'Nurses eat their young' is an understatement. What has your experience been?

  1. 0
    Maybe this has been covered previously, but I am finding that it doesn't matter where I am, Nurses and CNAs are not very friendly to new hires.

    My first experience was in clinicals. Not one of the CNAs working there introduced themselves to me or anyone else in my class. Only one spoke to me-to yell at me for bringing someone who was NPO into the lunchroom. How could I have possibly known that?

    I volunteered in an ER and on a Med-Surg floor and had the same experience. After a few weeks, I got friendly with the Nurses and commented on the atmosphere and they all said that they also had a hard time in the beginning.

    My first job was in a Nursing home and my God, it was/is unlike anything else. Everyone has negative things to say about their colleagues, shifts are very cliquey, passive-aggressive notes indicating what a failure everyone else is are the norm, and the supervisor is totally worthless. When I began training new hires, I made it a point to be supportive of the new hires, friendly to them, and gave them a heads up that people were frosty to me in the beginning, too. I ended up going to part-time overnights and taking a second job in another nursing home to get away from it. It is better, but I just can't believe that this is the norm everywhere.
  2. Poll: Are people friendly to you in your Nursing job?

    • Yes! Always have been.

      52.00% 13
    • No

      12.00% 3
    • Yes, but it took a while.

      36.00% 9
    25 Votes
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  4. 25 Comments so far...

  5. 9
    I'm sorry you had a difficult experience, but allow me to point something out...
    Maybe this is assuming too much, but why do you think the CNAs should have said hello to you? Our teachers drill this into our heads all the time: we are students, and therefore liabilities...not assets. No one should be kissing the floor I walk on. When I was working as a CNA, I barely had time to pee and eat...let alone go introduce myself to all 10 practical nursing students. If I got to work with one, awesome. If I didn't, I wasn't about to go out of my way to make them feel all special. I just didn't have the time.

    If I had a patient who was allergic to peanuts and I gave them a peanut butter sandwich, could I just shrug and say it isn't my fault because I didn't know? You took an NPO patient into the lunchroom. Why did this not strike you as a problem? If the person had eaten lunch, they may not have been able to have surgery they might have needed and it would have been your fault for not noticing they were NPO.

    I found that by losing my naive sense of entitlement to kind and fair treatment, and by proving to people I was serious about my work and school, no one picked on me. Never play the meek card. If someone has a problem with you, resolve it. Don't let yourself be the victim, and you'll never be one.
  6. 4
    It takes 2 seconds to say hello to a group of new students/new hires. There is no excuse for being "frosty" to anyone
    yugot2h8, PatchycatRN, slasher, and 1 other like this.
  7. 0
    Sometimes, people just take a while to warm up to new people.
    Last edit by JDZ344 on May 14, '14
  8. 1
    Quote from nguyency77

    If I had a patient who was allergic to peanuts and I gave them a peanut butter sandwich, could I just shrug and say it isn't my fault because I didn't know? You took an NPO patient into the lunchroom. Why did this not strike you as a problem? If the person had eaten lunch, they may not have been able to have surgery they might have needed and it would have been your fault for not noticing they were NPO.
    When you are working with somebody who is orientating you, that person is responsible for the actions of the person they are orientating. I do not let them out of my line of sight until I am sure they can do something correctly.
    Last edit by JDZ344 on May 14, '14
    PatchycatRN likes this.
  9. 0
    i used to be nice to the student nurses at one of the facilities i worked at. The only problem I had with them was them slowing me down when I'm trying to do my ADLs in the morning. Excuse me if I'm in a hurry, and you want to get like 10 people in a room to watch me use the Hoyer lift. That part of my shift is already difficult enough to find someone to help me, let alone wait for you to congregate in a room for something you likely won't use as a LVN. The other thing is I had to do everything the red cross way while they're observing me, or some would report me to the DON. I'd never had that happen, and none of my "shortcuts" would endanger a Resident, but it's better not to open a can of worms in an already stressful work environment. Perhaps you could tell that it was stressing them out, you being there. That isn't personal, but having someone observe you, and having to explain every little thing to said person isn't easy. This is difficult, especially when we're already running around like chickens with our heads cut off. We don't get paid anything extra for being on shift when our site is used for clinicals.
  10. 2
    Quote from cbOmahaNE
    Maybe this has been covered previously, but I am finding that it doesn't matter where I am, Nurses and CNAs are not very friendly to new hires.

    My first experience was in clinicals. Not one of the CNAs working there introduced themselves to me or anyone else in my class. Only one spoke to me-to yell at me for bringing someone who was NPO into the lunchroom. How could I have possibly known that?

    I volunteered in an ER and on a Med-Surg floor and had the same experience. After a few weeks, I got friendly with the Nurses and commented on the atmosphere and they all said that they also had a hard time in the beginning.
    Two things here -- the first is in response to "how could I have possibly known that?" A patient's diet is one of the basic aspects everyone needs to know about. Are they diabetic, do they have problems swallowing, are they allowed to eat at all. It takes mere seconds to find out that info about your patients, and student or not, it is up to you to know that. Perhaps she should not have yelled at you, however, she likely just reacted in the moment to what she saw as a very real problem.

    The second paragraph actually contradicts your main point. You got friendly with the nurses, meaning they weren't eating you after all. It is difficult coming into an established group, and they acknowledged that, but then look -- you were becoming a part of the group after just a couple of weeks of adjustment. That doesn't sound to me like a group that eats their young.

    I'm not saying it doesn't happen, but the blanket statement you've made in your title is not the norm of everywhere or every nurse or even nursing in general. I'm sorry you had a bad experience at your LTC facility, but I'm having a difficult time seeing the first two incidents as evidence that nurses eat their young.
    elkpark and Sun0408 like this.
  11. 1
    I have found being extra helpful to aids goes a long way toward earning their trust and esteem. They often have the most physically demanding tasks to do and being perceived as available is often much appreciated.

    That said, you will still have to pay your dues. As for RNs I think it has so much to do with personality, so many of us, at least the ones who tend to define the culture, are type A personalities. I can see how it would be very difficult for some to get accepted.

    Just hang in there, it takes a while. I've been on the job for six months and have only felt like part of the team for a few weeks. It helps that I work on a floor with a lot of new nurses. The experienced RNs are used to Nd somewhat tolerant of a little knuckleheadery.
    PatchycatRN likes this.
  12. 0
    The last place I worked, everyone was super nice and helpful. Only after being there a couple of months did the true colors come out... Good luck to ya!
  13. 0
    Every work environment varies. When I did my CNA clinicals the aides were generally nice, after all we were doing part of their job for them. A few were indifferent and largely ignored us, but no one was hostile. Then when I started working in LTC they were mostly nice during orientation, but after orientation were occasionally hostile to new CNAs.

    In a hospital it was the exact opposite. The CNAs were openly hostile during orientation but once they got to know you were fine, and the work environment in general had much less bickering and finger pointing.

    As for the RNs, I've never had any serious problems with any of them in either LTC or the hospital and havent seen much evidence of the nurses eat their young mentality on units Ive worked on. I have noticed that ER nurses and surgical nurses can be much less forgiving to the inexperienced, but on the inpatient units Ive mostly seen people largely get along and help each other.


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