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I Was Fired...for Being Abrasive and Having Attitude

Nurse Beth Nurse Beth, MSN (Columnist) Educator Columnist Innovator Expert Nurse

Specializes in Med Surg, Tele, ICU, Ortho.

Dear Nurse Beth,

So my passion all throughout nursing school was to become an ED nurse. I had my preceptorship in the ED and actually ended up becoming good friends with my preceptor. I landed a ED job at a hospital 30-40 min away from my home and while I had never been to this hospital before and it was farther away from another hospital that I had been offered a job at, but I was determined to do ED. My first week was overwhelming however I felt like I was catching on to everything very well.

I thought I was getting along with everyone and tried so hard to make friends because this has always been a struggle of mine because I have always been told I have a big personality. Mid second week, my preceptor pulls me aside and tells me I have had complaints that I have an attitude and am argumentative when others try to help. He did not have any specific examples and I was baffled, hurt, and felt so bad that I had made this impression. I cried and apologized to him and he hugged me saying he just wanted to help and he thought I was doing great but to just work on how I speak with others and that it was just something I was going to have to improve on.

He even called me after saying I don't want you to take this personally, I want you to take it in, grow from it and keep moving. I walked away from the conversation thinking this was just a hiccup and that I would become more comfortable within a few more weeks and I just needed to find my footing with this group of people. I thought that this meeting was to tell me "hey this is what you need to improve on" and that I would have the rest of my orientation to improve myself. I felt that maybe my anxiety was getting the best of me and making me come off as argumentative with the staff when truly I was just nervous and unable to communicate when I was struggling with a certain task. I worked two more shifts after that and tried my hardest to watch how I was speaking to others. After that conversation though I suddenly was seeing myself never quite fitting in with this team. I was not nearly as excited to be in this ER or even work at this hospital the way I was during my preceptorship.

My first day back on my third week, the manager pulled me in her office an hour into my shift and told me my communication skills were not what they were looking for, that I was not a good fit for their team and I was being terminated effective immediately. My heart sank. My old preceptor from school who I had become friends with was shocked that they did not give me more time. I want to be angry and blame them that they were not welcoming enough and being a bit harsh on me, but I want to learn from this experience and acknowledge my mistakes because I know I cannot walk away from this having learned nothing. However, I am suddenly doubting my decision to go into nursing. I am confused that they brought a problem to my attention last week, told me to improve on it and that they would help me, and then fired me the following week for that problem...I thought I would have more time to improve myself but I guess my problems were much bigger than I thought.

My skills were not a problem whatsoever and I was learning everything very quickly. I am still trying to understand exactly what I did wrong so I can improve myself, but my confidence is shattered and they frankly did not give me much explanation or examples on why they had this impression that I was "argumentative". The only thing was that my preceptor told me when someone says something to me or tries to help me that I should just smile and say yes okay I understand instead of explaining why I am doing something the way I am doing it. I almost feel like I was fired because I did not brown nose the nurses the way the other new hires/grads were. I'm confused and scared to try to go back to working at a hospital because I am afraid I will make the same mistakes. I feel like my personality tends to make a large and longer-lasting impression on others and I can be charismatic and flamboyant, but end up being not everyone’s favorite to be around.

I have no filter when in my comfort zone and I will tell you exactly what I think and why however I guess that causes me to come across as abrasive but without the intention of being insulting.

The orientation was supposed to be 12 weeks and I couldn't even get through 3 weeks. I was supposed to be given one patient in my first 2-3 weeks and was juggling 4-5 in my second week. I scribed and charted a cardiac arrest my second to last day of work perfectly and constantly thanked others when they taught me something. I am trying to figure out if I really just am a person with an attitude problem or maybe this unit and set of people was just not a good fit for me. I'm just lost and disappointed in myself and wishing I could have shown them the best side of myself, but I somehow feel like I wasn't given a chance to do that or to even fix my mistakes.

Dear No Filter,

I'm so sorry this was your first experience.

The fact that they did not give you any specific examples and moved to judgement so quickly could be signs that the management is not experienced or mature. If you worked 12 hr shifts, that means that you worked 6 shifts and were fired on your 7th shift. Only something egregious would warrant immediate termination.

Too many times I've seen nurses who start out a bit shaky in some way blossom with support and with time. What a shame to just throw away nurses.

You describe yourself as explaining yourself (being defensive) when someone said something to you (which I'm taking to mean giving you instruction). You use the term "brown-nosing" to describe other new grads' behaviors. Acknowledging their novice status is not brown-nosing, it's appropriate. This view could be a point of pride on your behalf.

Here's what I'm sensing, and what you can learn from the situation, because I know you want for this to make some sense. Tone down your big personality. Adopt a humble, learning attitude.

This is harder for people who are smart, and I have a hunch you are smart, skills-wise. But there's also emotional intelligence, or people-smarts. If the nurses at all thought you were not teachable, that would account for the decision to terminate. Being seen as not teachable is the unforgivable sin in new nurses. Why? Because your co-workers need to know they can trust you with what they consider their patients.

You need to move forward from this experience. The worst experiences often become important landmarks in our lives...if we learn from them.

I, too, had a rough start. I was suspended for a medication error as a new nurse. I know how you feel because I questioned if I should even be a nurse. It was pretty awful. Read about it on my blog I Was Suspended.

Here's the key- do not quit. You did not come this far to quit, you have a purpose.

Best wishes, my friend

Start your job search today!

Thank you so much nurse Beth! This truly means a lot and I will take this as a lesson and experience. As difficult as it is, I’m happy to at least keep working as a nurse regardless of where it is.

Nurse SMS, MSN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care; Cardiac; Professional Development.

On 10/6/2019 at 3:13 PM, Nurse Beth said:

Dear Nurse Beth,

So my passion all throughout nursing school was to become an ED nurse. I had my preceptorship in the ED and actually ended up becoming good friends with my preceptor. I landed a ED job at a hospital 30-40 min away from my home and while I had never been to this hospital before and it was farther away from another hospital that I had been offered a job at, but I was determined to do ED. My first week was overwhelming however I felt like I was catching on to everything very well.

I thought I was getting along with everyone and tried so hard to make friends because this has always been a struggle of mine because I have always been told I have a big personality. Mid second week, my preceptor pulls me aside and tells me I have had complaints that I have an attitude and am argumentative when others try to help. He did not have any specific examples and I was baffled, hurt, and felt so bad that I had made this impression. I cried and apologized to him and he hugged me saying he just wanted to help and he thought I was doing great but to just work on how I speak with others and that it was just something I was going to have to improve on.

He even called me after saying I don't want you to take this personally, I want you to take it in, grow from it and keep moving. I walked away from the conversation thinking this was just a hiccup and that I would become more comfortable within a few more weeks and I just needed to find my footing with this group of people. I thought that this meeting was to tell me "hey this is what you need to improve on" and that I would have the rest of my orientation to improve myself. I felt that maybe my anxiety was getting the best of me and making me come off as argumentative with the staff when truly I was just nervous and unable to communicate when I was struggling with a certain task. I worked two more shifts after that and tried my hardest to watch how I was speaking to others. After that conversation though I suddenly was seeing myself never quite fitting in with this team. I was not nearly as excited to be in this ER or even work at this hospital the way I was during my preceptorship.

My first day back on my third week, the manager pulled me in her office an hour into my shift and told me my communication skills were not what they were looking for, that I was not a good fit for their team and I was being terminated effective immediately. My heart sank. My old preceptor from school who I had become friends with was shocked that they did not give me more time. I want to be angry and blame them that they were not welcoming enough and being a bit harsh on me, but I want to learn from this experience and acknowledge my mistakes because I know I cannot walk away from this having learned nothing. However, I am suddenly doubting my decision to go into nursing. I am confused that they brought a problem to my attention last week, told me to improve on it and that they would help me, and then fired me the following week for that problem...I thought I would have more time to improve myself but I guess my problems were much bigger than I thought.

My skills were not a problem whatsoever and I was learning everything very quickly. I am still trying to understand exactly what I did wrong so I can improve myself, but my confidence is shattered and they frankly did not give me much explanation or examples on why they had this impression that I was "argumentative". The only thing was that my preceptor told me when someone says something to me or tries to help me that I should just smile and say yes okay I understand instead of explaining why I am doing something the way I am doing it. I almost feel like I was fired because I did not brown nose the nurses the way the other new hires/grads were. I'm confused and scared to try to go back to working at a hospital because I am afraid I will make the same mistakes. I feel like my personality tends to make a large and longer lasting impression on others and I can be charismatic and flamboyant, but end up being not everyone’s favorite to be around.

I have no filter when in my comfort zone and I will tell you exactly what I think and why however I guess that causes me to come across as abrasive but without the intention of being insulting.

The orientation was supposed to be 12 weeks and I couldn't even get through 3 weeks. I was supposed to be given one patient in my first 2-3 weeks and was juggling 4-5 in my second week. I scribed and charted a cardiac arrest my second to last day of work perfectly and constantly thanked others when they taught me something. I am trying to figure out if I really just am a person with an attitude problem or maybe this unit and set of people was just not a good fit for me. I'm just lost and disappointed in myself and wishing I could have shown them the best side of myself, but I somehow feel like I wasn't given a chance to do that or to even fix my mistakes.

The bolded part stood out to me in your letter and I believe this is why you were fired.

Nobody can read your intentions and in nursing, the ED in particular, if people cannot trust you, they cannot work with you.

There are a lot of people out there who are just plain ugly to others, then say they "have no filter" or "I just tell it like it is" or "I have a big personality/am blunt/etcetcetc" as a means of excusing themselves for being unpleasant or even downright unkind. It is easier to blame everyone else for being too sensitive than to look hard in the mirror.

New grads sometimes lose perspective that it is not all about them. Yes, they deserve a good learning environment, but the flip side is that they need to be a good learner, including reading the room, reading situations and responding to others the way they themselves would like to be responded to and most of all, swallowing the humility of facing corrections, big and small, over and over and over again. That isn't brown-nosing. It's being a good learner and a good team player. You are new. You should not even have a comfort zone yet when it comes to nursing. If you feel you do, that is worrisome.

I hope you learn from this. I do wish you well.

Hoosier_RN, MSN

Specializes in dialysis.

22 minutes ago, Nurse SMS said:

New grads sometimes lose perspective that it is not all about them. Yes, they deserve a good learning environment, but the flip side is that they need to be a good learner, including reading the room, reading situations and responding to others the way they themselves would like to be responded to and most of all, swallowing the humility of facing corrections, big and small, over and over and over again. That isn't brown-nosing. Its being a good learner and a good team player. You are new. You should not even have a comfort zone yet when it comes to nursing. If you feel you do, that is worrisome.

I hope you learn from this. I do wish you well.

This, 100%

Edited by Hoosier_RN

When a work group decides one is not a good fit, they will not include that new person, their goose is cooked. These people decided quickly to get rid of you. Probably too quickly for fairness sake. And who is to say it is right for them to reject you outright while they made no attempts to adapt to you or to help you? Rejection of a new person is quite a common workplace behavior. Don’t be so hard on yourself. It was more them, than you. But then, take to heart the feedback you received there and in the previous answers here and do your best to make changes that will facilitate your future job stability. Best wishes.

Shame about it is a hospital will allow a slacker that is friendly to retain the job over someone who is trying to get the job done that is more direct. Nothing in your post warranted you being fired the way you were. You weren't given enough time to be allowed in the cliques environment (nursing politics at its finest). There are way more post of new grads suffering abuse from co-workers then I can count. Since you weren't the bosses favorite you weren't given immunity either. Next time don't cry in front of a co-worker who is making a judgement about you, it comes across that they are completely right about what they feel about you. I have a feeling that this place does this all the times until they find the right one that they can push around. The people complaining had no real examples of what you were doing and saying that was wrong but just told you to change. Provide an example of something you were asked and how you responded with no filter.

Excellent, @Nurse Beth and @Nurse SMS.

A very painful lesson to learn. I have learned something sort of similar in a much less traumatic way...just kind of realizations over time about what I did or didn't need to do/be/concern myself with.

@Louise Henaut, here are some various comments for your processing, offered with helpful spirit:

On 10/6/2019 at 3:13 PM, Nurse Beth said:

My first day back on my third week, the manager pulled me in her office an hour into my shift and told me my communication skills were not what they were looking for, that I was not a good fit for their team and I was being terminated effective immediately.

I am sorry to hear that this is how this was handled. I do think that if we're going to bother bringing something to someone's attention, there should be some understanding of goals and timelines for improving (provided that they don't escalate or have some kind of additional incident soon thereafter).

On 10/6/2019 at 3:13 PM, Nurse Beth said:

The only thing was that my preceptor told me when someone says something to me or tries to help me that I should just smile and say yes okay I understand instead of explaining why I am doing something the way I am doing it. I almost feel like I was fired because I did not brown nose the nurses the way the other new hires/grads were.

Of all things, this ^ is one main area where you need to focus your introspection. It isn't completely your fault, there are (maybe ?) some life experiences you haven't had yet--preventing you from seeing this more clearly. Every direction, every correction, every comment...does not need a reply, a defense, a justification, an explanation. What it says (to others) is that you are not going to spend time processing the information you've been given and instead have immediately sought to talk instead of contemplate.

You have a wrong idea that you are explaining and defending yourself, and that the opposite of doing that is "brown nosing." That is not true, and what you are (I hope) about to learn is that there is more than one way to be smart. There are a lot of people out there who seem to believe that being strong means arguing every single critique of oneself, and to not do that is weakness. But...being defensive is just being defensive; it gets you absolutely nowhere for two different reasons: 1) People don't like it. It is annoying and exhausting to listen to after awhile; and it makes people feel like they are wasting their time talking to you. And worse: 2) It literally does not help you. Accept that! Instant replies (explanations, defenses, justifications, etc.) are actually not helping you! They may make you temporarily feel better, but what you are feeling is the sense of having defended yourself--the problem is, of course, that no defense was required to begin with.

On 10/6/2019 at 3:13 PM, Nurse Beth said:

I feel like my personality tends to make a large and longer lasting impression on others and I can be charismatic and flamboyant, but end up being not everyone’s favorite to be around.

Our personalities are who we are. We may feel like we can't change them or shouldn't have to. But the truth is that we can learn and grow within our personalities and even sometimes reign in some of our personal idiosyncrasies without seeking to change the core of our being.

Novice + flamboyant/charismatic + very confident in own skills/abilities is just not a winning combo. Some people would say there's no good reason it shouldn't be perfectly acceptable, but there really are reasons that it isn't. First of all, this job in particular involves some knowledge and skills that you do not possess just yet. Secondly, when you combine all of that with the communication struggle already described, people will be suspicious of your ability to utilize prudence/caution. Overall the impression is, "I just blow through and let the pieces fall where they may..." You/we/whoever can be mad that people don't appreciate that style, or we can accept that people almost universally do not appreciate that, and seek to adapt.

On 10/6/2019 at 3:13 PM, Nurse Beth said:

I have no filter when in my comfort zone and I will tell you exactly what I think and why however I guess that causes me to come across as abrasive but without the intention of being insulting.

Yes...not having a filter is abrasive. A filter is necessary for nearly all areas of life in one way or another. Not having/using one is, again, the mindset of bull in china shop/blowing through and letting the pieces fall where they may. People without a filter do leave disaster in their wakes.

On 10/6/2019 at 3:13 PM, Nurse Beth said:

I was supposed to be given one patient in my first 2-3 weeks and was juggling 4-5 in my second week.

And you probably thought that was very stellar. I personally no longer judge someone's abilities in this way - - for the exact reason we are having this conversation right now: While you were busy striving to give the appearance of ED prowess, you were not learning everything you needed to learn to be successful.

On 10/6/2019 at 3:13 PM, Nurse Beth said:

I scribed and charted a cardiac arrest my second to last day of work perfectly

Probably not. 🤨😬 You probably did an acceptable job and perhaps better than most new and some experienced nurses. But as you can see now, that is not a measure of your overall capability.

It sounds to me as if, overall, you had an idea about what proving yourself looked like, and it came off as somewhat "rock star" 🤩. No new grad is there to be a rock star; being really awesome is usually a much less obtrusive deal.

**

You absolutely can use this for good. 👍🏽🍀

What do you think about the ideas in our replies?

"nursy", RN

Specializes in ICU, ER, Home Health, Corrections, School Nurse.

Agree with all of the above. Several things stand out to me. One is the need to "explain" yourself while others "brown nose." The other is your description of how great your performance was. Lastly, the length of your posting. That was A LOT of explaining, defending, rationalizing, etc. I am not a therapist, but I really feel that there may be some underlying issues here that you could possibly use some help with. I would strongly suggest reaching out to a mental health professional to help you evaluate why you react the way you do. Nursing isn't just about being perfect in your tasks, or how many patients you can juggle, or the "perfectly" scribed code form. You are dealing with human beings who are coming in to the ER in life and death situations, and they are scared and hurt and in pain, confused, possibly in fear for their life or the life of a loved one. Much as they need a proficient health care provider, they also need compassion, and someone who can listen and empathize. If your personality gets in the way of your relationships with people, it's not just your co-workers who will be affected, but your patients as well.

You sound like you have the potential to be a really great nurse. So don't give up, but do get some help. Good luck.

On 10/6/2019 at 3:13 PM, Nurse Beth said:

The only thing was that my preceptor told me when someone says something to me or tries to help me that I should just smile and say yes okay I understand instead of explaining why I am doing something the way I am doing it.

I can relate to this one. My learning style is such that if I’m caught in a mistake, I want to explain my thinking behind it so the other person can show me where that train of thought went wrong.

But I have never once met a preceptor who knows about that learning style, so I eventually adopted the “yes okay I understand”, which allows me to keep my job.

It’s impossible to know what happened without seeing you in action. What is clear, though, is that it is unfair to warn somebody and terminate them without giving them specific examples. Your preceptor sort of gave you a vague one (being defensive when someone gives advice). But you needed to hear:

Last Tuesday, Dr Smith said XY and you responded with ABC.

On Thursday the charge nurse asked you to XYZ and you said ABC.

It is outrageous to me that you were basically told “your personality is too strong” and please tone it down.” I mean, yes, maybe you do need to change some things, but how are you supposed to do that without guidance?

Hoosier_RN, MSN

Specializes in dialysis.

I've had to terminate nurses before and it's never easy or fun. Maybe you had been talked to or directed but didn't realize it. A manager in another clinic recently had to let a nurse go after "big personality" issues. The gal had been talked to by manager, preceptor, and another coworker. She is now on FB saying that she had no idea, blindsided, crushed, etc. So, we know your side, but I think you need to look deep within yourself and reflect upon what you need to address before your next job. Termination is never a step that is taken lightly by management. It sounds like for it to be so early in, there had to be a major issue that you just don't see. If there are any coworkers from there that you had any relationship with, try reaching out to them to see if they can tell you what you need, to help. But honestly, most won't in this day and age of litigation and guns. Best of luck in your future endeavors

KalipsoRed21, BSN

Specializes in Currently: Home Health.

Well as poopy as it must feel to get fired, it is better to be let go than struggle to fit in where you don’t. But for the next year it is SUPER important that you quit telling people what you know or what you think you know and just be greatful for ANY advice you are given.....even if you think it is incorrect.

My way around ruffling feathers when I was new and pretty sure a nurse was practicing ‘old school’ but not ‘evidence based’ was to let her show me what she thought I should be doing and let her do it to the patient. Chart that you were assisted by nurse so n’ so for that procedure. And when I had the next one, grab a different senior nurse I may have trusted a little more to watch me do it. If she said I did it correct or showed me something different I would start practicing that way. If the first nurse said something about what I was doing then I could just say, “Well —— told me to do it this way.” Maybe we should all talk together? Most likely no one will want to have a group meeting about whatever it is you are doing and you just continue to do things the way you were shown by the nurse you trusted more. I know it seems like a long way around, and it is, but this is how to be humble.

1 hour ago, KalipsoRed21 said:

Well as poopy as it must feel to get fired, it is better to be let go than struggle to fit in where you don’t. But for the next year it is SUPER important that you quit telling people what you know or what you think you know and just be greatful for ANY advice you are given.....even if you think it is incorrect.

My way around ruffling feathers when I was new and pretty sure a nurse was practicing ‘old school’ but not ‘evidence based’ was to let her show me what she thought I should be doing and let her do it to the patient. Chart that you were assisted by nurse so n’ so for that procedure. And when I had the next one, grab a different senior nurse I may have trusted a little more to watch me do it. If she said I did it correct or showed me something different I would start practicing that way. If the first nurse said something about what I was doing then I could just say, “Well —— told me to do it this way.” Maybe we should all talk together? Most likely no one will want to have a group meeting about whatever it is you are doing and you just continue to do things the way you were shown by the nurse you trusted more. I know it seems like a long way around, and it is, but this is how to be humble.

I think this is a great strategy but am afraid my attention span would be too short in order to be able to apply it!

MiladyMalarkey, ASN, BSN

Specializes in Neuro.

I'd just think of it this way...imagine yourself 10+ years down the road, you're a veteran nurse & you notice the new grad on your unit is either doing something wrong or in a way that could be done better. You go up to them trying to guide or maybe even correct. You know what you're doing likely, after all you've got experience. Then the new grad perhaps gets defensive and does not take your tips/correction/guidance with an open mind or willingness to learn. Instead they perhaps try to argue why they are doing it their way instead. Then maybe this new grad perhaps does this frequently with others as well. How would you take this or feel about that new grad as the experienced nurse? How would you feel trying to work with them in an emergency setting, like the ED you're in?

I can't assume a lot about you from this minimal post. But perhaps some self reflection & willingness to hear others out may help you. Not to say letting you go so quickly was right, but you have to ask did you show your team a willingness to learn and work together or did you show them as a newbie you were not flexible and easy to work with? Let this be a learning experience in which you can build your foundation of becoming a great nurse and even better team player. Don't give up, just learn and keep going.

I don’t know why people think “not having a filter” is a good quality 🤷‍♀️

Nurse SMS, MSN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care; Cardiac; Professional Development.

2 hours ago, KarenMS said:

I don’t know why people think “not having a filter” is a good quality 🤷‍♀️

I tend to agree. It translates as "I have poor social awareness, poor self regulation and I don't care that I hurt other people by the things I say and do". I am not sure that the people who suffer from no filter realize it...or if they just don't care. I suspect they mean it to be a reflection of self confidence, but it actually conveys knowledge of a pretty damaging personality issue.

3 hours ago, KarenMS said:

I don’t know why people think “not having a filter” is a good quality 🤷‍♀️

I believe that the sincere thought is that it is more "honest" than some other human interactions; that it is a positive thing as opposed to a fake/negative thing. People do sincerely believe this; it's evidenced even on this thread: The idea was that one person was being honest and the others were brown-nosing (availing themselves of an advantage by being fake).

And, well...that is pretty much true (the part about unfiltered commentary being perhaps more "honest" than severely restricted commentary). That's part of the reason why it is so difficult to make a change...you have to wrap your head around the idea that using tact/filter/whatever you want to call it is not the opposite of honest. Rather, it is the realization that not all situations call for one's unbridled honesty, and/or the realization that it might be a positive move in one's life to consider other perspectives such that one's own honest understandings might change to the point that their natural ("honest") reactions are not so abrasive.

Edited by JKL33

llg, PhD, RN

Specializes in Nursing Professional Development.

20 hours ago, Daisy Joyce said:

I can relate to this one. My learning style is such that if I’m caught in a mistake, I want to explain my thinking behind it so the other person can show me where that train of thought went wrong.

But I have never once met a preceptor who knows about that learning style, so I eventually adopted the “yes okay I understand”, which allows me to keep my job.

I tend to be the same -- not to be argumentative -- but I want the teacher to help me figure out where I went wrong.

I have learned over the years to say that out loud so that they understand my purpose in reviewing my reasoning. In the heat of the moment, I usually just say "yes" and follow their advice. But if/when there is time, I say things like, "Do you have a minute? I'd like to review my thinking that led to me making that mistake about ....(whatever). Could I just go back over the situation and think out loud -- and then you could point out where I where I went wrong? That might help me prevent making the same mistake in the future." If I approach the conversation that way, I have found that a lot of preceptors/teachers are willing to help me learn in that way. Without the explanation, that learning tactic can sound like defensive behavior and/or denying that you were wrong.

meanmaryjean, DNP, RN

Specializes in NICU, ICU, PICU, Academia.

1 hour ago, Nurse SMS said:

I tend to agree. It translates as "I have poor social awareness, poor self regulation and I don't care that I hurt other people by the things I say and do". I am not sure that the people who suffer from no filter realize it...or if they just don't care. I suspect they mean it to be a reflection of self confidence, but it actually conveys knowledge of a pretty damaging personality issue.

This is so insightful!

On 10/8/2019 at 1:59 PM, llg said:

I have found that a lot of preceptors/teachers are willing to help me learn in that way.

I would certainly hope so. It's too bad that even that much explanation is required. FTR, I do not expect that level of preemptive care (walking on eggshells) - - just clarifying that in case it wasn't clear in light of my initial reply.

I don't take offense to most commentary that follows an instruction (of mine) - - I think most people are meaning to just explain their thinking and learn something in the process. The spirit of rebuttal is a different matter, though, and is usually recognizable when it is present.

Most of my interactions are very low-key and really don't get into any of what this thread has been about so far.

Example:

Newer nurse is preparing to perform a long-ish procedure so that a patient can be discharged after it is complete (total time for procedure and discharged = 30 min for a new RN); meanwhile, a new patient has just arrived in one of our rooms.

Me: Let's take a quick peek at so-and-so, then we'll come back and do this.

Orientee: I just thought that we should do this first so s/he could be discharged.

Me: Yes, that is a good thought and you are right to try to keep things moving. But we will usually need to prioritize someone we haven't laid eyes on yet - - we have to know if they're sick/not sick before we get stuck in someone else's room.

<The end. No hurt feelings>. There was no spirit of rebuttal involved.

So I tend to think...when people are getting upset over rebuttals, explanations/justifications/etc. from an orientee, it isn't the remark that is the problem. There is an attitude that can make it unacceptable. If someone is getting fired over it, it's because of attitude almost without question.

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