How to handle hostile co-workers

Nurses General Nursing


Hi, all. I'm currently a LVN preparing to take NCLEX-RN in Nov. I plan to start out in ICU as a new grad and want to prepare myself for dealing with co-workers that are not professional. I know I'll be learning a lot and making some mistakes along the way. I also know that some nurses eat their young (trainees) alive. I want to be prepared to deal with those individuals in a civil and constructive manner. So I ask for your advice. Here is what happened to me few years ago while I was working as a LVN in a nursing home. I'm glad you guys are here for me to vent since I haven't really talked to anyone about this...

I had 32 patients on my wing that were post surgery/acute illness/rehab rather than stable nursing home patient. Lots of young people were on my wing also unlike other wings. I was always running. I had a lot of procedures, labs, pain med requests etc. that needed extra time besides my med passes and charting. I barely had enough time to chart and go home on time since there were two med passes in my a.m. shift and loads of charting I had to do. I felt uncomfortable with the load but I took pride in having the heaviest load at my work place. (Don't ask me why I felt proud... :uhoh3: ). I was very well liked and respected by my co-workers and patients. One day a treatment nurse (also a lvn) comes to me and asks me a question about so and so in room whatever number. I tell her about the patient and she makes the remark that this patient has dementia and how could I not have known. She does not have the dx of dementia. I also knew for a fact that the patient is not mentally incapacitated. I had asked the patient what book she's reading and she said it was 'a memoir of a geisha' and that it was an easy read. She even told me I could borrow it when she's through. She always acted appropriately and never gave me a reason to think that she was not mentally competent. So instead of defending myself I let it go. I felt like an idiot for not telling her my assessment of the patient. I should've told her that I didn't know that she was a M.D. capable of adding a dx to a patient. I know that she has this I'm better than you attitude toward everyone. Her load is always much lighter than anybody else's since we didn't have too many skin breaks at our facility. On the other hand some nurses had 40 pt each since the pts are "stable". Even though those pts rarely needed anything other than regular meds it was still very hard to manage. So we all worked out A** off unlike her who had 15 pts at the most in a shift. So I'm not the first to be put down by her but I still shouldn't have let her do that to me. I left the facility soon after to have my daughter and stayed home for about two years as we planned. Then I started working NOC at the home health agency. It was perfect schedule for me since I could still be with my daughter during the day and study at night for my ASN since I only took care of one sleeping patient. I met the same nurse at the mall couple months ago. She asked what I'm doing now and I told her home health. She made another remark that offended me. She said "Oh, that's an easy job." as if to say I couldn't do a harder job (like her job is so darn hard). Again instead of telling her I've been studying for my ASN during the night shift and am almost done, I laugh it off. She may not have meant it the way I took it but I still felt like she was belittling me. I will never let anyone else walk all over me again. I will stand up for myself and not take crap from people like that. I feel a little better now that I had a chance to vent. What do you think would be a civil and constructive way to handle people like this? Thanks for listening to my rambling and offering advices.


345 Posts

Pick your battles...someone like here is NOT worth the effort. You will not change her mind and if you tell her how rude she is she will not believe you. I work with several staff who are like that. I have been accused of being too nice and that I should grow a thicker skin and I AM trying.

But I'm with you, their comments still hurt/annoy/anger me.


6,011 Posts


I believe that others have her number. Those people who try to make themselves look good by putting down others only show how small they are. Good luck on the NCLEX!


4,177 Posts

Sometimes you can't win..if you respond to someone like this the know they got to you...if you ignore them you are in effect saying that they are right...try to avoid people like this...unforturnately you will find them everywhere in all walks of life...know who you are and be happy...

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