How do you handle co-workers who are extremely dramatic and are easily stressed?

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by 1Jessie86 1Jessie86 Member

Specializes in Telemetry, correctional.

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WanderingNurse45

WanderingNurse45

Specializes in Emergency and Neonate. Has 7+ years experience. 15 Posts

everywhere you go, there will be someone who will be like that- melodramatic.

What I observed is this usually originate innately from nurses or from the workplace itself.

Some nurses are born this way ;-P. Whatever happened during their childhood or what not, they are just like that.

The workplace, especially in your situation, if not busy enough or not challenging enough to distract people, will cause a lot of drama. I too have the same situation. Because there is nothing to do, people are making things "colorful" (unintentionally). They start idle talk that leads to people become upset, people start to scheme things etc. etc.

How to avoid the drama?

1. Make sure to be busy.

2. You cannot ignore them but you can avoid them. Hide!

3. If you are the target of drama, identify a proxy. It's just a matter of distracting them.

4. If cornered, smile and nod and reply, " Oh", " Yes" and " That's unfortunate". You don't need to understand what they are saying but pretend you care.

bottom line, it is something you have to live with until you retire. The way to cope with this is distraction.

TheCommuter, BSN, RN

Specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych. Has 16 years experience. 226 Articles; 27,608 Posts

In the past I've dealt with dramatic coworkers by mentally blocking them out and not really dealing with them. You cannot change dramatic people, but you can refuse to react to their drama and shenanigans.

AutumnApple

Specializes in M/S, Pulmonary, Travel, Homecare, Psych.. Has 12 years experience. 1 Article; 482 Posts

Betty was planning to go to nursing school? Not even.

She did go to nursing school. She was in her first semester while I was in my final one. That's not even the worst of it.

My school took teaching nursing leadership VERY seriously. It wasn't enough to just listen to a few lectures on it and write a paper. We had to show implementation of it. There were a few options they gave us to complete this assignment:

1. We could practice leadership with the community. Build a display and spend a day educating the public on a health issue. A lot of people did this because you could make it a group project. My friend and a couple others spent a day educating other students on early detection of diabetes.

2. We could do a lecture to the class on a topic that was nursing related. It had to be a topic that was not informative, you wanted to be influential on something. So, just lecturing on the warning signs of a heart attack wasn't good enough. You had to talk about something along the lines of "Should BSN be the minimum requirement for bedside nursing?". One girl did pick this, her lecture was something about gender roles and nursing. Everyone else avoided it because, well, most don't like public speaking.

3. Become what was called a 'new student mentor'. This was somewhat mandated. The class as a whole had to offer up five new student mentors. If there were no acceptable volunteers (oh yes, you could volunteer and be turned down if they didn't think you'd perform the role well) faculty would pick them. We had ONE volunteer. I was mandated into the position (was originally going to do the diabetes booth with my friend).

"This mission, should you choose to accept it.............". I had to take seven first semester students under my wing and help them acclimate to their new surroundings.

I'm sure I don't have to say it. You've guessed it.

When we were all introduced to the first semester students and they were told to pick their mentor...............

(sigh)

I never saw Betty move so fast. She.......I didn't even see her move or walk. She just, appeared next to me. The other students weren't even rising up yet.

The sum of my experience with her was positive though. She performed about how you'd have expected: An ace in theory and lecture, top scores in the class every time. Not so much a top student on clinical rotations. She was written up a couple times.

I practiced leadership by spending time with her 1:1. I walked through the hospital with her before each new clinical rotation to get mundane things out of the way. "This is where we enter the hospital. This is where you'll be able to catch the bus. This is where your instructor wants to meet the first day. This is where your unit will be."

It helped, I think. She passed first semester. She graduated too. I know this because I was back at the school years later. I was taking statistics for my BSN. When I went to visit the nursing faculty and.........there was her picture on the wall. She put on weight though lol

chacha82

chacha82, ADN, BSN

Has 3 years experience. 626 Posts

If it's not directed AT you, I would not take it personally. You can't change other people's work habits. Get your work done and assist others, if you have time. Is it possible you're getting a less complicated assignment than others who have been there longer? Our charge nurses make sure our less experienced nurses get "easier" patients. Sometimes the new nurses scoff that the work is "not that hard." I just keep what I know to myself.

If it bugs you to hear the drama, get involved in something else. Or say something like "Hey I have to do xyz...but then I can come help you with xyz...."

NuGuyNurse2b

NuGuyNurse2b

927 Posts

In the past I've dealt with dramatic coworkers by mentally blocking them out and not really dealing with them. You cannot change dramatic people, but you can refuse to react to their drama and shenanigans.

Bingo. Misery loves company. It's not just a saying, it's actually true. I ignore messy dramatic people. I leave my problems at home, and I expect to have the same courtesy from my co-workers. I'm not the type of person who takes it out on somebody else, and I certainly do not receive it well either. I think anybody who uses that as an excuse is a butthole. Those attention seekers soon learn whose shoulder they can cry on and whose shoulder they can't, and they will leave you alone with time.

Buyer beware

Buyer beware, BSN

Specializes in GENERAL. Has 40 years experience. 1,137 Posts

What I do is conduct a pharmacological assessment of the meds they're routinely on and then try to guess which ones they missed that day/night.

TriciaJ, RN

Specializes in Psych, Corrections, Med-Surg, Ambulatory. Has 41 years experience. 4,292 Posts

She did go to nursing school. She was in her first semester while I was in my final one. That's not even the worst of it.

My school took teaching nursing leadership VERY seriously. It wasn't enough to just listen to a few lectures on it and write a paper. We had to show implementation of it. There were a few options they gave us to complete this assignment:

1. We could practice leadership with the community. Build a display and spend a day educating the public on a health issue. A lot of people did this because you could make it a group project. My friend and a couple others spent a day educating other students on early detection of diabetes.

2. We could do a lecture to the class on a topic that was nursing related. It had to be a topic that was not informative, you wanted to be influential on something. So, just lecturing on the warning signs of a heart attack wasn't good enough. You had to talk about something along the lines of "Should BSN be the minimum requirement for bedside nursing?". One girl did pick this, her lecture was something about gender roles and nursing. Everyone else avoided it because, well, most don't like public speaking.

3. Become what was called a 'new student mentor'. This was somewhat mandated. The class as a whole had to offer up five new student mentors. If there were no acceptable volunteers (oh yes, you could volunteer and be turned down if they didn't think you'd perform the role well) faculty would pick them. We had ONE volunteer. I was mandated into the position (was originally going to do the diabetes booth with my friend).

"This mission, should you choose to accept it.............". I had to take seven first semester students under my wing and help them acclimate to their new surroundings.

I'm sure I don't have to say it. You've guessed it.

When we were all introduced to the first semester students and they were told to pick their mentor...............

(sigh)

I never saw Betty move so fast. She.......I didn't even see her move or walk. She just, appeared next to me. The other students weren't even rising up yet.

The sum of my experience with her was positive though. She performed about how you'd have expected: An ace in theory and lecture, top scores in the class every time. Not so much a top student on clinical rotations. She was written up a couple times.

I practiced leadership by spending time with her 1:1. I walked through the hospital with her before each new clinical rotation to get mundane things out of the way. "This is where we enter the hospital. This is where you'll be able to catch the bus. This is where your instructor wants to meet the first day. This is where your unit will be."

It helped, I think. She passed first semester. She graduated too. I know this because I was back at the school years later. I was taking statistics for my BSN. When I went to visit the nursing faculty and.........there was her picture on the wall. She put on weight though lol

Maybe she'd developed a taste for Whoppers. But really, who'd have thought? She's probably very lucky you were there to help her over the rough spots.

AutumnApple

Specializes in M/S, Pulmonary, Travel, Homecare, Psych.. Has 12 years experience. 1 Article; 482 Posts

Maybe she'd developed a taste for Whoppers. But really, who'd have thought? She's probably very lucky you were there to help her over the rough spots.

OMG lol.

As much as I thought her odd in the workstudy setting, I do believe she probably became a good nurse if she found the right setting. Which, if I had to bet, she probably did.

See, Betty was aware that she came off the way she did. She admitted she needed a low key, friendly environment to function in.

While everyone else was talking about getting into anesthesia school or the ICU or travel nursing...........

Betty wanted to work a call center and do camp nursing. No diva nurse aspirations for her.

FolksBtrippin, BSN, RN

Specializes in Psychiatry, Pediatrics, Community, Nurse Manager. Has 6 years experience. 2,067 Posts

We have this idea that being busy makes us feel stressed out, but most people get more worked up when there is not enough to keep them busy. The mind is amazing. Perception of stress = stress.

I wholeheartedly agree with Wile E Coyote that modeling has the best influence on people.

If you tell them to calm down you will get the opposite of what you want.

Just let your coworkers be where they are, let them vent, and maintain your own peaceful existence. They won't "catch" it from you if they really don't want to (it's not the Flu HA!) but if they are just a little lost then your peaceful state can influence them to be the same way.

caffeinatednurse, BSN, RN

Specializes in Med-surg, telemetry, oncology, rehab, LTC, ALF. Has 6 years experience. 311 Posts

I got my ear chewed off my last shift from this nurse that was so stressed out with all the little busy work. She had a terrible frown on her face the entire shift with just a nasty attitude. I just couldn't understand. She's been working there much longer than me and she plans to move and start telemetry nursing. I just don't know how that's going to work out on her end.

How do you deal with co-workers who are like this? I just want to tell them to sit down and relax or go home!

Telling a stressed out co-worker to sit down and relax or go home is not likely to end well.

By getting your ear chewed off, do you mean that she snapped off at you? Or that she constantly complained? If she snapped off at you, try your best to ignore her (as long as it isn't a repeated event). People have off days, and if she's been there for a while, she's likely feeling done with corrections nursing.

If she's just complaining a lot, try to block it out. I know how irritating it can be and how much it can affect the mood and morale in a work place but you don't want it to affect how you feel about your work. All that matters is that you like where you work. It sounds like she hasn't found the place where she's content, yet.

I worked Med-Surg/Telemetry for a short period of time, too. Most of my co-workers were stressed out, complaining all the time and snapping at each other. The only RNs who weren't stressed out on that floor were the ones who had been there for at least 20 years, the supervisors and the NM.Schedule

AsatruRN

AsatruRN

Specializes in Dialysis, Oncology. Has 6 years experience. 23 Posts

that's like my boyfriend who works in a pizza place: "go run to the other store and ask them for a dough patch"

Or in the military: "I need you to go get me an ID10 - T form"

Or also the military: "I need the keys to the hum V" (they don't use keys on military hummers)

jadelpn, LPN, EMT-B

51 Articles; 4,800 Posts

I went from working in telemetry to now working at a detention facility. I don't understand why some of the nurses that I work with can become so easily stressed out in this type of environment. The detainees are not dying. Education, pill passing and lot's of charting is involved in detention nursing. Keep in mind, I don't work in a prison, I work with low level inmates and detainees.

I got my ear chewed off my last shift from this nurse that was so stressed out with all the little busy work. She had a terrible frown on her face the entire shift with just a nasty attitude. I just couldn't understand. She's been working there much longer than me and she plans to move and start telemetry nursing. I just don't know how that's going to work out on her end.

How do you deal with co-workers who are like this? I just want to tell them to sit down and relax or go home!

You don't. You do you, and her thing is her thing.

If she starts chewing your ear off? "Why thank you for bringing that to my attention, I will take it under advisement. Now if you will excuse me...." and walk away, go back to your charting, whatever it is that you need to do.

You can't put flowers in a butt and call it a vase. So just don't even attempt to get into it.