Disgusted with my behavior, need help

  1. I am a new graduate, and I worked as an aide prior to finishing my BSN. I have been at my new job for 2 months now, and I am nowhere near capable of working alone. Several individuals (who happen to be techs/aides) have complained to my superiors that I am condescending. This breaks my heart.... I have the utmost respect for everyone I work with, ESPECIALLY techs... I feel like I am the scum of the earth, and I don't deserve this job.

    I have no right to make other people feel badly... I have no right to convey anything but respect and kindness. I did not realize that my facial expressions, tone, and body language were conveying otherwise.

    I intend on apologizing in person to those who voiced unhappiness with me...

    but if you were that person, how would you respond?

    I feel as if these individuals will always remember that I hurt them.. and all I want to do is convey that I respect them, value them, and am deeply sorry for the way I made them feel.


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    About RNcDreams

    Joined: Jul '07; Posts: 203; Likes: 118
    Specialty: 4 year(s) of experience in Tele, ED/Pediatrics, CCU/MICU


  3. by   CHATSDALE
    concentrate on your job, taking care of the patients is your first priority, when you are new you cannot do things automaticly this is the roughest time you will have in nursing..and it will get better
    talk witht he aides during break time and get to know them as individuals..sometimes new nurses do have a tendancy to 'talk down' to aides..in school they teach you that subordinates look to you for leadership and this is true but there is a but as confidence in yourself builds they will see you as someone who is capable of leading
    there will always be some who are envious but that is another matter and something you will learn to handle even if you can't 'cure' it
  4. by   CaLLaCoDe
    [font=book antiqua]i remember when i became a nurse after having been an aide. some of the aides would get on my case regarding my doing this or my not doing that. now these were my peer group and now i was in another league; perhaps there was a bit of envy on their part, i don't really know. i wouldn't take it too personally...just remember, as i think you already do, what it is like to be ancillary staff and carry on. personally i might tell the aide of your intent (as you mentioned in your post), that you didn't mean to be condescending. all i can say is orienting on a floor where you were the aide once is definitely challenging!
    Last edit by CaLLaCoDe on Sep 13, '07
  5. by   Altra
    As a new grad you may very well be feeling on edge ... this may translate into some less-than-friendly body language and tone of voice. Just be aware of it and I'm guessing that it will resolve itself. Please don't be so hard on yourself as to say that you're "disgusted" with your behavior.

    Concentrate on your patients - it does get better.
  6. by   leslie :-D
    when you apologize, i would suggest requesting specific feedback as to how you act condescending.
    if you don't understand where you went wrong, how can you change?

    try to relax.
    you're being awfully hard on yourself.
    and best of everything.

  7. by   anonymurse
    Quote from MalloCups
    Several individuals (who happen to be techs/aides) have complained to my superiors that I am condescending.
    If that's all you know, you need lots more information before you have enough to act on, if it's even necessary.
  8. by   RNcDreams
    One feels that I disregarded her assessment, the other feels that my tone and response to her (when she informed me of an error I made) was rude, etc.

    I've just misunderstood everything and I feel so bad
  9. by   Jo Dirt
    When I went to orientation at the hospital (only went for two days) it started with all the newly hired staff meeting in the convention room sitting in rows at these tables. We had mostly environmental services (aka housekeeping) and after we all went around the room introducing ourselves and everyone knew who was who and where they would be working the atmosphere changed, divided among nurses and "other." Then further divided between peds and OB and telemetry and ICU/CCU (there was only one OR person, though). But anyway, as a group, it was the nurses and "other." People from the "other" group wouldn't even acknowledge me and I didn't see them fraternizing with the nurses, either. I wanted to be friendly and I looked at others and smiled but they didn't even return the smile or talk to me (except for this one really creepy guy with green teeth who started following me around when I acknowledged his hello...I was glad when we divided up and broke into separate classes later that second day. But it didn't have anything to do with what discipline he was in because all the other people weren't talking to him, either.

    Anyway, from what I could tell during that particular experience, people naturally segregate themselves according to #1) education and status and #2)gender. Race wasn't even an issue, because even among the little groups of nurses all were culturally diverse. When the nurses split from the rest of the group the male nurses got together and the women nurses got together.

    I noticed the older female nurses and male nurses seemed a lot more comfortable with themselves and who they were. But there were two younger female nurses who stuck out in my mind (I feel like Forrest Gump reflecting back on his experiences) but these were fairly young nurses, probably in their 20's. They just had this "look". It looked like they were looking down their noses at everyone in general. Yes, the literally were looking down their noses as they sat there listening to the lecture. It seemed like there was no humor. no warmth, like they were...condescending and snotty.
    Since they never talked to me I don't know if this is how they really were, but I wanted to put a whoopie cushion under them.

    Maybe until you get yourself established you will just have to plaster on that smile (like Bob on the Enzyte commercial.) People are awfully sensitive nowadays. Then again, if you smile too much they will probably have something to complain about with that, too.
  10. by   VegRN
    Quote from MalloCups
    One feels that I disregarded her assessment, the other feels that my tone and response to her (when she informed me of an error I made) was rude, etc.

    I've just misunderstood everything and I feel so bad
    Are they feeling you ignored their assessment or that you didn't do what they wanted you to do for the treatment/plan of action for their assessment?
    If it truely was that they felt you were ignoring their assessment, this is how I would handle it. In the future when they give you an assessment, I would handle it like this: Thank them for letting you know. If it needs your assessment and follow up and you are able, do it right then and there so they can see that what they say is important. If you are unable to do it right away, let them know you will check on it as soon as you can and you really appreciate the feedback.

    Concerning the med error. If an aid tells you about a med error again I would say this. Acknowledge that they told you, thank them and tell them that you are going to address it and do x,y,z.

    Prior to doing that though, I would confront them, face to face and in private and say something like: Since I started on the unit I have found that there is so much to learn and still have so much to learn. I have really appreciated how you have helped me on the unit such as (give example) and thank you very much for it. I have heard that you have felt that my response to your assessment/my tone of voice was rude and I am sorry that you felt that way. I would like to talk with you more about the situation. I didn't intend to be rude and I want to be aware of what I am saying and doing that you felt was rude so that I can avoid it in the future.

    You don't have to say it exactly like this but you need to start out with saying something about how this is new to you, give them a compliment and ask them to explain the situation so you can address it.

    I wouldn't feel so bad, everyone makes mistakes. You need to do a little more investigating and possibly change how you are responding to the aids.

    Good luck

    P.S. I would think about the situation a little first. When I first started on my unit some of the aids did not like me, complained I was rude etc. At first I thought it was me until I realized that they were mad because I actually making them responsible for their job duties. Seems that previous nurses looked the other way when they did their job half a**ed or the nurse did the aids job for them.
    Once I realized this, I felt a lot more confident in my abilities and my need to honestly communicate with the aids when they weren't doing their job.
  11. by   nursemike
    Before I became a nurse, I worked in a job that was a pay-grade below nurses' aides, although not actually under an aide's supervision. I did, at times, assist aides with their tasks, and in those situations it was usually only prudent to do what the aide told me, although there were times I was experienced enough to offer helpful advise to a new aide.

    I had every intention of becoming an aide while in school, but the time was never quite right to combine going to school and learning a new job, so I wound up skipping a level, and found myself supervising the very aides I used to assist.
    Most were very supportive. In my previous job, helping the aides was above and beyond my job description, and the accumulated brownie points paid off. There were plenty of times, too--and still are--when the advice of an experienced aide could save the butt of a novice nurse.
    Still, my instructors in school, and my mentors on the job, made it clear from the get-go that I was the nurse: I had to remember that, and I had to make sure the aides understood that, because, in the end, it's my license.
    One of the biggest peeves I ever heard about nurses was how some would come out of a room and ask an aide to help the patient in the room with a bedpan. I've done that. I did, later, tell the aide that I fully intended to be more help, once I got better at the parts only I could do, but at that time it was the right thing to do.
    I'm lucky. I work with some very good aides, I do still have some brownie points, and I'm a guy. Still, I've run into a few--very few--who've wanted to tell me what to do, or didn't want to do what I wanted them to do, and there've been a few times when even the really good aides have shaken their heads and said (mostly in jest), "Yeah, you're a nurse, all right..."

    Yeah, I'm a nurse, and so are you, and aides don't need malpractice insurance. You have a difficult job with a ton of responsibility; your patients count on you. I don't suppose there's anything wrong with taking a momnet to reflect whether you may be conveying an attitude you don't intend, but as others have suggested, you patients are your first responsibility, and any aide whose opinion is worth considering will understand that.
  12. by   Just Jojo
    I agree with MLOS who said, "As a new grad you may very well be feeling on edge ... this may translate into some less-than-friendly body language and tone of voice."
    You are rightfully preoccupied with your new job responsibilities, and perhaps a few short but genuine conversations with the aides/techs will smooth the way for them to cut you some slack.
  13. by   Atl_John
    Quote from MalloCups
    One feels that I disregarded her assessment, the other feels that my tone and response to her (when she informed me of an error I made) was rude, etc.

    I've just misunderstood everything and I feel so bad

    Well I look at it like this, you are the one with the license, you are the one who went to school to learn how to assess your patients. You have the responsibility. You are the one who can decide for yourself if you wish to take her assessment or not. She has no say, she does not have a license and that patient is not her responsibility, it is yours. I would think you would always welcome the input from the UAP's regarding your patients status but what you do with that information is your responsibility and it is your choice. Personally I wouldn't worry about it, don't be so sensitive and just be the good nurse that you know you are and have trained to be.
  14. by   leslymill
    Quote from MalloCups
    One feels that I disregarded her assessment, the other feels that my tone and response to her (when she informed me of an error I made) was rude, etc.

    I've just misunderstood everything and I feel so bad
    Nurses have many caps.
    One of the big ones is teacher.
    Right now you are still learning.
    You may have to appologize to them occasionally till the confidence in your judgements improves.

    Maybe you disregarded her assessment because you are still unaware of how great an assesser she is. Your responsibility is to learn the strengths and weaknesses of your staffs skills so you can delegate.

    Build a closer relationship with them so they can learn and respond to your shortcomings without getting offended.

    The stress level of the RN is higher than for other coworkers and they can easily misinterprete your body language. Keep working with them communication is too important to be missed in a health care setting.
    Explain to the one who said you were rude, that well I was really upset I made an error and was being hard on myself. I wasn't being rude to you, I was being rude to me.

    Point out to them it is your job to delegate duties and you know what needs to be done, but are learning the best ways to do it.

    Next time they have a problem ask them to think about what it was that triggered the negative response. Then have them think like ...Well If I had been her I would have said it like........
    Ask them to tell you how they wished you would have said it by the end of the shift. that way you don't go home unhappy with eachother.