Just lately, I've returned to work after being away for almost 3 years with an injury. I returned to a unit in a bit of a crisis. For starters, since I left in 2005 we have had two very big legal issues happen at our hospital...one with our unit directly.
The first being a nurse convicted of many counts of intent to inflict bodily harm, etc....he/she was medically poisoning other nurses and doctors with drugs stolen from other units....it took almost two years of investigating and police work to find out who was doing it and then convict him/her.
As well, our unit took a blow when one of our own nurses was arrested for defrauding our unit out of almost $100,000. she is now doing jail time and is relieved of her license and job.
Then we lost two of our long time staff members to cancer. Both died within weeks of them finding out they were sick. Each had been on our unit 25 plus years.
Then, our long time unit supervisor who had great morale with all of the staff and kept everything running smoothly had a child that tested positive for a deadly childhood disease. He/She is now off for at least two years and we have had 3 unit managers in the last year because of it.
So now, we are having staff shortages, they are also cutting back 8 nursing positions despite the shortages, people are being denied their vacation requests, etc, etc, etc....
I came back at a time when all is going to hell in a handbasket, plus I am a junior staff member (I have 5 years experience) in a high risk, high tension area (Labor and delivery). We have very strong personalities, some condescending staff members, most are very encouraging and helpful, but there are always those that can make life very difficult.
Any advice as to how I can keep my head above water and avoid the politics without looking like a snob? I feel like a prime target because I don't run with the herd when it comes to gossip, etc. I keep to myself and come and go quietly. I just want to do my job and not have the hassles of feeling insecure and like I'm being watched all the time and judged by other staff. I find myself shutting down and getting defensive about things I am not sure I should be feeling that way about.