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How to deal with negative nurses.

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by Mae2014 Mae2014 (New) New

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I am a student nurse and will graduate soon. I have worked both in clinical and as a CNA with so many negative nurses. It is difficult to take report when all they have to say are hurtful things about the patient. How can I, as a new graduate, combat this behavior without sounding like a know-it-all and offending the nurses with more experience?

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7 Articles; 1,142 Posts; 37,902 Profile Views

I think it comes from compassion fatigue a lot of the time. When I first started nursing I would try to have compassion-- that people had made poor choices because of lack of education, life circumstances, etc. Or maybe they were just being not-smart but how sad that now they were suffering. After awhile you get tired of seeing the same stories and start to get angry or shake your head, or feel helpless that you may have helped this patient but there will be a line of others just like them who you will also take care of. Because our society/system/whatever is broken. It really wears on you.

I try very hard to stay positive at work, but I am have been abused by patients' families (I work peds so usually the kid is fine and the parents are the nuts) and treated like a servant and waiter. I can try to understand they are tired, exhausted, worried, etc. but sometimes I just am tired of seeing it or being used as the punching bag for their behavior.

Vacation is so very important to have as a nurse, and trying to leave work at work. I struggle with this sometimes and then I get more stressed out that my work feelings are encroaching on my personal life and happiness with my family.

Would love to hear other comments about this.

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7 Articles; 1,142 Posts; 37,902 Profile Views

And just wanted to add that I still feel very sorry for the ones who are sick because of bad luck. I never judge or talk badly about those patients but even then, sometimes the parents can be nutso and make a stressful night for everyone who is trying to care for the patient. I might be nutso too, if I had a child who was suffering like that. So we do pass on that the parent has some psycho-social issues but sometimes it's not put that delicately, because after a 12 hour shift with said parent, your patience has worn thin.

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redhead_NURSE98! is a ADN and specializes in Med/surg, Quality & Risk.

1,081 Posts; 15,427 Profile Views

My apologies on behalf of those nurses. I hated those people too and never understood, and thought if their job sucked that bad they should get a new one. But it didn't take me long to catch myself doing the same thing. I apologized to the student that I did it to. But soon enough you will understand. It really doesn't take long. It doesn't mean you hate your job, or that you hate your patients or anything; you just get tired of seeing the same thing over and over again, and like the other person said, people who created their own situation and want to do nothing to fix it or improve their health at all. You feel like you're beating your head against the wall sometimes. But don't let that get you down. Just try to be the best nurse you can be and don't worry about how anyone else acts!!

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DedHedRN has 6 years experience and specializes in Medical Surgical.

342 Posts; 8,215 Profile Views

I also found myself doing this. What made me change my ways was a super compassionate nurse who had been working for 20+ years. I would give her report with my usual negative quips, and she would chime in every time with a very compassionate statement about what may be going on with the pt. It made me see what I was doing and strive to be more like her.

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224 Posts; 6,526 Profile Views

How can I, as a new graduate, combat this behavior without sounding like a know-it-all and offending the nurses with more experience?
The single best way to combat this and most other negative behavior is to consistently communicate and conduct yourself with the high level of respect and professionalism you expect from yourself and desire to see in others. It is truly amazing how effective this can be. Most people will rise to meet you there.

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23 Posts; 1,563 Profile Views

I am a student nurse and will graduate soon. I have worked both in clinical and as a CNA with so many negative nurses. It is difficult to take report when all they have to say are hurtful things about the patient. How can I, as a new graduate, combat this behavior without sounding like a know-it-all and offending the nurses with more experience?

Hi Mae2014,

Welcome to nursing:) As one of my fav nursing instructors would say! Anon456 is spot on. When I worked in the hospital is not uncommon to get report from nurses who would say some very judgmental, mean things about the pt. and the pt's family. And you are very wise to ask how to address this without seeming like you are the better nurse by not feeling the same or commiserating with your fellow nurse.

So how I personally handled report from a nurse who was obviously burned out and saying very negative things about the pt., family, shift, etc.(because we all feel that way at times...believe me ALL nurses will feel in some way like that at times) is to validate your coworker's feelings 1st. For example:

In report Betsy, RN stated that pt.xyz has been a pain all shift and his family is getting on my nerves...I would come back with something like.."yeah it seems that way at times" but then I would also add "well I know it's tough for staff and pt's and family when they are in the hospital".

Something to that effect. I don't want to pile on about the pt but I also don't want to come across as "aww that's not right to say that" nurse. I can understand what the nurse is feeling and also a pt that is labeled difficult usually just feels out of control in the hospital setting and is lashing out some way.

A little understand all around goes a long way in nursing:) Good luck to you!

Mj

Edited by 4give&4getoften
wrong word

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23 Posts; 1,563 Profile Views

Mae2014,

can I add on also that someday when you do come across that pt and or a pt's family that seems extremely angry or "difficult"....and you you will know it! Not only from your fellow nurses who had the past shift but when you walk in the room, you could cut the tension with a knife. Please try and ask your pt is everything ok or is there something they need. Believe me, some pts and family staff will never be able to resolve all of the issues or make them happy but if you really try to understand where a pt. is coming from that also goes along way instead of automatically labeling them as "difficult".

An example: pt and family(lots of family) in room when pt was admitted on our unit. The hospital I worked for at the time; small community hospital out in the suburbs. Pt and family not familiar with the hospital or community felt like they were getting some attitude about certain things. I walk in to do admission...WOW it felt like a very hostile environment upon my entering.

I smiled cautiously and walked directly to the pt introduced my self to the pt and to his family. I knew that the pt and his family felt because of his dx and some other things that their was judgment from the staff(I really don't know if this was the actual case BUT it was this pt/family's PERCEPTION and you know what the saying is about perception?!)

I put my pt and his family at ease eventually by talking about some of the things that bothered them. They were pretty forthcoming and I was glad! I never want any pts/families thinking that they will get a substandard of care from me for any reason!

Am I rambling on?lol my point is...if a pt has been labeled difficult please try to find out why and help the pt as much as you can and let them know that you will everything within your power to take good care of them and their concerns. At times, being perceptive to your pt's emotional needs will be greater than their physical needs. That is why nursing is so hard and wonderful at the same time!

Nursing encompasses everything and it is damn hard at times and it will take every ounce of very being at times to be a good nurse at times and you will hate being a nurse at times and at other times you will feel proud and everything in between BUT if you are like most of us nurses you will know there is NOTHING else in life you would rather be...than a nurse!

ok sorry if I rambled...currently in my nursing career I am doing private duty and with this case I never expected the impact it would have on me; as a nurse and a human being. This case has definitely made me a better nurse, a better person.

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Usually the longer that you have done the job, the more negative your attitude becomes. Healthcare in general is a hard industry to work in. There is little to none recognition, and a lot of back stabbing that goes along with it. You get a lot of blame, and more work just gets added onto your plate without any compensation.

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imintrouble has 16 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in LTC Rehab Med/Surg.

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For 12 hrs a day I'm at the mercy of not just one, but at least 5-7 sick, unhealthy, unhappy people. They vent their pain, frustration, and sadness, on the nursing staff. I can't defend myself. I can't ignore them. I can't avoid them. It simply wears off.

On most days I'm one of those negative nurses. I've been working on it, because I'm doing to my co-workers exactly what my pt does to me. Venting all my frustration and anger on a person that can't get away from me. Weird.

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224 Posts; 6,526 Profile Views

Usually the longer that you have done the job, the more negative your attitude becomes. Healthcare in general is a hard industry to work in. There is little to none recognition, and a lot of back stabbing that goes along with it. You get a lot of blame, and more work just gets added onto your plate without any compensation.
Are you a recruiter? ;)

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1,871 Posts; 22,879 Profile Views

I am a student nurse and will graduate soon. I have worked both in clinical and as a CNA with so many negative nurses. It is difficult to take report when all they have to say are hurtful things about the patient. How can I, as a new graduate, combat this behavior without sounding like a know-it-all and offending the nurses with more experience?

Ah the holier than thou new nurse syndrome, seen it many times on this board. Look, mean things are not appropriate in bedside reporting but let's face it hospitals get many of the low lifes of society or those who refuse to be advocates of their own health. After a while as a nurse you get burned out with the same types of patients over and over again where it makes you bitter even towards those who genuinely need help.

If you said something to me at reporting I would set you straight real fast so trying to combat or convert people to your nursing views is not going to help.

Nursing is one of the top burn out professions you deal with crap most people wouldn't take for 5 minutes and you can't even defend yourself. So when you have a constant whiner or a ETOH withdrawal patient who gets up every 5-10 minutes and sets the bed alarm off at 3am your patient wears thin....fast.

Edited by Dranger

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