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How to handle unprofessional coworkers

by Imanurse05 Imanurse05 (New) New


I'm about to leave my first nursing job, which I've been at for 10 months. My current job is at an LTC facility and my new job is in a hospital. I had hoped to stay a year before leaving, but I just couldn't take it anymore. There were constant staffing issues and other issues that made me desperate to leave. I truly appreciate my experience there as I learned so much. An issue I was having there was 2 coworkers treating me badly. Everyone on my shift is great and we get along great. I've only been having issues with the 2 of the nurses from the oncoming shift. They seem to always have an issue when I'm giving report and react in derogatory manner. Any time they tell me something I should've done, etc., I say okay I will do that in the future, and continue giving report. Sometimes they would have issue with my documentation, etc. I have no problem with constructive criticism and I want to learn and be a better nurse. However, there's a way of talking to someone without treating them like they're an idiot and making them feel bad about themselves. They act like this and berate me in front of fellow staff, and it's unprofessional in my opinion. There's other oncoming nurses who are great and who are so helpful and when they let me know of something I need to do, they do so in a polite, professional manner. The situation with these 2 nurses has gotten worse lately, and i couldn't deal with it, so I started applying to jobs. I never said anything to my DON or anyone else at work about how I felt, I just would bottle my feelings up and many days go cry in my car after leaving the building. It sucks when you feel like you had a good shift and worked your butt off, and helped patients, but then get kicked in gut when giving report and feel like a failure. I didn't want to rock the boat and figured it would only make the situation worse if I said something to my DON. My question is, I'm wondering if I should mention something to my DON before I leave this job, not mention workers by name, but just let her know how I was feeling so that this issue can maybe be prevented in the future. My DON is really nice and I feel guilty leaving before getting through a full year, especially since I know they already have staffing issues, and they put time and effort into training me. Before anyone asks, this is a second career for me, I've had other jobs in the past, always have gotten along with coworkers, and have never been treated this unprofessional before. Is all nursing like this with nurses 'eating their young'? Should I just suck it up and learn to deal with it? Thanks for any advice you can give me.

I would absolutely mention it to the DON, and if she asks, name names. Call those women out for creating a hostile work environment. They are obviously miserable and have tried to spread their misery...you will be doing whomever takes your place a favor (assuming the DON takes it seriously and deals with the problem). Businesses get sued for employees who create hostile work environments. If the DON does nothing, it's on her. And congratulations for standing up for yourself and getting away from the venom! I have done the same thing...

In a quiet and respectful way, I would inform the DON that those two persons, by name, are the direct reason why you had to leave. She is a nice person and deserves this information.

I would say something.

I know I have high expectations when giving/getting report, it's important to review certain things, and I want to check together what has/has not been done during my/your shift - so that we are not missing anything or duplicating tasks. At times, I have gotten a bit irritated with the (usually either clueless or way too relaxed) new nurse but always try and frame in in a "thanks for telling me X, please make sure that you review Y when you are on nights, and the reason I get concerned that Z was not checked by Q:00 is that PR&S can change really quickly. I need to know by 07:00 am, when I come in so that I can address it right away. But otherwise, great report, thanks!"

I have been (not bullied, that's a taboo word on this site..) made to feel like an absolute drooling moron by incoming nurses for things that I simply didn't know why or how to address. I have felt attacked, belittled and dismissed as an idiot. It's a terrible feeling. I've probably unintentionally made a couple new nurses feel this way.

The fact that I let this happen to me is almost certainly more a consequence of my own insecurity than anything else - with most nurses, I'm able to say decisively, "Nope, didn't get those labs that were put in at 06:47, or the STAT EKG that the resident put in at 06:52. Sorry!" But every now and then, we all meet the nurse who will check our charting with a fine toothed comb before we leave (not her job!) or the nurse who will insist that I redraw the labs that were just sent 15 minutes before the end of my shift.

If I'm not back tomorrow, you just got 2 unstable Lifelights at the same time and I'm feeling particularly generous, I might redraw those labs. And help with the bleeder. But if you're being a jerk...this is a 24 hour operation, sweetheart. And I can guarantee that when I left last night I told the offgoing nurse to leave all those labs, meds, etc for me to finish up so she could go home and sleep.

If you feel the need to get a 5 minute long detailed assessment of the daily poop and need a rundown on the day's family drama, and sneer at me when I say, "Um, I have no idea, I was too busy cardioverting..." you're on your own.

It takes time to establish credibility, especially in an acute care environment. There are certain nurses that I trust implicitly, and if they say they simply ran out of time, I roll my eyes, smile and tell them to go the heck home, I'll take it from here.

Others I know are intentionally lazy and leave things for the next shift, shouldn't be off orientation (though they insisted on coming off early) or just plain not cut out for critical care, and won't listen to the repeated suggestions that they should move on. They get to stay and finish their tasks. Sorry, dude, get your sh*t together or move on to another unit.

Be the nurse that the oncoming shift trusts, and you will have no problems in report.

Try and tell yourself at your next job, "If they are such fabulous nurses, they can probably figure this out without me."

Edited by Apples&Oranges