"Eating Our Young" and Ethics - page 3

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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    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

    Hi,
    I am an RN working in Critical Care and I have been an RN for 10 years. Through training as a nurse overseas and working here in the US for several years I have seen 'eating our young' occur in a whole range of situations and institutions.
    I find the nurses who are guilty of this are normally insecure with their own knowledge and practice and therefore feel threatened by questions. An RN who is confident in her knowledge and clinical practice tends to be more willing to answer questions. I also feel that it is the responsibility of the more experienced nurse to admit when she does not know something and try and find that information out or consult with a nurse more experienced than herself. None of us knows everything and everyone is more knowledgable in certain areas than others!
    However I have also seen new grads and experienced floor nurses new to Critical Care enter the units with an attitude than makes people not want to help them. I have met great floor nuses and some new grads who have the made the difficult transition to Critical Care well, and had their enthusiasm dampened by cynical older nurses who should have probably left a few years earlier! Sound familiar??
    My conclusion is that we should all try and remember that we all new nuses at one time and my advice would be to victims of this syndrome to ignore the cynical nurses, ignore the backbiting, observe the practice of the nurses around you and figure out who you should be listening to and learning from. Take the advice of several diferent nurses and make your own decision, as long as it is not harming the patient. One plea though to the new grads that come in to ICU, please realise we do not know everything and ask questions as many times as you need to. My biggest problem is with new grads who do ask questions and put the patient at risk.
    Good luck!

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    DeathRowRN said it all...
    Treat all members of your team with kindness and respect.
    Never ask anyone to do something you wouldn't do yourself....it's the "delegators" who are disliked the most.
    Always remember that we ALL were the newbies at one time.
    Never be afraid to ask a question.
    Always be available to answer a question.
    If you have a problem with someone, go to THEM and talk it out...never go to management first just to look good in someone's eyes.
    Treat others as you want to be treated yourself.


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    Laurie
    so many patients...
    so little time.....
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    I am an student enrolled nurse training with the Illawarra School of Nursing in Australia and would like to offer you my comments and my experiences regarding the topic of hot debate. I too have experienced to some degree some of the things you have disscussed and I would like to say in that it is only a small minority that actually continue to practice the art of eating their young. I go to work with the attitude that I will get thru the day to the best of my ability, do the best for my patients and try to do the right thing by my co-workers. I have discovered that nursing is what YOU make it and if at the end of the day I have worked as best I can, my patients are well looked after and my duties are carried out as required, then that is all I have to do. If the rest want to carry on and make life hard for others, let them, just go about your job in good spirits, professionally carrying out your duties and leave the rest to their own devices. Lets face it, there is nothing in the course that says we all have to be the very best of friends and as long as we are professional in our approach, that is all we need to be. We would be fools to think that everyone we work with has to like us or we them, you will find that in all walks of life. This is not to say that I have not experienced "horizontal violence", which is what this type of behaviour is referred to in Oz, but I just try to avoid it and not be brought into the politics of the ward. Overall, I have not had many times where I have not enjoyed my shift, I always take something positive away from my work and try to rectify and learn from mistakes. I ask many questions of my workmates and try to listen and learn and always seem to seek out the nurse who is willing to share her knowlegde, they do exist and are wonderful to work with. Nursing has always been my passion and I do it because I love my job, I love the teamwork and the friendships that I have made. If we only reflected on the negatives of this particular profession I doubt there would be many of us and I for one can't think of anything else I would rather be doing. Stay positive, cheers from Oz.
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    [quote]Originally posted by Nancy1:
    [b]
    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 RNsToBe,
    I am sorry for all those nurses that you will meet who are that way, but please seek out someone who will truly help you. I graduated in Dec. 1993 so I have not been a nurse very long. I hear what you are saying. I invite you to join your professional organizations so you can find someone to act as a mentor. Seek out the organizations in your area. I am president of 2 groups here in Milwaukee. I will warn you that membership in an organization may not always be the answer, but it is an attempt. Ask your unit manager whodoes he/she think might be able to direct you. Some nurses are better at orienting or precepting than others. Talk to your instructors, see if they have any suggestions for you. If electronic support would help please e-mail me and I would be glad to go further with this. NA

    Being a Registered nurse for over 20 years now, I beleive I have witnesses various degrees of "eating ones young."
    In my opinion the answer is easily determined, when you take in to account the gender domination and behaviors of our field.
    Nursing generally remains a female dominated carrer. Females of all species tend compete with a catty attitude. Unfortunatly, much like our female "Nurturing" behaviors that make us excellent caregivers, the same female behaviors make us compete with eachother at times in a life or death match.
    Much like two females would compete in general society, competition often continues even into the professional setting. My advice. is to MAKE THE CHANGE HAPPEN WITH YOU.... someday you will be the experienced nurse, you will have the opportunity to help or hinder a coworker.. Thank goodness I learned my lesson within my first of year nursing. Today I make it a point, to let every new nurse I am exposed to, know that I will happily "BE there for them if they need me" afterall isnt that why we became nurses.... to help others???
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    I have been a nurse for almost 26 years. During that time I not only experienced this behavior, but I have observed it many times. Most of the time, the nurses who act out like this are insecure, jealous, at times ill-trained to do their jobs, and some of them are just plain mean. These people need to boil in their own vicious juices. I will not make excuses for them!! I now work in the education part of health care and when I train a new RN, LPN, or NA I try to go the extra mile to be supportive of them. Heaven only knows they need all the support they can get with the hard jobs they're going to.



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    maryellen
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    Looks like Mijourney has a good point: since I graduated in the 60's nursing education for me was a lot of hands on: the day after graduation I was 3-11 charge in the delivery room and my roomie was ll-7 charge on a med surg unit. I don't remember anyone other than an NT trying to chew me up and spit me out about taking vital signs q 15 minutes on a scary patient. Fortunately I was better prepared to take charge having had lots of experience as a student.
    I'd say the best way to not get eaten is to know your stuff. Work as a tech or something during breaks since nursing education seems to limit you to 2 or3 patients at a time while a student. Good luck.
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    It's very unfortunate, this "eating of new nurses," but it does exist. Someone mentioned that established nurses often feel threatened by new nurses, this may partly be contributed to their idealism and optimistic outlook on their new nursing careers, which has unfortunately been jaded in the experienced nurses due to lack of appreciation and support of nurses by the medical and administration systems we work under. Having worked as a critical care nurse for 18 years, and now as a nurse practitioner, I can say that nurses, in many respects, are their own worst enemies. By this I mean, physicians stand together and suupport one another in moving their careers forward. Many nurses, particularly experienced nurses, and ones in specialty units, promote intense competition among themselves. It's wonderful to promote higher education and learning experiences, but not to the point we shut others out and make it impossible to reach our standards. We need to spend more time and effort on working together, to promote the strength of our profession as a whole, to gain recognition and acceptance from the medical profession that nurses are a force to reckon with on a professional level. We will not make that step to the next level if we don't help and support each other, not isolate one another. It starts with the new nurse, and we must recognize that they decided to become nurses for the same reasons we did --- because they care and want to make a difference in patients' lives. So let's welcome and support them, and if you as the experienced nurse feel threatened, try to look inside yourself and figure out why. It's called self-actualization and your never to experienced or to old to try and attain that goal. None of us know everything, we all have questions, and maybe new nurses can provide some new and enlightened insights, which we most definitely need in this profession.
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    [QUOTE]Originally posted by RNsToBe:
    [B]
    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

    It may not be practiced by the majority but it is far too common. Some of the other posters appear to be in real DENIAL. And DENIAL is why it persists. DENIAL is the key to understanding its origin. I'm sure if you do your homework thoroughly you will discover that those nurses who eat their young are either alcohol/drug addicts or the adult children of same. The reason why they become nurses to begin with is not to "help" out of compassion but compulsion. This is not necessarily a bad thing. It merely means that there are alot of nurses out there who need help themselves and are in DENIAL. I think nursing schools really ought to have a rep. from ACOA (Adult Children Of Alcoholics anonymous) come in and do a whole lecture on the topic. Even the professors might learn something.

    Signed,

    Been Burned BAD by SEVERAL Untreated ACOA


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    Originally posted by Shelly23:
    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.
    At the beginning of my career, in the middle and at the end, the number of people who went out of their way to help me out numbered the ones who were difficult by at least 3 to 1. Things always go smoother when the enviroment is supportive but what do you do about people who are born with difficult personalities. There are non nuturing personalities everywhere and in every profession, I do not believe there is anything special about nursing in this respect.

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  10. 0
    I find it difficult to come to terms with the fact that this kind of unprofessional behaviour goes on in this day and age. If there are any nurses out there who are guilty of victimising new graduates this way, you should be ashamed of yourselves.

    Our job is to work and act in the best interests of our patients. We are not supposed to use our job as a means of satisfying a mean streak as a result of insecuritites felt due to the presence of new staff. These nurses need the benefit of our experience, but perhaps most of all, to feel that they have someone caring they can get support from whie doing what can be a scary job when newly qualified.

    I think it should be a disciplinary matter when well established staff deiberately withold information from new nurses. What happened to team work and working together for the good of the patient?

    If this behaviour persists in your clinical area then you should try and do something about it. I can only think that this goes on in a department because the management are short-sighted or just don't care.

    Let's remember that we are professionals and should be able to rise above this kind of behaviour.

    Give the new nurses a break and support them. You may find you learn a thing or two from them.


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