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jeastridge jeastridge (Member) Writer Expert Nurse

Nurses with Attitude

Nurses Article   (2,596 Views 30 Comments 870 Words)
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Having a good attitude is key. In this article, the author explores two different approaches to nursing and encourages us to continue to be our very best.

Nurses with Attitude

Consider two possible scenarios:

Nurse A

Nurse A enters the emergency department bay where a critical patient, in the process of stroke protocol lies semi-comatose on a gurney, surrounded by anxious family members and friends. She says, “There aren’t any rooms over in ICU. You all will have to spend the night here. I will watch over him, but I have 3 other patients I am taking care of. I think you all should complain to the administration. If you don’t, nothing will change. I know I’m outta here as soon as my husband gets a transfer.” As she leaves the room, her negativity fills the space just as surely as if she trailed toilet paper on her shoe.

Nurse B

Nurse B enters the same area to start an IV and hang plasma. She does her duties in a professional manner and asks the family if they need anything. “Well, the other nurse told us there aren’t any rooms upstairs. What are we going to do?” She replies, “We will continue to take excellent care of your loved one while he is in our department. We will be just outside the door if you need us. Please don’t hesitate to call. We will also be working diligently to get the patient to the ICU as soon as is possible. Is there anything I can do to help you all be more comfortable while you are here with us?” As she leaves the room, the family sighs but feels re-assured that matters are under control and that they don’t need to be as worried.

As a Faith Community Nurse who often visits a variety of Emergency Departments to be with families who are in a time of crisis, I see all kinds of nurses in action and am able to observe their interactions with patients. Unfortunately, I have witnessed some Nurse A’s and a number of Nurse B’s. While many Nurse A’s may feel perfectly justified in their complaints and what they say may be true, it is disheartening to see and hear nurses complain to patients, especially in their moments of true crisis.

What would Nurse B’s say to Nurse A’s?

She would be polite and not condescending but she would say in no uncertain terms:

Don’t vent in any way to patients and their families.

Don’t tell them about your life, about how tired you are, about how many shifts you are working, about how low your pay is or about how your car is in the shop. They do not care. They are sick. They need your help. They do not need to be in a position where they feel they need to take care of you.

Being a professional means working through the bad times as well as the good times.

Work is not always fun. It is work. It can be rewarding but it isn’t always rewarding or fulfilling. There are times when it’s just plain old hard. Get over it. Work anyway. Show up early. Dress professionally. Do a great job. Make your team proud. In the end you will, most likely, experience some sense of satisfaction for doing your best.

You are in complete control.

You can’t change your circumstances and you can’t change what happens to you but you can always be in charge of how your respond. Your reactions are totally yours. Maintaining control of your attitude is what makes you stand out from other nurses. As Zig Ziglar said, “Your attitude not your aptitude, will determine your altitude.”

The Big Picture

Every part of your life experience matters and fits together to make a bigger picture. While a “dream job” may never come your way, every job teaches us something. When we are new grads and have to “settle” for something less than we expected, we learn to do our best, to be humble and to persevere, gathering whatever we can and growing through it. As we go through our professional lives, many of us are able to look back and acknowledge with great humility, that yes, that job that we hated so much during that season of life, was critical to helping us get to where we are today, doing what we always dreamed of.

Remember, it is always about the patient. It is not about the nurse. Being self-less, not self-absorbed leads us along the path that brings light and life to our spirits. Contrary to our natural inclinations, when we serve others with a joyful heart, we find the true rewards that we were seeking all along.

Are You an A or a B?

Probably most of us are some combination of a Nurse A and a Nurse B, hoping that we are much more of a Nurse B most of the time. We can help one another along by not feeding the frenzy of complaints and instead by calmly and steadily working together to pursue true professionalism as nurses, setting great examples for one another to follow.

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Joy is a Faith Community Nurse who also loves spending time with her grandkids, going for long walks and building lasting friendships.

78 Likes, 5 Followers, 87 Articles, 145,232 Visitors, and 376 Posts.

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I was brought up as a nurse tonever discuss staffing issues or other problems with patients or family members. I would often hear others going on about staffing and other issues. To me it is like airing your dirty laundry in public.

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I am a combo. I would never vent to a patient about horrible staffing or encourage them to complain, but I do try to set realistic expectations.

The "B" scenario reminds me of a requirement for my 1:8 ratio (with an extra 8 assigned to "cover") acute care othro job. We were instructed to sit next to the patient at eye level and have a "caring moment". We were supposed to encourage them to talk about anything and ask for anything while assuring them that we "had time" to listen and provide.
I never did it. Not even once. It would have been more realistic to tell them that I could fly or that I was the queen of England.

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I also have been told not to discuss staffing issues with pts/families and for the most part do not. I have occasionally said something to that effect to people who continue to have unrealistic expectations/demands. I also do not agree with those scripted lines that we were told to use. They sound so fake (because they are?!) and dismissive. Yes, the line "I have time" was my all time favorite. You would have to be an academy award winning actor to pull that one off. That being said, of course we should always do our best and not dump unnecessary/uneeded burdens on others who are in the midst of a trying situation.

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Isn’t discussing staffing with the patients a firing offense?

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Couldn’t we find a happy medium between complete a-hole and company suck-up? 😉

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20 minutes ago, Daisy Joyce said:

Isn’t discussing staffing with the patients a firing offense?

There are millions of employers out there, each with their own rules. I suppose it may be an offense for some of them.

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Hospitals love to hang banners in visible places:  "Voted Safest Hospital in the Valley"  "#1 in Cardiac cCare"  and my all-time favourite:  "Magnet Facility".

I'm still waiting to see a hospital post their staffing ratios on a banner.

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2 hours ago, Wuzzie said:

Couldn’t we find a happy medium between complete a-hole and company suck-up? 😉

The descriptions remind me of the "Goofus and Gallant" comic strip in Highlights magazine 😂.  I think most of us aim to be the best nurses we can be but end up closer to the middle of these two extremes.

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In listening to nurses interact with their patients, it is so true that the nurse has basically complete control in setting the environment for the patient experience.  I think that this article is well written and really wish that many nurses would read it, unfortunately, those with poor attitudes often have little desire to better themselves or their mindset and will never see something like this.  I appreciate it and even if my world is crashing around me, it is never ok for the patient to feel my pain or stress, this is why I can be sucked dry at the end of the day, having a calm and pleasant demeanor really takes it out of you.. at times they may feel my stress, as I can't keep it all inside all of the time, but I would never let them know exactly why...

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7 hours ago, jrbl77 said:

I was brought up as a nurse tonever discuss staffing issues or other problems with patients or family members. I would often hear others going on about staffing and other issues. To me it is like airing your dirty laundry in public.

I agree. It was embarrassing to hear.

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4 hours ago, Wuzzie said:

Couldn’t we find a happy medium between complete a-hole and company suck-up? 😉

Haha. Yep, rarely does anyone fit either description all the time. But we can inspire one another to do better, right?

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