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Rumor mill at work... How do you deal with purely nosey people?

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I work at a small-town place and I have noticed, through friendly, casual conversations with other shifts' nurses that they #1 know a lot more about me, without ever asking well, ME than I do about them and #2 Seem to NOT ask questions like a genuine "how are you", but rather dig for info to satisfy some kind of a rumor mill. It makes me feel kind of uncomfortable. I do not treat any of my coworkers in this manner. And I'm not really into gossip (I stay in the moment and don't talk about my personal life much at all). Morale is low due to very low pay and increased demands on workers. I recently found another job, and although I wish to remain a PRN nurse at my current employer, now since I got this new job which pays much better, will even more rumors come around? Some of the people who do the gossiping are very unhappy with our employer, but for some reason chose to stay. I enjoy the residents and many of my coworkers, but wonder if the pervasive aire of negativity will bring me down somehow? Is it unwise to stay PRN at a facility with very low morale and staffing issues (have been prn for a long time, oriented several nurses to my shifft in a short time, so I have tried to help out) ?

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Esme12 has 40 years experience as a ASN, BSN, RN and specializes in Critical Care, ED, Cath lab, CTPAC,Trauma.

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I ignore them. I don't get involved with simple minds.

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TheCommuter has 14 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych.

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I suppose it's regional. I am originally from the West Coast where I was rarely asked blunt questions about my personal life. In fact, the only people who dared to pry were the immature ones in their late teens or early 20s.

I have been living in the South for the past nine years and it definitely seems that the people here are more intrusive with their line of questioning. In this area, familiarity is implied even though you might not know me from Adam's butt. In other regions such as the Northeast and West Coast, the locals around here would be considered rude.

I used to be nice when asked something intrusive, but now my standard response is "That's none of your business."

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292 Posts; 5,498 Profile Views

Be polite but distant. The same people who want to spread rumors to you are the people that will spread rumors about you later.

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940 Posts; 16,689 Profile Views

Be polite but distant. The same people who want to spread rumors to you are the people that will spread rumors about you later.

I'm sorry, I should have explained myself better. I was very tired when I wrote my post. I definitely am polite and distant. I don't talk much about my personal life, so I am surprised at how people seem to know so much, or think they do. Anyways, it creeps me out a little. I know to say things like "why do you ask" or "who told you that". I guess my question is: Is it unwise to stay PRN at a place like that? I like seeing the residents, so that's why I'm debating...

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Esme12 has 40 years experience as a ASN, BSN, RN and specializes in Critical Care, ED, Cath lab, CTPAC,Trauma.

6 Followers; 4 Articles; 20,908 Posts; 148,997 Profile Views

Go in put in your time...enjoy your patient and collect your check. Turn a def ear to the rest. If confronted I smile and say..."Interesting..news to me however I don't engage in idle gossip"... and "I prefer to leave my private life at home...thanks for asking though".

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Pangea Reunited has 6 years experience as a ASN, RN.

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Friendly gossip is not always bad and can actually help people get to know one another. Maybe they're curious about you or feel like they're helping you come out of some perceived "shell". If you're not interested, just keep on doing what you're doing ...or don't tell anybody anything and they won't be able to inform others.

I think it's always a good idea to leave a foot in the door when heading for greener pastures ...just in case.

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1 Follower; 51 Articles; 4,800 Posts; 93,903 Profile Views

If you enjoy the residents, and the job itself, per diem may not be a bad thing.

To "get out of" perceived notions about you and/or your personal life--"why thank you so much for asking! Bless your heart!" or "That is so nice of you to think that!!" If it has a "negative undertone" to it--"gosh, I am not sure where that came from. But thanks for thinking of me!" "I appreciate your interest!" Do not engage further, do not get caught up in "they know that I am" stuff. But by just making a broad statement that is not confirming nor denying anything--they will quickly learn that you share nothing at work, and will quit asking.

To look at it a completely different way, if gossip is part of the culture, you want to stay far away as possible from it. It doesn't matter what your coworkers think they know about you or your personal life. The only thing they need to know is that you are a good worker, with a good nursing practice, and that you are invested in the care of the residents.

I agree, it is creepy. And the intent is unclear. But if the plan is for a per diem only, then you will have to deal with it less and less.

Best wishes!

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