9 Tips for Surviving a Negative Nurse Work Environment

Nurse work environments can be toxic. Lack of leadership, poor communication, cynicism and high stress levels can quickly make the best work environment crumble. This negativity can seep into all  aspects of your life if you don’t control it.

What can you do to survive the next shift, week or even year? Here are 9 quick tips for being part of the solution in a toxic nurse work environment:

  1. Stay True To Who You Really Are

Don’t allow the negativity and other work dynamics to change who you are as a person. If you are not usually the gossiping type, don’t hang around for these conversations. Walk away.

If you find yourself right in the midst of a conversation you don’t want to be involved in, simply state that you don’t want to participate. Your peers will soon realize how you feel.

When you are true to who you are, you can survive toxic work environments much easier.

  1. Set Boundaries

Don’t take work stress home with you. This is a hard lesson to learn! When you’ve had a really stressful day, it is easy to allow this to impact your home life.

Learn to decompress before you get home. Create a relaxing space in which to unwind and a buffer of time before you have to dive right into being mom, dad, referee and more!

  1. Find the Positives – Even Just One

When all of the negative talk gets you down, find one positive thing about the work environment. Write a note to a co-worker who really helped you out. If the manager makes a decision you agree with, tell them!

Keep the positive vibes coming.

  1. Create a Positive Work Space

As a floor nurse, this can be hard. You may not have a cubicle or other place that is just yours. But, creating a positive work space can boost your morale.

If you have an area that is yours, even your locker, hang up pictures of your family, positive quotes or other images that bring peace and happiness. By spending a few minutes in this space, you can allow your mind time to reset and reflect positive energy.

  1. Find a Friend You Can Talk To

In an effort to not take the negativity home, you need a truly neutral person in your life who can help buffer the situation. A trusted friend who is willing to listen and offer advice that is not a co-worker or part of your family is invaluable.

  1. Stick to the Facts

Don’t repeat anything that you are not certain is factual. When you repeat things that have been said to you without researching the truth, you become part of the problem.

Even though Susie told you and she is usually spot on with workplace politics, research it before you start spreading rumors and adding to the toxicity of the workplace.

  1. Have A Plan

If there is no end in sight to the toxicity of the workplace, make an exit strategy. It does not have to be next week. Whether you plan to leave in 3 weeks, 3 months or 3 years, have a plan!

When you know there is an end in sight, you can relax and not be as invested in the negativity at work. Know your exit route and make goals to work towards finding something that works better for you.

  1. Use Your Vacation

If your feeling the effects of burnout and your vacation bank looks like you have just won the lottery, use it! Having a few “mental health” days can help you have the strength to continue on in this environment.

  1. Smile

If is amazing how smiling can make our day change. If you are feeling really stressed from a toxic workplace, try to think positive thoughts and smile.

Find a quiet place, reflect on happy memories or thoughts and allow yourself a few moments of happiness before going back in the trenches.

You Will Survive!

Working in at toxic environment is hard. You must have a few survival tips in your nursing bag at all times. Use these 9 tips the next time the toxic nurse work environment gets you down.

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