Negative Nursing Environments? Solutions to Uplift Nurses!

by | Mar 7, 2016 | 10 comments

Negative Nursing Environments? Solutions to Uplift Nurses!I was emailed by a nurse who had subscribed to my email newsletter, after finding my books on Amazon. What a treat to receive a note from this nurse from the cyberspace connection. To keep her privacy, I have not shared any names and am only editing some of this email for personal content. Here is what she asked me:

“In my soul, I was born a nurse, but I only have almost 2 years experience as a practicing registered nurse.  I started out in hospice which I loved as hospice work and spiritual based nursing  is in my soul as well.  I left my hospice job because of the lack of support from my clinical team. The environment I was working in was very negative and draining.  Since then I’ve taken two other jobs and now working for a skilled nursing facility in a retirement community. I started this job very optimistic and hopeful…..then last week I was completely washed over with negativity.  I try to ground myself while I’m at work, but it’s just so overwhelming.  I started to use the techniques and change of mind thought last week that you taught in your video, but I still really need to practice… Is there anything you can recommend?”

I LOVE getting emails like this! I completely enjoy helping nurses out when the workplaces feel negative and uninspiring. No one wants to go into a job like that! And yes… this nurse is certainly right on. When a negative colleague rubs us the wrong way, it can certainly be tough to shake that energy.

I have a few suggestions and a fun video to share, to help you uplift your nursing career and decrease the negativity and overwhelm in your work environment. Here we go…

  1. First off, if it is really, really (really) bad- think about leaving. You cannot stay in a negative workplace that there is no hopes of changing. If the colleagues, supervisors, or anything about your nursing job that is not going to shift and completely dragging you down- then it might be time for a new role.
  2. Once you decide if a change is for you or not, then you have to make a conscious choice to shift yourself. I’ve said this before in previous posts- we cannot change other people. Sure, we can coach them. Educate them. Talk to them. Council, provide guidance- whatever. But an adult human being is going to do what an adult human being wants to do. I’ve learned this through my education as a health and wellness coach. I’ve learned this in my personal life as my little ‘healthy hints’ on questions about healthy behaviors to my husband fall flat on my face.
  3. The next step is in the video below. Hint- it’s about how to shift your thinking and focus. What we pay attention to, grows in size. So, if we focus on what we don’t want in our nursing jobs… guess what we’re going to get? That’s right! Check out the quick video for the rest of the steps to uplift your nursing career.

What did we miss? I’d love to hear about how you have shifted your focus in the workplace in the comments below. Thanks for reading!

Elizabeth Scala, MSN/MBA, RN; Founder of Nursing from WithinAbout the Author: As a keynote speaker, bestselling author and virtual conference host, Elizabeth partners with hospitals, organizations, associations, and nursing groups to help transform the field of nursing from the inside out. During the National Nurse’s Week online conference, ‘The Art of Nursing‘, Elizabeth supports nurses in achieving professional goals of continued learning and development. Click here to find out more about how The Art of Nursing appreciates and celebrates our profession in a meaningful way.


  1. April

    Great tips, Elizabeth! My heart goes out to that young nurse. I’ve been there! Too many times. That is part of why I started blogging. After returning to my roots and focusing on self-care at home on a daily basis, I feel like I can cope with those stressful days. Sure, some things still overwhelm me, but overall I am able to manage much better. It’s hard when we’re caught up in a negative environment, as you mentioned. And the best thing that I have done for myself in those instances is to walk away.

    • Elizabeth

      Glad to hear that the efforts you are making for refocusing and self-care are working out. Sure it takes time and practice, but I imagine that’s what this is all about! Thank you for your comments. Enjoy the week.

  2. Maureen Powers

    I love that you respond to questions with an open heart. I can identify with this issues. I left many jobs because of it and always found something better. At present I am in a great environment that is positive

    • Elizabeth

      Thanks, Maureen! Glad to hear that when you needed to- you have made that change. And even better to know that you are in a good environment now. Shows others that it is possible!

  3. exceptionalnurse


    So sad to read the email from that nurse. I receive similar ones from nurses with disabilities…who are often met with negativity.

    I try to encourage a healthy work-life balance (exercise, time with friends/family, hobbies)…tipping the scale away from negative thoughts!

    • Elizabeth

      Good encouragement, Donna. You are doing wonderful work in your community! Keep it up.

  4. bethboynton80539889

    Thanks for bringing more light to this sad situation Elizabeth and April and I too can relate. Your tips are super Elizabeth and I’ve found your advice about developing a mindset about what you are FOR to be extremely helpful when I was working in a clinical environment and now as an author/consultant. This round table report from the Lucien Leape/National Patient Safety institute may be of interest b/c it speaks to the importance of helping healthcare professionals get more joy and meaning in their work Wishing you luck and focus, April.

    • Elizabeth

      Awesome to hear, Beth. Thank you for sharing this additional resource! Keep up the great work that you do in this world.

  5. Barbara C. Phillips

    It’s not just in the RN community, but exist in the NP community as well. And in talking to my attorney friends, it’s in their community as well…all the negativity… and bullying.

    A great work environment goes a long way…as does a poor one, unfortunately.

    • Elizabeth

      Thanks, Barbara. Appreciate you taking time to share the comments. And let us know what we are not alone. All that we can do for a positive work environment… the better! Enjoy the day.



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