The Incompetent, List-Worthy, Stupid Nurse – Strikes Again!

I’m gonna save the build up for you. I’m the stupid nurse referenced in the title of this article. Also, before I get your hopes up, let me just say, the title is pure sarcasm.

Women hold a grudge.

This is no real secret. Most of us ladies know we tend to remain resentful, pessimistic, and guarded around certain people and situations. However, most of us can at least pretend and be professional enough to function appropriately in the workplace if said grudge happens to involve the workplace.

I think I do a very good job of controlling my grudge-type feelings. Considering the hell I was put through for two years, and the resulting change to night shift, I really do think I do quite well. My entire life had to be rearranged because of the fact that the individuals I worked with deemed me unworthy of sharing their workspace, time, and assistance in patient care. I tried for a very long time to stick it out, to be there for my patients, and to be professional and civil in the face of adversity and I was unable to continue.

Now, after various events, huge changes in my life, and relatively none in theirs (except for apparently the well-celebrated loss of this nurse), you would think they would be content. No. They’re not.

There are still days where I have to handoff and receive patients to and from them. fortunately, we have phone report so the majority of the awkwardness is eliminated. However, there are occasions where a brief update is needed or the nurse may inquire about something you had not included. This is usually quick and painless. However, they will not make any eye contact with me and there is always a tone of disgust in their voice. I also have to be very careful to dot my I’s and cross my T’s because they are constantly looking for the flaws of others. With these flaws. I have seen them makes lists. Lists to get those they felt were incompetent or stupid, fired. And who do you think their incompetence/stupidity poster child is? yep… The Nerdy Nurse, herself.

Lately, one of them, in particular, has taken it upon herself to enforce to me what is ‘my responsibility’. Several times she has approached me about different situations, involving patients who are not hers, to tell me what I ‘have’ to do.

I really want to the right thing in all matters of life. That includes completing appropriate tasks for my patients and being helpful and considerate to my coworkers and nurses receiving my patients. I often go out of my way to do little extra things in an effort to improve the flow of patient care and make their day easier. is this noticed? No? However, what is noticed is when a Doctor writes an order at 6:55 A.M to place an NG tube and geez Louise, at 7:00 the son-of-a-gun isn’t down.

Well, that must make me the worse nurse ever. Never mind that it wasn’t stat, typically I wouldn’t have known about the order, and had every intention of doing it prior to leaving. Once again I was informed that is was my responsibility. whether it was or not is still gray to me, however, it was good for the patient and I wanted to do it for him (even with as much as I loathe an NG placement). When she (who once again, was not responsible for this patient) asked me if I was going to place it (only knowing about it because they scrambled to get a chart and read AM orders, because I even knew they were being handed over) I told her I was “thinking about it”. Which I was. I was thinking about how much I hate doing it, how much they would not appreciate it, would probably complain about it, and how weird the patient’s wife was. I was also thinking it would take me and 30 minutes to get it done, they would not extend me the same courtesy, and it was not a stat order. I was getting myself mentally ready to do something I equate to torture. Her response “It’s not 7:08 and it’s your responsibility. You have to do it before you go.”

Do I? I had already enquired to my charge nurse if she would mind helping and if it was something I needed to make sure was done, because as I said, I was still gray on this. She declined and didn’t give me a clear answer.

Although this is not the most professional, but much more appropriate than what I wanted to say to her, I replied “You’re not my mama or my boss. You can’t tell me what to do.” Not exactly a moment of brilliance or professionalism for that matter. But, geez, I am so freaking tired of being bullied by them. Bullied! I mean the very thought that this occurs in an adult environment ins absurdity. What’s even worse is it’s like the big kids ganging up on the little ones. I’m 24! They are in their mid-late 30’s and 40’s. I mean, they really put the phrase “Nurses Eat Their Young” right in the forefront of your mind. They don’t only eat them, take a laxative so it’s a hell of a ride out as well.

I’ll spare you the other various details of the encounter, but basically it escalated in many petty remarks from both “sides”, with hers having multiple nurses, the secretary, ext., joining in to tell me how they could not stand me, glad to be rid of me, and I’m stupid.

I called the house supervisor.

I didn’t know what else to do. they were attacking me verbally. I wouldn’t have been surprised to find a roaring fire in front of the ER, because they were getting ready to burn me at the stake! They (shift change) came. We talked. The nurse told them how everyone was on her side, I was wrong, I’m childish, ext. I agree, today, I was childish. After a while of discussing the issues, most unresolved from prior incidences, it has been pretty much agreed that no matter what I try to do, it has to come from both sides and it does not appear that all parties involved want to resolve any conflict.

So what is going to happen? Really I don’t know. The track record has proven that I am the one that suffers, initially and long-term in these incidences. I guess I’ll see if I get a call Monday morning. Really, all I want to do is come to work and take care of my patients. I want to be treated with dignity and respect from my coworkers. I was to be able to sleep at night (or day) without worrying what they have added to their list about me. I want to provide excellent care to my patients, be helpful and considerate to my coworkers, and earn a living to support my beautiful family.

Why won’t they let me do this?

14 thoughts on “The Incompetent, List-Worthy, Stupid Nurse – Strikes Again!”

  1. This is so sad. Another case of nurses eating their young. This happened to me 24 years ago and I swore I would never put anyone through this hazing. And I didn’t. But the culture hung on. But then a few years ago something happened. The new nurses were smart. They were assertive. I really liked them. And enough of the old guard did, too. It was like passing them the baton. We taught them what we knew and they helped us with those &*#@? computers. NO hazing. It was wonderful. I left the hospital for something less taxing, but I recently went back to visit. The culture has changed. It is more collaborative. Please share this message. It is time for the old ways to die. PS: The trick for NG tube placement is patient positioning. Get them to the very top of the bed. Then raise the head of the bed to a 90 degrees. It helps to place pillows so they are leaning forward. The NG tube will then easily (well sorta) go down. It’s all about anatomy.

  2. StevePicray I think that your circumstances will improve when you have finished NP school and are working as an NP. My circumstances improved when I moved into informatics. 

    I am actually really surprised to hear of a male nurse being bullied. In my experience female nurses tend that act better when a male nurse is around. I guess this isn’t always the case.

    I will say that sometimes it’s just the unit or the hospital itself that is the problem. If they create an environment that tolerates this sort of behavior it will continue. I was afraid I would encounter it everywhere I went, but so far I haven’t. 

    I simply don’t understand why any nurse would take the time to compile a list of faults of a coworker. If they have time much free time on their hands they could use it help the nurse who they obviously feel is lacking in some way. But unfortunate they’re intentions are never to actually help anyone. All they want to do is throw someone under the bus and somehow that is supposed to make them feel better about themselves.

    Keep your chin up Steve. It will get better, and if nothing else you can smile that at least you’ll be earning a bigger paycheck then all of them very soon. 🙂

  3. I am currently in a similar situation, but with the added dimensions of me being a white male nurse, and the other nurses being a mix of white and black nurses. I mention this because one of them indirectly accused me of racism with no justification (I’m not racist).   There are two nurses currently who are “not speaking to me” and they look through my charting and charts to see if there is anything I missed that they can report. Seriously? Isn’t our job hard enough without the need to do unpaid quality assurance work on our coworkers?  Thankfully I am supposed to graduate from NP school in May and I can leave these nurses in the dust, never to be seen again.  But I know there are more out there.

    1. Steve, I am so sorry this is happening to you. I am a mixed race nurse and have NEVER and would NEVER do such a thing to any nurse, despite whether or not that have done wrong toward me. I love all races and take people by the content of their character. I have been discriminated on my entire nursing career from white nurses, white doctors, indian doctors, and though rarely, even black nurses. I have had almost no peace my entire career. I have insomnia, anxiety and depression regularly because of the way I continue to be treated. My life for the past 13 years of bedside nursing has been pure HELL. I rarely have feelings of joy because I’m never able to relax. We live in a hateful world. The more I try to show these people love and respect, the more they trample my dreams, my goals and future on account of pure lies, projections, and accusations. It’s like they cannot rest without sucking the life blood from innocent, competent nurses. The majority of nurses and doctors of all races I have had the privilege to work alongside are high quality individuals and honest. It’s the few evil ones who make our lives a living hell.

  4. @SisterInRed from what I’ve read it’s almost always older nurses. Perhaps they are near burnout and they are taking their aggression and frustration of their job out on others. The older nurses that have been there a while are their friends, and the new nurses and strangers to them so maybe it’s easier to be mean to them?

    I moved shifts, and that did help, but I still encountered the harassment at shift change. This was after HR involvement. When I left I confirm my suspicion that every work place didn’t have to be so unbearable. It’s unfortunate that those of us who’s only crime is becoming a nurse and working with a bully are made to change our lives and place of employment. 

    I sincerely wish hospitals would get with the program on this one and adopt and adhere to no-tolerance workplace harassment policies that even apply to their favorites who will work double shifts and overtime any time they ask.

  5. This is the same crap that I had happen to me in my old job. It was workplace harassment from older nurses who should know better! I still have a problemeatic nurse on my new unit, but everybody has problems with her, so I don’t feel too bad! I got HR involved but nothing helped. In the end, I left. 



  6. I’ve seen it happen everywhere I’ve worked; nurses pick someone they don’t like and have at it. Document with your supervisor and HR sideways violence and hopefully they’ll get fired. Sad but you have to take up for yourself because they will not stop on their own.

    1. Holly,

      this unfortunately continued for 2 years, despite documentation, and frequent meetings with my manager and the house supervisor.

      I ended up having to change shifts.

      The story ends well, however, as it inspired me to start this blog which has led to my job as a clinical informatics specialist. I could not be more happy with where I am in my career and every step, no matter how painful at the time, have made me stronger and got me where I am today.

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