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Difficult co worker/rough start

I just transferred to an ICU with only 9 months experience. I have been on this unit for about 5 months, and a month ago a nurse (who was busy and I was the only one who offered her help) was apparently addressing me, said: "since your up, help me boost my patient." I was sitting, so I asked her if she was speaking to me because I was seated, and she gave me the worst look and yelled "God forbid you could help me, but since you just sat down then forget it." This was in front of other RNs who were sitting and surfing the web. I quickly jumped up and apologized and proceeded to help her, however she spent the rest of the shift ignoring me and told all the RNs that night that she was not going to help anyone and not to even ask her. I was upset but gave her the benefit of the doubt and figured she was in a bad mood that night.
A month later, last night, we worked together again and I asked her to check blood with me and when walking into the patient's room she stated that she was just sitting down. I was a bit surprised and told her I would ask someone else if she was busy, to which she responded: "you said that to me, remember? Well, that's what you are going to hear me say the rest of the night when you ask me for help!"
I was floored and thought she was joking, but she did not help me and ignored me the entire night. She is an older RN and her lack of professionalism is bothering me. She is well liked by everyone and I am very upset by this. I don't know what to do.
Along with this, I am feeling overwhelmed being in the ICU, I haven't made any real connections, and the RNs on this unit have intensely strong personalities, cliques, and they like to gossip a lot. I wish I never left my first unit but we moved out of state and I had no choice.
Any advice, words of encouragement would be helpful.
Thank you.

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5 Responses to “Difficult co worker/rough start”

  1. MVF Says:

    To tell you that you will never meet “mean” nurses would be a lie, it’s a hard profession, especially as we age….it’s the kind of profession in which we are proud and don’t want to say we don’t feel well so we come to work, the littlest things can set off a nasty reply. I suggest you try to talk to this nurse and go over the misunderstanding, maybe have an airing out with the others….if you nurses don’t stop being unprofessional, you will never be respected, other well paying professions in the same institutions who have easier jobs take notice of the bickering and they gossip. NURSES GROW UP AND STOP THE BICKERING…WOMEN ARE ALWAYS BICKERING, STOP IT NOW!!! HELP EACH OTHER.

  2. Brenda Sutter Says:

    My heart goes out to you. I don’t know why nurses are so hard on each other. When communication breaks down like this, I have said to the co-worker involved, “Are we going to be okay” or should we touch base with the Charge Nurse or House Supervisor, maybe they’ll have some suggestions to help us. (This is also a subtle way of letting her know her behavior won’t go unnoticed and will probably be documented) Stating calmly, “that it’s not safe for patient care,” when two nurses arent communicating or cooperating. It is not about us, it’s about the patients! I came across a book, “Ending Nurse-to-Nurse Hostility” and why nurses eat their young. I hope my comments can help you, keep up the good work and don’t let anyone get you down!

  3. Stephanie Says:

    The most important advice that I can give to you: Keep your best foot forward and don’t focus on you co-workers. As a critical care nurse of 16 years I’ll ask you to do the following: 1) go to your next shift; 2) examine all the nurses on your shift; 3) Take note of patterns/how priorities are initiated. You will find that there is 1) a core group (clique); 2) outlining group (neutral participants); 3) independent group (patient focused and disconnected).

    Now I ask you the hard question: What is important to you? You were quite possibly a part of the core group on your previous unit. I have worked at about 15 hospitals (traveler/per diem/staff) the structure exists in every hospital on every unit. I do find however, that in higher acuity hospitals (trauma ICU’s) it is easier to infiltrate the core group if you are “good” versus having the personality desired by the core group. So, if you don’t fit in the core group find your place, establish your “zone” so you will not be bullied, and refused to become involved in “tit-for-tats” and you will do just fine.

    Personally, I have found a way to navigate through all three levels and not belong to any. I still encounter bullies that “appear” to have a following. I have learned through the years how to deactivate a bully. Unfortunately it involves knowing your nurse management structure and how to best approach the situation. I’ll share that I am a nurse educator and still work Level II trauma ICU. My focus is to provide excellence in patient care. Good luck and remember sometimes going around the mountain is easier than going over or through it.

  4. debi Says:

    i would go report it to the don and ask for a meeting with this nurse to clear up the misunderstanding , she may not like you but she wont mess with you again

  5. Heather Says:

    Im sorry to hear this. Tell your boss. This is not a safe enviornment for you. If this nurse does not want to work than she should find another job and/or retire. Dont be afraid of this person. She is probably depressed in her real life and just be happy you are not her.

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