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This is NOT what shift report is about!

I work my tail off to take care of my patients. I give everything I have during my 12 hour shifts. But it never fails, at shift report you bet the oncoming nurse will find something to criticize me about and make me feel like crap. “Shift report” is just another name for “let me interrogate you and make sure you didn’t leave me not one single thing to do for these patients - also let me get a kick out of informing you of every single thing you did wrong during your shift.” Nursing is a 24 hour job people.

Nurse SMS, MSN, RN

Has 9 years experience. Specializes in Critical Care; Cardiac; Professional Development.

Sorry you had a rough shift and a rough handoff.

Bullies will be bullies to the extent that we allow it. It's fine for them to ask you questions. If they are doing it unprofessionally, address it.

"Your tone sounds angry. Please hold your questions until I am all the way finished and then we can address them."

If they ask if you got to something, you simply say that you didn't if you didn't. Their attitude about it isn't yours to carry, unless you were somehow negligent (ie: not giving blood when it was ordered). If you know you did the best you could, internalize that and leave it all at the door as you go.

Few times I've come up against this I make sure I do not portray being stressed by it. If they ask petty questions just for the sake of questioning I say something short like, "No clue." or "No idea." or "I don't know." One (door side report) nurse was fond of wandering into the room to either check things or begin doing some assessment things...I would stay put for about 30 sec. and if they didn't come back out to resume report I'd let them know I was moving on to catch up with so-and-so (a different nurse) to give her my report and then I'd check back to see if they (first nurse) were ready for report yet.

They can only make you feel like crap if you let them. Don't let them. If a true oversight is uncovered during your report, take responsibility and try to correct it or take care of it as best you can -- pleasantly say, "I forgot to do that. I'll take care of it before I leave; thanks for the reminder." Other than things like that, just refuse to participate in whatever trouble they hope to start.

I don't challenge these people verbally right off the bat; it isn't my personal preference since I believe they're looking for some kind of reaction from me, hoping to see me get frazzled or something. I prefer options that leave them little room to argue or offer additional commentary. And most give up quickly when they don't get the reaction they're looking for.

Basically, keep your cool and decline to participate in games. Just stay calm, unimpressed, unperturbed.

TriciaJ, RN

Has 39 years experience. Specializes in Psych, Corrections, Med-Surg, Ambulatory.

There might be some deliberate cattiness in play, or it may even be unintentional.  Chances are, some of them are arriving at work already stressed by what they anticipate.  Anything left for them to do just stresses them out more.

I know you try to have everything wrapped up by shift change.  When you give report, let them know what you have completed and  what you didn't get to:  "I got abc done on the new admit but I'm sorry I wasn't able to get to xyz."  It's a nice touch to sound regretful but if they tsk and roll their eyes then lose the regretful tone and be more matter-of-fact and unapologetic.

If they want to generate a lot of negative energy at shift change that's their problem.  You don't have to get any on you.


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