This may be a male nurse among all female nurses, an Asian nurse among Americans, a foreign nurse from another country, a black nurse among white nurses or a white nurse among black nurses.
Whenever the word “minority” comes up, the most common thought is a black nurse among white coworkers, but you may at one point find yourself among the minority at your job.
Some time back, when I worked in Kenya, our manager told us that we would get a new nurse who was an American.
There were mixed feelings in the department. Some of the nurses were excited while others thought she would not fit in with our culture.
Some of the nurses decided they would keep their distance because they did not trust her.
When she started work, she was asked all sorts of questions like, “Do you live next to Superman?”
Those who asked the questions were genuine and not trying to be mean.
This reminds me how many times I’m asked if lions walk on the streets of Nairobi.
Whenever you find that you are in the minority, people may not understand much about you or your culture and will have all sorts of ideas.
You will find that you have to go out of your way to explain things if you want to easily relate with them.
One of the truths about being in a situation where you are the minority is that you have to go the extra mile to make your coworkers comfortable with you.
It is not unusual to find resistance.
There will be those that do not want to have anything to do with you; others will try to make fun of you or your culture.
Instead of being caught unawares, it is better to anticipate those reactions and prepare for them.
In this article, I want to share four tips that can make it easier to relate with your coworkers.
Ask them how their day is going
Make it a point to ask your coworkers how their day is going.
Nurses in general like to talk about themselves and what they are going through.
If you show that you are interested in them, they too will be interested in you.
Offer any help when possible
Whenever an opportunity to assist your coworkers presents itself, offer your help.
Even if you are a new employee, there is always something you can do to help out.
It can be as small as re-checking the patients’ blood pressure for them.
This act of kindness will go a long way, and you will find they will soon warm up to you.
Tell them a little about yourself
Make conversation with your coworkers by talking about your hobbies, your pet or your favorite food.
Nurses easily relate to these topics, and you will soon strike a conversation and find that you have several things in common.
Communicate your challenges
If you are unhappy about something, communicate about it to clear the air.
Avoid getting upset because you are misunderstood; rather, work on making others understand you.
Once your coworkers understand you, you will find that you enjoy your work and the relationships you have made.
I would like to hear what things you do to relate with your coworkers, or if you go out of your way to make a minority nurse feel comfortable.