Professionalism goes out the window when it comes to our colleagues

  1. 11

    It seems that many nurses are not professional when it comes to their colleagues. Why is this? When will we change? Does this happen in other disciplines? If so, we're in a world of trouble. If not, then nurses have something to learn.

    Professionalism goes out the window when it comes to our colleagues

    Is it me or have you noticed that too many nurses are just downright nasty to their colleagues? Not just the Charge RN, but, virtually any other nurse. Let me give you some examples.

    -The Charge nurse is talked down to & yelled at, because a nurse "feel(s) that this always happens to me." Or, when giving report, the reporting nurse is short, rude, and impatient.

    -Two staff nurses just don't get along, for only heaven knows why, but, there is always some bickering during the shift.

    -A nurse can't get the tech to do what needs to be done, while the tech is constantly belittling the nurse to other employees. The tech is loud and curses at the nurse.

    -Some nurses seem to always have to write-up another nurse, instead of professionally communicating to the other nurse what the problem may be.

    There are many more stories, but, the bottomline is this: I don't see this happening in other disciplines. I'm not saying it doesn't happen, but, I just don't see it happening.

    I have long believed that there are too many females in nursing, and with our distinct differences from males, female nurses tend to resolved conflict by not resolving conflict, or by having nasty, unproductive attitudes that block any kind of resolution.

    And, female nurses seem much quicker to write-up another female nurse, when what's needed is a time of teaching, helping, or just supporting the other nurse, asking her, "How can I help you?"

    Professional communication is not only useful for communicating between and among the different disciplines, but, it's necessary for how we speak to our colleagues. Conflicts WILL happen, and we all need to be proactive in finding solutions.

    Conflict resolution also involves a lot of listening, understanding, and empathy. Every nurse has had one of those days, and as humans, we can get so wrapped up in what's happening only to ourselves that we forget we have a whole unit of other nurses that are being impacted.

    Nursing is stressful. So why not apply some of the same mindfulness techniques to ourselves that we implement for our patients. Techniques such as deep breathing, listening to music, or even going outside for fresh air during our shift.

    Our profession has been seen as the most trusted & compassionate profession for quite some time. Sadly, we seem to have lost these qualities when it comes to our colleagues.

    When I look at the physicians, residents, & even the dietary employees, I see them working together, gladly helping each other & training each other. I don't see or hear them almost incessantly talking about writing up another employee.

    The last thing I want to mention is that many nurses are under stress from all the requirements that we have and many more that are always coming. Nurses need to step back and realize the systemic-organizational level culture that drives the policies and that ultimately adds to the high stress-high fear culture on the work floor. Many nurses believe that they can never make a mistake, as such, many nurses are working in fear.

    In order for nursing to continue being seen in a positive light and in order to continue the advancement of our profession, we need to turn that penlight right on ourselves, and begin to make the appropriate changes.

    Nursing and nurses will be better for having the courage to self-reflect and self-assess. For the good of our patients, our employers, and our working relationships with our collegues.The time is long overdue and there are many benefits for doing so, whether personal or professional. The time has come, the time is now!
    Last edit by tnbutterfly on Jun 14
    Do you like this Article? Click Like?

  2. Visit Eschell2971 profile page

    About Eschell2971, RN

    Eschell is a busy mom & med-surge RN.

    Joined: Mar '14; Posts: 63; Likes: 258

    Read My Articles

    18 Comments

  3. by   Triddin
    It's you. I personally have not experienced said attitudes (nor do I believe I perpetrate said attitudes. I also would politely disagree it'd isolated to the nursing field. Anecdotes from friends in other profession describe similar behaviors. I think any profession where people interact are at risk of conflict.
  4. by   dodgern.cb
    It's NOT just Nursing that has this problem. It happens everywhere. I know a manager of a retail establishment that got a complaint just because someone didn't like HIS tone of voice used while the worker was being given a warning....seriously.
    People can be small and petty about anything anywhere. I have always told my coworkers to come to me if they have a problem with something I said or did. I also told them I would do the same. Managers are not referees for all disagreements. As adults, we should be able to reason with each other.
    However, if the individual you're having an issue with is a hot head, the manager may need to help
  5. by   HeliFlightNurse54
    This is definitely not isolated to nursing...or a majority-female profession. I work as a flight nurse as the only female at my location....and my anecdotal evidence is that males are WORSE than females. A lot worse. None of them are on the same wavelength, and talk more behind each other's backs than any female I ever knew (we always had the courage to talk or argue it out, then keep it moving w/o much pause). Every career has their skeletons in the closet, and with social media platforms acting as a guise and substitude for interpersonal relationships, my opinion is that it will be harder for future generations to courteously interact with one another.
  6. by   Kratoswife
    It could be you!

    I'm a relatively happy person in and out of work. But, you're post made me sad.

    Hopefully, you can the let sunshine in, and be the change you want to see.
  7. by   Have Nurse
    I would have to agree with my colleagues comments regarding this article. While there are some times when hostility can be witnessed in the workplace, it isn't exclusive to nursing. It can happen anywhere.

    I can sense the anger and frustration in this article. And, it's good to get things down on paper.

    But I think too, that perhaps due to the nature of nursing being such a highly responsible profession, the care of another human beings' life, perhaps for some, coping measures are not always up to par.

    Snapping at a colleague tells me that the "snapper" is feeling over-whelmed and trying to keep it together but the stress level is so high, there is no room for nonsense or excuses, or something being shared in report or at the desk that is inappropriate or irrelevant.

    When someone loses their cool, it's not usually instantaneous. It builds and builds...the kind thing to do in a situation like that would be to offer help with whatever the burden is at the time: Hang an IV, do an Assessment, take that Admit off their hands...offer to do the dressing change, help ready a room to receive the pending Post Op? And if you do those things, people will want to work with you.

    Saying "Thank you," goes a long way too. It's easy to observe negativity and criticize.

    But.... if you do that, bring some kindness and ideas to the table and help fix it.
  8. by   Serhilda
    Oh honey, you need to deal with a predominantly male work environment if you're going to attribute all of these issues to women. Handle a couple Harvey Weinstein types then get back to us.
  9. by   StarletRN1
    I chose to become a nurse late in life, so I have had experience in various other jobs. I agree with what you're saying. I haven't seen the level of bullying behavior in those professions like I have seen in nursing. Not all nurses, of course, but it does seem more prevelant in my experience. When it is researched one can see it is a growing problem. It could be that the pressures of our chosen profession are taking a toll on some nurses and they lash out at their colleagues.

    What I find interesting is that I have seen more of it among my co-workers at my new clinic job than I saw in the hospital. It has become such a problem that the manager has decided to teach conflict resolution strategies to the group.
  10. by   mfci
    I was just discussing this with my husband this morning. I was in another profession (one of the "white collar" ones, male dominated) for 20 years before I went into nursing. I can't believe how unprofessional nursing is. I don't think it's because nurses are females. And I don't think it's just nurses. The behavior is systemic.

    I agree completely that the nature of the workplace varies, both in nursing and probably just about every other job there is. I've certainly seen the same range in my former profession, from demeaning sweatshop all the way up to great environment. However, even knowing that, the level of professionalism in nursing, both in terms of how (some) nurses treat each other, how management treats us, how the job is defined, etc. is one that I find disappointingly low.

    FYI - I like the hospital I work in, my coworkers, my manager, and my job. This is not an opinion born of job dissatisfaction.
  11. by   Jerez
    I agree with your article. I think you bring up some valid points and great advice on dealing with the issue. I tell myself every day to just breathe! I am a fairly new nurse in my 3rd yr now in the ER and I have seen and experienced bullying by other colleagues. I have even had an older nurse try to explain to me why "nurses eat their young" in an attempt to explain her rude behavior and unprofessionalism. I believe it can be a problem d/t the increased stress and workload that is a part of the profession but I also believe that as professionals we are held to a higher standard and should absolutely act and treat our coworkers esp our fellow floor nurses with a certain amount of respect and know that we are all in the same boat working for the same cause and the same goals in helping our patients. Your coworkers can either make you or break you. I love what I do as a nurse, I am learning so much every day, not just on honing my skills & gaining knowledge but how to effectively communicate with my coworkers and working on these relationships as well. Great article...thanks for the insight!
  12. by   FranEMTnurse
    I like this article a lot, and have even thought that it's about time someone spoke up about nurses being nasty to one another. However, I have also had this experience in the past as well. When I was a bus driver, many other drivers shunned me because I refused to use profanity and or gossip about my co-workers. A couple of them even verbally attacked me.
    I even trained all 135 of them in Basic First Aid and CPR so they would know what to do during an emergency.


    When I was a volunteer EMT, I was the only one for ten years, and received a lot of negative feedback including the comment about playing doctor in the field when all I was doing was to help stabilize the patient so he/she wouldn't die prior to reaching the hospital.wrecks-2-school-

    When I became a nurse, some of my classmates picked on me by kicking my chair, avoided me when we went to lunch together, and even refused to sit near me. I felt it was because I was the oldest person in the class, and several of them were fresh out of High School. I did NOT let all of it stop me though because I love people, and I love to help them.

    You see, I am a Christian who has been taught to walk the talk and not just be a hearer of the Word; not to use profanity, but only to talk professionally, and be friendly always with my fellow man, because that shows what God taught us to be like, following the example He set for us when He was here on earth.
  13. by   fibroblast
    It probably has to do with so much to do in so little time in some places.
  14. by   Ruby Vee
    I am sorry you have experienced so many negative interactions in nursing. Perhaps part of the problem is your misogynistic attitude. But it's not just nursing, and the fact that you haven't seen it in other professions (just how many professions have you had?) doesn't mean it isn't there.

close