How to deal with the old/experienced nurses?! - page 16

by Anna-s | 15,255 Views | 155 Comments

Hello! I m a new RN on A med-surge floor and most of my co-workers are old nurses that have been on that floor for years! They don't seem to like me and i have NO idea why! I am a quiet person. I mean i like to socialize but I... Read More


  1. 1
    Quote from joanna73
    I have experienced this from both sides as well. To share an example with a newbie: this person works another unit during the week, and ours on off days. So he is over tired, which I have cautioned, since no matter what, your accountability is at stake. "Can I go in a room and sleep for an hour?" He asks at the start of the shift. "No." I said, "you're in charge and there is insulin and breakfast meds to give." To which he looked at me like I had two heads, like, "What's the matter?" Uh, it's your job buddy. Not to mention, he'd been working with us for a month. Some of the senior nurses may come off as "harsh", but then, some newbies need to get their priorities straight. Who cares if not everyone likes me? We just need to work together.
    Wow. Such behavior blows my mind. I don't find your response harsh at all.
    joanna73 likes this.
  2. 0
    Well Ms Ruby when you're right, your right.

    But I think there is a bit of miscommunication between us.

    The serious attitude problem stems from your assumptions that the more experienced nurses you'll be working with have a mission to make you miserable "just because they can." Granted, I haven't worked everywhere in the world, but I've seen very few (count on the fingers of one hand) experienced nurses with a mission to make anyone miserable. I have seen experienced nurses who are poor teachers, but that doesn't make them mean, nasty or on a mission to use anyone for a punching bag.
    Whether you like it or not, when you start a position as a brand new nurse, the experienced nurses on the unit WILL have authority over you. Not all of of them, but not just your preceptor, either. ALL of the preceptors you encounter, the charge nurses, assistant managers and heads of various committees will have input into your orientation and will be asked for their evaluations of your progress and how you fit into the unit. This is not "ridiculous perceived authority" over you; it's all the seasoned nurses keeping an eye out for the newbie so he doesn't kill his patient. If an experienced nurse tells you you're doing something wrong -- especially in an ICU where small mistakes snowball into big ones very rapidly -- not listening can have serious consequences. First for your patient, and then for your continued tenure in your job.

    Ma'am the OP wasn't talking about the Charge nurse or any of the others you mention. She was talking about the other floor nurses. It is them that I'm saying have the "Perceived Authority." I mean I'm sorry but why should the OP just put up with them being snotty to her by virtue of time in hospital and nothing else? That's just not right. Doesn't the new grad nurse have enough to stress? I mean no disrespect to you established nurses, but according to a lot of you guys the environment is even more stressful and difficult than anything a student could imagine. Why should her/his peers (not charge or other mentioned, but peers, because regardless of their time in hospital if they hold the same title they are peers. More experienced peers, but peers at that). add to that? Shouldn't the new grad nurses be nurtured along by their more experienced peers and not treated as an inconvenience. Granted this happens in other professions, but from reading these posts on AN the overwhelming majority of nurses claim they became nurses "Not for the money but because they care, and want to be there for the unhealthy." You would think that this "Caring attitude" would also be directed at a peer who wants to do what they are doing. But in practice-going by these forums, and not to mention word of mouth by my RN buddies-it seems like you guys just look for opportunities to pick each other apart.

    There's also serious attitude problems in your assumptions that your future co-workers wish to feed their egos by using you as a whipping boy, that most of your future colleagues are "bitter because they've been doing the same thing for X amount of years", that "they are not competent enough to be promoted" or "they don't have the drive to make the necessary sacrifices to educate themselves into a bitter position." I'm not where all of these negative assumptions come from, but carrying them into the workplace is not going to endear you to your future colleagues.

    Ms Ruby, I made no assumptions like this in regards to my future co workers. I was referring to the co workers the OP described. It does seem, going by the available information, that the OPs co-workers look down on her and treat her as she shouldn't be there. I mean come on Ma'am, instead of answering a question the OP says they just ignore her completely or give her dirty looks. Maybe the Op is exaggerating, maybe she isn't. But I'm sure there is some truth to it. I also get that it may be the case that the OP is asking the same questions over and over and the more experienced peers are tired of it. But then again maybe that is not the case. The point is we don't know.

    Maybe I was a little short in one of my responses to you. But nothing I've posted towards you compares to how you almost as if by instinct jumped down this girls throat. You just immediately, and I mean immediately assumed AND accused her of being at fault. I believe you were wrong for that.

    It has been my considerable experience that most newbies who come into the workplace with so many and so serious negative assumptions about the people they expect to teach them and mentor them are very difficult to teach. They don't respect the preceptor or her experience, and it shows. The preceptor/orientee relationship then becomes an untenable situation. Often, other preceptors are brought into the mix to attempt to teach the newbie, but because the difficulty arises in the newbie's attitude, they are unsuccessful as well. Orientations become extended and the newbie usually quits or is fired. This doesn't happen because the experienced nurse sets out to vilify the newbie or jeopardize his income. It comes about because of the newbie's own attitude and issues. Enter the workplace with this attitudes intact, and I have no doubt you'll be miserable. But it won't be your experienced colleagues' faults. It will be your own.

    Fair enough. I will be sure to not come into the profession with such negative attitudes. But to clarify I don't have them now. I was simply advocating for the OP after you let loose on her


    Quote from Ruby Vee
    Have I misquoted you? Are you not the poster who said "that your future co-workers wish to feed their egos by using you as a whipping boy, that most of your future colleagues are "bitter because they've been doing the same thing for X amount of years", that "they are not competent enough to be promoted" or "they don't have the drive to make the necessary sacrifices to educate themselves into a bitter position."

    These assumptions are indicative of a negative attitude toward the nurses you will be working with in the future. That goes far and beyond "advocating for the OP." The OP asked for advice, and I took considerable time and thought to giving to her, under the assumption that it might help. I've given you some advice as well. Unless I've misquoted you and those weren't your statements, you're headed down the same road as the OP.
    LOL

    Exactly how I thought you'd respond. I'll address this when I get home
    Last edit by PRICHARILLAisMISSED on Jan 3, '13
  3. 1
    Anyway - thanks for the advice and insights here. I get the feeling that if I want to be a good nurse, I will always remain a student in some ways. I will go with what my mom says she learned in decades of nursing: My patients will teach me more about nursing that I will ever expect to learn. Also, after 40+ years, she still hates giving bed baths.
    SCSTxRN likes this.
  4. 0
    Quote from RNfaster
    Wow. Such behavior blows my mind. I don't find your response harsh at all.
    Lol - me either. Honestly, in Joanna73's position, I would probably have laughed. If he asked again, I'd probably get in trouble for saying, "It's only funny the first time you joke like that. You were kidding, right?"
  5. 0
    they aren't nice people. And when one is like that it spreads. There is no exscuse for that behavior and most likey the are jealous of you and you intimidate them
  6. 3
    Quote from nurmac
    they aren't nice people. And when one is like that it spreads. There is no exscuse for that behavior and most likey the are jealous of you and you intimidate them
    I'm not sure which post you're replying to of the 153 that preceded this one. So I'll take your word for it that "they" -- whoever "they" are -- aren't nice people. But I hope no one truly believes the "they're just jealous of you" business that your mother used to tell you when kids picked on you at school. Your mother probably didn't even believe it -- she just couldn't think of anything else to say. And if she DID believe it, well she was biased.

    If you're having difficulty getting along with your coworkers, chances are very minute that the problem is that they're just jealous of you. It could be that you remind them of their former daughter-in-law (the one that trashed their wedding china) or that your giggle rubs them the wrong way. It could also be that you're doing something really stupid that is incredibly annoying. It would be in your best interest to figure out what the real story is, rather than just resting on your theory that "they hate you because you're beautiful!"
    Altra, redhead_NURSE98!, and OCNRN63 like this.


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