Too nice to be a nurse?

  1. I'm a little frustrated right now. Last week at clinicals one of the girls in my group said that she felt sorry for me because I was too nice to be a nurse. I asked her what she meant and she said I was too nice to my patients and also too nice to the nurses that we were following.
    I'm very new to field of nursing. I know I am a nice person and all my patients have complimented me on how nice I am and also that I have a soft touch when I reposition them, bathe them and do any kind of care. I'm nice to the nurses because they are our teachers. I don't want to walk around thinking I'm better than anybody. If I have a question I always ask the nurse I'm assigned to and they always seem happy to help.
    I told the girl that I didn't know that being a B!#ch was a requirement in nursing. Was I wrong? Has anyone else ever been told this?
    She said I seemed weak with my kindness. I have a quick temper and can be not the nicest person if I needed to be. I see no point in acting that way unless it is necessary. I have heard nursing is full of crabby women and if I come across that situation I'm not the type to cry in the corner.
    I guess I was just disappointed. I think nursing is about being a caring person. I don't want to be the nurse that when my patient sees me they cringe with fear. I have seen plenty of that already.
    any thoughts?
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  2. 18 Comments

  3. by   llg
    I was told the same thing as a student. Nurses SHOULD be nice and don't stop being nice because some b**** in your class doesn't like it. She has a problem, not you.

    On the other hand ... it's probably worth thinking about her perception that you project a image of weakness. "Nice" is one thing and "weakness" is another. There are many times when a nurse needs to be strong and needs to project an image of strength and competance, both when dealing with patients and when dealing with co-workers. Be sure that you are not perceived as being too weak so that people don't take advantage of you and your kindness.

    From your posts, it sounds as if you do indeed have a backbone. That's a good thing. Perhaps your classmate has not seen enough of that strength and is mistaking your kindness, courtesy, etc. for weakness. Be firm with her and let her see that she can not dominate you and push your around. Then she'll see that "nice" and "strong" can exist together. "Nice" and "strong" is the best combination.
  4. by   SmetRN2008
    There is absolutely nothing wrong with being nice! It sounds to me like this other girl in your class may just be a little jealous of you. Nice nurses definently make the best nurses! Just continue to be yourself. I'm sure you will be a great nurse
  5. by   RGN1
    I'm nice too -at least that's the feedback I get from colleagues, patients & relatives! You go girl - it's much better working with & being looked after by nice people!!!
  6. by   donsterRN
    The above posts describe perfectly what I want to say! For the life of me, I cannot understand why you'd care what this person thinks. You know your strengths and weaknesses better than anyone, and don't ever let anyone tell you that niceness isn't a quality you need in nursing.

    You just keep on being nice. I like you already!
  7. by   Myxel67
    Llg replied exactly as I would have! I, too, am one who was given similar advice about my "niceness." Niceness (is that a word?) and strength are not mutually exclusive.
  8. by   shippoRN
    law3576: she is soooooooo jealous of you. She probably sees the way the nurses and patients interact with you and is treatened by it and projecting her insecurities on you. Its all psycological games to make you second guess yourself and your strength which by the way your "niceness" is your strength. Ignore her and keep doing what you are doing. She won't get far with that kind of attitude, especially in a nursing field. Its not only about being nice, its about showing respect and humility to your patients, collegues and teachers.
  9. by   shellsgogreen
    Hmm...seems she is spending far too much time observing you. I can understand how this sort of comment can be upsetting, considering the profession we're entering into, but at the end of the day, it's just her opinion, and you know your own strengths
  10. by   Daytonite
    you need to educate yourself on the psychology employed by people who want to, knowingly or unknowingly, hurt your feelings or create a sense of superiority over you. person(s) who make comments such as "she felt sorry for me because i was too nice to be a nurse" and "i was too nice to my patients and also too nice to the nurses that we were following" are playing a psychological game. they're hoping to manipulate and make you feel there is something wrong about yourself while getting their own jollies. they actually get some glee out of making other people feel bad. they are trying to compensate for their own feelings of inadequacy. in this particular case the girl was initially insulting you, but then got the unexpected angry response from you that went against your nice nature, which she probably hadn't expected. even so, she succeeded in rattling your cage, which was her original intent. do you see it? the reason you feel so bad is because you lost your temper and said something in anger to her. that's not something that "nice" people do. and, she tricked you into exposing yourself! that's what you're really bummed about. she may have been stunned for the moment, but i can almost guarantee that she's now off somewhere gloating because "miss nice lost it with me, so she's not so nice as you would think!" she achieved some personal satisfaction that she broke you down, although it is a rather bizarre and dysfunctional way to do it. i'm not sure that you totally understand what happened here.

    now, the trick is that once you catch on to this game of theirs it takes all the fun out of it for them. her doing this was probably motivated by some jealousy she harbors toward you and that was her best "game playing" way to express it to you. emotions are funny things. sometimes they are so strong in people that they just have to shout them out. it's inappropriate to say, "i hate you", or "i'm jealous of you because you are so damn nice!" the way our society will accept it is to do it in a subversive and deceptive way. viola! catty remarks, game playing and manipulation. and, don't some of us do it real well? problem is, that even though you called her bluff, she still got you right in the ego. the one thing you did do wrong was that in calling her a *****, you let your temper show. it would have been far more effective if you had been able to say it in a calm, pleasant voice. better yet, you could have just smiled in sympathetic understanding of her ignorance said in the sweetest tone you could muster up, "there's no reason for you to feel sorry for me" or "i'm sorry you feel that way" and moved on. you must learn this or your temper will get you into trouble over the years.

    let me reassure you here, that there is absolutely nothing wrong with you! there is no such thing as being too nice to be a nurse. and you just keep on being that way as well as keeping your soft touch with patients. you will be loved by your patients. we are there to be of service to the patients. however, you will occasionally run across other nurses who will be envious of how you practice. pity them because when they act like this girl in your class, they are sad excuses of people who don't know how to better themselves other than to strike out at those who they should take on as mentors and role models. that's sad, isn't it? yet, you will encounter them throughout your life. don't allow their misery to also become yours. they need kindness too.

    in one of the first classes i was required to take in my bsn completion program we had to read a book called games people play: the basic handbook of transactional analysis by eric berne. i know the title sounds very scholarly and some of this little 200-page book is, but when dr. berne starts listing and describing some of the behavior (he calls them games) people will engage in to manipulate and gain the upper hand in situations it is absolutely genius. so genius that this little book has been required basic studying for just about everyone going into clinical counseling for many, many years. it's a classic work. you might want to consider looking at a copy of it. i can pretty much guarantee that if you ever find yourself in the position of supervising subordinates who want to act like children, books like this help you to understand and identify what the underlying motivation and behavior is so you know how to put it in perspective in order to deal with it more efficiently. however, i'm not being mean here, but you have got to learn to bridle your temper. once manipulators and game players discover you have a temper, they know you have a weakness that can get you into trouble and they will use it to their advantage in every way they can think of against you. please take my advice on this. i know what i'm talking about. you might want to review information on therapeutic communication skills. although it's taught for speaking with patient's, it very handy for speaking with others in any kind of situation that requires tact and sensitivity.

    http://www2.nemcc.edu/rlansdell/web/...iles/frame.htm - a really nice slide show on therapeutic communication. includes techniques, scenarios and blocks to communication.
  11. by   chzza
    Quote from law3576
    i'm a little frustrated right now. last week at clinicals one of the girls in my group said that she felt sorry for me because i was too nice to be a nurse. i asked her what she meant and she said i was too nice to my patients and also too nice to the nurses that we were following.
    i'm very new to field of nursing. i know i am a nice person and all my patients have complimented me on how nice i am and also that i have a soft touch when i reposition them, bathe them and do any kind of care. i'm nice to the nurses because they are our teachers. i don't want to walk around thinking i'm better than anybody. if i have a question i always ask the nurse i'm assigned to and they always seem happy to help.
    i told the girl that i didn't know that being a b!#ch was a requirement in nursing. was i wrong? has anyone else ever been told this?
    she said i seemed weak with my kindness. i have a quick temper and can be not the nicest person if i needed to be. i see no point in acting that way unless it is necessary. i have heard nursing is full of crabby women and if i come across that situation i'm not the type to cry in the corner.
    i guess i was just disappointed. i think nursing is about being a caring person. i don't want to be the nurse that when my patient sees me they cringe with fear. i have seen plenty of that already.
    any thoughts?
    hey i wouldn't worry about it at all. just carry on the way you are. you're the type of nurse the patients will remember and feel grateful to, not her. i've no doubt they would trust someone like you far more. there's nothing wrong with being nice. its the nice ones who would do anything for their patients and care for them in the best way possible. don't change, its her that needs to.
  12. by   chijon512
    to the original poster, do the world, your patients, and yourself a favor and STAY NICE!!!

    i've seen way too many bossy, b!tchy, agressive nurses. i just don't think it's necessary or right for nursing. or for life for that matter. the only thing you might have to worry about are people who might try to take advantage of you for it. but i would guess that you've been a "nice" person for a long time and have developed ways for dealing with such persons.

    i think it's like anywhere else in life, there's some people who have this warped notion that any one who is not forceful or controlling is not worthy of respect. what a big pile of b.s. not even worthy of a response. that's all i have to say about that.
  13. by   GardenDove
    You sound very nice. Your classmate sounds not so nice and like others say wishes she could somehow be nice and is jealous of what a lovely lamp on a hill you are.

    Your pts like you, your niceness brings out the best in everyone around you, you are a role model and she JUST CAN'T STAND IT!!!!
  14. by   Spidey's mom
    She doesn't represent nursing - she represents someone who is not very nice. I really like Daytonite's post. And llg's . . . and the rest . . .

    steph

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