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Defeated and Questioning
By: Masked Maven
"I have worked so hard, but now I am not so sure I am cut out to be an OR nurse."
Dear Masked Maven,
I have been off orientation for a few months and thought I was really getting the hang of things. But, yesterday I just felt like I could not do anything right. The surgeon for my room yelled at me and called me incompetent in front of the whole team. It was not that I was unfamiliar with the type of case we were doing, it was that I did not have everything as the surgeon preferred it. Each time I tried to ask questions, the only reply I would get was, “You have been here long enough. You should know by now.” Now, I’m afraid to ask questions. As the day went on, it only continued to get worse. I just felt like a failure. I have worked so hard, but now I am not so sure I am cut out to be an OR nurse. Is it worth it to keep trying?
Defeated and Questioning
Dear Defeated and Questioning,
I am so sorry this happened to you. I wish I could tell you these kinds of shifts don’t happen, but they do. Just because you have a bad shift, it does not mean that you are not getting the hang of things. There are lots of reasons a bad shift can happen. But, that does not negate all you have learned so far. And it is okay to feel defeated. Just don’t live there. Take a moment to look at what happened. Ask yourself, “What could I do differently next time?” If there is anything you could have done differently, use this as a learning opportunity.
One thing is for sure: the surgeon should not have treated you this way. Your manager and director should be made aware of what happened, so that they can address this negative behavior with the provider. If they are treating you this way, chances are they are treating other OR team members the same.
You saying that you were afraid to ask questions made me sad. Being afraid to ask questions can create issues for you as you are still gaining experience. Asking questions when you are not sure is one of the best ways to keep your patients safe. Please do not let this experience prevent you from asking questions when you need to. There is so much to know and there are times that even now I still ask questions when I am unsure of something.
It never hurts to talk to a coworker, manager, or educator about your experience and gain their perspective as well. They can listen, provide insight, and help you process this unfortunate shift. And when it comes to the next shift you have, treat it as a fresh start. Try not to carry the negative feelings of this experience into future shifts.
All the best,
If you have a question for the Masked Maven, you can submit it at https://forms.office.com/r/CdtjMpm9nB.
- AANA, AORN, ASPAN Position Statement on Workplace Civility
- AORN Position Statement on a Healthy Perioperative Practice Environment
- Bullying in the OR: 3 Signs to Look For - AORN Article
- 3 Tips to Protect Yourself from Workplace Abuse - AORN Article
- 4 Actions to Promote Workplace Civility - AORN Article
- How to Meet Incivility with Civility - AORN Article
AORN members can access:
- Back to Basics: Preventing Workplace Bullying - AORN Journal
- When Bullying Affects Patient Safety - AORN Journal
- Preventing and addressing incivility in nursing - AORN Journal
- Staying positive in a negative work environment - AORN Journal
- The Power of Positivity - AORN Journal
- The practice of positivity - AORN Journal
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