I am a new nurse at a very small town hospital, where everyone knows everyone. I live out of town in a larger city and commute to this small town, which is an hour's drive away. I really enjoy this job so far. My supervisors and preceptor have been wonderful to me. My problem is with some of my coworkers. I work night shift, where there is little supervision. Some of these coworkers act in an extremely unprofessional way most of the time. They talk about their sexual appetites, flirt relentlessly with the MD residents, (who are married with children) and talk about the "stupid" policies we have and how we shouldn't follow them. They also talk negatively about the patients and show no empathy whatsoever.
This, I can handle. I get really frustrated, however, when their talk shifts to political and religious topics. This town is overwhelmingly Catholic and conservative. I am quite liberal in my thinking and believe medical care should be available to all. I also don't believe higher ups should be pressuring nurses to go to church, etc...(which they do).
Since starting, I've been sitting at the nurses' station listening to conversations about how people on welfare should be forced to undergo routine drug screens, how teachers should all carry guns, (I'm a former high school teacher, and cringe at the thought) and how "lazy" and undeserving Medicaid patients are. I don't agree with any of this, but feel I shouldn't chime in, because I'm new and don't want to upset anyone.
I am older than I appear. I am 33 years old, but this comes as a shock to many. I am very petite. Upon meeting my coworkers for the first time, they questioned my weight openly and rudely. (I weigh 100 lbs.) Many of the coworkers who are younger than I am refer to me as "kiddo". It drives me nuts.
Most recently, I was in a situation where it came out that I am currently in grad school at our state university to become an FNP. My coworkers, many of whom are working on their BSNs, seemed irritated by this. They study during downtime, but I don't want to bring my texts to work, because I don't want them to think I feel superior (which I don't).
Making matters worse, I drive a hybrid vehicle with an Obama bumper sticker. Oh, Lord, if anyone knows that is my car, I will be in trouble! I park in an unpopular lot.
I really dislike keeping my mouth shut, but feel I must. I don't want to anger anyone, being so new at this job. I want to fit in, but fear I just don't. Should I voice my own opinions, or stay silent? I really like this beautiful facility and the nursing leadership. I just don't know how to stay true to myself while trying to become part of this group of nurses! Advice?