Never understood nursing - page 8

I know this is my first post on your forum, and I am a guest here. But I hopefully can get some answers to a problem that has seemed to plague me since I started practicing in medicine. I am hoping... Read More

  1. by   kadokin
    Quote from anne74
    Just as we don't want the OP to assume that all nurses are evil, we shouldn't assume that the OP has a bad personality. I get the argument about statistics, but we don't know him. I have to agree a bit about nurses having this dog-eat-dog culture and being territorial. In fact, it happens amongst nurses too. I worked in corporate America for 7 years before becoming a nurse, and I can say corporate America has treated me better. I have found many older, more experienced nurses treating younger ones poorly. Some are resentful of the newbies, and try to "break them in" instead of taking them under their wing and showing them the ropes - thus nurturing the next generation of nurses.

    My theory is that years ago, those nurses were treated poorly - ridiculously low salaries, ridiculously high pt ratios, and old-school doctors treating them like servants. True - I think nurses back in the 70s & 80s were shortchanged. So now are these nurses bitter and jaded, and they cope by taking it out on other new nurses - or PA's, CNA's, med students, etc.? Were they made to feel unworthy, and so now they make themselves feel better by tearing down others?

    I've heard of experienced ICU nurses who are bitter that new grads can start there - having the attitude that they didn't "earn the right" to be there. You know what - they are there, so deal with it and help foster a positive envrionment. It's not helping anyone - or the field of nursing in general - to give others a hard time. We're all here to help patients, we're all on the same team. More experienced nurses have a lot of knowledge to share, so instead of being rude to other team members, help us out.

    I haven't experienced this from all nurses - many have been helpful and kind. But I have to say that I've seen a bigger collection of "meanies" in the field of nursing than I have in other industries - and as a former consultant, I've worked in many. I even experienced it in nursing school, with many professors threating students and breaking their confidence. So strange - I was very surprised to see this coming from an occupation that relies on compassion.

    And I can assure you, I don't have a bad personality. I'm always respectful of other nurses and very appreciative when they help me. You know the saying - nurses eat their young - as well as colleagues with different backgrounds.
    Sad, but (in some cases), true.
  2. by   kadokin
    Quote from PACPhD
    My apologies for not responding sooner. I work the night shift and just turned myself around and am squinting in the daylight. Where do I start. First, I want to thank many of you for your support. I guess I should try to clarify some of your concerns. First I am not a troll. I honestly want to gain a better insite into those I work closest with in my daily (or should I say nightly) life. I guess you have to understand I work closer with and am with nurses for more hours than my wife. I am truely happy with the current nursing staff, even the "bad apples" are decent to work with. So now some details. 10 hospitals - no, I do not change my jobs as often as my underware.

    I started out from school with 4 jobs at the same time. All Per Diem. I wanted the experience. Then moved a few times. THe last place in Virginia I was at for 4 years. It was a horrible working environment. I loved the patient population, the doctors were the best, but (here we go...) the nursing staff was, on an average, where I got the terms "unprofessional, uncaring, etc". This was not directed towards me in general, although as a PA I got a tad bit more cr*p than the docs. There was one nursing supervisor, she was above the charge nurse, who seemed to care about what was going on. I went to her and told her that one nurse refused to place an IV in a patient because she said the patient was a drug seeker and she was not going to take the "risk of a needlestick putting an IV in someone who she didn't feel deserved it". The drug seeker was 26, pregnant, and had sever abdominal pain. The supervisor took her aside and told her in no uncertain terms how inappropriate her behavior was and that she follows a written order or leaves. She spoke to two more nurses in the next week on my behalf for similar unprofessional behavior. The following week, I went to her with again something one of the nurseds refused to do and she said "I am sorry, but apparently the nurses went over my head and told the management I was diciplining them and management told me if I attempt to correct their behavior that my position will be terminated. She left a month later. By the way, the COO of the hospital, the director of the emergency department and every supervisor in between was an RN. There were no positions of supervision in the hospaital that I knew of that didn't have an RN in place.

    My other hospitals? At the one where they would rip up my perscriptions, an ER director from a neighbor hospital came over to help out and cover a shift for our director. He had a very sick 2 month old. He called for a transfer and asked the nurse for an LP kit. She said "you aint doin that to the baby". He looked at me and back at her in astonishment and said, "where are the LP kits", She said "maybe you didn't hear me but I said you are not doing that to the baby. You can wait until the transport team gets here and they can do it". He found a kit himself and did what he had to do.

    If I had a few hours, I could go on and on. Here is my point. If I ever spoke to a nurse as thay have done to me for years on end, I would be in my director's office explaining why I should be allowed to keep my job. The second time I would not have a job. How have we gotten to the point that power, laziness, "getting back at the providers for all of the years they asked you to get them coffeee and you had to stand when they came into your area" is an acceptable excuse for way they have treated me and my coworkers? That is what I am looking for an explanation of.

    And yes, I do belong to a similar PA forum, but this is where the nurses are. And to those of you who feel comfortable thinking that, well, look at the common denominator, Let me tell you about my work habits. I clean up after myself on all my procedures. I am the only provider who has a pyxis number so when the nurse is busy I can get my own meds. I say please when asking for anything. We laugh at work. I ask everyone how their families are. I go out with nurses and their families. And I thank them every single day at the end of the shift for all of their hard work. The have told me I am one of the best clinitian's they have worked with. I do try.

    What is an OP?
    Yikes!!!!!!!! You HAVE worked w/some nasty ones. It's interesting that all of those management positions were held by RN's. I have often thought that I would like to see more nursing personnel in management where I work b/c they would have a better idea of what the clinical environment is like. Perhaps I was wrong. Did you mention that this particular hospital was a union shop? Or did I get that wrong?
  3. by   Sunshine Sweetheart
    I have read all the posts in this forum and I sit back and ask myself why has the healthcare profession gotten to this point. I am currently in nursing school and I work as a CNA in a hospital. I have been a CNA for six years and I have seen nurses behvave badly , but I have also seen other healthcare professional behave in the same manner including PA's. I think that it is hard for some people believe the things that the OP is saying because they have never experienced them first hand. I have seen healthcare proffesionals act in a manner that is toxic when they are stressed out or overworked. Since I am currently in nursing school I do know personally that some of the girls in my class are going into nursing because they think that they can make good money in it and nothing else. Will these girls make it through school, who knows, but if they do can you imagine the attitudes that they will have in 20 years when they are "senior" nurses and how they will treat people, because they went into a profession that their heart was not in.

    I truly think that everything is a power struggle. It is a struggle between the CNA and nurses, between the nurses and doctors, between the nurses and PA etc..... I do believe that in healthcare no one is more important than the next person or holds more power than the next person. We are all there for the same reason, the patient. When you have been in healthcare for a long time you are supposed to use the knowledge that you have picked up over the years to help the ones that are just coming into your world. We need to help nurture them instead of looking down on them because they do not know as much, because at one point and time we were all the new kid on the block. I also think that learning never stops and sometimes we learn things from people that we think we are teaching.

    While for the majority I have been lucky in my interactions with nurses. Have I seen some toxic ones, yes, but I know that not all nurses are like that. I choose not to focus on the bad interactions, but focus on the positive ones and try to become the best nurse that I can by not being like the toxic nurses. Nursing is not for everyone but unfortunately some do not realize that until they are already working as one and the rest of us suffer.

    As far as the OP, I think that his stories may have been extreme cases but not necessarily untrue. Can we say that it is his fault or not his fault, we can't, because we were not there. If he is lying then we should not call him one because we would be giving him the reaction that he intended to get when he posted in the first place. To show him what nursing is all about we need to show him that we stick together and support not only our profession but healthcare as a whole. I think that he has had some bad experiences but those experiences represent only a minority not the majority. Hopefully he will see nursing for what it is at his new job.


    PS: Some may say that I have this upbeat attitude becase I am not a nurse yet and have not seen the struggles first hand. But I have seem them up close and personal from working in a hospital and coming from a long line of nurses. I am not naive in thinking that I will not have my bad days because I know I will due to the stress that is associated with the job. One think that is unique about most nurses is that they have the ability to direct that negative energy into something positive for themselves, their co-workers, families and most of all their patients.
    Last edit by Sunshine Sweetheart on Aug 16, '06
  4. by   TazziRN
    Quote from Sunshine Sweetheart
    As far as the OP, I think that his stories may have been extreme cases but not necessarily untrue. Can we say that it is his fault or not his fault, we can't, because we were not there. If he is lying then we should not call him one because we would be giving him the reaction that he intended to get when he posted in the first place. To show him what nursing is all about we need to show him that we stick together and support not only our profession but healthcare as a whole. I think that he has had some bad experiences but those experiences represent only a minority not the majority. Hopefully he will see nursing for what it is at his new job.
    Here are the problems I see: I have never seen a group of nurses refuse to carry out orders at all because they don't like the person issuing the orders. If that truly happened, those nurses NEED to be reported.

    Also, I have never seen a group of nurses (note that I said "group", meaning more than one and at the same time) express dislike for someone as soon as the new person starts working. I can see the group deciding a newbie needs to be put in his place, much like how interns are when they disrespect the nurses, but not before the newbie does the disrespecting. I can't help but think that he brought that part on himself.
  5. by   Sunshine Sweetheart
    Quote from TazziRN
    Here are the problems I see: I have never seen a group of nurses refuse to carry out orders at all because they don't like the person issuing the orders. If that truly happened, those nurses NEED to be reported.

    Also, I have never seen a group of nurses (note that I said "group", meaning more than one and at the same time) express dislike for someone as soon as the new person starts working. I can see the group deciding a newbie needs to be put in his place, much like how interns are when they disrespect the nurses, but not before the newbie does the disrespecting. I can't help but think that he brought that part on himself.
    He might have brought it against himself with something that he did or said but can you say 100% for sure, not one of us was there. So for you to say that he brought it against himeself would be a generalization. I have seen nurses disrespect someone simply because they do not "like" the person for whatever reason. Just because it is something that you have not seen, even with all your years of experience,does not mean it does not exist. I am not saying he is telling the truth because I know all stories have three sides. All I am saying is why attack him since that is what he expects from nurses anyway. Why give him the benefit if he is lying!
  6. by   TazziRN
    Quote from Sunshine Sweetheart
    He might have brought it against himself with something that he did or said but can you say 100% for sure, not one of us was there. So for you to say that he brought it against himeself would be a generalization. I have seen nurses disrespect someone simply because they do not "like" the person for whatever reason. Just because it is something that you have not seen, even with all your years of experience,does not mean it does not exist. I am not saying he is telling the truth because I know all stories have three sides. All I am saying is why attack him since that is what he expects from nurses anyway. Why give him the benefit if he is lying!
    Read the last sentence again: "I can't help but think that he brought that part on himself."

    You're right, we weren't there. I never said that this is definitely what happened. And I have seen nurses disrespect someone because of instant dislike too, but not a group of nurses at the same time.
  7. by   traumamom2002
    [FONT="Arial Narrow"]

    Been reading these forums for several years but hardly ever post because the answers are always so good already!!

    First off, let me say to Sunshine Sweetheart that I find your post very refreshing. Keep up your positive, upbeat and awesome attitude. Your patients and employers will be very lucky to have you!!!

    I felt compelled to jump into this one though; I've seen many EDs both as a medic bringing them in and the nurse receiving them. From my humble perspective, there seems to be "one" cranky type in every ED. Now, this may not be the correct behavior but I personally have learned to steer clear and sweet talk the heck of that person. Sometimes, they can be infectious and the whole staff will have that sort of attitude for a shift or two and then other times, if you have a really upbeat charge person or something like that, the "negative nancy" is pretty ineffective.

    What I've learned in nursing is that it's really tough out there; we all put on our scrubs each day meaning to do well that shift. No one means to go to work and create havoc. Tolerance, patience, boldness to call each other on yucky behavior, and a general good attitude can get most of us through even the worst of shifts. Oh yeah, some pizza and diet coke!!!

    Thanks for tolerating me as a very new poster!!
  8. by   momdebo
    Hi eveybody. My cousin was a PA out on the east coast, and she has had some very similar stories. I used to get phone calls from her all the time. She has since come to the midwest and loves it, no further problems, but the parts about the nurses stating you have to prove yourself, she had that same thing happen. Maybe it's some kind of regional/cultural thing. I've gots lots of family out east and the culture is certainly different than it is here in the midwest. Just one possibility.
  9. by   Sunshine Sweetheart
    Quote from TazziRN
    Read the last sentence again: "I can't help but think that he brought that part on himself."

    You're right, we weren't there. I never said that this is definitely what happened. And I have seen nurses disrespect someone because of instant dislike too, but not a group of nurses at the same time.
    I do apologize if I got your words mixed up and I did not mean to offend you if I did! I just think that we should not accuse the poster of lying, as some others have, because as I said before we are feeding into his perceptions. I do like the fact that some of the other posters have asked the OP what can they do to change his perception and try to help him understand that nursing as a whole is not like that. If he is telling the truth then those nurses do need to be "talked" to. Regardless of how a person may treat you the patient should not suffer because of it. You do what you can do for the patient and deal with the problem when time premits. If he is lying then he has something against nurses and what a better way to get them fired up than to post on the nursing forum and sit back and laugh.
    Last edit by Sunshine Sweetheart on Aug 16, '06
  10. by   goats'r'us
    soo.. we've all been exchanging ideas, sharing stories, expressing opinions and clarifying details for a few days now, so i think it's time to ask a big question.. do you understand nurses yet? have we actually managed to explain anything or clear up any confusion?

    i ask, because the thread seems to be going in circles a little, and i don't really know if we're getting anywhere.

    if not, perhaps you'd tell us what you still don't understand, so that we can work on un-confusing you.

    and yes, for those of you paying attention, after saying i wasn't going to come back, i noticed a surge in activity and i got sucked right back in. :imbar

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    bless
    Last edit by goats'r'us on Aug 16, '06 : Reason: wrote the wrong thing for the blushing smilie.. hey, does it bother anyone else that to get the blushing, embarrassed smilie, you have to type in imbar, when embarrassed starts with an e and not an i?
  11. by   kadokin
    Quote from begalli
    Digging under the surface here, it sounds like you are a bit surprised that nurses actually have so much decision making power in the running of hospitals? Unlike the television shows ER and Grey's Anatomy where it is portrayed over and over that the doctors or some medical management are in direct charge of nursing, nursing is it's own self-governing professional body with just as much input as to how things run as the medical side is. Yea, nurses are COO's. Nursing is autonomous and collaborates with other disciplines for a common outcome - which should be, but is not always - delivering safe, cost-effective patient care (this is quite simplified).

    Although you are stating that some nurses flat out refused to carry out orders, it is not at all unusual for an RN to vociferously question orders from anyone. We do have the knowledge and experience to know what might be better for a particular situation. It is against our professional code of ethics to not speak up when we feel a situation warrants.

    Like the title of your thread, I think you really don't understand nursing. The behaviors of some who you've encountered are absolutely unacceptable, but I think you also need to accept that nurses are part of your team. Just because they may question orders does not mean they are steeping out of line or out of their scope.

    Gotta cut this short - gotta go.

    This is about recognition and respect. Have you talked about this with your RN wife? I'd be curious to know what she thinks.
    Thank you for a well-written and realistic reply
  12. by   grentea
    OP, I'm sorry you've had such bad experiences but we're not all bad. I would say that a vast majority of us are very good at what we do and we're professional. I personally would never dream of treating ANYONE like that where I work. In my short career as a nurse thus far, I've met a few bad apples that really manage to stink up a whole floor. Usually, they're burnt out and tired but that gives no one an excuse to act unprofessionally and just plain cruel. Don't let the bad apples you've met sour your view of nursing as a whole. If you're ever out here in Philly, I'm sure you'll find the nurses are pretty cool.
  13. by   oONurseSharkOo
    Quote from husker-nurse
    And speaking of trolls......have you graduated from nursing school yet?
    excuse me for not setting up my profile yet it was set to the default settings. i didnt realize id be crucified if i didnt do that right away

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