How to Deal With Politics in Your Nursing Career?


An underrated topic that most nursing schools try to avoid is the state of student politics. Nurses act as an advocate for their patients. That is why they try to stay away from politics as it can conflict with their ethical principles. However, some university students might be vocal about their ideologies. Similarly, you might face organizational and peer politics in nursing school. Have you decided to take an Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) course? In that case, this blog will give you insight into nursing politics, how to deal with them, and more. 

An Insight Into Nursing School Politics

Nursing school is a demanding environment that requires you to be vigilant and attentive 24×7. However, irrespective of whether you choose an ABSN degree program online or offline, school politics will remain an issue. Ideally, these 15-month courses will help you gain a nursing degree and certification because they offer 56 credit hours and 570 clinical hours. Therefore, getting involved in politics can hinder your studies and hamper your career. According to the University of Indianapolis, accelerated nursing programs help you gain nursing education, practice, and leadership careers. But you need to overcome clinical hours, intensive studies, exams, and campus politics. Politics will not harm your experience if fellow students practice their ideologies personally. However, it can get ugly when they try to impose it on you. Some college peer politics include intentionally hampering your studies and talking behind your back. Both can affect your mental health and hinder your growth in nursing school. Therefore, studies show that institutes should teach nurses political skills and how to navigate through office or school politics. 

Dealing With Nursing School Politics

You will find people from different states with unique ideologies, liberal thinking, or a conservative nature. In most cases, the nursing school will feel like a race and people will do anything to survive. Hence, students will do whatever it takes to win. Some colleges will have aggressive activists and protestors. As a result, ordinary students like you can have difficulty and can get dragged into unwanted confrontations. Even if their ideologies do not match your culture or goals, you should avoid speaking up. They will make a fuss the moment you say something against them. Moreover, try these techniques to steer clear of such conversations or “dialogues”: 

  • Offer vague responses 
  • Have a smile on your face when talking to them
  • Use a deflecting technique
  • Steer clear of the “political” conversation 
  • Do not voice out an opinion against a large activist group

You should never talk to your nursing schoolmates in an undermining tone. But what do you do when you feel like someone is out to get you? This type of politics is purely personal and usually arises from jealousy. One way to deal with it is by being nice to that person whenever you meet in the class or hallway. Furthermore, you can also confront and try to reason with them. You can talk about it with your friends or an academic advisor if none of your efforts work. 

Organizational Politics in Nursing 

You might face a different kind of politics when you graduate and get placed in a hospital setting. It is referred to as workplace or organizational politics. Ideally, this arises from diverse interests, power struggles, and spare resources in the hospital sector. American Nurse Today stated that navigating organizational politics is challenging. Most healthcare institutions and facilities have seen workplace politics or political action. A recent study by Science Direct proved that nurses were getting involved in politics to achieve gains in recent years. Similarly, the clash in self-interests and agendas gives rise to political tension that impacts the hospital workforce. Once organizational politics becomes a daily occurrence, it remains entangled with values and culture. However, not all politics is bad politics. A report shows that good politics and agendas strive to meet the employee’s needs when the organization fails them. If the leaders can understand and work with these dynamics, they can create a positive experience and foster healthy social awareness. 

How Can Nurses Survive Organizational Politics? 

You cannot let workplace politics influence your growth and hinder everyday responsibilities. To counter the politics, you need to first understand how it works. For that, you need to observe and get passively involved. Some workplace politics include gossiping without limits, flattery of superiors, lobbyists, credit thieves, saboteurs, and more. To deal with this negative energy, you can: 

  • Pay close attention, listen, and observe your alliances and competition 
  • Avoid the band of troublemakers like bullies, gossipers, and complainers 
  • Build positive relationships with trusted colleagues 
  • Ensure to follow the chain of command and never undermine the authority 
  • Be a supportive healthcare professional for your colleagues and bosses 

Furthermore, you can use tactful processes to promote yourself and your team without bragging.

The Bottom Line

The history of nursing is embedded in politics. For example, Florence Nightingale influenced the British parliament to reform and allocate funds to hospitals and improve sanitary conditions. However, you should understand the good vs. bad politics in your nursing school and workplace. Today, there are over 4.3 million registered nurses in America. Hence, the competition is tough. That is why you need to focus on your studies and not get involved in political advocacy in school. After that, you might face workplace politics when you secure a job in a hospital. Therefore, you need to follow the tips shared in the blog to navigate through this and come out successful. 

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