How to Gain Respect in the Workplace


  • Specializes in Alzheimer's, Geriatrics, Chem. Dep.. Has 30 years experience.

I am running around the house getting ready for my first of 4 night shifts, knowing that tonight I will have to receive report from a guy who repeatedly gives me a hard time. I often have to ask him to repeat or clarify, and last week he went so far as to ask sarcastically if I was "Special Ed" (special education). "Do you want me to slow down for ya?"

"No," I replied sarcastically back, "I just want you to repeat every single thing that you say to me." I was a bit ticked.

He also ripped into one of his better CNA's prior to going home.

So I am rehearsing my lines: What can I say to this guy so that he knows on no uncertain terms that he can't talk to me, or other people, that way?

Then I realize:

My Tinkerbell scrub top is on backwards. Yes, with the "V" in the back.

How do YOU garner respect in the workplace? (yes, in similar ways to what I almost did). Can you imagine if I showed up at work that way? HA HA! Maybe I shouldn't have fixed it! Wouldn't that be a riot! Unfortunately he is so obtuse he wouldn't have "gotten it".

Specializes in LTC, Med/Surg, Peds, ICU, Tele. Has 15 years experience.

He's an insecure bully.They respond best when you look for their weakness and exploit it by fighting fire with a missle launcher, unfortunately. Once they get burned they look for a weaker target. What a pain in the behind, I hate that sort of nonsense, life is too short.


637 Posts

I don't have a problem asking someone to slow down if I need to. It doesn't reflect in anyway on your intelligence. It just means that you want to get information that's being delivered to you and get it correctly.

Whispera, MSN, RN

3,458 Posts

Specializes in psych, addictions, hospice, education.

When I was first a nurse I was standing at the computer doing the lab ordering thing and a doctor flung something on my shoulder from behind. I thought it was a nice stuffed animal in a plastic bag, so I continued doing my work. In not too long a time I figured out it was a dead guinea pig. This doctor was very mischievous and had been known to try to get reactions from newbies. When I didn't react, he just chuckled and took the guinea pig off my shoulder. After that he was very supportive of me and never went without saying hello and answering all my questions. :hhmth:

Specializes in Neuro/Med-Surg/Oncology.

I would have probably blown it off the first few times, but when my fuse went I probably would have said "Quit giving me s--- and just tell me what I asked you to."

FireStarter is right. Once people like that know clearly that you're not going to put up with that behavior, it usually stops.


1,313 Posts

Specializes in Operating Room Nursing. Has 6 years experience.

I would have replied with replied with 'clearly you need 'special ed' when it comes to social skills....oh and by the way your scrub top is on backwards.

If you want to gain respect then work hard, help others whenever you can, be nice to new nurses, don't gossip or backstab, if someone is being a bully then be assertive and confront them in a professional way, don't take crap from anyone including other nurses, doctors, patients and their relatives. That's all I can think of offhand.

GadgetRN71, ASN, RN

1 Article; 1,840 Posts

Specializes in Operating Room. Has 17 years experience.

Next time, deal with him calmly and professionally. All you have to say is that there is no need for him to talk to you like that and that it is not appreciated. Most bullies back down once you stand up to them..

This guy sounds like a real butthead.:down:


30 Posts

Forgive me for butting in - I'm not a nurse YET........however, been the only girl in an all male workforce for MANY years and have LOTS of experience with infantile egomaniac single digit IQ bullies....

One of the posts here was right in my experience - he's a bully - bullies are only bullies if you "let" them...bullies need a reaction, which is why they act like bullies - doesn't matter what kind of reaction it is, you could have cried, you could have punched him in the nose - it wouldn't have mattered - he got his "heroin" - a reaction....

If you give him no reaction, it's very quickly not any fun anymore and it will stop.....but don't allow it to jeopardize your job - if he is the only one that can give you information you need - again - don't react (I know it's hard) - just give him your best indifferent dead pan face and ask (in response to the special ed comment):"...apparently I am - since you don't have time, is there someone else I can get the info from?" Just don't react - don't stomp away, try not get get flush, treat him like the old Adam 12 Sgt. Friday - "just the facts - only the facts."


156 Posts

i understand how you feel.I used to be the nice guy too but I got fed up going home every night crying,upset and feeling bad about myself i have had nurses say boy your face is something get rid of those frown lines you look like a slob and also nurses,adminstrators, but nurses are the worse backstabbing prejudice group I have ever met i dont associate with any of a coworkers and dont want to iam just burnt out on nasty nurses. so i made a decison Well are you going to stand up for yourself or be a doormat all your life! Well I learned assertiveness in a professional manner in other words be a smart ass and every time that person bullies you look at them like there some poor predemented person with personality disorder hang in there youll be alright

eriksoln, BSN, RN

2 Articles; 2,636 Posts

Specializes in M/S, Travel Nursing, Pulmonary. Has 15 years experience.

I'll begin with, it sounds like your co-worker is in too much of a rush. Wonder how many unfinished tasks he leaves for the next shift on a daily basis. Dangerous to say the least are these types who sprint out of the unit the second they are done with report. I consider giving a comfortable report to the next shift an asset in my list of nursing skills. Its one of those things that separates the average and good nurses.

I dont do anything to gain respect on the floor. People will respect or not respect you for all sorts or reasons that have nothing to do with your performance, professionalism or personality. Trying to line up all the ducks to please everyone is a loseing battle.

I'm not the type that needs to be liked at the workplace. I am or I am not, dont feel it has much to do with me either way. With that said, I deal with unprofessional behavior such as your co-workers very quickly and decisively. Nip it in the bud, dont tolerate it. Next time he rushes through report and gives you grief for not keeping up, ask him if he needs his reports supervised. Let him know if he doesnt improve his report giving will be forced to report his shortcomings in this area to management so they can work on it with him.

Why do I think this? Well, we actually had someone who rushed through report much like this gentleman. Sprinted out the door the second she was done. Left her nurse's notes as report if someone was held up by traffic or bad weather and was even 10 minutes late. She had more than a few arguements with other nurses who felt rushed through report by her. Management, being their typical disconected selves, ignored it and hid in their offices/meetings. Then, a few errors occured that were traced back to her and the person taking over for her. On one occasion, someone received two doses of coumadin. And each time, she swore she gave info. in report that the other nurse insisted was not. So, management stepped in and made her work with the Hospital Educator to learn how to give a sensible shift report.

I say suggest this option to your co-worker and management before errors occur.


208 Posts

Specializes in ER/OR. Has 2 years experience.

I say this in all respect...ditching the Tinkerbell scrub top might be one quick way to garner a bit more professional respect from people (but the guy seems like a real jerk, nonetheless!)


761 Posts

Specializes in pedi, pedi psych,dd, school ,home health.

Wearing a Tinkerbell scrub top (as long as it is on properly) should not make a difference in how professionally one is treated.

However, this person giving report is a pompous jerk from what i have read.

I think that asking him in the beginning of report to speak slowly and clearly so you can make sure that you understand all that HE did that day will make him stop and think:confused:

as far as the rest of the co workers... i try to treat everyone with respect; and work professionally and cooperatively with them.

good luck. if his attitude doesnt change then i would speak to the NM about his attitude. its not necessary!

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