Too smart for my own good... :-/ - page 3

by AndrewSRN

3,015 Views | 28 Comments

Hey to the members of "allnurses", this is my first topic/post. I come to this forum as a place to vent, confide, and connect with other nurses, so hopefuly I have come to the right place. Cutting to the chase, I was brought... Read More


  1. 3
    Quote from loriangel14
    [and to "slow down", can you believe that? Slow down in an ER?]


    [But not in my ER. I am in a 9 bed unit. Some days we don't see a pt until after 12pm starting at 7am.]

    Both quotes from the OP.



    Which is it? You can't have it both ways.
    This comment is unfair. I understand what he is saying perfectly.
    sharpeimom, anotherone, and morte like this.
  2. 2
    OP, I feel I have gleaned enough about what is happening here. My advice is to quiet down. You can look up all the arcane facts you like, but it isn't necessary to share with you coworkers what you are researching. Keep it to yourself. If they ask, say "oh, nothing." Or, "Oh, something I was confused about," and change the subject. Don't rub their faces in the fact that you apparently have a greater intellectual curiosity than they. They aren't going to thank you for it. I disagree with the tidbit of advice about sharing trivia as if you were collecting it in case you were going to be on a game show. Just learn it and keep it to yourself. There is no reason to let them know you know something/anything unless they ask, and then answer only the question that is asked. Do not volunteer additional information/data. It will not win you respect or friendships, I assure you. No one likes a genius, remember that. They are always outcasts, and right now you need to fit in. I agree with the advice regarding listening to their instructions as well, even about things you already know. You will likely be surprised about what you learn anyway, and other things will be reinforced. You do need to fit in and get along, and you won't if you keep behaving like a precocious nerd, lol. Believe me, I know a thing or two about being the smartest person in the room. It isn't easy. Good luck.
    EmmaZ06 and anotherone like this.
  3. 0
    That was his point, it is already slow, how much slower ya wanna get???
    Quote from loriangel14
    [and to "slow down", can you believe that? Slow down in an ER?]


    [But not in my ER. I am in a 9 bed unit. Some days we don't see a pt until after 12pm starting at 7am.]

    Both quotes from the OP.



    Which is it? You can't have it both ways.
  4. 0
    there are a lot of unhinged personalities. if someone teaches you something you already know either say , "ok ! thanks" for now.......... dont share too much with coworkers..... it is a very cut throat jon. although , unlike business or waitressing you are not competing for anything, many nurses love to one up each other, show off, assert their "vast" knowlede etc.... it is very humerous to me. sometimes a new grad is very annoying as a know it all that knows nothing!!!! other times older ( hears of experience , not age) nurses may get scared, realizing how replaceable we all are
  5. 0
    Quote from morte
    That was his point, it is already slow, how much slower ya wanna get???
    I meant first he is saying that there is no way ER would ever be slow and then he is saying it is slow.
  6. 3
    Quote from AndrewSRN
    Cutting to the chase, I was brought into my director's office today for a 90 day evaluation of my new position as an ER nurse coming from a nursing home in the same facility. As all evaluations go, your strengths and weaknesses are reviewed. It basically went well, but something that was said to me in so many words perplexed me and actually concerned me. My major weakness is basically that I am too smart for my own good, my directors words! Now, in context, this was not referring to being cocky or over-confident. This was referring to other nurses complaining about me "not listening". Meaning that when they would want to teach me something(being the new guy) I would already know what they are going to say in most, not all by any means, but most situations. I was told that I need to act like I know nothing and "just go with it". I have been told by a few nurses that I work with that I "think too much" and that I need to put what I learned in school in the back of my mind and start learning now, and to "slow down", can you believe that? Slow down in an ER? I have actually been told by a nurse in my department that I am too smart to be a nurse. Huh??

    What the heck is going on here. I am very frustrated right now. I don't know if working in a rural southern town has anything to do with my situation, but I feel that my knowledge and capability is not being utilized because its stepping on some other's egos. I know that there are ways to be diplomatic and tactful, after all I am the low man on the totem pole, I just don't know. It is just hard for me to believe that in a field where our knowledge base is paramount to safe practice is looked down upon in any way.
    Generally, when someone is told they're "too smart for their own good," it IS referring to be too cocky or over confident. That is what is happening when the preceptor is trying to teach you something and you're not listening. Coming from a LTC background into ER, there's no way you could always know what the experienced ER nurse is trying to teach you. Not in 90 days, not in 90 weeks. Probably not even in 90 months. ER is always changing, there's always something different and one person, no matter how smart, cannot have seen it all.

    When an orientee won't listen, that's a major concern. There is nothing more dangerous that the nurse who thinks he knows everything . . . it's only when you realize how little you DO know that you can become a safe practitioner. And it's really, really difficult to teach the nurse who thinks he already knows everything.

    I think the advice to "act like you know nothing and just go with it" is probably over simplified -- but the gist of it is good advice. When someone is trying to teach you something, pay attention. You may already know what they're trying to teach you, but more likely you know just a piece of it and your understanding is lacking. If your preceptor is trying to teach you to set up for a chest tube placement THIS way rather than THAT way, set it up THIS way and ask questions about why THIS way is better than THAT. It could be as simple as physician preference (which you won't know about if you don't listen) or it could be a major safety issue or a huge change in practice sparked by a sentinel event.

    Even if you're sure your preceptor isn't going to tell you something you don't already know, you should still listen. Here's why: You could be wrong. If this IS old news, here's an opportunity to find out why things are done the way they are. Could be there's a really good reason that hasn't occurred to you because you don't yet have the experience to understand it. It's good manners to listen to your preceptor, and NOT listening is not a way to build good working relationships. No matter how smart you are, you're always going to need a little help now and again, and good working relationships are important.

    Once you're off orientation and have a little experience under your belt, your knowledge and capability can and will be utilized. But not until you've made it off orientation, and not listening to the preceptors is a very good way to NOT make it off orientation.


  7. 1
    Quote from llg
    It's a people -- an aspect of emotional intelligence -- to navigate the politics of being the new member of a team. You need to show them that you (a) are not a "know it all" and (b) that you will listen to their advice (based on years of experience that you don't have) and (c) that you can fit in and be a member of the team.

    Men's groups have similar processes, don't they? Don't you have to "go along with the guys" to fit into a sports team ... or a milatary unit ... fraternity ... etc.? Aren't there rituals of "male bonding?"

    What you are experiencing now is a similar situation. You need to "fit in" first ... and then once they get to know you and feel comfortable with you, you will be able to exhibit more individuality. Don't make a big deal of it and just focus on blending in and showing a little respect for their experience. It will soon pass if you handle it well.
    ^^^^ THIS!!^^^^^

    Srsly, there are all types of "intelligence". Focusing on minutia and "I'm smarter than you" actions reveal a lack of EQ - which will come back and bit your in the hiney when you least expect it. Or, when you desperately need someone on your team to give you some back-up or cover for a bathroom break.
    loriangel14 likes this.
  8. 0
    Quote from AndrewSRN
    just an example. I was looking up why gtt was used as the abbreviation for drops, and others around me were telling me. "Why do you care". "Who cares". "You think too much". "gtt means drops, that's it, move on." I just don't get it. I think I just live in a society that is scared of intellect and in fact looks down upon it. I mean just look our school system. What is popular and cool is the contrary.

    I am just frustrated I guess.
    Why make a big deal out of it? If someone asks you why you would look up the derivation of gtt just say "Because I want to know" or something like that and let it drop.

    Why does it frustrate you that others in your department seem (by your estimation) to be less intellectually curious? Maybe they're thinking "Why waste your time on (this) when you could be spending time looking up information on (that)?"

    I wonder if your co-workers are picking up on your vibe of feeling like you have to "dumb yourself down" when dealing with others. (Your words.)
    Last edit by OCNRN63 on Feb 14, '13
  9. 2
    I see this a tad different. If you are looking up stuff that has intellectual appeal, but not critical to the situation at hand, then I would say that you need to focus a bit. WHY it is called something, and HOW you do it are 2 different things. I would concentrate on the hows and not the whys. The whys can be looked up on your own time, IF it is not critical to the situation at hand. Critical thinking develops when your become seasoned in what you need to do, when you need to do it, and how it is going to be done. Efficiently and quickly for the patient's safety. If a nurse is showing you how to set up an IV, and your mind is on "I wonder why it is called gtts" or even something like "I wonder who designed these IV caths" then you are not focusing on the task at hand. Now, there are nurses who really think well when they know all of the backround information. Helps them to process. But in an ER, busy or not, it is perhaps not the place to process information that way. Perhaps you need to re-learn and orientation is the best time to do that. I think it is awesome that you are an intellectual. However, you need to focus on clinical competencies and task at hand. Not sure any of this makes sense, but I think the bottom line is that when you are learning (or being show stuff you may already know) to dismiss in search of why something is called what it is may help you in trivia night, but will not help you when you need to get a drip up and going successfully.
    OCNRN63 and llg like this.


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