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5 Bad Habits Every Nurse Needs to Avoid

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The new year’s arrival allows us to reorganize our lives and start working toward making lots of positive changes. As in any profession, nursing has a few bad habits that are easy to fall into. While you’re getting other areas of your life in order with the start of the new year, take a little time to examine your personal practices at work and make sure that you’re staying out of the fray and not falling into these common traps.

Disrespecting Patients’ Privacy

Most medical professionals have seen it all. Incidents like bathroom accidents, nudity, and discussion of personal habits are simply a part of everyday life and carry very little embarrassment and judgment on your part. However, your patients may not feel as comfortable about these things and might struggle a bit. Be sure to remain respectful of your patients’ privacy and help them to feel more comfortable in vulnerable situations and conversations.

Using a Condescending Tone

It can be so satisfying when you have the answers and can show yourself as an expert on a particular subject. However, when you share your expertise with others and take a condescending tone, the only message they will hear loud and clear is that you are not the type of person that they want to work with. Take care in your communications with both patients and co-workers and ensure that you are always speaking to others in a compassionate and caring tone, even when you need to be forceful with words or instructions.

Wearing Your Emotions

As a nurse, any given day can be a rollercoaster of emotions. You’ll face challenging patients, frazzled physicians, heartbreaking situations, and of course, your own personal life can leak into your mood for the day. Keeping your emotions in check while remaining compassionate to those for whom you provide care is critical to maintaining personal control as well as control over difficult situations. Your patients look to you for reassurance, so your personal reactions are important every day.

Participating in Gossip

Anywhere there are people, there is sure to be a little gossip. Along with that gossip, however, can come a lot of hurt and misunderstandings if it is not kept in control. While it can be tempting to speculate on why a certain co-worker is suddenly leaving early on a regular basis or discuss your personal opinions on someone’s recent breakup, discussing and criticizing the personal business of others never ends well. Instead, find other ways to bond with your co-workers, sharing only positive news that you learn about those that you meet.

Struggling with Work-Life Balance

No matter who you are and what your profession, you could always use a few more hours in the day to check all of the tasks on your to-do list. It’s easy to fall into a habit of handling personal business during office hours and to take homework to complete at home. While it can be difficult to adjust your schedule to handle all of your responsibilities, it is important to your personal and professional well being to have clear-cut boundaries for work and home life. If you must handle personal things during work hours, be sure to take care of them on your break. And don’t forget to plan time for yourself as you’re reorganizing your schedule.

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Contributor Ron Washburn

Ron is currently the executive vice president of Soliant and has been with the company for more than 28 years now. He oversees our nursing and allied health division and has been with Soliant since its small beginnings in the early 90s. He’s an integral part of our organization, and not only hosts trainings for our groups but manages company events and continues to run a desk of clients and candidates. He is experienced in contract placement, recruiting, permanent placement and internet recruiting within the healthcare industry. Ron possesses a Master's degree focused on Strategic Management and Entrepreneurship from Georgia State University. Don’t forget to check out the rest of his blogs!