Quote from Daytonite
I just want to comment to remarks that have been made about nurses who have certain "looks" on their faces that might lead you to believe they are angry or disgusted with you. My sister and I both by genetics and probably from conditioning tend to get a look like a scowl when we are deep in thought. It happens to me a lot and I had to listen to people complain to my bosses about this again and again and get pulled into confrontational meetings about this one very single thing in the early days of my nursing career. The thing is that these people who complained never said anything to me nor did I say anything to them to indicate that I was mad or angry at them. They just went to the boss. They just didn't like the look on my face or were scared away by it. I also, as a rule, don't engage in chit chat or gossip while I am working which sometimes gives other people the impression that I am kind of aloof. I am totally focused on doing my job as a nurse. As a result, I now preface all my introductions to people with, "if I look like I am angry or scowling, do not take it personally. I am probably deep in thought. If I am upset with you about something, believe me, I will tell you with words, not looks. If you think I am upset with you about something--ask me. I will answer you and try to make sure I'm smiling while I'm doing it."
I have the exact same issue in some situations! I like your way of handling it; I will probably adopt something similar. The more focused I am, the harder it is for me to remember to "smile and look pleasant." And, I think sometimes what I assume to be a pleasant look must be different on the other side of my face!
To the students: you will undoubtedly encounter rude nurses while you are a student. However, don't always assume that everyone who isn't sugar-sweet and smiling is being rude. Some of us are just focused; maybe there are things going on you don't know about that demand our attention. Remember that the patients come first and the person who is "rude" may be trying to avert some imminent crisis. It's also not safe to assume that everyone who is sweet and smiling is your friend; some are really good at doing that while the hand you can't see is stabbing you in the back.
When it comes to dealing with the ones who are truly rude, there is not a lot that you can do about it as a student. Mention your concern to your instructor and let him or her handle it from there on out. Giving a staff member a piece of your mind will probably only backfire on you.
Just remember how it feels when in the future you're the staff person dealing with students!