How Can Nurses Deal with Feeling Undervalued in the Workplace?

Posted on 05 September 2021

Few professions seem as rushed, relentless, and undervalued as nursing.

Trying to make sure that you are listened to and respected in the workplace is never easy, particularly in such a fast-paced environment.

However, making sure that senior members of staff value you and your effort is essential in avoiding burnout, and it can enhance your collaborative ability, too.

So, what can you do when you feel undervalued in the workplace?

The current outlook

Whilst many nurses may have felt undervalued prior to the pandemic, the outbreak brought a renewed sense of frustration amongst nurses.

Given that nurses were keeping face-to-face services going throughout the pandemic, with very little additional support or recognition, the frustration is understandable.

Though the demands of the job itself are already high, doing the work in such a high-pressure environment and at such a critical time has left many nurses feeling like senior members of staff do not value them.

It has actually been found inresearchthat it was not the demands of work that often caused stress for nurses, but instead, the way they felt about the work was more important – they were less stressed if they felt in control of their activities, valued, and appreciated.

Take a moment to assess the situation

Before getting into the specifics of how you can go about taking action to feel more valued in the workplace, let’s begin first with something essential.

Many nurses may be tempted to consider the possibility of moving workplaces when they feel under appreciated.

Though this is completely understandable, it also creates several issues.

Firstly, you haven’t seen the potential of your current situation and how you can change your circumstances – if you like the workplace you’re currently at, you want to make sure you’ve attempted a resolution before you move on!

Secondly, there’s no guarantee that moving to another space isn’t simply going to result in the issues you are currently facing, so you may end up back at square one in an unfamiliar environment.

There are steps that you can take to ensure you feel valued, listened to, and respected.

Your full potential

For many nurses, the hectic pace of working can often be detrimental to their efforts in being noticed for their hard work and expertise.

However, if you want to be noticed for your hard work, whether for a sense of purpose or towards a promotion or career advancement, it begins with making space to showcase your full potential.

Senior members of staff are also working under hectic conditions, which means that pinpointing specific staff for their dedication, achievements or ambitions can prove difficult unless a nurse makes space to be more visible.

This begins with you acknowledging your own achievements first.

Take a moment to make a mental or physical list of your achievements, big and small, and then consider that often, the reason stellar feedback isn’t given is because in a workplace most nurses are tackling an equal workload.

This doesn’t make your achievements less valid! It just means that senior staff may take the work for granted as it becomes a matter of expectation, which is important to keep in mind as senior staff can also be too rushed to stop and validate your achievements.

Talk to senior staff 

It might not always seem doable, yet talking to senior staff can be one of the best methods in gauging how much dialogue they are willing to give around your performance.

Of course, you don’t have to rush over to your manager and demand more recognition and appreciation.

Open the discussion by asking how your performance has been the past few months: “I’d love to know your thoughts on the past few months in terms of where my strengths lie and where I could improve.”

This is a great way to encourage dialogue around your performance, which can be the push a senior member of staff needs to verbally acknowledge your value.

Keep in mind that entering this discussion with an idea of your recent achievements is advisable because it’s the perfect opportunity to bring them up.

Don’t be scared to attach your name to achievements

During meetings and discussions, attributing your name to achievements shouldn’t be avoided as it’s an opportunity to be recognised for your accomplishments and also assert your authority in the workplace.

It can be hard to get out of the habit of avoiding using ‘I’ when speaking on accomplishments, but unless it was a team effort, saying “I accomplished XYZ” is far more effective.

Sometimes in an effort to avoid hoarding credit in team settings we can avoid taking credit, yet this is an opportunity for you to make a clear impression and increase your visibility.

Giving credit to others when it is due isn’t bad either, as this can promote reciprocal praise and a sense of solidarity within the workplace.

When you feel as though you can’t get recognition from senior staff, turning to fellow nurses can be the boost that you need to feel validated.

Ask friends, colleagues, and mentors for feedback

When in doubt, sometimes the best option is to ask for the advice of others!

Your friends, colleagues, and mentors are likely to know what you’re capable of from different perspectives, so being proactive about asking them means you can pinpoint not only your strengths, but your weaknesses too.

The benefit of this is twofold – you feel validated and valued through the praise of your strengths, and you become aware of areas in which you can improve, so you have a confidence boost and learning opportunity in one.

Remember that the success of your nursing career isn’t reliant on external validation, but there are ways to increase your visibility enough to be recognised for your hard work.

It might not always be easy to push through when you feel undervalued, but self-motivation pays off in the long-term – sometimes patting yourself on the back for a job well done can be the first step in being seen, heard and valued!

Find out how we can help you by calling us today on 0203 002 6305, or

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