Positive and Negative Aspects of Nursing

Positive and Negative Aspects of Nursing

While there are both positive and negative aspects of nursing, I often share details on how to shift perspective to the positive on this blog. For today’s post, I would like to present another angle.

A few weeks back, I asked my nursing tribe on social media:

What’s your best advice to newer nurses for dealing with the negative nurses on the job?”

Negative Nurses: We All Know One!

That’s right. Even though there are positive and negative aspects of nursing, today’s article will share advice on how to deal with the negative nurse that you may be forced to work with. Cause, let’s be honest… we all know at least ONE negative nurse!

Let’s hear what the nurses from across the country had to say on this topic:

  • Be proud of being a nurse with compassion, honesty, integrity and most of all objectivity!
  • Learn that stress is not something to avoid, but to use as a tool to make a difference in your life and others.
  • Kill them with kindness!
  • Smile and wave! Miserable people love company; disengage yourself from them. Surround yourself with the dreamers and doers.
  • We become what we focus on so find your positive role model. The nurse who knows who she/he is, loves the profession, and is deeply vested in humanity is the one who will succeed. The nurse who works tirelessly and honestly, stating that this isn’t work… this is who I am and you can strive to be.

Positive Aspects of Nursing

There’s no reason to go this alone! Achieve positivity, focus, and sustainability in numbers. Find like-minded colleagues and take a stance.

“Be the change you want to see.” – Mahatma Gandhi

This quote reminds us that the first change begins with ourselves. It is so easy to see the bad behavior in others, but not in ourselves. When we can see that, we can change the culture.

Remember, it is not always the situation, but all your thinking about the circumstances that create stress. When you can see that it is stressful thinking- you can shift your perspective, calming the thoughts, and new solutions will present themselves. Hang in there… we need you as a nurse!

You Have a Choice: Choose the Work Environment that Lifts You Up

There are always going to be positive and negative aspects of nursing. Heck, there are pros and cons to any and all of the careers that you may find yourself in.

Everyone has the potential to demonstrate an unpleasant/negative disposition.

Staying mindful of this fact is the first step in creating a healthy workplace, in conjunction with these three steps for what to do about it.

1) Inquire if there is something you can do to help the negative nurse. Let them know that you sense their unhappiness and you would like to help them make their day better. You never know… they may simply be having a bad shift.

2) If this negative nurse complains all of the time, about almost everyone and everything, gently but honestly, tell them how you recognize that fact and ask if they have sought solutions to finding happiness in their work life. Tell them how you find seeing and hearing their unhappiness a cause of worry. If this person is effective and good in their work, tell them that too. Show genuine concern. They actually may want to change themselves, but do not know how to just yet.

3) If the behavior remains ongoing without positive change, worsening or becomes compounded with other negative behaviors, in a private moment, tell the negative nurse that you cannot allow their negativity to affect your work life. Share up front that you will have to terminate conversations with them if they begin to slide into negative speak. And then do it. Be kind, but be true to your word, stating: “I cannot allow your negativity affect my work day. I hope things improve for you and that you have a better day” and walk away. Trust me- this works.

OK, what did we miss? Share in the comments below how you handle the positive and negative aspects of nursing? Feel free to share this post with your nursing colleagues. Enjoy your next shift!

p1050390About the Author: Keynote speaker and virtual conference host, Elizabeth Scala MSN/MBA, RN, partners with hospitals, nursing schools, and nurse associations to transform the field of nursing from the inside out. As the host of the Nurse’s Week program, The Art of Nursing, Elizabeth supports nursing organizations in celebrating and recognizing their staff in a meaningful way. Elizabeth received her dual master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University. She is also a certified coach and Reiki Master Teacher. Elizabeth lives in Maryland with her supportive husband and playful pit bull.


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Elizabeth Scala, MSN/MBA, RN

“I’m a Nurse, but I’m Not Sure I LOVE Nursing Anymore! Can You Help Me?”


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