New Job: Dealing With Coworker Judgment

Nurses General Nursing

Updated:   Published

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As a male nurse I find that I'm sort of a novelty. Many of my female counterparts are unsure if they can take me seriously. Do I play the suave guy? Do I try to please everyone? Or do I just act naturally and not worry about any of the social aspects? 

Typically I am able to navigate my way through a shift well enough at the rehab hospital I'm at. I barely have time to get report on my 6 patients before I have to start slinging meds, assessing, taking vitals, etc  it is a fast-paced 12 hour day shift and I am lucky if I get a lunch break.

Now many nursing roles are stressful. Patient acuity is higher, staffing ratios are unfair and you feel like you can barely hold on, as if you are on the back of a tandem bike, trying to pedal to keep up, but the path is winding.

Here is my issue; I see a LOT of very pronounced animosity and judgment between my am shift and oncoming NOC shift nurses. Last night a nurse came later, and as I was trying to give her the details of her patients (one of which had an acute urinary issue that required notification of the on-call MD), she would turn her head away from me and start impatiently tapping her fingernails on the counter as if to speed things along. I should have addressed it then and there, I typically am decent at establishing boundaries and addressing disrespectful and ridiculously passive-aggressive actions such as this.

The other nurse I reported to kept asking details questions about patients... I couldn't answer because I hadn't looked these *really specific* items up in the notes. This nurse is very condescending and acts as if I have to prove myself to her... trying to catch me in a mistake.

So why do so many nurses act this way? I used to try to say hello to some of them in the mornings, and they wouldn't even look at me. Now I just mind my business and attend to my patients and surround myself with the fun staff. That is just it! Why does nursing have to feel like a grim task for some? One in which you're so miserable that you want to see newbies fail? Why don't nurses band together with one another? Or is this just more pressure on the male nurse to swim in pools populated by the ladies?

Wuzzie

5,109 Posts

Because just like every other group of humans gathered in one place a certain percentage of them are going to be jerks. Nursing isn't immune to this. Identify them, ignore them and hang with the fun people. 

Guest 1152923

301 Posts

My advice (I'm also a male nurse); be a gray rock.   Show up when you're supposed to, do your job to the best of your ability, help others, and then go home.  The more that you can be blend into the background and be middle of the road, the easier your life as a new person will be.  I recommend not joining any cliches. If you are given constructive criticism, accept it graciously, all other criticism, just ignore it and above all, don't let anyone rent space in your head-bullies love to get a reaction and know that they've gotten under your skin.

Thanks brother. I do get mostly love and appreciation, and I should let that (which is the majority of input) be what I take with me, not the words and actions of a few malcontents.

VioletKaliLPN, LPN

1 Article; 450 Posts

Hello Murse EZ,

I have some advice/hints that I hope can help you. I am autistic, I am on the spectrum. Back in the day they called it Asperger's. I was formally DX with that as a child. I struggled with coworker relations for the first year until I met ANOTHER autistic Nurse and she helped me quite a bit. I hope that this helps you.

Please BE AUTHENTICALLY YOU. ?

- I always ask the NOC Nurse or AM Nurse "Do you prefer a big report or only the exceptions?" Many NOC Nurses work with the same people day after day, month after month, so they may know them well.  They ONLY want to be informed of the BIG stuff, anyone on ABT, IV, or only BIG changes.

It is rude to clicky clack fingernails, I would have politely said "Hey Murse EZ, I know these people well, anything acute going on?"

?

Thanks. You seem to be one of the kind nur as es out there. Often I know if someone wants updates only, because they either request that or I know them because I relieved them the prior shift. I did ask this "lady" if the patient was new to her. She said yes, and I proceeded to give her a thorough report but she likely just wanted a quick head-to-toe rundown. I have told people before to "look that up" when they are crossing the line/quizzing me.... I hate that. It's like they want to catch you NOT knowing everything. I'm not there to write a bio on someone, I'm there to monitor their overall health and ita changes.

allnurses Guide

hppygr8ful, ASN, RN, EMT-I

4 Articles; 5,020 Posts

Specializes in Psych, Addictions, SOL (Student of Life).
On 1/4/2022 at 10:32 AM, Murse EZ said:

As a male nurse I find that I'm sort of a novelty. Many of my female counterparts are unsure if they can take me seriously. Do I play the suave guy? Do I try to please everyone? Or do I just act naturally and not worry about any of the social aspects? 

Typically I am able to navigate my way through a shift well enough at the rehab hospital I'm at. I barely have time to get report on my 6 patients before I have to start slinging meds, assessing, taking vitals, etc  it is a fast-paced 12 hour day shift and I am lucky if I get a lunch break.

Now many nursing roles are stressful. Patient acuity is higher, staffing ratios are unfair and you feel like you can barely hold on, as if you are on the back of a tandem bike, trying to pedal to keep up, but the path is winding.

Here is my issue; I see a LOT of very pronounced animosity and judgment between my am shift and oncoming NOC shift nurses. Last night a nurse came later, and as I was trying to give her the details of her patients (one of which had an acute urinary issue that required notification of the on-call MD), she would turn her head away from me and start impatiently tapping her fingernails on the counter as if to speed things along. I should have addressed it then and there, I typically am decent at establishing boundaries and addressing disrespectful and ridiculously passive-aggressive actions such as this.

The other nurse I reported to kept asking details questions about patients... I couldn't answer because I hadn't looked these *really specific* items up in the notes. This nurse is very condescending and acts as if I have to prove myself to her... trying to catch me in a mistake.

So why do so many nurses act this way? I used to try to say hello to some of them in the mornings, and they wouldn't even look at me. Now I just mind my business and attend to my patients and surround myself with the fun staff. That is just it! Why does nursing have to feel like a grim task for some? One in which you're so miserable that you want to see newbies fail? Why don't nurses band together with one another? Or is this just more pressure on the male nurse to swim in pools populated by the ladies?

I would like to point out that female nurses are not the only co-workers to engage in this kind of behavior. That being said some people get off on passive aggressive  bullying types of people.Rest assured that they treat everyone with the same distain  it does sound like you have some good nurses to work with though and you should focus on those relationships.

hppy

stevena9

25 Posts

I

JBMmom, MSN, NP

4 Articles; 2,537 Posts

Specializes in New Critical care NP, Critical care, Med-surg, LTC.

There was another recent thread by a poster with similar situations with coworkers, I'm not sure that this is at all related to gender, some people are just jerks. 

Don't feed into the drama. You're giving a professional handoff report, behavior like tapping fingers or acting bored is completely unacceptable. Similarly, calling out someone and trying to find out what you don't know, is a waste of time and some sort of weird power trip. 

I agree with the advice to approach your shift in a professional but detached manner. I try to ensure that I'm available to help coworkers as necessary while keeping extraneous socialization to a minimum. Good luck!

On 1/4/2022 at 10:17 AM, Murse EZ said:

Thanks brother. I do get mostly love and appreciation, and I should let that (which is the majority of input) be what I take with me, not the words and actions of a few malcontents.

Malcontent is the right word, for sure.  I have worked with some nurses who are just totally miserable beings.  

They bring their misery to work, unfortunately.

Do your best to keep away from them.  Pray for them, try to get them to laugh.  Or don't because their faces will crack.  LOL

On 1/4/2022 at 6:45 PM, Murse EZ said:

Thanks. You seem to be one of the kind nur as es out there. Often I know if someone wants updates only, because they either request that or I know them because I relieved them the prior shift. I did ask this "lady" if the patient was new to her. She said yes, and I proceeded to give her a thorough report but she likely just wanted a quick head-to-toe rundown. I have told people before to "look that up" when they are crossing the line/quizzing me.... I hate that. It's like they want to catch you NOT knowing everything. I'm not there to write a bio on someone, I'm there to monitor their overall health and ita changes.

You should try to get as much knowledge about your pt as possible.  Look up 1 per shift and soon you will know them all - in long term care.

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