I'm in my first year of nursing on a high acuity unit that values smart, independent nurses. It's one of the things that attracted me to this unit. However, there's a downside to this. The nurses think of themselves as the best of the best, tend to judge each other and talk about other nurse's imperfections. The majority of the time, I notice that no one says anything to the nurse that is being talked about. As a newbie, I want people to come to me if I could do something better, not silently judge me and then talk about it with others.
For example, when I first started, one nurse was 20 weeks pregnant and asked for help with certain tasks. She would go to multiple nurses asking for help because certain people wouldn't help her, but then they would talk about her behind her back, saying that she needed too much help. I know that they talk about me behind my back as well and my philosophy is that it doesn't matter what they say. What matters is the care that I provide to my patients. However, when I'm told to learn to get very weak patients up on my own or if I get multiple refusals when I need help, it makes me angry because it affects patient care. I had one incident months ago where a weak patient almost went down because I tried to do it on my own.
Since the beginning, I tried to stay out of all the gossipy drama. I don't go out drinking with the other nurses after work because I don't want to drive home tired after drinking. However, I noticed that the more I stayed out of it, the more isolated I became from the clique.
Meanwhile, there was a doctor bullying me on the unit who was part of the clique. I reported it and she was asked to step down for multiple reports of unsafe practices and bullying nurses. When reporting, the legal department attempted to make it as anonymous as possible.
Now I've noticed that since she left a few months ago, I'm being treated poorly by some of my coworkers. It may not be that things changed so much. I was so focused on the bullying by this one person that I may not have noticed others. However, since then, I've had to be drug tested because someone reported that they were concerned about me. When my patient coded, I won't go into details, but I was not treated with respect. I've been in other codes and I was treated distinctly different in this situation. Also, certain nurses refuse to help me. Sometimes, certain nurses won't acknowledge me at all even when I smile and say hello to them. I'm afraid to make a mistake, however small.
I'm frustrated and not sure what to do. I'm not sure how much of this is common. I'm considering talking to my manager, but my manager is part of the clique and I'm not sure how much I can trust him. I see him on the unit talking about personal stuff with the gossipy nurses and I hear about him hanging out with them outside of work. In the several months I've been at this job, I've rarely interacted with my manager in person. When I reported the doctor, he wasn't involved in it whatsoever. I'm not sure if he can separate work stuff from personal relationships so I don't know if I should go to him with my concerns.
Another part of my dilemma is that I have a contract to stay on this unit for the next 18 months. Otherwise, I would make an exit plan to another hospital with a similar unit. Besides the drama, I like the patient population and I am learning so much. I really want to make this work. I'm thinking about changing shifts to see if that improves things. Thanks for reading this far. Any advice or suggestions would be much appreciated.
Last edit by <3 RN on Sep 29, '12
Sep 29, '12
This is not a healthy work environment. Put in your yr then transfer out. Trust your own instincts on your manager before you speak with her. If the staff reflect her /his personality/style be aware you may be providing information that could be used against you..Sorry it sucks. No biggie,move on into an environment that works. Learn from it.
Sep 30, '12
let them talk . but when they refuse to help for bogus reasons ir because you arent bff with them let them and the mqnager know this is affecting patients and can lead to serious issues. like the one you mentioned. thats what i did there were some people like this whfere i work who sat around laughing "too busy" to help or outright rfusing. i replied with "ok i will just tell [the manager]" and it put a stop to the antics. also sad to say i have used the "if you cant beat them join them " approach