you always start out doing your best to treat people fairly and equally. it sounds as if you have been doing that. one of the things i've learned over the years about working with difficult people is that even though they may be acting out and making big emotional scenes, they are still taking in what is said to them, how it is said and how they are treated. no matter how badly they treat others, they are always aware and remember how others have treated them. behavior is a funny thing. psychologists have been trying to predict behavior for years. they do studies in an attempt to do this. sometimes they are right on, but people are still people and there are so many different factors that can go into what affects a person's behavior that you just can't know what's really going on in each mind. i would hope that with the girls being separated from each other for projects that they might act a little differently without their buddies to support their bad behavior. that moral support that they get from each other helps feed their power trip and it is how they are able to get away with a lot of the things they do.
i'd be cordial with each, but i wouldn't go out of my way to extend any more helping hands to them (i.e., lending a pencil). you know one thing about this one person, at least. she is manipulative and will take what she needs but doesn't return the same in kind.
if you land in a group project make sure that someone steps up to get the project organized. if one of these girls is in the group and does it, that's probably all for the better. sit back and let her call the shots as long as it's looking like she's doing a capable job. however, in groups, if no one stepped forward to lead, i did. i can't stand chaos or not knowing how things are progressing. you always have to plan on at least someone not doing their share of the work and have a plan already devised to cope with it. start work on the project early and try to get most of the work done as early as possible. this is how you find out who is not going to pull their share of the load. one of the things you are supposed to learn from working in groups is delegation and prioritizing. with delegating out tasks also comes the job of follow-up and supervision to make sure that things are getting done as specified. read up on the rules of delegation so this is clear to you. i've posted the rules of delegation a couple of times on allnurse threads.
i suspect that the instructors must already know that these girls are a problem. unless the instructors in your program are really dense, they have probably already heard complaints about these girls and had some discussion about the success or failure of these girls in the program. all i can say is ask for help from the instructor if you feel you are being bullied. notice i didn't say complain
, i said "ask for help
". there's a difference. ask what their suggestions are to help you work through any problems you are encountering with any of these girls if they start any trouble. that makes you appear to be very professional as well as approaching your problem in a positive way, being flexible and wanting to learn. these are qualities that get noticed and reported to potential employers when you need the instructor recommendations for your first job out of nursing school. i just took a look at my list of job interview
questions and here are some interesting ones you might get asked that could relate back to the problems everyone in your class has had with these girls and with a group project:
- what do you do when you have difficulties solving a problem?
- what is the most difficult task you had to perform in school? how did you manage it?
- have you ever had to work with someone you didn't like? how did you deal with them?
- how do you organize and plan an important project?
- (couldn't believe this one was in the list!) can you describe a situation in which you have had to work on a project with a group of people and some of the others just didn't pull their weight?
- tell me about a time in which you anticipated potential problems and developed a productive solution.
- tell me about a time when you had to deal with an irritating colleague.
- tell me about a time when you overcame a difficult obstacle.
- what is the most difficult communication problem you have had with your colleagues?
- what do you do to solve a problem when you have difficulties? give me an example.
- have you worked with someone who was difficult to manage? how did you solve this problem?
- a question about teamwork: tell me about a group project you had to do in school. what was the expected result? how did you collaborate with the others on the team to get the project completed? were there any major problems? how did you overcome them?
while i understand your immediate problem i also think it's important to keep your eye on the prize which is graduating, passing nclex and getting your first job. as much as everyone hates these group projects, the dynamics of working in a group has a direct translation to desirable job behaviors as you can see from some of the job interview questions i've listed. there are always different levels of learning in everything we do in life. that includes all the various projects we are assigned to do in nursing school, even those nasty care plans
. remember also, that your instructors are always evaluating you not only for how you are performing assigned work, but your behavior as well. when first job time comes around your instructors are going to be asked about your attitude, initiative, problem solving ability, flexibility, teamwork and how you tolerate pressure. you won't be expected to be any kind of expert at nursing, but potential employers, the really good ones, do want to know about the human being that they are going to be letting loose on their customers. do you honestly think that this clique of girls have been thinking about any of these things? i doubt it. it sounds like they feel they are entitled to receive. what they are going to find they are entitled to is a bum's rush otd (out the door) when they run up against an observant manager who isn't going to put up with their nonsense. hang in there.