Articale about Dealing With Negativity

Specialties Management


  • Specializes in Med-Surg, Trauma, Ortho, Neuro, Cardiac.

renerian, BSN, RN

5,693 Posts

Specializes in MS Home Health.

Sorry it won't open for me?????



163 Posts

I couldn't open it either. But I would like to read it. Any ideas - 3rdshiftguy- about how to open it.


433 Posts

Here is the article from the website 3rdShift, I copied both pages for you. Interesting read.

Dealing With Negativity in the Workplace

By Julie Fuimano, MBA, BSN, RN

Challenge: I'm a new manager on a nursing unit. Several of my nurses are very negative and while they get their job done, their negativity gets everyone else on the floor stirred up. One of the nurses frequently calls out on holidays and weekends when the staff counts on her to be there. This behavior negatively impacts the other members of our team. It seems the previous manager did not address these concerns. How should I handle it?

Regardless of where you work there seems to be someone who is negative, enjoys gossiping or whose pessimistic view dampens the rest of the nursing team.

Creating chaos, causing difficulties between coworkers and management, and starting debates in staff meetings or at shift change are some of the behaviors exhibited by this Negative Nelly.

Always providing an excuse, knowing just who to blame and taking any minor event and making it into a major catastrophe, this person manages to manipulate the situation to deflect attention from them.

In summary, this person seems to be able to do or say whatever they want, to the dismay of their coworkers.

Paying the Price

Nurse managers often do not know how to handle this type of situation; consequently, the nurse or nursing assistant seems to get away with the behavior. But this doesn't happen without a price. The entire organization suffers in both obvious and not so obvious ways.

Obvious ways can be a disgruntled nursing staff, staff turnover, complaints and a pervasive negative energy when dealing with this person or with the nursing unit where he or she works.

The loss of even one employee can be very costly to your organization. And when those on your nursing team are distracted, their performance and their productivity suffer.

When nursing professionals aren't working at their level of excellence providing patient care, there is an opportunity cost for the organization. The time and energy spent thinking about and talking about this person's actions could be better spent performing job duties and attending to patients.

Not so obvious impacts can occur in the form of patient dissatisfaction, substandard patient care or lost revenue. This means the impact on the organization is difficult to measure. If the patient has a bad experience, not only will they be more likely to seek legal counsel, they harbor adverse feelings toward your facility and tell others about their unpleasant experiences.

Permitting a difficult nursing employee to negatively impact your organization, rather than dealing with their behavior, is costly to your facility. If not addressed, their behavior often continues until something happens that makes it impossible to ignore.

Tolerating the Behavior

In dealing with the situation remember that, first of all, the behavior is the issue, not the person. The person is wonderful; the behavior is not.

Confusing these two elements can cause nurse managers and coworkers not to act. If you fear hurting the person's feelings, then you are addressing the person rather than the behavior.

Although the individual has performed well in the past or meets the requirements for their position, if their current work performance is not satisfactory, it needs to be addressed.

While past performance often predicts future performance, it's not a guarantee. Deal with what's happening right now.

Taking Notice

These individuals do not perform their drama without an attentive audience. In what way are you contributing to or permitting their negative behavior?

By taking part in the gossip, by listening to the negative and unproductive comments, by permitting interruptions while you're passing meds, and by allowing the poor treatment of patients or other staff, everyone on the team contributes to the success of a negative person.

Yes, their success. If they are able to get away with the negativity, if they find a captive audience and take you away from doing what you need to do, then they are successful.

Negativity requires nourishment to develop and grow. Not acting against the negativity causes it to continue and to flourish. What are you doing-or not doing - to contribute to the negativity infecting those on your nursing team?

Coaching Tips: Raising the Bar

Each time this person attempts to draw you into the negativity, say no. If the person gossips, tell them that you don't want to hold a conversation about someone who's not present.

If the person starts to whine or complain, say something like, "Now I know what you don't like. Could you tell me what you do like?" This will focus them on a discussion based on positives.

Eventually, they'll get the message that if they want to talk to you, it had better be a worthwhile conversation or comment.

If there are staff guidelines for behavior on your unit, then refer to those policies when speaking to or redirecting this nursing professional.

Follow through on the proper procedure for call-outs. When you focus their attention on the expectations for making your nursing unit a terrific place to work, it shifts the energy of the relationship toward achieving a great work environment for everyone on your team.

Please know, this person may not realize they are being negative. In addition, the individual may not recognize how their negativity and behavior affect others.

When you point out the undesirable behavior in a nonjudgmental way, you allow this nursing professional to start looking at the impact of her behavior.

As you learn to stop tolerating this kind of behavior in your presence, you allow the other person to learn from your high standards. Or, they may find someone else to listen to them. If your entire nursing team requires excellence from all its members, it will be difficult for this person to survive on your nursing unit without changing their ways.

Monica RN,BSN

603 Posts

Specializes in ER, ICU, Nursing Education, LTC, and HHC.

I had no problems opening it, a very good article.. Thanks!


378 Posts

My experience has been that some employees I simply separated from the organization, in other words, fired them or asked them to resign, or the best way--create a culture that they are very out of step with and they will leave of their own accord.

For many reasons, however, I prefer to work with that person. I have had success when I built a trust relationship, found out what is at the core of their negativity, and then developed strategies to counter it in the workplace.

Specializes in Interventional Pain Mgmt NP; Prior ICU and L/D RN.

Not a bad article and the points it makes is so true. I believe we have people we work that sound like this article. Always, Always Negative!

Thanks for the article.


52 Posts

Great article 3rdShiftGuy! I'm going to print it out & leave it in our report room. In for a penny in for a pound!

I want to reinforce to my co-workers we dxon't have to accept unprofessional behaviour.


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