Anxious About New DON/Coworkers

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by SilverBells SilverBells, BSN Member Nurse

Specializes in Rehab/Nurse Manager. Has 7 years experience.


So, I just found out that the DON, Infection Control Nurse and Staff Educator at my job are leaving for sure in December. I have another coworker who has a job offer elsewhere and is also thinking about leaving. I've always gotten along very well with all of them, so this is is disappointing news. 

Up until this point, it seemed as if my anxiety was getting better under control.  However, last night I couldn't sleep because I'm so nervous about the changes. Not only am I disappointed about them leaving, but I have a lot of worries about anyone who is replacing them. Will I be able to meet their expectations? Will we work well together? Or is it going to be a painful transition?

I've spoken with other coworkers,  and none of them seem to be as anxious about these individuals leaving as I am. In fact, some of them don't view these people as positively as I do. I had mentioned that I wouldn't lose any sleep if the therapy director or social worker were leaving--and, in fact, would prefer they were the ones going--but it seemed as if colleagues were reluctant to agree with this. So maybe I'm overestimating the impact that these individuals have had on the workplace. Also, some colleagues had suggested I apply for the DON position but I don’t feel that's the right move for me at this point.  

I spoke with my therapist who had suggested viewing them as acquaintances who are simply moving on to different opportunities, rather than anyone I would be relying on. She warned me about not getting attached to any one particular person or group of people. She also suggested focusing on the here and now, and not worrying too much about the future.  

Anyway, while my therapist's suggestions seemed reasonable, I'm wondering what thoughts anyone else might have in making the transition easier and adjusting to a new supervisor and coworkers.

Davey Do

Specializes in Psych (25 years), Medical (15 years). Has 43 years experience. 1 Article; 10,118 Posts

Seniority rules.

Teach the Newbies how to do their jobs.

Nice to hear from you, SilverBells.


abadfirstdraft, CNA

Specializes in Behavioral Health. 1 Post

Seems like you have good counsel on board from your licensed and paid for therapy provider. Anxiety can get you to feed it if you aren't wearing your recovery and growth like a favorite coat. Notice it..... Embrace it..... Do the next indicated right action cbt dbt whatever works for you.

Validation is its own separate thing.

Davey Do

Specializes in Psych (25 years), Medical (15 years). Has 43 years experience. 1 Article; 10,118 Posts

Embracing anxiety. Interesting perspective, abadfirstdraft.

Most of us want to wrestle with it or pop a pill to quell it.

Anxiety can a good motivator for us to act to work on dealing with the precipitating situation. We learn to cope with stress by experiencing stress, so to speak.


brandy1017, ASN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care. 2,718 Posts

It sounds like your therapist is giving you good advice.  I agree with her not to rely too much on coworkers.  While I understand feeling trepidation at having new management and staff to work with, I am a little surprised that you miss them as from what you said in the past it didn't sound like they were very supportive unless I misunderstood.  Haven't you been denied a raise for years?  Didn't you say your coworker was the bosses favorite and that caused issues for you as well.  Just those two reasons right there I would be happy that the DON was leaving.  The fact that your coworkers have suggested you apply for her job is a compliment, but if you don't feel ready that is OK.

Take it one day at a time and follow your therapists lead.  I do understand anxiety and how having a supportive friend at work as a touchstone can ease one's anxiety.  It definitely did for me.  But coworkers come and go and usually when that happens we lose touch.  Only a couple have remained true friends after leaving.   The majority are acquaintances and facebook friends and that is fine.  Accept it at that and be open and friendly to your future coworkers and new boss. 

Hope for better days.  Remember if things don't work out you can always leave as well.  Stay on good terms with everyone to help with networking and for future references.   Over the years I realized new coworkers are an opportunity to meet wonderful new people who the majority turn out to be great coworkers and friends at work!  I've worked with many different people from all walks of life, experienced staff, new grads, young, old, some that are there for a short time as travelers or float pool, some that stay for a longer time, but they each have their own talents and wisdom to share.  Be welcoming and share your knowledge and wisdom as well.  Remember all your abilities and accomplishments!


Edited by brandy1017

Been there,done that, ASN, RN

Has 33 years experience. 6,895 Posts

Take your mind off  the changes, by analyzing why  the staff is leaving in droves. Look at it from the business angle. A LOT of the newbies will be looking to you for guidance. Offer what you can, but do not let it distract you from your main job.

Good luck, let us know how it's going.


Alex_RN, BSN

Has 7 years experience. 331 Posts

When I feel fearful about leaving a job because I like the people, I remember that the new job will have people, too. Your work friends come with the job and they will come and go from your life.

Be very careful expressing opinions about your coworkers to other coworkers. They will wonder what you are saying about them when they are not around. I try to only say positive things, which is what I would want for myself.

Don't be afraid to talk to the new people. They are just work friends you have not met yet. The longer you go without talking to them, the more awkward it will get. Introduce yourself as soon as possible and break the ice.


Specializes in New Critical care NP, Critical care, Med-surg, LTC. Has 10 years experience. 4 Articles; 2,283 Posts

Change is hard. In our personal and professional lives people come and people go. It may affect your work in a way and that can be a challenge, but the people that come in their place are just as likely to become good colleagues as bad. Try to maintain an open mind and see where things go. Don't set yourself up for a bad situation by expecting the worst.

And it should be complimentary to know that you have coworkers that encouraged you to apply for the DNS position. If you think it's what you would like, it's certainly something to consider. However, as someone who has obviously never met you and only knows of your persona what you share here, it might be a far more stressful position than would be healthy for you. There is less possibility of setting up healthy boundaries for those in a DNS role. It's a 24/7 position at times, as I'm sure you know.

Good luck!