The nurses every co-worker hates

  1. 0 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 question, but background information. For some reason I find that patients are always receptive of my approach & sometimes directness in dealing with their conditions/medical diagnosis. But, for my entire career I have found co-workers have shied away from engaging in conversation with me or interacting with me on a regular basis. Initially this troubled me and I considered most nurses avoided me because of my past position as a Director within the hospital. But, as new nurses came and older ones( who were aware of my past experience left) I was still considered one of the unapproachable co-workers. I don't know whether it's a blunt nature as a person. I am simply straight forward no cut corners, no side banter in report, or no unnecessary information needed while giving background information.
    A troubling statement came when a manager used the terms "Mean & Rude" to describe my personality today. From another perspective I would like to gain knowledge on how to be more approachable without being the doormat. In my opinion, you're only relatable when you never disagree, you're soft spoken, and a yes wo/man. These are not characteristics that I posses, and hopefully I never will. But, I would definitely like to remove the plaque of "The Devil in Prada,Cruella Deville..etc." from around me.
    Any advice?
  2. Visit  RNGriffin profile page

    About RNGriffin

    From 'New York, New York'; Joined Jan '12; Posts: 384; Likes: 579.

    59 Comments so far...

  3. Visit  englishgeek profile page
    5
    I have been there. Not as a nurse, as I am still a student, but just as a person. I don't think there is anything wrong with making sure you do what is right and not taking any nonsense. It is good to have principles and not let them be shaken!
    As for advice, I do have some that comes from my own learning experiences. First, allow for imperfection in others. You may not struggle with this, but it was a biggie for me! I had to learn to cut people some slack.
    Second, remember that you spend much of your life with these people. It is work and should be taken seriously, but taking something seriously doesn't mean you have to be serious all the time. Allow for humor and laughter and smile yourself sometimes.
    Also, remember that with all your knowledge you could really be an asset to your coworkers, but if you are prickly all the time they will be closed off to you and that will be a wonderful opportunity lost.
    I hope that helps. You can still be you...just improved! :-)
    DebblesRN, noahsmama, artsmom, and 2 others like this.
  4. Visit  1pinknurse profile page
    0
    Aw, I feel for you...you know yourself best. If you are wanting & looking to soften yourself up a little, I think that is ok but changing what is good in you isn't ok. With that being said, you can start by smiling, initiating small talk like "hi, how are you", etc... I know many nurses whom are clickish & don't care to befri
  5. Visit  chevyv profile page
    0
    It kind of sounds like your cold. Do you talk with your coworkers while working? I think it's fine to disagree and still not be a doormat. I wonder if your coworkers think your a stick in the mud who is above them? I have a supervisor who is very blunt, very knowledgeable, and very much job oriented. I have no idea if she just got to know me or she worked on the people part of the job, but I adore and respect her more now than ever! She now is able to joke or vent about a tough night. She is nowhere near a doormat! She has a ton of knowledge and experience and shares it with me. I appreciate that. I no longer find her cold or mean or rude.

    It's okay if it's not in your nature, but there must be something human like about you that relates with your coworkers. I know a person can be relatable even without being fake.

    I appreciate bluntness, but nobody likes to feel like a horrible nurse who knows nothing. Does your bluntness include making coworkers feel like an idiot when they make an error? Or are you more the type that is cut and dried "Just do this and this and it should work fine" or "who's the dumb one who did such and such, didn't you learn that in school?". Approach is key, but not everyone
    is a friendly type coworker people person. Kindness and support go a long way. Good luck!
  6. Visit  RNGriffin profile page
    0
    Quote from chevyv
    It kind of sounds like your cold. Do you talk with your coworkers while working? I think it's fine to disagree and still not be a doormat. I wonder if your coworkers think your a stick in the mud who is above them? I have a supervisor who is very blunt, very knowledgeable, and very much job oriented. I have no idea if she just got to know me or she worked on the people part of the job, but I adore and respect her more now than ever! She now is able to joke or vent about a tough night. She is nowhere near a doormat! She has a ton of knowledge and experience and shares it with me. I appreciate that. I no longer find her cold or mean or rude.

    It's okay if it's not in your nature, but there must be something human like about you that relates with your coworkers. I know a person can be relatable even without being fake.

    I appreciate bluntness, but nobody likes to feel like a horrible nurse who knows nothing. Does your bluntness include making coworkers feel like an idiot when they make an error? Or are you more the type that is cut and dried "Just do this and this and it should work fine" or "who's the dumb one who did such and such, didn't you learn that in school?". Approach is key, but not everyone
    is a friendly type coworker people person. Kindness and support go a long way. Good luck!
    Surprisingly I am actually the first one to welcome a new nurse on the floor, show him/her the ropes & offer whatever advice I could give. It's a level of having too much knowledge that intimidates people. I remember being a new nurse or any employee, and I try to shy away from making anyone feel you should know this. As far as venting with my co-workers, I don't. I keep my personal frustrations to myself until i get home to kick an area rug or scream in the shower..LOL.
    "Cold" nature has definitely been an adjective of me. Years ago in school a poker faced was stressed to the fullest extent. So, I guess my poker face can come across as unattached.
  7. Visit  jds87 profile page
    0
    I'm not a nurse, not even a student yet, I have to wait before applying for classes. Anyway, in general about socializing with others: I've noticed that most people get offended by blatant honesty. Just because people get offended (or are put of) by honesty, doesn't mean one should lie. I don't know what part of your interactions could be deemed as "mean" or "rude", those descriptions are really opinions and opinions vary. Have you tried being social with your coworkers, in a friendly manner? If they only see your interactions with patients, they might not see how friendly of a person you can be. That's not saying go ahead and hang out with them outside of work, just maybe try and open up small-talk conversations.
    Since you can't talk to people through the internet, we can only get the gist of you through typed text, maybe it would be more helpful for you to speak with a counselor that would be able to help you with interacting with others. That's not to say you're crazy or need psychotherapy, just gives you another person to bounce ideas off of and get opinions/methods to socialize with your coworkers (to come off as friendly and approachable).
    I think you being direct with patients, even doctors when you talk with them, is great. As a patient I hate when my healthcare team pussyfoots around about telling me what's going on. I'd love to have someone who tells me honestly about my healthcare.
  8. Visit  chevyv profile page
    3
    Well, I bet I would love to work with ya! You can never have too much knowledge especially if your willing to share that. Maybe you should let them know you too get frustated and then go home and scream in the shower, lol! I can handle a pokerface and if you greet a new coworker and show them the ropes, I have to admit I'm kind of clueless then. Especially those that have been working with you for awhile would be able to know your not rude, it's just you.

    I wonder if talking to your manager would help. Having to hear that your "mean or rude" stinks, but perhaps some examples from that person can help pinpoint where you need to work.
    RRWilson,RN2, noahsmama, and jds87 like this.
  9. Visit  nursel56 profile page
    9
    I tend to be introverted and quiet on the job, too - and while I haven't been called mean or rude I have been called aloof and "thinks she's better than us". Ha! So not true!

    Anyway, I'm a firm believer that there is a flip side to all personality traits, and that when you see the need to modify the impression you're making on others you need to work with the natural personality. There is nothing more awkward than someone trying to graft on a personality they don't really "get". Richard Nixon comes to mind.

    Here are a few things that work for me - (hope I don't sound like a junior high school lecture as it's just my experience) being genuinely interested in something about each person's life - that will make "chit-chat" sound genuine because it is genuine. If you notice something somebody excels at or handled really well, say so.

    If somebody screws up at the same thing you did, even if long ago, tell them about it. People generally are relieved to know the unapproachable person messed up, too.

    Offer to help with the little things. If it's a little thing, you won't come across as intimidating.

    Having a sense of humor has saved me from going completely round the bend so many times - it's a must. Smiling (appropriate) laughing defuses tension like nothing else.

    Is there anyone on your unit you are close enough to - who can give an honest critique? It's quite possible that the person who called you "mean and rude" has a skewed perception due to his/her own personality issues.
    mitral, nurseladybug12, *4!#6, and 6 others like this.
  10. Visit  itsmejuli profile page
    1
    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
    RNGriffin likes this.
  11. Visit  RNGriffin profile page
    4
    Quote from nursel56
    I tend to be introverted and quiet on the job, too - and while I haven't been called mean or rude I have been called aloof and "thinks she's better than us". Ha! So not true!

    Anyway, I'm a firm believer that there is a flip side to all personality traits, and that when you see the need to modify the impression you're making on others you need to work with the natural personality. There is nothing more awkward than someone trying to graft on a personality they don't really "get". Richard Nixon comes to mind.

    Here are a few things that work for me - (hope I don't sound like a junior high school lecture as it's just my experience) being genuinely interested in something about each person's life - that will make "chit-chat" sound genuine because it is genuine. If you notice something somebody excels at or handled really well, say so.

    If somebody screws up at the same thing you did, even if long ago, tell them about it. People generally are relieved to know the unapproachable person messed up, too.

    Offer to help with the little things. If it's a little thing, you won't come across as intimidating.

    Having a sense of humor has saved me from going completely round the bend so many times - it's a must. Smiling (appropriate) laughing defuses tension like nothing else.

    Is there anyone on your unit you are close enough to - who can give an honest critique? It's quite possible that the person who called you "mean and rude" has a skewed perception due to his/her own personality issues.
    True to the "There is nothing more awkward than someone to graft on a personality that don't really get".
    The general consensus is show interest in your co-workers or relay relatable situations. Personally, I am under the impression that working together should allow them to know I've been there too and am still there. But, I definitely see some positive behaviors I'll attempt to divulge.
    I would have thought out of everyone the fellow nurse manager would be able to understand work ethic over likability. But, there comes a time when you don't want to feel alone in the work place.
    anotherone, chevyv, cbsncmom, and 1 other like this.
  12. Visit  RNGriffin profile page
    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.
  13. Visit  unicoRNurse profile page
    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.
  14. Visit  monkeybug profile page
    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.

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