Your favorite and personal intimidators

  1. Please tell me what intimidates you the most in a nursing environment, and please be honest.

    Also, please tell us if you have seen gender-based intimidation, like from doctors to nurses, or nursing instructors to students. How can you address it if you are experiencing intimidation from someone in a healthcare environment.

    Me - I am intimidated by women who act strange to me upon meeting me because I am a guy. It intimidates me because they are nervous and often hostile for unknown reasons. How can you stop it right away? I am NOT intimidating, and would not try to intimidate anyone. Some have told me that I intimidate some women just because i am a guy and am curious about things. I don't believe thats true, yet, I sense indimidation coming from somewhere (?)

    Non-verbal communication can be intimidating, especially when people just meet and I can't see how it can be anything other than smooth nd professional, at least.



    To make timid; fill with fear.
    To coerce or inhibit by or as if by threats
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  2. 23 Comments

  3. by   baseline
    Hmmm. Interesting. I am not easily intimidated, although I can be made uncomfortable in certain situations. I have felt others negative behavior towards me for unknown reasons, and I will be uncomfortable. Some physicians try to intimidate with their behavior and/or body language.......I am unimpressed....getting too old I guess....

    As far as gender based intimidation.....yes, I have to say I have seen that occur more often than one would believe in this day and age....and it works in both directions....

    My advice is to just relax and be yourself....do your job...and most people will come around in a short period of time.
  4. by   live4today
    Originally posted by baseline
    ....................My advice is to just relax and be yourself....do your job...and most people will come around in a short period of time.
    My sentiments exactly! The "intimidation factor" goes both ways and is often relayed via body language or verbally, and sometimes both at once.

    To ward off those who love to intimidate certain people, I took an Assertiveness Training Course in College. That was the best thing I did for myself as it helped me tremendously in dealing with others in a position of authority over me. It also helped in dealing with my peers, family members, friends, and others. I would highly recommend this type of course to all people who feel intimidated by others regardless of whether or not they work with them or for them.

    Perhaps Allnurses males who are nurses are better equipped to answer this question since you are a male who is striving to be a nurse in what is still a predominantly female career field, with hopes of that changing in our future years ahead...at least I would love to see more men enter the nursing profession as I love working with nurses who are men.

    Hope this advice helps you somewhat, Mario.
  5. by   Agnus
    Originally posted by mario_ragucci
    Please tell me what intimidates you the most in a nursing environment, and please be honest.

    Also, please tell us if you have seen gender-based intimidation, like from doctors to nurses, or nursing instructors to students. How can you address it if you are experiencing intimidation from someone in a healthcare environment.

    Me - I am intimidated by women who act strange to me upon meeting me because I am a guy. It intimidates me because they are nervous and often hostile for unknown reasons. How can you stop it right away? I am NOT intimidating, and would not try to intimidate anyone. Some have told me that I intimidate some women just because i am a guy and am curious about things. I don't believe thats true, yet, I sense indimidation coming from somewhere (?)

    Non-verbal communication can be intimidating, especially when people just meet and I can't see how it can be anything other than smooth nd professional, at least.



    To make timid; fill with fear.
    To coerce or inhibit by or as if by threats
    Gee Mario, I don't know. My dearest hubby has the sweetest personality and on more than one occasion he has been accused of either flirting or "sexual harrasment" because he smiles at a female or asks an inocent question. Generally happens when he likes the person.
    When we first met he flirted with me in this way. He was not intenteionally or consciously flirting, it was something that just came naturally. In fact he was VERY shy an intimidated about aproaching me to ask me out.
    However, because I have been on the recieving end a AND because, I have observed it when it was someone else on the receiving end with him, I know it was not anything to by offended by. I also, know from conversations about this with my hubby that he is baffled and had not, bad intents toward the woman in any of these situations.
    A simple smile with a friendly intent to one person is just that, to another it is a threat. Go figure.

    Now my brother intimidates. Not me I know him too well. But to most people he is intimidating. He is really very shy and unsure of himself but if you did not know him you would never guess. He is all business and takes himself much too seriously. He can't figure out how he intimidates.

    I can be very intimidating. I am shy and business like. I have worked very hard to learn and practice persenting a professional and credible image. I take a while to loosen up with people. Shy people learn to cover up the shyness and one way is sometimes to apear stern. Inside we are really softies.

    Asking questions my make you apear that you are questioning a nurses judgement, knowlege etc. But I am willing to bet it is not so much that she feels that you doubt her abilities as it is that she is not sure of the correct answer to your question. She is likely not sure of herslelf and the fact you ask questions makes her afraid that her lack of knowledge or skill will be uncovered.

    A lot of times we get the idea that we are suposed to know all the answers. The fact is no nurse know possibly could. There will alway be nurses who know more and those who know less than any one nurse. I know that you know this. However, the nurse who is intimidate by your questions doesn't really realize that you don't expect her to be God. She believes on some level that she should know all this and it should just roll off her longue without effort. She is too hard on herself.

    Maybe, you could mention the reason for your questions is that you admire the person and respect their skill and knowledge and you want to learn from people you respect.

    Maybe you could mention that you don't expect them to know everything. God there is so much a nurse has to know. And tell them if you get too pushy sometimes or they just can't answer you that you give them permission to hit you over the head or some simular way of telling you no. A little humor about your self and your own naivete can really help in this situation.

    Love you Mario, and I love your always provocative questions and observations. Lighten up a little, be willing to poke fun at your own lack of knowledge, and Give them permission to tell you to go take a hike when you get to be too much.
  6. by   nurs4kids
    I can't think of anyone who intimidates me. I grew up with an intimidating father, so I learned pretty quickly how to deal with intimidator's. Now, if someone is TRYING to intimidate me, it just pisses me off.

    I'm gonna take a shot at your "problem", mario. I'm currently precepting a student that reminds me alot of you. He's smart, assertive, outspoken..and not your "typical male" (no, not gay either).

    I've had to step back and think about how to deal with him at times. An overly-assertive student or new grad scares the hell out of me and until I am confident in his knowledge and abilities, I usually would prefer he not be quiet so confident himself, because I fear he'll unintentionally harm a patient. Also, as already pointed out, unfortunately, many nurses loose alot of theory based knowledge once we're out of school. Soooo, some questions are beyond our knowledge base and some people have a problem telling someone they're teaching "i don't know, but let's go research and see..".

    I'm willing to bet it has nothing to do with your sex, rather with your assertiveness and quickness to adapt to new enviroments. My student, for example, is quick to "butt-in" and answer questions when one nurse is asking an opinion of another nurse. This irritates the heck out of my coworker's. I didn't understand why, but they went on to tell me they feel he is cocky and many times he really doesn't know what they're talking about. Basically, they feel that you need to learn to crawl before you try to win a marathon.

    My advice to you would be (you are asking advice, aren't you?? )...
    sit back and be humble and allow the staff to warm to you before you burst in with your outgoing personality...

    sit back and see which nurse the rest of the staff goes to with questions/for advice (and there WILL be one) and approach THAT nurse with your question's...maybe even patronize her a bit by mentioning how impressed you are with her knowledge,etc.

    drop the attitude that every problem you encounter in nursing is sex-based..if you expect to be treated different because you're male, then you will be treated different

    don't bombard the nurses with tons of questions. jot your questions down and ask your instructor in post-conference. remember, the nurse is already over-stressed with responsibilities and she is not being paid to teach you..your instructor is. (sad attitude, but an overwhelming number of nurses feel this way)

    most of all, lighten up! you can't learn everything at once and if you sit back and observe, you'll be amazed how much you learn. Let the nurses know you are very interested in learning new skills/etc..ask them to please get you if there is anything interesting they can show you. then leave it up to them.

    now, with all that said, let me add..
    your knowledge is ten times that of the average nurse. i read things you post here and i have no clue what you're talking about. many times i don't even think it's something i've ever heard, not just something i forgot. for many nurses, i'm sure your knowledge is intimidating..and irritating if you're verbalizing all your deep knowledge to them.

    it's not you, mario..it's them. BUT, unfortunately, you have to adapt to them..not them to you. Welcome to nursing!! <wispers> It's called, "eating the young". It reminds me of kids..
    they seem to come into the world knowing so much more about life than adults...but we'd never want to admit it!
  7. by   Sleepyeyes
    I feel intimidated when PCT's second-guess my assessments and tell me what I should do for a pt.

    Example: last night a PCT said to me, "The pt in 403D needs something for agitation right now, and if you don't give it right now I'll just let you change him next time."

    I was shocked because:

    1. this was not her pt

    2. off-going nurse said she'd just given him something (info that the tech couldn't have known)

    3. the pt had a sitter -- who knew I was the pt's nurse, and who called me in, and I observed restless, but manageable behavior. No report of a change in behavior til the other PCT threatened me

    4. the entirely too aggressive and presumptive behavior on the part of the tech. I really resented her talking to me like that. She has not the authority or training that I've had.

    Well, I didn't say anything because I knew if I did, it'd be something snippy and not really addressing the problem of her lack of respect for me, and a snappy comeback would've only been humiliating for her in public.

    (If I had said something, I would've reminded her that I was the nurse, and until she was, she could offer suggestions, but never give orders, to me, thankyouverymuch.)

    But--since you started this interesting scenario, should I have said anything, Mario? What's your take on this? Will she continue to treat me like this because I didn't put a stop to it? Does she realize how disrespectfully she is treating me? (I think yes; she feels important when she's "right," especially over an RN.)
    Last edit by Sleepyeyes on Nov 9, '02
  8. by   almostanurse
    The ones that intimidate me are the cold, calus, strictly buisness, by the book, no nonsense, nurses. The kind you would love just once to see them make a mistake just to prove that they are human. The kind I feal like I cant joke around with, you know the type there always seems to be one at every job. Well any way thats the type that intimidate me. I cant relax, I feal like they think they are better then I am as a person.
    Last edit by almostanurse on Nov 9, '02
  9. by   Sleepyeyes
    Actually, now that I think about it, it may be a difference in work-styles.

    I'm the slow-bee that analyzes before I act; she's the busy-bee that moves before she thinks. She thinks I'm lazy; I think she's impetuous.

    hmmmmmmm.......
  10. by   Audreyfay
    I am intimidated by those who act like they know everything. In my early years in nursing, I would feel intimidated. In my later years, I just stay quiet and let them talk. This is going to sound funny, but I also feel uncomfortable around people of the opposite gender who I am attracted to, or who I perceive them as being interested in me. Like was mentioned before, silence is a virtue, especially when one is new. Good luck!
  11. by   adrienurse
    I am intimidated by people who have very domineering personalities. Perhaps it's a personal conflict. I think it's because I like to be the alpha female and I see them as competition .
  12. by   Tweety
    I hate the fact that I'm easily intimated by people of authority, way upper management and doctors, and by very aggressive people. I'm so much better than I was ten years ago. It just took the experience of surviving my transactions with them, standing my ground, and listening to them.

    The worst are the beligerent family members of patients. Usually the patients are fine, but to get yelled at by a family member intimmates and angers me.


    I'm a very relaxed person. I've never noticed that my gender alone has intimidated anyone.
  13. by   cactus wren
    Well, durn, I thought from the title that this thread was about my personal favorite Intimidator.....................#3 Dale Earnhardt......
    From my perspective( a card carrying old fart) not many people intimidate me...male or female...doctor or fellow nurse...or anyone else for that matter......So.....maybe it`s an age thing?? I can remember feeling put upon as a youngun........but have changed alot as I`ve gotten more seasoned........Hang in there Mario, as you feel more comfortable in yourself, this will ease.....
  14. by   kelligrl
    Originally posted by adrienurse
    I am intimidated by people who have very domineering personalities. Perhaps it's a personal conflict. I think it's because I like to be the alpha female and I see them as competition .
    Yup, that's me also! When I'm around someone who's more out there than I am, I'm unsure of myself...I still can't seem to figure out how to deal with it....I also get kinda intimidated by people who are too, kind of, into you....You know, people that STARE at you when they talk to you, and stand about 2 freaking inches away...and it's not just you, they do it to everyone....like some sorta power trip...2 words for you friend--PERSONAL SPACE!! Let it be your mantra....:chuckle

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