How to deal with the old/experienced nurses?! - page 3

by Anna-s

14,768 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. 7
    Quote from Anna-s
    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 am not that loud person ( because I still feel a stranger to the floor). Anyways some of them ignore me if I ask a question, others yell at me for the smallest mistakes ( one yelled at me cause I didn't change the NS bag that was good for another 3hours and even tho I put a new bag in the room, she wanted it change) i am nice to them! I try to talk and use humour but most of them just give me the look and roll their eye!
    How should I treat them or deal with them?
    I think you get back what you put out there. I think the first year after licensure is the hardest.

    You have been on you own for only a few weeks it's normal to feel overwhelmed, out of place, unliked, ignored........don't try to be their friend.....don't try so hard to engage them. Maybe they just aren't worth your time. Don't let it take over so you set yourself up for failure....are you using those sheets I gave you? Take a brief look at you as well.....are you driving them NUTS with TONS of questions? I know it is safety first and it is important to get it right...but at some point it may become annoying if your are very insecure and are having difficulty getting your feet under you.

    Focus on you....your growth, your patients....if they are worth having as "friends" later you can try that when you are more comfortable with your role. The first year to year and a half is brutal. You a re frightened, insecure, horrified you're going to make a mistake.....and that is all perfectly normal....but don't let it run your life.

    Take what they say with a grain of salt. If they want the IV changed....let her know, politely, you are a RN as well and will change the patient IV when it is due. If it is close to shift change....I'd change it for it can be a couple of hours from your last check to the next check by the next shift. I try to make sure all my patients have at least half of the IV hanging for the next shift.

    Maybe they are that burned out and if they are ...you really don't need them as friends. Focus on becoming a good nurse....the rest will follow. It really will be OK.....some day you will see a frightened new nurse and you think...I USED to be that girl....and you realize that time has flown by and you are becoming that nurse you always wanted to be.

    This may also show you the nurse you don't want to be...((HUGS))

    I wish you the best.
    nursel56, carolLeeAnn, joanna73, and 4 others like this.
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    [QUOTE=Anna-s;7092090]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 am not that loud person ( because I still feel a stranger to the floor). Anyways some of them ignore me if I ask a question, others yell at me for the smallest mistakes ( one yelled at me cause I didn't change the NS bag that was good for another 3hours and even tho I put a new bag in the room, she wanted it change) i am nice to them! I try to talk and use humour but most of them just give me the look and roll their eye!
    How should I treat them or deal with them?[/QUOTE/]

    The best advice we were given in school was to know our roll when we got to the floor. By that I mean, just allow the old guard to yell and scream and let it roll off your back like a duck in water. You have to make it through orientation and move on. If the RN wants to waste 300ml of NS, ok so be it. Change the bag and if you forget, oh well let her/him yell at you and say thanks for teaching me. You need them more right now then they need you. It won't always be that way and then you can get your patient load and do your own thing when you get done with orientation.

    It gets better. Just learn the things you don't know and ignore the aggravation. This old guard is aging out and will retire soon enough. Until then, let them be the big kids on the block and remember how NOT to behave as an RN.
    anotherone and shaggy77 like this.
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    When I work with people that don't seem to like me or I don't like them I just keep to myself. Usually you can find the answer to everything if you look hard enough. If it is something that requires immediate assistance like heavier bleeding or large blood clot (I work postpartum) and I get nervous and need advice I do make sure they come help me, but otherwise I find out the answer myself if it is non-emergent. Sometimes it is better to stay out of each others hair than to give them a reason to talk.
    anotherone and shaggy77 like this.
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    As one of the old experienced nurse, I could easily start a post entitled How To Deal With The Young Clueless Nurses. Seems there is a tendency to lump groups of people together. I can remember being new and insecure and can clearly remember the experienced nurses who helped me out and those who went out if their way to be snarky.
    nursel56, KelRN215, anotherone, and 10 others like this.
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    The saying goes "Nursing is one of the only professions that eat their young"
    I guess it still holds true. Stick it out they will come around eventually. Nursing is a very tight knit profession and you are the new kid on the block. I am not saying it is right but they'll want you to prove yourself...earn your stripes so to speak. But always remember how you feel right now...because one day you will be the old and experienced nurse and history has a way of repeating itself. Hang in there
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    In my first year of Nursing, there was 64 years of Nursing Experience on the floor(3 Nurses, including me).

    I cherished their skill, grace, communication ability, and mastery of the science and art of Nursing. I cleared the air shift after shift by thinking them for their time to teach "dead weight(even if I helped them a ton)," asked them where I needed to work on things, and always remained humble never letting on the assumption that I should be "equal" to them as an amateur new nurse.

    I eventually began to excel at IV initiation, NG tube insertion, trachs, and they liked that I didn't mind the coding, emergency situations, and worked well under pressure. I jumped at tasks they dreaded. I still, thanked them personally for each shift for sharing their skills, anecdotes, criticisms, and advice on appropriate times, pushing away MY ego.

    I, as a male, felt a need to overachieve anyway to prove myself to the patients, doctors, and co-workers. My actual struggle was with a CNA that had been there since the doors opened. She decided early on not to like me, but almost a year in, when I was leaving for a full time ER position in Texas, she told me she was sad to see me go, and that I was an "ok" nurse, and I would be fine.*

    *One of my most cherished compliments!
    nursel56, carolLeeAnn, Altra, and 7 others like this.
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    Very good answer. I couldn't have said it better myself.
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    Quote from triquee
    Predicting the arrival of Ruby Vee in T minus 10....9.....8....7.....6.....5.....4......3.....2. .....
    My thoughts EXACTLY. OP, my advice is to get this thread closed before the older nurses come here for a snack.
    Seriously, my only advice is to keep your head low and do the best you can. Ask the nurses for their opinions, show them that you want to learn. Learn what ticks them off and try to prevent it. It is sad that I'm even writing this, but I have been in your shoes. It is not easy. Hang in there.
    Not_A_Hat_Person and anotherone like this.
  9. 7
    Quote from Anna-s
    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 am not that loud person ( because I still feel a stranger to the floor). Anyways some of them ignore me if I ask a question, others yell at me for the smallest mistakes ( one yelled at me cause I didn't change the NS bag that was good for another 3hours and even tho I put a new bag in the room, she wanted it change) i am nice to them! I try to talk and use humour but most of them just give me the look and roll their eye!
    How should I treat them or deal with them?
    Treat them the same way you treat any other human being. Maybe not calling them "old" for starters. Usually if there is a problem with co-workers getting along it boils down to communication issues between both parties. Try asking for feedback. If you are having problems with specific individuals, talk to them privately and ask them if you have done something to offend them. Don't just assume you haven't; sometimes people are hurt by things we wouldn't think of being offensive.

    Instead of thinking of them as being so old, as a new RN you could benefit from their years of experience as well as their seniority on that floor. They could be valuable resources to you for how things are done on that unit, certain preferences doctors have, etc. There's so much you could learn from these "old" nurses.

    Did you really get yelled at? Do the nurses actually raise their voices and shout at you? Or are you getting some negative feedback and interpreting that as being "yelled at"? Did you ask the nurse the rationale for changing the NS bag that was good for another 3h? I can think of at least one reason off the top of my head without even knowing the situation.

    If your questions aren't being answered, then you need to keep asking. If people are turning their backs and refusing to answer you, then that's a problem and you need to take that up with your manager, but you don't say that's what's going on.

    You have an opportunity to learn here. Take the bull by the horns. You got through nursing school and passed NCLEX. You can do this.
    nursel56, KelRN215, carolLeeAnn, and 4 others like this.
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    Quote from OnlybyHisgraceRN
    My thoughts EXACTLY. OP, my advice is to get this thread closed before the older nurses come here for a snack.
    Seriously, my only advice is to keep your head low and do the best you can. Ask the nurses for their opinions, show them that you want to learn. Learn what ticks them off and try to prevent it. It is sad that I'm even writing this, but I have been in your shoes. It is not easy. Hang in there.
    Really sad I even have to read this.
    anotherone, joanna73, and OCNRN63 like this.


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