Nurses EAT their own!!! Help!



  1. I am getting very depressed. I was working in a small OB office until last October. I worked with different women and we had our days but worked things out.

    Well, I started at a hospital in October, (career change) and am working in OB. But, within the first 2 hours of work, I noticed something that might be the norm to some of you.

    EVERY SINGLE nurse had something bad to say about another. Whether it was about her looks, her work, her anything!!! I didn't listen, as I always form my own opinions about everyone. But the problem is getting worse. It is almost like everyone is stabbing everyone else in the back. Little things, big things. I can't take it!!!!

    If someone has a problem with me, I would rather they come to my face and tell me about it. I want EVEYRONE to just get along. I want us all to be NURSES, and be at our job for the patients. To stick together, to stick up for each other. The way that doctors do. But I am learning that nurses eat their own.

    I don't know what to do. I interupt someone if they start talking negative about someone else. I don't listen and if I do hear it, I ignore it. I don't put in my 2 cents.

    I know that I won't fix the world with this but does anyone have this as a major problem where they work??

    I don't know who to trust. A nurse the other day told me to watch out for a couple of nurses who like to report things to administration. One of the nurses I THINK is my friend. BUt now I don't know.

    I can't stand the phoniness in someone's actions when two minutes before they were talking really bad about that person. It's like junior high again and I hated junior high. It is another reason that I don't have too many women friends.....which is sad.

    I don't know if I am being a victim of the problem but I would like to know, I think. I just don't know if I want to work somewhere like this. What do you think???????
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  2. 90 Comments

  3. by   jaxnRN
    One more thing, this happens in each department that I have been in , MEd/Surg too. Maybe not as bad though!
  4. by   KC CHICK
    I know this sounds bad, but ...here it goes anyway....
    I think this backstabbing is a problem of WOMEN and not of nurses in general. I've worked with men in an office environment (before I became a nurse)...and they don't behave in the catty way that women tend to do. Working with women in that same office, I observed much backstabbing and rudeness.

    Sorry to say gals (myself included), but I see it as a gender issue...not a nursing issue. -OR- A gender issue that affects nursing....that might be a better way to put it.

    Anne
  5. by   deespoohbear
    I guess I am blessed to work in a department where most of us get along decently. Yeah, we fight and argue some like all "families" do but we make up again. There is another department in our hospital that is just like the department you described. Them girls are out for blood. Talk about each other behind their backs and so on. I would never want to work in that department because it is cut-throat.

    I don't really have an answer for you to explain why some departments are like this. Maybe it stems back from some long ago forgotten argument. Maybe they are unhappy in their jobs or their lives. Maybe they just like to gripe.

    I would say if it gets too bad for you, I would seriously consider getting another job. If you stay in the atmosphere very long you may just find yourself brought down to their level.

    Best Wishes.

    (Hope some of this makes sense for you.)
  6. by   sjoe
    "It is almost like everyone is stabbing everyone else in the back."

    Welcome to nursing. This dynamic has been discussed at length on several threads already, so at this point I'll just recommend a book, and include some quotes from it, so you can decide whether to read it or not:

    Simmons, Rachel, "Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls," Harcourt, NY, 2002.

    3 There is a hidden culture of girls' aggression in which bullying is epidemic, distinctive, and destructive. It is not marked by the direct physical and verbal behavior that is primarily the province of boys. Our culture refuses girls access to open conflict, and it forces their aggression into nonphysical, indirect, and covert forms. Girls use backbiting, exclusion, rumors, name-calling, and manipulation to inflict psychological pain on targeted victims. Unlike boys, who tend to bully acquaintances or strangers, girls frequently attack within tightly knit networks of friends, making aggression harder to identify and intensifying the damage to the victims.

    30 ...as Carol Gilligan has shown, relationships play an unusually important role in girls' social development. In her work with girls and boys, she found that girls perceive danger in their lives as isolation, especially the fear that by standing out they will be abandoned. Boys, however, describe danger as a fear of entrapment or smothering.

    31 During her interviews with adults, sociologist Anne Campbell found that where men viewed aggression as a means to control their environment and integrity, women believed it would terminate their relationships.

    262 Most of the behaviors mapped out in this book--nonverbal gesturing, ganging up, behind-the-back talking, rumor spreading, the Survivor-like exiling of cliques, note passing, the silent treatment, nice-in--private and mean-in-public friends--are fueled by the lack of face-to-face confrontations.

    263 Over and over again, looking bad or stupid--in their parlance, "getting judged"--was their worst fear.
    ...
    "The most remarkable thing about the socialization of aggression in girls is its absence," writes sociologist Anne Campbell. "Girls do not learn the right way to express aggression; they simply learn not to express it."
  7. by   cindyln
    give me a pina colada please
  8. by   frannybee
    Have two, Cindy. Cheers.
  9. by   cwazycwissyRN
    As someone pointed out this is a topic you can do a search on and find a wealth of information on. I don't seem to have very good luck with my "search" button, must be doing something wrong.
    I believe this topic is seen on the boards so often, because it is an ongoing problem. It is also a very important part of our working environment. It may be an inate part of who we are as women, but I feel it is more than that. Competition? Low self esteem? Anger? Frustration? To me there is no excuse for treating someone rudely. We are professionals. We should be able to extend a work ethic that provides a "working" environment.
    I have ask more than one nurse I work with, to tell me to get out of nursing, when they see the day I start eating the young.
    I only have one person, of whom I have control of, regarding their actions. ME
  10. by   Lausana
    No, it's not nurses, it's people who need to feel better about themselves by making others look bad. It's everywhere.

    Be straightforward. Tell them to their face, I'm here to work I don't care to hear everyone else's business. Call them out on this behavior. If you are this way to them, you deserve it back. Hopefully, your honesty will embarrass them enough to make them stop acting like children. Translation: Be the grownup.
  11. by   baseline
    This is not a nursing issue but a human issue. Does it happen more often with the females of our species? MMMM. Probably. However, groups of men in a work situation can also reduce themselves to whiney backstabbing idiots. Either roll with it or find a new work place.
  12. by   RNonsense
    I worked in retail before I went into nursing. Happened there too.
    I'm not sure if men are they same. Any menfolk want to comment on this?

    I'll take a good old Bud today, thanks
  13. by   Katnip
    It's true. It tends to be a problem everywhere. I think, and I may be wrong, that traditionally girls are raised to be less confrontational. Not everyone mind you. But because of this, facing someone with a problem you may have goes against the grain for a lot of women. And when they do, they are often called "b**ches."

    The good thing is, I'm seeing a gradual lessening of this attitude with younger generations of women. At least it seems that way.
  14. by   sunnygirl272
    Originally posted by cindyln
    give me a pina colada please

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