Nursing Voices

Saturday, July 08, 2006

The Workplace Romance

(Warning: This post contains highly opinionated material. My husband is in hiding, so I must be cranky today).

Their eyes met across a crowded room. They knew in an instant they were kindred spirits. The problem? The crowded room is the nurses’ station, and the kindred spirits are coworkers.

I've never understood why anyone would consider dating someone from work.
Personally, I've never dated a coworker. It just struck me as being kind of incestuous. I always thought dating someone I worked closely with would be like dating my brother. Eeewww!

It embarrasses me to watch coworkers make goo-goo eyes at each other. I feel like an intruder when I walk into the nurses’ station and overhear the happy couple chatting away, engaging in pillow talk at the desk. The rumormongers are in their glory as stories about the couple start circulating throughout the hospital. No one gets any work done.

And then there is the issue of breaking up. That’s always complicated no matter whom you are dating, but it’s especially awkward when you’re breaking up with someone you have to see everyday at work.

He said, “Excuse me, please pass the scalpel.”
She said, “My pleasure. Where would you like it? In your back, or through your heart,”

Yeah, things can get messy.

And when things get too dysfunctional on the unit, the boss has to fire someone. Who gets canned depends on the situation. If it’s a doctor-nurse relationship, guess what, the nurse gets fired. Rank has its privileges and nurses are more expendable. If a nurse is seeing another nurse, it’s a tossup. Sometime they both get a pink slip. In the end, someone has to start looking for work somewhere else.

If you’re looking for Mr. or Ms Right, I suggest trying Internet dating services, and pickup joints, such as bars, health clubs, and Starbucks. Life is a party, just don't bring it to work.


Blogger Hardly Gruntled said...

I hear you about this issue! In fact I might go post about this right away!

Workplace relationships are difficult enough without adding goo-goo eyes to the mix!!

5:46 AM  
Blogger Keith, RN said...

I agree wholeheartedly, although work is where we often spend the majority of our time and can connect with people on deeper levels. Not an easy one to finesse no matter how you slice it.

3:49 PM  
Blogger Sid Schwab said...

When I was old enough for it to be relevant, my dad told me a story: when in the Army he'd hooked up with his secretary (long before he married, I might add). As their relationship continued, he found it harder and harder to issue orders to her, or to have her follow them. He finally was so frustrated he went to his commanding officer and told his story. "Son," the general said, "you've learned a cardinal rule of military life. Never f*** near the flagpole."

I'll admit that one of the attractions of medical school was the thought that I might meet a nice nurse or two. Never happened.

11:48 PM  
Anonymous jen said...

I agree 100%.

1:22 AM  
Blogger MadMike said...

I have dated co-workers, albeit eons ago. I can personally speak to the hazards attendant to such a practice. Although there were no scalpels available at my workplace, there were guns. Before I became a university professor I spent most of my adult life as a.....cop :-)


2:12 PM  
Blogger apgaRN said...

On another twist to the workplace romance... there are two second-year residents on our unit who have apparently started dating each other. The "EWWW!" factor is not there so much as the "What is she thinking?!" factor. She, the blonde cupcake and he, the middle eastern flirt. And furthermore, could they possibly have chosen a less opportune year to engage in a budding relationship? Despite the new "rules" governing hours that resident may work, we still see more of our second-year residents than anyone else, and it's pretty much a given that they will rarely accumulate more than an hour or two of sleep per night. So, I must admit that we gossip a bit about the two of them... and shake our heads in wonder.

11:07 AM  
Anonymous Mel said...

I work with a married couple and often wonder how they manage not to kill each other at home because of the stress I know they've been under at work together all day. Obviously, they have a system that I don't understand because I've worked with them for four years now and their relationship is still on an even keel.
On the other hand, the unmarried couple in my workplace makes me completely nuts. We all gossip about them because he got suspended and sent to anger management classes for hitting her during work hours. (He'd have gotten the same punishment for hitting me, except I'd have been in AM classes with him because I'd have hit him back. If there's a next time, security will escort him out the door on the spot.)We all wonder why on earth she didn't have him arrested and if he's beating her up off the job.
I'm guessing that the married couple are the exception that proves the rule. They were married before they worked together and they haven't always been in the same office so it didn't start out as an office romance.

7:45 PM  

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