Are we forcing team work but shying away from relationships

by madwife2002 4,139 Views | 13 Comments Senior Moderator

Over the years there have been many changes for the better in healthcare and nursing. Along the way we have lost the natural ability to work as a team and we are reluctant to socialize with each other outside work-is there a connection with the 'poor' team work many of us experience.

  1. 2

    Are we forcing team work but shying away from relationships

    How to balance work and home life has been a challenge. As a nurse, I do not know how I have done it through the past 24 years. I have encountered many obstacles and challenges along the way and it doesnít get any easier even with all the practice I have had.

    The hours as a nurse are often long and not conducive with the Ďnormalí person who often works 9-5 with clear defined breaks and every weekend off. When I was younger I only hung out with other health care professionals or other emergency service staff because we all worked horrible shifts, every holiday known to mankind and we were all kind of crazy.

    Back when I started nursing, shops didnít open on a Sunday and they closed early during the week. Shops didnít open on the major holidays and there was no such thing as a 24 hour openings.

    This meant that nobody in society actually understood the hours nurses kept or the concept of shift rotation. We would go out partying after work; there were social clubs just for us. We talked Ďshopí all the time; we laughed a lot at work and at play. It was fun or so it appeared all the time. We worked hard and we played hard, and we laughed a lot. Most nurses worked rotational shifts; we worked 8 hour shifts which could mean a 10 day straight if you wanted a weekend off, you would work a mixture of earlies and lates during that 10 day straight. We also worked 6 weeks days and 2 weeks nights. We all moaned and complained when we went on nights but we had no choice we had to do what we were told.

    If you had a family some nurses had to give up nursing because they could not manage child care and working the shifts. Nursing was defiantly not child friendly unless you had fantastic home support you could not work. Often Managers and charge nurses would go part time and drop back down to being Ďjustí the RN on the floor. There was no fast track to nursing in those days and managers had been floor RNs for many years themselves before promotion. Child care was either done by family, a nanny or child minder or you paid through the nose for sending your child to child care facilities, and they were not nurse friendly and often opened way after your shift started.

    I think this is easier in todayís society because a lot of jobs now have shifts and strange hours so child care facilities and child minders have to be more flexible.
    What I have noticed over the years is that having a baby now does not mean a loss of career with new mothers often returning to work very quickly after the birth of their baby.

    Most career nurses donít step down out of their charge or managers position, so less promotion and movement of staff. Rarely do we socialize outside of work, the social clubs have disappeared and we donít seem to have a lot of fun in our everyday life.

    Moaning and complaining have taken over the laughter and fun we would have even when we were run off our feet. Nurses will often frown on other nurses who appear to be laughing and having fun, often believing they canít be working as hard as they are, or their assignment must be unfair.

    Social activities outside work are rarely planned as we donít always like our co-workers so why would we go out with them. Years ago if you made a list or a plan everybody was involved today few write their names down and it is always the same ones. I know I am generalizing, before you shoot me down.

    As usual I am giving you food for thought, are we as a nursing society so detached from each other that we do not have fun together so we cannot work better as a team. I ask this because we work so hard now to get each other to be team players, yet years ago we all worked together as a team is this because we connected more on a social level or was it because moaning and complaining was not tolerated so you didnít do it? Team work was a expectation and we didnít seem to work on it, formal education was not needed!

    We are all so much more educated, we expect more from everybody while putting in a lot less. We are all so frightened of having a relationship with our co-worker than we donít invest in their wellbeing. It is all about ĎMEí!
    Last edit by Joe V on Dec 20, '12
    irisheyesRsmilin and Joe V like this.
  2. Read more articles from madwife2002

  3. About madwife2002

    madwife2002 joined Jan '05 - from 'Ohio'. madwife2002 has '24' year(s) of experience and specializes in 'RN, RM, BSN'. Posts: 9,464 Likes: 5,192; Learn more about madwife2002 by visiting their allnursesPage


    Find Similar Topics

    13 Comments so far...

  4. 0
    I agree with a lot of what you have said. However I think times have changed, some things for the better and some for the worse.

    I remember training and living in the Nurses Home, social club etc. As a young single person in a big city it was great.

    However fast forward 22 years(where did that go?) and 20 yrs of marriage and 2 young kids later I have really no desire to socialise with people from work. I have been there only 1-2 years and I do notice that the younger girls/guys tend to socialise more. My social circle is people in my now home town, a good 25 mins away from work.I use that 25 mins to destress from work.

    I did nights (with good hubby support and an Au Pair) when the kids were young(toddlers) and then after going casual(prn) 3 yrs in the States I worked around hubby's schedule and moved overseas, back to rotating shifts. After 1 yr of this I quit and went casual...best thing I ever did, I am off weekends, holidays and important family events, kids things at school ect.
  5. 2
    The "good ole days" sound pretty awful to me. Rotating 8s and no societal understanding in exchange for backslapping coworkers while boozing and talking shop, then whispering about whether hubby can support Suzy if she gets knocked up and has to quit?

    No deal. Who wants that? I'll take the modern era any day.

    After the patient care aspect, the screwed up schedule is why I chose nursing. It supports my outdoor pursuits. If my coworkers want to play outside with me and can keep up, they are invited! Otherwise, I'll see them at the holiday party or at work.

    Nursing is a 24 hour job, but that doesn't mean my primary socializing needs to be with coworkers. It is pretty sweet that it doesn't have to be that way.
    anotherone and Not_A_Hat_Person like this.
  6. 0
    Quote from madwife2002
    How to balance work and home life has been a challenge. As a nurse, I do not know how I have done it through the past 24 years. I have encountered many obstacles and challenges along the way and it doesn’t get any easier even with all the practice I have had.

    The hours as a nurse are often long and not conducive with the ‘normal’ person who often works 9-5 with clear defined breaks and every weekend off. When I was younger I only hung out with other health care professionals or other emergency service staff because we all worked horrible shifts, every holiday known to mankind and we were all kind of crazy.

    Back when I started nursing, shops didn’t open on a Sunday and they closed early during the week. Shops didn’t open on the major holidays and there was no such thing as a 24 hour openings.

    This meant that nobody in society actually understood the hours nurses kept or the concept of shift rotation. We would go out partying after work; there were social clubs just for us. We talked ‘shop’ all the time; we laughed a lot at work and at play. It was fun or so it appeared all the time. We worked hard and we played hard, and we laughed a lot. Most nurses worked rotational shifts; we worked 8 hour shifts which could mean a 10 day straight if you wanted a weekend off, you would work a mixture of earlies and lates during that 10 day straight. We also worked 6 weeks days and 2 weeks nights. We all moaned and complained when we went on nights but we had no choice we had to do what we were told.

    If you had a family some nurses had to give up nursing because they could not manage child care and working the shifts. Nursing was defiantly not child friendly unless you had fantastic home support you could not work. Often Managers and charge nurses would go part time and drop back down to being ‘just’ the RN on the floor. There was no fast track to nursing in those days and managers had been floor RNs for many years themselves before promotion. Child care was either done by family, a nanny or child minder or you paid through the nose for sending your child to child care facilities, and they were not nurse friendly and often opened way after your shift started.

    I think this is easier in today’s society because a lot of jobs now have shifts and strange hours so child care facilities and child minders have to be more flexible.
    What I have noticed over the years is that having a baby now does not mean a loss of career with new mothers often returning to work very quickly after the birth of their baby.

    Most career nurses don’t step down out of their charge or managers position, so less promotion and movement of staff. Rarely do we socialize outside of work, the social clubs have disappeared and we don’t seem to have a lot of fun in our everyday life.

    Moaning and complaining have taken over the laughter and fun we would have even when we were run off our feet. Nurses will often frown on other nurses who appear to be laughing and having fun, often believing they can’t be working as hard as they are, or their assignment must be unfair.

    Social activities outside work are rarely planned as we don’t always like our co-workers so why would we go out with them. Years ago if you made a list or a plan everybody was involved today few write their names down and it is always the same ones. I know I am generalizing, before you shoot me down.

    As usual I am giving you food for thought, are we as a nursing society so detached from each other that we do not have fun together so we cannot work better as a team. I ask this because we work so hard now to get each other to be team players, yet years ago we all worked together as a team is this because we connected more on a social level or was it because moaning and complaining was not tolerated so you didn’t do it? Team work was a expectation and we didn’t seem to work on it, formal education was not needed!

    We are all so much more educated, we expect more from everybody while putting in a lot less. We are all so frightened of having a relationship with our co-worker than we don’t invest in their wellbeing. It is all about ‘ME’!
    I think it depends on where you work. I socialize a lot with the nurses I work with. There are 4 nurses in the non-profit, and so we sort of band together. I'm also very close to the nurses I worked with at my last hospital job. We celebrate kids' birthdays together, and we have friendships off the unit. I love my current and former coworkers. I went to law school for 3 grueling years, and I barely have any contact with any of my former classmates, but I still consider nurses I worked with in my very first job in the late 90s to be my friends. Other nurses understand me, I find, better than they general population. They get my macabre sense of humor.
  7. 5
    I think we lost our teamwork in two places: A) they stole the nursing desk from us and gave us WOWs so we can't confer or sociallize and B) they hijacked the term and used it for code talk to make you do the work of the weakest link on the chain. I am not slow and lazy. It is not my fault if management hired slow and her buddy lazy to triage people. NOT MY FAULT. Its not my PROBLEM and not my job to make up for it. When I triage 4 people for every ONE person the other nurse triages, its not my fault.

    Second, I don't like socializing at work. I think it leads to cliques and I think that's bad. We work together. Either we socialize as a group or not at all.
    brandy1017, SummitRN, anotherone, and 2 others like this.
  8. 4
    Quote from VICEDRN
    B) they hijacked the term and used it for code talk to make you do the work of the weakest link on the chain.
    yep, teamwork means you do all the work
  9. 0
    TEAM work rarely happens by accident...good managers try to build team.

    It is not as easy as it sounds and requires that the team members understand what their professional relationships are and that they find peace in some level of disagreement and conflict that leads to a plan of action which is supported by ALL team members.

    Strong professional relationships are crucial to building team and those relationships MUST be based in trust.
  10. 2
    madwife- I remember those days- they were great. I was not in on the partying, but even if we weren't, that was ok and accepted. We sure did have a good time at work. And it was amazing- the work actually got done. We all had the same code of ?behavior/rules. There was none of this It's about ME better know as "selfishness and self absorption, narcissism. It was long before that ever came into play. There was none of this," leave it for the next shift" crap, either. This is the biggest breeder of discontent and resentment. The work place has become a toxic waste DUMP. I have never heard the word 'dumping' on someone back then as much as I do now. There was an interest in being a "good coworker"- whether you went out partying or not.

    There was no mantra and justification of: Nursing is a 24 hr job, so that's the go ahead and ok to leave it for the next nurse and not feel any guilt about it This is where your work habits and professionalism came into play and how you were judged by your peers and coworkers. This where you gained that ever so precious 'proving' yourself and becoming 'accepted into the nursing fold' . Back then you completed your assignment. You didn't leave the next shift with a 100cc left in the IV, an infiltrated IV, the patient full of poo poo, short of linen, your end of shift IBPB hanging for the next nurse coming on to flush, leave calls out to doctors for the next nurse to pick up and then get chewed out because they weren't there to witness the issue so they are scrambling around trying to peice things together, left over labs to report at ungodly hours, a unit or 2 of blood to hang and no consent form for the blood obtained. This IS how you were judged by your coworkers!!! You were not a "slob" of a nurse. That is sloppy, poor nursing care and it is unprofessional conduct!!! It was not "OK" and it was not "Nursing is a 24 hr job" leave it for the next shift. Common courtesty, respect for the next nurse after you picking up your team, manners, pride in your work, good work ethic, Team work= some one the rest of the staff wants to work with!!

    Back then-You knew what was expected of you by your co workers and the manager. There was none of this- "it changes day to day"- so yes, there was more "stability" in the workplace and work places were healthier mentally because of it.

    Today there s too many fragile egos and resentment. Back then, if your didn't know something, you asked some one. None of this BS'ing and faking it- No one can possibly know everything, and there will always be someone who know more than you and someone who knows less than you= maturity.

    Managers have to stop bullying their staff, talking down to them like they were children, and have some respect for their nurses. This is something that has stopped also. POO POO starts at the top.
    madwife2002 and anotherone like this.
  11. 2
    I get weird looks for NOT caring about co workers' baby showers or going away parties and not wanting to bring "something in". As if I would go hang out with them. i am leery of doing this. Because if there is a falling out, this person knows alot about me and I have to work with him/her. I like to have my life compartimentalized . There are co -workers I talk to at the desk when it is slower. but sometimes I DO NOT want to talk to anyone and do not like talking to most people. ask me a nursing or work question and I will answer but I don't want to answer any personal questions or talk about anything else. I have seen nursing units without a being desk. Just a small one for the clerk and then a few COWs or computers mounted on the walls. some lower level so people can stil sit and chart but just spread out.


    The team is only as good as the worst person on it. lately management has been hiring a lot of lazy and slow people, that isn't my problem. I don't mind helping competent people who are running thier butts off. BUT I HATE when people expect me to do their work because they are slow, incompetent or get too overwhelmed with a NORMAL assignment.
    brandy1017 and madwife2002 like this.
  12. 0
    Quote from kcmylorn
    madwife- I remember those days- they were great. I was not in on the partying, but even if we weren't, that was ok and accepted. We sure did have a good time at work. And it was amazing- the work actually got done. We all had the same code of ?behavior/rules. There was none of this It's about ME better know as "selfishness and self absorption, narcissism. It was long before that ever came into play. There was none of this," leave it for the next shift" crap, either. This is the biggest breeder of discontent and resentment. The work place has become a toxic waste DUMP. I have never heard the word 'dumping' on someone back then as much as I do now. There was an interest in being a "good coworker"- whether you went out partying or not.

    There was no mantra and justification of: Nursing is a 24 hr job, so that's the go ahead and ok to leave it for the next nurse and not feel any guilt about it This is where your work habits and professionalism came into play and how you were judged by your peers and coworkers. This where you gained that ever so precious 'proving' yourself and becoming 'accepted into the nursing fold' . Back then you completed your assignment. You didn't leave the next shift with a 100cc left in the IV, an infiltrated IV, the patient full of poo poo, short of linen, your end of shift IBPB hanging for the next nurse coming on to flush, leave calls out to doctors for the next nurse to pick up and then get chewed out because they weren't there to witness the issue so they are scrambling around trying to peice things together, left over labs to report at ungodly hours, a unit or 2 of blood to hang and no consent form for the blood obtained. This IS how you were judged by your coworkers!!! You were not a "slob" of a nurse. That is sloppy, poor nursing care and it is unprofessional conduct!!! It was not "OK" and it was not "Nursing is a 24 hr job" leave it for the next shift. Common courtesty, respect for the next nurse after you picking up your team, manners, pride in your work, good work ethic, Team work= some one the rest of the staff wants to work with!!

    Back then-You knew what was expected of you by your co workers and the manager. There was none of this- "it changes day to day"- so yes, there was more "stability" in the workplace and work places were healthier mentally because of it.

    Today there s too many fragile egos and resentment. Back then, if your didn't know something, you asked some one. None of this BS'ing and faking it- No one can possibly know everything, and there will always be someone who know more than you and someone who knows less than you= maturity.

    Managers have to stop bullying their staff, talking down to them like they were children, and have some respect for their nurses. This is something that has stopped also. POO POO starts at the top.
    Great post!!!! It is so true you hit the nail on the head!


Top