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Depressed with Rude Coworkers in ICU

Nurse Beth   (420 Views 2 Comments)
by Nurse Beth Nurse Beth, MSN (Advice Column) Writer Innovator Expert

Nurse Beth has 30 years experience as a MSN and works as a Nursing Professional Development Specialist.

13 Followers; 88 Articles; 226,053 Visitors; 1,746 Posts


Dear Nurse Beth,

 I would like to leave a position on an ICU after 3 months. I took the position with 3 years of experience at the same hospital because I wanted ICU experience. I moved from day shift to night shift for the position and am struggling with moderate depression since I made the change. Most nights I sit around at least half of the time because the workload is too light. 

I find this tedious and hate watching the clock all night. There are CTL/ Clinical Team Leader nurses on the unit who have a lot of power over the other nurses and I find many of them to be rude and unsupportive. I am unhappy, doubt I can be successful in this environment and feel like if something went wrong I would not be supported. Can you give me advice on how to leave in a professional manner? Of course I feel bad, but I don't think it is worth being this unhappy. Thank you for your help.

Dear Unhappy,

Have you talked to your manager about your concerns? She/he may be able to move you from nights to days once they know you are suffering from depression. Some people just cannot tolerate working night shift and some managers would rather break the rules a bit and accommodate you rather than lose a good nurse. You are right, working nights is not worth being so unhappy.

When you are depressed, you can tend towards irritability and have a low tolerance for the aspects of your job that are tedious or for rude coworkers.

Unfortunately, some ICU environments and ICU on night shift can be a breeding ground for strong attitudes and even bullying.

If you can't go to day shift in ICU, see if you can return to your previous unit. Be sure you have another job before you give notice.

When the time comes, give 2 weeks notice in writing. Thank your manager for the opportunity. Your health is most important.

Best wishes, 

Nurse Beth

Author, "Your Last Nursing Class: How to Land Your First Nursing Job"...and your next!

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Persephone Paige has 15 years experience as a ADN and works as a Med-Surg.

3 Followers; 1 Article; 3,289 Visitors; 625 Posts

I would give anything if there were a "Peer Assistance" program for nurses. I have been where some of these nurses are and have learned through time and just plain exhaustion that they cannot hurt you. Yes, they can be 'clique-ish, clannish, rude,' etc... But they aren't going to body slam anybody out of the unit. And, if something goes South with a patient, they a bound by law to help you. It is nice to be friendly with everyone, but it's not necessary. 

I have turned into a thug. Or maybe I've always been one and now I feel safe to just be myself. I am seriously considering barging into any new job and announcing straight out the gate, "I wish a MF'er would!"

* I agree with the night shift assessment. Look for day shift, somewhere else if you have to.

Good luck, stay the course.

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