When cliques undermine team dynamics

  1. I'm wondering about this subject and nursing. I've seen a lot of cliqueishness in nursing. This usually involves some level of social ostracism of others. This affects some people more than others, and can definitely undermine the team.

    I work in the ER and the night people definitely tend towards cliqueishness more than other shifts. They are often on the same rotation and seem to socialize a lot outside of work.

    In the ER we have a lot of mid-shifts, and a lot of my schedule consists of those, so I interact with day and night people. I ignore the silly clique stuff. Recently they played a practical joke on me that was ridiculous and undermined patient care, which actually caused me to bring it to the attention of our director, but I am emotionally unaffected.

    I've heard they've been giving our night unit secretary a hard time, who has been there forever, and gets along with everyone. I find this disheartening as, generally, we have a great group.

    What are your thoughts and experiences?
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    About Emergent, RN

    Joined: Dec '13; Posts: 2,363; Likes: 17,290


  3. by   Davey Do
    Quote from Emergent
    I ignore the silly clique stuff. Recently they played a practical joke on me that was ridiculous and undermined patient care, which actually caused me to bring it to the attention of our director, but I am emotionally unaffected.
    Good for you Emergent- both for separating yourself emotionally from the situation and following through with concerns regarding Patient care.

    Cliquishness puts personalities before principals which is typically detrimental in the workplace and results in an "us and them" type of mindset.

    We need to work as a team with the goal being quality Patient care We don't have to get along with, or even like our Coworkers, but we need to at least have the facade of solidarity.
  4. by   traumaRUs
    Getting along with your co-workers is important. Team dynamics is also important. However, when it crosses the line and affects pt care, that is a line that should never be crossed. I think you did the right thing by reporting this behavior. Its not right.
  5. by   AJJKRN
    One of the reasons I float is to avoid the cliques and floor politics. Just remember when you were a new nurse dealing with this childishness. Probably the reason for so many "NETY/I'm being bullied threads" from newer nurses here. After experience is obtained it's much easier to have confidence in one's self and fly solo for the most part unscathed yet annoyed when this type of silliness is going on...at least I have personally found anyways.

    It always amazes me people's lack of work ethics when so much time is spent on reverting back to high school antics instead of focusing that energy on teamwork and patient care. These are the people that often complain and moan about how hard it is all the while unknowingly (I hope at least) they're making it harder on their peers.
  6. by   Ambersmom
    Yup, I experienced it, was assigned unfair patient assignments, and management confirmed it but didnt do anything. I feel these cliques are almost impossible to break through.
  7. by   3ringnursing
    They obviously don't have enough work to do if they can fit in practical jokes, and harassing the unit secretary.
  8. by   Double Dunker
    It seems no matter where I am (I float between floors and hospitals) thete's always animosity between day and night shifts. It's unfortunate many can't see that each shift has its own unique stressors. I wonder if you see it more due to working mid shift. Good for you for reporting patient safety issues. I’m saddened your experience and expertise are not valued and instead you were subjected to practical jokes.
    Last edit by Double Dunker on Nov 22, '17 : Reason: Fat fingers on tiny phone
  9. by   KatieMI
    I had a VERY bad experience with that issue. Unfortunately, I just do not know how "not to take things personally", doesn't matter what. Also unfortunately, this is the subject about which there is no much knowledge even in academic nursing. I even heard the opinion that cliques formation is somehow "inherent" to nursing as a profession (Cliques in the workplace: The good, the bad & the reality - CNN)

    IMH(umble)O, there are two types of units most prone to this evil. These are either cushy, frequently unionized, customer-service oriented places with overabundance of policies and regulations, or the opposite - the units where stress level is extremely high, support is zero and things are falling through the roof at any given moment. In either case, staff naturally clings to each other to survive - in the former case, because they do not want to leave their sweet and cushy jobs (or jobs they perceive as such) doesn't matter what, and in the latter one because they have to survive then and there.

    Again, in my limited experience, one of the best remedies for this is not constant speeches about teams, working together, every patient being the center of the Universe for everyone, etc., but supporting (or disciplining) every nurse in the unit as a personality and an independent clinician. It is a way more trouble for administration, of course, than just being always nice with "old guard".
  10. by   Dani<3
    Ah, yes- cliques. I understand on an unfortunately high level :/.

    Even if I know I want to go into nursing, can I survive being in this predominantly female profession (even though I heard it's starting to change a little) if I never was good with "girl drama" and passive-egressiveness? I strongly connect with guys (I'm a girl) and I was never friends with a typical teenage girl even when I myself was a teenage girl.

    Also, how do you post anything in this site- the place that I am supposed to write about myself says the page might have been moved? I have not paid for any kind of membership- do I need to do that to ask a question/start a topic? All I can figure out how to do is observe.
  11. by   NurseDisneyPrincess
    I guess I'm in a "clique". I have a group of friends at work. We eat together, have inside jokes, are are genuinely close. It's just a few of us. But we spend so much time together because we all work so often and on the same shift. We were kind of forced together lol. I have found that it's much either to get along with who you work with versus not getting along. I see them constantly so that would be awkward!

    There are coworkers who I don't like as much, mostly because a lot of them annoy me half to death about trading shifts (which I don't do) but I still put in my best effort to get along with them. Work has enough challenges... the workplace is a much better place when you have friends!

    I personally am outgoing (I'm an extrovert) and I enjoy being in group. If I were in the Walking Dead universe, I would definitely need to find others... I couldn't lone wolf it. I couldn't do it without my team of colleagues. They make everything so much better! And they are fun.
  12. by   Been there,done that
    That was no " practical joke" . They are out to get you ( and the secretary) They very well may achieve that goal.
    I was charge nurse on day shift and highly respected there. I went to afternoon shift and was soon put in charge on that shift. I knew afternoon shift hated the day shift. I was the same nurse .. with the same responsibility, no change in my semi-leadership skills. Some of the afternoon shift (4 nurses )could not handle a former day shift nurse as charge.
    They got together.. filed a complaint made out of lies. Administration bought their lies. ( there is power in numbers).I was relieved of my afternoon charge duties and verbally reprimanded.
    Disheartening is putting it mildly. I was most certainly emotionally effected.

    Watch your back. It is a toxic environment.
  13. by   Nurse Beth
    Unfortunately, often a strong, established clique rules until one or more leaves and goes elsewhere.
  14. by   Everline
    Fortunately, we don't have this dynamic where I currently work. But I have seen it elsewhere. I cannot stand cliques. I get along very well with my co-workers and whenever someone new comes to work, I make it a point to include them in on conversations and any fun we manage to have throughout the day. I go out of my way to make them feel like they are invited and part of our workforce.