Stabbed in the Back? Nursing Culture?

  1. 1
    I was so excited to start my first job as a nurse, and almost a year later, feel jaded and pessimistic and burnt out. I knew going in that this would be a stressful job. My orientation consisted of me running around like a chicken with her head cut off while preceptors sat back and surfed the internet. I thought things would look up, but there are many nurses on my unit who are cruel, gossip, or make fun of me when I don't know something. I thought that at least the nurses on the same unit would be on the same side and help each other.....but that's not the case. Whenever any kind of error or issue comes up, they point their fingers to other nurses as quickly as they can. I've had a preceptor tell me the way to do things (i didn't know better), then turn me in to the boss in the morning. Or other nurses who miss something and then blame it on me. I sometimes wonder if they're even conscious of their quick blaming of others, or if they really are malevolent----
    Very tired, very stressed, very confused
    anotherone likes this.
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  4. 9 Comments so far...

  5. 5
    You need a new unit. They aren't all like that, I promise. I work with the best group of co-workers that I can imagine. It's the number one reason that I want to stay working there.
    poppycat, anotherone, Cauliflower, and 2 others like this.
  6. 3
    Sounds like you work with a bunch of class-A buttholes. While some gossip I would expect (it's human nature to just talk/people to run their mouths), what you're having to deal with is ridiculous. Did you voice what happened during your orientation period about your preceptor with your manager? That concerns me about their integrity as a person. If someone can knowingly lead someone astray and then report to management something they advised, to me that's lying and a quick cover-up; I'd be curious to know if this nurse covers up mistakes a lot.

    You've been there a year...have you asked about doing an in-house job transfer to a different unit?

    Goodluck!!
  7. 1
    I would make an appointment to speak with your nurse manager. The culture on the unit is unreal. If you want to find out how to do something, look it up. If you have a question about something, do the same. CYA and make sure you document accordingly. Your coworkers can blame something on you, but proving it would be difficult. After almost a year, I would hope that you have gotten something positive about your experience. Is this your "dream" unit, or do you aspire to be somewhere else? If so, I would also see what is available for transfer, speak to that NM to find out what you need to do to get there, and do it. You unfortunetely can't change people's personality only your reaction to it. Unfortunetely again, your preceptor and co-workers are not modeling good behavior, not behavior that is exclusive to all nurses.
    Cauliflower likes this.
  8. 2
    The old saying "as nurses we eat our young" is obiously alive and well. These nurses are propitiating old sterotypes and must feel threatened. If you have to bit the bullet the experience is worth it. Soon you won't be the newbee and you can break the cycle.
    Cauliflower and erin527RN like this.
  9. 3
    Let me guess... This unit has a basically two groups of staff: 1) the entrenched 'old guard' and 2) the new hires who don't last long. Am I right? Sorry, but it appears you have landed in a pretty rotten unit, culture-wise. Normally, there is always an in-group vs. outsiders phenomenon in most social situations but outsiders are given opportunities to become part of the in-crowd. However, in toxic workplaces this just doesn't happen. The old guard declares war on everyone else & creates a barrier of hostility that makes it impossible to ever become part of their exclusive group.

    The only 'fix' is via management intervention - this is very challenging and not something that a poor manager wants to do. Instead, s/he triangulates with the in-group to ensure their ongoing support. It's a hard fact in any workplace; when people quit, they aren't leaving the organization, they are leaving the manager. <head shaking>

    Best option under these circumstances is to just look for another job. Look on the bright side - anything would be an improvement. Just remember to take a good hard look at the manager whenever you are deciding on whether to accept a new job. That is always the crucial factor in work culture.
    anotherone, Cauliflower, and Esme12 like this.
  10. 0
    Thanks for the replies and encouragment. HouTx, that is EXACTLY the way it is!!! the old-school group who has chased away so many new nurses to the dept. How did you know?
  11. 1
    Quote from Cauliflower
    I was so excited to start my first job as a nurse, and almost a year later, feel jaded and pessimistic and burnt out. I knew going in that this would be a stressful job. My orientation consisted of me running around like a chicken with her head cut off while preceptors sat back and surfed the internet. I thought things would look up, but there are many nurses on my unit who are cruel, gossip, or make fun of me when I don't know something. I thought that at least the nurses on the same unit would be on the same side and help each other.....but that's not the case. Whenever any kind of error or issue comes up, they point their fingers to other nurses as quickly as they can. I've had a preceptor tell me the way to do things (i didn't know better), then turn me in to the boss in the morning. Or other nurses who miss something and then blame it on me. I sometimes wonder if they're even conscious of their quick blaming of others, or if they really are malevolent----
    Very tired, very stressed, very confused
    Sounds like my orientation and some shifts. Some are completely different but if the right ( or wrong) group is scheduled it is just like this. I was once pulled to a different unit and was in COMPLETE shock when people were all helping each other and no one was making fun of someone else . I thought I was on another planet, not just a different part of the same building.
    Cauliflower likes this.
  12. 1
    Quote from HouTx
    Let me guess... This unit has a basically two groups of staff: 1) the entrenched 'old guard' and 2) the new hires who don't last long. Am I right? Sorry, but it appears you have landed in a pretty rotten unit, culture-wise. Normally, there is always an in-group vs. outsiders phenomenon in most social situations but outsiders are given opportunities to become part of the in-crowd. However, in toxic workplaces this just doesn't happen. The old guard declares war on everyone else & creates a barrier of hostility that makes it impossible to ever become part of their exclusive group.

    The only 'fix' is via management intervention - this is very challenging and not something that a poor manager wants to do. Instead, s/he triangulates with the in-group to ensure their ongoing support. It's a hard fact in any workplace; when people quit, they aren't leaving the organization, they are leaving the manager. <head shaking>

    Best option under these circumstances is to just look for another job. Look on the bright side - anything would be an improvement. Just remember to take a good hard look at the manager whenever you are deciding on whether to accept a new job. That is always the crucial factor in work culture.
    Not the op, BUT THE perfect description of my unit and what I walked into. It was awful. I never even considered telling the manager. In these work environments the manager is either completely clueless and maybe also bullied or part of the old guard.
    Cauliflower likes this.
  13. 1
    i'm relieved other people can relate! sadly, my manager is of the old guard. the nurses who bully gloat and talk about "job security" when they chase another new nurse out
    anotherone likes this.


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