Navigating Difficult Coworkers: A Survival Guide for Travel Nurses


Ashley Hotovec | June 23rd, 2023

We all know that the journey to different healthcare settings can be exciting, but it’s not always smooth sailing. Sometimes, you come across coworkers who seem to have a black cloud following them wherever they go. Yep, we’re talking about those hostile individuals who can turn your work environment into a rollercoaster ride. But fear not! Let’s chat about some practical tips to help you navigate those choppy waters and maintain your sanity while delivering top-notch patient care.

Keep Your Cool: Okay, let’s face it, encountering hostile coworkers can be super frustrating. But it’s essential to keep your cool and stay professional. Here’s what you can do:

     a) Take a chill pill: When things get heated, take a deep breath and count to ten. Trust me, it works wonders!

     b) Be the bigger person: Show respect to your hostile coworker, no matter how tempting it may be to unleash your frustration. Rise above their negativity and lead by example.

     c) Set boundaries: Let them know what’s not cool with you. Politely and assertively communicate your boundaries, making it clear what behavior you won’t tolerate.

Listen Up: Being a good listener can help defuse tense situations and open better communication channels. Check out these tips:

     a) Give them the spotlight: Pay attention to what your hostile coworker is saying, even if it’s hard to do so. Maintain eye contact and nod occasionally to show you’re actively listening.

     b) Reflect and clarify: Paraphrase what they’ve said to make sure you’ve understood correctly. Ask questions for clarification if needed.

     c) Empathy goes a long way: Try to put yourself in their shoes. Understanding where they’re coming from can create a bridge of empathy and potentially diffuse the hostility.

Find Your Support Squad: Dealing with difficult coworkers can make you feel like you’re on your own, but you’re not! Here’s how you can build your support system:

     a) Bond with the friendly bunch: Seek out those coworkers who are like rays of sunshine. Build connections with them, as they can provide guidance and support when the going gets tough.

     b) Connect with fellow travel nurses: Join online communities or local associations specifically for travel nurses. Share your experiences, ask for advice, and feel the warm embrace of a supportive community.

     c) Call in the reinforcements: When things escalate, reach out to a mentor or supervisor within your healthcare facility. They can offer insights, guidance, and help mediate conflicts if necessary.

Take Notes, Seriously: Remembering every incident in detail can be tough. That’s why it’s crucial to jot things down. Here’s why:

     a) Document like a pro: Keep a record of hostile incidents. Write down the dates, times, locations, and a brief description of what went down. It’ll come in handy if you need to report the behavior later or take further action.

Speak Your Mind: Communication is key when it comes to dealing with difficult coworkers. Try these strategies:

     a) The direct approach: Have a private conversation with your hostile coworker. Express your concerns calmly and professionally, explaining how their behavior is affecting you. Let’s hope they’re receptive and willing to make a change.

     b) “I” for Impact: Use “I” statements to express how you feel without sounding confrontational. For example, say, “I feel uncomfortable when you raise your voice during our interactions.”

     c) Call in the reinforcements (again): If one-on-one discussions don’t cut it, involve a neutral third party, like a supervisor or HR representative, to mediate the situation and find a resolution.


Hey, we get it! Dealing with difficult coworkers as a travel nurse can sometimes make you want to pull your hair out. But by staying cool, listening actively, finding support, documenting incidents, and communicating your concerns effectively, you’ll be able to keep your sanity intact while delivering exceptional patient care. Remember, you’re on an incredible journey as a travel nurse, and these bumps in the road are just part of the adventure. So, keep your chin up, focus on your well-being, and rock your way through any stormy coworker encounters that come your way!


If you aren’t already heading to your next assignment, let’s chat! 😊

Email [email protected] to get connected with a recruiter!

Apply Here to get started today!




Would you like to be alerted when new jobs are posted?