In need of some peer support...

Nurses General Nursing


Specializes in oncology.

I usually work in an outpatient oncology/BMT department for 3 years, but I volunteer to work on the inpatient oncology/BMT unit as needed. I feel very comfortable there and the staff is always supportive when one of us goes up there to work. Last week there was an incident where another patient's lab requisition form got stamped with my patient's name. I pretty much took the blame for the the mistake, even though I am confident that I did not have any special lab requisitions for my patients. Anyways, I worked on this unit yesterday and had a pretty sick patient. He had a very high tacrolimus level (45.8) with confusion and visual disturbances, which started right before my shift. I did neuro checks q1h and kept the physicians informed all day. I had to draw blood cultures right at 3pm on another patient and my neuro patient had a grand mal seizure. Two other nurses were in the room, and I had no clue until I came to the nurse's station. I saw this coming all day and it was definitely something that was anticipated by everyone. I just feel bad because I was not there and it was change of shift. The nurse I reported-off to at 3pm has been a nurse since the dinosaurs, and she made me feel VERY incompetent. This particular nurse has a "I'm just here to work" attitude and is the first to complain about patients. She didn't specifically say anything, but actions do speak louder than words. I do not have very tough skin at all, so I may just be making a big deal of this situation. I do not often feel incompetent and often precept students and other nurses... but I just can't help feeling incompetent because I should have been there.

I am just in need of a few kind words!

Specializes in Psych (25 years), Medical (15 years).

Kind words are a merely quick fix. A reality check is needed here. And a reality check is an ojective review of the situation. That would seem to give one more peace than kind words.

Bottom line, and it's a universal law: An object cannot occupy two places at the same time. You can only do one job at a time. Sorry that you weren't in the happening place.

Another fact: No one can "make" you feel any certain way. Sure, they can be rude, thoughtless, or downright mean. But it's always up to us to choose the way we respond to another's behavior. I quote again: "My happiness does not depend on what others do or say or what happens around me. My happiness is a result of being at peace with myself."

You know what kind of person and professional you are. Embrace that, SuperNurseBSN. Or cahange you name to WaaWaaNurseBSN.

The best to you, SuperNurseBSN.


I'd like to point out that you worked through a nursing shortage (and will again). With that in mind, you've made a real, and measurable positive impact on a great number of lives. Had you not been in the field, some people would have gone a little more under-served.

As to this particular case, if you have a thin skin, you might be reading into things. However, the kind of attitude you described in this experienced nurse is definitely out there, and its a damned shame. People preach compassion, and then they don't recognize their lack of it, and its overwhelming importance in life on a basic level.

Someone was there, and so there was no harm. Try to think of someone you made smile (probably a lot of someones), co-workers as well as patients. I'm positive they're out there, and they probably even think of you sometimes.

It would be easy for me to say you have to toughen up, but the subtle messages people sometimes send can hurt. On the other hand, if you follow the advice in the previous paragraph, that, in and of itself can toughen your skin with practice.

Be well,


I agree with Dave, but remember that learning how to control how you feel in spite of the way you are treated takes time because it is unlearning a bad habit. A lot of people make the mistake of deciding they just can't learn to do this because they can't do it immediately. I would advise you to practice it like any other skill, and before you know it, you'll be impervious to ridicule (like Izzy in Miami Vice).



Listen SuperNurse, I found that in my very early career I felt guilty for all sorts of things that went wrong, things I missed, or how other nurses made me feel. However, I finally realized that in our field (which is a 24/7 occupation) that there is another shift for a reason. It's a constant learning process. I don't care how long you have been doing this- if you think you know all and that you have nothing else to learn you are an idiot! We are always going to have individuals that are having a bad day or just have a bad attitude. You can't be in 2 (or more) places at once. You have an obligation to take care of all your patients not just the one. I know that sometimes it's hard to accept sometimes but, you are not psychic (right?). How could you possibly know that your patient is going to have a seizure and the exact moment it will occur so that you will be hovering at the bedside with Ativan or Valium. You said it yourself- the nurse that you reported off to is a "it's just a job" kinda nurse. She didn't like the fact that she may have to do a little more work than she wants to. You should not feel bad about this. I suggest that you start getting use to having to deal with nurses like the one you encountered today because they are everywhere and it will drive you crazy if you let it. You cannot control anyone else or their lack of professionalism but your own. With nurses like that- you just have to let it roll off your back. Who knows- one day you may get to return the favor. ;-) Keep your head up!

Specializes in Peds, School Nurse, clinical instructor.

hiya supernurse,

here are my thoughts on this. it sounds like you do the best you can do for your patients and no one including yourself can expect more than that. no one can be in two places at the same time, that is why we have co-workers, in this field, we all have to look out for each other. i work with a dinosaur too and when she really starts to get to me i kinda laugh it off and think to myself that dinosaurs are extinct for a reason...:lol2: keep your chin up and don't sweat the small stuff :nurse:

Specializes in PICU.

It sounds like you did everything you could. Some people just love to throw blame around. Reassure yourself in your excellent nursing care.

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