How to deal with the old/experienced nurses?! - page 4

by Anna-s 15,110 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. 4
    Quote from GilConRN
    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

    I'm not sure it's the only profession where being new can be difficult, if you discuss being new at a job with other professionals in high-stress or competitive fields, being new somewhere does sometimes have commonalities amongst many stressful fields, even those we might not label as 'professions' either.

    and like i said earlier,
    i have seen this happen to OLDER new nurses too (new to that facility, not necessarily a new RN) OF ALL AGES, i think, the old adage might become closer to truth if it is reworded slightly to be
    "Nursing is one of several professions that eat their NEW EMPLOYEES".
    GrnTea, anotherone, OCNRN63, and 1 other like this.
  2. 2
    I love the saying,...

    "Know your role, and shut your hole!"


    (Kept me out of untold troubles with many opinionated more seasoned peers- most of which were of wonderful support, but for the rest, I applied the "saying.")
    KelRN215 and GrnTea like this.
  3. 7
    Quote from portcl
    I work on an oncology unit and we get very attached to our patients and doctors. It is hard when new nurses come in and think they know everything and show no humbleness or respect for the environment that we have built. It is also true that most nurses just starting out on our unit won't last past 90 days because of the emotional aspect of what we do. When new nurses show up, I am not rude or disrespectful to them, but I don't open my arms to them either. When they last past 90 days and they get in the trenches with us and care for the patients the way that they should, then we start to warm up. When you attend your first memorial service for a dear patient and you show up the next day to do it all over again, then you are no longer the new nurse.

    My point is, learn what these nurses respect and show them that you have it. Keep quiet and observe. Find the ones that are just negative versus those that are being cautious. You don't want them judging you without knowing you, so don't judge them without knowing them. They have seen many "new" nurses in their years of service and one day you too will have seen your share of "newbies" and will have much better insight. Till then, hold your chin up and hang in there...
    I can understand wanting to see new nurses on your unit demonstrate they are committed to giving good patient care. But, what does your attachment to the patients and to the doctors who work on your unit have to do with the new nurses? Those are your emotions. Why does the new nurse have to tiptoe around your emotional territory? "Learn what these nurses respect and show them that you have it" - that is fine if you mean the new nurse needs to demonstrate that he/she can deliver good quality care to patients and family members as part of a team, while following standards of care, the Nurse Practice Act, and unit policies and procedures. New nurses don't need to slavishly attend to the values the older nurses hold high, but they do need to provide quality nursing care to patients and their families. New nurses may genuinely care for patients without feeling a need to attend their memorial services (attending a memorial service is a personal decision, not a professional one). Yes, new nurses are wise to be respectful of their co-workers in a new job, and to work hard to give good patient care. You don't need to open your arms to new nurses, just be helpful, considerate, and allow them to be individuals with their own values and personalities.
    GrnTea, carolLeeAnn, anotherone, and 4 others like this.
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    Dear Anna,
    I am very sorry that this is happening to you. My experience, 15 years ago was totally opposite. Now that I am a preceptor myself, I am continuing that unspoken tradition of grooming new nurses and expect it to be propagated.
    I do not want any graduate nurse to have misconception or preconceived notion about veteran nurses that they are unkind or snarky because that is an exception, not a norm. To tell you the truth Anna, there is not much you can do because you cannot change people. You do not need to think that there is anything that you are doing is wrong either. You just need to shrug and say to yourself, "Oh well".
  5. 4
    Quote from portcl
    I work on an oncology unit and we get very attached to our patients and doctors. It is hard when new nurses come in and think they know everything and show no humbleness or respect for the environment that we have built. It is also true that most nurses just starting out on our unit won't last past 90 days because of the emotional aspect of what we do. When new nurses show up, I am not rude or disrespectful to them, but I don't open my arms to them either. When they last past 90 days and they get in the trenches with us and care for the patients the way that they should, then we start to warm up. When you attend your first memorial service for a dear patient and you show up the next day to do it all over again, then you are no longer the new nurse.

    My point is, learn what these nurses respect and show them that you have it. Keep quiet and observe. Find the ones that are just negative versus those that are being cautious. You don't want them judging you without knowing you, so don't judge them without knowing them. They have seen many "new" nurses in their years of service and one day you too will have seen your share of "newbies" and will have much better insight. Till then, hold your chin up and hang in there...
    Are you sure they don't last 90 days due to the emotional aspect of what you do and not because they get fed up with the crap from fellow employees? So you are saying there is a 90 day hazing for new employees? After that magical 90 day period they are deemed good enough to work in your unit?

    What if a nurse knows the best way for them to cope in an oncology unit is not to allow themselves to get emotionally attached to a patient and does not attend memorial services, but instead provides the best care they can. I guess this a person that is not worthy to work beside you.

    Personally I treat people exactly how they treat me. I am a firm believer in getting even. Someone I work with treats me wrong, it is only a matter of time before they need something from me.

    I would much rather have a co-worker that does not know a lot and asks questions rather than one that thinks they know everything and refuses to listen to suggestions. Even if you have been doing something for 20 years occasionally someone new can walk in with a fresh idea that can make your job easier.
  6. 1
    Quote from Ruas61
    Really sad I even have to read this.
    And ironic when you take into account the screen name.
    FlyingScot likes this.
  7. 2
    Quote from subee
    Tothe OP- it's med-surg. There is no "e" in surgical. I'm 65 and still working. Correcting poor grammer and spelling is about as grouchy as I get. I was so lucky, as a new grad, to go to a floor where all of the nurses who worked there chose to work on a teaching floor and went out of their way to help us orientees learn the ropes. I don't know why so many nurses are so ignorant and ill-tempered. Yeah, I wish my 401K didn't crash but that has nothing to do with you. I wish all hospitals had "orientation floors" where you could feel a part of the team from the getgo before being discharged to work on your ultimate unit. Just remember how you felt when it's your turn to usher in a new grad into the profession.
    With all due respect it is grammar...I think....but I get grouchy about that as well.

    And to the OP......just don't call us "old". And "old" and "experienced" are two wildly different things....
    KelRN215 and anotherone like this.
  8. 11
    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?
    Maybe your new colleagues are sensing that you don't like or disrespect them? You start out by saying that most of your co-workers are old nurses (not OLDER) who have been on that floor for years . . . your very first sentence indicates a lack of basic respect for these nurses. In your second sentence, you've assumed that they don't like you -- and claim that you don't know why. I see nothing to indicate that you've spoken with these colleagues and they've told you they don't like you -- but if they really don't like you, one of the first things I'd consider is that they've tuned in to the fact that you don't like or respect them.

    I appreciate being quiet and feeling like a stranger to the floor. I'm quiet too. Even strangers to the floor, though, can make a point of a pleasant greeting when you encounter your new colleagues. Ask them how their holiday was, and then follow up later by mentioning that you bet their son/daughter/grandchild/furry critter/whatever is enjoying/not enjoying the lovely/horrible weather while they're on school break/whatever. Be interested in them and project friendliness and interest. Even us old bats respond better to newbies who are friendly to us than to newbies who disrespect us, act as if they don't like us or avoid talking to us.

    Are your colleagues actually YELLING at you? Really? Or is it just that you've received some negative feedback and are describing that as yelling? You are brand new, and should expect to receive negative feedback. Lots of it. Unless, of course, you're that rare creature who is perfect, you're going to make mistakes and it is the job of the experienced nurses on your unit to notice, point out and correct your mistakes. They'd be doing you a horrific disservice if they didn't, not to mention the disservice they'd be doing your patients. I'm not sure why it was such a big deal for you NOT to change the IV bag. If the experienced nurse told you to change it, assume that there is a reason and change it. Then make sure you understand her rationale. If, after considering her rationale for changing the IV bag early you really think she was wrong, you're free to disregard her advice and do it your way after you've been working there a year or two. But in the mean time, do it her way. She's the one with the experience.

    Now in your last sentence, you say you try to talk and use humor, but they just give you "the look." I'm not sure what "the look" is, but from what you've said, you're reading minds again. Or at least you think you can. And since you stated earlier that you're not that social with your colleagues, I'm sure the "talking and using humor" takes some of them by surprise and feels incongruous.

    You are the new person, entering a unit with an established culture and entrenched team. You're going to have to fit into that culture, not expect it to change for you. Part of your difficulty seems to be your lack of respect and genuine liking for your colleagues. Part of it seems to be your assumption that you know what they're thinking based on facial expressions or whatever. Part of it stems from your assumption that you know more than your experienced colleagues. And part of it seems to be an inability or unwillingness on your part to accept the inevitable negative feedback that comes with being new to a job. You can turn this around, but you have to first accept that it's not their fault. It's yours.
    Altra, GrnTea, Pepper The Cat, and 8 others like this.
  9. 6
    Quote from GilConRN
    The saying goes "Nursing is one of the only professions that eat their young"
    Quote from OnlybyHisgraceRN
    My thoughts EXACTLY. OP, my advice is to get this thread closed before the older nurses come here for a snack.
    Oh for Pete's sake. Come on people. Nursing does not have the corner market for being mean to new people. Neither do old or experienced nurses. Humans eat other humans in all walks of life and at all stages of the game.

    Just because someone doesn't agree with you does not mean they are snacking on you even if they don't sugar-coat it.

    Unless someone actually raises their voice they are not "yelling" at you. They may be snapping or curt but they are not yelling.

    To the OP, I'm sorry you do not feel welcome in your current job. That truly sucks. My best advice is to do your job, help out everyone (even the mean ones) and find a sympathetic co-worker (but do not complain about the others to this person) to chat with. Rely on your outside of work friends and family to be the emotional support you need. The "old guard", as it were, will come around on their own time. And if they don't, so be it. Learn to be confident without others open approval and/or find a different environment that suits you better.
  10. 0
    Why not ask them for some pearls of wisdom? Certainly they have seen n done far more than u have, and would probably love to share if they sense you are teachable. They could be your best new nursing friends....solid gems in a very scary world nowadays.


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