Feline Nurses

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    Is it simply a fact of life that nurses are a very catty bunch? We can be the tenderest most compassionate people to our patients but when it comes to one another the sharp claws can dig deep. I have seen this behavior everywhere I have worked. Nurses bad-mouthing other nurses when they aren't around. Being critical of others performance or even others personal lives. Then these same people will turn around and be just as sweet as sugar when the one they were talking about is around.

    I am new to the unit and am not going to let myself get sucked into that mess but the flip side is that not all the criticism is unwarranted. Much of it revolves around the same people with the same issues. The nurse with the messy divorce who spends a large part of her day on the phone for personal issues while the rest of us are tending to her monitor alarms. It is common knowledge that if you pick up an assignment after her you will have to do work that she "didn't have time", "forgot" or "didn't know" she had to do. Everyone knows about it, management included but it just continues. How about the nurses who will do just about anything to avoid certain tasks they don't like such as hanging TPN and lipids? It seems our solution is to get in a big pow-wow and gripe. Does it help anything?

    If I am making mistakes I want to know what they are so that I can fix them, I don't want people just talking behind my back. Hearing how they talk about one another almost makes me paranoid. Does anyone else see this? Is it just something we have to live with? When I got out of nursing school I read a quote about nursing that said "Nursing is one of the only professions that eats its young". Maybe we don't only eat our young maybe we are just cannibals.
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    I am not a RN but am going to school to become one, and this troubles me to, because I never have played into these type childish games. It is beyond me, why some nurses act this way. Like I said in another thread, I would think that nurses would be a more compassionate bunch of people, and have to say that largely they still are, but that the small percentage that are the bad apples tend to make the whole bunch look bad at times. It just makes things worse, when you see a DON or other management acting out because management tends to set the tone for any business.
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    In my view as a professional,personal phone calls should be put to a very minimum time or none at all while on duty except on breaks,otherwise it is like entertaining a call while you are watching a stage play.I hope your management got a concern for the over all welfare of the team and they are just finding the right time to talk to the person concerned.

    I have worked in different areas of nursing and on different cultures.I see it this way:bad mouthing is just a sign of insecurity,when you feel down and you want to find out there is one that is worst than you,you feel better you spread the news to get confirmation and you feel even better from confirmation who`s got the feeling as yours.Each new place I go to,I warn the manager or anyone curious about me(as a new staff) that the thing I most hate is me being the last to know my mistakes,this way,hopefully they will feel guilty talking about my mistakes behind my back.I have noticed as well that if you get involved with talking about others business,your turn will come.If you know you`ve done your job at your best capacity as evident to the conditon of your babies and paperworks no amount of gossiping will affect you and you can sleep soundly.We don`t exist to make our life a misery,if you can`t beat them,join them,if you can`t join them,leave them.
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    Mira, Exactly!! Very Well Said...
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    Yes, Mira. Great post.
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    Great post Mira!

    The NICU is very interesting in that we are often in constant proximity with one another during the entire shift. It's not like you can leave your patient's area easily when you don't want to be in the middle of certain conversations. Sure, you can leave to go to the supply cart or something for a few minutes but ultimately you are stuck together basically all the time.

    I found this rather disconcerting right from the start because I've never been one to gossip. I've always physically left the area when such conversations began. In the NICU, if I can't leave, I simply begin charting or do something with a baby so I look too busy to be included in the conversation via eye or voice contact. Trying to change the conversation can help sometimes, but when a group of people want to gossip, they can get a bit irritated with the person who tries to derail their gossip conversation.

    My "refusal" to join in with the gossip placed me in the "outcast" group of people... Sometimes being in the clique can be helpful in knowing about upcoming events, who's planning on leaving, who's up for promotions, etc. It's a very fine line to walk if you want to be "in the know" yet not known as "a gossip". We "outcasts" tend to hang together in an unspoken way. I did have my manager during a performance evaluation tell me that she overheard some nurses talking about me and they said, "You know, I've never heard Ana say a bad word about anyone." I still smile when I think about that. I may not be everybody's buddy but I'm also not looked at as anyone's enemy either. I'm thinking some folks look at me with suspicion as if I'm a possible "snitch" or something though... which I'm not... but that's sometimes how I feel.

    I believe that nurses, just like other groups of people, have their different personalities and insecurities. Life is like that. I do wish all nurses were different though, but I like to believe that as a whole, we nurses are more thoughtful and compassionate as compared to other groups of workers.

    That's the optomist in me talking... and believing it to be true.



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