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"Proving" yourself

Nurses   (2,857 Views | 19 Replies)

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I wanted to get some feedback on my recent experiances at work. One of my co-workers came up to me and said that he and several other nurses had been talking about me, and had decided that I needed to "prove" myself. I was told that many of the movers and shakers in the unit would come to work 1hr early to assure that they got critical assignments (I work in a PICU), and would throw tantrums if not given good assignments. I've always held strong to the belief that it doesn't matter how sick the patient appears, if they are here, they are here for a reason. Anywho, I go to work and give my patients the best care possible, and I consider my work fulfilling regardless of the level of care the pt requires- the most important intervention is sometimes just a smile, or a willing ear.

I've never been the type of person willing to play games, I come to work, and am polite and sociable to all of my co-workers. Regardless, I have discovered this undercurrent of jealousy and competition running rampant. Do I really have to play the game to get ahead? Will I never take care of the "critical" pts just b/c i'm not interested in all the b.s. politics that abound on the floor? My tact so far (I started there as a graduate RN 2yrs ago) is just to go in, ignore the crap as much as possible and take care of my pt's needs. Why do I feel like a bad nurse for doing that? What do I really have to prove- that I am a good nurse, or that I am politically savvy? :o

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angel337 is a MSN, RN and specializes in Emergency Room.

897 Posts; 6,467 Profile Views

your coworkers aren't busy enough. they sound very immature. if you have been there for two years, i am quite sure that you have had just as many difficult patient loads as the next nurse. i really wouldn't worry about it. you are doing the right thing by making your patients your main focus instead of dept. politics. as long as you don't respond to the things they say they will eventually get the picture and leave you alone.

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1 Post; 420 Profile Views

i had surgery Wednesday to remove adhesions on my small intestines. I've been in 6 times this year! The previous times I was in I had 100mg Demerol IV push for pain, this time it was only 25mg. Why do you think this happened?

your coworkers aren't busy enough. they sound very immature. if you have been there for two years, i am quite sure that you have had just as many difficult patient loads as the next nurse. i really wouldn't worry about it. you are doing the right thing by making your patients your main focus instead of dept. politics. as long as you don't respond to the things they say they will eventually get the picture and leave you alone.

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RN4NICU has 15 years experience as a LPN, LVN.

1,711 Posts; 7,029 Profile Views

I wanted to get some feedback on my recent experiances at work. One of my co-workers came up to me and said that he and several other nurses had been talking about me, and had decided that I needed to "prove" myself.

Hmm...well at least you have equal opportunity gossip and sniping there - many would have us believe it is strictly a female thing. Looks like it may really just be a nursing thing.

I was told that many of the movers and shakers in the unit would come to work 1hr early to assure that they got critical assignments (I work in a PICU)

If their assignments are so critical, where do they find the time to sit around and gossip? When I have critical kiddos, I usually wind up running nonstop!

and would throw tantrums if not given good assignments.

And they want you to be mature and professional like them, right? :rolleyes:

I've always held strong to the belief that it doesn't matter how sick the patient appears, if they are here, they are here for a reason.

One would think...oops, I just broke the first commandment of nursing: thou shalt not think!

Do I really have to play the game to get ahead? Will I never take care of the "critical" pts just b/c i'm not interested in all the b.s. politics that abound on the floor?

Unfortunately, that is a possibility. Intensive care units (esp. NICU and PICU from my experience) are known for the aggressiveness that runs amok within them and they, like many nursing units, like to "punish" attitudes that don't line up with their own. Nursing is a very dysfunctional family. I used to let it bother me when I didn't get the critical kids because I refused to act like a pre-schooler and throw a fit over it. Then, I started just doing my time and getting out of there. It can be difficult when census is low and shifts are hard to come by, but I am still much happier being PRN. I don't have to get all tied up in the politics. They are just not important enough to waste that much energy over. I work to live, not the other way around. I remember how hard it can be - I hope your situation improves!

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Tweety has 28 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Med-Surg, Trauma, Ortho, Neuro, Cardiac.

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They actually show up to work an hour early to get the most critical assignments???? Sounds like a bunch of egomanics. I think your approach is fine. Unless they are dumping the crappiest assignments on you, then just mind your own business. I've never heard of an environment where you have to prove yourself. Prove yourself to who? To these egomanics?

Keep on keeping on and good luck. :)

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Tweety has 28 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Med-Surg, Trauma, Ortho, Neuro, Cardiac.

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i had surgery Wednesday to remove adhesions on my small intestines. I've been in 6 times this year! The previous times I was in I had 100mg Demerol IV push for pain, this time it was only 25mg. Why do you think this happened?

I think you meant to create your own topic, you might try again to post it in as another topic so you get answers to your question. Welcome to allnurses!!

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244 Posts; 3,600 Profile Views

They actually show up to work an hour early to get the most critical assignments???? Sounds like a bunch of egomanics. I think your approach is fine. Unless they are dumping the crappiest assignments on you, then just mind your own business. I've never heard of an environment where you have to prove yourself. Prove yourself to who? To these egomanics?

Keep on keeping on and good luck. :)

Agree.........

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llg has 43 years experience as a PhD, RN and specializes in Nursing Professional Development.

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I Why do I feel like a bad nurse for doing that? What do I really have to prove- that I am a good nurse, or that I am politically savvy? :o

You may feel like a bad nurse because you have not won/earned the respect of your coworkers and you are aware that they are not entrusting the sickest patients to your care. This hinders the development of your skills in taking care of such patients and your advancement in your chosen profession. No wonder you feel bad! Feeling bad is a very reasonable reaction to that situation!

I'm not saying it's right that your unit requires you to play that particular game to get ahead, I'm just saying that's probably why you feel bad. It's probably best to put that out in the open so that you can make a decision about what you want to do about it.

Nursing is not just a process between one nurse and one patient. Nursing happens in the context of a unit -- and the interpersonal dynamics of the team can't be ignored. If you are content for them to consider you a "second string team member," then you can do nothing different and go on as you have been doing. If you want their respect, the better patient assignments and the learning opportunities that come with them, the possibility of career advancement someday (being a preceptor, charge nurse, etc.), then you are going to have to make a few changes. It's your decision.

You may not have to compromise your values to earn their respect. You may be able to do so by making just a few changes that you can live with. For example, you might be able to pay particular attention to offering help to other people who are busy, getting involved with those patients, and showing them that you can work with those types of patients. Perhaps you could come into work a few minutes earlier (not a whole hour, that's unreasonable) and "be seen" by the senior staff as taking an interest in your assignment, learning, etc. The image of "just coming in and focusing on your assignment" can sometimes be perceived by others as being not very interested in expanding your skills. It looks like that is what is happening here. Your willingness to just focus on your assignment and not "play politics" is being perceived as a lack of interest in continued learning.

Another thing you might consider is getting certified in your specialty. You have enough experience. Adding that credential to your name would demonstrate a committment to continued learning and that you have a good knowledge base.

Is there someone in your unit who could mentor you a little through this delicate phase of your career? Perhaps a former preceptor, a unit educator, or someone who has been around for a while and knows the unit well enough to give you some practical tips on earning the senior staff's respect and approval.

A lot of nurses "get stuck" at this phase of a career. They survive the transition from student to staff nurse, but they don't make that next step up to being a "highly respected" member of the team and their careers languish. Because they don't get chosen (and/or never volunteer) for the leadership roles, committees, etc., they get stuck in a rut and eventually get burned out. You probably don't want that to happen to you ... and to have a successful long-term career, you need to not only be a decent direct patient care provider, you need to handle the interpersonal dynamics of the team well, too.

Good luck,

llg

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820 Posts; 10,202 Profile Views

I'd have to agree... they dont have enough to do. If they want to get there an hour early, more power to them! There is nothing wrong with just doing your job and coming home. I don't get paid enough to have to worry about politics.

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traumaRUs has 27 years experience as a MSN, APRN, CNS and specializes in Nephrology, Cardiology, ER, ICU.

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Sounds like an awful place to work!! Just my opinion...btw where is management in this scheme?? If you've been there two years - you are doing well. Good luck...getting to work an hour before change of shift is kinda strange unless there is a clear reason to do so.

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llg has 43 years experience as a PhD, RN and specializes in Nursing Professional Development.

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I disagree that this issue should just be ignored. When a "beginner-level" nurse gets a bad reputation among the senior staff members it can hurt a career. Caren19 needs to deal with the situation one way or another. At least she is lucky enough to have learned what the problem is so that she can deal with it. While telling her to her face may have not seemed like an act of kindness, it was actually a lot better than simply gossiping behind her back -- and to leave her wondering in a couple of years why her career has stalled. These nurses at least had the decency to tell her up front that they had concerns about her performance. Now she can address it.

She may choose to leave that unit. But if she likes that particular patient population, she might want to try to improve the situation. Fixing it might not be all that difficult -- and well worth the extra effort. While, on an emotional level, it might feel great to simply say "s.... them," that usually doesn't get you anywhere professionally. As someone with over 15 years of NICU staff development experience, I have seen this happen with dozens of new nurses. They make it through the first stage of development, but don't progress much beyond that and get stuck as a permanent member of the unit's "second string" nurses. Some people are happy with that role. Others are not.

If I were the original poster, I would be looking for a mentor, perhaps talking with the unit educator, etc. trying to find ways to continue my learning and to demonstrate my interest in the unit, the patients, and in improving my skills.

llg

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21 Posts; 1,386 Profile Views

Thanks for all the great advice...I do try to make myself available to help other RN's with the "busy" assignments (can you tell I really like to use quotation marks?). I've found that it's a great way to provide myself with learning experiances, and I suck as much out of them as possible. I am always very willing to make adjustments (if I can) to help out on the unit (short staffed, whatever). The Charge Nurse asked me to change my assignment mid-shift to accomodate a floor nurse reassignment- she was so apologetic, I asked her why wouldn't I do it? I couldn't believe that hissies have been thrown over this! I mean, it's not as though it's an everyday thing. As for managment, they are supportive in an evil sort of way, in my last evaluation my Nurse Leader said that she heard I was doing well. I asked her for further info, and she said she had people watching and reporting back to her. Hello?

THanks again for the feedback!

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