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Nursing Hostility and Other Nonsense

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RegisteredNuisance has 3 years experience as a RN and specializes in Med-Surg, Rehab, Home Health.

1 Article; 2,988 Visitors; 29 Posts

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In my short career as a nurse I've seen some terrible behavior among nurses, and I'd like to share my take on things. I've only been a year for two years, and working as a nurse for 13 but in that short amount of time, I've seen an astounding amount of hostility between my coworkers and directed at me in the two facilities I worked at. It made me sad, it burned me out and it made me feel like I was working in a mine field. You are reading page 2 of Nursing Hostility and Other Nonsense. If you want to start from the beginning Go to First Page.

I encounter hostility from my colleagues:

  1. 1. I encounter hostility from my colleagues:

    • Very often.
      36
    • Often.
      39
    • Occasionally.
      58
    • Seldom
      53
    • Never
      16

178 members have participated

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A previous poster stated that this occurs in all professions. I'm not a nurse. I'm an engineer and have been for 30+ years. I have NEVER encountered the type of behavior I read about on this forum. I don't think the difference is the fact that you are nurses, and I'm an engineer. The difference is the type of culture your management fosters.

Every place I have worked has published their corporate values. One of those values has always been to treat everyone with courtesy and respect. Everyone is rated on how they embrace the corporate values on their annual performance appraisal. We do 360 degree performance appraisals which means an employee has the opportunity to appraise their manager. Any employee who doesn't embrace this culture will be given a chance to change, and if they don't, they'll be let go.

The companies also do annual surveys to allow employees to provide feedback to management on pay, benefits, training, quality of life, corporate culture, etc. The results of the surveys are shared with employees and the action plans to correct any deficiencies are provided by management.

I think the companies focus on creating a good corporate culture, because in the 30+ years I've worked in this industry there has always been more jobs than qualified people to fill the positions. Companies want to attract and retain talented employees, so they have to create a positive culture. It's a small community, and no company wants to become known as a bad place to work.

It doesn't look like your management is going to create this culture, but you can do as the OP said and create a positive culture in the space you inhabit. Then when you get into management, you can try to change the culture hospital wide.

Your jobs are difficult and stressful enough. They shouldn't be more difficult and stressful because of your co-workers.

Thanks for your input, hope you are still reading. I don' t know much about engineering work environments. How closely do you have to work with your co-workers, is there much interaction needed at work ?

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kakamegamama specializes in MCH,NICU,NNsy,Educ,Village Nursing.

15,560 Visitors; 1,013 Posts

Munch---I could have been that nurse who was gossiped about in front of you. Even though I had been a nurse for years, the last floor I worked on was new territory, plus I only worked PRN, thus making it difficult to maintain a good "pace" as well as remember all the locations of stuff. In addition, the equipment was unlike anything I was familiar with. Many a day I left for home after a shift feeling as though, if I were to drink a large amount of anything, it would come spurting out of the holes left in my back due to the backstabbing of the majority of those I worked alongside of. I finally realized that it wasn't about me, but their own issues. I also learned that we are all subject to the human condition, and we each have to make a conscious choice as to how we treat others as well as react to those who are unkind. I just hope their attitudes didn't spill over into their care of the vulnerable. And, most importantly, I hope I never treat anyone else as I often was.

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LoriRNCM has 3 years experience as a ADN, ASN, RN and specializes in Hospice.

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This kind of behavior is in just about any profession where people work closely together. I'm a nursing student, start in August, and at my "advanced age" of 49, I imagine I will be the subject of much of the whispers and snide looks, but I don't care. One thing I have learned in life is that not everyone at your job place (or in your classroom) needs to be your "friend", they are your co-workers, and just getting through your day doing your job is all you need to be focused on. I would guess that being brought into the fold, so to speak, is more important for younger people, because as younger people we always seem to feel the need to fit in and be part of a group. Not so much as you get older!

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1,285 Visitors; 25 Posts

Some nurses are just not meant to be nurses..... I am all to often appalled with some nurses approach with patients - rude and unsympathetic. Also, some nurses laziness, unwillingness to support a co-worker when they could use a hand, and constant putting down of other nurses. I would say the majority of nurses I work with are excellent, caring, compassionate nurses, who would lend and hand, but there are exceptions. I am not sure if it is just the fact that we spend a lot of time with each other on 12 hour shifts, strong personalities, that the profession is made up of mostly ladies or what..... but I get awfully tired of people putting down others.

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Munch has 10 years experience and specializes in Med-Surg/Neuro/Oncology floor nursing..

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Munch---I could have been that nurse who was gossiped about in front of you. Even though I had been a nurse for years, the last floor I worked on was new territory, plus I only worked PRN, thus making it difficult to maintain a good "pace" as well as remember all the locations of stuff. In addition, the equipment was unlike anything I was familiar with. Many a day I left for home after a shift feeling as though, if I were to drink a large amount of anything, it would come spurting out of the holes left in my back due to the backstabbing of the majority of those I worked alongside of. I finally realized that it wasn't about me, but their own issues. I also learned that we are all subject to the human condition, and we each have to make a conscious choice as to how we treat others as well as react to those who are unkind. I just hope their attitudes didn't spill over into their care of the vulnerable. And, most importantly, I hope I never treat anyone else as I often was.

I am sorry you were made to feel that way. Like I said about the person my co-workers(my nurses at the time) were talking about...of course she was going to be slow! You don't just enter a new place and know where everything is right away! And IF you want to gossip about a co-worker...do it in the linen closet...not in front of patients! It was inappropriate. But when I came back from my medical leave this nurse that was SO "inept" didn't seem like it to me. In fact she got a lot of compliments from patients and their family members. I guess some people just forget how hard it is being new..obviously these gossiping nurses weren't planted in the hospital..they were new once too.

Anonymous865..I stated it happens in all professions..I stand corrected...it happens in A LOT if not MOST professions. My father was an aviation mechanic, worked with mostly middle aged men and it happened where he worked. My dad HATED drama of all kind and was a VERY likable guy. He used to come home and discuss the same things we are on here. People ratting other people out over the pettiest things(like how someone put the wrench in the toolbox before the hammer) or how someone took an extra 3 minutes on their lunch break, thus making them a slacker. People stepping over other people to climb the corporate latter etc. No wonder why my dad used to come home from work in a bad mood...I always thought it was because of sitting in traffic in his 1.5 hour commute home!

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RegisteredNuisance has 3 years experience as a RN and specializes in Med-Surg, Rehab, Home Health.

1 Article; 2,988 Visitors; 29 Posts

I really liked Brandon LPN's reply:

I guess how you answer this poll depends on how you define "hostile" behavior.

I don't consider a curt response, a funny look or a failure to smile as hostile. In any fast paced job environment, people are going to be somewhat impatient and preoccupied in their communication. This isn't hostile. Real hostility is rare. Passive-aggressive remarks and gossip on the other hand....

And the reply from Anotherone:

I really can't stand the whole doesn't smile enough, chit chat, say hello, care about my baby shower garbage. A lot of nurses are like crabs in a barrell. Some also seem to enjoy the victim role and everything is a big offense. Like if you were assigned 2/6 empty rooms it means the charge nurse isincompetent

or a bully. I try not to thi k everyone is out to get me.

I nodded my head a few times at both of those points... there's a fine line though between general unsociable behavior (not smiling, etc) and downright rudeness and hostility. Some people definitely mistake one for the other and it's true we're NOT at work to socialize, gossip, talk about HOW OMG WE LOVED FIFTY SHADES OF GREY... we're there to work, to earn our paycheck and take care of our patients. However... I find my workplace more enjoyable and rewarding when I can have (at the very least) a civil or even friendly relationship with my coworkers. I don't have to be all "buddy-buddy" with my coworkers, but sometimes cordial behavior makes all the difference.

It's easy for me especially to act on that impulse to rip on the charge nurse/the ER sending up patients rapid-fire/whatever when I'm stressed... but what good does that do? It just brings the mood on the unit down. EVERYBODY is stressed out and busy, we get it. Sooo... breathe and carry on, it's only a twelve (thirteen all told) hour shift.

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Not_A_Hat_Person has 10 years experience as a RN and specializes in Geriatrics, Home Health.

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oh and people complainabout cliques where I work.... it is pathetic.. and reeks of inferiority and jealousy at least in my unit's case. so what if mary, bet, charlotte are friends and go out afterworl so at work they talk to each other almost exclusively and help each other alot. They also help me if I ask...

The problem is when Mary, Bet, and Charlotte only talk to and help each other. You shouldn't have to be someone's drinking buddy to find out the supply room code, get help turning a patient, or get a break covered. I've worked in enough places where not being part of the "in" group meant you were completely on your own.

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AWanderingMinstral has 6 years experience and specializes in Ortho/Uro/Peds/Research/PH/Insur/Travel.

11,475 Visitors; 358 Posts

This IS a generalization, BUT stereotypes exist for a reason. So, I'll sum up the problem in one word: women. I'm a gay male nurse and I rarely encounter drama and, more importantly, I won't put up with it. I'm IN THE MOMENT with my patients, but I don't take any of it home with me and, if you're organized and know how to prioritize (and no one just coded), you shouldn't be there more than 15 minutes past your scheduled shift time. It's a 24/7 biz. So, someone will be there to pick up where you left off. And for the individual who noted nurses looking for a resident to have a fling with/marry, the residents look for nurses too. Be well!

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9,821 Visitors; 452 Posts

We have to work very closely with each other and with other groups in the organization (project management, factory, implementation, sales, purchasing, legal, accounting, etc.). Most work is done as a team. Each member of the team has clearly defined responsibilities. We also each have our areas of expertise. if we are working on something we don't know well, but that a team member does know we reach out to that team member for support / training. There is so much to know that no one could know it all.

The companies offer training on building a sense of teamwork, communicating with difficult people, etc. You can learn the skills needed to create a positive culture, but your management has to embrace it. if you are interested in that type training, you should check with your HR dept. I know from friends who work there that one of our local hospitals does this type of training for their staff. From the perspective of a patient at that hospital it seems the staff really enjoy their jobs there. (Their happy demeanor made my 4 day stay there much more pleasant.)

I hope you are able to change the culture in the hospital. As a society we need good nurses, but good people aren't going to enter or stay in the field if they dread going to work.

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Munch has 10 years experience and specializes in Med-Surg/Neuro/Oncology floor nursing..

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This IS a generalization, BUT stereotypes exist for a reason. So, I'll sum up the problem in one word: women. I'm a gay male nurse and I rarely encounter drama and, more importantly, I won't put up with it. I'm IN THE MOMENT with my patients, but I don't take any of it home with me and, if you're organized and know how to prioritize (and no one just coded), you shouldn't be there more than 15 minutes past your scheduled shift time. It's a 24/7 biz. So, someone will be there to pick up where you left off. And for the individual who noted nurses looking for a resident to have a fling with/marry, the residents look for nurses too. Be well!

I absolutely agree with you! Like I said in my first post...we women tend to fight over the smallest/pettiest things(I am generalizing as well). At my first nursing job these nurses(females) would ALWAYS fight over who was going to take their lunch break first. They both worked the 7am-7:30pm shift and they both wanted the 1:30-2pm lunch break slot. NEITHER would budge and take the 1-1:30p slot or the 2-2:30p slot. So the charge nurse literally had them rotate...one day one would go at 1:30, the next day the other would go at 1:30. Pretty pathetic that such a rotation had to be implemented huh?

Another fond memory was someone nearly clawed my eyes out because I walked away with their Cross name brand pen. For those who don't know, Cross manufactures high end pens and pencils...I think a "cheap" cross pen goes for $47.00. Anyway I borrowed it for a second and accidentally walked away with it. It was a pure accident and I got accused of stealing my co-workers beloved $80.00 PEN! I asked her why bring such an expensive pen into a 1,200 bed teaching hospital? I then proceeded to tell her that she was lucky it was just me that borrowed her pen and was able to walk two feet to find me...because next time a resident from ortho or urology comes to consult with one of our patients and borrows her beloved pen for just a second, she will blink and they will be gone, and her pen will be lost among a sea of residents. Of course I was in the wrong. I of course gave it back and apologized profusely. Had I intended to steal it I would have told her I gave it back to her already. Anyway...if I had a dollar for every time someone "stole" one of my paper mate pens, my bank account would contain an 9 figures...this is why I bring paper mate pens and not Cross pens...not to mention if I got angry every time someone "stole" one of my pens, every vein in my head and neck would be busted.

See what I mean? Petty things really ruffle feathers..at least around my workplace they do.

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lovingtheunloved has 12 years experience as a ASN, RN and specializes in LTC, home health, critical care.

9,812 Visitors; 922 Posts

One of the benefits of working in home health is you don't spend a great amount of time around your coworkers, so there's not too much opportunity to get on each others' nerves. I also happen to work with an awesome group of nurses, who are genuinely nice people. I've been in the hostile, back stabbing, petty nonsense infused working environment too, and it's miserable. You have to just put your head down and work, and try to avoid your coworkers at all costs. Not a fun place to be. I'm very blessed to work where I do now.

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I think i respect everybody and try to give my co-workers the benefit of doubt when they fall short in their performance. I do not compromise the care of my patients for anything even frienship. When i started working as a nurse it was hard for me to accomodate to the real world of nursing. I bought the idea of the fantasy world created by my proffessors and end up believing it. I will work hard and always give the extra mile not only for my patients but also for my fellow nurses and felt not appreciated at all. The more i did the less appreciated i was. I work dayshift (12 hours).....of course just the fact of working days makes it harder work because you deal with the family members at all times, you need to keep up with the orders, your documentation, the pt's status and i worked in a busy floor that i called a factory. Pt's have become numbers lying on beds awaiting for the expected discharge in which the institution expects to get the more of the insurance withouth loosing money.... I noticed that not only nightshif staff did not appreciate the extra effort that i did but my dayshift co-workers looked at me like an idiot who struggles to do more and being uncapable of managing things! I became so furious about me that i decided to hold people responsible for their actions and demanding more of them. To cite and example... If i have to discharge 3 pts after 5 pm i discharge 2 instead and i do not feel guilty about leaving a discharge for the incoming shift... It was them that boom... They started to noticed how i cared more about my time management and not about providing comfort forthem at my expense! It is still hard for me to deal with lazy people, but i do my best to deal with them.thanks jesus that my co-workers respect me and when i demand from them more they are more receptive. I do not know what your case may be. Forgive them. If you are the type of passive rn who always falls short you may be upseting your fellows with your performance; i am sure that if you attempt to improve they will star appreciating you more.on the other hand if you are like me that loves to be on top of the ball, cares very much about my patient and struggles to perform their best be patient and give your fellow nurses the benefit of doubt when they perform poorly! I have learn that even though all of us are rn not all of us have the knowledge and experience and some people is to be educated....it may be your chance to be proactive and teach others. In addtion, as sad as it is, some people are rn because they only care about the money....they do not understand the many of the word caring, or empathy! It is terrible to realized that there is people out there that their agenda is clocking out on time!

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