Bad Vibes? Negative Energy? Some workers are able to find a problem for every solution and the worst in every person. Negative people can be so powerful that they fill the work atmosphere with stress, affecting (or should we say, infecting?) the whole environment with their bad attitude.
In the healthcare setting, you’ll know you’ve met a negative person after a little conversation or working with them for a bit—you’ll hear complaints about everything: The nurse manager is a jerk. The hospital is the worst. Their best friend coworker is a gossip. Food in the cafeteria is lousy. Patients are demanding, and don’t get better anyway.
If you are an upbeat CNA or rely on a good start to your shift to survive the day, encountering this coworker early on can ruin your inner peace . . . unless you know how to build a personal firewall to fend off the negativity.
So, how can you do this?
1. Filter their genuine complaints and then ignore the rest of their rant.
Some complainers don't have the skills to communicate about an important issue, or they feel that nobody cares, so they tend to talk about it all the time. In this situation, it is good to listen to them once and determine if it’s a workplace issue that needs your help and attention. Otherwise, let it go.
Excuse yourself if the conversation gets out of hand and don't feed the drama. Do not agree with what they are complaining about in the hope that they’ll leave you alone, because it reinforces and encourages their behavior.
2. Give them a positive view of the situation.
If you sincerely think they got it all wrong, you can show them how you view the matter differently. Use some of the therapeutic communication techniques you know, like "I know that's how you feel about it, but here's what I think . . ." Tell them how positive thoughts have helped you become happy at work and avoid stress. You may help change their point of view!
3. Some colleagues are hardcore negatives. Have the courage to say “stop.”
Frankly but respectfully tell them their constant sour outlook is affecting patient care and work relationships. Set limitations. Setting limits is important, especially if you work alongside them and cannot physically distance yourself. Focus on completing your tasks so that both of you will not compromise patient care.
4. Don’t let them get in your head.
Is the complaint now about you? What should you do if they make a long list of what you’re doing “wrong” as a nursing assistant? It takes a lot of willpower to restrain yourself from reacting with an emotional outburst, but it’s worth it to stay calm. Losing it yourself lets their negativity affect you big time, so be kind to yourself and control your emotions.
5. Speak up and seek out the help of HR.
The Human Resources department can help you reach out to your negative colleague, because they understand the policies and standard operating procedures in such situations. They may call you in to get more information, so it is your responsibility to give factual details about how the coworker’s negativity affects patient care and contributes to a toxic work culture.
Knowing how to protect yourself against negative colleagues is working smarter, because you prevent your stress levels from spiking sky-high. Deal with negativity the right way so you can concentrate on loving your job even more. So, go ahead and build that firewall to shield yourself against toxic vibes in the workplace. In the long run, you'll be happy that you did.
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