Mid-Life Blues

Updated | Posted
by middle-aged newbie middle-aged newbie, RN (New) New Nurse

Has 1 years experience.

coworkers-half-age-immature-new-nurse.jpg.8cf2b11e3f99b02f31318e782d4acf7f.jpg

I'm a 50 yo new nurse working nights on a med-surg unit. I love my work but my coworkers are unbearable! Most of the other night shift nurses are half my age and extremely immature. I thought that people choosing the nursing profession would be professional. The gossip, talking behind my back and unsupportive environment are unbearable. I do my best to be positive despite the social challenges but I leave work wanting to cry my eyes out. Is this environment normal in the nursing world?

If I leave my job before one year I'll be blacklisted by this very large healthcare system that is everywhere in my state so I don't want to do that but I don't know how much more I can take. Any advice? 

RNperdiem

RNperdiem, RN

Has 14 years experience. 4,542 Posts

Be kind to yourself. For a new nurse, it is normal for your morale to take a dip after the newness of nursing wears off. Over time, you adjust and feel more comfortable. If you are not sleeping well because of working night shift, that also affects your mood.

Every nursing department has its own culture. It sounds like you totally don't fit in there. Do you get a chance to float to other floors and assess what their nursing culture is like?

Personally, I am almost 50 and find the young people I work with very hard working, smart and ambitious. The manager hires well. I suspect other places have a hard time attracting quality staff and so you find nursing departments with a lot of new grads, marginal nurses who do the minimum, float staff and a few overburdened senior nurses.

Even though you need to stay there for now, start plotting your escape now. Find out who is hiring, where you might want to go, and what kinds of jobs are open. If gossip is an issue, keep details of your personal life on lockdown, and otherwise be polite, and kind in a distant way. If you are uninteresting to gossips, talking behind your back will go away. 

DavidFR, BSN, MSN, RN

Specializes in Oncology, ID, Hepatology, Occy Health. Has 36 years experience. 515 Posts

I'm 58 and have NOTHING in common with the 20 somethings. Fortunately I can switch off if the talk is about stuff that doesn't interest me. I'm lucky we have the whole age range. I find most of the young ones OK.

If you're in a unit where there's bitchiness that's another matter, not necessarily an age issue. YOU ARE BETTER THAN THAT! I agree with the previous poster - be polite in your professional conversations with them but keep your distance as far as chit chat goes. Be plaesant without exposing too much of yourself. Always have a good book for coffee break and be absorbed.

You say you love your work - that's great. As a newbie be absorbed in learning and giving your best to the patients. A year will pass VERY quickly believe me. Set that as your goal, then move on. There will be better things ahead.

Edited by DavidFR

middle-aged newbie

middle-aged newbie, RN

Has 1 years experience. 4 Posts

Thank you, RNperdiem and DavidFR. Reading your posts gives me hope! Great advice. 

ThePrincessBride, MSN, RN, NP

Specializes in Med-Surg, NICU. Has 7 years experience. 1 Article; 2,569 Posts

I am in my early 30s and I see the cliques a lot with the younger nurses (in their 20s). It bothers me too, but what helps me is to remember that I am not here for friends, I am here to work and make $$$. I am also a proponent of "don't crap where you eat".... I have seen friendships/cliques turn sour and result in more drama. Best to keep to yourself and just get your work done and until you hit your year and can quit. 

middle-aged newbie

middle-aged newbie, RN

Has 1 years experience. 4 Posts

Thank you, ThePrincessBride. I appreciate your perspective

Been there,done that, ASN, RN

Has 33 years experience. 6,875 Posts

5 hours ago, ThePrincessBride said:

I am in my early 30s and I see the cliques a lot with the younger nurses (in their 20s). It bothers me too, but what helps me is to remember that I am not here for friends, I am here to work and make $$$. I am also a proponent of "don't crap where you eat".... I have seen friendships/cliques turn sour and result in more drama. Best to keep to yourself and just get your work done and until you hit your year and can quit. 

Must respectfully disagree. Make friends with the clique.. or they may take you out before the one year mark.  Be sweet and pleasant to them, to buy the time you need to start looking now. Bring food, offer help.

I have been there, done that. Even though I did nothing to them, they  like to gang up on a target. Also see... lateral violence.

JKL33

6,317 Posts

I vote for being pleasant, professional and helpful when you are in a position to help them. Don't shed a single tear over this.

I believe more and more each time I see it that this clique thing is a sign of extreme weakness. I know they feel so special and powerful but realistically someone is not strong at all if they can't figure out how to feel secure/good about themselves unless they run with a pack of wolves. Please. These are people who can't stand on their own two feet and apparently are too afraid to even try. That is significant weakness, and one that is plain as day as far as I'm concerned.

Lot of different approaches to this; mine would be being kind at all times, but without any effort to get them to "like" me(🤢), so a detached/professional kindness. And pleasant. And appearing oblivious to their make-believe world. And not sweating a drop. Meanwhile, try to slowly build individual rapports, but only in a genuine way; trying too hard is probably worse than doing nothing.

Don't cry over this, don't sweat, don't worry. Do your best to learn how to take good care of patients, and look for opportunities to transfer.

Good luck.

 

Tweety, BSN, RN

Specializes in Med-Surg, Trauma, Ortho, Neuro, Cardiac. Has 30 years experience. 31,837 Posts

Now that my boss retired I'm the oldest one on my unit.  My situation is established as I'm an established worker, a mentor and a go to person.

Just about everyone coming in is Gen Z now is.  Naturally they are going to relate to each other more than me.  They will talk about things that go over my head, laugh and giggle at their phones with each other and not include me.  That's okay.  I'm sure they talk about me behind my back but I don't hear it and it doesn't get back to me.  I don't judge them as being "immature".  They are educated and get the job done in their own way.

I'm not saying it's right but wherever you go people are going to gossip.  

I'm in the camp of trying to find a way to get along.  You don't have to fit in or relate but just have a pleasant environment and let go of their behavior.  If they are talking about you behind your back and you let them, then you're giving them permission to do so.  It might alienate them and make them talk more about you but confronting someone and telling them what you've heard and how it makes you feel might clear the air some.  

As boomers retire, the average age of the worker is going to decline and everywhere you go we have to deal with workers half our age.  It shouldn't be an environment of wanting to make you cry every shift, but know this will be the case when you are able to move on.

 

 

Leader25, ASN, BSN, RN

Specializes in NICU. Has 39 years experience. 1,294 Posts

I hear your pain,no ..it is not your imagination.Find a counselor outside of the hospital,so you can unburden yourself,feel secure like having someone in your corner.Things happen for the best,stick it out for at least one year.Years ago it was the super clicks of the ones who went to same hospital diploma program vs the newly minted degreed rns.Ugh what a blood bath that was.Good luck,seek counseling,you will be glad.

 

2BS Nurse, BSN

Has 9 years experience. 670 Posts

 "I thought that people choosing the nursing profession would be professional".

I thought this too when I entered the profession, but it's not always true. BTW, I've encountered more lack of professionalism with the 40 and 50 somethings than I have with the younger staff.

toomuchbaloney

toomuchbaloney

Specializes in NICU, PICU, Transport, L&D, Hospice. Has 43 years experience. 8,938 Posts

It happens. 

Buckle up your personal feelings and steer clear of the gossip.  Be professional, helpful and model team behaviors... while you build skills, experience and a plan for your professional exit.  

Good luck.