Advice on Dealing With Condescending Nurses Need

  1. 1 So, I'm a new grad, working my first job. I've been solo about two weeks now. I am working with another new grad in her mid-twenties who has been at the facility for about four months now. This is the first job for both of us. We are both RN's (graduated together, actually). I take the shift from her for the evening several times a week.

    My problem is this nurse (who is young enough to be my daughter) is soooooo condescending when she speaks to me! I am floored by the snotty way she addresses me. I have actual had her question me as to whether or not I really did do certain procedures that I documented as done! (Ask me once, you're assessing; Ask me the same question twice, you're accusing!) Yes, it was an accusation. I was vindicated by lab work later that proved I had done what I said I had.

    Let me add, I work in a 'drama free zone' per the DON so getting into a confrontation would likely cost me my job.

    So, any advice? It's bad enough she's so condescending, but given the age difference, it's really disrespectful as well!

    I'd like to add that in our final class, I passed with 84 and 94 on the two tests. My former classmate informed me she failed the class by a point and had to write letters all the way up the chain of command to beg to be passed (and succeeded). I share this info to show that I went out of my way to prepare myself while in school. I am in no way incompetent. I'm just new on the job.


    Thanks for the input in advance!
  2. Visit  MotherRN profile page

    About MotherRN

    Joined Sep '12; Posts: 234; Likes: 261.

    50 Comments so far...

  3. Visit  westieluv profile page
    7
    Quote from MotherRN

    I'd like to add that in our final class, I passed with 84 and 94 on the two tests. My former classmate informed me she failed the class by a point and had to write letters all the way up the chain of command to beg to be passed (and succeeded). I share this info to show that I went out of my way to prepare myself while in school. I am in no way incompetent. I'm just new on the job.


    Thanks for the input in advance!
    Is this former classmate who failed and had to write letters the one who's bullying you now? If so, then she is probably feeling deeply insecure and incompetent and taking it out on you. I am in my late 40s and have been an RN for 22 years and I find that most younger nurses are respectful and say things like, "I'm glad you're here to help me since you have a lot of experience," but that a few who feel new and green and insecure will do this with us older gals. I'm not sure if it's because we live in a youth obsessed society where young people with little knowledge or life experience are put on pedestals (think Miley Cyrus, Lady Gaga...etc.) and older people are sloooooowwly put out to pasture with each passing birthday or what, but it is annoying and it definitely isn't right.

    I'm sorry that you're going through this. It's hard enough starting out as a new RN without being treated like an idiot to boot, and you sound like you are very competent and conscientious too.

    You are probably going to just have to talk to this little twit (sorry!) and tell her, gently at first, something like, "Could you please not question everything that I do? You can see by now that I am doing what I am supposed to be doing, so let's just focus on our own work and be a supportive shoulder to each other, okay?" I don't know if it will work, but at least it might make her back down.
    cclash, montecarlo64, MsPiggy, and 4 others like this.
  4. Visit  Been there,done that profile page
    9
    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?
    cbsncmom, cclash, wooh, and 6 others like this.
  5. Visit  hiddencatRN profile page
    1
    I'd go with a combination of ignoring her attitude and directly addressing her repetitive questioning. I like BTDT's suggestion to just ask why she's asking you to repeat things.
    wooh likes this.
  6. Visit  morte profile page
    5
    Look her square in the eye, and quietly say "enough"; then keep going with report.
    brandy1017, cclash, neverbethesame, and 2 others like this.
  7. Visit  metal_m0nk profile page
    3
    Quote from MotherRN
    I'd like to add that in our final class, I passed with 84 and 94 on the two tests. My former classmate informed me she failed the class by a point and had to write letters all the way up the chain of command to beg to be passed (and succeeded). I share this info to show that I went out of my way to prepare myself while in school. I am in no way incompetent. I'm just new on the job.
    You're totally right. She's just jealous of you because you're so smart and experienced at life.....

    /sarcasm
    jennafezz, myelin, and Pepper The Cat like this.
  8. Visit  Hygiene Queen profile page
    10
    OP:

    You had me until your last paragraph.
    cclash, wooh, jennafezz, and 7 others like this.
  9. Visit  Pepper The Cat profile page
    5
    Maybe she is condensending to you because she is sensing that you are feeling superior to her.
    You have mentioned a) that she is much younger thatn you and b) you got better marks than her in school.
    Neither of these matter in the workplace.
    I
    wooh, jennafezz, rubylipstick1, and 2 others like this.
  10. Visit  Esme12 profile page
    6
    I think that people who say mean things to other people and make disparaging remarks are essentially insecure themselves. it is clear to me that this nurse is feeling threatened by your presence and maybe letting the "cat out of the bag" about her struggles at school.....which, by the way, have no place being talked about at your current place of employment. She may feel scared you are going to say something and she is embarrassed.

    I would say to her in report. I know we are both new nurses and you have been here longer but maybe if we team up we can learn from each other. i would appreciate it if you would hold your questions and thoughts until I am done with report as your constant interruptions are distracting me and I will miss something.......If we can't resolve this here I will feel it's necessary to talk to the DON for then I will feel you are being purposefully antagonistic.

    I always tell my children........If you can't say something nice say nothing at all. It applies to all aspects of life and here at AN as well.
  11. Visit  Esme12 profile page
    6
    What you may need are come brain sheets to help you keep organized
    brain sheets.......here are a few.

    mtpmedsurg.doc 1 patient float.doc‎
    5 pt. shift.doc‎
    finalgraduateshiftreport.doc‎
    horshiftsheet.doc‎
    report sheet.doc‎
    day sheet 2 doc.doc

    critical thinking flow sheet for nursing students
    student clinical report sheet for one patient

    I made some for nursing students and some other an members have made these for others.....adapt them way you want. I hope they help
  12. Visit  mazy profile page
    3
    I get that you're fresh out of school but your grades don't matter in the real world. I've always felt that 90% of what you learn as a nurse you learn on the job, so you and she are really on equal footing right now.

    When I graduated from nursing school I used to joke that I knew less about being a nurse as a graduate than I did when I first started school.

    It is a truly humbling experience to be out there on your own as a new grad.

    You may be feeling a little of that and your co-worker may as well. I hope you can try not to make this about school, because if I were her, knowing that you are thinking about her failures, I'd be feeling a little condescended to also on that end.

    But I do agree with the others that no matter what the dynamic, it is important to establish boundaries, and it sounds like she is trying to get the upper hand with some of her questions.

    Hopefully, you can find a way to look at her as just any other nurse who is being disrespectful, rather than a former classmate, and not get sucked into any games.

    You can take control of report by sticking solidly to the subject matter and not allowing yourself to be dragged off on a tangent.

    So if she asks you a question, answer it and then keep in your head the strategy that the question was asked, the question was answered, and let's move along now because we're wasting valuable time here with this silliness.
  13. Visit  eatmysoxRN profile page
    3
    I don't think it's fair to discount a nurse because he or she is either young or older. Mutual respect is key in a workplace. She doesn't seem to be respecting you, but you seem like you think getting better grades makes you a better nurse, which isn't necessarily true. Address your issues with her privately if you're bothered. Tell her that you are appreciative of her help with the new job but would never document something as done if it weren't.
    cclash, rubylipstick1, and SwansonRN like this.
  14. Visit  imintrouble profile page
    6
    I try not to let my self worth depend on people I don't like anyway.

    I like the "why are you asking me this again" suggestion. It's simple, direct, and when spoken in a nonconfrontational way, only a question that needs answered. However, be prepared for an answer you might not like. We rarely see ourselves the way others do. Looking at ourselves through somebody elses' glasses can be painful.
    mazy, Hygiene Queen, VivaLasViejas, and 3 others like this.


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