I don't understand this profession..

  1. 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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  2. 77 Comments

  3. by   onmyway06
    it is the same at the ltc facility where i work. i'm not an rn(yet), but a cna. there is always constant bickering, finger pointing and the attitudes; i could do without. i don't understand why. is it the stress of the job? employees bringing personal probs to work? i don't know, but some days i can't wait to go home.
  4. by   SmilingBluEyes
    I am sorry this is your experience.

    I have to say mine is rather different and I love what I do 90% of the time. The 10% I don't sure can be overwhelming at times, but I have found my niche and no one , I mean NOBODY gets away w/trying to eat me. I don't taste so good anyhow. Hide is way too tough.

    Coincidentally, I am a nurse of 8 years' duration too. I am sorry, really sorry, to hear some are so miserable. It worries me to see this so often.
  5. by   KatieBell
    I have to say, I'm in a different situation as well. I was just getting references today for a travel position, and I found myself actually thinking a bit wistfully about the camraderie and fun I had at my last job. When I went abroad for a year, I got more letters and packages and support from the staff than from my own mother. I Loved that job, can't go back to it because I am going to be going to school in 3 months and they don't need travelers...(but it didn't stop me from requesting a traveler position close by so I can hang with all my buddies from work...)

    A lot of it really depends on the Manager. A lot of Nurse Managers are not really well trained to manage. The Manager at the place I worked at was really on the ball, and did not tolerate a lot of garbage, but I think it takes a skill to create that sort of culture in a unit, probably also helped that it was 65% male nurses and they tend to bicker a bit less than ladies.
    I've worked at another place which I detested, and found that the Manager was completely out of touch with the nurses, tended to take sides in conflict, and created an atmosphere where people did not feel like they could trust each other, we all felt like we had no control over anything in the unit and were feeling disempowered. All that said, having just spent quite a lot of time being a manager, and trying to create a culture of trust and compliance, it is really really difficult.

    But then again, maybe I have dragon hide for skin.

    Its unfortunate that there are many many places where people are behaving in very childish ways. But there are also some great places to work out there...
  6. by   Marie_LPN, RN
    Because i know someone's going to say it, it is not a "woman-related thing" that causes this. It is people-related, and while i do agree that management plays a part in this (that is, allowing it to happen, not doing anything about it if it does), it's really up to the individual to conduct themselves in a professional manner.
  7. by   MissPiggy
    Is it the stress of the job? Employees bringing personal probs to work? I don't know, but some days i can't wait to go home

    I think that a lot of it has to do with the atmosphere of our being encouraged to rat on each other for every minor thing that happens. Don't get me wrong; I feel like if there is something important that affects the pt., then "writing up" the incident is warranted, but what I am talking about is, for example, in my facility, the admin has told us that if they catch anyone leaving the door to the nurses' station open, they will write up the culprit.... (Oh puhleeeeease! I sometimes feel like responding with "And I'll tell my mommy on you too!") With this being the attitude, how can we help but pick up the same type of mentality? We need to learn to back each other up in these petty incidents, just like the MDs and the police do, otherwise they will have "divided and conquered us", which they obviously have already done.
  8. by   Spidey's mom
    Quote from MissPiggy
    Is it the stress of the job? Employees bringing personal probs to work? I don't know, but some days i can't wait to go home

    I think that a lot of it has to do with the atmosphere of our being encouraged to rat on each other for every minor thing that happens. Don't get me wrong; I feel like if there is something important that affects the pt., then "writing up" the incident is warranted, but what I am talking about is, for example, in my facility, the admin has told us that if they catch anyone leaving the door to the nurses' station open, they will write up the culprit.... (Oh puhleeeeease! I sometimes feel like responding with "And I'll tell my mommy on you too!") With this being the attitude, how can we help but pick up the same type of mentality? We need to learn to back each other up in these petty incidents, just like the MDs and the police do, otherwise they will have "divided and conquered us", which they obviously have already done.
    You have a door on your nurse's station?

    I think it happens in every profession . . . . I have been experiencing an increase lately in some of this - not everyone though is involved. Just a few that wreck it for all. And I do think a manager's attitude does have alot to do with it. But it comes down to each individual person to not put up with stuff either. I'm terrible at confrontation.

    steph
  9. by   papawjohn
    Hey Y'all

    The first 15 or 16 yrs after I graduated (and for one yr before graduation when I worked as an 'orderly'---remember when guys were all 'orderlies') I worked at a large university-related hosp. The manager of all the adult ICUs and step-downs had a plan to build teams that would become self-sustaining.
    She had EVERYBODY working 12hr shifts, 7days on-7days off. I tell people this now-a-days and they are amazed. "How do you work 7 straight 12s?" Well, it was a long haul--but in effect you got a vacation right afterwards (and wouldn't you work a couple of 'extra' days to get two vacations every month?)

    Also, we were younger then.

    We all sat together and heard 'charge' report on the whole unit then went out to get individual reports.

    The result was mostly wonderful. (There were exceptions--and then the boss would break up the team and send individuals to fill in spots in other units--making sure no two ended up together in their new units.)

    If you got busy in one room and an alarm went off in your other room--you didn't worry about it because one of your buddies ALWAYS answered it. If you grabbed a huge bundle of linens and headed off to one of your rooms, you never arrived alone.

    No one was cancelled. If you had no Pts (believe it or not--that DID happen) you would visit the other ICUs and Stepdowns and offer to help them, and lacking needs there you were expected to work on education (bulletin boards, inservices) to share with your unit and other units.

    It was--I guess--expensive. But you get what you pay for--something that Hosp Admin people have never learned.

    Papaw John
  10. by   Lambert5883
    Quote from stevielynn
    You have a door on your nurse's station?

    I think it happens in every profession . . . . I have been experiencing an increase lately in some of this - not everyone though is involved. Just a few that wreck it for all. And I do think a manager's attitude does have alot to do with it. But it comes down to each individual person to not put up with stuff either. I'm terrible at confrontation.

    steph
    It's a reflection of our society and the direction it has taken, too.

    I've worked in several Industries thus far in my adulthood: Military, Medical (OR - scrub tech), and IT. I've been married to a nurse for 12 years, so I am acquainted with its culture. I must say that I have never experienced, or seen, the kind of hate-filled-venomous creatures, in the other two Industries that I had mentioned, as found within this Industry; specifically, nursing.

    Just read another post about some newbie, orienting with the ICU, getting grief from his/her coworkers, to the point that he/she is ready to quit just after 7 weeks!

    I ask myself what am I thinking about in changing careers, in light of the
    all-to-true nature of nursing at its current state. All I can say is I feel ya.
  11. by   Daytonite
    This kind of behavior goes on in all professions, believe it or not. Poster KatieBell hit the nail on the head. It is poor management and I will add that it is also due to poor people skills. Please don't blame the profession. Going back for my BSN helped tremendously with these kinds of situations. I'll save you the tuition you'd have to shell out for a BSN and tell you that what I learned was that these kind of situations call for assertiveness techniques. I think, however, your only recourse for now is to stay out of those situations unless you want to get your head cut off too. Until you have done some study of the subject of working with difficult people and supervision just keep mum. I, personally, witnessing what you described would have gotten into the middle of that and told them to "stop acting like children. If you have something to discuss take it into an office and close the door instead of doing it in front of us!" I probably would have also added, "what's wrong with you?", but that's just my old age and comfort with being a manager. The fact that a manager was involved in this bruhaha makes no difference. Bad behavior is still bad behavior and should be addressed. An alternative would be to just usher them into an empty room saying, "OK, you guys need to do this privately. Come on in here." Of course, I have never been known to be afraid to get into a melee. My stand on issues of people who do the kind of things you describe is to stop the yelling and then tell them how to do their confrontation correctly. That is how you can take control of the situation and restore peace. It kind of reminds me of how to break up a couple of dogs or cats that are fighting--throw water on them to get their attention and cool them down. However, I don't recommend you do anything until you feel ready and prepared to defend yourself in case the squabblers decide to come back at you. Just know that there are things you can do to get control of these situations and make your nursing life much easier.
  12. by   meownsmile
    Fortunately i can say we USED to have some situations like this on my unit. We dont have much of it anymore. For the most part people get along and HELP one another. In our case anyway, it seemed to be the ones who couldnt handle HELPING others that had the most conflict on their shifts. They got what they gave(which usually wasnt much) and it left everyone on that shift overworked, tired and ready to blow up. Occasioinally you get a personality that just conflicts with others, and maybe they would be happier in another unit.
  13. by   Haunted
    So sad to hear that we are tearing each other apart. Something will happen soon to bring us all collectively together. Maybe the stories of the Hurricane people, maybe the animal rescue folks, maybe some common thread that will bring us all back together.

    I love a conspiricy as much as the next fool, and perhaps this is one that forces a "trickle down" theory to whither the net much like those internet hoaxes that seem to find us. I suggest we all take a deep collective breath and make a concerted effort to BAND TOGETHER in these VERY DIFFICULT TIMES. DON'T GIVE UP, DON'T GIVE IN. Let us all stick together and support each other.

    Guys, remember when you "stick it" to your assistant they spread the word and we have fewer assistants who provide vital aid. Don't bite off your own hand despite a bad manicure!

    This is pretty distressing and we need to respect our jobs, what we do and why we do it. It is much needed and there is a lot more to come.
  14. by   lisa41rn
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I too am a second career RN. I've been working an entire three months and feel like crying more than feeling happy when I leave work. I had more patients today than other nurses, many 20 years of experience. I don't mind working hard, but when it's time to leave, the leave. They don't bother to help me out. I ended up leaving 75 minutes late today!! That's the latest I've ever left. While staying late, I get the feeling others from the next shift have the attitude I dont know anything. They have no patience at all. I hate my job even though I feel I'm doing okay. I make some mistakes, but nothing earth-shattering, but I'm a perfectionist, so it always appears worse than it is in my mind. To make matters worse, I'm fed up and now I found out one of my patience has tested positive for TB and I have to be tested now. Reading your post makes me realize I'm not alone. By the way, I don't expect any job to be perfect, but this is crazy!!

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