"Nurse Eater" -Toxic Coworkers - page 2

by moonshadeau

4,177 Views | 16 Comments

Ok, I know that we have all had those people around us when we see that we have to work with that particular person who just makes you feel like you wish you'd called in sick (because you will be sick later on in the shift just... Read More


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    Apparently my options to you have caused some controversy. I do not apologize for the controversy. I believe stongly that the only way to handle this person is to do it honestly. Put yourself in the control seat and take him out of it. If you sit back and take what is dished out, you passively assert his right to hound you, as well as passively assert that he is correct! Why would anyone accept that behavior? If you continue to be passive, he is given the authority to continue this behavior with you and anyone else he does not like.

    I do hope you think about taking a different course of action.

    chas
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    Originally posted by Charles S. Smith, RN, MS:
    Apparently my options to you have caused some controversy. I do not apologize for the controversy. I believe stongly that the only way to handle this person is to do it honestly. Put yourself in the control seat and take him out of it. If you sit back and take what is dished out, you passively assert his right to hound you, as well as passively assert that he is correct! Why would anyone accept that behavior? If you continue to be passive, he is given the authority to continue this behavior with you and anyone else he does not like.

    I do hope you think about taking a different course of action.

    chas
    Hi Charles. I don't feel that your suggestions are controversial. Nor do I feel that my comments suggest passivity. There is always more than one approach to a situation. Sometimes there is a multiple approach. You're suggesting that moonshadeau apply a tried and true method in dealing with a difficult person. I agree with you that assertion is called for. In fact, I have taken several courses on assertion/conflict resolution and found them helpful in assisting me in venting and managing concerns in a thoughtful manner without venting uncontrolled anger. However, assertion, as you are aware, is not easily learned or demonstrated. You need a certain kind of finesse and confidence (not arrogance) when you are being assertive. This comes with practice and time.
    My suggestions in my post only acknowledge that you can't change people. Change has to come from within before it go out. Establishing an inner peace, positiveness, and esteem I think are essential qualities in dealing with difficult people as well as the external boldness and confidence that you suggested.
    Finally, we all know that shift issues, no matter how good the care is, are very common in nursing and will continue. As you indicated in your post, moonshadeau needs to assess whether she or her staff are in fact increasing the challenges faced by the shift that follows them. I can't tell you the number of times when I worked the hospitals that I came into a mess because the work was not prioritized properly. However, I just simply sat down and discussed this issues with the charge nurse and we came to an understanding.
    Let there be no mistake, however, that it is up to management to set the tone for the practice of nursing care which encourages team work and collaboration and discourages peer to peer competition. Again, I feel that striving to be your best, in spite of, is more important than striving against someone else. I am learning this as I age. Moonshadeau, I do agree that you should not simply roll over and play dead. Just play very carefully. I still feel you want to record the details of each incident in the unfortunate event you have to go over your NM's head.
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    Having dealt with this as a newer nurse, and trying my darnest to just do everything right so she would lay off, something that never worked. I left that job. I regret leaving to this day. I loved the work, it challanged me. After that experience I decided that never again would I allow something like that to happen. And I haven't. At some point, hopefully you will decide that you will not allow someone to intimidate you. That is what is going on, not that this nurse doesn't like you, thinks you are poor at what you do or anything else. That nurse has the power to intimidate you and for some that is a wonderful power trip. The one and only person who can control that is you. By standing up for yourself and putting the toxic nurse on notice that the abuse he is hurling at you is unacceptable and will not be tolerated you take control. The nurse is not likely to give the control they have up easily so be prepared, however if you stick to your guns you will find that it will cease. Have I done this myself. You bet. It is hard the first few times, but the end rewards are very worth it. Go on the offense and make that nurse defend their actions. I hope you do. The feeling of being in control of not only your practice but your life is empowering. Once you take that step no one will be able to intimidate you again.
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    I faced a similar situation when I first started my job. However, the attitude that I took was I'm here for my patients and if this person doesn't want to have a good coworker relationship then too bad. I decided to just do my best and try to let unpleasant comments roll off. If a comment or behavior became too bothersome I did make a note of it in a journal explaining the situation, in case the matter became too out of hand. Fortunately, I did not have to use the info because the situation eventually became better. However, had it not, and if the situation became unbearable or disrupted my ability to provide good patient care, I would have asked to sit with the nurse manager and the fellow nurse to discuss the problem.(using my written log of events to show the pattern of behavior and requesting it be to be stopped.)

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    I had a nurse eater, as my preceptor, when I went to work right after graduating! She made feel as dumb, and incompetent, as she possibly could! We worked in a county NICU, and she kept me in level 3, with the vent babies the whole time! I couldn't do anything to please her! She also was the crown jewel of the unit! Why? Because everyone else had become used to her! They did have work under her, and excused her actions, because she a dang good nurse,...but she felt, that if you couldn't take her harassment, you didn't belong in the unit!

    One day, another fellow student, that had graduated with me, and come into the unit at the same time, and I, were asked to work a nite shift, because they were short. This nurse went around making statements like, "Lord, I hope these babies survive"! Well the babies survived, and we did too!
    Before I ended my internship, I went to the Head Nurse, who was totally supportive, and was unaware, that this person was interacting with me this way, because she had no complaints about me, when asked how was I doing!
    I later learned, that this was the way she acted with all new nurses, and med students for that matter! It didn't help to find this out, as while I was under her thumb, I was miserable! After I got out from under her, a resident remarked how much more comfortable, and confident I seemed! I never said a word.
    One thing that this nurse may have not thought about, but being able to survive working with her, made me a very strong nurse! While I wouldn't wish her on my worst enemy, she did me a favor, by driving me to be better than I might have been. Not saying it's right to deal with people like this...far from it! I don't believe you should brow beat anyone to help them achieve. I also don't take any crap anymore! But I knew she had the knowledge I needed, and I played to that! Most times people like this, enjoy having their ego stroked. So ask for this person's help in helping you become a better nurse, whether you need his/her assistance or not! Staying away him/her, only makes them want to go after you more.

    Just try going up to them, and asking questions, and for their suggestions. Since you tend to shy away from confrontations, this would be a better way to get this person off your back.

    Brownie
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    hmm...sounds so familiar with my previous experienced.it makes me so sad that these people in the nursing profession still exist,these people as you addressed them as "nurse eater" have nothing to offer in the nursing profession..they could never be called a good nurse model for the new nurses.
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    The more that you let it show that it bothers you,, the more the Nurse Eater wins. I have dealt with a few, and mostly I try to ignore them because I know that I am doing the best job that I know how to do. If what they are commenting on is legitimate, I do my best to change if it's necessary. If I catch them doing something or missing something that they would normally chastise me for, I make a point of letting them know that I noticed their oversight or mistake. It usually stops then, because they don't like to be wrong. I think people who act like this are really just showing their own insecurity and maybe pick on you because everyone else has stood up to them.
    Good luck, I know it's hard, I prefer to work in a facility where I am the only nurse for just this reason, and at shift change try to ignore comments. I no longer worry about the things that are said behind my back, because if I didn't hear it, it didn't happen. :angel2:


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