Eating Their Young

  1. Another questions from a future nurse of America!

    I have been browsing this board for a while and can't help noticing the high number of posts from new nurses getting bullied about by the veteran nurses.

    Due to the shortage of nurses and other problems with the field, why on earth would an experienced nurse want to create an atmosphere that would cause new nurses to give up and leave?

    Is it because of the stress? Do they believe that maybe they are in some way preparing the new one for the stress ahead? That is, do they really feel that getting tough is for the new nurse's good? Or are experienced nurses so enamored of themselves that they somehow rationalize that their purpose now is to belittle, bully and grab a power trip. I'm 51 now and starting my nursing education and have been around the working world to know what to take and what not to. I learned about documenting uncomfortable conditions long ago so I'm used to working with my mental fists up and prepared.

    I would think that all nurses would work to help each other and attract new candidates so as to alleviate the stress and overwork conditions. Nothing's going to improve against THE MANAGEMENT when one alienates his/her peers.

    I appreciate any and all responses.
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  2. 32 Comments

  3. by   nightingale
    specifics please.....
  4. by   tiger
    i have seen that here on the board as well but have not experienced it. the young or inexperienced are helped out. the ones that are eaten are (no matter of age or experience) the ones that come in with attitude or lazyness(sp?). at least where i work.
  5. by   Mkue
    I've seen in non-nursing professions where an inexperienced worker may be eaten alive by experienced long term workers in that profession. This happens to new employees that meet the job description standards and those who don't.

    I've seen really dedicated employees willing to help a newcomer and I've seen long term burnt out dead wood employees eat newcomers alive for no other reason than jealousy.

    If a new employee is judged by a nonbiased jury to not meet the standards of that particular job then something should be done. It should not be done in a way that is "eaten alive", one would have to question the motives of the eaters.

    A friend of mine recently decided to quit her factory job and enter an LPN program. Her factory co-workers treated her badly upon hearing her good news of learning a new skill.

    Hmm.. I hope she is a darn good nurse someday, she cares about people and she is motivated to be a good student and nurse.
  6. by   nightingale
    Janmae:

    I find it interesting that you post a theoretical argument which could apply to any field of a profession or work world.

    People are people. Some good and some not.

    Your statement is a sweeping generalization based without specifics. An argument that would be able to draw conclusions has not been posed. You seem to meerly want to drudge up mud and wish to amplify voices in harmony of what you yourself are unclear on.

    My suggestion is to spend your time working hard in school, stay away from gossips and lazy students, and be proactive and positive in all your dealings with patients.

    Good luck to you....

  7. by   hoolahan
    You did hit one very valid point on the head. I sometimes think managment prefers we bicker amongst ourselves to draw attention away from the real problems, like short-staffing, and not enough ancillary support staff.

    But, I kind of agree. Why are you even worrying about this? You haven't even started working as a nurse yet, right? Why not just see what happnes for you. People will be people, just as another poster said, and as you yourself should know, having had experience with your mental fists up, so I do kind of wonder why you bring this up. If you are mature enough to see through a bully, and feel confident enough to manage one, that is great, you should be fine. Good luck to you.
  8. by   WriteStuff


    Hi Panmae,

    It's about "human/anmial behavior"........personalities, and all that stuff.
    It's not just "chickens" that have a "pecking order."
  9. by   Agnus
    I hired on as a new LPN and was taken care of. I was lucky I worked in a Great Hospital with a DON that advocted for us with great staff.
    I worked 1 year then hired on at another hospital as a New RN. I was eaten alive. I truly believe that they did not know they were doing this. My manager had said that she thought it was terrible how older nurses ate their young. She had no clue how badly she herself had done this to me.

    I quit there after less than 2 months with no explanation. The whole atmosphere there was bad for me. They were not honest with me abount anything. They would repeated tell me one thing then change it. This started from the day I applied to the day I left. Everyone from HR to my supervisors and preceptor kept changing things. AKA lie. They made decisions without me about me, they made false promises, they expected an experienced ICU nurse at the same time they did not value the expereience I had.
    They were back biters, unhappy, and stressed. The hospital had a policy to Be nice to the gentleman Fancy. i.e. Allow Doctors to be extreemly abusive to you without complaint because they bring a lot of business.
    Nurses had little respect for what I already knew. Because they were nurses for 15 years they knew better. The fact is I checked out things when I was told I was wrong. I would sometimes find it was the experienced nurse who had it wrong, but she was so full of what she knew there was no room to learn anthing else. Heavens a new grad could not possibly know anything she did not. Never mind the new grad was fresh from studying somethne that the old nurse had not addressed again in an education way since she fininisned school 15 years ago. God forbid they might have come up with something better since then. Their way of checking somthing out was to ask another nurse her opinion, instead of getting the facts from valid sorces.
    I went back to the hospital were I worked as an LPN and am VERY happy there. I was welcomed with open arms by a new DON and she had gone out of her way to help me in my professional development. I love the staff here and have no desire for greener pastures. Doctors are not allowed to treat hospital staff the way I saw at the other place. And funny thing they still bring us lots of business. Infact they started bringing us more once they realized we were professionals not whipping boys.
    Last edit by Agnus on Dec 27, '01
  10. by   doliveri
    janmae,
    I think to some degree nursing education must take some blame for this phenomenon. I graduated in 1973 and I know that I was in culture shock when I got out into the "real world" and started working because it was nothing like I expected. The "culture" was entirely different. Today, I think we do a somewhat better job of educating our nursing students in the reality of the "culture" of the nursing profession and how we are affected by the medical profession.

    I would also have to agree with many of the responders to your original email that every nurse is different and like everything else, there is good and bad in everything. I would also tend to think that it is a good thing not to "prejudge" a veteran nurse before one has a chance to work with that nurse.

    I think in some respects, managers have much to do with this aspect of "eating their young" also. Managers should be aware of the nurses that voice an interest in working with new graduates or students. Mentoring and preceptoring can be very rewarding and should be encouraged. Some hospitals in California actually pay a bit more for these nurses and they take classes in preceptoring and mentoring. These nurses should be rewarded in a positive way.

    The concept of "eating their young" exists not only in the work place but I have also experienced this in graduate school and in the academic arena. I wish I knew why this exists, but I have yet to figure it out.

    I have exhausted my 2 cents worth I know, but this is a subject very close to my heart. Good luck to you.
  11. by   semstr
    Well at last I can give my two (brand new!!) Eurocents to this discussion.

    I think one of the reasons, the "culture-shock" for our students is not that big, is because of our "old-fashioned" diploma-nursingschool-system.

    My students come to school for 2-3 months and then they go to the wards, of course they have mentors there and we educators go to the wards too. But they are not in university for a long time and then just go visit a hospital.
    They get a pay for their work, not as much as a RN, but it is not bad, on the other hand, they really have to work.
    Once they are getting their diploma, they know what is going on in the "real" hospitalworld and the shock and the running away is not that much.

    We still need nurses though!!

    Take care, Renee
  12. by   RNKitty
    Originally posted by tiger
    i have seen that here on the board as well but have not experienced it. the young or inexperienced are helped out. the ones that are eaten are (no matter of age or experience) the ones that come in with attitude or lazyness(sp?). at least where i work.
    I beg to differ. I was "eaten" because I was inexperienced AND young. I came with an attitude of team spirit and willingness to learn. I had told my manager when I interviewed that I had 4 months of volunteer experience and was a new grad seeking a residency. She told the staff I had a year of experience. By the time everyone figured out the mess the manager put me in, the situation on the floor was intolerable. I drove home in tears every night and the nurses were witchy. There was no way to repair the situation, so I left and found a better, nurturing situation.
  13. by   tiger
    rnkitty-- i said i had not experienced it. not that it didn't exist. sorry for your bad experience.
  14. by   micro
    [FONT=century gothic]tiger, much tongue in cheek.................CAN I WORK WHERE YOU WORK!!!!!!!!!?????

    It is not where I work!!!!!!!

    lol to all, micro!!!!!

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Eating Their Young