How to deal with the old/experienced nurses?! - page 11

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... Read More

  1. by   LadyFree28
    Quote from Ruby Vee

    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.
    Regardless posters how you feel about Ruby's viewpoint, her viewpoint comes from a VERY real place. I have seen "newbies" (for new grads to experienced nurses) REFUSE to respect important information and accuse people of being "hard" on them-since this post has turned down this road, I will share.

    For example: I work at a medical daycare.It's kind if similar to having stable pediatric-step down clients, with the exception that they go home. Anyway, this co-worker was very defensive of our facility policy. We have children who are diabetics, and before administering insulin, you need a two person check with verification of BG results and orders to treat it. He walked away for me AND told me he did NOT want me to check with him because "I know what I'm doing" and the policy was "stupid". I told him " Do NOT asked me to sign off on your work EVER." Looks like screaming, right?? WRONG. No shouting, just emphasis, bring curt. The clinical coordinator had to intervene and MADE him have to do the process in front of her. The MAJOR incident that got him fired was when one of our children complained of a stomach ache while she was waiting to be transported hone. One of the nurses wanted to check her GT balloon to make sure that may have been a complication. While the nurse gather supplies to check, he put her on the transportation van and sent her home. About 13 hrs later, she went to the hospital and her GT balloon had 15ml in her balloon, as opposed to 5!!! And to add more outrage, at least for me, was when I had a diabetic kid tell me after I gave him his insulin, "the needle hurt, when Mr Nurse gave it to me, it didn't hurt because he never stuck me" *wide-eyed*!!! He was GROSSLY insubordinate, and DANGEROUS.

    So not everyone is a bitter b*€#...nursing is a serious business. Ruby Vee is in Critical Care, where mistakes can be FATAL. A lot of nurses (including myself as a preceptor) are trying to save a lot if us from the trauma of killing a patient, and I thank them for that!!!
  2. by   PRICHARILLAisMISSED
    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
  3. by   redhead_NURSE98!
    Quote from Vishwamitr
    Ruas, whom are you afraid of spelling His name?
    Well gee, you never know what's going to be construed as profanity around here. I fully expect to come back and have my post edited to remove the "gee."
  4. by   redhead_NURSE98!
    Quote from OCNRN63
    The bottom line is you are still a new grad. You may have more emotional maturity than some other new nurses, but it doesn't mean experienced staff still don't have to make sure you know what you are doing. I have seen more than one person who thought military experience substituted what was being taught in orientation and beyond.
    I really thought this person you responded to was just trying to point out the very real possibility that the OP is not only a new grad but also a youthful person, possibly their first "real job?" I find it possible that it's not really a "new grad" thing as much as it's a person in their first professional position that's having a little trouble with "office politics." I don't know about y'all, but when I started working I was too busy working, learning and trying to get a system of organization to really care whether some other nurse "liked me."
  5. by   LadyFree28
    Quote from redhead_NURSE98!

    I really thought this person you responded to was just trying to point out the very real possibility that the OP is not only a new grad but also a youthful person, possibly their first "real job?" I find it possible that it's not really a "new grad" thing as much as it's a person in their first professional position that's having a little trouble with "office politics." I don't know about y'all, but when I started working I was too busy working, learning and trying to get a system of organization to really care whether some other nurse "liked me."
    Interesting insight. I can only speak for myself, but I was too busy trying to learn and absorb to worry about that either...some people need assistance in transitioning to the professional aspects of the job...she does seem wet behind the ears...
  6. by   Ruas61
    Quote from redhead_NURSE98!
    Well gee, you never know what's going to be construed as profanity around here. I fully expect to come back and have my post edited to remove the "gee."
    I must be missing something here, what are you saying exactly?
  7. by   ColoradoRocky
    Quote from DoeRN
    I have never started a new job expecting everyone to like me and make friends. I'm there to work and go home not to make friends. I wanted someone with a lot of experience to precept me. I respected everyone there young and older. I didn't go out of my way to please them and brown nose so people would like me. I was there to learn and kept things professional. After they realized I wasn't going to kiss butt and get mixed up in all the gossip they said ok Doe is a no nonsense nurse and we accept her.

    So my advice to new grads. Go there to learn, ask questions, humble yourself, don't worry about making friends, you aren't there to make friends, respect everyone there, keep it professional, if you need help ask for it, if you see someone that needs help go ahead and help them. Once you feel comfortable with your job then you can start to make friends. But don't go in trying to make friends with everyone first. Learn your job and learn it well you have someone's life in your hands.
    EXACTLY!

    This is serious business - peoples lives are at stake and so is their quality of life (and family life). I've had to lead when lives are on the line (my own and my troops and innocent civilians) so I know the pressures and urgency of activities sometimes prevent proper training and integration of the FNG (Flipping New Guy/Gal). I expect there will be times like that, and that I will have to stand aside, or go do easy stuff like vitals, or messy stuff like cleaning c-diff poop, while the more experienced RNs take care of the urgent and difficult things. But also, I expect that since they saw me as worthy of hiring, they should also see me as worthy of spending the time to teach me and grow my skills and knowledge and increase my ability to make good judgments - - all so I can be a better nurse for my patients.

    This is my hope - that I can go in and learn the realities of nursing from experienced RNs. I want learn to do things the proper way (which isn't necessarily the "book" way or the textbook NCLEX answer), so we have better outcomes for my patients from the start. If that means pitching in and cleaning bedpans, or going around brushing teeth, in order to free up the more experienced RNs, no problem - that's why they call it a team. My take is we all should help when we can with what we can (and this should include teaching/mentoring the newbies).

    The main worry I have is that I will get stuck with the scut work, because there are things I do not know how to do and should not do until someone teaches/checks me and oks it. Patient comes first, so I understand the more experienced nurses time is needed by the patients more than me (I've had to prioritize as a combat leader so I know how this works), but I am worried that I will get lost in the shuffle and not learn nearly as much as I could as quickly as I can, and will take too long to become a useful and productive member of the unit. I dont want to be a drag on the unit - I want to be able to help and expect to be mentored if for no other reason than the experienced nurses have so much they could teach - and make for better patient care by taking some time to help me become a better nurse, not a bitter nurse.
  8. by   ColoradoRocky
    Quote from OCNRN63
    It is not just the young who get eaten. If you're an older nurse and can't sprint down that hall as fast as the 20-somethings, your value as part of the team is in jeopardy. Can't navigate the hospital's EMR as quickly as the nurses half your age? Be prepared to be mocked.
    Can they mock any harder than a bunch of fire breathing 19 year olds straight out of infantry and airborne school do to a 40 year old trying to keep pace with them? I doubt it - that sort of thing rolls off my back. And as an older hand, I have to think ahead in order to not need to sprint down the hall - but to get there with the best care I can provide to the patient. I'm already aware of the limitations of 40 year old knees backs and feet. What I need is the knowledge that will help me compensate for this, the same way an experienced RN would know what to grab and bring, rather than sprinting there and then having to sprint back to get needed things.


    Quote from OCNRN63
    Bear in mind that for every horror story you read here, there are that many more new nurses who are accepted into new units without being hazed. If you've already decided that the experienced RNs you're going to be working with are only interested in maintaining a pecking order and dumping on new nurses, then I'd be willing to bet that they will pick up on that. The same goes for your statement about the experienced staff not having much to teach you about leadership. Maybe so. My philosophy is there's always something you can learn from others, particularly when you are in a new environment.

    In any case, good luck in your future endeavors.
    You are right - only the horror stories ever get posted online. Failure is often loud, successes are frequently silent (true in the military and everywhere else except perhaps politics). Maybe that's why I overreacted.

    As for the leadership comments, I was stating that I have been through the most effective leadership training and experience system on the planet, one where we had to make real-time decisions under uncertainty, with our lives and those of others (our troops, and civilians) on the line if we were wrong. No room for error - combat leaders bury their mistakes and get to write that letter to parents or wife. Teamwork is essential, and so is team building. There are a lot of commonalities to leading that exist across all things. I'm willing to bet I will learn a bunch when I get my first job, but I am also willing to bet they will not need to teach me much about basic leadership and the challenges that come with it. Based on on what little I have personally seen in the hospitals as a volunteer, and what I saw in my mom's career (RN her entire life, BSN 1965) experienced and competent leadership is not a given in the hospital environment. This is mainly on the administrative side (common in all fields I would hazard to guess), but still some lacking on the nursing staff side. Being a good nurse does not necessarily make one a good leader. MDs are a whole different story.

    Anyway, thanks for the good luck wishes. I'll do fine - I always do. Its just a matter of how long it will take. Patience is a virtue they say. I just want to be a better nurse sooner, so I can do more for my patients and my team on the ward. And so I worry. And study. And study some more. And study even more... :-D
  9. by   redhead_NURSE98!
    Quote from Ruas61
    I must be missing something here, what are you saying exactly?
    I was, tongue in cheek, suggesting a possible reason for you writing "G_d," that reason was because it may be construed as profanity by the administrators of this board.
  10. by   ColoradoRocky
    Quote from redhead_NURSE98!
    I was, tongue in cheek, suggesting a possible reason for you writing "G_d," that reason was because it may be construed as profanity by the administrators of this board.
    Actually, amongst some of my orthodox Jewish friends, they tend to use it that way so as to not invoke the name of the deity where it may be defaced. Here is a good explanation (google for judaism101 for the source of the info below - since links are not allowed)

    Judaism does not prohibit writing the Name of God per se; it prohibits only erasing or defacing a Name of God. However, observant Jews avoid writing any Name of God casually because of the risk that the written Name might later be defaced, obliterated or destroyed accidentally or by one who does not know better.The commandment not to erase or deface the name of God comes from Deut. 12:3. In that passage, the people are commanded that when they take over the promised land, they should destroy all things related to the idolatrous religions of that region, and should utterly destroy the names of the local deities. Immediately afterwards, we are commanded not to do the same to our God. From this, the rabbis inferred that we are commanded not to destroy any holy thing, and not to erase or deface a Name of God.


    It is worth noting that this prohibition against erasing or defacing Names of God applies only to Names that are written in some kind of permanent form. Orthodox rabbis have held that writing on a computer is not a permanent form, thus it is not a violation to type God's Name into a computer and then backspace over it or cut and paste it, or copy and delete files with God's Name in them. However, once you print the document out, it becomes a permanent form. That is why observant Jews avoid writing a Name of God online: because there is a risk that someone else will print it out and deface it.


    Normally, we avoid writing the Name by substituting letters or syllables, for example, writing "G-d" instead of "God."
  11. by   SCSTxRN
    Quote from ColoradoRocky
    Curious how the more seasoned RNs accept someone near their age that just finished ADN and is working way through a BSN. Male, "well over 39", married for over 2 decades, father of adult children we raised, and as soldier I have led men (and women too at times) in some difficult circumstances including giving orders that could cost us our lives. ........

    I know how to give orders, and also know how to take them - expect intelligence and initiative be taken from my orders and the intent behind them (i.e. thinking responses and actions, not robotic obedience), and I expect to give the same when given orders (especially given the intent behind them). Orders I don't like, I still "salute and execute", although I may argue for "why" so that I have proper context to provide proper actions. I dont have much of a tolerance of BS thrown at someone just because they are the FNG - a little hazing at first is OK, but it shouldnt get in the way of integrating them into the team. There's the right way, the wrong way, and how we do it here - the latter is most important to teach.

    I'm pretty much the joker in the deck for you guys. How would you deal with a buzz cut older male like me coming onto the unit as a brand new RN (ADN) with more education and practical application on team formation, management and leadership than can be taught in any university course? Resources are managed, people must be lead; Follow Me (US Army, Fort Benning).
    No, you're not the joker in the deck - you're the guy I really enjoy orienting. By all means, ask me why we do it that way. I'll show you the policy and procedure that says we have to do it that way - because there are some things I had to be shown, too, because they're just kind of not intuitively good ideas.. but P&P is P&P.. and we have to cover our rear ends... or I'll explain to you why I do it that way (and on those things, I'm up front - my way is best for me, but it isn't necessarily the best for you... so this is what you have to cover, and you figure out the best way for YOU to cover it..)

    You come to work on time, think you're there to work, and want to do this job? You are my kind of newbie.

    You thought only aides do patient care, or that you only have to do it in school.. you can assess lung sounds without a stethoscope... You come 20 minutes late, take a 45 minute lunch, and want to leave an hour early? I don't understand this logic. I'm not being mean when I write someone up for disappearing for 2 hours on a shift, any more than they're being mean for doing it. That's not mean, and it's really not hazing. It's doing my job... to train my orientee how to do theirs... and at some point, having 'reminded you' six times and shown you the policy three, you're going to go home and tell your spouse what a mean preceptor you have. Not because I'm old, or you're pretty, but because we all need you to do your job.
  12. by   SCSTxRN
    Quote from amigatour
    I'm not a nurse yet, but I deal with people who are a lot older than me. It's a little bit harder to work with experience people (20+ years experience). On the other hand, I'm more advanced in technology than them. That kills them. I watch them getting frustrated or even angry...Threatening to throw their printer or scanner makes me laugh.

    One of them yelled at me frequently. One day, I yelled back because he made a mistake. And then I said, "How do you like it being yelled at?" He was . He was so grumpy or cranky during work hours. Eventually, we developed a better communication. I turned out alright.

    Well, don't yell back...You may not like the consequences. Learning to ignore their yelling problems would help you to understand them. You're not doing this for them, but for yourself. They're exhausted and so on. Lack of happiness is one of factors that make people impatient due to the fact that they are overworked. Don't take their behavior personally. Observe them closely.

    If you have a time communicating with them, try to start a conversation. Ask them how you should improve. Don't be defensive or aggressive. Let them know that you appreciate their criticism. If they refuse, they have a problem. They are the ones that passing knowledge to you, not you.

    I have a couple of RN friends.One of them hold a higher position. They told me how they were treated when they just started in their work and how some new employees work and some of them do frustrate her.
    This reminds me of when I started at my current hospital - two of the doctors had a reputation for eating nurses. Some of the experienced nurses seem to have had a few for breakfast, as well. And the hospital went to computer based charting. In my family, I am the tech dumb one - my husband and children are all VERY techhy people... I use it enough to be comfortable with what I need to do, but I will never learn C+ or visual HTML or whatever for the fun of it.. anyway. At work, for a goodly chunk of them (especially since I work the off horus), I'm tech support.

    ... so I taught the doctors how to put in orders and send email attachments. I helped the unit's experienced nurses navigate the new system. They were all amazed at how fast I caught on to that - and didn't notice that I was catching just as much from all of them, about the meds, the patients, the treatment plans. It was almost like I wasn't the new girl. I know that my colleagues got in a bite or two - I remember coming home and telling my husband how frustrating it was... but as a general rule, we got on swimmingly. I've worked all the units since then, and I find that if I am looking to get my feelings validated, I will usually end up getting them hurt... If I'm looking to just do my job, people respect the heck out of that.
    Last edit by SCSTxRN on Jan 2, '13 : Reason: I wasn't finished.
  13. by   OCNRN63
    Quote from redhead_NURSE98!
    I really thought this person you responded to was just trying to point out the very real possibility that the OP is not only a new grad but also a youthful person, possibly their first "real job?" I find it possible that it's not really a "new grad" thing as much as it's a person in their first professional position that's having a little trouble with "office politics." I don't know about y'all, but when I started working I was too busy working, learning and trying to get a system of organization to really care whether some other nurse "liked me."
    I wasn't responding to the OP.

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