it might be unrealistic to expect a knock on the door in such a "public" setting, but that staff means no disrespect. You will develop the ability to argue respectfully and professionally, and it usually causes the "offended" party to back down. Just learn to argue with a smile on your face.
    ♑ Capricorn ♑ likes this.
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    One advice I would give from a new RN myself is learning to build a thick skin. Sometimes not only patients and their family that you have to deal with but also your colleagues. Also make mental notes before go to work what you have to improve on. Not every nurse is perfect. We all have our shortcoming. I know many nurses talk about other nurses when they are not there or curses like sailor. It is so contagious but I make a conscious effort not to involve or follow their footstep. You just never know the next person they talk about will be you.
    ♑ Capricorn ♑ likes this.
  10. 0
    A situation like this will bother if you allow it to bother you. People can't necessarily control what other people will say. You went in and did your job, apologized, and left, now brush it off and move on. The more you allow yourself to wallow over it in your head, the more it will get to you. Its said and done, now let it go. Sometimes, we just can please everyone. We do our best to try, but for whatever reason people are people.

    I'm sure you make a fine nurse oneday. I hope to be too.

    Keep your chin up.
  11. 0
    No matter where you are or what you do, there will be people who think they need to tell you how to live your life. My daughter had a job at a chain discount store, and would have people walk up to her and tell her if she just went to school she wouldn't have to stock shelves forever. She would smile and reply, I have 2 college degrees, this is the job available right now.

    I learned (and it took some practive) to remember they have no idea who I am as a person, and are just attacking the uniform or age; in order to stroke their own self ego in some way. Smile and leave it behind you. If necessary confront with civility but you won't really change them but might get them to back off for a while.
  12. 0
    you will toughen up. i am a shy, nonconfrontational person. but after working as a tech for 5 years, nursing school, then being a nursing, i've learned to take BS, let it roll off my back and do the best i can. if i make a mistake, offend someone, something, then i can know in good conscious that it was not intentional because i am truly doing the best i can. the other night, i was having a night from you know where, i had two very rude patients who were acting very mean because i was running late with meds, etc but i just looked at them and said, "i am sorry sir/ma'am, i am truly doing the best i can at this very moment and i will be happy to address your needs right now." i did my tasks, took care of their needs, and moved on. i didn't have to time to argue, or take a load of verbal crap. i had about 800 other things to do. but don't feel bad, especially during nursing school though, it can be hard to let things go, and when you are a student or a volunteer, people want to "teach" you things, even if it is totally irrelevant.


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