Please don't eat your young. - page 5

as a nursing student i am having a hard time understanding why a good number of nurses are so nasty to nursing students. don't they realize that we are the people who will help fill the shortages in... Read More

  1. by   Tweety
    Quote from Kiren
    I am not saying that this is the case with most nurses, it is not. All I am saying is that there seems to be a problem with a lot of student and some of the nurses out there. Most of the nurses I have come across have been great, but like it or not some nurses have it in for us (imho).

    Understood. There are nurses out there like that. Also remember the persective of the student, is the perspective of the student and is sometimes skewed incorrectly to negatively view the nurse. Often things are interpreted as being rude when it's simply something else. But I agree with you 100% there are some student haters out there. I work with a couple. I also work others that love students but sometimes just get weary week after week day after day and sometimes just need a break. Flame me if you will, but it's not always an honor and a privilege to have you. And if I look askance when the 10th student approaches me for the day, don't come here screaming "why do nurses eat their young!", I'm just tired and stressed and trying to get my work done (that you presume you are doing for me). I came across a group of students talking "I can't believe the nasty dressing left on that patient. The nurses here are nasty." We had specific instructions from the surgeon to leave the dressing on. Oh, I can match you story for story of students who take joy in superiority to the staff nurses they visit in clinicals. Like it or not, there are students out there like that.


    I appreciate that you clarify that it's not most nurses. You do need a place where you can vent your bad experiences with nurses, and I appreciate that.

    Any nurse that yells at work needs management attention. I hope you reported this nurse because being short and dismissive is one thing, "yelling" is another.

    That's it for this thread. I'll add my two cents in the next nurses eat their young thread.

    With respect.
    Last edit by Tweety on Apr 26, '07
  2. by   oneLoneNurse
    Quote from SmilingBluEyes
    And maybe some people don't have their heads in the sand and see things clearly. There is no syndrome at work here-----but there ARE bullies in every career field. Nursing is no different.
    I disagree. Nursing is DIFFERENT. I have worked in many different industries in many parts of the continent. In no other occupation have I ever seen such "bullying."

    Nursing needs to recognize and change this problem so we can keep and train good people and ease the nursing shortage. The problem should be addressed, and no I don't know how to change it. But not recognizing it is not going to make it go away.
    Last edit by oneLoneNurse on Apr 27, '07
  3. by   Tweety
    Quote from oneLoneNurse
    I disagree. Nursing is DIFFERENT. I have worked in many different industries in many parts of the continent. In no other occupation have I ever seen such "bullying."

    Nursing needs to recognize and change this problem so we can keep and train good people and ease the nursing shortage. The problem should be addressed, and no I don't know how to change it. But not recognizing it is not going to make it go away.
    Agree to disagree. Nursing is not unique as a profession that fosters bullying.

    But yes, nursing is different because you can't compare the bullying that goes on in nursing, with the bullying that goes on in the "dog eat dog world" business world, medical school, a newsroom, or a hair salon. Every place is different.

    I've been lucky, probably because as I guy I've never been bullied in nursing. I don't see nurses eat their young or being bullied. Of course I know it's out there and occurs, but I'm not 100% convinced it's a "nursing issue". But if a bully causes one new grad to leave us, that's one new grad too many and perhaps it is a nursing issue. Definately an issue that needs not to be swept under the rug.

    Also, perhaps because I was truly bullied throughout my childhood and adolences for being "different" in a town and time period when that wasn't cool, a lot of what I read here is not bullyingin my eyes. I see a lot of overaction on the part of people who post here. Yeah I'll get flamed here, but I have a high tolerance for everyday rudeness and don't consider it bullying. I choose my battles and while I have a high tolerance doesn't mean I accept rude and mean people. Fortunately 99% of the people I come across on a daily basis are neutral to friendly, and I can deal with the rest. Trust me if I was ever bullied, I would know it and they wouldn't even go there again.

    I don't have any answers either, but I decline to buy into the idea that I'm part of a culture that bullies and eats their young. No we're not angles of mercy either.

    Does bullying in the workplace need addressing? Absolutely.
    Last edit by Tweety on Apr 27, '07
  4. by   rnin02
    I don't think I was ever "eaten" when I was a student or a new grad. I did have some less then pleasant interactions with nurses that still happens from time to time. The bad clinical experiences I had, ones were the nurses didn't want to teach us, weren't friendly, sort of pushed us off to the side as much as possible also happened to be the ones were the clinical instructor would disappear when we hit the floor. Of course they didn't want to take full responsibility for us, that was our instructors role, to guide us, supervise meds, etc; let the nurses know what we could and couldn't do. So, any students out there who are unhappy with their clinical encounters, take another look at it...where's your instructor when all this "eating" is going on?

    And, like others have already said, maybe the nurse is having a bad, bad day. Maybe she/he doesn't feel they have the time (or patience) to teach, etc that day. Its hard to preceptor someone! I didn't fully understand that till I got to the point I was precepting people...it can be extremely difficult to know when to step in, when to let go, how to teach something you just know. And also, many students are only there for 6 hours or so at a time, so you may be briefly doing "all the work" but the nurse has to not only watch everything you've done all day (almost double work, but not quite) and then be prepared to jump back in at the end of the day. Its not easy, and somedays its hard to have the right attitude.
  5. by   Ruby Vee
    [font="comic sans ms"]if the catchphrase "nurses eat their young" had been in vogue when i was a new grad, i would have been convinced i was being eaten. i was a brand new bsn grad in a hospital that had it's own diploma program -- a mistake i didn't even realize i'd made until the "eating" commenced. from the start, i was made more than aware that i just didn't measure up to a diploma graduate. the charge nurses banded together and went to my head nurse (that's what we called them then) to demand that i be fired and that she hire a diploma grad in my stead.

    although i didn't realize it at the time, i was making things much worse for myself than they needed to be. i was shy and didn't socialize with my co-workers from the start. i spoke when spoken to, or to ask questions. some of the questions i asked were dumb questions. if i'd kept my eyes open instead of being huddled into my misery, i would have seen the answers to those questions and not branded myself as being hopelessly dumb from the start. (once a group has that opinion of you, it's next to impossible to change it.) i didn't have a preceptor -- i was the first bsn grad this particular nursing unit had hired, and they had no idea what to do with me. my clinicals consisted of two hours in the evening to pick your patient and read up on them, and then four hours the next morning. that suited me just fine because i needed the afternoons for the three part time jobs i always had going to work my way through school! but i'd only inserted one iv, one ng tube, no foleys . . . you get the picture. i was totally inadequate. with a decent preceptor to coach me through it, it would have been ok.

    with 20/20 hindsight, i can see what i contributed to my negative interactions with my co-workers. some of them were guilty of bullying, perhaps, but most were just flummoxed by a new orientee that didn't perform anywhere close to the new orientees they were used to -- those that had actually run charge for their last semester of school and who were used to staffing a unit on the night shift. i couldn't quit because i was supporting a husband and paying back my school loans. i was so miserable, i was walking around with a huge "kick me" sign on my back, and my co-workers obliged. after two years of misery, i was an ok nurse, but it took moving to a new city and a new job before i was ever viewed as competent . . . and there's another story of bullying. i didn't have to go through any of that.

    so, in a roundabout way, i come to my point:
    in these boards, it seems as if most posters see the problem as older, more experienced nurses not being nice enough to the poor, innocent newbie who has no contribution to all of these negative interactions inflicted upon them. rarely do i see a newbie saying that they've examined their own contributions to the problem and tried to alter their own behavior because of that examination; rarely to i see a poster suggest to the newbie that they do just that.

    communication is a two way street. it's rare that one person is totally perfect and the other is a horrible, mean human being who is nasty to them for no good reason. yes, nancy nurse may be having a horrible day and she snapped at a newbie, but perhaps the reason she picked you to snap at instead of the other newbie standing right next to you is that you have been an annoying little weasel from the get-go while your compatriot there has been friendly, helpful and is seen to be genuinely trying while you look to be a self-entitled jerk looking out for number one and attempting to weasel out of work. (please understand that i'm not commenting on anyone personally -- i've never met any of you and don't know how charming or annoying you may or may not be.) maybe that older nurse you're quick to accuse of eating her young may just not like you for some reason that you have total control over. on the other hand, maybe it is her -- and you remind her of her husband's mistress or some such.

    but please, please please take away from my rant here that if you feel you're being unfairly picked on, please spend some time honestly examining your own part in these interactions. perhaps with 20/20 hingsight, you'll realize that much of it really is your fault. certainly, part of it is your fault. with time spent in self-examination perhaps you can alter those behaviors of yours that are putting everyone's teeth on edge so that it won't take you two miserable years and a cross-country move to turn things around!
    Last edit by SmilingBluEyes on Apr 28, '07 : Reason: no changes made, mistaken entry.
  6. by   Mulan
    I have to disagree with the blame the victim, one could be Mother Theresa and still be eaten.
  7. by   Spidey's mom
    As I've mentioned on other threads, I didn't start nursing school until I was 38. I worked in many different kinds of jobs and in ALL of them I encountered rude people and yes, bullies. I was sexually harassed at one.

    Count me in as a nurse who would like to see the phrase "nurses eat their young" done away with.

    I would like to see colleges address the bullying behavior of some people though - in all career choices.

    steph
  8. by   rnin02
    Quote from ruby vee
    if the catchphrase "nurses eat their young" had been in vogue when i was a new grad, i would have been convinced i was being eaten. i was a brand new bsn grad in a hospital that had it's own diploma program -- a mistake i didn't even realize i'd made until the "eating" commenced. from the start, i was made more than aware that i just didn't measure up to a diploma graduate. the charge nurses banded together and went to my head nurse (that's what we called them then) to demand that i be fired and that she hire a diploma grad in my stead.

    although i didn't realize it at the time, i was making things much worse for myself than they needed to be. i was shy and didn't socialize with my co-workers from the start. i spoke when spoken to, or to ask questions. some of the questions i asked were dumb questions. if i'd kept my eyes open instead of being huddled into my misery, i would have seen the answers to those questions and not branded myself as being hopelessly dumb from the start. (once a group has that opinion of you, it's next to impossible to change it.) i didn't have a preceptor -- i was the first bsn grad this particular nursing unit had hired, and they had no idea what to do with me. my clinicals consisted of two hours in the evening to pick your patient and read up on them, and then four hours the next morning. that suited me just fine because i needed the afternoons for the three part time jobs i always had going to work my way through school! but i'd only inserted one iv, one ng tube, no foleys . . . you get the picture. i was totally inadequate. with a decent preceptor to coach me through it, it would have been ok.

    with 20/20 hindsight, i can see what i contributed to my negative interactions with my co-workers. some of them were guilty of bullying, perhaps, but most were just flummoxed by a new orientee that didn't perform anywhere close to the new orientees they were used to -- those that had actually run charge for their last semester of school and who were used to staffing a unit on the night shift. i couldn't quit because i was supporting a husband and paying back my school loans. i was so miserable, i was walking around with a huge "kick me" sign on my back, and my co-workers obliged. after two years of misery, i was an ok nurse, but it took moving to a new city and a new job before i was ever viewed as competent . . . and there's another story of bullying. i didn't have to go through any of that.

    so, in a roundabout way, i come to my point:
    in these boards, it seems as if most posters see the problem as older, more experienced nurses not being nice enough to the poor, innocent newbie who has no contribution to all of these negative interactions inflicted upon them. rarely do i see a newbie saying that they've examined their own contributions to the problem and tried to alter their own behavior because of that examination; rarely to i see a poster suggest to the newbie that they do just that.

    communication is a two way street. it's rare that one person is totally perfect and the other is a horrible, mean human being who is nasty to them for no good reason. yes, nancy nurse may be having a horrible day and she snapped at a newbie, but perhaps the reason she picked you to snap at instead of the other newbie standing right next to you is that you have been an annoying little weasel from the get-go while your compatriot there has been friendly, helpful and is seen to be genuinely trying while you look to be a self-entitled jerk looking out for number one and attempting to weasel out of work. (please understand that i'm not commenting on anyone personally -- i've never met any of you and don't know how charming or annoying you may or may not be.) maybe that older nurse you're quick to accuse of eating her young may just not like you for some reason that you have total control over. on the other hand, maybe it is her -- and you remind her of her husband's mistress or some such.

    but please, please please take away from my rant here that if you feel you're being unfairly picked on, please spend some time honestly examining your own part in these interactions. perhaps with 20/20 hingsight, you'll realize that much of it really is your fault. certainly, part of it is your fault. with time spent in self-examination perhaps you can alter those behaviors of yours that are putting everyone's teeth on edge so that it won't take you two miserable years and a cross-country move to turn things around!
    i think you made some great points. or one great point, it takes at least 2 people to have a negative (or positive) interaction...and you can't control the other person's contribution, only your own. definitely a good point to examine your actions/reactions and see if there is room for adjustment.
  9. by   PsychRN-Kris
    Quote from queenjean
    But they're so tasty....
    ROFL!

    Seriously though, I used to wonder the same thing as a student since the majority of nurses I worked with seemed less than thrilled to have a student. I've had students coming through the last few months and really got a birdseye view of what it's like to have a student after having a few assigned to me. They slow you down and when you're having a crazy, hectic shift it's hard to stop and teach. You are responsible for checking up on that student to make sure he/she is delivering safe care to your patients. When you're tired and all you want to do is go home your patience is not at it's peak. It's not the student's fault they are inquisative and eager to learn. I really try and stop and think about my own student experiances back in school when I'm wearing thin on patience. For instance, if a student is asking questions and I'm not able to answer at that moment I say "That's an excellant question, hold it with any other questions you have and when I'm done and can give you 100% of my attention we'll talk about it." It's intimidating being a student but the experiances they have molds their future, so I try and be the best role model I can with them.
  10. by   linzz
    It is too bad that nursing school doesn't come up with a manual for students and how to handle clinicals. I vote that this thread be printed for nursing students. I know I sure could have used the advice many times.

    On another note, I had a student on the unit one day where I did my pre grad time and when she left, what a mess, towels, garbage everywhere. Not saying this is common but these are some of the little things that surely would drive the nurses crazy.
  11. by   SmilingBluEyes
    We shall have to agree to disagree regarding having our heads in the sand.....I have been in nursing 10 years and I think I am pretty clear how it is, after all.

    Nursing really is not so very different than most other career fields in this regard.

    I have been a waitress, papercarrier, and also served in the military (talk about tough environment, being one of only 5 women in a shop of over 100 men!).-----did all these things prior to entering nursing. It was the same everywhere. You had your bad apples,but they were vastly outnumbered by the good people from whom I learned so much.. I am amazed by the emphasis we are placing on the bad ones and how hard it seems to be for some people to find the good. I had people attempt to chew me up early in my career, but they were certainly were not the majority. Self-assertion is a wonderful thing, no matter what your walk of life is. You really do teach others how to treat you.

    Most of the nurses I have worked with, some of whom had more than 35 years' experience are compassionate and more than willing to teach and nurture new nurses. The sour ones, while there were some, were small in numbers, really. I always advise new nurses to find their "mentor" among coworkers, and try to emulate their best qualities and go to them when they have questions or problems. There is someone like this in virtually every unit and hospital there is. Find that person and learn all you can from him or her! And stop letting the crabby ones get to you; they will leave you alone when you show them they cannot get under your skin.

    Here is another thought: How about the "young" try coming from a position of strength, and for a start, STOP thinking of themselves as our "young"? Another member said this in another thread, and she was right-on: this type of thinking really places newer nurses in a position of being infantile and helpless. And that is just not true! Really, we are all adults and quite responsible for our conduct and yes, also have some control of how we are treated in the work place, and in life.

    Now, if anyone feels nursing is so overwhelmingly negative, maybe, nursing really is not for them. It is not for everyone, after all. And that does not make anyone a failure to admit it and try to find a better fit than nursing is.

    For those who think nursing is unique in this way, and see no way out but to leave, I wish you the best and hope you do find a place/career that nurtures your needs more than nursing has. Good luck.
    Last edit by SmilingBluEyes on Apr 28, '07
  12. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Quote from ruby vee
    [font="comic sans ms"]if the catchphrase "nurses eat their young" had been in vogue when i was a new grad, i would have been convinced i was being eaten. i was a brand new bsn grad in a hospital that had it's own diploma program -- a mistake i didn't even realize i'd made until the "eating" commenced. from the start, i was made more than aware that i just didn't measure up to a diploma graduate. the charge nurses banded together and went to my head nurse (that's what we called them then) to demand that i be fired and that she hire a diploma grad in my stead.

    although i didn't realize it at the time, i was making things much worse for myself than they needed to be. i was shy and didn't socialize with my co-workers from the start. i spoke when spoken to, or to ask questions. some of the questions i asked were dumb questions. if i'd kept my eyes open instead of being huddled into my misery, i would have seen the answers to those questions and not branded myself as being hopelessly dumb from the start. (once a group has that opinion of you, it's next to impossible to change it.) i didn't have a preceptor -- i was the first bsn grad this particular nursing unit had hired, and they had no idea what to do with me. my clinicals consisted of two hours in the evening to pick your patient and read up on them, and then four hours the next morning. that suited me just fine because i needed the afternoons for the three part time jobs i always had going to work my way through school! but i'd only inserted one iv, one ng tube, no foleys . . . you get the picture. i was totally inadequate. with a decent preceptor to coach me through it, it would have been ok.

    with 20/20 hindsight, i can see what i contributed to my negative interactions with my co-workers. some of them were guilty of bullying, perhaps, but most were just flummoxed by a new orientee that didn't perform anywhere close to the new orientees they were used to -- those that had actually run charge for their last semester of school and who were used to staffing a unit on the night shift. i couldn't quit because i was supporting a husband and paying back my school loans. i was so miserable, i was walking around with a huge "kick me" sign on my back, and my co-workers obliged. after two years of misery, i was an ok nurse, but it took moving to a new city and a new job before i was ever viewed as competent . . . and there's another story of bullying. i didn't have to go through any of that.

    so, in a roundabout way, i come to my point:
    in these boards, it seems as if most posters see the problem as older, more experienced nurses not being nice enough to the poor, innocent newbie who has no contribution to all of these negative interactions inflicted upon them. rarely do i see a newbie saying that they've examined their own contributions to the problem and tried to alter their own behavior because of that examination; rarely to i see a poster suggest to the newbie that they do just that.

    communication is a two way street. it's rare that one person is totally perfect and the other is a horrible, mean human being who is nasty to them for no good reason. yes, nancy nurse may be having a horrible day and she snapped at a newbie, but perhaps the reason she picked you to snap at instead of the other newbie standing right next to you is that you have been an annoying little weasel from the get-go while your compatriot there has been friendly, helpful and is seen to be genuinely trying while you look to be a self-entitled jerk looking out for number one and attempting to weasel out of work. (please understand that i'm not commenting on anyone personally -- i've never met any of you and don't know how charming or annoying you may or may not be.) maybe that older nurse you're quick to accuse of eating her young may just not like you for some reason that you have total control over. on the other hand, maybe it is her -- and you remind her of her husband's mistress or some such.

    but please, please please take away from my rant here that if you feel you're being unfairly picked on, please spend some time honestly examining your own part in these interactions. perhaps with 20/20 hingsight, you'll realize that much of it really is your fault. certainly, part of it is your fault. with time spent in self-examination perhaps you can alter those behaviors of yours that are putting everyone's teeth on edge so that it won't take you two miserable years and a cross-country move to turn things around!
    excellent post, bears repeating.

    one more thought: for those that think asking the "young" to take stock and accountability for any contributions they make to miserable situations is akin to "blaming the victim", that is a wrong belief. rather, this is an attempt to empower victims of '"nurse-eating" to change untenable situations and take back some sense of control in their working environments/careers. nothing changes as long as you remain the victim, and this really is as much up to you as anyone else you can think of to change your status as victim to one as victor.

    this is about empowerment, not blaming victims!

    i think nursing schools need to add a block of self-assertion lessons to their curricula. seems so many of us lack this skill and that is a shame.
    Last edit by SmilingBluEyes on Apr 28, '07
  13. by   luvmy3kids
    (I think it was this thread).... I posted earlier how scary these threads make me feel, but after reading many of the other responses... I do feel much better. I'm convinced that if I show up, do what I am suppose to do, keep my mouth shut unless necessary... I'll do just fine.

    And everyone is correct... there is bullying out there in just about every other field. I worked for an insurance company prior to having children. After my first was born, my husband and I decided it would be best for me to be a SAHM. So I quit immediately after my maternity leave was completed. I did get paid for my time off and I did have all my hospital expenses covered.

    Fast forward to baby #2.... It was 6 months after September 11th and my husbands job wasn't doing as well as he had done previously to 9/11. (he's a financial planner)... so I went back to my old position pregnant and all (the company knew this) and worked up until baby was born, (about 6 months) then took 10 weeks off for my materity leave (unpaid because I hadn't been there a full consecutive year yet) and worked until he was 10 months old and we got our feet back on the ground again. At that point it again made more sense for me to stay home with both kids and I quit my job.

    You wouldn't believe the noise that was made around my department (behind my back of course) about how I "MILKED THE SYSTEM" by having kids and getting paid and quitting... etc. Which was a bunch of bull! I did get paid for 8 weeks of maternity leave after baby #1 but I had also been there for 2 years before I had her. But I didn't receive a dime for my maternity leave after baby #2 nor did I "need" the insurance money because my husband was fully covered. But the word got back to me (eventually) about what a rotten person I was and how I did this to my company. I called the individual who was responsible for this and gave her an earful.

    This is a roundabout way of bullying... but it happened and it made me realize that no matter how nice someone is to your face and no matter how well you think you are doing (I was really a hard worker and liked by my supervisors) people are going to do mean things and say mean things because... well... that's what a lot of people do.

    I think the difference with nursing is that training is a much different situation. You don't just take a 2 week training course and then get thrown into the position. And today with the shortage, so many nurses are so busy without the added stress of having to help someone else along, it just adds to an already stressful situation and we probably don't always see the best sides of everyone.

    I can speak from volunteering with nurses that I can just see how overworked, overstressed and overfrustrated they are, and I'm not really that involved. I feel so badly for them but they do tend to take it out on each other a lot of the time.

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