Please don't do this to co-workers

  1. I just wanted to say that I love the unit I work in now.The people are on the whole terrific. What has disturbed me for quite some time is a subject I haven't really ever discussed due to its "delicate" nature for fear of insulting anyone.However, now that I'm out of the situation I'd like to share it. I was a New Grad on a busy Med-Surg specialty unit. I worked night shift with alot of people of diverse backgrounds. Some were nice and some were not.Most however shared a common cultural background. My problem is NOT with the culture, but with these particular individuals. I have several friends of this culture, so don't get the wrong idea here. They talked most of the night(12 long hours) in their own language. In the nurses station, in the hall, in the breakroom, and IN FRONT of me. I was generally the only non-member of this culture on many shifts. Yes, I am white, if it matters. I just beg you all to realize how isolating and hurtful this behavior is.I felt intimidated enough as a new grad, but this just made me a nervous wreck.Managment couldn't have cared less, althoughI didn't complain for fear of repraisal. Any thoughts? Thankd heavens I'm in a more nurturing place now.Sheesh.
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    About sharann

    Joined: Feb '01; Posts: 1,840; Likes: 217


  3. by   Mijourney
    Hi sharann. I think that most people who don't live as hermits either within their home, neighborhood, or town feel awkward or intimidated about something outside of their comfort zone. I know I do.

    The world is getting increasingly smaller because the population as a whole is growing, and now we are increasingly forced to deal with people, places, or things we feel awkward about. I feel awkward and intimidated about the increasing number of floods and tornadoes in my town and state that cause death and destruction. I use to not really think alot about the worst case scenario of bad weather, but since we seem to have problems more frequently, I tend to get frightened when I see our weather change for the worse.

    What I have learned to do is to try as best as possible and prepare for any possible major weather change and that helps reduce some of my fears. Change is inevitable. I also put faith in God who has power over everything.

    The moral of the story is that you can be intimidated by anyone no matter what background or appearance they have. You are a new grad, so I'm assuming that you have not had the benefit of working with diverse groups of people in the past. You will find that as you continue your nursing career, you will run into diverse people and problem employees from all walks of life.

    If this happens again, consider learning more about these nurses' culture from the pleasant coworkers if you're interested. Maybe you can attend some of their personal functions if you have a desire to establish long term relationships with the nice coworkers. Maybe you can learn to speak some of the different languages as you took the time to learn the language of the PC. Give your self time and patience in these situations.

    You're right to leave any situation in which your feel there are coworkers who are purposely eating you-especially if you have no support from anyone else and feel overwhelmed. Best wishes.
  4. by   canoehead
    It's OK to tell people that you feel left out when they conduct a conversation in front of you in a different language. Even if they continue to do so without apology I think it reflects on their being rude, not on you being unworthy to talk to.

    This would be an appropriate thing to mention to a manager because patients, especially confused ones, are being disrespected as well.

    Why would experienced nurses intentionally exclude a new employee? I think a little support/peer pressure from other nurses working at the facility or on that shift would have done wonders.
  5. by   Charles S. Smith, RN, MS
    MiJourney is right on the money with her thoughtful commentary!. Diversity is the gift we are all given...a gift from which we can learn many new things. My culture is just as foreign to others as their culture is to me. It all depends on perspective. I choose to learn from them, challenge them and create with them. We have some wonderful Hispanics in my ED who work primarily in housekeeping. There are a few of us who have Spanish speaking abilities and we have enlisted them to help us learn more Spanish and even to interpret with us when non-english speakers come into the unit. We have some very lively discussions and even one of our ED docs is now learning Spanish as a result. We include them and they include us. Both groups learn immeasurably from this kind of collaboration, not only about language, but also about culture and customs...The key is simply being willing to ask for inclusion and choosing to participate rather than be isolated. Best regards to all
  6. by   hollykate
    Thanks so much for sharing that information. It was very brave to share that, because you could have easily been judged as prejudiced, or worse- but you shared from your heart and I think we all saw exactly what you meant and exactly how you were affected.
    I also wanted to thank you for sharing your experience with me in an earlier post.It made a big difference in my life.
    I have recently made a commitment to make everywhere I work the best place that it can be. Although I am still in the job that I stated made me so miserable, I have actually been able to make a 100% turnaround in the unit, while working out my notice. I am really really excited to get to my new unit and do the same thing. I really wanted to email you personally, because I think you and I have this same goal. I would love to talk to you more in depth on this subject- but the BB really isn't the "place" for that, so please email me!! You can email me by clicking on either of the first two little mail icons by the posts. Looking forward to discussing this challenge further with you- and anyone else who is interested, for that matter!!
  7. by   sharann
    Thanks all for the well thought out replies.I have definetely learned to just make the best out of my environment. I don't know if I could ever tell people that they are being rude though. I tend to believe that people generally know what is and is not rude. Take care!
  8. by   mustangsheba
    Sharann: I think this was insensitive on the part of your coworkers, however, I don't see it as much different than older employees talking all the time about things the new employees know nothing about. I have noticed that I have more patients who can't speak English - last week Russian, Chinese, and Tongan. The language barrier doesn't change the acuity and it takes much longer to do care and to try and meet their needs. I can usually tell when someone is 10/10 on the pain scale, but it gets a little gray as it goes down the scale when your patient isn't even sure what you're talking about. I certainly understand about feeling isolated. Remember, it has nothing to do with you personally.
  9. by   sheripa
    Hi, I can understand where you are coming from because I sometimes work with individuals that speak a different native lanuage. What is good about these individuals were that they really only spoke their language when they received a telephone call. I guess thedy were being conscious of the others around them. It really doesn't bother me though. It's goood you left that enviroment so that you can feel comfortable about your surroundings. I'm fairly new myself and I know that could be very intimidating.