If there’s one thing that’s true about being a nurse, it’s that nobody can do it alone. Working in a hospital is a little like being deployed in a war zone–you have to act as part of a cohesive unit to get things done. There’s no room for the solitary “commando RN.”
If you’ve somehow lost the trust and respect of your coworkers, you are in big trouble. Lack of support from your nursing team can be the death knell for your career advancement, your capacity to work effectively and your ability to sleep at night.
Of course, people won’t always tell you to your face if they’ve got a problem with you. Instead, you can expect a stealth campaign of passive-aggressive acts that make you wonder if you’re starting to lose your edge—or your mind. Here are five indicators that may lead you to suspect that your nursing team has turned against you.
1. Bedpan Duty Forever
Everyone has to take their turn doing the least pleasant tasks in nursing. At least, that’s the way it’s supposed to be. However, these days it always seems to be your turn. Maybe you’re not even specifically being assigned to the dirty jobs. You just “happen” to be the only one available when these things come up. Funny how that works….
2. I’ll Be Watching You
You know that feeling of being stared at? The one that makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up? You can’t shake the feeling that your coworkers are looking at you funny. You could swear that some of the stares you receive are downright hostile. But your teammates say nothing’s wrong when you ask, “What’s the matter?” or “Is there something stuck in my teeth?” You even come out and ask a couple of people if they are upset with you for some reason, but they deny it.
3. Where’s My Stethoscope?
It’s not just your favorite stethoscope or every pen you own that goes missing. You are having trouble getting the information and resources required to perform even the most basic tasks. When you need help, everyone is magically busy. They conveniently forget or deprioritize anything you ask them to do—or they treat it like a huge imposition. You just can’t get what you need to get the job done efficiently anymore.
4. Lost in The Mail
Somehow, you never received your invitation to Jan’s retirement party. Or the last unit potluck. Or Nurses’ Night Out. You always seem to find out about work-related events after they occur. Everyone innocently exclaims, “Oh, you didn’t know? I thought so-and-so told you. We sure missed you!” It rings false. Everyone has your email address and the bulletin board in the nurses’ lounge isn’t broken. It appears you’re deliberately being excluded from events your coworkers get to enjoy.
5. It’s All YOUR FAULT!
When a mistake is made, why does it always get pinned on you? Your previously stellar reputation is starting to suffer. You hate having to defend yourself and point the finger at someone else, but you can’t afford to keep taking the blame for others’ errors. It doesn’t matter, though, because nobody believes you. It seems like they’re colluding in rewriting history to make you appear to be the incompetent one—even when the truth is obvious.
You Aren’t Imagining Things
The signs above aren’t just something to shrug off. All five are actually symptoms of workplace bullying and sabotage, according to the Texas Nurses Association. Get advice and tips on how to cope if your team is dragging you down.
For more Career Advice for Nurses pick up the latest issue of Scrubs magazine, available at a retail store near you!