"Too nice" to be a nurse? - page 2

I have been told by coworkers that I am "too nice" to pt's families, to docs, to care assistants, etc. But my philosophy tends to be that "you can win more flies with honey than with vinegar."... Read More

  1. by   missmercy
    HMMMM! I can't recall a time when I have had a patient or a co-worker tell me to stop being so nice to them. I can remember being told to "back off", "take a pill", go to.................................... but never "please stop being so kind, caring and concerned about me."

    As long as "nice" doesn't mean letting everyone abuse your good naturedness and take unfair advantage of you -- then forget it!! Nice is good!!! God knows we need a few more "Nice" people around! I know I have heard that I am a bit like "Pollyanna" or "Annie-ish" but that works for me. Balanced with an occasional healthy dose of sarcasm --- what a charming p ackage!!!:chuckle

    STAY NICE -- PLEASE!!
  2. by   llg
    You should probably pause and analyze what they mean by "too nice" and ask yourself why they are bothered by it. Certainly, we all want nurses to be "nice" and "caring" etc. but you have to ask yourself what exactly is it that is rubbing your co-workers the wrong way.

    I have many, many years of NICU experience and have seen many nurses -- particulary young, inexperienced ones -- do things because they think they are being "nice" but that, in fact, make the situation worse in the long run. You might want to carefully scrutinize your behavior that irritates your co-workers and ask yourself whether you are inadvertantly causing problems for the rest of the team (and the families) because of some of things you are doing.

    For example, some nurses will "bend" visiting rules, or baby holding rules, etc. or give some other little extra favors in an attempt to be nice to families. They don't see that this jeopardizes the relationship that the family has with the rest of the staff. The family may think that the flexible nurse is the "nice one" and everybody is "not nice." Some families start to play one nurse of another -- because no one wants to be thought of as being mean -- and get extra privileges. If they don't get special treatment on a regular basis, they will go the management and complain. If they do get special treatment, then other families resent it. So ... you see, when one person tries to "be nice," it can stir up a lot of problems down the line.

    The first "nice" nurse in the above example had nothing but the best intentions, but her actions created a set of interpersonal dynamics that is unhealthy for that particular family and that put many of her colleagues in awkward situations with this family and with other families. Guidelines and rules are put in place for a purpose and should generally be followed -- unless there is a compelling reason to make an exception, a reason that can be clearly explained to everyone involved.

    Is it possible that some of your "niceness" is having similar unintended consequences and causing problems for your coworkers? If the more experienced nurses in your unit are putting pressure on you to change your behavior, I would be reviewing my behavior to see if there are some aspects to the situation I hadn't thought of before. Knowing when and how to deviate from the customary practice (and cultural norms) is one of those things you learn through experience. You may need to learn "how" to be nice in ways that don't cause problems for the rest of your team -- and they may be struggling with how to articulate their observations and needs to you.

    Being nice is a terrific thing and an important quality in a nurse. You don't want to lose the niceness ... but you do need to learn how to be nice in ways that are not disruptive to the therapeutic relationships that other staff members have established with the families. The families need to have good relationships with ALL of the staff, not just a few of their favorites. By deviating too far from the cultural norms, you may be disrupting those relationships -- which is not good for the very families you are trying to help.

    Good luck,
    llg
    Last edit by llg on Aug 16, '04
  3. by   SmilingBluEyes
    There is a difference between assertiveness and aggression. I suspect these people telling you this may not know or care. You can be VERY nice, BUT assertive. It takes practice. If you are unsure, get a good book about the subject or attend a seminar. There are many of those for business purposes. Good luck! Just do NOT change who you are!
  4. by   hospicenurse
    Quote from llg
    You should probably pause and analyze what they mean by "too nice" and ask yourself why they are bothered by it. Certainly, we all want nurses to be "nice" and "caring" etc. but you have to ask yourself what exactly is it that is rubbing your co-workers the wrong way.
    Excellent post, llg. We should all strive to take a look at our own behaviors in this way - and that's not easy to do. It also may be very difficult to get your coworkers to tell you what they really mean when they say you are too nice.

    On the other hand, it's amazing how much negativity and downright meaness I see among nurses - who I guess are stressed and unhappy and unable/unwilling to do anything about it. So, after you take a good hard look at yourself and your behavior, take a good hard look at your coworkers.

    I applaud you for being nice - it's very easy to get sucked into the negativity zone.


    Gail
  5. by   Lenap
    We need more nice nurses like you! Sometimes nurses forget that we are all human and we all need human touch. Our patients end up in the hospital not because they decided its a fun place to hang out. Often they and their families are scared. They need to see a friendly face and hear supportive words. I am often told by patients and their families that I'm nice. But I am also professional and skillful (sometimes ) and I care about pts. When you are nice, patients develop trust with you much faster! I often find out that my patients from previous night asked to have me assigned to them again and I know that's not just because I'm nice! But because I know my job and I spend time with patients providing them information and teaching on what they need to know about their hospital stay and how to get better sooner. My advice is when someone tells you "You are too nice" take it as a compliment and interpret this as "You are an excellent Nurse"!
  6. by   freshlinen
    Be professional, and never be afraid to be yourself! I have been told I'm too nice, and frankly, I don't see that as a liability unless you don't keep the necessary boundries. I think it just threatens some people because they know they haven't been so "nice" sometimes, and it might make them feel like they look bad in comparison. Good Luck!
  7. by   aileenve
    What a nerve! I would ask about their opinion on nurses.
  8. by   BeamMeUpScotty
    Quote from Supercalifragilistic
    I have been told by coworkers that I am "too nice" to pt's families, to docs, to care assistants, etc. But my philosophy tends to be that "you can win more flies with honey than with vinegar." (Granted, who wants to win flies?)?
    I too have been told this very same thing. My answer is always, "What is wrong with the idea of a nice nurse?"

    I can't stand it when people say this. Personally I think they feel threatened by my calm and friendly demeanor. Don't ask why, it's just a feeling I have. Being nice does not mean being spineless and indecisive. I have met some truly awful, mean people that embody these same bad qualities that "nice" people supposedly must also possess.

    Nice is just that..."nice."

    Rock on and don't give in to those clueless folks.
  9. by   RN4KIDS
    I have been told many times that I am very nice and sweet, but having worked in pediatrics (including PICU) for 13 years, I have never found that being nice was a fault or a flaw; if anything, I feel that it has helped me communicate better with my patients. There are boundaries you have to set for yourself and your profession to prevent people from taking advantage of you, but the bottom line is that one should treat people the same way they would like to be treated . Who has ever said that a nurse has to be mean?

close