I had to leave the midwest state I was living in and went to the west coast where I discovered there are actually nice, intelligent, educated nurses who did not treat people like that, who would not talk about everybody else at the nurses's station, who had high levels of professionalism and patient service, who actually cared about their coworkers and supported each other. (Did not find this on the east coast, either, it's not just the midwest.)
For years in the midwest I went home and cried. I experienced every nasty nurse trick, every bullying tactic, in the book for years. My self confidence still plummets when I am around a nasty person; I can't control it. I can't wait to leave nursing myself. This started in nursing school but by the time I experienced it I had too many loans to pay back and 2 little girls to support (single mother on AFDC). Hated nursing school so much for the lack of positive support it kept me away from graduate nursing school for years -- that and the OB instructor who was a homebirth midwife who wanted to kick me out of school and who said bad things about me to a prospective employer right out of school so I didn't get the job -- I naively thought she'd become a supportive mentor.
Although now I finally realize that in graduate school, the faculty actually aren't out to flunk you and they are actually supportive, & treat students as future members of the sisterhood, as it were. So many nurse managers play that "big momma, little nurse" game in which they continually hold the threat of firing you over your head, but never have anything specific to say you're doing wrong, never offer clinical support or mentoring for whatever defects they think you have, or anything constructive -- firing you is the answer because you are expendable. This game induces great fear in you when you are a single parent with lots of bills to pay. I had fantasies about being able to go to medical school so I could go completely over the heads of these nasty women and give them orders.
I think so much of the quality of work experience and professionalism of management and one's coworkers depends on the culture of the unit, the hospital, and it's luck when you find a good place. I also don't think there are very many out there.
This subject is still a wide open wound with me.
Sending you lots of hugs, girl. We all need them!