One overlooked endeavor of being a nurse is finding a way to avoid the gossip that permeates any and every hospital unit. Since I’ve started working, I’ve seen 300-bed hospital shrink to the size of one unit. I've seen a world reduce itself to the confines of one hallway. Once you start working on a unit, it’s hard to remember the big picture and easy to get fixated on the intricacies of a specialty. The same happens with your co-workers. Be prepared to notice people desperate to speak trivially about other staff members, doctors, even patients. Stay away! Your job is bigger than all of that. Here’s five ways I’ve learned to avoid it all:
1. Reach out to other nurses in other areas of the hospital. Make sure you have contacts throughout the institution to connect with. Keep the conversation about growth going!
2. Embrace the solitude of break time. Use your time off to take a walk outside or run an errand. Sitting in the lounge gossiping or watching silly TV is not a good habit to entertain.
3. Speak up! Don’t be afraid to assert your desire to be uninvolved in useless hospital politics.
4. Quiet down! Do be afraid of being brash or harsh. Never use an impolite voice or a superior tone. Learn how to kindly steer subjects to more heath-related manners.
5. Keep a journal for days when avoiding distraction seems impossible. Keep the journal in your locker or purse. When a hankering for gossip strikes, write it down. Hopefully you’ll read it later and be happy the words never left the page.
I’ve noticed the times I feel most burnt out from work are times when I have fallen too deeply into the gossip hole. It is exhausting. Though you may sometimes slip, these tips are great ways to snap back to what’s most important at work: your patients.