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Q&A: Is there a cure for my ‘Cinderella Syndrome’?

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I work at a clinic where I’m the only nurse; the facility director and most of the staff are social workers. At times, I feel singled out and given less-than-respectful treatment.

Plus, Nurses’ Week gets barely a blip on our interoffice email, but Social Work Week is a big deal, with posters plastered everywhere, lunches for the social workers and raffle drawings. What should I do short of just leaving and finding employment elsewhere?

— RN, name withheld

Read the best responses from your peers.

The remedy is in your hands

RN, it’s understandable that you might feel unappreciated and disrespected in this situation. After all, you’re a professional whose job is every bit as important as anyone else’s. The question is: What can you do about it?

Your peers suggest you:

  • Speak up.
  • Educate your peers.
  • Don’t take it personally.

Speak up

There’s no reason to suffer in silence, if you truly believe you’re being accorded less respect than you deserve.

An anonymous reader explains how you should proceed.

“Speak with your supervisor. Explain what’s going on and that you’re at the end of your rope. He or she should be able to help with this terribly insensitive situation.”

Educate your peers

On the other hand, your coworkers may not know Nurses’ Week exists — or how their failure to acknowledge it affects you.

Cecil H. Burton, RN/BSN, home care supervisor, believes it’s up to you to clue them in.

“During Nurses’ Week, put up your own posters all over the office to keep it in your peers’ minds — yes, we have a nurse, and it is nurses’ week. Leave little hints everywhere.

“As far as feeling singled out and getting no respect, figure out when these feelings happen and what triggers them. It just might be a misunderstanding. Talk to your coworkers and management. Let them know, politely and respectfully, how you feel. They may not even know this is happening or that they’re doing anything wrong unless you speak up.”

Don’t take it personally

Other readers want you to remember the vital role you play in your clients’ lives, and how hard you’ve worked to become the capable nurse you are. If you do, what your coworkers think or do won’t seem so important.

As an anonymous reader says:

“Let’s do a quick reality check. You’re the paid professional in this setting who studied medicine for years to become a nurse. The emails, posters, lunches and raffles may be amusing and fun, but amusement and fun are not typically things we expect to find at work. Look for these kinds of rewards in your personal life. Chin up and be the professional you are!”

Karen M., RN, agrees.

“This has nothing to do with your work duties and everything to do with your feelings. Conquer your feelings and control your reactions on the job. Be the total professional. Be friendly but maintain a professional distance from these people. They appear to harbor misconceptions about nurses as being on a level with the clerical or blue collar staff.

“The last thing you want to do is to go whining to the manager about your feelings and give him or her a subject to discuss at the next pre-staff meeting. I promise you can’t win this by complaining, but you can win by example.”

RN, we all like to be recognized for a job well done, and when you think you’re not receiving your due respect, your feelings may be hurt. If this situation continues to bother you, you could always speak to your supervisor or educate your coworkers. But whatever you do, remember how special you are. And don’t forget who ended up with that glass slipper at the end of the fairy tale!

This feature is brought to you in partnership with Interim HealthCare.

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Interim HealthCare

Interim HealthCare is America’s first and finest home care & healthcare staffing franchise who employees over 75,000 health care professionals in over 300 locations nationwide.
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