The irritating work habits you must nix (or you may lose your job!)

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Many of us have worked with one—a nurse who we feel shouldn’t be kept on staff. She’s the one causing problems on the unit with her attitude or her work—or lack of it.

But it’s not always “the other nurse.” Sometimes…(wait for it)…sometimes it’s us, but we don’t always see it.

Are you guilty of any of the following bad work habits?

1. Coming to work late, shift after shift after shift…
Unless you work on call, you know when you’re supposed to be at work. That’s when your boss expects you to be there and that’s when your colleagues and patients need you to be there. While there may be some professions that have leeway for punctuality, nursing isn’t one of them.

While everybody understands that things happen—cars break down, alarms don’t go off—this should only be occasional, if at all. Nurses who consistently get to work late disrupt the routine of the unit and, after a while, your manager may decide it’s no longer acceptable.

The cure for chronic lateness? Identify what it is that makes you late. Are you constantly oversleeping? Try to develop routines to wake up earlier and get out of bed. Is transportation an issue (bus too late, traffic)? Then you’ll have to leave your home earlier. Is daycare an issue? If that can’t be resolved, maybe you can speak with your nurse manager to make arrangements about when you come in. Whatever it takes, if you value your job, this needs to be nipped in the bud.

2. Always being the contrarian or the voice of dissention
Every unit seems to have one of these: the nurse who will argue if you say the sky is blue, or will say that left is right and that up is really down. Some people revel in this and enjoy the “debates” they cause. This person is often also the one who will disagree with any new ideas or programs, or even worse, will agree to them but then drag his feet, causing problems with implementation.

Not sure if this could be you? Are you respectful when you disagree with someone? Do you hold grudges? Ask yourself how you react to new ideas. Are you receptive? Are you eager to try and learn new things? How do you feel when you have to try something that you’re not 100 percent on board with? If this could be you, try focusing on having a more positive approach to issues rather than just shrugging them off right off the bat.

3. “I meant to get to that!”
Are you organized or do spend more time trying to figure out what you’re supposed to do, when you’re supposed to do it and how? Being disorganized does more than set you behind in your work. It can affect patient care and it can affect your colleagues, who may not be able to do their work effectively. For example, nursing requires teamwork, which means you have to help each other. If you’re disorganized, then you can’t help the other nurses and they may spend more time than they can afford trying to help you. As for the patients, their care may be compromised because you may forget to do something, delay a treatment or neglect to notice something important.

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Marijke Durning

Marijke is a professional writer who began her working career as a registered nurse over 25 years ago. After working in clinical areas ranging from rehab to intensive care, as a floor nurse to a supervisor, she found she could combine her extensive health knowledge with her love of writing. Although she has been published in a wide variety of publications for professionals and the general public, her passion is writing for the every day person to promote health literacy.

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4 Responses to The irritating work habits you must nix (or you may lose your job!)

  1. hotrod41

    Standing around most of the shift talking and then at the end of the shift, crying because you can’t get your work done.

  2. CMXI-RN

    Clean up after yourself!! Don’t clutter my work space with your garbage!

  3. Sisilia Naqelo

    Luv this piece…sort of identifymiself n will improve….promise….

  4. Nerida

    I REA.LY REALLY hated the nurse who would be onnight shift and sleep all night as they had partied the 2 days prior to starting. And I hate the clerk/ administrative person, who I had to put up with for 2 years, who constantly made phone calls or text messages on the clinic phone. This prevented the patients from phoning the clinic.