Eating a new nurse for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Or is it?

  1. 26
    I had an experience recently that I'd like to share. (I also hope this post goes better than the last thread I started in another forum. )

    With almost a year under my belt, and I'm working independently 90% of the time. That other 10%, I ask for help. (This is important to the rest of the story...)

    Recently, I felt absolutely blind-sided by what was said to me by one of my co-workers. Let's call her Sue. I thought I got along especially well with her, but she said something, then I thought, "I didn't hear that right!" and I asked her to repeat it. She wouldn't. At that point, I knew I had heard what she said correctly, and I was floored by the sarcasm, passive-aggressiveness, and meanness of what she said.

    What Sue said was related to requesting help. I made an error on a room assignment that got called in, I recognized my error, then I immediately corrected it. I mentioned it to her, and that's when she got mean.

    At that moment, I became very, very busy because my admission had arrived. She was busy too. It wasn't the right time, obviously, to approach her. We got our work done, and the shift ended. It was the right time. I asked if I could talk to her, and she said yes. We went to a private area. It was clear that we both knew what my request to speak to her was about.

    Sue's been a nurse since I was a fetus. I've always valued her assistance, but I felt that she was bothered by my requests for assistance, so I didn't often go to her for help. It was deliberate on my part to avoid annoying her. There were a lot of other nurses who were more open to assisting me when I needed it, so I would go to them instead.

    I told her that I did hear what she said, that I felt blind-sided by her comment, and that I wanted to know what was wrong. Apparently, Sue felt I didn't trust her because I never went to her with questions! She cited one specific example that happened a month or so ago, and I remember that situation well: I was having issues trouble-shooting something for my patient. It was one of the times that I didn't want to bother Sue, so I went first to another nurse. When neither of us could figure out what was wrong, the other nurse left the room to get Sue, and when Sue came in to take a look, the problem got solved. I also remember that after the problem got fixed, Sue left the room very quickly, and I felt that she was upset for some reason. I figured I was making things up in my head, so i went about my business and didn't think any more of it.

    In a nutshell, I thought Sue was bothered by my asking her for help, so I didn't ask her often...or only in last-ditch efforts to figure something out. Sue thought my actions meant that I didn't trust her, and it's been building up in her until recently when she made the mean comment.

    Our conversation went very well, and we both were happy that we had cleared the air. No more misperceptions about each other.

    Moral of the story: New grads don't want to be a burden, and experienced nurses want to help. Sometimes, the actions behind those wishes can be misunderstood by both parties. It's best to work it out at the time things happen so that it doesn't fester into an irreparably harmed working relationship.
    itsmejuli, maelstrom143, CareGiving, and 23 others like this.
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  3. 20 Comments so far...

  4. 2
    Thanks for sharing this story! It is encouraging to see situations like this, when handled well, turn out to be beneficial for both parties. It is also interesting to see how different our perception can be from reality. Hopefully this is the start of a very positive and trusting relationship for you and your coworker.
    dudette10 and LockportRN like this.
  5. 5
    i hope this also encourages the ones who always look for a reason to cry "nety!!" and "old bats are sooo mean!" to look more closely. sometimes the misconceptions just snowball, everyone's unhappy, and nobody can really pinpoint how it began.
    Purple_Scrubs, wooh, nursel56, and 2 others like this.
  6. 10
    Fantastic Post!

    I have no idea what this NETY comment is but I ignore it every time i see it LOL

    As a side note....

    I often see people posting comments about the "old bats", but I have to say, that I have a HUGE respect for the more experienced nurses. I am by no means saying I do not have respect for new grads, I certainly do!

    This past October, my mother became very ill, she was in full system failure. After many many tests, exams, blood work etc, they finally discovered she had e-coil in her blood and urine. She was in the ICU for just over 13 days on a vent, had a heart attack and was transferred to a larger hospital. The ICU Rn's got to know me very well and became aware that I was a nursing student. At ever turn of my mothers path, the "old bat club" pulled me to the side and explained everything to me in detail, down to the numbers in each of her blood tests. If they had not done this, I am not sure how I would have gotten through it. They kept me sane and to this day I will forever have an enormous respect for them. I learned so many invaluable things during those few weeks! Some of my family found the more experienced nurses as rough, harsh or impersonal, I found them to be well educated and willing to explain anything, if they were simply asked.

    It was basically a matter of personal perception!
    maelstrom143, aknottedyarn, Esme12, and 7 others like this.
  7. 3
    ​what a great story! i'm so glad you followed through rather than just let it go.
    dudette10, nursel56, and LockportRN like this.
  8. 2
    One of my favorite inspirations' motto is: "Seek first to understand, then to be understood." This story exemplifies this motto's meaning. Almost all of my interactions center around this motto, and you know, life has been much more pleasant.

    I love that you posted a solution to a problem. Thank you for posting this.
    maelstrom143 and dudette10 like this.
  9. 1
    Great you were able to figue things out.
    dudette10 likes this.
  10. 6
    you never know why some people act as they do sometimes. i'm glad you resolved your issue, dudette.

    i had a very similar problem as a very young nurse with an older (well, she certainly looked older to me
    back then) nurse. i was the youngest rn on the floor and certainly had much to learn, but did not need
    to be belittled, put down, treated sarcastically, and with complete disdain.

    other nurses were much more helpful but said things like, "oh, that's just ___." or "it isn't you, so don't
    worry about it. that's just how she is." i remember thinking, "yeah? and how does excusing her help me
    learn?"

    she was so very obnoxious and difficult that i left my first job and began again a whole new area - psych.

    about a decade later, i worked in a state psych hospital as evening supervisor. guess whose son the state
    police brought in 4 point restraints? again. mom lived about 100 miles away now and came too this time.

    when we saw each other again, frankly my first thought was, "oh, ****!" but she hugged me and hugged me
    and was reluctant to let go. finally she spoke. she said, "i'm so glad you were working tonight because now
    i'll know he's in good caring hands."

    i almost fainted! i had tears in my eyes for the rest of my shift. you really never know why some people
    act the way they do.
    maelstrom143, *4!#6, flyingchange, and 3 others like this.
  11. 1
    Quote from sharpeimom
    you never know why some people act as they do sometimes. i'm glad you resolved your issue, dudette.

    i had a very similar problem as a very young nurse with an older (well, she certainly looked older to me
    back then) nurse. i was the youngest rn on the floor and certainly had much to learn, but did not need
    to be belittled, put down, treated sarcastically, and with complete disdain.

    other nurses were much more helpful but said things like, "oh, that's just ___." or "it isn't you, so don't
    worry about it. that's just how she is." i remember thinking, "yeah? and how does excusing her help me
    learn?"

    she was so very obnoxious and difficult that i left my first job and began again a whole new area - psych.

    about a decade later, i worked in a state psych hospital as evening supervisor. guess whose son the state
    police brought in 4 point restraints? again. mom lived about 100 miles away now and came too this time.

    when we saw each other again, frankly my first thought was, "oh, ****!" but she hugged me and hugged me
    and was reluctant to let go. finally she spoke. she said, "i'm so glad you were working tonight because now
    i'll know he's in good caring hands."

    i almost fainted! i had tears in my eyes for the rest of my shift. you really never know why some people
    act the way they do.
    my guess is she was quite stressed with her home situation. which doesn't excuse the behavior, but it does make it more understandable.
    sharpeimom likes this.
  12. 0
    Very nice and educative story. People always act like mind readers and assume things up in their heads. I have always said "ASK". A lot of things could be avoided if we just talk things through

    Thanks for the post


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