I wish I still didn't know this about my colleagues.
Since my hiring, I have been mostly oblivious to a gigantic chasm among our nursing team. I caught glimpses of it every once in awhile in snippets of conversation, but buried my head and ignored it. That is, until this week came along and I realized I can't keep pretending to not see it. On Monday I helped with vision and hearing screens at another school, and the three nurses I was working with are clearly banded together against the coordinator, the previously mentioned veteran nurse, and a certain health clerk. I can't say I disagree with some of what they were saying, so trying to maintain a neutral stance in the face of nothing short of nasty gossip was tough. I went home disheartened by my unhappy colleagues, and returned Tuesday to one of my own schools for scoliosis screening. I was being assisted by the nursing coordinator, the veteran nurse, and one of our health clerks - the very team that I had heard trash talking about one day earlier. This team too made comments throughout the day about the other nurses, laughing smugly when I told them where I had been the day earlier (which I did only when asked, because I knew what the reaction might be). At one point, the coordinator read aloud an email from one of the other nurses - an unprofessional move by the coordinator, I thought, until I heard the email and then couldn't decide who was being more unprofessional and catty.
I've never been one to pick sides, and was hoping to remain neutral among nurses. Instead, this morning, I awoke to an email from one of Monday's nurses, sent to the same four nurses, asking for help with scoliosis screening. I don't want to go, mostly because I know that four nurses and a health clerk is overkill for screening, but am afraid if I don't I'm going to be part of the "other" crowd.
There's a few things I'm sure of in all of this: the pleasantries exchanged in person at our meetings do not negate the catty trash-talking going around the grapevine, it all feels totally unprofessional, and is an atrocious time-waster drastically hindering the entire team. In short, I finally understand why no one else gets things done: everyone is too busy being grouchy at others to sit down, shut up, and crank some work out. I wish I was running the place.