CUP OF NURSES PODCAST

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drama in the workplace

In this episode, we would like to thank everyone for listening, this is our 100th episode and it’s been an amazing experience being your hosts. We will talk about our experience working full-time as nurses while trying to run a business. Some updates to what Cup of Nurses is up to and we will talk about dealing with drama in the workplace.

As nurses, we know how valuable our co-workers are, like during a sudden unexpected code, violent patients, and dealing with unstable patients. So why, do we create drama and unnecessary drama at the workplace?

Here’s the truth: We as humans enjoy drama and outrage. Some people get off on it. They like the adrenaline, the cortisol, the rage, and the energy that it brings.

Dive into our life 

Who Matt and Peter are.

How is it being a nurse starting off, we have 4 experiences?

  • How did we get into nursing?

How is it being a nurse during the pandemic?

How is it travel nursing out of state?

How is it being a nurse and an entrepreneur?

  • What is the grind like, the life that people don’t see behind the scenes 
  • Podcasting
  • Vlogging

What is in store for Cup of Nurses? 

  • Website
  • Front line warriors
  • 4x4x48 (Donating to a cause)

How are we impacting people in life through what we do?

  • What do we want to change in nursing?

 

Why do people enjoy conflict and drama? 

Distraction from focusing on your own life

If you have something or someone to be mad at, it can help you to disengage from looking at yourself deeply. Drama can channel energy away from what you really need to be focusing on.

Drama is a familiarity

Not everyone’s childhood is the same, some people grew up in dysfunctional homes or within families where addiction or trauma was present. This will create chaos, unclear boundaries, and teach people that engaging in conflict dysfunctionally is the way to behave and live your life. We are drawn to what we know.  And they may not know how to disengage and detach healthfully.

Chemicals released during anger can be addicting

Chemicals released in anger can feel addicting. Just like individuals who seek thrills for the adrenaline rush, some people have the same effect from anger. Individuals can become addicted to the endorphins they feel when they get angry.

The car accident phenomenon

This is an interesting viewpoint. Have you ever noticed driving on the freeway on the opposite lane there is a car accident, yet everyone slows down driving the opposite way? We people are prone to slow down if there is a car accident because we just can’t miss out on what is happening. We want to know. News agencies are constantly feeding this need with incredulous, awful stories that they hope we can’t tear ourselves away from.

There needs to be a call to action if you can relate to any of these points. We hope there isn’t much drama going on in your life. Drama in life brings trauma, old injuries getting reawakened, and it could be keeping you from having a more peaceful and enriched life. 

So why, do we create drama and unnecessary drama at the workplace?

We can admit that we enjoy the attention that drama creates. On the unit, nurses get sucked into your drama, the group around you asking questions and help you feel justified in your outrage, which can be very satisfying. It’s like a baby if you don’t give it enough attention early on, it will seek attention as they get older regardless of what attention because that is better than no attention. 

Assessing the drama level in a unit’s culture takes time and leader attentiveness. Being travelers working in different cultures you can see the drama that takes place. Culture is described as the invisible architecture of a unit or organization. It’s a compilation of values, behaviors, actions, and group norms that ultimately becomes the operating system.

Steps to dial down workplace drama

Don’t interact with staff that aren’t grounded in reality

You can assess a co-worker after working a few shifts with them to see if they enjoy drama. Do they seek multiple viewpoints in a story? If they gossip, react strongly to difficult news, frequently in fight-or-flight, or have interpersonal conflicts, chances are they will see that behavior in their team. 

If they’re calm, cultivate a sense that everyone is on the same side, don’t overreact, don’t gossip, and take a low-key approach to office politics and interpersonal relationships, they’ll reinforce the behavior they want from staff.

Be honest with your co-workers creating workplace drama

Not everyone can be bluntly honest with people, we have no problem with that and say it how it is. Whoever is creating the drama, needs to be called out on their problematic behavior. Ask them these questions:

  • How do you know that your assumptions in this situation are true?
  • How is your behavior contributing to what’s happening here?
  • What ideas do you have for resolving this situation?
  • How can you help improve this situation?
  • What would “great” look like now?

Drama kings and queens need to be reminded that venting doesn’t resolve issues and it only creates doubt and chaos leading to a victim mentality that doesn’t empower staff. Self-reflection will facilitate serious thoughts about one’s character, actions, and motives. Reflective questioning can help those participating in the behavior get a better understanding of how others experience it.

Establishing new expectations and team values

This a leadership approach to it. Change in behavior comes from perspective and values we may not be aware of until we encounter someone who thinks differently than we do. In addition to calling out someone, we need to create team norms around low drama and assuming positive intent. These new values could be the following:

  • Don’t engage in gossiping about others.
  • Confirm that information and stories are reality-based before telling them.
  • Practice empathy and demonstrate good intentions toward others.
  • Assume accountability for own behavior and don’t participate in the blame game.
  • Adopt a solution-focused approach.

Final thoughts 

Fostering harmony and teamwork is important. Humans are emotional by nature, and where you have emotion you frequently get gossip and drama. Sounds like the perfect hospital setting? Some coworkers will seek attention and further stir the pot. Looking at the unit as a whole we need to build a culture of accountability with minimal drama that is the key to organizational success and less turnover. Creating a culture that fosters teamwork beings with each and every one of us. When we act as leaders, we reinforce positive behavior and confront old behavior. 

 

Sources:

Wakeman C. No Ego: How Leaders Can Cut the Cost of Workplace Drama, End Entitlement, and Drive Big Results. New York, NY: St. Martin’s Press; 2017.

https://www.myamericannurse.com/dialing-down-drama-at-work/

 

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