Can we still be friends?


  • Specializes in Psych, Assertive Community Resource Team.

Hi all!!!

I am graduating nursing school in 3 weeks and just received the great news that I have been hired as an RN on the same psych unit that I have worked on for 3 years as a tech. Although I am very excited about beginning my career in nursing, I'm really worried about how it will affect my friendships with those that I used to work with and under.

I am really good friends with another tech that I work with (like we hang out on our off days and call each other several times a week) and I can already feel a rift between us. She says things like, "I'm not doing anything when your charge, you know how to tech so you'll be able to do it yourself." and "I think I'll just quit 'cause there is no way I'm taking orders from you." Problem is a) I don't want her to quit. I like working with her and she is a really great tech. The patients love her. and b) there is no way she can find another job that pays as well with only a GED, and she can't afford to take a paycut. I'm so worried that when I finish orientation and become charge nurse she will really resent me for delegating tasks to her and not always being able to pitch in with tech duties because I know I'll be sooo stressed and busy.

I'm also worried about the LPN's that I work with. Some of them already seem hostile about my soon becoming the charge nurse and having to report to me. In my facility, the RN has to double check and sign off on all duties that the LPN performs. When I told her about my getting hired she got real quiet and said, "I hope you don't think that I'm gonna be taking orders from you, I've been a nurse for 17 years and you're no better than me just because you have RN after your name." I just kind of sat there dumbstruck because I don't think I am better then anyone else, I know I am going to rely on the LPN's there for quite a while until a get my nurse legs under me. I tried to tell her all that but she still seems almost "mad" at me.

I'm really not an arrogant person, and I've never thought of myself as better than anyone. I love working on this unit, and before all this I got along great with all my co-workers. Sorry this is so long, I've just been really surprised about how harsh some people's reactions have been. It's not like I've been hiding the fact I was in nursing school.

So I guess my real question is how do you go from working along side someone to being their boss without hurting the friendship? Have any of you made the tech to RN transition on the same unit successfully? How did you do it?

Thanks for reading this super long post and I appreciate any responses.


262 Posts

I was a PCA in the LTC facility where I am now the RN for 5 yrs before I went to school. Even though the environment there was known to be a bit nasty due to some of the senior staff bullying new staff etc. I never felt that they directed hostility towards me.

At first, I did feel like they watched me closely to make sure I was a "good nurse" and once they had confidence in me, they really appreciated the fact that I knew how hard their job was and was willing to pitch in and help them when I had time.

I am one of the only RNs there who answers bells and puts people on the toilet, helps with rounds on nights and will clean up a mess without having to delegate.

Show them that while you will delegate some tasks, you are not there to be "bossy", and that when situations arise where you can help them, you will. They will soon find that you aren't arrogant. Sometimes this type of attitude just arises because deep down they wish that they had had the chutzpa to go to school themselves and secretly envy you for being able to achieve a difficult goal. Encourage them to be the best at what they do.

Long Term Care Columnist / Guide

VivaLasViejas, ASN, RN

142 Articles; 9,981 Posts

Specializes in LTC, assisted living, med-surg, psych. Has 26 years experience.

I've long believed that people can forgive just about ANYTHING.........except a co-worker who rises from the ranks.

I went through a difficult period back when I first hired on at the hospital where I'd been an aide---the CNAs I'd been friends and peers with for over a year did just about everything they could to test me, to see how far I could be pushed before I "pulled rank" and started bossing them around. Fortunately, I was also an older new grad (38) who had some life experience under my belt, so I knew exactly what they were doing. It wasn't too many weeks before they realized that I was the same person they'd worked with, only I now had the knowledge base AND the title of RN, so they had to accept my direction. I never bossed them or acted superior to them, and I certainly gave everyone credit for their years of work experience that I lacked; so I think that helped them accept my leadership without too much animosity. In fact, I was able to get work out of a few who were notoriously difficult---the ones who took frequent smoke breaks, 'forgot' to tally I&O's, and could never be found when the next set of vitals was due on a post-op, but they usually busted their butts for me. It's all in how you approach your former co-workers........yes, they WILL test you, but in the end they'll accept you as a supervisor as long as you remember 'where you came from'.

Good luck!


4,177 Posts

my dtr was working as an associate with a wholesale house when she was made manager, they moved her and she could not work as a manager where was was once an associate

it does make it hard but if you really want this job you are going to have to make it work by extablishing boundries from the get are being hired to do a rn job

you can be friends with co-workers but it is really best to be just friendly with everyone but not so close that they feel like they can 'get away' with everything

GadgetRN71, ASN, RN

1 Article; 1,840 Posts

Specializes in Operating Room. Has 17 years experience.

I agree, this is doable, but be prepared to lose some friends along the way. That sounds bitter, but I've lived it. I was a surg tech for some years, and got my RN. My orientation in many ways was MORE difficult because I was expected to know everything already-I got the eyeroll when I asked questions or didn't know something. I also got attitude from the techs and I deliberately busted my butt to make sure that it wouldn't happen. The RNs(some of them) still saw me as a tech so when I had to run the board(not my choice) I got attitude from people that were miffed that a "new nurse" was in charge. I have taken to recommending that anyone who becomes an RN that has prior healthcare experience move to a new environment-this way, you don't have to deal with all the leftover politics, you get a clean slate.

SICU Queen

1 Article; 543 Posts

Specializes in SICU. Has 16 years experience.

Is it doable? Sure... but you're going to get ten tons of grief along with a paycheck.

I'd find another job.

nursemike, ASN, RN

1 Article; 2,362 Posts

Specializes in Rodeo Nursing (Neuro). Has 12 years experience.

I guarantee you will not lose a single friend. You may lose a few you thought were friends.

All you can do is do your job. Anyone who matters will support you. The rest are free to look for other jobs, if they choose to.

EmmaG, RN

2,999 Posts

I was 7p / night shift charge for years at my old job. I worked with a tech who applied to an ADN program, and very quickly after graduating got her BSN and MSN. Within a few years of receiving her RN, she was made house supervisor on nights. She was a spectacular tech, and hands down the BEST supervisor I've ever worked under.

There were no 'hard feelings' among any of us who used to work with her. Quite the opposite; we were damned proud of her!


Specializes in corrections. Has 15 years experience.

I am sorry they are trying to spoil this moment for you.

If I were you, I wouldn't care about their feelings because obviously they do not care about yours.

If they want to quit, well, let them quit, it is their decision. If they are mad because you are advancing in your career, obviously they were NEVER your friends. A friend would be HAPPY for you.

If they become insubordinate, treat them like you would treat a complete stranger in the same position. Respectfully but completely matter of fact. If you have to report them and they get write ups, it was their choice for not respecting your position.

Do NOT quit this job as obviously your superiors have seen something in you and want you to advance.

Remember, co-workers are just that. Co-workers. Nothing more. Do not expect to find a friend in them. You might be courteous and respectful, but try to socialize somewhere else, not at work. It is not a good idea.

Specializes in Cardiac.

I knew that I couldn't stay at the hospital that I was a tech at once I became an RN. The other techs became jealous as I became closer to graduating and the nurses were unable to see me as a nurse.

I left and it was the best decision I ever made.


338 Posts

Specializes in oncology, trauma, home health.

I was worried about the same thing. What I have learned after being an RN for only a few months is this: You will be too busy to worry or care about it anymore. I have had problems with the CNAs but it is really MY problem as I slowly learn to delegate. I find myself apologizing all the time for asking for help. Now I am starting to feel comfortable with my position that I allow other people to feel comfortable with theirs. Don't worry about it too much!

steelcityrn, RN

964 Posts

I would not worry about anyone unable to except your new status, thats their problem. You will have more responsibility now, and that kind of childish behavior will self explode on them. Just ignore it, you'll see.

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