How to Deal with Rude Colleagues as a Nurse

Being a nurse or agency nurse, it can be a challenging profession, especially if you’re a foreign nurses in a new workplace. You are dealing with so many personalities. From the patient, to families, to colleagues. While patients and their families aren’t stressful enough, dealing with a rude and demanding colleague can have a damaging impact on work environment morale. While there are plenty of ways to deal with a stressful work environment as a nurse, this article covers a different but similar topic. This article defines ways how to deal with rude and demanding colleagues as a nurse. Here is our list of 11 ways how to deal with rude colleagues as a nurse.



11 Ways How to Deal with Rude and Demanding Colleagues as a Nurse


1. Surround Yourself with Good People

You’ve might have heard that like attracts like. This means that similar minded people gravitate to each other. Surround yourself with similar people to you. Don’t waste time with the Debbie Downers or Negative Nancys. Fill your time up with positive people. You will see over time that positive people will seeking you.



2. Compliment the Person

When faced with an unreasonable, rude and demanding colleague, it is easy to either argue back or not say anything. Try something different and fight back by complimenting the person directly. On most occasions, colleagues are stunned into silence as they don’t know how to react and by giving regular compliments to rude colleagues may soften them up, create dialogue and create a positive working environment.



3. Have a Strong Mindset

Bring a positive perspective to work. Negativity is always out there. But if you strengthen your mindset you can change how you react to negativity. There are ways you can bring a strong mindset to work such as keeping a dairy or meditating. Find out what works for you. Many organisations are trying to tackle these issues, many have well-being clinics or staff engagement groups, listen and learn forums. Attend and have your voice heard to get the support you need.


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4. Communicate with Appropriate People When Necessary

If a rude and demanding colleague is affecting patient care, it’s time to speak up. This is certainly one of the biggest ways how to deal with rude colleagues as a nurse. Nothing should impact patient care. If this happens, speak with the rude colleague or if you aren’t comfortable speak with the Ward/Unit Manager, Site Manager or Patient Advise and Liaison Service (PALS). Most hospital managers are aware how damaging bullying is towards staff retention and the negative impact on patients, many have confidential hotlines, staff retention managers and HR managers you can approach with confidence that your story will be heard.

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5. Don’t Gossip

Gossiping is one of the quickest ways you can make a tough situation worse. Instead of digging a deep hole, be proactive in finding a solution. Playing the gossip game can cause further division between colleagues. While it’s certainly okay to let off some steam, make sure you do it during an appropriate time and place and pick the person carefully.

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6. Stay Focused

If you ever become distracted by a negative colleague, “snap out of it.” It can be very easy to become distracted but stay focused on your job at hand. Spend your energy toward performing your duties, not worrying about rude colleagues, there is generally a reason for their behaviour. If your working in a new foreign workplace, it can cause sleeplessness and trigger home sickness, so it is important to remember why your there and focus on your objectives.


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7. Remember Your Assignment Has an End Date

One of the many advantages of being a nurse is that your contract has an end date. Don’t get bogged down and worry about rude colleagues. Let that negativity roll off your back. Remember, you are only there for a certain number of weeks. Don’t forget that once you leave, they will replace you, so use anonymous online review platforms, however always remain professional and objective within your reviews when rating the employer. You won’t be the only person, so enough negative reviews will send alarm bells to senior managers at the hospital to take action.


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8. Understand What You Cannot Change

As a positive person, many of us feel personally responsible for improving the attitude of negative people. Sometimes that isn’t always possible. While it’s great to uplift others, it’s important to know that some people have negative outlooks on certain situations.


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9. Don’t Take it Personally

This is certainly one of the top 10 ways to deal with rude colleagues as a nurse, but it is one of the hardest things to do. We all take things personally. It isn’t always easy to let things roll off. Some people have negative outlooks which has nothing to do with you. It’s more of a them thing.

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10. Take Time to Cool Off if Needed

Sometimes taking a nice break is a simple yet easy way to deal with rude colleague. Go outside. Get some fresh air. Take a quick walk. Do something to take your mind off their negativity and walk back in with a positive attitude.



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11. Don’t Argue

Arguing with a negative employee will not get you anywhere, and unfortunately, they’re more likely to hold onto their attitudes. Don’t engage. Be the bigger person. As soon as a negative person sees that you aren’t going to engage with them, they move on. I have heard many stories from agency nurses who decided to argue back and escalate concerns the wrong way and instead of fixing the problem, nurses have been asked leave, barred from working in the organisation and event referred to the registration body.


Hopefully these 10 ways how to deal with rude and demanding colleagues as a nurse have helped. Try each of these tips and see what works best for you in your situation. Don’t forget to bookmark this page. Unfortunately, you might have to deal with negative colleagues a few times in your life. Make sure you always have the 10 ways how to deal with rude colleagues as a nurse.

If you have experienced this, how did you manage the situation?

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