"Nurses Eating Their Young"

by Doc Lori, R.N.

51,800 Views | 111 Comments
  1. 86
    In homage to an Allnurses member who wrote a wonderful article entitled "Nurses Are So Mean", I'd like to provide excerpts from my personal blog which I wrote not to long ago. I give enormous kudos and applause to the writer of this article, and I sincerely agree. It seriously is about taking the time to evaluate your self and your actions, and the rationales for your reactions. It is about looking inward..it is ultimately about personal growth and fulfillment.

    Typically, when mammals eat their young, it is an instinct which satisfies dominance. There is a clear lack of emotional bond and attachment, so what creates their desire to dominate? The young are simply perceived as a threat, that's what. A threat to what, you ask? To the natural progression of things. To safety. To the way things 'should' be. Naturally, when referring to nurses who eat their young, they don't take a young-wet-behind-the-ears-new-graduate into the break room, season 'em up with condiments and literally ingest them. Or, shall I say, I hope not. Besides, this most probably requires the taking of a full lunch break, and who the heck has time for that.

    Let's be rationale. For us human type mammals, it's safe to say that in this case, the word "eat" implies a sense of "control over", "I'll tell you a thing or two", and "who do you think you are bouncing in here all bright eyed and bushy tailed on my territory".

    Guess what it really means?

    In case this is your first experience reading my writing, I like to utilize the analogy of pretending we live in the stone age to get points such as these across with humor and candor.

    Say you go to work your shift, and your manager indicates that perhaps they forgot to mention this to you, uh..but you are such a strong nurse that you are a new graduate's preceptor for the next 6 weeks. You are wearing a uni-shouldered Betty Rubble frock, and are armed with a club. You have a bone in your hair. You are introduced to Penelope Perky, R.N. Good grief, even her club is new and fancy. (Go figure, yours has been used a lot more). A Littman drapes around her delicate swan-like neck, worn much like the Queen's sash, having just been coronated. Her clogs, a pair of shiny white virgins never knowing the warm pleasures of vomit, MRSA, liquid stool and urine. Her new name tag doesn't even have one lousy drop of blood on it, yet. Penelope is eager, full of fresh ideas, channeling her inner Florence Nightingale, ready to change the world. HA! What does she know! Your eyes narrow into slits, your pupils are pinpoint. You raise your club in the middle of morning report, ready to pounce on the threat to all that Is.

    Hold it right there. Here is the time to evaluate. Because you are a cave-person, you only speak in grunts, only experience feelings viscerally. If you were to only have one word available to you to describe your reaction, what would it be? What color is it? 'Where' do you feel it?

    Why is it that you feel the need to strike? You are evolved, intelligent and insightful. Go beyond the primal instinct to devour. What the heck is the problem here?

    That evening when you are in Wilma's kitchen ready to make a pot of pterodactyl soup, boil this down also:

    From my loving heart space to yours, I share this with you, clubs down. Fear is the basis of all outward emotion. Yes, Ms. Thang, Ms. I-can-catheterize-a-nun-in-the-dark, Ms. Go-to for all of your unit's tough blood draws, Ms. I am on first name basis with every physician who has practicing privileges within 500 miles. You are fearful. But, of what, and why?

    Consider --
    1. Fear of change
    2. Fear of actualizing skill sets which you need work on
    3. Fear of being perceived as something less than or inferior to who you would like to be perceived as
    4. Fear of a shift in the hierarchy of your unit
    5. Fear of having to address issues about why you respond to things in the manner which you do
    6. Fear of growth
    7. Fear of other's acceptance of and the embracing of new staff
    8. Fear of not being able to feel safe
    9. Fear of the unexpected
    10. Fear of aging


    Be secure in who you are. Do self love and boundary work. Elevate your consciousness for the sake of embracing the goodness of all. Eliminate feelings of threat. Forgive past circumstances for causing you pain and heart ache. Love yourself enough to accomplish these things. You are worthy of the care which you provide to others. Be kind to new nurses. (They may have to give you an enema some day). Above all, always remember to Nurse Your Spirit!
    Last edit by Joe V on Jun 30, '10 : Reason: formatting for easier reading
    Nuby, jimithing112, eleectrosaurus, and 83 others like this.
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  3. About Doc Lori, R.N.

    Doc Lori, R.N. joined Jun '10 - from 'Tucson, AZ.'. Doc Lori, R.N. has '22' year(s) of experience and specializes in 'Dialysis,M/S,Home Care,LTC, Admin,Rehab'. Posts: 136 Likes: 362; Learn more about Doc Lori, R.N. by visiting their allnursesPage


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    111 Comments so far...

  4. 22
    I enjoy helping our new nurses. They are eager to learn and they seem to appreciate any helpful knowledge you share. It's rewarding to see them smile after doing a procedure on their own while you observe. Train them well for they may be your nurse in the future.
    sj23, krazievi3t6url, Shelbster, and 19 others like this.
  5. 5
    Amen. Being with a new nurse is like looking at an old reflection of yourself in a mirror. If you stand firm in who you are, then you may be open to learning new things (about nursing), but primarily, yourself
    Cyndi13, dmdabajb, Getreal2011, and 2 others like this.
  6. 1
    AMEN!
    ru4rns likes this.
  7. 6
    What a great article. We do need to examine why we would want to "eat our young." For myself I love new grads, all that enthusiasm and new knowledge seems to rub off and give new energy to everyone. I pray the eaters are in the minority as we so badly need this younger set to relieve the vast shortage.
    Cyndi13, dmdabajb, timetoshine, and 3 others like this.
  8. 18
    Oh shucks- I thought this was going to be a recipe.

    Oh well, never mind.
    sj23, jimithing112, ICURN099, and 15 others like this.
  9. 3
    ""Oh shucks- I thought this was going to be a recipe.

    Oh well, never mind""".

    Ahhhaaaa!!!
    Saiderap, TiddlDwink, and Davey Do like this.
  10. 7
    Great article! I've seen it happen before, even while I was doing my clinical rotations. Some nurses just don't have tact or the ability to teach. Thank goodness for good/nice nurses!
    Cyndi13, Getreal2011, pussycat66, and 4 others like this.
  11. 5
    "Fear is the basis of all outward emotion"

    Doc Lori:

    With all due respect, I beg to partially differ. One School of Thought (SOT) would say your statement is a half truth. True, in that, emotions are motivated by fear. However, emotions are also motivated by love. Basically, this SOT says that ALL emotions are motivated by love or fear. Every emotion is an extension of those two emotions.

    Some may say that the opposite of love is hate. Not so, according to this SOT. Edgar Caycee said something to the effect that the basis of love and hate are both inspired by same emotion. That's a hard nut to crack, so allow me to put the concept in different terms.

    Anger, for example, is due to fear of loss. Loss of control, for example. Fearing to possess control over a situation or an entity causes fear. Anything could happen without control. That fear of loss of control results in anger.

    I could react in anger to your statement, express it in terms of fear, and say, "I'll not have you take away my concept of reality, bigod, Doc Lori!" I would fear that my seemingly stable perspective of reality was being challenged and vulnerable to extinction (or loss), if I can't support my premise.

    Or, I could express it in terms of love by saying, "You know, as individuals, we each have our own opinion. I have a relatively good amount of self love. That self love allows me to have the energy to have empathy for you, my allnurses.com companion. I vicariously care for you as a human being. So, let's agree to disagree." Love is giving. I am giving of myself, in that, the important thing is not for me to be "right". The important thing is that we get along and continue our symbiotic relationship.

    Just a minute. I gotta take a break. Push me into the shallow water.

    I hope my premise didn't get lost in all my mumbo-jumbo. That premise was: "All emotions are a result of fear or love".

    I'll be here all week, so if you have any future song requests, be sure to let me know. I can also dance.

    Thank you and good night.
    TiddlDwink, dpn55107, koreaabc92, and 2 others like this.
  12. 9
    This sounds about right to me. I need to print this up and hang it on the bulletin board in the back of the nurses' station....Some of my coworkers like to go after the new people and I'm tired of their bullying ways. They did it to me; I was able to get past it. Some others have not.


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