New nurse bullied by other new nurses?

  1. I know there are a lot of threads about older experienced nurses bullying new nurses but In short I'm curious if any new grads have struggled with clique behavior with other new nurses they started with.


    The long story; So I've been at a county hospital for about 6 months. I generally like my job and unit (most of the staff is nice, we have good management, although night shifts are killing me and I would prefer to be doing L&D, NICU or peds but also recognize that I'm learning so much on a med surg, stepdown/intermediate care, telemetry floor)


    Recently I've been feeling more isolated partially because I'm struggling with night shift (I feel like I never see my friends/family. I'm tired and sad/grumpy all the time, and don't have energy to do a fraction of the creative things I used to love.) even with blackout curtains and a noise machine and aromatherapy I can't sleep more than 4-5 hours during the day (Benedryl or melatonin make me too groggy and I want to be safe to come into work).


    I did meet 3 nurses I really connected with on my orientation week but they all went to different units than me. And then at work because most of the old nurses (while kind and very helpful), tend to mostly speak in another language with each other, all bring food to share with each other, and are apparently all on some big group chat they keep mentioning where they share information like when they're having potlucks. And the 2-3 new nurses I started with on my unit are exceedingly clique (they haven't overtly said anything but it's a lot of body language. Some examples of things they've done is;


    - avoiding basic conversation ONLY WITH ME like if I try to ask "how is your day going?" They will respond with "fine" or "ok" or sometimes don't say anything at all.
    -they will be chatting in the halls/in corners but then if I ask "are you busy?" So they can witness my insulin/morphine withdrawal they say they're busy and walk away
    -even if their patients aren't close to each other they always sit in a corner and gossip
    -once I entered the break room and they stopped talking and sat in silence for 2 minutes until I left
    -if I ever have to ask them anything they roll their eyes or say "obviously it XYZ".
    -one of them has started seeking me out and just to mention things to me she feels I did incorrectly. (Like not letting her know our admits beds got switched (bed A For bed B) even though I didn't even know she was supposed to get an admit in the same room). Etc...
    -one of them instructed a CNA not to help me with something.


    It's just a lot harder to work with them because whenever I need help I feel like I have to sometimes go to the other end of our 30 bed unit to ask for help. And after a series of interactions with them 2 nights in a row I went home and cried for 2 hours and called in sick last night because I knew they were scheduled for my 3rd night as well and felt like I couldn't handle it (and I don't ever call in sick, I've done it maybe like 3-4 times in 12 years of working).


    I feel like I'm being singled out because I'm an "easy target" (I sometimes talk a lot, I ask more questions, I more often admit when I'm not sure about things and I can be a bit awkward). And I don't really know what to do since obviously I can't call in sick again/keep doing it because of them. I feel like can't stand up to them because nothing they're doing feels overt enough to point out. I feel like I can't avoid them because that one co worker keeps finding me and saying things that make me feel like a totally incompetent nurse (While i understand that I'm responsible and no one can MAKE you feel anything), And I'm scared to mention it to HR or a supervisor because I feel like either they won't take me seriously because they get along with everyone else on the unit or it'll get back to them and they'll be even meaner to me.


    It just sucks because when it's only one of them at work or they're off everything is fine, I really like my other co workers and I'm so grateful to my unit for training me and don't want to be one of those new grads who leaves their first job ASAP, but when they work together on my shift I just feel kind of trapped and like it's hard to do my job and it's all just making me want to leave me unit. (That on top of struggling with nights and not working with a patient population I'm passionate about).


    I'm just curious if anyone has thoughts and feelings or similar experiences?
  2. Visit sophiemarie_1212 profile page

    About sophiemarie_1212

    Joined: Sep '13; Posts: 5; Likes: 2

    10 Comments

  3. by   JKL33
    Quote from sophiemarie_1212
    I feel like I'm being singled out because I'm an "easy target" (I sometimes talk a lot, I ask more questions, I more often admit when I'm not sure about things and I can be a bit awkward).
    I stopped reading here. Skimmed the rest - not because it wasn't worth reading but because this is the crux of it. ^

    Here's what you do:

    I.G.N.O.R.E. THEM, period.

    Review your own actions and demeanor for appropriateness. Quit "talk[ing] a lot;" make sure your questions and comments are professional. Get your game on. Step it up a notch if you have to. Be excellent at what you do while they stand around looking for ways to make you feel left out (if that's indeed the case). Smile and be pleasant.

    I'm a firm believer in the "Don't let 'em see you sweat" line of thinking. Some disagree...some would whine about bullying and try to work this out through reporting and a call for discipline. It won't work without making your life miserable. I've witnessed others try it time and again, and they end up coming down to their tormenters' level; to witness it, it seems to be practically unavoidable.

    Forget them. Do your work taking excellent care of people. The good news is they'll get bored when they realize you.don't.care.

    Good luck~
    Last edit by JKL33 on May 16
  4. by   Renell
    I am very sorry you are going through this, especially with your fellow peers. You guys should be helping each other out, not alienating one another.

    Well, first things first, if they will go as far as tell a CNA to not help you, or harass you about something that you are probably not aware of/in the process of learning about, then they are not people you should associate with. At all. It's obvious they carry some ill will towards you (for no reason), so it's best to not waste any energy on them. There are others on your unit who treat you with respect, so you don't need them.

    Now, if this type of behavior persists, I recommend talking to someone higher up about it. I know it's daunting, but this type of behavior is unacceptable, and it's affecting your work performance. I'd rather tell someone than to let it continue in silence. You're already dealing with alot of stress. No need to let a group of people make it even harder.
  5. by   NurseSpeedy
    You will come across people like this everywhere but you also mentioned that you're not doing well with the night shift in general. Are there open positions during day shift that you could transfer to? This won't stop the issue but at least you'll be functioning on adequate sleep. Being exhausted makes handling bs that much more aggravating.
  6. by   sophiemarie_1212
    Yes. I'm on the waitlist for days but on my unit this takes about a year. So I might be 6(?)months away from a shift change?
  7. by   sophiemarie_1212
    Also thank you for the thoughts. I was trying to ignore/avoid them which is why it has been hard that one of them has started seeking me out to say negative things to me. And it's also frustrating to feel like I can't ask them for basic things (like witnessing insulin) which gets in the way of me doing my job. But yes. I'm going to try my best to just be professional and not worry too much about their behavior because I think my fear is that if I let it get to me I will start being more negative towards them and then I'm bringing negativity into my work.

    So my plan from here is to just be clear, conscience and professional. And other than that just keep to myself and try not to internalize their behavior.
  8. by   JKL33
    Quote from sophiemarie_1212
    I was trying to ignore/avoid them which is why it has been hard that one of them has started seeking me out to say negative things to me.
    I'm sure it is difficult. Know that if this person is going out of her way in attempts to make trouble, it's no secret - - others have noticed or will notice.

    She is not destined for success in life at that rate.
  9. by   TriciaJ
    I'm with JKL. Ignore the stupid behaviours. If you need something, like a narc waste or insulin check, don't ask them if they're busy. Look one of them in the eye and say "I need your help with a narc waste." If they consistently refuse to help you, that may warrant a write-up. Likewise if a CNA refuses to help you, regardless of whom they were instructed by. The CNAs are responsible for their own job performance.

    If you need to ask a question, do not ask any of them; find a seasoned nurse. They approach you with negative feedback? Make firm eye contact and say "Thank you for sharing. Since you are such an exemplary nurse yourself, I'll expect your help later when I need an insulin check." Then walk away.

    Don't try to chitchat with them; don't ask them questions and write off any desire for their friendship, if you haven't already. When you sit down in the break room for your break, have a book or something and IGNORE them. They can stare in silence all they want. Sneak a peek at your watch to see how long they can keep that nonsense up, while you read your book.

    Meanwhile, just keep working at being the best nurse you can be. See if you can develop a friendship with the older nurses, even if they mostly speak another language. Down the road, I predict at least one of the mean girls will get herself into hot water. Smile only to yourself when she does.
  10. by   Lil Nel
    Quote from TriciaJ
    I'm with JKL. Ignore the stupid behaviours. If you need something, like a narc waste or insulin check, don't ask them if they're busy. Look one of them in the eye and say "I need your help with a narc waste." If they consistently refuse to help you, that may warrant a write-up. Likewise if a CNA refuses to help you, regardless of whom they were instructed by. The CNAs are responsible for their own job performance.

    If you need to ask a question, do not ask any of them; find a seasoned nurse. They approach you with negative feedback? Make firm eye contact and say "Thank you for sharing. Since you are such an exemplary nurse yourself, I'll expect your help later when I need an insulin check." Then walk away.

    Don't try to chitchat with them; don't ask them questions and write off any desire for their friendship, if you haven't already. When you sit down in the break room for your break, have a book or something and IGNORE them. They can stare in silence all they want. Sneak a peek at your watch to see how long they can keep that nonsense up, while you read your book.

    Meanwhile, just keep working at being the best nurse you can be. See if you can develop a friendship with the older nurses, even if they mostly speak another language. Down the road, I predict at least one of the mean girls will get herself into hot water. Smile only to yourself when she does.
    Excellent advice. Make the other nurses your allies. Very sorry this is happening to you.

    Unfortunately, it happens wherever you go, with a few exceptions.

    Best wishes, and stay strong. Remember, you are there for a paycheck. The nasty nurses don't have to like you, as long as those paychecks get direct deposited!
  11. by   SeasonedTech
    That CNA should have helped you regardless! There's no way I would ever let another employee tell me not to help someone. We are all adults! What a crappy, hostile, toxic work environment for you!
  12. by   BlinkyPinky
    B$T@hes are Everywhere.
    I had to resort to acting like I had not a care in the world while in their esteemed presences. Otherwise, avoid when you can.

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