It’s a simple fact of human nature. Some people get along, some people don’t. There are even degrees of our ability to get along. You may not like someone, but you may be able to deal with them in the workplace because your work depends on it. But sometimes, there are two people who can’t get along under any circumstances. What do you do when those people are nurses working for you? Here are some tips to handle nurses that can’t get along with one another.
Is it Bullying or Incivility?
Step one is to determine what form the inability to get along is taking. Bullying, the more overt of the two, is repeated behavior intended to humiliate, insult, offend, or distress the recipient. We often recognize it easier if it takes the form of physical harm, but emotional or mental abuse is equally as damaging.
Incivility is rude or disrespectful behavior that may or may not be intended to be directional. For example, it’s not uncommon for someone who is having a bad day for unrelated reasons to lash out at their coworkers with rude behavior. They may not mean to be harmful, but the end result creates tension.
No Tolerance Policies
When it comes to bullying, organizations need to have a strict no-tolerance policy. You can ask your nurses to remove themselves from situations where bullying occurs, but it may not be as simple as that. As a manager, you need to be diligent about observing this behavior and stopping it from continuing.
The policies should provide a safe space for those experiencing the bullying behavior to report the issue to management or HR. Then swift action must be taken. Consulting with HR in your facility, make sure that your policies are consistent. It may start with a series of warnings, but termination may be the end result if bullying does not stop.
When you see that nurses aren’t getting along, it may be time for an intervention. If the situation isn’t the result of abusive bullying behavior, your staff may not report it to management. They may practice avoidance, even if it interferes with their daily work, or may continue to snipe at one another creating a hostile workplace for others.
Mediation is often the best solution to these concerns. Participate in a meeting between the parties to discuss the situation in a calm manner, determine an agreed upon solution, and be willing to work together in the future.
Diffusing a Bad Situation
Toxic situations happen frequently in medical environments. It may not even be between nurses and may involve patients as well. In high-stress environments, individuals will often lash out at the people in the closest proximity, which can create tension and worse.
When diffusing a situation, use these tips:
- Use calm body language and voice.
- Treat the person with respect.
- Ask them to explain their concern.
- Listen actively and don’t rush to respond.
- Repeat it back to them to show your understanding.
- Find a solution.
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Do you want to ensure your department runs smoothly? Contact the team at CornerStone Medical today to learn how we can provide great healthcare talent for your facility.