Eat Young/Unhappiness - Mostly Med/Surg?

  1. Hi all,
    I've been lurking for over a year and am always dismayed at the number of vent/I hate my job/nurses eat their young/this is a horrible job threads. I absolutely understand this is a forum for just such a thing, where nurses feel safe venting and I respect that. It is still a little alarming.

    However, I've noticed a common theme, which is that a lot of this unhappiness seems to stem from new(ish) grads who work on med/surg floors. I don't recall ever seeing a new grad upset about the atmosphere on a Peds/PICU/NICU/Oncology/OR/ER atmospheres. I'm not saying those vents don't exist, I'm just saying I don't recall seeing them. I *do* recall seeing a few about nursing homes.

    Am I right? Is it generally med/surg where people seem to be the unhappiest? I'm in pre-reqs, applying to nursing school later this year, for anyone who wants to know. I'm very curious.
    •  
  2. 22 Comments

  3. by   Roy Fokker
    My meager life experience has taught me this: Events can only affect you to the degree and level you allow them to.

    No doubt I'll have some of y'all tell me "Wait. You're young yet. Talk to me 10 years down".... but I firmly believe that 'attitude truly makes the difference between an adventure and ordeal' (Thanks Karen!).

    I'm not judging anyone - just myself.

    cheers,
    New grad working in med-ortho-surg
  4. by   scrubsnhugsRN
    i am a new rn, and went to school that required you to obtain an lpn prior to adancing to the rn. so that meant i was an lpn for a year. during that time, i aquired a job working in a busy outpatient/urgent care floor. i had the best experience when it came to staff relations, the experienced nurses that were there shared thier knowledge, treated me as an equal, and were very encouraging when i felt overwhelmed. even the doctors were patient with me when it came to procedures, and learning. it was an absoultely great enviroment, i was completely surprised.
    [color=#483d8b]after i aquired my rn however i decided to go up to an acute med floor. i knew this would be a completely different kind of nursing but i needed to learn all those "basic" nursing skills to eventually ended up where i want to be..critical care nursing.
    [color=#483d8b]well i knew it would be hard, but now, i deal with the nurses eat thier young issues. i was essentially thrown on the floor, my preceptor would start to show me something and then walk off in the middle leaving me to fend for myself. there is a definitly a clique there, and the cna's make statements that shock the hell out of me....and it takes alot to do that. since i am new they pretty much do nothing for me...and since i was a cna for 8 years prior going into nursing, they make statements like don't just dont treat us lesser than because we dont want to be nurses...........i have never would never say such a thing, and i told them that. as a matter of fact i took alot of pride being a very good cna when i was one, and i loved my job.....
    [color=#483d8b]but i do know what they arent doing..since i did it for 8 years.
    [color=#483d8b]bottomline, i really miss working with the staff in outpatient, the staff in acute med have no clue what teamwork is all about or making patient care the first agenda, rather thier own personal agenda.
    [color=#483d8b]
    [color=#483d8b]signed,
    [color=#483d8b]"doinmytime"
    [color=#483d8b]
    [color=#483d8b]
  5. by   Tweety
    I believe you are correct. When I was research the topic about nurse patient ratios and job satisfaction, those who had the least job satisfaction were med-surg nurses. Those with the most were L&D, peds, and areas like that.

    Although I would look at the ER forum more closely, there is an awful lot of "venting" in that forum.

    I would also note that there is a documented "reality shock" in nursing and this is probably what you're hearing from the new grad. Nursing is a tough and demanding field, and if nurses in general are most stressed and unhappy in med-surg, imagine how it feels to the new grad, who is going to feel stress and disillusionment no matter where they are.
    Last edit by Tweety on Jan 5, '07 : Reason: typo
  6. by   Tweety
    Quote from Roy Fokker
    My meager life experience has taught me this: Events can only affect you to the degree and level you allow them to.

    No doubt I'll have some of y'all tell me "Wait. You're young yet. Talk to me 10 years down".... but I firmly believe that 'attitude truly makes the difference between an adventure and ordeal' (Thanks Karen!).

    I'm not judging anyone - just myself.

    cheers,
    New grad working in med-ortho-surg

    It certainly does Roy.

    I have to have daily talks with myself about my attitude and how I approach my day in nursing. 15 years of med-surg.......whew.

    However, I have to acknowledge that reality can momentarily break even the best of attitudes.
  7. by   llg
    Another aspect of this situation is that some people are working on med/surg floors for whom that is not their first choice. Working in a job that is not your first choice can make a lot of things worse that might be tolerated if you were working in a job that was your first choice. That dynamic is true for both the experienced staff members and the new staff members.

    Some people work m/s right out of school because they are told they should do that because of the learning opportunities. Others are told they should/must do a year or two of m/s in order to be eligible for transfer to an intensive care unit. etc. etc. etc. So ... you have some newer staff members who really don't want to be there and have no intention of staying more than a year to begin ... and some senior staff nurses who intended to be there only temporarily but who never got around to transfering or who were prevented from transfering for reason or another. That's a set up for problems.

    Before all the m/s people jump all over me ... Note that I used the word "some" above. Not all m/s nurses settle for m/s as a 2nd or 3rd choice. Many nurses love m/s and truly want to do that kind of work and specialize in m/s. In general, I have found those folks to be happier in their work and not the people who cause problems with their negative attitudes. Those are the nurses who make great preceptors, mentors, etc. and who are great role models.

    It's just that in many of the more specialized areas, you don't get many people working there who didn't choose to work that specialty because they like that kind of nursing. However, you will find some bad attitudes there too -- but usually for different reasons.
  8. by   Epona
    Very enlightening post llg. I think you pretty much summed it up. And you can use that scenario in any career field for that matter. I know for the most part that Cardiac Nursing is where I want to be for a NUMBER of reasons. I am not going to go work on the M/S floor just because an instructor thinks it may be a good idea. Some things you just have to do for yourself if you know it's a good fit. So in school, I am going to do an externship in a cardiology office or cardiac hospital (one just opened in my area) then hopefully just go on full time when I am done with school.
  9. by   scrubsnhugsRN
    To LLG,
    Your post is definately on mark, however in my case, the nurses that I work with have been there a while and plan to remain there. Every floor has it's stressors, that is true. The outpatient and urgent care floor was extremely busy, but the difference was attitude.
    My attitude remains that I am there to learn, being a new nurse is hard enough, and I understand the load I bring on when I have to ask alot of questions and take up other's time...but I am determined to be an exellent nurse, I worked hard to get where I am and I will continue to work hard...I just wish they would remember what it is like, instead of always having a bad attitude, it makes the work enviroment that much worse.
  10. by   lauralassie
    i think this is true as well. although , i do feel med surg is a necassary to develop skills for critical care. (i know all you young nurses don't feel that way but, i've seen a lot in 30 years .....and that is one thing i will stick to my guns about). i always say if your doing what you like and are deticated , you will be a good nurse. seems there are many critical care and physicians who i hear say things like. "floor nurses are stupid, so i came to you to see what you think about this pt. " or other rediculous things like that. of course i'm a critical nurse because that is what i like to do. i am quick to tell them that a good floor nurse is one of the best nurses you'll ever find. they are able to multitask like no bodies buisness, and many are cetified in their feild just like ccrns's etc.. i also find that many new grads are terrified when they go to work because they didn't get training like we did in the 70's and 80's. before we left school we were taking teams etc.. i see many programs now that have very little clinical time. in reality there is no reason a preceptor should have to baby sit a new nurse who should already have basic skills. after all the grad signs rn after their name. the preceptor isn't the nursing instructor, they there to orient the rn to the unit - not nursing! we got the book work as well as clinicals. school was hell. but that made work as a new grad easier.
  11. by   canoehead
    I think llg has a point. I did some M/S and got frustrated in just the year I was there that many new grads said flat out they were only doing a year and moving elsewhere. Why should I invest much in them if they were just going to leave?
  12. by   Roy Fokker
    Quote from tweety
    it certainly does roy.

    i have to have daily talks with myself about my attitude and how i approach my day in nursing. 15 years of med-surg.......whew.

    however, i have to acknowledge that reality can momentarily break even the best of attitudes.
    hi tweety,

    i'm always somewhat apprehensive when it comes to sharing my opinion about such matters - and it's mostly because i have such a radical, fundamentally different outlook on life, responsibilities and duty.

    but i won't disagree with you when you say that the burdens of day-to-day life can sometimes overpower (or just plain ol' "wear down") our attitudes and approaches to things.

    somedays feel "just right" for a good gripe. heck, we're humans after all - not automata or machines!

    Quote from llg
    it's just that in many of the more specialized areas, you don't get many people working there who didn't choose to work that specialty because they like that kind of nursing. however, you will find some bad attitudes there too -- but usually for different reasons.
    hi llg,

    i mostly agree with what you say. you have a great point about "desire to be there" being linked to "performance".

    i would humbly suggest though - that despite that, a positive approach to matters never hurt anyone. i have, and still want to, want to work peds. however, life circumstances and job opportunities dictate that i won't be working peds for a while. i could sulk and be bitter about it - or i could put on my best face and help my co-workers out and use this time as a "learning experience" ... despite our ridiculous staffing rules and certain toxic co-workers and uncooperative docs/surgeons and a literally non-working pharmacy [3rd shift knows what i'm talking about when i mention the "d word". a collective "groan" ensues]. not even gonna go into some of the stuff our patients throw our way - patients who should not be on a regular gen-surg floor because their acquity demands greater care!

    Quote from lauralassie
    i think this is true as well. although , i do feel med surg is a necassary to develop skills for critical care. (i know all you young nurses don't feel that way but, i've seen a lot in 30 years .....and that is one thing i will stick to my guns about).
    i'm a new nurse and i don't disagree with you! "assessment is half of nursing" is what i always say and i doubt there are better places to work on your essential nursing assessment skills than on a gen surg floor!

    Quote from lauralassie
    the preceptor isn't the nursing instructor, they there to orient the rn to the unit - not nursing! we got the book work as well as clinicals. school was hell. but that made work as a new grad easier.
    you might have a point there - but i think part of the issue might be that nursing school curicula is so varies (especially when you have grads from other states/countries) that sometimes it is necessary to keep an extra eye on their procedures as well.

    cheers,
  13. by   nurseinlimbo
    In Canada, I don't think it matters where you work, it's the same. The shortage is overworking all existing staff, and new grads usually end up in casual or prn positions, sometimes temp. PT. So they have to have 2 or 3 jobs to make enough hours, and often end up double shifting, short shifting, working all the w/e's and OT without OT pay.
    It's very difficult to get a decent rotation, as casual staff you have no seniority, and even though there is a union, managers still find ways to hire who they want instead of who they are obligated to due to time in, hire date, etc.

    I have worked psychiatry- was driven out by a manager who would try to intimidate me every day with dirty looks and snide comments.
    I have worked rural hospital - in a town that is not my hometown and found that the home town girls got the best shifts and I was just there to work all the crappy shifts in the summer so everyone else could have holidays. Had one nurse who would intentionally show up an hour late when I was on Evenings and she was on nights.
    I have worked one LTC in the same town as above that came with the reputation of "chasing new hires away", and I worked there six months, mostly evenings, nights and weekends, before I finally got tired of their harassment and quit.
    I returned to my own home town, work in two places, one LTC the other a facility for disabled adults with an attached 4 bed "hospital" for respite, infirmary and convalesence patients. We get alot of overflow from the city hospital. I don't mind these two jobs, although the nurses in the LTC are quick to report me for anything that I do wrong, or miss, and seem to think that I owe them all my family holidays and weekends. The other job just recently had a fulltime temp. position come up and I was overlooked (second time) and a person who has just 2 SHIFTS in got it. Seniority? I am still good enough to be asked to double shift myself and work there prn though.

    When I was casual at these two jobs I didn't get enough hours in the winter, so looked for something else and ended up working a Geriatric Psych unit in the city. These girls were also very cliquey and I was once hauled into the office and told I wasn't a "team player" because I neglected to take out the garbages (no one told me it was part of our routine, everywhere else I work it is done by housekeeping, so how am I to know if no one tells me?)

    I received a bursary to take the training in OR, spent 4 months hitting the books, 2 months in clinical/preceptorship, and 2 months in orientation, all the while the manager was doing her best to have me driven out. I ended up on meds to cope with it all.

    If I had it to do over, I would never have wasted my time going to nursing school, I had such grand hopes of being a competent nurse in a specialty area, and using my knowledge every day. I'm bored, I'm underchallenged and I am overworked. I feel like I don't matter, I'm not even a person to the managers or the other nurses. No one has ever gone out of their way to teach me anything, but yet complain or yell at me if I don't know how or do it wrong.

    I wish there was a way out.

    I have been out of school for exactly 3 years on Dec. 21, I got top marks in school, graduated my periop program with honors, and I never call in sick, take on more than 40 hours per week almost all the time, never cancel shifts etc. Yet I can't seem to find a decent job, with decent hours and a manager who is at least fair, if not good.
  14. by   oramar
    This is just my opinion. The problems on med/surg are caused by managment thinking it is "just med/surg, if we staff short med/surg it is not a big deal". That is where I believe the problem lies. I mean all the problems with lateral violence and eating of young go back to staffing. General med/surg units are as good or bad as managment wants them to be. I think it is somehow related to reimbursements. Not sure of this but I think all the medicade/medicare, plus patients that will not pay at all tend to congregate on med/surg units which then lose money because they have chronic conditions which are not properly reimbursed. Contrast that with an ortho unit where most of the patients are covered by insurance that pay very well. I have seen much more concern about staffing by managment on units with specialities that are money makers. On money making units I see less unhappiness and backstabbing and young eating. AS I said this is just my opinion from years of observations.

close