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10 Ways to Deal with a Rude Co-worker as a Traveling Nurse

Updated July 18, 2023
In Home Health Services

As a traveling nurse, of course, you will be meeting new people with every assignment worked. Traveling nurses make great friends all over the areas they travel, which is nice when you are so far away from home. However, there is always that one co-worker you will have that can be unbearably rude. Since you are representing your agency, and trying to make a great impression with the facility you are temporarily working out of, there are certain ways to handle that type of employee. Here are 10 ways to deal with a rude coworker as a traveling nurse.

Surround Yourself with Good People

The best way around that person is to surround yourself with good people. Usually similar minded people have a magnetic pull towards each other, so you want to find people who think and act like you. It is not worth it to spend time with people who bring you down or are negative. Remember, you are far from home, and of course, being away can already put a dent in your mood, so you want to surround yourself with people who are upbeat, kind, and willing to help you out while you are on your shift. These types of people can be long-lasting friends.

Have a Strong Mindset

Always bring your positive perspective to work, every day. Negativity is always lurking around the corner. When you strengthen your mindset, you can change your reaction towards negative things and people. A few tips to ensure that you are bringing positivity and a strong mindset to work are:

  • Journaling
  • Meditating
  • Exercise
  • Doing things that you enjoy during your downtime.
Communicate with Appropriate People When Necessary

When it comes to a rude or negative coworker affecting the care of a patient, it is time to speak up and handle it. This is an essential way to handle rude co-workers. Nothing should impact a patient’s care poorly. Your job is to ensure that all your patients are receiving the best care of you and your co-workers ability. When that is falling short, it is time to do something about it. If this is an ongoing issue, you want to talk to the rude co-worker, or a supervisor.

Don’t Gossip

Gossip is a great way to make things worse for you as a traveling nurse. It can impact your impression towards the facility you’re working out of and the agency you are working for. Playing into the gossip game can affect your relationship with your co-workers. You don’t want to put a wedge between you and these people. Depending on the assignment length, it can be awhile before your next assignment. It would be tough getting out of bed when you know that your co-workers are upset with you. Of course, it is okay to let off some steam, and express yourself, you just need to be mindful of the appropriate place and time.

Stay Focused

This is easier said than done, but if you feel like you’re falling to the trap of negativity, try to ‘snap out of it.’ Again, it is not so easy to do so. When you are surrounded by people who are negative or gossipers, you can fall into their behavior. Try to focus your energy on your duties; when you keep yourself distracted with work, it is easy to stay positive and ensure that the patients you are caring for are getting the best service you can provide.

Remember, Your Assignment Has an End

Every assignment has an end, so hang in there. This is a big advantage as a traveling nurse. If you find that you can’t connect with some co-workers in the facility you were assigned to, it’s okay, you will be onto the next in no time. Don’t let yourself get bogged down with rude coworkers, soon enough you will be surrounded by like-minded people to yourself.

Understand What you Can’t Change

You can’t fix people like co-workers; the only people you can help are your patients. So, don’t waste your time on changing co-workers behavior when you are only going to the facility for a limited time. Of course, it is great to uplift your co-workers’ morale and attitude, but when it comes to a traveling nurse, your job is the assignment at hand.

Don’t Take it Personally

Handling your rude co-workers is harder than expected, especially when you think they are being rude because you think you’ve done something wrong. That isn’t always the case. You don’t know what is going on in their personal lives. You can’t take their behavior personally; it will make the assignment harder than it already is.

Take Time to Cool Off If Needed

If you feel as if you are at your breaking point with a certain employee, go cool off. Take a lunch break, coffee break, even walking out into the fresh air helps snap you out of a bad attitude. You don’t want to snap in front of patients, other co-workers, or worse, the supervisors that are in contact with your agency. It can look bad for you, and could mess up future assignments.

Don’t Argue

The worst thing you can do is argue with the rude employee; it is not worth your time or efforts. They will be who they are even after you leave for your next assignment. Causing a disagreement will only make things worse and can get back to your agency. Again, cooling off, taking a break, and maybe talking to a supervisor is way better than arguing.


Rude co-workers are going to happen; you can’t let them get to you. Depending on the length of the assignment, you may have to learn how to deal with the certain situation. Be sure to follow the 10 ways provided to make your working environment a better place for everyone. TLC Nursing is a great agency where the scheduling supervisor are you aviators. If you are having issues with co-workers at the facility you’ve been assigned too, they are there to help. Check out their employment opportunities.