I don't understand this profession.. - page 2

I have been a nurse for almost 8 years. During these years, I have worked in many different areas at two different hospitals. What I do not understand is the bitterness, bickering, and unprofessional... Read More

  1. by   chadash
    yeah, I know what you are saying here. Being a nursing assistant was a later life thing for me, I had a clerical job when I was young. I was treated with respect, it was a very adult working environment. But as a na in LTC, holy smokes! Never seen such going ons since grade school playground. Actually, there were more bullies in LTC...imagine my shock!
  2. by   DutchgirlRN
    I hate making general statements and I know this is going to sound like one but I used to find it true when working nights for 12 years that there was bickering going on frequently. I have been on days now for 4 years and we all get along very well. I do notice the night shift bickering. I think looking back that it is just so hard working nights and you are just grumpier. I know I was very grumpy with my family when I worked nights. I don't know if you work nights or not? Perhaps a change of shift would make a difference.
  3. by   Cute_CNA
    So... why does this happen?

    I'm guessing, as other people have suggested, it's because it's tolerated. But why is it tolerated?

    I work at a psychiatric hospital, and this kind of behavior can lead to a reprimand from the DON.
  4. by   tntrn
    The backstabbing halted after a manager (I use that term very very loosely) left and a real manager was hired. Our new manager has experience, actual managerial skills, and won't tolerate the sniping and all. So I agree that has a lot to do with it.

    Today we had the first day of ACLS, and about 8 of us in our OB department (all of us experienced in the 15-30 year group) were as tight as I've even known, because we all hated being there, we all were in way over our head, and frankly, I'm not sure any of us really care if we pass it. I know I left there more depressed than I've been in a long, long time.

    The class was conducted as if we were just reviewing all the acronyms and EKG readings and meds. It's like a semester long class crammed into about 7 hours. I'd like them to get proficient in all our maternal/child protocols and meds in that length of time.

    Anyhoo, our unit is very cohesive because we have a lot in common: we're mostly old broads with years in the trenches, but guess you really have to have the right mix of people in your unit in order to have a harmonious one. And even then, there are going to be differences in styles, communications skills and all that. Having a policy that stresses mutual respect in spite of whatever differences there are is key.
  5. by   Tweety
    I'd say 90% of the time we are o.k. But every once in a while we have a meltdown. I had a hissy fit myself just the other day. I was very unprofessional but it just came out of me due to overwhelming stress and poor staffing.

    Later we all got over it and had a good laugh. Someone on the sides who didn't know me or us could come here and say the same thing you did.

    I don't generalize the 10% of the times we're not at our best and judge my unit.

    Good luck to you.
  6. by   Works2xs
    The speed of the leader sets the speed of the pack. Most of the stories I see relating this sort of problem appear to have at its root a lack of management and leadership skill. Good leaders set the tone by example. Attitudes are infectious - good and bad. Good managers will know how to recognize interpersonal and group dynamics and move to either mitigate them or remove the non-compliant.
  7. by   peds4now
    I'm going into nursing as a second career too. Previously I worked as an admin asst. at financial firms and also in nonprofits. I also have a bachelor degree in History. I have to disagree with those who say it happens in all professions. I don't really think it does. I think there are a lot of places where people are professional, mature, and can control themselves. So I'm wondering why can't nurses, especially since we are all supposed to have been educated about stress, interpersonal relations, etc.?

    Is it because of the whole "is it a profession" hangup? I never even questioned this until my nursing school teachers started going off about it. Honestly, I still feel like they should just get over it! Is it because only 2 years of school are needed, not a bachelor's degree (I'm not trying to start that discussion), so that less committment is needed to get into nursing? I doubt it. It's not easy to get through school and it ain't an easy job. So what is it? Why don't nurses have more self-respect? Why are they always on edge, looking for hidden insults, or a way to prove they're better? I personally don't have that problem. I plan to be a professional nurse, and if someone messes with me it will be dealt with professionally, but with the gravity it deserves.
  8. by   ZASHAGALKA
    Quote from MissPiggy
    Don't get me wrong; I feel like if there is something important that affects the pt., then "writing up" the incident is warranted,
    In 13 yrs, I've only written up a fellow nurse once. I've ignored doctor orders to 'write up this incident'. If they want it written up, they should do it. The only time I was ever called on that - my reply "I did write it up, didn't you get the paperwork; I'll write it up again, if you want". Funny, she didn't get THAT paperwork either, but I never heard about it again. Now I have voiced concerns before, but there is a world of difference between verbal feedback and written feedback.

    In the military, I went to NCO school and they taught that if you have a problem, take it up with that person. If someone brings a problem to you about another person, unless it cannot be handled between the two (ex. sexual harrassment, etc), then as a supervisor, the person bringing the problem should be instructed to deal with it directly with their co-worker, first.

    I live by the maxim: 'Praise in public; criticize in private'. If I have a problem with a fellow nurse, nobody knows about it unless that nurse shares our conversation with others. If I like something a fellow nurse did, I try to make sure everybody knows about it.

    ~faith,
    Timothy.
  9. by   rn/writer
    When I was a firefighter, I learned about the fire triangle.

    We were taught that three elements need to be present in order for fire to ignite--oxygen, heat, and fuel. Remove any one of the three and there is no fire.

    Hostile work environments need certain elements to ignite as well. The "oxygen" might be a managerial approach that lets negativity breathe unchallenged, an atmosphere of carelessness, disrespect, and passivity that allows problems to spark and spread.

    I'd equate the heat with the pressure that comes from consistent understaffing, unreasonable job expectations, lack of equitable pay and benefits, inadequate training and educational support, and anything else that raises expectations without commensurate preparation and support.

    The fuel is the job itself. Patient care is both an art and a science and as such, requires a tremendous amount of inate ability, training, and experience. We need to know, not only this huge body of knowledge called nursing, but how best to apply it in each individual situation and under the watchful eyes of the docs, the families, and each other. This is an awesome responsibility.

    In recent years, the fire triangle has become a tetrahedon (a four-sided figure that looks like a pyramid). The added element is chemical reaction. The three other elements can exist simultaneously without creating fire. It is the addition of a chemical interaction among the three that sparks ignition.

    I guess I'd equate that chemical reaction with the poison that some people carry around inside them. We ALL--by the virtue of being human--have the capability to be self- and other-destructive. But healthy people try to keep short accounts and deal with their emotional needs and wants in constructive ways as they come up. The less healthy among us carry backpacks full of unfinished business--old hurts and angers, insecurities, jealousies, fears, etc. that influence how they act today. These walking wounded sometimes take perverse pleasure in seeing others fail or even outright taking them down because it can FEEL like righting old wrongs and settling old scores.

    Nursing, in and of itself, is a demanding task. Add inadequate management, unreasonable pressure, and personal poison and you have the conditions for a perfect firestorm that has the potential to scorch, burn or even consume those it touches.

    Not every fire is a disaster. Some workplaces contain all of these elements but don't result in a conflagration. But others rage out of control with no end in sight.

    Why do we put up with intolerable conditions? There is an old analogy that explains much. If you put a frog into a pot of boiling water, it immediately leaps out to escape the pain. But, if you put a frog into a pot of cold water and turn on the heat, it adapts, little by little, until the water reaches a boil and kills it.

    What an irony that some healthcare facilities are among the least healthy places on earth for any sane person to work.
  10. by   Cute_CNA
    Quote from rn/writer
    Why do we put up with intolerable conditions? There is an old analogy that explains much. If you put a frog into a pot of boiling water, it immediately leaps out to escape the pain. But, if you put a frog into a pot of cold water and turn on the heat, it adapts, little by little, until the water reaches a boil and kills it.
    This especially stuck out. I think you're right, after tolerating something for so long, it becomes the status quo, and we don't challenge it.

    Quote from rn/writer
    What an irony that some healthcare facilities are among the least healthy places on earth for any sane person to work.
    :chuckle This made me laugh, as I work at a psychiatric hospital. I do agree.
  11. by   tencat
    Quote from rn/writer
    I guess I'd equate that chemical reaction with the poison that some people carry around inside them. We ALL--by the virtue of being human--have the capability to be self- and other-destructive. But healthy people try to keep short accounts and deal with their emotional needs and wants in constructive ways as they come up. The less healthy among us carry backpacks full of unfinished business--old hurts and angers, insecurities, jealousies, fears, etc. that influence how they act today. These walking wounded sometimes take perverse pleasure in seeing others fail or even outright taking them down because it can FEEL like righting old wrongs and settling old scores.
    I think rn/writer hit on a truth here. For some reason, a lot of 'walking wounded' are drawn into the nursing profession and the teaching profession. A lot of the unprofessional, demeaning incidents that have been talked about here occur in teaching, too. Not all nurses and teachers behave this way, but there is a significant number that do. I think being wounded can make one seek out ways to help others avoid pain, and maybe that's why nursing is so appealing. I also think sometimes when one is 'wounded', that person has not learned adaptive ways of dealing with conflict. Plus, both professions are centered around caring for others. Another problem I see is that society as a whole has unrealistic expectations for nurses and teachers. Society thinks we should place everyone else's needs far above our own needs. JMHO.
  12. by   CseMgr1
    Quote from smg
    I have been a nurse for almost 8 years. During these years, I have worked in many different areas at two different hospitals. What I do not understand is the bitterness, bickering, and unprofessional behavior that happens on the floor.
    I think this has always been a problem, but it seems to have become increasingly worse. Yesterday I witnessed a colleague rip apart another nurse, the director, and a nursing assistant. The other nurses on the floor then began to tear into the first nurse and it became a very tense working environment.

    Nurses are in such great demand and I see why. Unless you have thick skin and can take being harassed by coworkers, you will leave the profession too.

    Nurses not only eat their young, but also their old, strong, weak, and whoever else.

    Yesterday, I was ashamed to call myself a nurse. I am a second career nurse and I have never witnessed behavior in coworkers in my life. The incident yesterday was just one example there have been many others of nurses bring each other down.

    I needed to vent about this because it makes me sad. I have a niece and nephew that both were thinking about the nursing profession while in school. Thanks heavens that I was able to talk them out of it. They deserve more out of their career.
    It is sad, isn't it? I've lay awake crying many a night during my 35 years in this business, also being a victim of harassment by my co-workers. At one hospital, I would come into work and find my time card marked with unprintable expletives, as well as my charting altered. If that wasn't bad enough, I was also physically abused by one particular co-worker, who made it a point to punch me in the ribs with her elbow as she walked by me in the nurses' station. What was so sickening about these atrocities was the fact that the D.O.N. knew they were going on...and she did nothing. And it didn't stop, until she was forced out by the hospital's Board of Directors and was replaced by a petite, no-nonsense spitfire who cleaned house. I credit this woman for saving my career, because if she had not come in and taken charge when she did, I would have walked out and never looked back.
  13. by   Diahni
    Hi,
    Your post hit me had, because I have 8 months to go before the NCLEX, and I can't take the stuff you wrote about. In my last clinical I was humiliated by a patient, an arrogant doctor and his really obnoxious demanding wife. Although I did my best, they actually reported me and made up things too, like I talked nonstop about my personal life, which was an utter lie. The nurse's response to the abuse I endured: you must have presented yourself badly! Then I got chewed out by my professor/clinical instructor, and when I got home, a fellow student friend called me saying she was upset that a few people in our group found the whole thing wildly funny. It seems like there's a whole lot of meaness in this profession. There seems to be precious little civility. This is a second career for me, too. I worked hard to do my preliminary courses, and last year was brutal in my first round of clinicals. Do you think there are any working situations that wouldn't have this crap? It makes me very sad that people are so ugly.
    Thanks,
    Diahni



    Quote from smg
    I have been a nurse for almost 8 years. During these years, I have worked in many different areas at two different hospitals. What I do not understand is the bitterness, bickering, and unprofessional behavior that happens on the floor.
    I think this has always been a problem, but it seems to have become increasingly worse. Yesterday I witnessed a colleague rip apart another nurse, the director, and a nursing assistant. The other nurses on the floor then began to tear into the first nurse and it became a very tense working environment.

    Nurses are in such great demand and I see why. Unless you have thick skin and can take being harassed by coworkers, you will leave the profession too.

    Nurses not only eat their young, but also their old, strong, weak, and whoever else.

    Yesterday, I was ashamed to call myself a nurse. I am a second career nurse and I have never witnessed behavior in coworkers in my life. The incident yesterday was just one example there have been many others of nurses bring each other down.

    I needed to vent about this because it makes me sad. I have a niece and nephew that both were thinking about the nursing profession while in school. Thanks heavens that I was able to talk them out of it. They deserve more out of their career.

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