Black Sheep...time to leave?

  1. I know there have been a thousand or more threads on this subject, but hear me out:

    I have been working on a neonatal ICU unit for almost two years now. Prior to that, I worked in adult med-surg and still work there casually.

    I love working with the babies and their families but socially, I feel like an outcast. Some coworkers refuse to acknowledge my presence and ignore me even when they are assigned to be my patient's secondary nurse (for when I need to use the restroom or go on break). Just today, I was happening to go the cafeteria at the same time as a group of my coworkers. They all waited for everyone else to get their food...except for me. No "see you later" or anything. They just walked away.

    They are constantly talking about stuff they do with each other outside of work and to events that I haven't been invited to. When I try to join a conversation, sometimes I am ignored or given a quick response and then they go back to talking among themselves.

    There are some coworkers who are wonderful. They are older and more experienced, but they are slowly leaving the unit, leaving me with a clique of younger nurses. I am an island of a person.

    Should I start looking elsewhere? I am planning on going back to school next year (FNP or NNP, not sure which yet). The place has good tuition reimbursement (though not astounding or anything).

    What is the rational thing for me to do? I have been bottling this in and keeping my nose down and working, but I think it might be time to leave.
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  2. Visit ThePrincessBride profile page

    About ThePrincessBride, BSN, RN

    Joined: Jun '10; Posts: 2,228; Likes: 6,369
    Specialty: 3 year(s) of experience in Med-Surg, NICU

    52 Comments

  3. by   pixierose
    (((Gentle hugs)))

    I'm so sorry; that's the kind of stuff people do ... in high school, and I'd be hurt as well.

    Before you go looking for another position, take another look at the social situation from a new angle ... maybe you're coming off as "closed off," or maybe they're indeed just witches with no social skills. Regardless, if you're unhappy and ready to move on only you can make that call.
  4. by   JKL33
    From your perspective, what are the contributing factors (quiet personality, differing interests, any hx of conflict, etc)?
  5. by   ThePrincessBride
    Quote from pixierose
    (((Gentle hugs)))

    I'm so sorry; that's the kind of stuff people do ... in high school, and I'd be hurt as well.

    Before you go looking for another position, take another look at the social situation from a new angle ... maybe you're coming off as "closed off," or maybe they're indeed just witches with no social skills. Regardless, if you're unhappy and ready to move on only you can make that call.
    I don't know what it is. I just think it is rude to talk about activities done outside of work in front of people who weren't invited. Or to not say hello.

    There is very high turnover on the unit. People I like are leaving in droves, but the ones who are in their cliques stay.
  6. by   ThePrincessBride
    Quote from JKL33
    From your perspective, what are the contributing factors (quiet personality, differing interests, any hx of conflict, etc)?
    Different interests...yes. I am definitely an "old soul" and gravitate towards different things (horror movies, Game of Thrones, Tudor history, Greek mythology, investing/personal finance, international traveling., politics I also don't drink.)

    While many talk about their kids (I have none), watch shows that are completely different from the ones I'm used to watching, instagram/twitter/snapchat (I only have facebook) and don't seem interested in much else outside their personal lives. I don't know too much about their interests, but a lot of it revolves around their children and social media.
  7. by   caliotter3
    I would not let this keep me from a paycheck if they are not actively backstabbing you and setting you up for failure from shift to shift. If you can't come up with anything about yourself or your behavior that you could change, then just concentrate on your own employment goals and let the others exclude you. I guarantee that if they ever thought there was something you could do for them, they would be on you like white on rice. And that false acceptance would be just as hurtful.
  8. by   rkitty198
    You can't complain if you don't try to befriend them. Invite them to a movie. Offer to go pick up coffee for the person who is watching your patients. Set up a secret santa gift exchange.
    Set up a staff morale boosting activity.
    I did that when my floor was falling apart. Everyone was leaving 6 nurses in 6 months. Another nurse who is very quiet (sounds like yourself) set up a bowling night, we all payed separately and it was so fun! Then we had things to talk about and we connected more at work.
    You also could have said hi to them in that situation. If they didn't say hi back to you then that would be rude and I would consider asking one of them what their problem is. But put yourself out there a little. I am an introvert, it's hard, anxiety producing to put yourself out there, but it is worth it. Makes your work more enjoyable, you have people there to help if a patient is crashing, more support after a tough shift.
    Just go for it, you have nothing to lose. They aren't a part of your life now, so nothing to lose, a friend to gain. Or consider it networking.
  9. by   Hygiene Queen
    Quote from ThePrincessBride
    Different interests...yes. I am definitely an "old soul" and gravitate towards different things (horror movies, Game of Thrones, Tudor history, Greek mythology, investing/personal finance, international traveling., politics I also don't drink.)
    Aw! I would have loved to chit chat about horror movies,Tudor history and Greek mythology! I'm an old soul too, but at 47, I've grown into it somewhat. You will too.

    I'm sorry you're feeling this way. I felt the same way. I wasn't for fostering relationships outside of work, so it was plenty my fault too. I just remained friendly and goofy! If they didn't respond in kind, that was on them and I tried!

    If you really pay attention, you'll probably find all sorts of drama in that clique. Be glad you have no part of it.
  10. by   pixierose
    Quote from ThePrincessBride
    Different interests...yes. I am definitely an "old soul" and gravitate towards different things (horror movies, Game of Thrones, Tudor history, Greek mythology, investing/personal finance, international traveling., politics I also don't drink.)

    While many talk about their kids (I have none), watch shows that are completely different from the ones I'm used to watching, instagram/twitter/snapchat (I only have facebook) and don't seem interested in much else outside their personal lives. I don't know too much about their interests, but a lot of it revolves around their children and social media.
    Aww, I would be all over GoT and Greek myth chats with you ... while totally showing you a pic or 3 of my kids (no more than 5 ... I'm not one of those people I swears). My eyes tend to glaze over when people chat about the latest "America's Got Talent" or whatever is popular now a days, but that's ok because I learn (... usually not to watch it but I learn).

    ... sometimes there has got to be a give or take. Or sometimes, sometimes they're a cliquey bunch that maybe it's just better to stay away from, do the job, do it well, and earn the money. Only you know that.
  11. by   JKL33
    If you aren't truly lonely in your life (and it sounds like you do have a life, with plenty to enjoy), then honestly I think you just need to care less and focus instead on providing excellent patient care while at work. My personality would prevent me from even considering the idea of wanting people for friends who don't appear to want me for a friend.

    Groups where people make effort to exclude others who have done them no wrong go hand in hand with "meow" factor. You might just as well take their rejection as a compliment. Keep being kind and helpful towards them when opportunities arise. Try hard not to reply in kind.

    If you are seeking more socialization there are numerous opportunities - focus your search outside of work. Book club, professional organization, something in the arts, or a group based around one of your other interests.

    Don't leave because of this, especially if your management is supportive of staff and you are in a place where you're able to provide excellent care and gain knowledge.
  12. by   canoehead
    I'd just fly low on the radar, and do my best nursing job. If you try to call them out, or force yourself on their little clique, they may decide you're a good target. If you want a more accepting group of coworkers, try transferring or crosstrain to another floor. It's much nicer to have coworkers that are kind.
  13. by   dishes
    Do what is best for your career, if you are going to become a NNP, it makes more sense to stay put in the nicu where you enjoy the patient population and you are gaining valuable experience. If you are going to become a FNP, it makes more sense to move on, maybe to emerg where you can gain experience with assessing a diverse group of patients with a variety of symptoms. Making a decision based on your emotional response to your colleagues' incivility isn't going to help your career.
  14. by   KatieMI
    Oh, why I never was in your unit? We would have many lovely talks for sure.

    Really, I was in exactly that place for years and never cared for it. I have very atypical set of interests for someone living in Midwestern nowhere, in addition to being European, wide traveled and absolutely not in any social network. But I am an introvert and went to work for working, not for socializing. You very well might be different.

    If you feel that you start to overgrow your unit and team, go for it and look for greener pasture. Just do not try to make up your social life by going into grad school. Good quality NP school full time with even part time work means very little and very sporadic hours that can be spared for anything besides work, study and sleep. Part time school schedule allows marginally more freedom but still not that much to do anything serious. And when you finally got together as students, all talks rotate around JNC8 or something equally not exiting.

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