I wrote about this issue a while back:
Social Skills in Nursing (Part I): The Art of Validation
Human nature is rather bizarre because workplace relations are never really about the work that is being done. For instance, do you know a nurse who is loved by coworkers, patients, families and management even though her work is sloppy?
When we flip the coin, do you know a brilliant nurse with superb procedural and assessment skills who struggles at work due to an inability to connect on an interpersonal level with colleagues, patients, families and management?
It all points back to the concept of acknowledgment. Many of our coworkers size us up based on how good we make them feel, not by our good work performance. This may not be fair, but numerous things in life are unfair. Thus, nurses who validate the existence of their coworkers will always be favored over those who self-isolate, focus solely on work, and fail to form cordial workplace relations.
Some would say, "I am there to work, not to make friends." Do not get me wrong. You do not need to be personal friends with your coworkers. However, acknowledging them, validating their existence, and being the type of workmate that people like will go a long way. In other words, play the game