Disrespectful coworkers

  1. I work with some people who don't respect me, or don't like me, or I'm not even sure. They are all less educated than I am but treat me like I'm an idiot. I always try as hard as I can, I work hard, I do my work as best I can and I really care about what I do. But if I have any questions (I am new to the unit and have little experience with a few of the things we do for which I received about zero training because my training was supposed to be done by these mean girls) they treat me like I'm a moron or if I make a simple and non-harmful mistake they are all incredibly awful to me like I'm totally incompetent (meanwhile they are no help because they're always on break or off gossiping somewhere, which may be why they hate me, I never partake in that). I never get breaks and get stuck with far more work than most of them. not exaggerating, they eliminated one position and just gave me the workload) I also have more education and different experience than most of them. They act like I'm just dumb and they never include me in unit activities. No other nurses sit with me at lunch like it's a junior high school lunchroom! It's like a giant group of high school girls and I have even heard them talking poorly about me. It's so ridiculous that I mostly just keep to myself and do my work. I also do extra work because of their failure to complete jobs too. I'm the first one there and last to leave. I'm just not sure what to do. Short of interacting with them as little as possible, I just stay quiet and work all day. I don't get involved when they talk rudely or gossip or take a million breaks. It's just damaging to my spirit that they hate me and I don't know why. I don't know what I did to make them think I am stupid or lazy or whatever they think. They are so mean that I don't even have the guts to confront them, plus since I am new I fear for my position. I LOVE my job but some of the coworkers are awful. Some are amazing. I just don't know what to do. Anyone have a similar experience or advice?
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    About JZ_RN

    Joined: Apr '12; Posts: 597; Likes: 1,292
    RN; from US
    Specialty: 5 year(s) of experience in Oncology


  3. by   TheCommuter
    They are all less educated than I am but treat me like I'm an idiot.
    I also have more education and different experience than most of them.
    Does a person's educational attainment affect the ability or inclination to respect others?
  4. by   Pepper The Cat
    It sounds like you don't respect them either. Respect is a two way street and has nothing to do with how much education you have.

    Also - you say you don't talk to them , then you get upset because they won't sit with you at lunch or invite you to join in activities.

    I also find it hard to believe that you are the only one working. Perhaps they finish their work earlier simply because they are more experienced and manage their time better.
  5. by   GypsyNurse54
    1) Great reply Pepper!
    2) Accept that you'll always have certain coworkers that are notorious gossipers, give new nurses/employees a hard time, & are more difficult to get along with. That type of coworker will usually come around with time, so try to shake it off for now.
    3) Just as you describe them as "less educated", they may describe you as "inexperienced" because that's all you both have to go on. So try to talk to them, get to know them on a more personal level, ask them about their interests, etc. I bet you will be able to find some common ground which will help enhance mutual respect.
  6. by   JZ_RN
    We have different experience. They are about as equally experienced as I am, just in different areas. I said different experience, not more experience. Though I did say they are less educated, I recognize that we are a team and I am NEVER disrespectful to any of them about this. Without people with all types of skills the work couldn't be done. I've even gone so far as to bring things in for staff appreciation for them. I appreciate constructive criticism and I happily admit when I need more training or feel uncomfortable with something, then take initiative to try to learn more and gain experience. I just get tired of being treated poorly by them. Well, some of them, but I'd like to at least be on polite terms with everyone. In fact, they often say that I should be doing more of the work and pass of more assignments to me because I am the "charge nurse" and whenever something goes wrong, instead of even attempting to find a solution or do anything to help the issue, they instead say, just call the charge nurse, that's her job. It's getting to the point where it is ridiculous. I only point out that they are less educated than I am because when I ask questions like, where do they store such and such supplies or, where do I find such and such information in this computer program that I am new to, they treat me like I am stupid. Meanwhile if they need a task done that isn't in their scope of practice they are more than happy to come interrupt anything I am doing to have me do so. It's really pretty frustrating. And also, some of the coworkers have even mocked me, saying things like, "why waste so much time in school when you should have been enjoying being young". They also say things like, "Oh, you wouldn't understand." and they treat me like I am a child. They also tell me that I am just a kid because I don't have any kids of my own.. I wasn't aware that being a parent made you an infallible genius. I don't need things to be read into what I am saying, just take my thoughts for what I'm saying.

    Anytime I try to join conversations, they either ignore me completely, say "I wasn't talking to you" or just say something like "yeah" or "okay" and don't engage in any kind of conversations at all. I have asked them about their families and such but they are such a clique that I am not a part of that it doesn't help. Sometimes I say good morning to some of them and they don't even acknowledge me. One has even gone so far as to tell some of the other co-workers to send all of a specific kind of unpleasant task to me because I am charge nurse. Like we can't share the job that we are all more than qualified to do? They plan events, go out for meals and lunches and breaks together, and never involve me. While I don't need them to like me or be my friend, it's getting upsetting when I walk past and everyone gets quiet, and it's frustrating to be given 3 times as much work when there is just not enough time to do it all. I don't want to be a lazy worker, so I accept many extra tasks and assignments, but they are clearly taking advantage of me and some other management has even pointed it out. I've even had to remove myself from certain areas because when I stay there to work on my tasks and be available to help with tasks when it's busy, it always seems like this group of co-workers needs to take a 45 smoke break or something.

    This group of workers is blatantly rude to me. They were in the cafeteria and they were distributing some things amongst themselves, and when I came in, I asked one of them, "hey, what are you guys doing in here?" and she said "Don't worry about it, because you can't have one." It felt like I was in 2nd grade. It's really so pathetic. I don't know why they don't like me because all I have done since I started is do work and try to learn and try to solve problems and been friendly. I go out of my way to help everyone. It seems like I am complaining about all of my co-workers, but in reality, it is 4 people on the staff that I have this problem with. One is actually more educated than I am and says things like "you do what I say" and the funny thing is... they are all very close friends with each other. I really don't know what to do. They make my day at work as difficult as possible whenever they can. I just don't know what to do so these people will stop treating me this way and at least be courteous.
  7. by   JZ_RN
    PS Pepper- They did a chart and medical records audit. I did 3 times as many tasks as 3 of these employees did (one of these employees doesn't participate in these tasks) and I also have several other assigned tasks that none of them are responsible for. I absolutely do more work than these co-workers do. At least 3 of the 4 for absolutely sure. It's hard to get work done when you're always on smoke breaks or drinking coffee and laughing so loud at the nurse's station I can't even use the phone to call for things regarding work.
  8. by   jadelpn
    If you are the charge nurse, then you need to lead by example. I am not following how you believe that someone is less educated than you are because they don't know where certain stock is kept. (or they are choosing not to tell you). Spend some time educating yourself on where everything is on the floor that you are in charge of. Be clear at the begining of the shift precisely what everyone's duties for the shift are going to be. Be direct, polite, and be sure that if you are going to engage in conversations that they involve "I need an update, what is going on with your patients?" Should they choose not to answer, then unfortunetely you--as charge--need to follow your discipline process. You are not at work to make friends. You do, however, need to open communication so that you are well aware of what is going on with all of the patients on your unit. Should that not be happening, you need to start documenting this starting a discipline process, and hope that the clinical care of patients is priority. If you have to speak to a nurse daily that a 45 minute break is not acceptable, then perhaps that nurse needs to be written up. I would continue to be mannerly, say good morning, whatever, and that they choose not to answer to niceties--that is on them. Charge is a responsibility. Delegate and be clear and precise. Clear expectations. Schedule breaks and lunches-- I hate to say it, but when staff is acting like teenagers competing for homecoming queen, no one is correcting that, therefore, for some, it is "acceptable" behavior. Finally, speak with your DON to give you some pointers. It is difficult to have a charge role to begin with. Your DON may have some ideas on leadership that would be effective for you. But educate yourself. You need to know where your stock is, what you need to make sure patients are safe and cared for, that everyone is doing what it is they need to do when they need to do it. There should be no "unit activities" unless if involves 2 staff turning and repositioning patients. Their friendship outside of work is a non-issue.
  9. by   JZ_RN
    I only pointed out that they were less educated than I was because they seem to think that I'm totally ignorant and incompetent (or at least treat me like they must think that) Unit activities include potlucks on our lunch breaks and such. Their friendship outside of work is a non-issue, except for that they gossip and spread false rumors about things that don't make sense, spend all their time together, and fail to complete work. Unfortunately I am not in charge of disciplinary action or that stuff would be addressed. There is no DON. We have a manager who is not even a nurse. And how am I supposed to know where stock is unless someone tells me? I can't hunt the whole building for something, it's not possible.
  10. by   jadelpn
    If you are a charge nurse in the building, I would most definetely speak with the manager about what that entails. If the manager is not a nurse, then perhaps that person needs to be educated on what being a charge nurse entails. If you are not in a position to direct those whom you are in charge of, then being charge means absolutely nothing. And yes, for someone to be in charge of things and have not a clue where things are kept, then this is an issue. When the poop hits the fan, you do need to know where things are. And sometimes that means educating yourself. Unit potlucks are a lovely idea, however, all are there to work, not to put out a spread. You really need to be firm on what it is your duties entail. Make an appointment to speak with the manager. Come to the meeting with specifics on how you would like your time as charge to be organized. I do not know in what forum you work, nor if the staff you are speaking about are other nurses, UAP's, who they are. Apply for the DON position. If no one takes the lead, then the patients are going to be uncared for, you are going to be running around trying to do it all, and there will be karaoke added to the spread going on in the break room. You need your managers support. Now is the time. Behaviors as you describe them are going on because they are allowed to go on, and probably have been for quite some time. Get some malpractice insurance as well. If you are responsible for the patients while your staff is off singing "Dock of the Bay" and eating chicken wings, things are gonna get bad quick.
  11. by   sckimrn
    1. How old are you? Are you that much younger than they are? If so, then there is a chance a generation gap thing going on. If they are talking about issues with children then they won't value your opinion (people with children don't want to hear the opinion of someone without them if it pertains to children), but you may have insight that they may not be aware of, but sounds like they won't listen either.
    2. Has this ever happened anywhere else you have worked? If so, you may want to think about the way you are presenting yourself. I am not trying to be rude, but the way you word things sounds a little condescending and that may be part of the problem. If it has not ever happened before, then you need to get with your manager and see if there is a way to work it out.

    Either way, good luck. It is no fun working with people you don't get along with, makes for more stress. We may not come to work to make friends, but the fact is, we do. We become friends and confidants, it is part of what makes a good team.
  12. by   JZ_RN
    They are all in their early thirties and or late 20's and I am in my mid-20's. This is not a 24 hour facility. We do have lunch periods were patients are not present and we have time for a unit lunch activity. I've never felt like everyone disliked me before or been treated like this in any other job. I don't mean to come of as condescending, perhaps my post seemed that way but it's just out of frustration at this point. At work I go out of my way to be nice to everyone. I even get compliments from management and patients. I don't know why my coworkers are so rude to me. I am not sure if this unit just has an extreme clique environment and I'm not welcomed or what. As charge nurse I am responsible for some aspects of care that others are not able to do by law. I don't get to discipline.
  13. by   Sparrowhawk
    They're being mean to her and ya'll are basically saying its' her fault.
  14. by   ProgressiveActivist
    For whatever reason, they want to make you miserable. Being quiet and withdrawn lets them know that they are pushing your buttons.

    It is time to establish yourself as the person in charge. For example, It may be unsafe for the patients to have so many people taking excessive breaks. Take that to management and ask how this should be handled.

    Whatever issue you choose to take on, be sure that you have the full support of upper management and voila you have established yourself as a member of the leadership team. They will all want to be your new best friend.

    The biggest power play in any unit is being in charge of the schedule. I think that you should take charge of that.

    Keep a journal. It helps to write things out.