Whatever "professionalism" is, it's driving me nuts.

Nurses General Nursing


You are reading page 3 of Whatever "professionalism" is, it's driving me nuts.

Specializes in Dialysis, Long-term care, Med-Surg.
haha classy and hilarious! this reminds me of how in my head I sometimes think, "man this patient's bp is crappy" and I have to make sure not to say that one out loud ;)

I thinks that's funny. I mean you have to know what doc's to say that to and which one's not to.:lol2:

IMO take this article and use it to better yourself, so one day you can pass it on to a new nurse. I mean really you need to humble yourself, or nursing is going to eat you alive!;)

Part of being professional is acting that role. Whether you find it phony or not, these are things people expect in our culture from a "professional". There will be people you aren't pleased to meet in nursing, and even if you feel it might be dishonest to hide that disdain, your job calls for it.

It sounds like you just got hurt a little, the way your preceptor presented this information to you. But keep in mind she is trying to help you! And for all you know, she gives copies of this article to all new graduates under her supervision.


1,775 Posts

Now Im just like, well I dont know how to improve because I thought I was being totally polite. It's like they tell you to do one thing (not be a handmaid) but then they tell you another. IDK. I also think some of our behavior is generational too.

I think that you may have identified part of the difference of opinion between the OP & some of the respondents.

Although I don't speak up & say anything, I silently cringe when a waiter or waitress addresses me as "you guys" or when anyone replies "no problem" to my Thank You. I don't consider myself a guy, and even a casual glance should make that obvious to the speaker. And as far as I'm concerned, the only gracious reply to Thank You is You're Welcome. Of course it wasn't a problem! If it was, I would have been apologizing instead of thanking you! I know that these things are petty and well accepted by the current generation. I also know that no harm is intended, but many of the patients you will be caring for and their families, are even older than I am, and have vivid fond memories of more professional speech & behavior.

It never hurts to err on the side of courtesy. If you really give it a decent trial, after awhile it will come as naturally as breathing and you won't think it's phony at all.

Great post. Also one has to mention that what's normal in one part of the country is not normal in another. Yes ma'am and no ma'am,I did ntot use that but people thought I was being disrespectful for not using it.


1,775 Posts

Also want to add are you and the preceptor of a different culture? If she is,maybe understanding her culture a little may help.

Specializes in Emergency Dept. Trauma. Pediatrics.

2. Have a confident handshake. Take into consideration cultural preferences and sensitivities. (Huh? They're in your house. When in Rome...)

Although I don't see a problem with any of the things you listed, I really don't see the problem with this one. Our Rome is a melting pot of many many cultures and everyone deserves to have their culture respected. This country isn't run on one set standard of cultures.


14,633 Posts

Everyone has a different personality, but let's take this particular incident and break it down.

Did you not notice the tubing touching the floor? What if an uncapped port touched the floor and then you contributed to an infection in the patient because you never noticed? The patient is then sicker than when they came in. Then, there's the money aspect: under new Medicare rules, the hospital has to eat the cost of nosocomial infections. Plus, that tubing you have to replace costs money, adds to the TONS of medical waste we create per year, and wastes time getting new tubing.

If this example is indicative of what is going on between you two, I'm not sure if you see the bigger picture here. She might very well "freak out" at every little thing, but you don't seem to be understanding the consequences of your own attitude toward your work.

That was my first thought on reading that post, also -- it's not about the "walk(ing) 20 feet and grab(bing) new tubing," it's about the waste (financial) and potential harm to the client caused by sloppiness and inattention. This kind of thing does matter ...


291 Posts

It is what it is. You either have a place in nursing or you don't. I define it as a "FEEL GOOD" job. If it makes you feel good most of the time.....then it is a good job. The cudoes never come when they should and the thanks never happen. If you need that.....then step back and look around for another job!

We have become very "client" oriented. But never lose your basic insight to why you are here. NOT FOR YOU, BUT FOR OTHERS!


243 Posts

Last night I politely asked a physician to sign out of my account so it wouldnt look like I was perusing through patient's (who arent mine) charts. I think I said "hey, do you think you could just sign out of my account because it looks like I am surfing through people's charts? thank you." but she was annoyed by it and I got a 10 minute talk about making a good relationship with physicians.

Now Im just like, well I dont know how to improve because I thought I was being totally polite. It's like they tell you to do one thing (not be a handmaid) but then they tell you another. IDK. I also think some of our behavior is generational too.


You may be right about it being a generational thing, but also keep in mind every hospital has its own culture. At my hospital, if someone worded the request above in the way you did, even if their tone was pleasant and friendly, the physicians would perceive it as disrespectful, especially if it came from a newbie. Your preceptor may just be trying to make you aware of your institution's rules of professional etiquette so other people don't come away with an impression of "overfamiliar and cocky" when you were trying for "friendly and collegial."

Remember that you may have grown up with certain norms of what is acceptable, but those norms may not match those of the people currently running the show, and those people determine how good a start you get in your career. Once you've proved yourself, they may be more willing to cut you some slack.

All rules of etiquette can be looked at as "phony" to some extent. But they also make communication easier. I guess I just accept that there are different rules for different occasions and places and go with those rules because they remove one barrier to understanding and being understood by other people. Unless a moral/ethical principle is involved I've never seen the point of insisting on doing things my way if my way is irritating a bunch of people.

canoehead, BSN, RN

6,856 Posts

Specializes in ER.


I'm interested- in your hospital how would you word the request to make it appropriate?


1,361 Posts

Specializes in ICU, ER, EP,.

my initial license states "Registered PROFESSIONAL Nurse"

Trauma Columnist

traumaRUs, MSN, APRN

97 Articles; 21,237 Posts

Specializes in Nephrology, Cardiology, ER, ICU.

And let's keep it professional!

Specializes in Oncology/Haemetology/HIV.

I'm interested- in your hospital how would you word the request to make it appropriate?

I'm not maxthecat but.

Pardon me, but Risk Management is cracking down on HIPAA violations and I am not authorized to view the data that accessing.......pardon, but you don't remember your code....Let's call IT and have them clarify it......Oh, you never have to use your code and don't feel that you should "have" to remember...well, the hospital doesn't want to pay the heavy fines and fire personnel for HIPAA violations....That's why everyone was issued there own personal code.

And what I am thinking and don't say.....

(Oh, you think that you should be treated "more special" because you are an MD - and you feel like taking up your and my valuable time to impress me with that...would you like me to call the office of the medical director so we can discuss this issue....etc.)

I personally think that the MD lectured because s/he was "caught" doing something that she was not supposed to do, and decided to be a jerk about it. And no amount of "therapeutic communication" would help that issue.


Now as for the OP. We live in civil society. Nursing is a "social" occupation. We have treat a pt's needs, within reasonable constraints. One does not have to be a doormat. But one does have to behave in a reasonably civil social matter. You do not have to "like" the niceties that are considered appropriate. But if you do not adhere to a certain amount of them, you will quickly find that few places are likily to employ you for any length of time. Or if seeking self employment, you will find that your clientele will probably be limited.

And contrary to one poster's ascertions, in this economy, I don't even think fast food places will hire/retain employees that do not feel the need to show manners, because they are "fake", not real.

I also feel that the reason that your preceptor gave the article, is s/he felt that you were not accepting more subtle hits. And that anything more blunt would also would not have been acceptable/respectful in your eyes.

The preceptor was concerned enough to find an article to help you. If s/he had not cared, s/he would have not even bothered and just let you fail/slide. Accept the advice, heed it or disregard it as you wish.

But if you disregard it, and you have difficulty in the future, at least someone tried to help you.

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