5 Tips on How to Survive the Toxic Workplace


Having your dream job is what all nurses’ desire. When you apply for a position, it’s always so gratifying when you do the interview and get the position.

Joan was a new nurse; she longed to work in the surgical unit. She felt she would do best with post-operative patients as this was the unit she enjoyed most during her clinical experience as a student nurse.

When Joan got the job in a prestigious hospital, she was overjoyed.

It did not take long before she discovered that a couple of her coworkers were rude, aggressive and bad mannered.

This behavior made the work environment almost unbearable, and it was difficult to work as a team.

How do you survive when you find yourself working in a toxic environment?


Be Positive

No-matter how bad your coworkers mood may be, determine that you will be pleasant and positive.

Have a positive attitude when you get to work and make up your mind to remain positive for the rest of the shift.

Find joy in your work by talking to your patients and their families, and focus more on getting your tasks completed.


Be Professional

It can be easy to get sucked up into all the negativity; you want to recognize that this will not help you in any way.

When there is a lot of negative talk, simply walk away.

If your coworker asks you for an opinion, simply answer as objectively and as politely as you can. They may be seeking out a negative answer from you so that they use it against you.


Be Honest

If you make a mistake like a medication error, be honest about it.

Be the first person to inform your manager about your error before your coworker does so.

Some coworkers like to start trouble, and will create stories and exaggerate stuff about you.

Maintain your honesty and truthfulness.

If you maintain the position of speaking the truth and being honest, eventually your manager and other co-workers will begin to respect you.


Be Helpful

If you want to challenge bad behavior, be helpful to those who like to cause trouble. If you have a spare moment and can do something for your colleague, even if it is as simple as taking patients vital signs, they will appreciate your help.

The golden rule which is “doing to others what you would like,” will work well. They may not thank you, but they will gain some respect for you.


Be Confident

When you find yourself in a toxic environment, it is easy to lose your confidence because there seems to be no appreciation for what you do.

Be confident in your skills and always do your best. You may not get a pat on your shoulder to thank you, but be happy at the end of the day because you put in your best effort.

If a coworker puts you down or insults you, avoid getting into a verbal fight with them. Listen to what they say and if you if you do not appreciate their comments, tell them in a very calm and professional way that you do not appreciate the way they are talking to you.

Remember, toxic personalities like to use intimidation tactics; you want to be aware of this so that you do not get caught unawares.

Remind yourself that you do not have a problem; it is they who have the problem, so do not feel guilty about anything.

If you love what you do and are confident in your skills, you will survive the toxic environment if you determine to focus on your patients and your tasks.


Posted in : Nursing, Resources
About The Author
Joyce Fiodembo is a nurse and author. You can find plenty of resources on her blog; www.internationalnursesupport.com, where she writes to inspire and uplift nurses to thrive. Joyce is the author of “The Foreign Nurses Guide to Settling in America” and “How Nurses Cope with Difficult Coworkers” found on Amazon.com Her other book "Reflections and Prayers for Nurses" can be found on Lulu.com She started her career in Kenya where she worked as a travel, ICU and operating room nurse. Joyce works with nurses who may be struggling with cultural challenges, equipping them to settle down easily. She is also a career counselor, helping nurses with interview skills and resume writing among others. Currently working in Ohio, she enjoys volunteering for mobile clinics abroad. Joyce is passionate about writing and currently has a website with a goal of inspiring nurses worldwide. You can visit her website at www.internationalnursesupport.com
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