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Why hearing “you are not a team player” isn’t such a bad thing

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“You are not a team player.”

How many times have you heard those words from someone who has some degree of power over your career?

Did this make you feel less than effective in your ability to be a nurse? How did these words make you feel about where you were in an organization’s structure, especially if you have ambitions to move up the ladder?

Personally, I think that this particular “buzzphrase” has torpedoed the careers of more nurses than I care to imagine.

There is nothing so low, so cruel, so counterproductive as to attempt to destroy the self-esteem, reputation and confidence of a nurse by using such a common put down.

Those who throw out this phrase are usually much less clinically competent and are too often jealous of another nurse’s working relationship with other departments–and especially with his or her reputation and respect among the doctors.

So I have decided, after being told this very thing just one too many times, that I really am NOT a “team player.” I am a team LEADER, as are most RNs with years of bedside experience and advanced certification in their fields. We are nonconformists who can anticipate change before it happens, keep others from dissolving into panic and dysfunction, and think outside of the box.

WE are the “go-to” people when things get hairy. We are the ones who get called to come in and cover the unit when there is no one who is charge capable or when the regular nurse called in sick.

For all of you “non-team players” out there: Keep the faith, keep leading the team and keep your self-confidence! YOU are the ones who make the difference where it counts–with the patients!

It is the team players’ loss if they cannot or will not see the value of you!

To do what nobody else will do, a way that nobody else can do, in spite of all we go through; that is to be a nurse (Rawsi Williams, BSN, RN).

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Nurse Rene

Nurse Rene has been an RN since 1978; CCRN since 1989 and attained a BSN in 2010. She has worked in virtually every specialty from Neonatology to Neurosurgery and is a Member of Sigma Theta Tau International Nursing Honor Society with a particular interest in helping students and new grads develop to their full potential. She's been married for 33 years and has a keen interest in history and in current issues as nursing continues to develop as a Real Profession. When not spoiling the grandchildren, she enjoys sewing, cooking, kayaking, camping and travel. She likes all music which does not hurt her ears, watching NCIS, Leverage, Top Gear and Criminal Minds and reads books written by Clive Cussler, Miss Manners, Erma Bombeck and Tom Clancy. She enjoys collecting Quotations for use in her writings.
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