Tips for Nurses: Dealing with annoying coworkers - page 4

For me, the hardest type of nurse to deal with is a "free" charge who sits at the desk, reading, talking or knitting while her coworkers run around like chickens with their heads cut off. Not only... Read More

  1. by   queen777
    Quote from peoplenurse rn
    You are incredibly insightful with your comments! After learning the hard way myself, again and again (!) I have come to realize the same things about the way I handle myself and co-workers. Thank you!!
    I knew I was a good nurse. It wasn't until years down the road of being one that my supervior actually gave me the credit. He said I was better than most of his RNs! That felt really good.
    Thanks for your compliment.
  2. by   Skeetersmom119
    Quote from Bugaloo
    Interleukin, I appreciate your thoughts, but I would be willing to bet that many nurses who use this forum have dealt with upper management that really did not want to deal with complaints from floor nurses.

    In the facilities that I have worked in, some nurses are really just a "warm body" to supplement staffing. Management is fully aware of the work ethics of these types of nurses, but choose to look the other way rather than having to possibly dismiss them and find someone who will take their place.

    In the area that I work in, even with 2 junior colleges putting out new grads every year, and several large universities within an hour's drive from here, the nursing shortage is very real. I have worked with nurses that have had complaints filed against them for years and they are still there, often in positions of authority.

    I guess when something tragic happens, management will have to answer for keeping these nurses. Until then, they prefer to play the "wait and see" game.

    In the past, I have been the one to try to stand up and say "This is not right" only to be told that I am stepping out of bounds, been made to float to other units more often than others, and written up for minor infractions.

    I have learned a lot from these experiences, but I have to say that, if I want to keep my job, be treated fairly, and preserve my reputation, I have learned to just KEEP QUIET. It makes my life so very much easier.

    I take good care of my patients, help others when I can and avoid management at all costs. Being in the field as long as I have, I have learned to pick my battles. Some are just NOT worth the hassle.

    I hope that you have worked in facilities that are sensitive to the nurse's needs, fire the nurses who need to be fired, and listened to their nurse's concerns, but so far, that has not been my experience.
    I agree with you. Been there, done that.
  3. by   queen777
    Quote from Skeetersmom119
    I agree with you. Been there, done that.
    Why in the world is it like this? My first job as a nurse, the supervisors were totally out of line and made my job just as difficult as they could. I was 38 yrs. old, but very naive because I didn't have any prior experience in the medical field. But I was willing to learn and I loved my patients.
    Guess this ill feeling will be with me forever. It thought nursing was a tean effort. So the nurses who did help me like turning pts, had to sneak to their room to do so. How elementary!
  4. by   lookingbeyond
    Quote from Bugaloo
    One thing they don't teach you in nursing school is how to deal with annoying coworkers. If you work in a hospital, you probably work 12-hour shifts. Those 12 hours can zip right by or drag on FOREVER depending on many factors, one of which is the type of nurses that you work with.

    For me, the hardest type of nurse to deal with is a "free" charge who sits at the desk, reading, talking or knitting while her coworkers run around like chickens with their heads cut off. Not only are they not helping out, they are getting "charge pay" to sit there and do nothing. In my years of nursing, I have worked with many nurses like this. And this what I have learned. It will not do any good to address this issue with your floor manager. She is the one who schedules this nurse as charge nurse and she is fully aware of how she behaves. To complain about her will only make you look like a troublemaker. The way that I now deal with this issue is to simply do my job, ignoring the fact that the charge nurse is not helping out. If something happens during the shift that warrants notifying the charge nurse, let her know what the problem is and what you are going to do about it. Then document in your notes that the charge nurse has been made aware of the situation. If the situation escalates without the charge nurse giving you some guidance, then let the house supervisor know what is going on, and document that as well. Avoid complaining to the house supervisor about the charge nurse. Just inform him/her that the charge nurse is aware of the situation. It can be very frustrating, but as long as you keep your cool, document well and continue to care for your patients, you will have the upper hand. If you end up overwhelmed and there are too many things going on at one time, nicely ask your coworkers for their assistance. Most of them are more than willing to help you out if they are caught up, knowing that you would do the same for them.

    Another annoying coworker is the nurse who talks constantly. She will tell you her whole life history, share personal information that you would really not hear and disrupt your train of thought entirely. If you must, move to another area to gather your thoughts, document in your nurses notes or call doctors. If you cannot do that, continue to do your charting and answer her with "Uh-huh" without making eye contact. Hopefully, she will see that you are busy and eventually stop talking. Another tactic I have used is to look up, and sweetly ask, "Are you already done with your charting? You must really be on the ball!". Most of the time, they have not started their charting and that snaps them back to reality.

    Lastly, we have all worked with "The Complainer". Every unit has one. They complain about their assignment, the nurse aides, the weather and anything else that comes to mind. Another trait that "The Complainer" has is chronic grumpiness. I usually try to distract them with humor or jokes. When that does not work, I distance myself from them as much as possible. Negativity is catching. It can sneak right up on you before you know it. Never join them in their complaint tirades because it will reflect poorly on you. If you think that they are generally unhappy, you might ask them if there is something that you can do to help them out. But beware, sometimes these types of people use these complaints to solicit sympathy so that they can borrow money, or ask for inappropriate favors. Usually the best way to deal with this coworker is to keep to yourself, avoid excessive conversation with them and stay positive.

    None of us are perfect, but in order to stay on good terms with your fellow coworkers, here are some tips:
    • Stay positive
    • Be willing to help out
    • Don't gossip
    • Don't be a tattle tale
    • Recognize when a fellow staffer is overwhelmed and offer assistance
    • Keep complaints to a minimum
    • Help out your nurse aides whenever possible
    • Be supportive of new nurses
    • Treat everyone with respect even if they don't deserve it.
    Very good advice. Thanks!
  5. by   aloevera
    that is good advice....wonderful tips....another one is the "know it all"....when I go in and see that she is my co-worker, sigh, sigh, I just distance myself from her, too...we usually have 2 RN's on my unit and we split the pt. she always has something to say or tell me about mine..very annoying......I wonder how she has time to take care of hers when she is constantly questioning me about mine...???? what is with these people????
  6. by   queen777
    Yep, don't say anything to the floor manager is right. Just wish I had known that bit of info back then. Doesn't matter now, I got out of nursing. I miss it in so many ways, but I had so many terrible experiences nursing that it doesn't even begin to out weight the good. I was very timid and I learned the hard way, that you certainly can't be that. But after that awful first job I learned. I went to agency nursing and loved it. I was the charge nurse and I helped others and made it known at the beginning of the shift for anyone who needed help just let me know.
    Made life a whole lot sweeter!
  7. by   econurse
    hi interleukin, well said "your patients and their familes are our sole employees. Sad to say that in my ambiance we have so called
    managers who are so regimental, who don't have even a clue to be one oh pardon me not to all us, sound cenical but its true.