"Eating Our Young" and Ethics - page 2

by RNsToBe

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Hello: We are a group of RN students in a BSN program in Northern California, and we are exploring the ethical implications of experienced nurses "eating their young". We would like to hear the perspective of experienced... Read More


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    At work the other night an RN was telling me about a survey about nurses eating their young. I am an Lpn, and I have seen it happen, not to "younger" RN's, but to new CNA's, and RN's that have been working for over 20 years in their field. I have seen many CNA's come apply and start their orientation only to quit after 1 or 2 nights. Not because of the work load, but because of the attitude of the other aides. Cliques form, and backstabbing occurs, and they leave. I also have observed that some of the older RN's feel threatened by nurses with more education, degrees, etc. and go out of their way to find faults in someone, just to feel satisfied to question their judgement. When i chose to go into the nursing profession I had no idea it would be like high school all over again.
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    I must sadly agree with the above posts. Nursing does eat their young and their old.
    When I got out of school and started my first job I had a bad preceptor. She answered my questions for about 2 days then after that she refused any questions and ask me why i didnt know the answer. Then she would go to the manager and complain that I would never ask any questions. It back fired however, I dont think she took into account that she was not the only one with the information that i needed on the floor. She really believed that I wouldnt ask anyone else and just take the chance of doing it wrong after she refused to give me and answer.
    So any way she went to the manager to complain about me hoping to get me fired Im sure, but got a surprise. One of the most experienced RNs on the floor had noticed what was going on and had reported my preceptor. In fact when my preceptor went into the office the other nurse was there reporting her for unprofessional conduct.
    I was never given an apology for the treatment I recieved but my questions were answered after that day. Her conduct also went on her yearly eval. Did she get the max raise on the next eval. NO! How do i know because she wined for days.
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    I have been a nurse for almost three years. My first job was in a LTC facility as a nursing supervisor on the 2-10 shift, another opportunity to work in a hospital came along within three months and I took it. It was at a small hospital near me. After working on the surgical care unit for over a year, I wanted to expand and try something new...critical care. What I found on my first day at a new hospital were nurses who cut each other in the back CONSTANTLY!!!! I learned right away, there was not ONE nurse I could TRUST to help me if I needed help. I stayed for three months and left because the way I saw it, the only way I was going to survive was to become just like them and I couldn't do that. The next position was no different, so I am now doing agency nursing and do enjoy it but still not happy. The nurses at the facilities I go to are so happy to have the help, they are available to me for any questions I have.

    I love cardiac nursing and want to become a critical care nuse, and have much to offer and much to learn.

    I agree with someone who said something about "HIGH SCHOOL" Frankly, I think this is worse than high school, after all, we are suppose to be ADULTS!!!!!!!!!!

  4. 0
    Originally posted by RNsToBe:

    Hello:
    We are a group of RN students in a BSN program in Northern California, and we are exploring the ethical implications of experienced nurses "eating their young". We would like to hear the perspective of experienced nurses, new grads/novice nurses and nursing students on this topic. Why do you think this behavior persists (ie., what are the dynamics or other factors that contribute to this behavior). What are your suggestions for breaking this attitudinal/behavioral cycle and for bridging the gap/improving relations between experienced and novice nurses? What do you think are the ethical ramifications (if any) of experienced nurses deliberately withholding information/support from novice nurses? It seems to us that supporting new nurses would be beneficial not only to the novice nurse, but also to the experienced nurses and to the unit as a whole. It seems that the team and unit would function more efficiently and the quality of patient care/patient safety would be better as a result. We acknowledge that there are many caring/supporting nurses working in the field and that “eating of the young” is a practice that is not practiced by the majority of nurses. However, we also acknowledge that it does persist; therefore, the purpose of this project is to better understand the reasons for and the repercussions of this behavior.
    We appreciate your viewpoints.
    Thank you,
    RNsToBe

    Dear California soon to be RN's,
    It has been my experience that the nurses that are burned out are the ones that eat our young, or worse yet the nurses that are not sure of themselves. I feel it is the responsibility of the nurse manager to assign preceptors that are willing to mentor the new nurses. It is not an easy job sometimes, I know I am one of the preceptors in our PICU. However, if a nurse accepts the assignment to precept a nurse she should show compassion and a willingnenss to share her knowledge. I hope that each of you will have a preceptor that is willing to share her knowledge. If you are assigned a preceptor that treats you unfairly then report her. Trust me it is the only way to get the kind of orientation you need. I also recommend that new nurses carry a note pad in their pockets to jot answers to common questions. It is a big help and keeps you from having to repeat questions over and over. Remember that drug books and journals are also and excellent source for new nurses. If you are not sure about a medicine look it up you'll remember it better and chances are that is what your preceptor is going to tell you anyway. Good luck in your careers I love being a nurse it is hard but it is rewarding, not at all what i thought but then there is little in life that is. Good luck.




  5. 0
    Originally posted by RNsToBe:

    Hello:
    We are a group of RN students in a BSN program in Northern California, and we are exploring the ethical implications of experienced nurses "eating their young". We would like to hear the perspective of experienced nurses, new grads/novice nurses and nursing students on this topic. Why do you think this behavior persists (ie., what are the dynamics or other factors that contribute to this behavior). What are your suggestions for breaking this attitudinal/behavioral cycle and for bridging the gap/improving relations between experienced and novice nurses? What do you think are the ethical ramifications (if any) of experienced nurses deliberately withholding information/support from novice nurses? It seems to us that supporting new nurses would be beneficial not only to the novice nurse, but also to the experienced nurses and to the unit as a whole. It seems that the team and unit would function more efficiently and the quality of patient care/patient safety would be better as a result. We acknowledge that there are many caring/supporting nurses working in the field and that “eating of the young” is a practice that is not practiced by the majority of nurses. However, we also acknowledge that it does persist; therefore, the purpose of this project is to better understand the reasons for and the repercussions of this behavior.
    We appreciate your viewpoints.
    Thank you,
    RNsToBe


    "Eating of our young" or new is common in most occupations in my opinion. I agree with other posts that indicate that there is no one reason. I will say that sometimes, the type of nursing degree or school that the new grad or employee graduated determines how he/she is treated. When I was in school to become an RN, some LPNs were verbal about how they felt about new RN grads. Being rather verbal myself, I reminded them that they too can choose to go back to school and pursue an RN degree. You know what? They did, and now they are just as nice since they have become RNs. I guess they had to walk a mile in a new grad and RN's shoes.

    On the other hand, I have learned from some excellent LPN practitioners. They taught me many little patient care "tricks" that helped make my job easier. I also have had some really sorry RN practitioners, even master's prepared nurses that were either my preceptor or part of the administrative staff. I had to wonder why they bothered going into nursing in the first place.

    I will end this by saying that there are a great number of nurses that did not pursue nursing because they necessarily had this idealistic, altruistic notion that they would help make the world a better place. Best wishes on your study.
  6. 0
    I am going to graduate in a couple of weeks and know what you are talking about. I have actually been told that this happens! I have seen what the RNs, LPNs, and even CNAs do when there is a new face on their unit. I think if the nurses that are doing this were asked to remember what it was like when they started it may help the situation. Everybody was a student, new grad, or even a new employee at one time in their lives so I think reminding them of that may help. I think that it is also very hard for other RNs LPNs and CNAs to have new nurses that are younger then them as charge nurses or even coworkers. I think that this is also a problem. I think that a way that this can be corrected is to make a promise to ourselves that we will try never to make all new nurse feel welcome and treat them with respect.
  7. 0
    I am going to graduate in a couple of weeks and know what you are talking about. I have actually been told that this happens! I have seen what the RNs, LPNs, and even CNAs do when there is a new face on their unit. I think if the nurses that are doing this were asked to remember what it was like when they started it may help the situation. Everybody was a student, new grad, or even a new employee at one time in their lives so I think reminding them of that may help. I think that it is also very hard for other RNs LPNs and CNAs to have new nurses that are younger then them as charge nurses or even coworkers. I think that this is also a problem. I think that a way that this can be corrected is to make a promise to ourselves that we will try never to make all new nurse feel welcome and treat them with respect.
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    I agree that nurses eat their young, and they do it for several reasons. For one, to be a good preceptor, you must be very patient and informative and that takes time. They must continue to teach and instruct under the same patient load and guess what-they don't get a damn thing for doing it! On top of everything else, "older" rns tell me that the new grads are starting out very close in salary to the nurses that have been in hospitals for years. So who can blame them for being a little frustrated and taking it out on the new guy. I have been an RN for 3 years and I too was "eaten" by more experienced RNs. My reply was just to establish my own routine and "toughen up" Now I do just fine. So, is it ethical for nurses to eat their young?-No, it isn't very nice. But is it nice to stretch out overworked RNS even thinner to train the new guy with lots of very important questions? No.
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    Somethings to think about: I have been accused of "not being available when needed" and "not being there" etc. At the times, the new RN was RIGHT. My reality? This unit is used by the hospital as the training floor for all new nurses. We are supposed to precep new grads for 3 to 6 months and then they transfer to units with "more advanced requirements." Folks, I am talking about a constant turnover in new RN's, LPN's and CNA's. There is no additional staffing to assist because the budget does not allow for training as a funded FTE requirement. My unit is a 42 bed general medical surgical unit with patients of an average age of 75. We have the same JCAHO and QI and IFC requirements as every other unit. We average 10 surgeries, 9 admissions, and 9 discharges and numerous procedures per day. The unit has one unit secretary and 2 medication carts. We work in 2 21 patient teams. I would love to have the time to be a dedicated preceptor. I would love to work with a new grad for at least 1 year. I would love to have more than one RN per team.

    Administration made the decision to use one unit for precepting. It was a financial decision. When precepting is an "expected part" of the job with no thought to additional time and support to make it work, it simply piles more work on the all ready over worked and short changes the new grad. I am not burned out. I do not have an attitude. I have attempted, with others, to address issues openly and constructively. The basics for all decisions and the basics for all denials of recommendations for improvements comes back to money (always) and to the need to "hold the bottom line."

    The State Nurses Association and JCAHO requires "sufficient numbers of RN's" but does not specify further. Both want an organized orientation program and list some mandatory inclusions. That's it.

    The people who control the budget control the working environment. And that is NOT nursing. I stay because of an intense love for patient care and the belief that I am assisting them to achieve their desired level of health. In the health care arena, I do what I can on a day to day basis and that is as good as it gets.
  10. 0
    Originally posted by RNsToBe:

    Hello:
    We are a group of RN students in a BSN program in Northern California, and we are exploring the ethical implications of experienced nurses "eating their young". We would like to hear the perspective of experienced nurses, new grads/novice nurses and nursing students on this topic. Why do you think this behavior persists (ie., what are the dynamics or other factors that contribute to this behavior). What are your suggestions for breaking this attitudinal/behavioral cycle and for bridging the gap/improving relations between experienced and novice nurses? What do you think are the ethical ramifications (if any) of experienced nurses deliberately withholding information/support from novice nurses? It seems to us that supporting new nurses would be beneficial not only to the novice nurse, but also to the experienced nurses and to the unit as a whole. It seems that the team and unit would function more efficiently and the quality of patient care/patient safety would be better as a result. We acknowledge that there are many caring/supporting nurses working in the field and that “eating of the young” is a practice that is not practiced by the majority of nurses. However, we also acknowledge that it does persist; therefore, the purpose of this project is to better understand the reasons for and the repercussions of this behavior.
    We appreciate your viewpoints.
    Thank you,
    RNsToBe



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