What Are You Struggling With?

6 Tips to Deal With a Catty Nurse (how to give report as a nursing student)

Total Watching Time - 14 |

Podcast Transcription

Speaker 1:           A mean nurse, a mean professor, a mean individual in your nursing journey. We all have.

Speaker 2:           Raise your hand.

Speaker 1:           We want to talk to you about, we want to give you six tips. Six tips to help you deal with a catty nurse, a mean nurse, an angry nurse as you’re giving a report. As we started talking about this, catty nurses, mean nurses, angry nurses. It all kinda started focusing in on report. Where we all had an experience where, years later, we still remember about.

Speaker 2:           Multiple experience.

Speaker 1:           And trying to really figure out, what would we have maybe rewound the clock and done in that moment to deal with that? Cause you have to move on past these situations. The first thing we want to talk about, that I want to tell you guys really quick, I want you to realize that nursing report. The purpose of nursing report, after you get report is to go into that room and start taking care of that patient. It’s not to go into a room and start judging another nurse. What can happen sometimes in nursing report is we can get distracted from that. And sometimes these nurses that are mean, or they’re judging you, they really lose touch with that.

Speaker 2:           And for those of you that might not be aware of exactly what we’re talking about let me just paint a little scenario for you. You’re a newer nurse, you’re working with your preceptor. You’ve done a 12 hour shift and you’re learning not only how to be a nurse but you’re also learning how to give a good report. And you’re not the best at delegating or prioritization so things might not be done that may be the most efficient experienced nurse would have done. So you’ve got this learning curve and you’re giving a report to the night shift nurse or the day shift nurse and they’re just like, every time your saying something, “oh, why didn’t you do this? Is this done? Why wasn’t this done?” And when you’re trying to give a report after a 12 hour shift if feels very defeating.

Speaker 1:           Degrading, defeating.

Speaker 2:           And awful when you’re learning and you’re already spent all day getting told you’re wrong constantly and doing things wrong to think okay. The reportings kinda like the stamp on your day. It’s kinda like the, hey this is what I got done for the day, this is what I did or didn’t do.

Speaker 1:           And in someways it’s the only interaction day shift has with night shift so you start, and here I am, saying it, you start to judge the other nurses based on those tiny little interactions.

Speaker 2:           And then you can start to lose focus on the big picture of what’s important. So that’s kinda the scenario we’re talking about. If you’re in nursing school you haven’t had this scenario, or maybe you have started working and you just haven’t run into it yet. Hopefully you won’t, but this is, we’re gonna give you some tips on how to deal with it if it occurs.

Speaker 1:           First thing, first things first, and this can be the hardest part of it. If you start feeling that attack coming on you-

Speaker 2:           While giving reports.

Speaker 1:           -yeah, while giving reports.

Speaker 2:           In the moment.

Speaker 1:           They’re coming at you and you start feeling that happening and you’re trying your best to stumble though this report take a breath. Hold your head up, eye contact. And just breathe. Just breathe and take one moment to collect yourself.

Speaker 2:           Yeah, and continue giving report. Even if they’re saying why wasn’t this done, blah blah, get though your report, finish with confidence. And try to make sure that you’re going though and doing the best you know how with report. Get though it with confidence, don’t cower while their picking you apart. Oh my God.

Speaker 1:           That’s how it feels.

Speaker 3:           It does feel that way.

Speaker 2:           And then you feel like I’m the worst nurse ever and you know what, you’re not. You’re learning. You’re figuring things out. And part of learning how to be a good nurse is screwing up and maybe doing things in a less efficient way so you realize how important it is to do it efficiently. And some of these nurses that you’re giving report to don’t remember that. Maybe they weren’t precepted for 20 years and they forgot how it feels like to be new and to not be efficient in doing things. So it’s really really important to make sure that you, when you feel that attack coming and you start to feel insecure to say, “hold up, I’m gonna finish what I’m saying, and I’m gonna get though this and I’m gonna make sure that I do the best I know how in this moment.

Speaker 1:           That’s all you can do.

Speaker 2:           And finish that.

Speaker 1:           You can’t be better at giving report, you can’t erase what happened during your shift, you can’t do something that didn’t happen. So present what happened and present it the best you can.

Speaker 2:           And the next really big important thing to do is, let’s say you’re done. And they’re really picking stuff apart. When you’re done, before you’re like, “okay, that’s it, do you have any questions?” Make sure you say, “okay, so I did blank,” or whatever report’s done. So basically the patient got their MRI that they needed. They went into respiratory distress and you know what, they’re intubated now and the big picture goal was met. And this is the next goal, or this is what we need to look at for the next shift, maybe the next two shifts, it’s gonna be important for us. So you’re refocusing and making them understand big picture, well maybe this tubing wasn’t changed and maybe I didn’t do this and maybe I forgot to put the SCDs on or maybe I forgot to do this

Speaker 1:           There’s a towel on the floor.

Speaker 2:           There’s a towel on the floor, maybe I forgot to call mom back, there were all these little things but big picture? Patient’s stable. Big picture, these things were done. Big picture, I got all the sepsis labs drawn. I got their antibiotics started. Maybe you can take care of sending down for this drip or doing this or whatever. But big picture, the patient’s stable, their needs generally have been met. And this is a continual process of care.

Speaker 3:           Yeah, it’s a 24 hour operation. And also, take what it is that they’re telling you as a lesson, not as a negative thing. Like, “whoa, I now know that maybe I should be a little more conscious of picking up towels.” Or “I know this nurse is gonna take over for me and towels on the floor though her over the edge,” you got it dude. Let’s make sure there aren’t any towels on the floor, or whatever it is. Try and take them as lessons cause you still have to work with these people day in and day out. So it’s your way of returning the favor and making sure that it’s making that mean nurse not quite so angry with you.

Speaker 1:           Yeah, I think part of that really is looking them in the eye and saying, look, I feel like you’re not happy with something I did. Or I feel like you think I should have done things differently. I’m a new nurse, what would you have done differently in my shoes? This is how I thought the best way to do my shift was, what would you have done differently?

Speaker 2:           And that’s code for, hey you’re being kinda mean right now. And some people will be like, “I’m taking out why I’m mad on this person, oh wait.” And then they kinda, and most people. After someone would verbalize something like that to them I think a lot of people would be like, oh man, I didn’t realize how I was coming across. I’m sorry.

Speaker 1:           And legitimately, when you say that, pull out a pen and paper and act like you’re gonna take notes when they tell you stuff. Cause that’s gonna be the hardest part, I think of all this. Cause that’s gonna take a tremendous amount of humility and biting your tongue to do that. But fighting in the moment is not going to do anything. I think that’s gonna be more effective in my mind.

Speaker 3:           Absolutely, and just making sure that you aren’t saying to that nurse, “whatever issue it is that’s upsetting you is not important.”

Speaker 1:           To them, it’s important.

Speaker 2:           Clearly, it is.

Speaker 3:           To them it might be important but what’s the purpose of that? What’s the income that you can have from nitpicking at the person who’s already really angry? None, you’re not gonna get a good outcome from it. So just take a step back and be like, whoa, okay, maybe I could change something. Or let me learn. Be on the defensive a little bit so it allows them to just chill out for a minute.

Speaker 1:           The next on is, this kinda goes with the same one. As you’re doing that you’re not giving up your power, right? I don’t know, people talk about my power, whatever. But don’t allow this to have power over you. And what I realized, really interesting with this is, we were talking about this is, the first thing I was gonna say about all this is don’t let this bother you. But here I am three years later after my experience with something like this and I still remember it. So it’s okay to remember it, and everything like that. But don’t let it have power over you, don’t let it control your next shift. Don’t let it make you afraid of that floor. Don’t let it make you afraid to look that person in the eye. You did your best job. We’re assuming you’re doing your best job every shift. You’re doing your best job and that person, those mean words, the whatever else they do, it doesn’t control you. And don’t let it.

Speaker 2:           Yeah, I think it’s really important to take whatever from that interaction. Whatever you can learn to make yourself better. Maybe it was, maybe I should have done this a little bit better. Maybe they came at me in the wrong way, and whatever. But I learned a little bit from it. And that’s gonna be, I’m gonna turn this negative thing into a learning experience. And I’m just gonna let go of it. The power that they’re trying to have over me, it’s not gonna happen. I’m not gonna, I’m gonna stop that taking. I’m gonna take some thoughts captive, I’m not gonna let that have power over me. And then it kinda puts you in the driver’s seat. It doesn’t let this person that is being mean to you take over. Cause they’re not allowed to. They’re not gonna steal joy from you, they’re not gonna make your shift. Or not you’re shift, now you going home, make it terrible. You’re not gonna let them do that. You gotta stand up and really actively fight against some thoughts that might be negative and that’s okay, we’re human. If someone’s coming at us negatively it’s hard to do our own negative self talk, but try not to let that happen. Because you can really let yourself get down the rabbit holes and really let your mind and really get into this negative place. And it’s really not good.

Speaker 1:           And I think nursing is the hardest job I’ve ever had. And nursing is just an incredibly hard job emotionally, physically, every, mentally. you don’t have space in yourself to be angry. You’ve gotta be the best you can possibly be for each shift, not just, yes for your patients, but also for you. You’re not gonna get though shifts angry. You’re not gonna get though shifts bitter. And it’s just not gonna do any positive for you.

Speaker 2:           And you have such little time at home after those shifts, you don’t want to take that home to your family. You know what, something to remember too, and I think it has been helpful to me. And not even just within these situations but within life situations. If someone’s taking out a bad attitude on me a lot of times its not because of something I did specifically, it’s usually because of other things going on in their life and I happen to be the one that they’re taking it out on. So being able to step out of that situation, verbalize it, call it out. “Hey man, I notice you’re a little defensive, or a little picking apart, is there something I could’ve done better?”

And then it kinda snaps them back into reality of, “Man, I really am taking out my bad day on this nurse. And maybe I shouldn’t have done that.” And a lot of people are gonna, if you’re calling them out in a respectful way, and standing up for your own sanity and person. Like hey, you’re not gonna talk to me like that. What’s going on. And then it, I don’t know, I think it humanizes it a little bit.

And then the next thing I want to make sure that you do, especially if you’re a new nurse, in a learning situation. And maybe you did have some things you could’ve done better. And maybe this person just didn’t come at you in a respectful way. Talk about the situation with your preceptor. Maybe there are some things you can learn but then maybe the preceptor does need to take the time to go speak to that nurse privately, professional to professional. “Hey, you don’t need to be speaking to my preceptor like that.” In a different you out of the situation kind of thing.

Speaker 3:           Absolutely. I think having it be between somebody who has experience and has already been on the floor and knows that person already. Gives you a one up because your the new person and you aren’t trying to start fires that you don’t know how to control yet.

Speaker 2:           And then the last point that’s really, really important is if you have a situation like this, is to not go on social media and complain about it. That’s a good way to get fired.

Speaker 1:           Social media obviously cause that’s going out to a world, but I think also don’t start texting your nurse buddies about it. It doesn’t need to get out. Go to your preceptor, go to your manager. Don’t make an issue out of something that is just not an issue. Then you become the catty nurse.

Speaker 2:           You do. And if you need support, and after a situation like that I’d need a little support. It’s important to go to someone who you know is gonna maintain confidentiality that’s not on your unit. Or maybe a loved one that understands the nurse struggle. Maybe a nurse friend or yours. I’ve got people I went to school with that don’t work with me that I could go and call and get report- get report. Get support from them that’s not on this unit. So it’s not like you’re becoming part of the problem.

Speaker 1:           It’s not friggen high school.

Speaker 2:           So to review our points, if this is happening, make sure you breathe. Hold your head up. Finish report with confidence. Refocus on the big picture. Verbalize the disrespect. Don’t allow it to have power over you. Touch base with your preceptor, and don’t complain about it on social media.

Speaker 1:           And lastly, to give you help with your report, we do have a massive database of brain sheets. It’s what a lot of times nurses call them as brain sheets. We even have on for the ED, Susan was kind enough to make up. Cause ED nurses generally don’t have reports.

Speaker 3:           It’s usually a blank piece of paper.

Speaker 1:           Yeah, but we have 32 brain sheets. If you go to nursingbrainsheets.com it’s completely free. It’s 46 pages PDF that you can download, print, find the one that works for you, and find the one that helps keep your thoughts organized. The first two in there are the ones I use.


Date Published - Apr 12, 2017
Date Modified - Apr 12, 2017

Jon Haws RN

Written by Jon Haws RN

Jon Haws RN began his nursing career at a Level I Trauma ICU in DFW working as a code team nurse, charge nurse, and preceptor. Frustrated with the nursing education process, Jon started NRSNG in 2014 with a desire to provide tools and confidence to nursing students around the globe. When he's not busting out content for NRSNG, Jon enjoys spending time with his two kids and wife.