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Your work environment

Posted

Specializes in ICU, Telemetry, Neuro, Ortho, Med/Surg. Has 5 years experience.

I am back in school for my MSN. One day in class, the topic began about lateral violence and bad work environments. I read about it a lot on here. (A lot of good things on this site too, do not get me wrong.) Also, I have heard other nurses and health care workers discuss about bad experiences making their jobs more stressful.

I am curious how many of you have worked in a "toxic" environment? A lot of gossiping, backstabbing, or tattletaling? Are there cliques and just mean people? Does your manager or upper management handle situations? Is there favoritism on your unit or place of employment? Have you been treated poorly by a coworker or coworkers? I am wondering how many nurses have had to endure negative situations or work environments. How did you handle it, or do you deal with it at all? I have heard "it doesn't do any good" or "it is not worth it". I know we have to "pick our battles wisely" too. It just seems like high school or middle school situations at times with some of the stories I have heard from fellow nurses. And, it is older and younger nurses who act negatively, so this is not an older nurse vs younger nurse thing. And, again, I know there are many positives to being a nurse and great work environments, so not trying to be all negative. Just an informative post... I know this topic can be very broad. I am reading previous posts as well, so please do not post to do a search. :D I am doing that too, but some are really old posts.

Thanks for your input!

Just because a post is old does not mean it doesn't fit the bill for what you are looking for. From what I have seen over the years, I might have been convinced to enter another line of work. We do it to ourselves. No wonder nursing runs into problems advancing its image as a profession. Strange that I have never run into so much negativity when working in male dominated occupations.

KarmaComesAround

Specializes in ICU, Telemetry, Neuro, Ortho, Med/Surg. Has 5 years experience.

Just because a post is old does not mean it doesn't fit the bill for what you are looking for.

Thanks. I know. I am going to continue to read older posts. Very helpful. :) Just wanted to post a new thread as well, since there may be newer members or any members on here that can give some feedback not on any older posts.

We heard a story from a classmate of a male nurse "bully" situation. Gasp, I know. lol. Yeah, I know it can be both genders, but it does seem less with male professions or nurses.

Edited by KarmaComesAround

Just because a post is old does not mean it doesn't fit the bill for what you are looking for. From what I have seen over the years, I might have been convinced to enter another line of work. We do it to ourselves. No wonder nursing runs into problems advancing its image as a profession. Strange that I have never run into so much negativity when working in male dominated occupations.

Agreed. Alas, if I had known then what I know now... sniper training must have been an elective I didn't have time to take when I went to nursing school, and they seem to have added spy school to the pre-reqs in the ensuing years. In the last ten years or so, it seems that every nurse I've worked with has been a double agent for management and some other staff nurse with an agenda or an axe to grind. I haven't seen childishness, divisiveness, cliquishness and favor-currying this flagrant since I graduated from high school. They don't even try to hide it, not even a little, and some go so far as to get the residents involved in it. What on earth is going on?!

LilRedRN1973

Specializes in ICU, psych, corrections. Has 8 years experience.

I felt like that that when I worked in the hospital setting. It was horrible...lots of backstabbing, gossip, "mean girl" crap, etc. I came back one night after being off to find out that my charge nurse had shared a private email between her and our supervisor about ME to the entire staff (I had spoken to our supervisor about this particular charge nurse's attitude and treatment of the staff; the supervisor then sent an email the charge nurse, asking that she be a bit more respectful and "nice" to me). A travel nurse I had worked at a previous hospital took me aside and told me what had transpired while I was off. I was dumbfounded; that's not very professional. But that entire unit operated in that way. I'm glad I'm no longer in the hospital setting. The place I work now isn't like that at all. Everyone conducts themselves like a grown up, for the most part. There's not much gossip going on and we all help each other out. I work for the state in an outpatient psychiatric clinic and it's a really great environment. Fairly low stress and lots of comaraderie. I am not sure why it's so different, but it is. And I LOVE it. I wouldn't go back to hospital nursing for all the money in the world!! (not to mention I love working 7-4, getting an hour for lunch, never having to work holidays, etc.).

I've worked in places with great, positive, supportive environments, and I've worked in places with exactly the opposite. In my experience, a great deal of it has to do with the type of management in situ. You know what they say: s**t rolls downhill. IMHO life is too short to waste it in a miserable, toxic work environment, which is why I always keep my resume up to date, and try never to burn any bridges.

In my experience, a great deal of it has to do with the type of management in situ. .

A great deal no, you can lay it all squarely at the top.

We had a saying in the Navy, "The Captain of the Ship Sets the Tone."

Edited by Flying ICU RN

JB2007, ASN, RN

Specializes in LTC, Med-SURG,STICU. Has 5 years experience.

One of my jobs is a "toxic" environment. There are days that it is pure hell going into that place. I really do not know how they get anything done all day. Gossip and backstabbing is all that I see some of these so called professionals do all day.

I totally agree it starts at the top and rolls down hill. The biggest gossip just got rewarded for being a little snitch at my place of employment.

canesdukegirl, BSN, RN

Specializes in Trauma Surgery, Nursing Management. Has 14 years experience.

When the toxicity starts from the top, it is difficult to circumvent the s**t. A good leader is the best way to deal with all of the backstabbing.

I worked for a small community hospital, and when the manager caught wind of gossiping and backstabbing kind of behaviors, she pulled all parties involved into her office and stopped it RIGHT THERE. She reminded the staff that we are here for THE PATIENTS and that our focus would be on the patients, or by God, she was going to give them their walking papers. And she did. She had ZERO tolerance for it. This hospital was a tightly run ship.

Another hospital that I worked for had a manager that didn't have a clue. The manager position had been a revolving door for a number of years. The staff were terrible to each other, often "setting up" new nurses for failure and then laughing at them. It was so bad that I only stayed there for 3 months before I went to another hospital. I recognized what was happening, and I left outta there like Speedy Gonzalez!

It is a rare unit that you find that everyone gets along. There are just so many facets to each personality. Since we nurses work in an environment that allows no room for error, we are subconsciously under a great deal of stress. Some don't know how to handle this stress. Some let it roll.

It would be great if there were a class offered on each unit (maybe monthly?) how to deal effectively with stress. This is a pipe dream, but it would no doubt offer some sort of guidance to those who truly want to make a change in the culture of toxic units.

When when the manager caught wind of gossiping and backstabbing kind of behaviors, she pulled all parties involved into her office and stopped it RIGHT THERE.

Precisely the leadership that is absent within the "toxic" work environments for every poster regarding this issue that you will ever see.

Need2Wings

Specializes in Geriatrics. Has 2 years experience.

All great posts really, **it does roll downhill and I currently work in one of these toxic environments. Where do I begin? At the top we have so much unprofessionalism, gossip, backstabbing.. One of my co-workers told me that just last week the Administrator was bashing the DON, joking about the night nurses etc. The list of horrors went on but you get the idea.

The last time I worked our DON mentioned to me that surely I had heard the latest gossip about her?? I said no, I don't listen to gossip, like to stay out of others business and I prefer that people stay out of my business as well. (( Ok I lied yes I did hear the gossip about her sleeping with a co-workers ex something or other, what was I supposed to say Yeah, seems to me that your staff think you're a @#*&! ))

Everything that you have mentioned is going on currently at the facility I work at.. Yes I am seeking employment with an organization that exemplifies professionalism and team work. The stress and tension are so high at work that you can feel it the instant you walk in the door, it radiates off all of the staff and probably some of the residents too. 4 nurses have left in the last 2 months along with support staff and several more are working on getting out. The veteran nurses who have been there say it has never been this bad, it certainly has gone downhill since I started just about a year ago.

How do we deal with it? I don't work any more days than I have to (survival) and I am taking a kick bottom exercise class to help with the stress. I vent to my nurse friends who don't work with me but understand the situation. I only vent to 2 of my co-workers that I am absolutely sure I can trust with anything I say.. guess that doesnt say much for the rest of them.

If you are still curious and want to know more feel free to PM me..

Good luck with your research and I hope a cure is found.. (one can always hope)

KarmaComesAround

Specializes in ICU, Telemetry, Neuro, Ortho, Med/Surg. Has 5 years experience.

Thank you so much for all the posts so far!

I can say a good bit goes on where I work as well. I am the same way as Need2Wings...work my days, exercise for stress, and every now and then, you need someone to vent to a little bit. Also, focus on my patient care, try to be positive, even when others make it not so easy, and focus on school as well. No, I am not always seeing the glass as half full and full of rainbows and sunshine. It is tough at times, but it is nice to know others go through similar situations. This site is great for that!

One of my stories to share (and I posted a previous thread about it when I first encountered the problem, and I received great advice back then)...I had to make myself confront one "toxic" nurse. Talked to her about her gossip and backstabbing. She was just flat out saying horrible, even false things about everybody. Everybody was inferior to her in her mind. I had to let her know I refused to tolerate it. Made myself stay calm and professional...did not want to come across as aggressive to her in any possible way. Things seem to be better with this nurse at times, but she still talks about us to each other at times as well. That is just how she is, and yes, it is tolerated. I remain quiet while she talks, and just giggle a little in head...like shaking my head at her. She is also one of those nurses that likes to toot her own horn a lot, and she thinks she is the best nurse ever, but she must be trying to compensate for something, although excuses should not be made for her. Makes me giggle in my head to hear her talk...always a bigger story, sicker patient(s), busier than all other coworkers, and she will interrupt to tell her stuff. Got to find ways to find humor in it and just deal. Anyway, when I did confront her, it was so hard. Stating the obvious, but I hate confrontation.

Well, again, thanks for all input so far.

nursej22, MSN, RN

Specializes in med/surg,CV. Has 30 years experience.

I thought I had a dream job...

When I tried to discuss differences with coworkers, I was written up for unprofessional behavior.

When I pointed out an unsafe use of prn meds, I was scheduled to take call 3 nights a week, basically every night after my evening shift, for 6 months.

When I blew the whistle on a serious infection control violation (I was assured that it would be anonymous) I was accused of sexual harassment. Thanks to the union, that one was rescinded.

I stayed on more year to show them they couldn't run me off.

GHGoonette, BSN, RN

Specializes in PACU, OR.

Pretty well all the male nurses I've worked with are laid-back characters who just get on with the job and studiously avoid "gossip groups." Guys, it is a pleasure working with you.

Our unit manager is unfortunately not assertive enough to put paid to toxic attitudes, although I must say I rarely hear gossip about personal or domestic issues; one nurse who did pass comments about peoples' private lives has, thankfully, left for greener pastures, and I hope she has found out that the grass is always greener around the septic tank :D.

Generally, I am very fortunate where I work, there is more of a family atmosphere, largely because we've been working together for so long. A case of knowing each other "warts and all." We do have one or two snitches, however, and that is where assertive management comes in. Previous unit managers I have worked with would never tolerate talebearers, unless the issues raised were about professional matters which impacted negatively on the patients.

Downright destructive gossip itself can impact on patient care, and should be dealt with at the highest level of management.