Grumpy Old Nurses

  1. Time to ruffle some feathers! What I love about this forum. Vent some of your frustrations and pi$$ off a few.

    Before I make my statement, let me say this. This does not apply to ALL!!!!!
    (Just the bad apples that stink up the place)

    Ok...

    Had a problem with one of the charge nurses. In our meeting she said, "I've been a nurse for 21 years and that's the way things are." There were some other things said, but that kinda stuck with me. We reconciled so to speak and went on about our business.

    But I thought more about that comment. So I ask.. what is with these nurses? In these times of a nursing shortage, do we need this kind of thinking? Should not our veterans be the ones the rookies look to for advice and guidance?

    So if you've been nursing for a long time and you feel, ".. that's the way things are," then you might want to see what your pension or IRA looks like and check out.

    Times change. It's not 1980 anymore.

    I look forward to some interesting replies.

    (I bet some are going to want to know what the meeting was about)
    hmmm
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  2. 8 Comments

  3. by   P_RN
    No ruffling felt here.

    Paradigms are more than two 10 cent pieces side by side.
    Rotten apples and oranges abound in life, but that don't make it right.

    And what WAS that meeting about?
  4. by   4XNURSE
    Fortunately, "that's the way things are" is not necessarily "the way things will be." Even the facts change.

    Ain't it great!

    The beauty of it is, that you may even have a chance to make it better. - If it needs to be changed. ??

    Now the down side. - Unfortunately change takes time. We have to take one day at a time, and introduce change with caution.

    Choose your battles, wisely. Enter them to win, then don't quit.

    just my $ .02

    ken
  5. by   Hardknox
    You're not ruffling my feathers since I'm neither old nor grumpy!!! Change, unless initiated by HMO's and administration, does come slowly.

    I started my nursing career in 1980 and I feel badly for you newbie's. That was the day of Primary Nursing--the golden age for being a nurse. The continuity of care, the doable assignments, the respect that the patients and other heathcare workers had for the nurse----if THAT could only change back!

  6. by   fergus51
    I am with you all the way Hank. For every know-it-all new grad, there is a "I have been nursing since time began and I refuse to learn or try anything new" old nurse. Off with all their heads
  7. by   hoolahan
    Well said P_RN and Ken!

    I have always had a problem with the philosophy of "because that's the way we've always done it." I prefer a more scientific rationale than that. A little evidenced-based practice if you please. How do you deal with that thinking, challenge them to explain their rationale.

    I have a perfect example of this. Way back in my CT ICU we weighed the pt's on a sling scale on nights. I was weighing my pt's around 3 am. I got told this was too soon to weigh. Why? I asked. Because we never weigh before 5, I was told. Why? Because we just don't. Pest that I am, I kept harping on it. I asked every nurse in the unit and the MICU why. I got many different answers, some thought it was b/c it was a better reflection of any diuresis (personally I thought it provided criteria for how much diuresis to get the weight a little earlier, so my pt's would be nicely diuresed by CPAP trial for extubation, remember I said olden days when we kept pt intubated all night long.) Anyway, then I asked the surgeons, they couldn't care less when we weighed. As long as pt was warm and stable. So, come to find out the real reason. Turns out years ago, the two units used to have to share the sling scale. MICU got it from 3-5 and SICU got it from 5 - 7am. So, turns out there was no real reason on God's green earth why I could not weigh a pt at 3am!! I told everyone the results of my informal research in a staff meeting. Everyone was shocked. Nights was thrilled they could weigh earlier as 5am is a very busy busy time in our unit. So, demand a reasonable rationale, and that philosophy goes to crap! :chuckle!

    But as to the specific comment by that nurse, perhaps she was fishing for a little validation of her experience. Sometimes a little positive reinforcement goes a long way toward gaining people's cooperation.
  8. by   mattsmom81
    Although I'm a card carrying member of the Grumpy Ol' Nurse Club, (heehee) I always enjoy new ideas presented in a timely and appropriate fashion......NOT when I'm working on the schedule, making assignments, or doing 'think work' not always apparent to the less experienced nurse.....

    I have worked with some supergrumpies who simply did NOT want to change, or consider a better way, and I can understand his/her feelings there on the basis of "This is MY practice and I will define it".

    To refuse to see a better way which would benefit all in a 'big picture' sense seems very rigid and I can understand your frustration. Work on us ol' grouchies from this 'big picture' angle (in appropriate and timely fashion) and you MAY see some progress.....Old dogs can learn new tricks if we can see the benefit.

    Anyway, give us more details...we're dying to know...LOL!
  9. by   eldernurse
    I do not take offense. Having been in Medicine for 30 plus years, I have seen all the ideas come and go. I have made suggestions and some of them were heard. I have worked with grumpy old nurses who needed to retire and I try really hard not to become that.
    I also welcome new innovative ideas to help make staff happy. Money is always a place to begin but it doesn't help with the positions that go unfilled.
    My institution has started a week-ender program. That means that I can work Monday thru Friday. The week-enders get a premium rate. I came to this hospital 12 years ago for this very program and in a couple of years they did away with it. I am thrilled that it has come back. They also offer the "perfect 36". Three days of twelve hour shifts that is considered full time for benefits.
    What do you think of those ideas?
  10. by   live4today
    Originally posted by RoaminHankRN
    Time to ruffle some feathers! What I love about this forum. Vent some of your frustrations and pi$$ off a few.
    Before I make my statement, let me say this. This does not apply to ALL!!!!! (Just the bad apples that stink up the place) Ok...
    Had a problem with one of the charge nurses. In our meeting she said, "I've been a nurse for 21 years and that's the way things are." There were some other things said, but that kinda stuck with me. We reconciled so to speak and went on about our business. But I thought more about that comment. So I ask.. what is with these nurses? In these times of a nursing shortage, do we need this kind of thinking? Should not our veterans be the ones the rookies look to for advice and guidance? So if you've been nursing for a long time and you feel, ".. that's the way things are," then you might want to see what your pension or IRA looks like and check out. Times change. It's not 1980 anymore. I look forward to some interesting replies.
    (I bet some are going to want to know what the meeting was about) hmmm
    Hello there Hank!

    At the ripe ol' age of fifty...clearing me throat a bit...and having been on BOTH sides of that coin of once having been a newbie in nursing, and now what you younguns call "grumpy ol' nurses", I would like to share my humble perspective from both sides of that coin with you:

    My first reaction to having read your post was: The Generation Gap being different between the younger nurses and the older nurses -- I'm talking about one's age here and not about experience level in nursing.

    One of the things I learned in nursing as a student was to see other's point of view from where they were coming from according to what life-stage they were in. I love Erickson's Model the best of all!

    At fifty, respect for one's elders was first and foremost, even when they were 'wrong' -- if you will. To talk back and sass an elderly person was just not the thing to do if you didn't want to get "chewed up and spit out". It's better to give those 'older than thou' their due respect -- if for no reason than the fact they are older and wiser than you in more ways than you can shake a stick at.

    When working with nurses older than me, I gave them their 'due respect' according to the life-stage they were in at the time, and when I disagreed with their 'old way of doing things' in nursing, I showed my respect for 'the way they were trained as students' by: (1) HEARING THEM OUT (2) ACKNOWLEDGING THEIR VAST LEVEL OF EXPERIENCE, (3) VALIDATING THEM AS 'SEASONED EXPERIENCED NURSES', and not arguing with them about the way they were trained to do things during their student nursing days. Don't laugh or strut your youthful nursing crown too much for one day another 'youthful nursing student/new grad/young nurse' will come along and make you swallow what you complain about today with those nurses older and wiser than you, and that crown of "get with the times granny" will slip a few inches down to your throat and become a noose around YOUR own aging neck. :chuckle

    Yes, technology has become so advanced over the years, that it is often difficult for us to work side by side with those younger or older than us, especially when those we work alongside of have been taught a certain way of doing things. There's always more than one way to skin a cat - if you will. Just because you know an easier or better way to do something doesn't mean you always have to make an issue of it to get your point across.

    You'll find in working with us "ol grumpy nurses" that if you just acknowledge what we share with you from our "school of training and thought", you will find yourself perceived as one who is mature enough to listen and learn new and different ideas than just the ones you were taught.

    So, in your future, when confronted with a situation like you described in your post, simply listen, acknowledge and validate what the older nurse is saying, and say to him or her the following: "Gee, Ms. or Mr. so and so, that's a really interesting way to do such and such. I see it's worked well for you in the course of your years as a nurse. We can all learn so much from one another. May I show you how I learned to do that?"

    You'll go a lot farther in life if you stop thinking that there is only one way to learn or do something, and that neither your way or the grumpy ol' nurse's way is right or wrong...JUST DIFFERENT!!! :kiss


    Socrates in Plato's "The Republic" said, "I enjoy talking with very old people. They have gone before us on a road by which we, too, may have to travel, and I think we would do well to learn from them what it is like."
    Last edit by live4today on Mar 17, '02

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