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Don’t burn your bridges



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For anybody that has been a nurse for a few years you have already learned this, especially if you have worked at more than one hospital.

Nurses, or even healthcare is general, is a pretty small and close knit group. If you are working in the same town you went to school in, then you probably know at least one nurse at every hospital in your town. If you have worked at other hospitals, then you probably know somebody at every hospital in your town. But it is definite that somebody you work with now knows at least one other nurse at every hospital in your town.

For this reason, I tell my nurses, don’t burn your bridges. What you say or do here will eventually make it to the hospital on the other side of town.  Here’s an example…with some details changed to protect the parties involved:

When I was staffing in the ED, the manager was interviewing a nurse. This nurse was somebody I went to school with.  She was an average student, but the know-it-all in the class (we all had one of those, the phlebotomist or EKG tech who think they know everything). She was a complete pain in school.

When he was giving her a tour of the unit, we ran into each other. She came over gave me a hug and was sweet as pie, although we never got along in school. After her interview, the manager came and asked me about her.  I told him the truth, I don’t know about her nursing skills, but she was a difficult person to deal with in school and I don’t think she would be a good fit for the team.

She didn’t get the job. This happened with two other people that I was asked about that I worked with in other EDs.

I don’t feel bad about it, because I don’t think they would have been successful here, and I don’t think they would have been a good fit for the team. It was their behavior that caused me to give a bad reference.

What I am saying is….we have hard jobs already. When you are feeling stressed and having a bad day, learn how to keep it in check. Because one day, you may not get a job in another department or hospital because of how you acted on your unit today.

Rob Cameron
Rob Cameron is currently a staff nurse in a level II trauma center. He has primarily been an ED nurse for most of his career, but he has also been a nurse manager for Surgical Trauma and Telemetry unit. He has worked in Med/Surg, Critical Care, Hospice, Rehab, an extremely busy cardiology clinic and pretty much anywhere he's been needed. Prior to his career in nursing, Rob worked in healthcare finance and management. Rob feels this experience has given him a perspective on nursing that many never see. He loves nursing because of all the options he has within the field. He is currently a grad student working on an MSN in nursing leadership, and teaches clinicals at a local university. Away from work, Rob spends all of his time with his wife and daughter. He enjoys cycling and Crossfit. He is a die hard NASCAR fan. Sundays you can find Rob watching the race with his daughter.

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