Is Your Co-worker a Jerk? Take the jerk test to find out!

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working with jerk, bully, nurse, horizontal violence, incivility, lateral violence,
Lindsay is a new nurse and just found out that George will be her preceptor. George has been a nurse for more than 25 years and is well known for his direct and sometimes aggressive approach. Some of the nurses approached Lindsay and warned her about George – that she shouldn’t take anything he said personally and that she needed to grow a thick skin if she wanted to survive orientation with George. They also told her that George was a “great” nurse – clinically competent and knew everything there was to know about patient care.
Ugh…Lindsay thought. This was her worst fear – getting assigned a preceptor who is a jerk! Well, maybe George wouldn’t be that bad, she thought.
Lindsay very quickly found out why her new co-workers warned her about George.

George did not engage in small talk at all; drilled her like a drill sergeant; subtly talked down to her in front of co-workers, patients and physicians, and had no qualms about criticizing her for being slow, not knowing everything and for asking too many questions.
Yet, he WAS incredibly knowledgeable about everything. Lindsay was so impressed and found herself wishing she could get inside his brain to learn everything he knew. But because of George’s abrupt and overtly critical tendencies, Lindsay spent her days just trying not to make George mad.
She did appreciate that George never talked about people behind their backs. If George had a problem with you, he would just come right out and tell you. George never yelled, tattled, or tried to get even with anyone. But when he was angry with you, you knew it.
Was George a jerk or someone to aspire to be more like? How do you know?
Take the JERK test
After you walk away from a conversation with this person, ask yourself how you feel. Do you feel better, the same or worse?
If you feel worse after engaging in a conversation with someone, he might be a jerk. Well, maybe he’s not a full-blown jerk but someone you DEFINITELY want to limit your time with.
To be a “great” nurse requires you to be clinical competent AND socially/professionally competent. George was clinical competent but needed to work on his social and communication skills. Although George had some good qualities (didn’t gossip, sabotage, etc), people walked on eggshells around him. Make no mistake about it – patient safety is at risk when your unit is full of jerks. 
Why? Because jerk behavior stops the flow of information among care providers. AND, sharing information is what saves patient’s lives!! Studies show that 85% of all adverse events are due to poor communication.
If you’re working with a jerk.
  • Minimize any non-patient related time with them. 
  • Remember that your ultimate responsibility is to the public (your patients). Think patient safety and don’t let the jerk intimidate you!
  • Name his behavior  
Some of us work with a lot of jerks and so it’s hard to completely avoid them. However, we can limit our time with them. Remember, the people you spend themost time with influence you. Stay away from anyone who makes you feel worse about yourself.
Life is too short to waste on the jerks of the world!
Thanks for reading. I’d love to read your comments about the jerks in YOUR workplace.
Take care and stay connected

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