New nurses wanted. - page 11

by GrnTea | 26,169 Views | 117 Comments

I have just read a post in a Nursing Specialties forum on Staff Development that makes reference to the need to recognize and nurture new nurses because the nursing-eat-their-young attitude is so widespread. I went to respond to... Read More


  1. 0
    Quote from metal_m0nk
    It's all a matter of perspective.

    There are plenty who would say that this line of thinking is just a cop out that experienced nurses fall back on to excuse their bad behavior. Which, logically speaking, does more to perpetuate the issue than does supposed perpetual victim-hood - since perpetual victim-hood is ultimately self-limiting.
    I'm not sure I understand. My whole point is that what the "nurses eat their young" crowd define as "mean" and what I define as "mean" are two different things.

    Think about it, the very fact that new nurses eventually outgrow this "it's not my fault" phase kind of proves my point.

    When someone in any profession struggles in the beginning, the knee-jerk reaction is to blame anyone and everyone but themselves. And when said person sees others successfully performing the job they're struggling with, this can morph into panic driven accusations. This is when statements like "I don't finish on time because I do things the right way" or "He only finishes his meds on time because he cuts corners." rear their ugly heads. I've seen many struggling new nurses imply that the only reason more experienced nurses stay on task is because we must be burnt out shortcut takers who don't care anymore. I *hate* that!
  2. 1
    Quote from BrandonLPN
    I'm not sure I understand. My whole point is that what the "nurses eat their young" crowd define as "mean" and what I define as "mean" are two different things.
    That can't possibly be true.

    I'm fairly certain that what each is describing is the exact same behavior.

    The difference is not the behavior, or the definition of it, but the perspective.

    When hearing the perspective on either side of the debate, I try to take into account the natural human inclination to ego defend. The first instinct of a person accused of behaving badly is to deny. If denial proves ineffective because the exact behavior is described and it is generally agreed upon that it can be considered bad behavior from an outside perspective then the second instinct is to blame someone else - abdicate responsibility.

    I know well enough that in MOST ALL phenomena, responsibility is shared between parties and that no issue is ever truly resolved without both parties recognizing their participation in the origins and/or perpetuation of the issue.

    Experienced nurses are not all somehow evolved beyond basic human instincts of ego defense simply by benefit of their nursing experience. They too have the responsibility to recognize their own contribution to the problem. And when I see a handful of people abdicating any and all responsibility for a commonly identified, well defined and well researched phenomenon of which they play an integral part, MY first inclination is to call bull ****.
    Last edit by metal_m0nk on Feb 25, '13
    lovelylady3 likes this.
  3. 0
    Quote from BrandonLPN


    When someone in any profession struggles in the beginning
    Exactly, we all struggle in the beginning- don't make it any harder than it has to be.
  4. 0
    BrandonLPN,

    Your quote:
    "I'm not sure I understand. My whole point is that what the "nurses eat their young" crowd define as "mean" and what I define as "mean" are two different things."

    Is saying the same thing that Metal Monk was, it's all a matter of perspective. Different people will see and interpret things differently according to their position, experiences, and such.
  5. 0
    Quote from PatMac10,SN
    BrandonLPN,

    Your quote:
    "I'm not sure I understand. My whole point is that what the "nurses eat their young" crowd define as "mean" and what I define as "mean" are two different things."

    Is saying the same thing that Metal Monk was, it's all a matter of perspective. Different people will see and interpret things differently according to their position, experiences, and such.
    ^When speaking of perspective, one should know what place it's coming from...That's what a lot of nurses are posting, including myself.

    For example, I work in critical care. I'm a new grad on orientation. I was not able to be cleared to be a two nurse person check. I let the nurse I was precepting with (my preceptor was not here that day) know about it; her response was "let me find someone else," and rushed away. I went in and helped the nurse who reported off to us on one pt and helped out, and was getting a great experience. The charge nurse was available and she took me under her wing, while the precepting nurse had to catch up, which she did, an hour later. She apologized to me; she felt that her curt tone could've been offensive to me. I told her it wasn't; she needed to give the med in a timely manner, so my perception was never her being disrespectful or "mean." Our day was hectic; that particular pt we had declined in her status. Her timely manner helped when this particular pt went down. Her time management and my willingness to step aside at that moment helped make sure another pt's needs were net while we were able to focus on a unstable pt, and she was able to precept adequately to my needs.

    Another new grad or new hire nurse would've thought that her focus on getting her work done was rude or hurtful. Sometimes when you are at the beginning of orienting as a new nurse or in a new role or specialty, learn to step aside, be prepared to reveal if you are unsure; take the reins of vulnerability in a accountable way; most people will take you under their wing as soon as you make that spiel.
    II can only speak with my experience. I've been "new" numerous times in my 30+ years in my life-there will be plenty of "new" experiences. I've learned a style that has gotten net positive results, by advocating for myself from a place of security, even if I'm secure that I know NOTHING, I'm assertive enough to gain the experience I need, and have an open mind. You are NEVER going to know everything; nursing and healthcare is not designed for that.

    I have been a preceptor. My first focus is on learning styles; the most focus is on how well one can advocate for yourself. How comfortable is one to admit that they need to look things up? Need to reread things over and over?? Write things down? Need confidence in speaking to pts doctors and peers?? I appreciate the ones who are unsure and can admit it; because then the orientee can move on from there, and put it to rest and flourish as a competent nurse. I've seen it; I have also seen ones who choose not to, and will attempt to throw people under the bus, refuse to take responsibility, lie, and commit fraud to not do things the right way because of their egocentricism.


    Once one is active and committed to collaborating that knowledge with your "crusty" peers, the better the torch of their expertise will be passed to the next generation. That's how I interpreted GrnTea's post.

    Sometimes you have to put your vulnerability on your sleeve or set it aside to understand a different perspective, even if its not comfortable. We are dealing with people at a vulnerable place when we appear at the bedside...it's best for one to get in touch with it, grow from it, and leave it somewhere. Because when you are at that bedside, that clinic, that home, on the other side of the telephone, or in the classroom, the role is ADVOCATE, and it that role is empowering; it's best to be empowered than to feel useless or self-defeated, it will not do patients and their families as well as the NURSE ANY good.
  6. 1
    Quote from Esme12
    However there are those that are from the "Everybody wins" generation that don't realize that criticism alone isn't negative and no one is going to praise every thing you do.
    Let's not try to cast too many generational stones...

    I'm old enough and learned enough to know that the Boomers were termed the "Me Generation," characterized by self-involvement and a "me first" attitude.

    Also, the notion that "everybody wins" was taught to the generation you describe by generations before. The notion was not independently imagined by the children of that era, but orchestrated by teachers, administrators, psychologists, and scholars of human development from previous eras. Why then is it such a big freakin' surprise now that those teachings were adopted and integrated into their world views as adults???

    That's like indoctrinating a child in the Catholic religion and then criticizing them for not espousing the tenets of atheism as adults...We reap what we sow...In terms of abdicating all responsibility for something for which the responsibility is obviously shared, I can think of no better example than the rallying cry against the "Everybody Wins" generation that you have so succinctly presented here.
    Last edit by metal_m0nk on Feb 26, '13
    PatMac10,RN likes this.
  7. 3
    To present an example: During my final semesters as a student, I had OR training and training on an 80 bed med surg unit. The nurses for the most part were great, but I'm also a self starter. From the beginning, the expectations were clear: take the initiative or you're not staying. They were willing to help, but no one was overly friendly, or willing to hold my hand. Why? They had a job to do, and I had to prove myself. Certainly, respect goes both ways, but the responsibility ultimately lies with you, the newbie to demonstrate the willingness and the initiative to learn and fit in with the culture of that unit, not the other way around. Some people are mean and impatient, but for the most part, this isn't the case. It's a matter of perception.
    nursel56, Rose_Queen, and GrnTea like this.
  8. 0
    Quote from joanna73
    To present an example: During my final semesters as a student, I had OR training and training on an 80 bed med surg unit. The nurses for the most part were great, but I'm also a self starter. From the beginning, the expectations were clear: take the initiative or you're not staying. They were willing to help, but no one was overly friendly, or willing to hold my hand. Why? They had a job to do, and I had to prove myself. Certainly, respect goes both ways, but the responsibility ultimately lies with you, the newbie to demonstrate the willingness and the initiative to learn and fit in with the culture of that unit, not the other way around. Some people are mean and impatient, but for the most part, this isn't the case. It's a matter of perception.
    I'm with you. I have some fellow students who, as seniors, are less concerned with learning and more concerned with how early they can get out of clinical. Why would anyone be invested in teaching me if I am not invested in learning? I think there are bad reputations on both sides of the "new nurse-old nurse" line, but it is up to the individual, like you said
  9. 0
    Quote from joanna73
    To present an example: During my final semesters as a student, I had OR training and training on an 80 bed med surg unit. The nurses for the most part were great, but I'm also a self starter. From the beginning, the expectations were clear: take the initiative or you're not staying. They were willing to help, but no one was overly friendly, or willing to hold my hand. Why? They had a job to do, and I had to prove myself. Certainly, respect goes both ways, but the responsibility ultimately lies with you, the newbie to demonstrate the willingness and the initiative to learn and fit in with the culture of that unit, not the other way around. Some people are mean and impatient, but for the most part, this isn't the case. It's a matter of perception.
    I don't remember ever saying that anyone had to be overly friendly or hand-holding. I do remember saying that I can see how having to contend with that expectation could be frustrating.

    When more than one person is involved in the success or failure of a particular undertaking, then it is flippant to state that the responsibility for success or failure lies squarely on the shoulders of one. If that were true, why bother tasking experienced nurses with precepting new nurses at all? How useless that would be if their input was (as you say) ultimately ineffectual. In reality, they share the responsibility. Why? Because those experienced nurses were given a job to do, and part of that job includes mentorship.

    I agree that the newbie has ultimate control over his/her actions. Absolutely. Point blank. He or she must demonstrate willingness and initiative to learn and to fit into the culture of the unit. Without question. But it doesn't end there. Some people think of themselves as victims even in the face of as much support as can be reasonably expected, but for the most part, that isn't the case. It is indeed a matter of perception.
  10. 2
    I'm not being flippant at all. While experienced nurses are expected to mentor, ultimately, the success lies with the student. He/ she needs to be willing to learn and demonstrate initiative, otherwise the teaching won't be very successful. I gave that example for a reason, because in a nutshell, had I not been willing to learn, those nurses would have cut me loose. Their first priority was their patients, especially in settings such as acute, OR, ER. There is no time to worry if you're offending a newbie/ student in these settings. There are other priorities. Sink or swim.
    Rose_Queen and GrnTea like this.


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