As a travel nurse, you have the opportunity to meet and work with a number of different people and personalities. It’s likely you will not see eye-to-eye with each one of those individuals. In some instances, they may even be physicians. It’s important to have a clear understanding of what is inappropriate or disruptive behavior, and what may be considered violence and abuse.
It’s likely you will more frequently run across individuals with whom you have disagreements, but occasionally you may find yourself face-to-face with someone who is demeaning, using profane language, throwing objects or threatening physical abuse. Inappropriate sexual comments, repeated failure to change behavior or feeling unsafe requires you to report this to your boss or the human resources department. Although you may have become a master at hiding your true feelings, when something in your gut tells you it’s not right, it’s time to say something.
In most instances, difficulties revolve around individuals who may not be aligned with the treatment team’s goals and objectives. Working in a medical facility and caring for critically ill or injured patients can be stressful and demanding for everyone involved. Unfortunately, sometimes doctors or other nurses may exhibit intimidating or disruptive behaviors as a reaction to stress. If you are faced with this situation, there are several steps you may take to manage the immediate situation and reduce the potential it might happen again.
It is important to address the situation without emotion or opinion. In other words, take a step back and try and understand the motivations behind the behavior. By not taking a heavy hand you actually go a long way toward reducing feelings of anger and frustration in both of you. When individuals act out they often want to be noticed or don’t feel important. Physicians may believe they have the right to be upset about what happened.
Watch for body language as you can often tell when someone is upset by their nonverbal behavior. Instead of ignoring the signs, say, “You seem to be really upset. Do you want to talk about it?” Often times, addressing the situation head-on and acknowledging the other person’s feelings helps to calm the situation.
Watch your own body language. Stand up straight and don’t retreat, but don’t act aggressively. These all convey a sense of self-confidence and help the other individual to calm down. Apologize if it’s appropriate to do so and behave respectfully with the expectation you will be respected in return. It is important to refuse to be treated inappropriately. You may walk away, stand silently or asked to be spoken to in a respectful tone. Anger and frustration on the part of the physician is not a reason to yell, scream or throw things. Behavior should be documented following any confrontation with your manager or administrator to ensure the behavior will not occur again.
Experiencing these types of situations may leave you feeling fearful or with a lack of confidence. This can have a significant negative impact on your ability to care for patients. Remember that when someone acts in an arrogant or superior manner they do so because they themselves lack self-confidence. Often individuals use intimidation or act conceited to cover feelings of inferiority. It’s helpful to remember this when dealing with individuals who are difficult as it helps you to act, instead of reacting.
As a travel nurse, you’ll be exposed to several different environments and people, all of which grow your experiences and develop you professionally. Your recruiter at Amare Medical Staffing is there to help support you in your travel assignment. Contact us today to experience the care and support we offer our travel professionals.