Career Development

Tips for New Nurses: How to Avoid Gossip in the Workplace

How to avoid gossiping on the hospital floor

By Kathy Marshall, Contributor

Of the countless tips for new nurses you will receive, one particular piece of advice can have an extremely negative or positive effect on your career, and that is: don't gossip! 

Taking part in gossip in the workplace can wreak havoc on your nursing career. As a new nurse, you are eager to make new friends and establish your place on the job. 

Many people jump at the chance to get involved with “talkative” coworkers, often mistaking their propensity to share information as friendliness. 

Taking a few precautions as a new nurse can prevent you from developing a reputation as a gossiper that could potentially follow you through your nursing career.

Tips for New Nurses: 3 Ways to Avoid Gossip in the Workplace

1. Understand that Gossip is Real

Remember back in school how certain groups of kids made it a daily habit to gossip about other students? As an adult entering the world of nursing, you may think that gossip is a thing of the past, but that is not so. 

Nursing is no stranger to gossip, and such gossip can cause serious repercussions.

When you start your career as a new nurse, you will be quite dependent on your coworkers and preceptors. Learning how to implement all your acquired knowledge and skills, while adapting to a new environment, can be overwhelming. 

You may gravitate to a very talkative coworker who seems ready and willing to show you the ropes. Be careful to differentiate between genuine helpfulness and gossip in the workplace.

2. Consider the Source

Use caution and judgment before becoming fast friends. Labels are applied quickly to new employees and often you may be considered guilty by association. 

Think about the following questions to weigh whether the information you are receiving is helpful or gossip:

  • Is the source reputable?
  • Is it relevant to your work?
  • Does it violate a workplace policy?
  • Is it ethically beneficial to you?

When evaluating the source of information, look at the employees standing in the company. Are they widely respected? Is this a person everyone wants to work with because of their integrity and quality of care, or do others avoid them at all costs?

Look at the information you are being given. Gossip in the workplace often is delivered under the pretense of, “I’m just telling you this so you can be aware.” 

3. Know Your Workplace Policy on Gossip

As a new nurse, part of your responsibility is to know and understand your workplace policies. Most facilities have implemented policies to protect employees from workplace harassment. 

Gossip in the workplace can be considered to be contributing to a hostile work environment. By participating in gossip, you may be subject to disciplinary measures and even legal recourse, depending on the situation.

Many established employees like to give a plethora of tips for new nurses. Use your judgment when someone comes along with “helpful” information. 

Politely decline engaging in conversations that you know are gossip. Remember that not only are you establishing your reputation as a knowledgeable nurse but as a coworker who can be counted on and trusted.

Avoid gossip in the workplace with these three helpful tips and tricks. Not only will you save yourself from being labelled as a gossiper, but you’ll be able to focus on providing better patient care.

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