WORK
July 5, 2016

Maintaining Healthy Work Relationships for Nurses And Doctors

Believe it or not, maintaining a healthy working relationship is often the most difficult thing for some nurses to accomplish in their career. This is usually because we are trained in nursing school to be emotional and empathic to our patient’s needs. For some, this comes more natural, while others really struggle at this.  When it comes to being professional we sometimes tend to react more emotionally then we should. It is unfortunate but lateral aggression, drama, power trips, and attention seeking personalities plague almost every workplace and especially in the healthcare field.

As a nurse and particularly as a travel nurse you will run into these personalities everywhere. So let me share with you a few tips on how to fight this kind of behavior, which in turn can help you maintain a healthy working relationship with fellow nurses and physicians.

Don’t Be So Emotional!

Let me first start off by saying that nurses are emotional. This is not necessarily a bad thing to say considering we need to be in order to be sensitive to our patient’s needs. But reacting emotionally in tense situations and when receiving negative feedback can be a career ender for any nurse. You need to learn when to be emotional and when not to be. Make sense? It’s a tricky and often difficult skill to learn as a nurse.

Let’s go over an example together:

Doctor: Hello Mr. Nurse. I was just talking to our patient in room 1, and it appears that he may have had an accident. It smells really bad, so you might want to get a C-diff stool sample while you are in there. I will put in the order.

The emotional reacting nurse: Ok, well I am really busy considering I just finished cleaning him up like 30mins ago, and I have four other patients to take care of. Seriously doctor, I haven’t even had a lunch break yet. Why can’t you do it?

This response is probably what we are all thinking, but it’s neither the most professional nor the most productive response. I have heard a few nurses’ respond to physicians, family members, and even to fellow nurses in this kind of way.

A much more professional response would something like:

“Ok, thank you for letting me know. If you get that order in now I will send the specimen out right away and let you know of the results. ”

Related: The Hidden Perks Of Night Shift

Kill Them With Kindness

This has always been my go to tool when dealing with angry people. There is no reason to be so upset at the world or with others while you are at work. So when someone is upset because they are just have a “bad day” and want to take it out on everyone around them, just smile and be happy. Don’t fall into their depressive trap by reacting emotionally to their mood swings, recognize it and avoid it. That kind of behavior is contagious and it is not the healthiest attitude to have. We are there for our patients; let’s keep things positive for them.

It’s Only 12 Hours

Sometimes while working long 12 hour shifts we can get stressed and overwhelmed with things. It’s typically during this time we tend to have the most negative thoughts or attitudes. So to combat this I would often say the phrase “it’s only 12 hours, I can handle anything for 12 hours.” This simple phrase has helped me through several codes, or while needing to hang many bottles of Nitro or Dopamine. You can handle anything in twelve hours and then you get to go home, well that is after your charting is finished.

Work Together

The most frustrating thing I have seen during my time as a travel nurse is seeing a skilled team of medical professionals working alongside each other, but not working together. It’s like we ignore that another nurse is drowning from their workload, and then we think “she will figure it out; I need to stay focused on my patients.” No, no, no… do not fall victim to this type of thinking. Get up and start helping each other.

When nurses work together and empower each other to achieve more, we become a strong force. When you learn to accept this type of thinking, it will build a stronger unit, improve communication, and develop a stronger working relationship with your peers.

So before the start of your next shift or workday, take a second to review these helpful tips again. It could really help you build a better professional imagine with your physicians, and build upon your working relationship with your peers.

Next Up: Signs It's Time To Move On From Your Current Nursing Job

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