Colleagues Waiting for me to Fail and Quit

  1. Dear Nurse Beth,

    I started my first nursing position three months ago. I am working in a small 6 bed ED.At first, I was very excited about my new position. It seemed that everyone was very kind, but after 3 months I believe that they do not like me.

    I feel everyone is waiting for me to fail, quit or mess up so they can get rid of me. I do not know why nurses are so horrible to their new employees. I don't know if I should continue to work through this and prove to the other employees and
    manager that I am capable of doing this job.

    I really just want to find something else to do all together, I don't even want to be a nurse if this is the environment I will be in for years and years.



    Dear They Want to Get Rid of me,

    I'm sorry you're so unhappy in your job. You are out of the Honeymoon Phase and in Reality Shock.

    Without any examples of what is happening, it's hard to say what's going on. Is it possible they are watching to see if you can perform independently and safely under stress? Testing you?


    Is this a tight-knit group? In my experience, small units, ED and other specialty units can tend to attract strong "personalities" and be harder to break into.
    Knowing this, some hiring managers look for applicants with a bit of thick skin and spirit who are resilient.


    I'm not saying it's right. I'm saying I know how it can be, and what I've learned.


    I would give it six months to a year, for your own good. Your competence and confidence will increase and you do not want a short tenure on your resume.


    I know you're determined- you made it through nursing school! You can do this.


    Be open to the possibility that your perception may change again. At first, everyone was kind, after three months they were not, and in another three months, they may be tolerable.

    Let's hope.


    Three months in nursing is not in any way enough time to decide whether or not to leave the profession. This is not the environment
    you will be in for years and years, trust me.



    Best wishes,


    Nurse Beth



    Author, "Your Last Nursing Class: How to Land Your First Nursing Job"...and your next!
    Last edit by tnbutterfly on Nov 10
    •  
  2. 3 Comments

  3. by   Ruby Vee
    [QUOTE=Nurse Beth;9629320]Dear Nurse Beth,

    I started my first nursing position three months ago. I am working in a small 6 bed ED.
    At first, I was very excited about my new position. It seemed that everyone was very kind, but after 3 months I believe that they do not like me.

    I feel everyone is waiting for me to fail, quit or mess up so they can get rid of me. I do not know why nurses are so horrible to their new employees. I don't know if I should continue to work through this and prove to the other employees and manager that I am capable of doing this job.

    I really just want to find something else to do all together, I don't even want to be a nurse if this is the environment I will be in for years and years.




    It may not seem like it, but your colleagues probably haven't wasted any of their energy hoping that you're going to fail, quit or mess up. In fact, I'm fairly sure NO ONE wants you to mess up, because those patients you're caring for are everyone's patients. Part of our job as experienced employees is to keep our patients safe -- and that means safe from new nurses who might mess up just as much as it means safe from anything else you could name.

    Your colleagues may indeed not like you, but that's not the same as waiting for you to fail, quit or mess up. My colleagues on my first job didn't like me, either. It's because I wasn't very likable. As a new grad, I was terrified of making a mistake. I took each and every little task with the utmost seriousness, I double, triple and quadruple checked everything and I pestered them with questions that I already knew the answer to (but didn't trust my own knowing.) About a year in, I started to feel more comfortable with the job, and I started to loosen up somewhat. I was able to spare a smile for my colleagues and take that moment to chat with them. I became more likable -- and they began to behave as though they liked me! (Low self-confidence and low self-esteem will make this unlikability issue even more pronounced PLUS alters your perception of how people react to you.)

    The first year of nursing is miserable -- we used to call it "Reality Shock" and it was required that we read about it in our last semester of school. The experience you are having right now in your job and with your coworkers is Reality Shock. Keep plugging away at the job, and you'll get through that first year. But take a lesson from someone who went through it AND was disliked by her coworkers -- take that extra minute the first time you see someone that day to say hello and to chat a bit.

    Thirty seconds of chat and a warm smile helps workplace relationships. Act as if you are happy to see that person; she's one of your favorite coworkers. As how her commute went this morning; the traffic was SO backed up. Ask how her garden is doing with the rain (or lack of rain), how her grandson's little league game went -- anything she's mentioned to you or you've heard her mentioning to others. If you know absolutely nothing about your colleague, ask what they did last weekend or if they have any great plans for their day off tomorrow. Then you'll have something to chat about the next time you see them. And they will think you like them. Most of us are much more likely to like someone we think likes us and LESS likely to like someone we think doesn't like us. So change their perception.
  4. by   ALRLPN
    I know what you mean, how rough it can be. I have always tried my best, had good intentions and still there were always those nurses who were mean rude and unhelpful. I came to the conclusion it was more of a personal problem and possibly even intimidation. All these older nurses seeing fresh faces coming in, they may feel threatened especially because a lot of us continue to go to school and have knowledge that may have taken them decades to acquire on the floor. I have learned to use those situations to my advantage, they expect you to get upset or stop asking questions or whatever the goal is and you have to show them your a strong nurse and can look passed these issues and put the patient and your job first, not petty drama. come out as the bigger person, I have worked in a lot of place as an LPN, and now i'm reaching the end of my schooling for my RN and it doesn't matter how much you do, people with that type of personality won't change, and you can't let it ruin nursing for you. Just be aware of it and ignore, because when they aren't getting the reaction they want they will most likely cut it out,(kinda like children ..) and probably find new prey unfortunatley. Nursing is brutal, and even more so when you don't expect it to be that way...when push comes to shove people have no problem throwing one another under the bus, for anything... that's why i continue my education so I can end up in a position to address and change these types of problems in healthcare.
  5. by   Ruby Vee
    Quote from ALRLPN
    I know what you mean, how rough it can be. I have always tried my best, had good intentions and still there were always those nurses who were mean rude and unhelpful. I came to the conclusion it was more of a personal problem and possibly even intimidation. All these older nurses seeing fresh faces coming in, they may feel threatened especially because a lot of us continue to go to school and have knowledge that may have taken them decades to acquire on the floor. I have learned to use those situations to my advantage, they expect you to get upset or stop asking questions or whatever the goal is and you have to show them your a strong nurse and can look passed these issues and put the patient and your job first, not petty drama. come out as the bigger person, I have worked in a lot of place as an LPN, and now i'm reaching the end of my schooling for my RN and it doesn't matter how much you do, people with that type of personality won't change, and you can't let it ruin nursing for you. Just be aware of it and ignore, because when they aren't getting the reaction they want they will most likely cut it out,(kinda like children ..) and probably find new prey unfortunatley. Nursing is brutal, and even more so when you don't expect it to be that way...when push comes to shove people have no problem throwing one another under the bus, for anything... that's why i continue my education so I can end up in a position to address and change these types of problems in healthcare.
    If you meet one rude person, you've met a rude person. If everyone you meet is rude, brutal, mean or throwing you under the bus -- YOU must be the rude person. And your ageism is showing.

close