Nurturing the Age Old Issue of Nurse Relationships

Nurturing the Age Old Issue of Nurse Relationships

The French novelist Alphonse Karr has been noted for originating the phrase “the more things change, the more they stay the same”. I tend to agree. The nursing profession has evolved and changed through the years, however we as a profession continue to deal with hot topic issues like nurse bullying, jealousy, distrust, and really how to foster better relationships to enhance the work environment. 



As a seasoned nurse of 23 years, I can honestly say I have experienced all of the above. I believe we would be hard pressed to find a nurse who hasn’t had periods of strained relationships at the workplace. While I could research and give an answer to the “why and how” of this complex issue, I prefer to explore ways to improve and enhance relationships.



Nurses Eat Their Young



An awesome article recently by Candy Treft, The Gypsy Nurse,  inspired me as she wrote about the age old saying  “nurses eat their young”. This is one phrase and idea which has been around for years. I love how she used a recent experience and was able to correlate the idea of Supporting Their Young, instead of destroying them. We as nurses need to be empowered to stand up for ourselves and others as discussed by Lorie Brown, The Empowered Nurse, who also hits this subject head on in her post about nurses eating their young!



So What’s A Nurse To Do?



So how do we as nurses who want to make a difference, start to change the atmosphere?  Elizabeth at Living Sublime Wellness speaks openly and candidly about her experience as a nurse and discusses that Love-Hate Relationship between nurses. Elizabeth, like so many of us, has grown tired of the atmosphere and is out to be a change-maker in the nursing industry! Elizabeth not only discusses the issue but also shares the Benefits of Building Relationships with your nurse peers.



Social Media



The recent boom in social media has brought the subject of nurse relationships to the forefront. More and more nurses are speaking out about the issue. No longer is this subject hidden or swept under the rug. Erica MacDonald, from Self-Employed Nurse,  speaks of how new nurses can build a support system and connect with others through social media. I have found personal support and developed great relationships through this avenue.



Diversity Issues



Building relationships with other nurses, also means building relationships with people who are different that you are. No one is the same. Even within the same culture you will find people don’t have the same views or ideals. Instead of embracing differences, some people put up walls and don’t allow communication to transpire. This is not acceptable. Joyce Fiodembo discusses How To Relate To The Nurse who is different than yourself in her International Support Nurse blog.



Find that Mentor



One thing that is very important is to find someone who you can talk with and receive SOUND wisdom from. A mentor is key especially in the beginning of each career move to connect with. Brittney the Nerdy Nurse discusses how important it is to Find That Nurse Mentor!  If you are a seasoned nurse, possibly YOU could be the mentor for a nurse and make a difference in their life!




Bridging The Relationship Gap



We KNOW there are issues. We KNOW these issues need to be addressed and improved upon. Communication and relationship challenges not going to go away over night. We need a paradigm shift where nurses are empowered to stand up for themselves and for others. Understanding your value as a person is a place to start. In this guest post by Lisa, on the site of The Gypsy Nurse, Lisa takes a look at her own experience and discusses Going Beyond simple communication camaraderie.


Keith Carlson with Digital Doorway discusses cooperation and communication in his post about Nurses and Relationships. I just loved that post! It reminded me about personal accountability. Each nurse should evaluate their role related to how they contribute. What is the underlying issue with the difficult nurse? Is it work or home related stress? What role do we play as the nurses who desire to promote a better work environment?



I loved the writing from Adrienne at Nurseables as she illustrates communication styles in story form. Nurse Snow and her Seven Patients is a really neat way to learn about difference communications styles.



A few years ago I received a book titled “Aspire” by Kevin Hall. It was a small book where Mr. Hall did an in-depth word study on several words I had never heard before. One of those words was Genshai. Genshai means to never communicate with someone in a way to make the other person feel small, including yourself. I immediately felt the need to share this concept with the nursing world, and so I wrote Creating a Genshai Nursing Culture.  I realized when I wrote it there was some idealism and not everyone would embrace the concept. The concept hit home to me though, and I’ve tried to employ this concept every since.



Nursing relationships can and should be nurtured. We are not expected to be best friends with everyone we work with. We don’t even have to like everyone we work with. If every nurse would begin to take an honest look at how they perceive others or are perceived in the workplace and then take ownership of those findings, make changes where needed, and embrace others without judgment…we may start seeing the positive changes needed related to nurse-relationships.


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