nurses "eating" young - page 2

I have always heard that nurses are notorious for "eating" their young. I graduate in May. I have to say that I have witnessed this first hand, and have experienced it, as well. I have always... Read More

  1. by   RN4NICU
    Quote from 3rdShiftGuy
    some are quite tasty with a little A-1 sauce.
    Particularly the ones who try to come across as if they already know all there is to know about nursing (making it very obvious, in the process, that they know just enough to be dangerous). The ones who act like that practically hand us the bottle of A-1 sauce. No one likes to teach and nurture a cocky know-it-all.
  2. by   begalli
    Quote from stevielynn
    Begalli - you are great at stating the obvious, so thanks!!
    You're welcome! lonker2: (what's with these smileys? that's not what I clicked!)

    Don't get me wrong by the bluntness of my 1st post, I LOVE precepting, especially new grads.

    I think that so much is expected of nurses and what often may happen is that a nurse comes into work one day and is told, by the way, you will be orienting so and so today. This is another expectation put upon a nurse who may already be stressed or is stressed now because of the added surprise burden.

    It would be nice if nurses had the choice of whether or not to orient new people. I get the feeling that a choice isn't always available to nurses.

    Where I am we are asked weeks ahead of time if we would be interested in precepting a new nurse. We are allowed to say no if we don't want to, but that's not a problem because there are others who do.

    There are all types of personalities in life. I really don't believe that nurses "eat their young," but rather that some people in life just come across abrasive or stand-offish or whatever and some people are very sensitive to that. It can go both ways.

    Something I will never forget during my 2nd month being a nurse on my own and the best advice my nurse manager ever gave me is....."get a backbone and don't take things personally." Of course this statement is taken way out of the context in which it was originally stated so it may sound harsh, but believe me she was sooooo right on. And once I did what she suggested, I was and am a much better nurse because of it.
    Last edit by begalli on Feb 6, '05
  3. by   nursemike
    Momentarily possessed by Satan. All better, now.
    Last edit by nursemike? on Feb 7, '05
  4. by   Ruby Vee
    Quote from 3rdshiftguy
    steph, so many students and new grads say things like "why are nurses so rude to students" and "why do nurses eat their young", i'm beginning to wonder am i just blind to it happening? because it didn't happen to me and in all my years i don't see it happening. it must happen because so many people say it does, and it's not fair to discount their feelings. does your perspective change with experience? or am i just too much into my own high nurse to patient ratio am i oblivious to what's going on around me in the profression (most likely).

    i know the new grad on my floor is treated royally by myself the preceptor and my coworkers. we all did happy dances and hugged her when she passed boards this week.
    i think "eating your young" is part of the culture of some units. i congratulate you on never having encountered it! i have, and it sucks! however, i also agree with the previous poster who said that maybe some new grads have a bad experience with one or two nurses, then generalize it to "nurses eat their young."
  5. by   mattsmom81
    Quote from nursemike?
    snip
    Any suggestions?

    I have witnessed a little eating of young on my unit, or at least some serious nibbling. One new gal has had a hard time gaining the respect of her peers. She's smart, she's hard-working, and she cares, but she came to us awfully green. The early take on her was that she was "book-smart, but no common sense."Well, I'm a guy, and she's got some really nice hooters, so I have to believe that all she needed was some experience, and it's beginning to appear as though I was right. snip
    You want suggestions? Well how about refraining from comments like this on a BB or in real life?
  6. by   DelightRN
    Quote from mattsmom81
    You want suggestions? Well how about refraining from comments like this on a BB or in real life?
    Excellent point. :chuckle
  7. by   caroladybelle
    Quote from 3rdShiftGuy
    Steph, so many students and new grads say things like "why are nurses so rude to students" and "why do nurses eat their young", I'm beginning to wonder am I just blind to it happening? Because it didn't happen to me and in all my years I don't see it happening. It must happen because so many people say it does, and it's not fair to discount their feelings. Does your perspective change with experience? Or am I just too much into my own high nurse to patient ratio am I oblivious to what's going on around me in the profression (most likely).
    The problem is not all nurse "eating their young" is really nurse eating the young. Sometimes it is young that have no idea how to behave in a hospital environment, how to work hard and that the world is not that delicate Ivory tower that treats one with kid gloves.

    I recently did a column on this for another BB. Sometimes the young in question need to be eaten.

    Nursing school is a time of weeding out, ugly though that may seem. Many people in nursing school, even among its graduates, are not physically/psychologically/spiritually/educationally suited to be Nurses. Some will graduate and stay nurses...others will get out.

    I have dealt with many new nurses that were great and I have dealt with some that really had no business caring for living creatures with feelings. I have dealt with some that were so incredibly inappropriate that patients refused them.

    We see it on this BB. Someone vents on a situation in which they feel some entitlement, or that addresses professionalism, or manners, or that has been discussed ad nauseum. They spell poorly, use run on sentences, and are almost incomprehensible. Then one of us mentions that it is unprofessional to use such poor spelling and grammar (if they are discussing "professionalism"), or that we disagree with their opinion, or tell them that the suggestion is unworkable in our experience, or that they are not "entitled" to aid or assistance, or that they behaved badly.

    And we are accused of being unsympathetic or heartless or "eating our young". That anyone that would say such things must be a terrible nurse or a bad person. And then another will get sanctimonious about how they would never do such a thing.

    Disagreeing, gently correcting based on experience, and pointing out errors that are contrary to one's purported message...these are not "eating". Unfortunately, some new grads do not know the difference between these ane truly "being eaten".

    Nursing is no longer "Cherry Ames". We can't stay impossibly neat and tidy, patients are no longer polite and it gets ugly in the trenches. You need to be tough to survive. And if your feelings get hurt by a harsh word or two, or you always expect fairness....well, life isn't fair.

    And yes, I was eating by my first preceptor out of Nursing school. And it kept me from getting a job that I wanted. But you know, I survived it and have become a sought after Nurse. The person that treated me badly, well....she is no longer a nurse. But I don't expect goodness and light, wherever I go. If I am in a bad assignment, I try to make it better, and if life is good, I enjoy it.
    Last edit by caroladybelle on Feb 7, '05
  8. by   nursemike
    Quote from mattsmom81
    You want suggestions? Well how about refraining from comments like this on a BB or in real life?
    Wasn't actually the part I was looking for suggestions about, but point taken. Sorry. Seemed a lot funnier last night.
  9. by   begalli
    clb- I liked your entire post, but this especially:

    Quote from caroladybelle
    Nursing is no longer "Cherry Ames". We can't stay impossibly neat and tidy, patients are no longer polite and it gets ugly in the trenches. You need to be tough to survive. And if your feelings get hurt by a harsh word or two, or you always expect fairness....well, life isn't fair.
    Quote from begalli
    Something I will never forget during my 2nd month being a nurse on my own and the best advice my nurse manager ever gave me....."get a backbone and don't take things personally."
    I think these two quotes fit together perfectly.
  10. by   meownsmile
    I orientate/precept a lot of new nurses/student nurses. I love having students/ new hires. Many will ask for me for their orientation, because i have helped them so much as students.
    I actually think a lot of this "eating their young" concept comes out of very down to business attitude most nurses have to take. I think sometimes new nurses come in expecting to handled with kid gloves and they have their sweet nice tone tuned into their voices because they are new and want to be liked and dont understand why when in orientation they dont get the sweet tone in return.
    Just dont read into things being said. Maybe they are just said. The nurse isnt worrying about how you take it. We dont have time. Thicken up that shell and dont take it personally if i dont speak to you like you are 10 again. Im not there to make friends, im there to do a job and you should be too.
    I know this sounds harsh, but i really think it has a lot to do with it. It's not that we dont want you there, its we dont have time to meet and greet and be sweet and put honey on this and that. We have 8-10 patients that all have things going on we have to remember. The last thing on my mind is my tone of voice. It's just some have a little harsher sound than others.
  11. by   mattsmom81
    I've seen some new nurses flounder and fail simply because of their lack of astuteness with politics/work relationships. I've seen them fail because they were obnoxious and failed to see their limitations, and would not take correction. Seldom do I see them fail 'just' because of the experienced staff...there is always a reason on their own side that caused the problem and its generally because they refuse to learn. Nursing school is over: new grads beware...real life nursing is a whole new ballgame.

    Young nurses need to find some good mentors who want to help...(there's generally a few...if there are NONE you've made your first big mistake in your choice of 1st workplace) new grad internships provide the best support IMHO.

    Find a mentor and ask them for constructive criticism and feedback; and don't be afraid to hear it. JMHO.
    Last edit by mattsmom81 on Feb 7, '05
  12. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Quote from nursemike?
    Wasn't actually the part I was looking for suggestions about, but point taken. Sorry. Seemed a lot funnier last night.
    it wasn't. Maybe you can edit it out? I did not find it amusing,either. Be careful you don't enter nursing saying things like this. It is still primarily female,and I am sure you would encounter some serious "young eating" if you did.

    Your comment took you down a peg in my eyes, anyhow.

    Great thoughts, especially the Cherry Ames comment. It's so true, nursing is not "nice" all the time and it's never easy. Perhaps what is considered "young eating" is perhaps an attempt to toughen up some people so they CAN take the punches that are sure to come their way, from all directions: patients/family, managers/administrators and of course, certain doctors. Consider that, too.
  13. by   meownsmile
    Exactly, smileingblueyes:,, let a p.o'd doc get ahold of one of these youngsters and im sure they would prefer getting a bite from a RN any ole day, i know i would. Even if nurses tend to be a little sharp,, at least we arent quite as nasty about things as docs can be. Ive seen the most experienced nurses brought to tears by a nasty doctor attitude.

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