Are You Complaining Too Much About Being a Nurse?


By: Alicia Pierre

The quick answer is yes. A more apt answer is who doesn’t? An even better answer is yes, and what can we do to change that? Let’s tackle this in a way that gives solutions to a nagging problem. After all, nobody wants to be around a nurse who complains too much. Also, complaining is far from fun. Entertaining negative thoughts about being a nurse and verbalizing them regularly does nothing for the psyche, or your team. It often makes you feel worse and certainly doesn’t move management/administration to make changes.

I have to say that I do not think nurses complain more than the average employee in the workforce. It’s commonly accepted that most people do not enjoy their jobs. Feeling disgruntled in the workplace is far from unique to the nursing profession. But there are some characteristics of nursing that contribute to the high numbers of disgruntled workers and the rate of attrition from the profession.

Here are a few factors:

  • The tension of healthcare care – There exists an unrelenting air of tension in health care. The many issues, bureaucracy, sadness, illness, and death that are parts of being a nurse. It stirs emotions. Deep emotions. Most times we try to detach for the sake of carrying on and remaining productive. Other times, we just don’t know how to deal with it all. The result? Anxiety and tension that feels pervasive and heavy.
  • Mostly female co-workers – Let’s admit it, females complain more than males. Males may have similar thoughts about a topic, but females tend to verbalize feelings much more than our male counterparts.
  • A lot to complain about – For the purpose of this article, it would be pointless to list all of the specific ‘issues’ the nursing profession faces today. The litany of potential things to complain about is almost infinite. Also, each workplace has its own challenges.

So, do you find yourself complaining? Are you frequently verbalizing your dissatisfaction with your workplace?  Then do something about it. Exercise your options for change.

So what options do you have?

  1. Be a change maker – What are the workplace issues that you most complain about? Can anything be done to change them? Is there protocol that allows you to voice concerns? Use your discretion here, but you may decide to attempt to be a voice of change. Alternatively, you may want to become active with organizations that are advocates and activists for change in nursing. Becoming active with an organization like this may help you to feel more positive since you are doing something to contribute to improvement within the field.
  2. Change your mindset – Perception is everything. Notice how two different people respond differently to the same situation. It’s all about the meaning we put on things. I know this can be a challenging concept to embrace, but being able to shift how you think about something is powerful. Often, what we perceive as terrible, actually is not. If you are able to change your mind set about your workplace, do so.
  3. Change your nursing job – Please don’t hand in your notice on my account. But if you have decided that you do not want to work somewhere anymore, then make the next smart decision. The decision to explore your other options. Everything starts with a decision. Then you can take steps to make the transition happen. Do you need to update your LinkedIn profile? Your resume/CV? Start networking? Searching for positions online? Talking to people? Take a course? What can you start doing to make your transition goal a reality?

So yes, maybe being a nurse makes one complain too much.  Maybe we even have reason to. Nevertheless, incessant complaining is unhealthy and often times annoying. Redirect your energy. Focus on change.

What change have you decided to make today?


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