Difficult Co-Workers

  1. Obviously almost everyone has at least 1-2 co-workers that they don't get along with, but at what point do you address the behavior, and at what point can you determine that the person is just being immature and looking past it?

    I work with a particular individual who is probably a wonderful person...outside of work. God bless her, but oh my goodness can she be a nightmare to work with! She has a very intimidating personality, and my biggest hang-up having to work with her is that I feel like I can't go to her for help without her getting mad at me. I am not really sure what I have done to upset her but I don't see her treat others as harshly as she does me. In a nutshell, she just seems very annoyed whenever I ask her a question. For example, today I discharged a patient. Before the patient was discharged, the docs printed off some orders that were supposed to get put in the order book. I forgot to place the orders in the order book until after the patient was discharged (and at that time, the patient's order book had been pulled off the shelf. This is only my second discharge that I've done since being off orientation, so I asked this particular nurse who also happened to be charge today where I can find the order book since I still had orders to be placed. She looked furious with me, even though it was a simple question I genuinely wanted to know the answer to, and said, "just throw it away, we don't keep those orders after discharge!" Well geez! I am just trying to do a good job right the first time and asking questions I don't know the answers to. Looking back on it I suppose the answer was kind of obvious, but I'm still fairly new to my unit so I just wanted to ask the question to know for future reference. I want to avoid making avoid-able mistakes...is that so wrong? I do not go up and ask her questions constantly when she is charge. I interacted with her for a total of 2-3 times throughout the day today, and during each of those times she always came across as quite perturbed. I don't understand why she treats me this way because I have done nothing wrong. I wouldn't really care about how I interact with her if she didn't function as the charge nurse from time to time...but, since she does, I see potential for issues if I can't get any help from her.


    How would you guys suggest bringing up the issue? I know a big part of the issue is probably just her personality, but a part of me is very indignant and angry that she treats me this way. I want to be able to come to her for help if I need it, but I also want to show her that I've got backbone and I'm not gonna take any more crap from her.

    Like, any tips on how I can talk to her in a "disarming" manner that will get her to listen instead of just getting even madder at me?
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  2. 4 Comments

  3. by   Emergent
    The best thing it to handle it in real time, right then and there. Sample conversation:

    You: Where are the blood consent forms?

    Crankypants: Big Sigh... Why don't you remember that, can't you remember anything? (raising voice and getting shrill)

    You: Please just answer my question without raising your voice. I'd appreciate that.

    Crankypants: -Frowns- In that drawer over there.
  4. by   SHGR
    Quote from Emergent
    The best thing it to handle it in real time, right then and there. Sample conversation:

    You: Where are the blood consent forms?

    Crankypants: Big Sigh... Why don't you remember that, can't you remember anything? (raising voice and getting shrill)

    You: Please just answer my question without raising your voice. I'd appreciate that.

    Crankypants: -Frowns- In that drawer over there.
    Wow, that's great advice. I'm going to have to practice that line so there is no hint of sarcasm at all! Only innocence and assertiveness.
  5. by   TriciaJ
    Yes! Just stick to the task at hand in a calm and professional manner. Someone has to be the grownup. You can also point out your observations to her: "It seems I just rub you the wrong way. I'm really trying to learn to do things right. Is there anything specific I need to do or stop doing to make this workable for you?" She'll either give you a helpful answer or get the message that you aren't easy to intimidate.

    Constructive criticism and non-constructive criticism are to be handled the same way: ask for more specific information. If the criticism is well-meant (just maybe badly delivered) the person will give you helpful information. If someone is just power-tripping at your expense, the calm request for more info puts the turd back in their pocket. Shuts them up, usually.

    Good luck!
  6. by   SionainnRN
    Quote from SHGR
    Wow, that's great advice. I'm going to have to practice that line so there is no hint of sarcasm at all! Only innocence and assertiveness.
    Actually the phrasing of that, to me, comes across as hostile. If you just change it around by saying "I would appreciate if you did raise your voice ... " I think you'd get a much better reception AND if she complains about it it's easily defendable since you sandwiched your request with please and thank you. Good luck!

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