“‘She’s a good nurse. She’s just not very good with people.’ I’m embarrassed to admit I spoke those words a decade ago when I was a nursing home administrator. Sarah was a nurse with questionable emotional intelligence and a dislike for communication. She’d bark orders at nursing assistants who had no choice but to work with her. Her unpleasant demeanor ensured team members from other departments avoided her like the plague. Every interaction with her left me feeling like I had just donated three pints of blood. She was draining. But, she was a good nurse I told myself.
I accepted her behavior because it was nearly impossible to hire a replacement. Or so I thought. When we finally had had enough of Sarah’s negativity dragging the entire team down and all attempts to help her improve failed, we parted ways. I replaced her with a bubbly, cheerful nurse who made me wonder why I waited so long to deal with the Sarah’s saga. I realized then that a significant part of being a good nurse is—surprise, surprise—being good with people.”