Do nurses only "eat their young" in certain departments? - page 6

This semester we are on Med/Surg. At first I thought this "nurse eating young" thing was just something made up by overly sensitive students, until I floated to other departments. I have been is... Read More

  1. by   Tweety
    Quote from GeekyRN
    The problem with that is, the people who are most likely to be bullied and abused ARE the newbie nurses on the unit (and/or in the profession) that DON'T have the resources to fight back successfully - they haven't got a support system, the faith of the clinical director, friends in the hospital etc to defend them. They probably don't have the experience to land several job offers in a few weeks either.
    I'm not buying into the idea that new graduate nurses are helpless victums who can't fight back sucessfully. They may loose a few battles along the way. I know as a new grad my skills in conflict resolutation (I was never bullied as a nurse) were lacking and are much improved now that I've been a nurse and a charge nurse for a long time.

    If they have no resources inner and outer and come to this bulletin board and ask for what, what are we to say? We're going to say, get some backbone, get assertive, nip it in the budd, stand up for yourself. We're not going to be able to do that for them.

    These things have to be developed I know. We can't give it to them or make their pain disappear, they have to step up to the plate themselves.

    You're absoultely right that bullies target newbies and vulnerable people. Those are bullies. It's not a culture of nurses eating their young.
  2. by   rnin02
    Quote from GeekyRN
    1. If you expect professonal courtesy you need to get a backbone.
    2. If you don't like being bullied, well, tough, you're a shrinking violet and don't belong in nursing.
    3. If you paid your dues being eaten alive when you knew virtually nothing as a newbie and had no support or comfort zone, instead of helping others, it's your right to instill the same grief on them that you got.
    I think you are misinterpreting. I especially don't agree with #3. I think people are basically saying there are alot of jerks out there, and when you work with someone for 12 hours at a strech, be prepared to see their bad side. At least that's how I'm interpreting things.
  3. by   RNtigerEMT
    Aawwwwww jeez!!!!!

    I'm actually sort of torn here.
    As a new grad in 2004, the M/S floor I started on was, and remains chronically understaffed/overworked/s#@^ on by mgmt, the whole nine yards. I did not allow myslef to be walked on. Not that type of person. Yes, there were "jerks", but you learn to deal with them. I stood up for myself, and in doing so earned a bad rep with mgmt as a trouble maker. Stayed there until laid off in Nov 2006. No tears on my part. The job needed done, I was there, I did what I could. I did try to transfer out, but was blocked by mgmt, because I am a strong nurse, and they needed us.
    However, I recently started a new job in the ED in a different, small rural hospital. And they are gnawing at my heels every day. Not all of them, just a few. One day last week, I came home in tears, convinced I was not meant to be a nurse at all. My confidence was completely shattered. Did some serious thinking that day/evening and went back to work that night with a totally different attitude. I am good at what i do, and I will not let them ruin my dream for me. ( I was feeling rushed, I was being pulled out of orientation after less than 4 wks on the floor, no prior ED exp., new equip, new kid on the block syndrome, etc). I have not yet been back to work with the 2 nurses in particular that gnaw at me, but I am now confident that I can handle them.
    To end. Yes there are jerks out there in every profession. Yes, it is said that nurses ETY. Yes, new hires/new grads are targets for the jerks. Do we have to put up with it? NO!!!!!
    As other nurses on the unit notice the "torture" (real or percieved) speak up. Remind the exp nurse that they too were once new. Give the new grad/new hire a chance to speak up. As new grads/new hires, decide what you will and will not put up with. If the environment is truly that hostile, speak to your manager.
    I'll go now before you all go to sleep
  4. by   dubstar
    GeekyRN

    I agree with everything you have said. New Grads and student nurses can have a difficult time especially when they have no support. I have been there. My incident also happened on a med/surg ward. I was devastated for a couple of days but snapped out of it and thought that this idiot is not ruining my placement. I will be a better nurse instead,

    But I do think that people do get caught up in their own little microcosm and need to step out of it for a little while, being nice costs nothing

    pay it forward
  5. by   jjjoy
    I hear some peopls saying "Stop whining, suck it up and make it work." Would you treat your patients the same way? If a post-op patient is reluctant to do breathing exercises or ambulate because it hurts, do you automatically roll our eyes at them and tell them to suck it up? I'd think most nurses would patiently explain the importance of the activity. They'd encourage and reassure them. They'd set small, achievable goals and work up from there. There may be a few people who do respond well to an unsympathetic command to "suck it up" but it certainly won't be the first strategy.

    Why not extend this kind of consideration and empathy to newbies who are feeling vulnerable and dependent upon sometimes actively unsupportive colleagues? A 'sink or swim' attitude would make more sense if we only needed a few nurses and wanted to quickly weed out those who show weakness. But we need many nurses. Thus I think we ought to help newbies develop that necessary backbone and thick skin by being supportive and not by chastising them when they feel intimidated and unsure of how to deal with strong, negative personalities. Just another 2 cents.
  6. by   NurseShelly
    Quote from jjjoy
    I hear some peopls saying "Stop whining, suck it up and make it work." Would you treat your patients the same way? If a post-op patient is reluctant to do breathing exercises or ambulate because it hurts, do you automatically roll our eyes at them and tell them to suck it up? I'd think most nurses would patiently explain the importance of the activity. They'd encourage and reassure them. They'd set small, achievable goals and work up from there. There may be a few people who do respond well to an unsympathetic command to "suck it up" but it certainly won't be the first strategy.

    Why not extend this kind of consideration and empathy to newbies who are feeling vulnerable and dependent upon sometimes actively unsupportive colleagues? A 'sink or swim' attitude would make more sense if we only needed a few nurses and wanted to quickly weed out those who show weakness. But we need many nurses. Thus I think we ought to help newbies develop that necessary backbone and thick skin by being supportive and not by chastising them when they feel intimidated and unsure of how to deal with strong, negative personalities. Just another 2 cents.

    I agree with you 100%
  7. by   Cattitude
    Quote from jjjoy
    I hear some peopls saying "Stop whining, suck it up and make it work." Would you treat your patients the same way? If a post-op patient is reluctant to do breathing exercises or ambulate because it hurts, do you automatically roll our eyes at them and tell them to suck it up? I'd think most nurses would patiently explain the importance of the activity. They'd encourage and reassure them. They'd set small, achievable goals and work up from there. There may be a few people who do respond well to an unsympathetic command to "suck it up" but it certainly won't be the first strategy.

    Why not extend this kind of consideration and empathy to newbies who are feeling vulnerable and dependent upon sometimes actively unsupportive colleagues? A 'sink or swim' attitude would make more sense if we only needed a few nurses and wanted to quickly weed out those who show weakness. But we need many nurses. Thus I think we ought to help newbies develop that necessary backbone and thick skin by being supportive and not by chastising them when they feel intimidated and unsure of how to deal with strong, negative personalities. Just another 2 cents.
    A. New nurses do not need to be treated like patients. Apples and oranges there. I think most of us do treat newbs with support but I doubt we have the time to "help them develop that necessary backbone" and such. They need to do that way before they become a nurse. That is part of becoming an adult.

    B. Second point, yes newbs should feel supported and you know what? So do ALL nurses, even senior ones. Many, many times we don't get ANY support at all from management or administration yet we suck it up and push through. And after getting dumped on by everyone and receiving no support ourselves, most of us still manage to be decent to newbs. The few that aren't, suck, that is true but sometimes I get why.
    Case in point- We've been short a nurse for 8 months, lately I've been about to snap, I'm so overwhelmed. My boss tells me to "deal with it". nice, huh? Yet I turn it around and still smile for my pt's.
  8. by   labvampire
    I am a student nurse also....I have been the appetizer, main course and dessert. I found out that if you are confident about yourself and don't back down, they will change their attitudes quickly. I'm 39, a veteran, and I refuse to back off, I am there to learn and quickly remind them they had to start in diapers themselves....Don't let them intimidate you and don't treat your CNA's and student nurses that way when you get licensed...
  9. by   KindredSpirit
    23 years in nursing and I will say that this does happen in every nursing unit. I try to distance myself from people who can only complain and gossip, they are not happy at work or in their private lives.
    The only time I worked anywhere besides nursing was when I worked at JC Penny's(to save money to start nursing school). I don't remember anyone treating other employee's like what you have experienced.
  10. by   hecete
    i'm an r.n., in fact, the only r.n. on a skilled floor in a ltc facility. we have a large influx of newly licensed l.p.n.'s on the floor. there are 2 halls 30 residents each hall. a new grad was put on the 7-3 shift, not because of what she knows, but because of who she knows, the staffing coordinator. another lpn that has worked there for 14 yrs. wanted the 7-3 position, but it was given to her . he has gone elsewhere. so, we lost a good seasoned nurse. the floor is very high acuity, trachs, pegs, piccs, and various drains. this grad doesn't have a clue, can't even read a lab report, has no assessment skills, and thinks nursing is just passing meds. we all have tried to help her, but nothing seems to sink in. i don't blame her, i blame the staffing cor., she put her in a postion she wasn't ready for. friday, she was told she could go to the long term care unit or leave. she left in tears. i really feel sorry for her, having her bubble burst so soon after graduating:angryfire .
  11. by   erinbrown27
    I used to think that nurses eating their young was something just based on individual personalities and that only certain "burnt out" nurses participated in this sort of behaviour. I then did a rotation on a long-term rehab floor where every single nurse (without exaggeration) that our class came into contact with, treated nurses HORRIBLY. I could list incident after incident where this occurred but it would be of little benefit to do so. We unfortunately had a clinical instructor who was more interested in trying to make friends with these nurses and make them happy, than she was in advocating or sticking up for us. Whenever a student was sick and absent these nurses would make such a fuss over it that our instructor would end up taking on the patients of the absent students. I couldn't help but think that a lot of the actions and behaviours we witnessed were precipitated by the nurse manager / charge nurse on this floor who would treat the nurses like crap...and maybe that is because she is treated poorly by the people above her. Maybe it is just a cycle of "abuse". Either way...it was pretty demoralizing to the students in my clinical group, who by the end were dreading going to the placement on this floor. It wouldn't have been so bad if we had a supportive instructor who we could go to, but often she was so busy with "her own" patients that she was unavailable to students. It became dangerous for us to be there I believe, because most of the students were too intimidated to approach staff, but couldn't find the instructor so in the end they did something on their own that they maybe should not have, or didn't do something they should have. Anyways, not saying all nurses are like this, but I really believe certain floors (not departments) can encourage these sorts of behaviours.
  12. by   srluke
    I have heard that it is true that "nurses do in fact eat their young" But only when the young are truly very tasty and tender.... not tough and stringy! Teaching is like any other occupation some are very much willing to do so - and to pass on their craft & knowledge to the next generation, and others are so terrified of the fact that they may have to teach someone that they cover up that fear with a sense of "oh you're bothering again..." Look around on each unit and find those that will teach and avoid those that will not. They really are easy to spot.
  13. by   TRACI1120
    I am a student nurse too. When getting ready to start my Peds rotation the clinical group who was already there told of nurse eating monsters and horrors of the unit. I was really looking forward to peds up until this point, now I was dreading it. The peds unit was moving during the last rotation so I figured this to be part of the problem, they were done with the move so hopefully my group would be accepted a little better, but we took no chances we showed up on day 1 with breakfast for the nurses and a good additude (dispite the last groups nay saying). We have had three weeks on the unit and I must say all of the nurses have been nice and encouraging to me, I would love working there after graduation!

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