R.N. Q&A #2: Should I leave my toxic workplace

Life Coach for Nurses Q&A

Dear Robb,

What do you do when your work environment becomes toxic? I was so excited when I got hired and thought I would stay here forever, but now my other friends are telling me I should just leave.



Dear Kaitlyn,

Usually when I get asked this question, what people are hoping I will say is either to "Quit as fast as you can and run!" or "Here is a checklist of things you can do to change the bad behaviors of others so you can stay." I understand why people expect that - we are nurses, and we want to jump right to the solution. But as a life coach, before we start brainstorming our strategy I'd rather take the time to make sure we are solving the right problem. 

So I want to ask you a question Kaitlyn. What it is you most want to get out of your job? This question is important for any of us to answer, but it is especially critical here. What is most important to you? Do you want to like your job? Do you like where you are and so want to do the work to rise above the drama and enjoy it no matter what anyone else does? Or do you not really care, or want to focus your energy elsewhere in your life and so you just want an easy-to-like job? Think about this. There isn't a right or a wrong answer here, so be honest.

Because once you answer this question, then it becomes a lot easier to be able to figure out what you want to do about it to get the result you want. We can't control whether someone else decides to bring negativity and drama to the workplace or not. We can't force people to be nice, or to communicate better. What we can do is choose how we want to react to it, and what we want to do to protect ourselves.

This is important, because if you otherwise like your job and want to stay, then letting yourself get chased off is going to be frustrating. If you don't want to spend any energy dealing with the troublemakers, then staying might be hard. (Though, really, there are troublemakers everywhere.)

If you decide what you want most is to stay, then you can start looking at your options to empower yourself to enjoy your job, no matter what others do. If you decide you want to get away from the disfunction, then instead of feeling chased off you can feel great about looking for something better. 

While you are figuring that out, remember to TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF. Hot baths, good food, exercise, time spent with friends and family, pottery class, whatever it is. Make sure you are filling yourself up so that work doesn't start to drain more than you have to give. Everything gets harder when we are empty inside.

It is possible to find a good way to stay, just as it is possible to find a good way to leave. So make the choice, decide which result is the one you most want, and the rest will get a lot clearer.

Thanks for your question, and have a great day! 


Note: Questions are edited for privacy and clarity. I aim to be HIPAA compliant! ::wink:: If you have a question you can SUBMIT IT HERE.