How to deal with the old/experienced nurses?! - page 5

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 Vishwamitr
    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".
    I love your advice Vishwamir!

    I will soon be on that opposite coin that you are at Anna. Start my PICU RN job in February. As an LPN, ( and after I got licensed as an RN) I was a preceptor RNs and LPNs. I have seen the ones who thought they "knew it all" to the ones who are deathly scared to touch a pt. I showed them the ropes either way. Yes, some nurses may "eat their young," but a lot of times, it's their own experiences, and other internal workings you have no business even examining, which I mean, you cannot control a person's behavior or personality.

    I have one "attempt"of "eating their young" story. I was a float nurse in one of the nation's top Spinal Cord injury and Rehab hospitals in the country-that's what they said *shrugs* They took a chance on me, first LPN job. Loved the flexibility. On the general rehab floor, they had a notorious habit of giving me, any float nurse AND agency nurses the SCI pts, as well as the pt's they thought were "too heavy" to be in their floor. I can onto evening shift and I looked at the schedule. At first, I was going to take it...then I thought about it, and then I went to the Nurse Managers office. I was pleasant, we had small talk, then politely explained what they did to assignment, and told them I noticed that they did that to others as well. They fixed the schedule of course, BUT one LPN who had been at the facility for 30 years, AND made the schedule, made a snarky remark. I sized my shoulders up, closed the door to the report room, and told them "This will be the first and last time I will ever talk about this again. What you did was unfair. I know you didn't like it, and you think I'm lazy and have an "easy" assignment. Well, I'll see you at 9:30 like I'm always done, while I watch you continue your assignment. I am willing to help you anytime." Well, I was done, and this person was still doing their work. He never asked for my help...but what I found out is regardless if this person's assignment, he was always working to the last hour, and his accusation WAS NOT a reflection of me or my work.

    Sometimes our personality shines through as an indicator of what nurse we are to become, and sometimes nurses want to bring it down a notch-they may even think they are trying to "help" you. Keep asking those questions, be a positive team player, and learn from them, and keep building on your nursing career. It does take time for personalities to iron out, and you learn what boundaries you need when you interact with certain co workers in order to work together...it can be done! *hugs* Do the best you can, and you may be the go to preceptor for new nurses and do a BETTER job!
    carolLeeAnn likes this.

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  2. 6
    I cringe when I read some of these responses b/c they are so defensive, and they are likely defensive b/c they have or do treat new nurses the same way. Posters, we need to do some self-reflection, regardless of what experience we have or what generation we represent. The OP is likely a decent nurse who is capable of accepting constructive criticism. Regardless of where you are in your nursing career, you are worthy of respect from your colleagues. It we could all adopt this attitude, it would create a higher quality environment for our patients and move our profession forward.
  3. 2
    Quote from mariebailey
    I cringe when I read some of these responses b/c they are so defensive, and they are likely defensive b/c they have or do treat new nurses the same way. Posters, we need to do some self-reflection, regardless of what experience we have or what generation we represent. The OP is likely a decent nurse who is capable of accepting constructive criticism. Regardless of where you are in your nursing career, you are worthy of respect from your colleagues. It we could all adopt this attitude, it would create a higher quality environment for our patients and move our profession forward.
    Agreed!! We could really change the current culture! I want more nurses and a great team to be surrounded by whenever there is a crisis, a patient that needs help getting up, or a new policy or EHR that we need to learn. I want them to enjoy and last in this profession as long as I can (I guess 15-20 plus more years...), and it helps if you are surrounded by people who are going to support each other! We all have great strengths to put our best foot forward in helping our colleagues at any stage of their career.
    carolLeeAnn and RNfaster like this.
  4. 11
    Quote from mariebailey
    I cringe when I read some of these responses b/c they are so defensive, and they are likely defensive b/c they have or do treat new nurses the same way. Posters, we need to do some self-reflection, regardless of what experience we have or what generation we represent. The OP is likely a decent nurse who is capable of accepting constructive criticism. Regardless of where you are in your nursing career, you are worthy of respect from your colleagues. It we could all adopt this attitude, it would create a higher quality environment for our patients and move our profession forward.
    The poster is a new nurse by her own admission. That means, unless things have changed drastically since I was a new nurse, that she is more or less incompetent. New nurses make mistakes as they're learning to become competent nurses, and consequently they receive negative feedback. The OP's post indicated that she didn't receive negative feedback well. That's going to be a problem for her and hinder her in her career. She needs to work on that.

    I haven't read many defensive posts by older or experienced nurses on this thread, but I have read a lot of posts from folks who are assuring the OP that she's a great nurse and shouldn't be treated "so poorly." I'm not convinced that she's being treated poorly, although I'm fairly certain she isn't showing respect for her colleagues' experience.

    By the way . . . why all the shouting?
    nursel56, joanna73, KelRN215, and 8 others like this.
  5. 3
    I have to respond to the "Nursing is one of the only professions that eat their young" quote - I've yet to work in a position that didn't haze their new members.

    Fast food, Waitress, Teacher, Bartender, Nurse... Over the last 16 years, I've worked at least as many jobs (not much for having just one job) in various fields.. the only job I didn't get a little 'hazing' by my coworkers when I started was a clown gig. Literally.

    To the new nurse: As a (haha) old nurse - well, the oldest on my unit anyway, orienting a bunch of newbies - I wish they would just do what I tell them to do the way that I tell them to do it at least until they get off of orientation. My job is to train them safely in accordance with unit policies. I love to teach. But when I say you must call the MOD to report a FSBS less than 60, assymptomatic or not, and that you must recheck after intervention to see if it worked or not, and that you must write a nursing note on the fact that you did all of that and the results - it's really NOT because I like making people write notes or call doctors. It's because that's the policy of the unit, and that's what I have to train them to do, and if they don't do it, they feel picked on because I have to go behind them and make sure it gets done. Just do it. Saves us all the stress.

    FTR - I love my orientees. I just want them to do well. And not get us both fired.
    carolLeeAnn, Wise Woman RN, and wooh like this.
  6. 1
    Quote from canoehead
    I have it on good authority that you can soften RubyVee up with chocolate. I prefer pizza myself. Ask them about their grandkids, it usually helps. If you decide to stand up for yourself in some situation do it gently so you make allies, not enemies. You have every right to develop your own style, within what hospital policy allows. Try to catch them giving you good advice, and thank them- try to teach them how to treat you.

    Unfortunately there's always one or two battleaxes in every crowd. It's hard being new, and even harder when you don't have experience to boost your self confidence. I hope you have one or two good teachers in the mix too.
    Who doesn't love chocolate?

    In all honesty though, I tend to get on well with the battleaxe types. I was raised by a no-nonsense, rough around the edges, hard-working and intelligent woman. I understand them better than most my age. My skin is thick and I'm not easily intimidated. But I also know when to keep my mouth shut...most of the time anyway.
    nursel56 likes this.
  7. 5
    Well, I am an older, experienced nurse. I have a good nature, am friendly, and do not bring my troubles to work. I'd be easy for you to get along with - just feed me! Or throw $$$$. Just kidding.

    I know that so many nurses and nurses' aides are among the most miserable, unhappy people I've ever met. They are severely stressed by their workload in a lot of cases. Switching to electronic med records has been terribly stressful for my coworkers, for example. They are slowly learning how to do it, but it takes so much extra time at first.

    I know that a lot of workers have troubles with money, their kids, their spouses or ex's, their transportation, baby sitters, their own or their loved ones' health, or they are going through menopause or divorce - or both. There's no end to the problems people go through. Or maybe they're having trouble with the boss or our other coworkers. And having new nurses around can get annoying, for a number of reasons.

    Unless you are aware of any issues involving you, their unfriendliness or rudeness is probably not due to you per se. It's due to them being miserably unhappy or stressed. It is easier said than done, but try not to let them get to you. Learn what you can from them, keep quiet until you are admitted to their cliques, keep out of their way as much as you can, keep a low profile.

    Consider bringing some food to work occasionally, ask what you can do to help them once in a while if you have time, give some compliments if you can do so sincerely. Don't be naive and be super cheerful around unhappy people. I used to get irked with people who were cynical about criminals ever making something good of their lives. Now I am cynical, too, and realize how annoying I must have been to those coworkers back then on that issue.

    Maybe some of them want to be married but haven't found love yet. Or vice versa - they want divorce and a new start. Or whatever dramas are going on in their personal lives. Just try to be kind to everyone and not let their shortcomings get you down. Best wishes.
  8. 0
    I think healthcare institutions often have cultures that can be unwelcoming --and unsafe. I think poor cultures must be changed consciously - by the leadership of healthcare institutions and by the individual workers, as well. Some institutions are proactive in improving culture. Some aren't.

    A culture of safety includes civility and teamwork. We must make new teammates feel welcome and supported. New teammates must also give respect and work hard. Fostering teamwork supports safety, as I see it. It helps people be unafraid to ask for help. We must also remember generational differences and communication/personality differences. And, in the face of bad behavior, we should still speak up and advocate for our patients.

    This is a great video featuring Peter Pronovost that is thought-provoking.

    The Science of Safety by Peter Pronovost - Part 1 - YouTube

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wpzb7nM6oFQ - part 2

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6BnXs4KtER8 - part 3


    In time, the OP's teammates will likely warm up. It's a shame that they have not yet. The OP can look to the OP's behavior and work to change it. But the OP should also be aware of cultural factors...(and work to make a better culture).
    Last edit by RNfaster on Dec 30, '12 : Reason: added links
  9. 0
    Quote from Ruby Vee

    The poster is a new nurse by her own admission. That means, unless things have changed drastically since I was a new nurse, that she is more or less incompetent. New nurses make mistakes as they're learning to become competent nurses, and consequently they receive negative feedback. The OP's post indicated that she didn't receive negative feedback well. That's going to be a problem for her and hinder her in her career. She needs to work on that.

    I haven't read many defensive posts by older or experienced nurses on this thread, but I have read a lot of posts from folks who are assuring the OP that she's a great nurse and shouldn't be treated "so poorly." I'm not convinced that she's being treated poorly, although I'm fairly certain she isn't showing respect for her colleagues' experience.

    By the way . . . why all the shouting?
    Ruby, I never thought of her post as being rude...more like she was venting...I can understand, after my own double check (guess I should've done that nurse check :0) ) and I can see how she comes off as not handle negative feedback well. I actually welcome your posts, actually.

    Either way, newbie nurses need the "old school" nurses to teach valuable education ; once they learn the ropes, newbies may have fresh ideas to help promote pt. safety, or improve nursing...the nurse preceptor relationship should be an opportunity to ensures the foundations of our profession are to be passed successfully.
  10. 2
    Quote from SCSTxRN
    I have to respond to the "Nursing is one of the only professions that eat their young" quote - I've yet to work in a position that didn't haze their new members.

    Fast food, Waitress, Teacher, Bartender, Nurse... Over the last 16 years, I've worked at least as many jobs (not much for having just one job) in various fields.. the only job I didn't get a little 'hazing' by my coworkers when I started was a clown gig. Literally.

    To the new nurse: As a (haha) old nurse - well, the oldest on my unit anyway, orienting a bunch of newbies - I wish they would just do what I tell them to do the way that I tell them to do it at least until they get off of orientation. My job is to train them safely in accordance with unit policies. I love to teach. But when I say you must call the MOD to report a FSBS less than 60, assymptomatic or not, and that you must recheck after intervention to see if it worked or not, and that you must write a nursing note on the fact that you did all of that and the results - it's really NOT because I like making people write notes or call doctors. It's because that's the policy of the unit, and that's what I have to train them to do, and if they don't do it, they feel picked on because I have to go behind them and make sure it gets done. Just do it. Saves us all the stress.

    FTR - I love my orientees. I just want them to do well. And not get us both fired.
    I think stating that our profession "ONLY" do the snacking is untrue as well, "people are people, are people" is an adage that I have used.

    With the exception of my story, as being on both sides of being a precept and being a preceptor, I have had MORE challenges as a preceptor, even one person going to the point that she "didn't get oriented on it" ALTHOUGH I document what happened what steps the precept took feedback and follow up. AND she signed it...long story short, she was written up...a teachable moment for that precept!
    SCSTxRN and wooh like this.


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