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This is a discussion on How to handle a passive-aggressive coworker? in Nurse Colleague / Patient Relations, part of General Nursing ... Here is the gist of my situation: I am an RN working night shift at a prison infirmary. We...by Two Sheds Mar 2, '12Here is the gist of my situation:
I am an RN working night shift at a prison infirmary. We rotate positions every few months so that none of the nurses get burned-out doing the same job over and over. My recent rotation to the infirmary has displaced the long-time infirmary RN, who is now doing med-pass (which used to be done only by LPNs).
It has been brought to my attention by a few fellow nurses that the former infirmary nurse (I'll call her "Nurse X") is bitter at having to give up "her" infirmary post to me only to be "demoted" to med-pass. No job is considered higher or lower than another--they all equally contribute to the smooth running of our operation.
I believe she feels threatened by me, especially since I was recently chosen over her to participate in a program designed to groom shift supervisors. Additonally, the company hired a few more RNs, so Nurse X is no longer the "big fish in a small pond," so to speak.
I have never said anything unkind to or about her or anyone else with whom I work. However, I have personally witnessed Nurse X's subtle backstabbing many times. And now that I have "her" infirmary position, it seems that I have been added to her "list."
I have noticed that Nurse X seems to gain great satisfaction when, after her constant grilling or meddling, someone looses it and answers her tersely (yes, she treats others this way too). The other nurse will be trying to explain the rationale behind her actions and Nurse X will condecendingly say, "It's OK...just calm down, don't get so defensive." This is always accompanied by a snarky "gotcha" grin and a laugh.
Nurse X has taken aim at me lately, and I would like some advice on how to respond to her without making it appear that I'm getting ticked off because that is her goal. My wish is that she will get bored with me and leave me alone to do my job. I suppose I just need more assertiveness training or something, LOL. :-)
Thank you!Last edit by Two Sheds on Mar 2, '12
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- Mar 2, '12 by Hygiene QueenI think you are right on the money. If you don't feed the monster, she will become bored with you.
As soon as I realize someone is fishing for a reaction from me, I keep that idea in the forefront of my mind...
And derive great satisfaction in purposely not providing them with what they want.
Don't argue or try to rationalize with her.
Just smile and nod.
That's how I deal with my psych pts and she sounds a bit like one.
Good luck and remember: don't feed the beast!
- Mar 7, '12 by rn/writerThe only way to win is not to play. Be sweet and kind and somewhat bored. Smile every now and then. Never let her see you sweat. And don't waste your time or energy getting angry. If you don't take the bait, she'll be the one to get frustrated.
At the same time, don't poison your own well by holding a grudge. If you can see her as a person with value and worth who is behaving very badly, you will occupy a position of respectable strength. Chances are, she sizes people up as those she has beaten or those who have beaten her. You could really mess with her head (in a positive way) by refusing to fall into either category. You won't capitulate, but neither will you be out to get her. If nothing else, that has to get her attention.
At any rate, keep your cool. She can harrangue you until she is blue in the face, but you don't have to accept her invitation to get upset. That's a powerful message.
- Mar 7, '12 by jadelpnAnd if you feel the need to comment at all to her subtle backstabbing, I would say "How kind of you to think of me and be so invested in my work ethic! Gives me something to think about, now if you will excuse me...." Kindness always wins, and if you have groomed to be a supervisor, you may be hers at some point. Which means that you need to keep it professional, but she will get the idea that you also are on to her game, and won't be affected by it.
- Mar 8, '12 by not.done.yetI don't speak Passive-Aggressive. Therefore I just don't react when someone speaks it to me. Just like I used to tell my preschoolers (who are now teenagers) that I can't understand them when they whine - if you don't react/respond, she will learn you don't speak that language. Then she will either learn it is not worth the effort to try and engage you on that level...or if her concerns are genuine she will learn she has to speak plainly to get what she wants or needs from you.
Best of luck!!
- Mar 10, '12 by jmpnjessieI love that statement! Thank you for sharing.
- Mar 10, '12 by caliotter3Agree with the others. Best way to handle this is to invest your energy in refusing to let her get to you.