I think nursing's infighting comes from the fact that it is a female dominated "oppressed" profession. Nurses still have very little control over their own environments so we compensate for that by acting out.
I think you have hit the nail right on the head, for the 100 yrs or so that women have had the dominate role in giving nursing care there was and is the feeling that women are somehow inferior. I feel this has carried over to almost all professions, after all, how many are CEO's of Fortune 5000 companies?
I believe it is observed by nurses more than other professions because the women who choose nursing as a career are bright, educated, usually articulate, and just plain know when they are being hosed.
I believe as more men invade the nursing profession there will be a gradual change in the attitudes of Dr.s, and management as to the power nurses actually have. It may be because I am a male, or because this is a second career for me and I am more "mature" than many co-workers that when I see a wrong, I don't wait to bring it up, it demands immediate attention. Whether that is with the wrong-doer, or management as soon as they come in, it gets taken care of NOW.
One of the worst Docs I work with is a former RN, yet she cannot prioritize, and gets stressed very easily, which leads to snide remarks to the staff...you would think she would know better.
Of course, the opinions stated are purely my own, and do not reflect the views of this board, my employer, or your local broadcast TV station.