Squelch the Drama for a Sane Work Environment

Drama can be a sneaky culprit that invades your work life, weaving its way into the fabric of your culture. Drama isn’t always the “Oh-my-God-this-is-horrible” type. It can be more subtle but still destructive.

Curbing drama in the department can start by simply being aware of language that is either spoken out loud or even playing in your head. That’s right.  Sometimes the biggest culprits are your own thoughts. To squelch negativity, words need to be challenged.

What does drama look like?
Drama words that are played most often include always and never.  Think about how often you hear or think about someone or something using these two seemingly innocent words. “She is always late.” “He never does his fair share.” The other drama culprit is exaggeration. “This is the millionth time she has put on her call light.” Or “Nothing will make her happy.” Extremes like always and never promote drama just as much as the exaggerations. Both are negative and feed into a catastrophe mindset.

Of course there are negative people in the world who thrive on drama, but you don’t have to be one of them. I worked with someone who saw the world through mud-colored glasses. We would arrive at work each day, and she would set the tone by reacting to the census posted by the time clock. When census was high she’d say things like, “Why do I always work the shifts with the highest census? We are always short staffed.” She made these remarks before even arriving on the unit or having any inkling of the acuity levels or scheduled discharges. On low census days she could be heard saying, “Oh great. Low census. I’m always the one to get sent home.” Or “I refuse to float to another unit.”

The first step in creating a drama-free zone is awareness. Be aware of thoughts and be choosy about your words. At the same time, if you’re gutsy enough, challenge these words. It’s another step leading to a drama-free department.


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