10 ways you’re annoying fellow nurses

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Everyone has something (or someone) that annoys him or her at the hospital. It could be faulty medical equipment or nurses who don’t pull their own weight. But nobody’s complaining about you, right?

Not so fast. Even though your mom, friends, or significant other may worship the ground you walk on, there could be some people you work with who are far from your biggest fans. Your dirty jokes may be a hit at home, but that doesn’t mean they sit well with the Chief of Surgery.

Here are 10 things that you might be doing to annoy your fellow nurses — consider changing your ways before it’s too late!

Annoyance No. 1: (Loud) Personal Calls

It might sound insensitive, but nobody wants to hear about your kids getting sick or how angry you are with your significant other. Nor do they want to be in on your weekend ski trip plans or that embarrassing thing your friend did at the bar last night.

Even innocuous subjects should rarely be discussed at length on the phone within earshot of patients and nurses. Personal information can make others feel uncomfortable, and constant chatting on the phone about non-hospital subjects can make you look like someone who isn’t getting work done. If you must make a personal call, it’s best to either walk outside, make the call in a deserted corridor, or wait until your shift is over. Leave the hospital phone for work conversations only.


Annoyance No. 2: A Dirty Locker

Soda cans. Coffee cups. Assorted papers and medical supplies. Leftover food. We’ve all seen these things pile up in the staff room, and some might wonder — whom does it really harm?

Actually, it can bother people more than you think. If your locker is so cluttered that your mess infringes on another nurse’s space, it’s attracting flies, or you’re losing or soiling important documents, you’re going to get a reputation as sloppy, immature, and incompetent — not a good trio of characteristics! Cleanliness is important in the hospital and that applies to your job too.

Annoyance No. 3: M.I.A. Employee

While everyone else is busy handling patients, charting, or dealing with family matters, you’re never anywhere to be found. You’re either taking a long lunch, on one of your many breaks, or calling in sick (again). While nobody wants to see you chained to your routine, your untended patients and uninformed doctors makes you seem lazy, and forces the workload on other nurses.

You might think it’s nobody else’s business, but that’s the thing about work — everything is everyone else’s business. People are constantly comparing themselves to their peers and superiors alike, and will grow to resent people who don’t seem to be putting in a full shift’s work. Wondering if people notice how often you’re outside talking on your cell phone or leaving early? Stop wondering. They notice.

Annoyance No. 4: Brown-Nosing

Perhaps even worse than the M.I.A. employee is the person who blatantly tries to outshine everyone else at every opportunity. Taking credit for another nurse’s work, throwing a fellow nurse under the proverbial bus during a staff meeting, and making disingenuous flattering compliments to the supervising nurse are all ways to make other nurses resent you.

While you need your superior(s) to know you’re a valuable asset to the hospital, it’s best to be subtle and let your nursing skills speak for themselves. Give credit to nurses when it’s due, don’t tattle on others unless absolutely necessary and keep those compliments on the boss’ color-coordinated scrubs to a minimum. Otherwise, you might be doing more harm than good.

Annoyance No. 5: Amateur D.J. Hour

Let’s get this party started! Everybody loves it when you turn up your speakers and regale everyone with your favorite club-banging tunes, right?

Actually, not so much. With sick patients surrounding you, obnoxious music isn’t just annoying, it’s grounds for getting you fired! Save the party music for the car ride home.


Annoyance No. 6: Frequent Forwards

Every once in a while a funny video clip or link to an interesting story can be a welcome break from the workday. However, there’s a limit to how much people can take. If you’re forwarding one or more emails a day to several people in the hospital about things that aren’t work-related, you’re probably driving everybody crazy.

A never-ending stream of emails containing funny links or (even worse) solicitations for donations to some cause may be interesting or important to you, but they only give other nurses a bad impression. And if you ever get tempted to send an email to a nurse that is even close to NSFW, don’t click “send” under any circumstances.

Annoyance No. 7: Constant Complaints

Nurses need to vent sometimes and work is called “work” for a reason. But if you spend an inordinate amount of time airing your hospital (or life) grievances to anyone who’ll listen, you’re not going to succeed in making things better. Especially if it concerns patients and privacy laws. Don’t go there.

Remember, just because the nurse or doctor you’re complaining to doesn’t say anything, that doesn’t mean he or she agrees with you. They’re probably just hoping you’ll finish complaining soon, or leave the hospital already.

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