Quote from Been there,done that
You can forget about getting any respect from fellow nurses because of an age difference, doesn't occur to young nurses to respect that.
It sounds like she feels she is more "experienced" than you because she has a whopping 4 months @ the facility.
Confrontation is not allowed in any facility, however you can respond to her 'tude. Whenever you are questioned if something has been done..
stop report, give her "the look".. quietly ask "why are you asking me to repeat this".
It is not confrontational to tell her you do not appreciate her behaviors and tone in report.
Just curious, what was the relationship like in school?
Yes but even in some units, you will get attitude from "influential others" if you do this respectfully. I have seen people get weeded out of units for simple, but respectful disagreeing or taking the approach you speak of. I happen to agree with you, Been There. Thing is, especially if you are new to a place, you often have to suck it up and take it. If the other nurse is somehow liked more, it can work against you. Being honest and respectfully forthright is NOT confrontational, but influential people will use that to spin it against you with NM and others. I have seen this in so many intensive care units. Seriously.
BTW OP, if you work in the field a while, you will see this a lot more than you should--coming from all types of people, regardless of age or anything else. You will see people work with others to sabotage other nurses. In certain children's hospitals, I have seen nurses even get docs on board--turn them against other nurses, and the elimination process ensued. Granted, IMHO, most docs don't have a lot of time for this stupidity, nor do they care to be involved--but some actually do.
Watch out how you handle this. Even if you are right, you can be made out to be wrong.
What they don't teach in school is that in group dynamics, it's not the actual reality that often matters, it is the perception of the reality that is given and accepted by others about a person.
Your age isn't or at least shouldn't be an issue. This person feels like she is on a even playing field with you or perhaps is somehow a step or so above you--thus she can be condescending and question you. If you get defensive, you give her power--especially if she has won favor with others there--especially the "influential others."
As kindly and respectfully as possible, look back at the person and carefully use reflection and clarification.
Even then, if you are unlucky or uncareful, it can still turn on you. ^See comments above.
Try to convey support and understanding. It may not work. The person just may have issues, is insecure, jealous, whatever; but you can't control that.
Unless she is out and out harassing you, you have to find the kindest possible way to deal with the other person, and yes, sometimes you have to mix firmness in with the kindness. But just be very careful. You have to get a feel for the dynamics of the particular area you are working in, from a social standpoint.
In this field, your skin ends up getting tougher and tougher. I could share stories, as could many of us long-time nurses, that could make the hair stand up on the back of your neck. But you have to focus on your practice right now. It's a very stressful time for you, and although that will improve with time and experience, certain other kinds of stress will not disappear. There are many times when you have to work around it.
It's important not to cause too many waves, especially when you are new. Don't let this person get into your head. Seriously. If she moves away, you will find in this field there are any number of similar or worse (malicious) personalities with which you will have to deal.
In my two decades of practice it has very rarely been a physician or stressed out surgeon with which I have had problems. Although some patients and families can be challenging, it has not been pts & families that have cause my colleagues or me much grief and needless stress at work. Sadly, so very sadly, it has been other nurses that have caused needless loads of stress. Thankfully it is not all nurses. There are great and caring and supportive nurses out there. You have to find them after working in the environment and sort of vetting them by way of experience. Also, sometimes it's just about trying to understand the "problematic other." Given: sometimes you can be as understanding as all heck, and these folks are still problem children. You have to do the best you can in order to work with them, and watch them carefully, b/c some of these folks are just, wow, like I said, malicious. When that is the case, you have to limit you interaction with them as much as possible. If you cannot, you have to find a way to rise above their nonsense--at the very least, for the sake of your patients, your own practice, and your own sanity. Even the really nice folks I don't get too buddy buddy with before I sort of vet their character and how they play the game at work. Many of nurses have learned from a lot of experience to be careful in this regard.
It can be like a fiercer sort of high school mean girl (and sometimes mean guy) field.
Don't let her get to you. Don't let her get into your head, unless you really feel that she is strangely reaching out--some people do this in strange or seemingly mean or harsh ways--and you should try to reach out to her in a positive way. If she continues with the negative behavior, be respectful, but limit your interaction with her to that which is necessary and stay professional when you must interact with her. When you are done your shift, don't think about the negativity this person is oozing again--unless there is some helpful principle to learn. I mean I can learn from anyone--even someone that works hard to try to be some sort of enemy to me. Other than that, you HAVE TO vent in smart places--not at work, and then let it go, and then go home and live your life.
For too many years I would watch this kind of crap and take it home with me--added to the stressful and emotionally demanding experiences with the patients and families, I would lose sleep. I DO NOT lose sleep over such junk anymore.
I do and learn and give the best I can to everyone, and then I go home.
Nursing can easily consume you--and some of the malignant personalities with which one must interact can consume you too--if you give them permission to do so. Find ways to NOT let this happen. When nurses don't do this here is what often happens:
1. They turn in on themselves, lose confidence, become a negative self-fulfilling prophesy. Not you? OK. I understand that. Go to number 2.
2. They get the "Can't beat em, join em" types, and they become a part
of the negative circle of dynamics in the area or nursing in general. OR
3. They go home and withdraw from the spouse, SO, even kids at times, and they lose their joy in life.
4. They experience serious depression, especially if they are biologically prone to this, or they start nipping at the ETOH too much, or some other substance, or become chain smokers.
5. They over eat.
6. Other aspects of their lives go to hell b/c the job has sucked up so much from them emotionally and otherwise.
7. They stay too long at a place that was toxic, and they learn to hate all of nursing.
I could go on and on.
What I am trying to say is there will always be some problem children with whom you must work in this field. The demands of the patients, family, institution, and job are all stressful enough. No one needs to suck up all the negativity from these problem children at work.
Yes, if it persists, after you have tried to humanely and kindly do as much as you possibly could, make a record, and at the appropriate time, take the issue to the NM.
Now, I warn you. This can become a double-edged sword, so exhaust other reasonable means and employ some real tolerance before going this route; b/c even if you are right and justified, sometimes it can still blow up in your face.
Don't be afraid to do this, however, if it is true harassment. The NM and HR need to know. But depending on the leadership and the social construct it in the area, it may not make a difference, or it might make things worse. If, however, it's problematic enough, you will have to be able to stand up and address it. Just make sure you follow my number one rule in nursing
---seriously after seeing a lot of wrong stuff happen to nurses over the years--and I mean good nurses. Here it is: Always make sure you have another back up job--that is, every nurse should have more than one job
. OK, you can only do per diem
! Alrighty then! But do it! Have a way to mitigate your loses in case something turns bad for you
. Trust me, this kind of thing happens ALL THE TIME to nurses. And b/c the nurse knows she is really on her game and is careful and is caring and is smart, etc, well, she thinks she will always get a job. Well we are seeing that is not necessarily the case
. I have seen very good, even excellent nurses out of work too long because of unfairness and harassment in the nursing field
. Thus it is imperative for nurses to make sure that they have a financial and clinical (to stay current) back up plan.
I think they ought to teach this rule in nursing schoo--that nurses should get and keep per diem nursing positions--home care, hospice, whatever. You have to mitigate any financial loses with you may incur. OK, OP, so not necessarily in this situation. It doesn't seem like, at least for now, it would come to that--not enough information and time. But it's a good general rule to keep, so that you can maintain a sense of freedom and income and peace.
20 years ago, we didn't even need to do this so much, but I usually took this approach. The reason why is b/c they were throwing jobs at us right and left
. And while the economy may open up such that hospitals will begin to open up more positions, I don't believe it will be like it was before. It's just too expensive. So much, as you know, has moved to outside the hospital. Patient hospital stays are much shorter. So much more is done outside the hospitals to save money. I mean, this is how it is, and so, it will not be as it once was.
At your first possible opportunity, look and obtain a per diem position through an agency, another hospital, home health, hospice, drug and alcohol rehab, whatever. Always make sure you have a way to make a living in the field
, b/c I have seen nurses put their eggs all in one basket and get screwed. A very real kind of social Darwinism is does occur in nursing. They will not teach you this in nursing school, usually.
I am sorry. I went the extra mile with this post, b/c I feel for you OP. And I feel for all nurses that have to endure needless kinds of harassment and such. Sometimes you can close it down with building trust and kindness, and other times you cannot. Do the best you can, but be wise about it.
Once more, I can't stress this enough:
Nurses need to know that they need back up jobs--even if they work in places with strong unions--as many unionized nurses know, nurses can still get royally screwed.
This is your livelihood that you worked hard for--and you are smart and care about your patients. But you have think, as kindly as humanely as possible, without any resentment--b/c building that is totally toxic--of your own survival as well.
If nurses would be open about how often they have gotten screwed over, I don't think allnurses' software systems would be able to support it. But that's part of the problem. Nurses won't address these kinds of things, much less unify over them; thus they continue.
In the mean time, look out for yourself in terms of your practice and your livelihood.
The best to you!