I'm recently started working on my own off orientation, and so far, I've been learning a lot and getting the help I need from more experienced RNs. I feel like I am steadily getting more confident in myself, but I also know what there's still much to learn about time management and prioritization. But so far, I've been doing alright.
However, I never thought I would meet this one tech who is just...I don't even know how to describe how she treats me. Now, I as a person always try to be understanding and I'm ready to learn from my mistakes, plus, I know not to take things personally. But every time that I have this tech, she just behaves and speaks in a condescending, slightly threatening tone to me. I don't understand if it's because I'm a new grad and she feels like she 'knows better' since she's been here longer, but whenever she talks to me, I almost always end up feeling small, dumb, and incompetent. Think of a harsh mother telling their child 'you-should-know-better-than-that' but never offering any kind of encouragement or even acknowledgement. I'm not asking for those things, but it's just that she says a lot of things to me that are unnecessary and that I already know. Just because I don't talk a lot, doesn't mean I'm stupid.
I don't really see her acting like this to other nurses she works with, but then again, I haven't had her for very long as a tech. It's just that when I have multiple things going on with all of my patients, that I'm trying to call doctors, order things, chart, call other departments, the last thing I need is her adding unneeded, offhanded remarks that diminish my confidence and cause me to question myself. She makes a huge deal over small things that could easily be addressed with a simple reminder. For example, one of my patients has a foley, and while I was draining their bag, I accidentally left it hooked on the rail (the patient wasn't getting out of bed, or in any critical condition). Later, while we were in another patient's room, she told me what I did, but she also added, in a very 'shame-on-you' kind of tone, "if you did that in a nursing home, you would be a huge trouble". She basically talked down to me like I don't know not to leave the bag hooked on rail that was up instead of below the bed (when I DO know, I just forgot that *one* time).
Another example is when I was ordering something from our supplies, and because I never saw what it looked like before, I was talking on the phone with the supply person if it will be tubed up to our nursing station. I never saw it before, so how would I know how big it would be, or whether or not it would fit inside a tube? But she overheard the conversation, and while the supply person told me how it would come up to the floor, she basically said the same thing, but after I hung up, she added in this unnecessarily snarky tone that not everything can be tubed up to our station, as if I was somehow stupid for asking how it would arrive to my unit?? Or that I am somehow naive and spoiled into relying on our tubing system? I am neither of those! I was simply just asking if it would be tubed up, because in my mind, it sounded like something that would be narrow enough to fit into a tube.
The bottom line is, I just walk away from a lot of my interactions with her feeling misunderstood and like I can't do anything right by her standard. Working with her, I just get this sense that she feels she can do things better than me, but she doesn't offer any suggestions either. For example, one of my patients kept bending their elbow, and they were elderly and very confused. They only had one IV site in her AC, but every time she bends her elbow, the pump alarms and stops infusing. They needed an electrolyte supplement badly, because one of their electrolytes was critically low. The issue is, she's NPO, and her veins are incredibly frail and even lab had to resort to drawing arterial blood on her instead of venous. So, after a long day of trying to coax the old lady to keep her arm straight, then wrapping some kirlex around her elbow (which failed), then wrapping blanket around her arm, I called the doctor and asked them if it's okay to get some special splints (that are not considered restraints at my hospital). The doctor understood my explanation of the entire situation, gave the green light, and I ordered it, after getting additional advice from my charge.
Now, while all this was happening, the tech was saying things like 'good luck with that/ like that'll work (sarcastically)/ it'll just agitate her more' aka basically being negative about this. I finally got tired of her pessemism and said, "what would be your suggestion?", in a polite way. Of course, she just shrugged and said 'I'd give her through oral or have the supplement be in liquid form she so she swallow it down', when the patient is NPO, slightly combative, and confused. It would take A TON of the oral supplements if we were to give her the electrolyte by mouth, even if she wasn't NPO. Then, the tech tried to talk to the elderly lady and get her to understand, but I knew it wouldn't work because I tried it before and she is too confused to understand. Finally, the special splints came up, and once they were applied, the pump never beeped a 'distal occluded' again and even better news, the electrolyte was no longer critically low when lab was drawn again. The patient was only slightly irritated by the splint, but she tolerated it well by the time I left.
I'm just don't know where to put my finger on it, but it's just the condescending attitude to me that makes me feel really diminutive, incompetent, and stupid, but since I'm new, I don't know if it's a good idea to talk about a co-worker like this. I've never had any issues with other techs I've had, it's just this one, and I'm not even sure about asking other nurses if she's like this with them, because I don't believe that kind of talking-about-someone-behind-their-back is professional. I've seen people talk about being treated rudely by doctors and family, but hardly ever by a tech.
Sorry, I just needed to vent. I don't know if this is just me, or if I'm being too sensitive, but my gut feeling is that I'm not being treated in a professional manner. I feel like this tech is being way too personal with me by talking to me like I'm a dumb kid instead of someone who is still learning and isn't fully fledged yet. What I've said here is only just the tip of the iceberg, but I just don't know if this seems like potential workplace bullying to nurses here, or if I'm just being insane...