You’ve done all your homework. You’ve researched your clinical assignment and feel very prepared. You have all your supplies and you’re in uniform, with freshly polished shoes. You just know everything will go well today, until you are introduced to “Nurse Ratched” How will you deal with her? What will you do? Well, you’re going to learn a new skill today. How to deal with nasty nurses. There’s always one everywhere you go and today is your lucky day. You get to work with the old-bag all day long. These nurses thrive on eating new nurses for dinner. This can be very intimidating and downright scary.
Here are some tips to deal with this dilemma:
It doesn’t matter how scared you are inside, “never let em see you sweat.” Bullies pick on people who allow it. If you act weak they will bully you. Don’t be rude, but be confident and nice. Don’t go out of your way to be “extra friendly,” that can be a sign of weakness. If they are hateful with you, then just be firm, but friendly. Don’t allow them to take advantage of you.
Make your goals clear
Make sure you let your clinical instructor and “Nurse Ratched” know what your goals are for that day. In reality, the nurse may just be mean because, she’s over-worked and has way too many patients that day. The fact that you’re there now, may ease her frustrations. Tell the nurse what you hope to accomplish that day, so she can help you and in turn ease the burden she is carrying. This alone, may chill her out a bit. Don’t worry if it doesn’t. Some people are just not nice people!
Don’t listen to gossip
Just because one nurse tells you that another nurse is mean, you don’t have to take it as gospel. They may just not get along. I have had people tell me that they thought I was mean at first, but later learned that I am actually quite nice. So, don’t always trust your first impression, or believe what others say. I have made friends with quite a few nurses that were very mean to me when I was a new nurse.
Don’t Interrupt Report
Please…whatever you do, don’t interrupt them. One of them has been there at least 8 hours, (but more than likely 12 hours), and she can’t wait to hit that door. The other is trying to gain as much information as she can from the other nurse before she leaves. Take out your pen and paper and start taking notes yourself. Your assigned nurse will appreciate your enthusiasm, even if she doesn’t show it.
Be Helpful – Show Your Value
Be professional and business like. Don’t try to make friends with this nurse. Take on your assignment with a smile. If the nurse needs help, then by all means help her. But you are there to learn all you can and most learning is achieved by doing. Remember the goals you set and stick with them. If you need to work on a particular skill, nicely let the nurse know that. That way if she has a situation where that skill needs to be performed, she will know you’re willing to do it. Most nurses are very busy and really don’t have time to carry a student nurse. So “walk”. Fend for yourself, but don’t be afraid to ask questions and NEVER do something if you don’t know how. Don’t act like you do. Always ask for help.
Don’t Be Rude
Two wrongs never make a right. Don’t be rude to them. Just be nice and remember that it’ll be over soon. It does no good to be mean back to them. Unfortunately some folks are just mean, but you don’t have to stoop to their level. Rise above it.
Ask To Be Moved
If all else fails and you are not able to accomplish your goals because the nurse is impeding you, just ask to be moved. You cannot do this in real life, so make sure it’s for a darn good reason. You don’t want to get yourself labeled as “the nursing student who can’t get along with anyone”.
So, you see there are ways to deal with a “Negative Nancy” and still make it through the day. Do you have any tips or stories on how you’ve dealt with this type of nurse? Share in the comment section below!