The nurses every co-worker hates - page 2

by RNGriffin

7,636 Visits | 59 Comments

I don't know exactly how the context of this message will be articulated, but I am interested in gaining knowledge on the topic & opinions. So, I am a seasoned nurse, not that it should make any difference in the haul of this... Read More


  1. 0
    Quote from itsmejuli
    Oh yes I can understand and relate to what you are saying OP.

    I had similar difficulties in my life and eventually learned to be friendlier by being more open.

    One of my favorite websites to review the human condition is psychologytoday.com
    Great resource! Actually, this is a great for my field as well. I thank you whole heartedly for introducing this site to me. I am looking at a couple of behavior techniques that may assist with my coping skills and communication.
    You know, I would think after being forced to take communications twice I would be much more effective. I guess an old dog can always learn new tricks.
  2. 1
    I applaud your effort to solicit feedback on this issue. It must have been hurtful to hear yourself described as "mean" and "rude" when you clearly strive to convey professionalism at work and take your work very seriously. I don't think you need to lower your standards to be more approachable.

    Maybe you could try small things, like making a conscious effort to make eye contact and smile upon greeting your coworkers. Or just smiling when you walk by them in the halls. (I personally have what I call "b****face," meaning that, when I am thinking, or otherwise not speaking to or looking directly at someone, I have a sour look on my face. I only learned this recently when I caught myself looking angry and mean in the rear view mirror, so now I'm working on it! )

    Maybe you could join your colleagues for happy hour, bring a box of doughnuts in for the shift, or do some other thing that isn't strictly work-related (showing you have an "off-duty" side), but also doesn't force you to compromise your values pertaining to how a professional nurse should behave on the job.

    And finally, when you say that you are blunt, if that means you don't filter as well as maybe you should (think Sophia from Golden Girls, minus the cute little old lady factor), then I would consider remembering that not everything that is true needs to be spoken (and that Sophia was that way as a result of a stroke!). I only add this because I had a friend years ago who considered herself "blunt," but what she was was rude and inappropriate. Just because one sees/thinks/feels something doesn't mean it is appropriate to speak about it. And if someone does have that foot-in-mouth problem, they should work on it -- not wear their rudeness and lack of decorum as a badge of honor, calling it being "blunt" or "no-nonsense." (NOTE: It doesn't sound to me like that describes you, but I have heard more than one rude, nasty person call themselves "blunt" and take pride in being what amounts to a total @$$. So, I'm just putting that out there just in case. No offense intended!)

    Good luck; I hope things warm up at the workplace sooner rather than later.
    RNGriffin likes this.
  3. 1
    I don't mean this in any rude way at all, but is it possible you have mild Asperger's? That would make it very difficult for you to relate to others, and people often misjudge people with Asperger's because they tend to be a bit no-nonsense and straightforward. I find chit chat very difficult, and I have to work at small talk. I agree with a lot that has been said here. You don't have to come in like the old Steve Martin Wild and Crazy Guy, but make an effort to compliment a new hairstyle, ask about someone's kid, compliment a nursing skill. Work is supposed to be about work, and I don't advocate a shift-long gab fest at the expense of patient care, but it makes people uncomfortable sometimes to be around a coworker who is absolutely all work and no play. I have worked with nurses who keep to themselves or who don't participate in social talk, and rather than just assuming they are shy or private, people automatically jump to "stuck up" or "snobby" or "rude."
    As for the bluntness, I, too, can be very blunt, and I have to watch it. While I might not mean to imply that someone is stupid, apparently I can give off that vibe. I expect a lot out of myself, and I also expect a lot out of other nurses, too. Before making a statement that might be construed as rude or condescending, think of a way to rephrase it in a non-threatening way. "You did that wrong." sounds so much worse than "Hmm, I never thought of doing it that way, I always thought that you did it this way because then (fill in the rationale)." Precepting nursing students beat a lot of the blunt out of me. I would think I was giving needed information, and they thought I was being mean and critical. Sometimes it is all in the presentation!
    jt43 likes this.
  4. 0
    I have the same problem. Until they know me (and that seems to take a long time) my co-workers find me intimidating and unapproachable. Part of it is my speech pattern which is quite normal for the area from which I come but not for the area in which I live. In addition I am very straightforward and no-nonsense, an expert in my field with tons of experience and I'm rarely wrong when I answer a question (because I don't answer if I am not 100% sure. I'm sure it's irritating to others), I move quickly and do my work extremely efficiently and usually faster than anyone else. In meetings I point out the bull-**** before we waste too much time on it which usually makes the managers a little peeved. But the worst part is I suffer from CBFS or "Chronic B##ch Face Syndrome". Unless I am grinning from ear to ear my face, when relaxed, looks like I'm about to rip someone's head off. Don't get me wrong, although I would never call myself beautiful I am not unattractive nor am I unkind. I just scare the pants off people especially when my CBF is combined with my quick, clipped speech and movements. Once people are able to get past that I get along very well. I am often described as having a "hard, crispy shell with a soft nougat center". I found what works for me is to find one person to try to relate to on a more personal level. Once that happens they usually start talking about me in a positive manner which causes other people to want to get to know me. That usually happens by them coming up and asking for help with a problem (work-related like how to do something on the computer). When they realize that they will survive that contact without becoming rapidly dead they start warming up to me and it spreads. Donuts work too. I'm kind of reminded of the MASH episode when Margaret loses it and asks her nurses why they don't ask her to join them and won't even offer her a cup of coffee.
    Last edit by FlyingScot on Sep 26, '12
  5. 0
    Sorry I got cut off. I just hope you don't take it personally. Just try to soften up a little & initiate a hello here or there. The opinions others have on you, truly don't matter. Business is business and I know I sometimes get thought of as the b*tch cause when it comes to something I am passionate about I run with it. I am strong, independent and have learned somethings the hard way. I had to get to a point where others opinions about me truly don't make me. I have plenty of friends & family that truly love me & I am not at work to make friends. After all, it isn't high school. Just be you and try a little conversating.
  6. 3
    I am going to try the conversing: Hello, Goodmorning, Good evening( a little more frequent than I am at this present moment). I truly couldn't build up the interest to be interested in my co-workers kids, husbands, or lives outside of work. I know that may be relatable to some. But, I find that opens up doors for personal questions of myself or even continuous pictures of children I could care less about. I try to mean that in the best way possible. But, if I become involved with everyone's private lives it definitely spills over into mine.
    CBF(Chronic ***** Face Syndrome) is a classic dx that I will have in constant rotation now. Is there a cure to CBFS or at least an effective intervention..LOL?
    You know, sometimes you think the simple hello should suffice for people. I guess that old adage of pussyfooting is highly effective in certain situations.
    anotherone, chevyv, and TJ'sMOM like this.
  7. 0
    For sure!!!!! I am one the most honest & out right people out there but many don't know how to handle it. The way I see it is, if you are a negative individual then you will seek the negative out. If you are a positive individual then you will seek the positivity out & you will see me in my true color. I too had to learn to soften up a bit. I'm not a sugar coated person & will never be. I had to learn that not everyone will love me & that is ok.
  8. 0
    Since you mentioned communications...
    A good thing that I took is understanding that we never say what as a whole our culture does not say what we mean. We answer "how are you?" With "good" even when we are tired, hungry, angry or a.multitude of other things. We do this because the truth is not the point.
    Putting this into practice is delicate when you are the resident expert or "the sh*t"
    One thing that came to my mind to increase small talk at report without actually increasing small talk would be to add just a little. I mean say " this shift was a challenge"...and continue on. I can see this doing two things. It will either relieve the other nurse if she has a tough time because hey, you had a tough time or it will give confidence to the nurse because you had a tough time when she didn't.
  9. 5
    Quote from griffinchet
    I am going to try the conversing: Hello, Goodmorning, Good evening( a little more frequent than I am at this present moment). I truly couldn't build up the interest to be interested in my co-workers kids, husbands, or lives outside of work. I know that may be relatable to some. But, I find that opens up doors for personal questions of myself or even continuous pictures of children I could care less about. I try to mean that in the best way possible.
    Umm, wow. Okay, I kind of get why your manager said what she did. I don't think anyone should have to be best buddies with their coworkers and go out to dinner every night after work, but these are people you spend a whole lot of your life with. If you really are that uninterested in them, I'm sure they feel it.

    You have to trust your coworkers to have a really good working relationship with them, and how do you trust someone if you know they really couldn't care less about you? Just my humble opinion, of course. It's hard to relate to someone who literally has no interest in you. Think about the doctors most of the nurses like the best. Are they the ones that know the nurses and are approachable as human beings?

    That's the way it is in our unit. I know a lot about my coworkers, and they know a lot about me. We celebrate every birth and every marriage. If there is a death in a nurse's family, we cook meals and send flowers. I don't socialize with 99% of them outside the unit, but I feel like they are my friends, and it makes life at work much more bearable. If we had a nurse come on the unit who refused to engage in small talk, refused to participate in celebrations, seemed genuinely uninterested in our kids and our lives, I guess we would think her rude and mean. I know not every unit is like ours, and part of it probably has to do with the fact that we are a labor unit and we all delivered there, so the person you are giving report to on Tuesday may be the one admitting you and checking your cervix when your water breaks on Thursday (in my case, that's exactly what happened), but I think most work environments benefit from camaraderie and many nurses appreciate that.

    The more I think about it, the more parallels I see in how you describe yourself and our nurse manager. It is painfully obvious that she really has absolutely no interest in us beyond the professional role. She sees how the rest of us are, so she tries to fake it. And it's obvious that she's faking. And most of the nurses are really offended because she doesn't care about us as people. Maybe she shouldn't have to care, but that is what everyone seems to want and what she is incapable of giving to us, and as a result she is viewed in a very negative light. She consistently gets bed reviews on employee evaluations.

    I don't really have any advice, but I can see why your coworkers have a hard time relating to you, and I don't mean that in a mean way.
    Last edit by monkeybug on Sep 26, '12 : Reason: making some paragraph breaks
    llg, RNGriffin, ElSea, and 2 others like this.
  10. 1
    Quote from griffinchet
    I am going to try the conversing: Hello, Goodmorning, Good evening( a little more frequent than I am at this present moment). I truly couldn't build up the interest to be interested in my co-workers kids, husbands, or lives outside of work. I know that may be relatable to some. But, I find that opens up doors for personal questions of myself or even continuous pictures of children I could care less about. I try to mean that in the best way possible. But, if I become involved with everyone's private lives it definitely spills over into mine.
    CBF(Chronic ***** Face Syndrome) is a classic dx that I will have in constant rotation now. Is there a cure to CBFS or at least an effective intervention..LOL?
    You know, sometimes you think the simple hello should suffice for people. I guess that old adage of pussyfooting is highly effective in certain situations.
    You are delightful.

    I can only hope that I work with lots of nurses like you but I know this isn't going to be the case. True story - Once when having a review (In my life before nursing) my manager said, "Crazed you do a great job, the customers love you but your coworkers hate you so we're going to have you do some interpersonal classes." I was all, "Wha?"

    So started a string of silly videos that I had to watch and say things like, "Of course I'd tell Bob I would help him instead of Bob shouldn't have waited until the last moment."

    I found a way to be myself and to have people stop assuming that I was heartless - humor. The wonderful thing about humor is you can be as blunt as you want and as long as you make someone else laugh in the process everything seems to work out okay. Oh also, I smile and do the good morning thing. Smiling makes a big difference in how people perceive you.

    In short, think of it like acting and you'll be playing the role of "Co-worker who looks like they actually care what color you painted your bathroom this weekend."
    GeneralJinjur likes this.


Top