The way nurses treat each other - page 2

Hi everyone. I need some advice from you all, but first let me give you some background. I am 46 and have worked either as mid-level manager or owned my own business my whole adult life. I have... Read More

  1. by   Mantibob
    Thanks for the response. In what way is it an opressed culture?

    Quote from chartleypj
    It happens because nurses work in an 'oppressed culture' It is a general problem which is bound to recur until nurses in healthcare figure out 'it' doesn't work. 'It' refers to Horizontal Violence. I am sure if you do a web search you will find some wonderful information; The December issue of AORN magazine (for OR nurses) has a great article on it.
    Good luck,
    Paula
  2. by   Cherish
    In all honesty, a bunch of females together in high stress work...not a good combination!!! Gossipping, backstabbing, being a friend in your face and an enemy when not, and all the etc. is something that I have seen A LOT in mostly female working enviroments (by the way I'm female). I have no idea why this is...maybe competition, who knows but it happens. As for the military part, in all honesty, I was in the Army (mostly male dominated), and NEVER experienced this with males, unless dealing with females in certain MOS. Why you may ask? I made sure I picked a MOS (job) that was mainly Male (I was consided the lil' sis, and I was the only female mechanic in my battalion and loved it!). I was a mechanic and believe me worked hard in high stress enviroments. I am sorry to say but in the military if you pick a job with the majority of females (i.e. administration, finance) you WILL deal with that and then some (seen people fight over guys they were messing with at work). It's just something that you deal with working in a mostly female enviroment. I am in no way saying anything bad about females (I AM ONE). But have observed and my conclusion of my little scientific experiment is mostly female dominated jobs equals gossip, behind your back talk, and backstabbing. Y this is? who knows....just don't apply the saying 'when in rome do as the romans do' when you work. Once your in this enviroment its hard to not, just DON'T!
    Even though being the BETTER person might in the end get you in trouble sometimes (why is it when you don't want to gossip they talk about you? hmmm).
  3. by   Mantibob
    Thanks for the response. It seems like "the few" are a higher number than other professional inviorinments I have worked in. I could be wrong.



    Quote from cyberkat
    Hi there. I can't answer all you questions, but I'm 47 and have been a nurse for almost a year.

    No, it will not always be that way. Not all nurses are nasty to each other. I work on a unit, while not everyone may like each other a lot, most behave professionally toward each other. There are and will always be a few people who gossip behind others' backs. You deal with them like you deal with anyone in a professional setting-keep it to business, and don't fall into the gossip trap.
  4. by   Mantibob
    Thanks for the response. Good advice!



    Quote from altomga
    hey Mantibob...excellent observations!!! I don't mean that sarcastically either...I have been nursing for 6yrs now and when I first got into nursing it did not seem as bad as it is now. The "team" that I first worked with was just that A TEAM!...We were all there for the expressed fact of helping the patients...now not to say that there weren't times...(we are human )
    This problem is everywhere...
    Why? I really am not sure...I know that nurses are stressed to their limits with being short staffed, acutely ill pt's, long shifts,
    Of course there are those that simply get their kicks stirring the s**t pot and gossiping about others.
    I have noticed that in the ICU's there is better teamwork; although they still have their problems...(I work on a step-down ICU)...PLEASE don't get me wrong...I do work with some wonderful people who are there to help pt's and their co-workers...but it is those individuals that are "back-biters" that are driving me away...I've had enough. People have forgotten what they've went into nursing for...it surely isn't the money..they could NEVER pay us what we are worth (IMO )...
    I have seen that some of the issue is that individuals WON'T confront the person they have a problem with...if someone has something to say "about me" they should say it "TO ME"!
    Will you run into this type of problem...more than likely anywhere...(sorry )...we do work in a stressful field and I will give some the benefit of the doubt that it is there way of dealing with stress...others....WELL they are just having fun doing it!
    Advice...don't stoop to that level...confront the ones that are acting in such a manner...bring their behaivor to their attention...pray that you have a manager that will back you up if the behaivor affects patient care. You can kill with kindness!
    Good luck and I welcome you into your nursing journey!
  5. by   NursesRmofun
    Quote from chartleypj
    It happens because nurses work in an 'oppressed culture' It is a general problem which is bound to recur until nurses in healthcare figure out 'it' doesn't work. 'It' refers to Horizontal Violence. I am sure if you do a web search you will find some wonderful information; The December issue of AORN magazine (for OR nurses) has a great article on it.
    Good luck,
    Paula
    Sounds like an interesting theory. I have often thought that there is too much brown nosing of higher ups by many nurses and not a whole lot of team work, in general in some places...although I am not saying that there aren't some groups that do work well together. I don't think it is the norm. Sometimes it seems like survival of the fittest on many levels. Sometimes it is as simple as brown nosing to get better assignments, etc. That kind of thing makes me a little nauseated.
    Last edit by NursesRmofun on Apr 6, '04 : Reason: typo
  6. by   Mantibob
    Chartleypj - thanks for the response. I found the article, looks very interesting! I will read it as soon as I can.



    Quote from chartleypj
    It happens because nurses work in an 'oppressed culture' It is a general problem which is bound to recur until nurses in healthcare figure out 'it' doesn't work. 'It' refers to Horizontal Violence. I am sure if you do a web search you will find some wonderful information; The December issue of AORN magazine (for OR nurses) has a great article on it.
    Good luck,
    Paula
  7. by   Repat
    I just handed in my notice today at a place that surpassed any I have ever worked in (I got my license in 1986!) for back biting and hatefulness. I was out of the country for 15 years, and this job I am leaving is the first I have had since my return. I wondered if it was me - but reading everyone's comments, I can see it isn't. Sjoe had a great post about effective management:

    "1) re-read my post, since I edited it again.

    2) read a LOT of books on leadership (and you could do worse than starting with Rudy G.'s recent book "Leadership"), effective management (the Dummies series has several good ones on management and leadership for starters, and contains many ideas for further references and learning). But don't go overboard on reading--10 good books will be enough to understand what these people are talking about.

    3) look around and see what is really going on in your facility, with those ideas in mind. Which ones seem best bets for your situation?

    4) be aware of what kind of environment motivates YOU to do an excellent professional job, and actually think about what motivates others near you to do the same thing (the details will be a bit different for everyone, but the same general atmosphere will be effective for most people).

    5) be aware that perhaps 5% of people will NEVER be motivated to do an excellent job no matter what, so don't get bogged down trying to find the "key" to them. They need to leave anyway.

    6) based on all this learning, research, practice, experimentation--begin to treat your situation in such a way that more functional behavior is likely to increase in your workplace. Make verbal or written suggestions and/or offers to supervisors and management on how to actually and measurably improve the situation. Keep track of what happens. Was the suggestion accepted? Was the implementation adequate? Was it effective? What would make any of these steps more effective? Etc.

    7) unless you are the CEO, you will not be able to "fix everything," at one fell swoop (and not even then, BTW), so don't expect to. Accept promotions ONLY when you are reliably guaranteed the support you recognize is necessary to perform these management tasks effectively. Spell all this out at the promotion interview/offer (which means you will have already done your homework and will KNOW what is required).

    8) know "when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em." Know when to move on when you can no longer be effective and/or your interventions simply make things worse because of the negative reaction AND lack of support from supervisors. No point in burning yourself out for no good end (particularly since to do so is only an indication that YOU don't know how to take an effective leadership role in your own life, just as your past managers haven't known what they are doing in the workplace).

    9)then decide whether you need more formal or informal management training. If so, get it. Be a member of a sports team and pay attention to what are winning and losing strategies. Notice, watching sports on TV for example, how losing teams seem to be those with frequent member changes, negative feedback from coaches and owners, low morale, mutual backbiting, etc. Be aware that these are causes, not effects. Shop carefully for your next position so you don't wind up in a similarly frustrating and dead-end situation.

    So, off the top of my head, those are the suggestions I offer."
    ***************

    This was posted in a thread "where are the LEADERS in Nursing???" - I hope he doesn't mind that I quoted him, but I thought it was great advice. After this last weekend at work, I decided it was time to "fold 'em". Thanks, Sjoe, for giving me a methodical way to assess my situation! Anyone, another great quote "You only get as much **** as you are willing to take". Don't let it happen - stand up for yourselves. One way to tand up is to start every day with an attitude adjustment. Why are you there - to take care of the patients to the best of your abilitites. What happens when everyone back-bites everyone else? The negative energy CANNOT be conducive to healing. So, everyone, get your acts together and GET ALONG!!!
  8. by   moia
    Sorry I can't get behind the "oppressed" title considering I believe oppressed people truly suffer and I am sorry to say someone being catty and talking behind your back or having a less than sympathetic boss just doesn't meet the criteria for oppressed.

    Oppressed people are the ones that can't get employment, education or healthcare.They are refused housing because of their minority status.
    Oppressed people have no route for advancement in their employment that they can afford. I don't just mean they can't pay for higher education, I mean they can't take time away from childcare or familycare to work a ton of overtime or stay for night shift or travel. The cost of advancement is too high...that is oppression..the feeling that no matter how well or how hard you work you can never move any higher. Oppression is working in a company where all the management is white men and all the frontline staff is black women...oppression of the worst kind because you cannot remove your skin or change your sex .

    I think nurses can be really nasty because they can get away with it.
    The entire job is structured so that the offender never really gets the confrontation they richly deserve because patients,doctors,management et all are present.
    More interesting is the pyschological profiles of some nurses.
    I can almost guarantee that each unit contains at least one borderline personality disorder and one that may be struggling with addiction and dependance.
    Then there are the nurses who have I need to save the worlditis..the ones that involve themselves in everyones lives, patients families coworker it doesn't matter..they get their validation by feeling needed and ofcourse are terrifyingly needy themselves. Then you get the "sensitive" ones who spend their time trolling for any comment that could (by ever increasing contortions) be percieved as an insult..possibly.

    You take just one or two of these "characters" and shove them into a group where literally escape is impossible and the end result is some pretty pissed off nurses.

    As a student you haven't had the pleasure of being trapped in a patients room with the nurse who keeps putting herself down(ofcourse desperately trolling for compliments and reassurance and would probably faint if you agreed that yes, in fact she does suck) and the other one who is lining up the supplies in alphabetical order and putting hospital corners on the 2x2"s. Try this shift after shift, meeting after meeting and be comforted by the fact that so far no nurse has ever gone "postal".
    Catty BS and infighting happens because we can get away with it and we encourage and foster it.
    We could ofcourse take personal responsibility for our own behaviour and stop doing it...or we can say we are oppressed and getting a great paycheque,job security,benefits and vacation time makes us really, really cranky so we have to gossip and ***** about our coworkers to feel our power.

    You make your own choice..you don't have to participate and you can effectively and politely tell people in your circle to cut that crap out or next time you are going to tell everyone about their tail and that extra toe or you can join the oppressed.

    I can tell you that guys don't do it very much despite the fact their employment conditions are the same. They don't buy into the "oppression" label as quickly as some women do.

    To avoid falling into the gossiptrap when you are finished school and have made it onto a medsurg floor...look at your paycheque and grin wildly because you will never have to say.."would you like fries with that".
    Take one class a year...every year...no CPR doesn't count..something interesting that grabbed your attention in nursing school and freaked you out..like an assessment course to listen and identify heart sounds....Exercise..I know..ugh..but exercise makes you feel good..you don't have to be crazy,,just a nice swim or learn yoga or get a regular massage.
    Keep your family challenges at home even if you really,really want to spill your guts..these people aren't your friends they are coworkers and always remember the difference...I had a friend that did this ..she fell apart on shift and like wildfire everyone who worked in the unit knew her business except it had been filtered and reinterpreted by 20 people and I can tell you the story they were telling on dayshift had almost no resemblance to the story she had told on nights and worse some nurses took great pleasure in using the new version to make her really uncomfortable and angry and she ended up spending a lot of time defending and explaining herself to people she disliked.

    Keep your business your own and remember nursing is your job..you have a real life outside your job..please live it fully so you wont be that nurse who never leaves the unit and has every bedside artfully arranged and alphabetized and cringes when the patient moves and wrinkles the blanket.
  9. by   Spidey's mom
    moia . . .absolutely excellent post!

    The gossiping and backbiting happen everywhere unfortunately and the truth is you shouldn't make your friends from your co-workers for the most part. It is easy to fall into sharing all kinds of details about your life but don't! It is easy to fall into gossiping but don't!

    I loved sjoe's suggestions.

    steph
  10. by   cinrn68
    I agree with what everyone is saying, and I will add this: You will find as much good in nursing as you will find bad. And may I add that I think it's the same in almost every profession these days. I have been nursing for 7 years, one year on a general surgical unit, 4 years in the CCU and now 2 years in the NICU. There have been cliques and "nasty" nurses in every area, but I have also worked in business (nursing is my 2nd career) and there were a fair share of mean-spirited people and cliques as well, so what does that tell you? I can also tell you that the good-natured, "nice" nurses have outnumbered the bad eggs so far, so I guess that's what keeps us all going. I have been lucky to have found a few good "friends" to work with along the way, and the team spirit that we have with each other is fantastic. But I think there is a lot of jealousy and competition in nursing, and maybe it's because there's just too much estrogen flowing around, but if you can take the good with the bad (and overlook a lot of the bad) then you'll have an enjoyable nursing career! :roll
  11. by   orrnlori
    Quote from moia
    Sorry I can't get behind the "oppressed" title considering I believe oppressed people truly suffer and I am sorry to say someone being catty and talking behind your back or having a less than sympathetic boss just doesn't meet the criteria for oppressed.

    Oppressed people are the ones that can't get employment, education or healthcare.They are refused housing because of their minority status.
    Oppressed people have no route for advancement in their employment that they can afford. I don't just mean they can't pay for higher education, I mean they can't take time away from childcare or familycare to work a ton of overtime or stay for night shift or travel. The cost of advancement is too high...that is oppression..the feeling that no matter how well or how hard you work you can never move any higher. Oppression is working in a company where all the management is white men and all the frontline staff is black women...oppression of the worst kind because you cannot remove your skin or change your sex .

    I think nurses can be really nasty because they can get away with it.
    The entire job is structured so that the offender never really gets the confrontation they richly deserve because patients,doctors,management et all are present.
    More interesting is the pyschological profiles of some nurses.
    I can almost guarantee that each unit contains at least one borderline personality disorder and one that may be struggling with addiction and dependance.
    Then there are the nurses who have I need to save the worlditis..the ones that involve themselves in everyones lives, patients families coworker it doesn't matter..they get their validation by feeling needed and ofcourse are terrifyingly needy themselves. Then you get the "sensitive" ones who spend their time trolling for any comment that could (by ever increasing contortions) be percieved as an insult..possibly.

    You take just one or two of these "characters" and shove them into a group where literally escape is impossible and the end result is some pretty pissed off nurses.

    As a student you haven't had the pleasure of being trapped in a patients room with the nurse who keeps putting herself down(ofcourse desperately trolling for compliments and reassurance and would probably faint if you agreed that yes, in fact she does suck) and the other one who is lining up the supplies in alphabetical order and putting hospital corners on the 2x2"s. Try this shift after shift, meeting after meeting and be comforted by the fact that so far no nurse has ever gone "postal".
    Catty BS and infighting happens because we can get away with it and we encourage and foster it.
    We could ofcourse take personal responsibility for our own behaviour and stop doing it...or we can say we are oppressed and getting a great paycheque,job security,benefits and vacation time makes us really, really cranky so we have to gossip and ***** about our coworkers to feel our power.

    You make your own choice..you don't have to participate and you can effectively and politely tell people in your circle to cut that crap out or next time you are going to tell everyone about their tail and that extra toe or you can join the oppressed.

    I can tell you that guys don't do it very much despite the fact their employment conditions are the same. They don't buy into the "oppression" label as quickly as some women do.

    To avoid falling into the gossiptrap when you are finished school and have made it onto a medsurg floor...look at your paycheque and grin wildly because you will never have to say.."would you like fries with that".
    Take one class a year...every year...no CPR doesn't count..something interesting that grabbed your attention in nursing school and freaked you out..like an assessment course to listen and identify heart sounds....Exercise..I know..ugh..but exercise makes you feel good..you don't have to be crazy,,just a nice swim or learn yoga or get a regular massage.
    Keep your family challenges at home even if you really,really want to spill your guts..these people aren't your friends they are coworkers and always remember the difference...I had a friend that did this ..she fell apart on shift and like wildfire everyone who worked in the unit knew her business except it had been filtered and reinterpreted by 20 people and I can tell you the story they were telling on dayshift had almost no resemblance to the story she had told on nights and worse some nurses took great pleasure in using the new version to make her really uncomfortable and angry and she ended up spending a lot of time defending and explaining herself to people she disliked.

    Keep your business your own and remember nursing is your job..you have a real life outside your job..please live it fully so you wont be that nurse who never leaves the unit and has every bedside artfully arranged and alphabetized and cringes when the patient moves and wrinkles the blanket.
    This is a perfect post. I don't feel we are "oppressed" either. That's trivializing true oppression. Don't make friends of coworkers, it rarely pays. There is always someone who will have a beef with you. So what? I would not stay in a truly poisonous enviornment. That's the nice thing about nursing. There are many jobs and areas out there to choose from. It's hard being a new nurse and trying to learn. But everyone has got to go through that initiation stage. Hopefully you will not have to go through it with the worst of the worst. Maybe I just had an ideal previous working life before nursing but I never experienced the nastiness that I found with my first nursing job. Nice thing was, I was only in that unit for 7 months before I found a much better department to work in. In my department now, we're all focused on what we are here to do, well, most of us are, and that's the best anyone can hope for.
  12. by   mattsmom81
    Maybe it is more honest to say many nurses find themselves in an oppressive situation. Meaning, we have all this responsibility and accountability and little authority. We are told it is our duty to speak for our patients but when we do we are punished too often. It seems a scapegoat position. Don't tolerate it? Go somewhere else? Well, we can...and are likely to find similar..a few different faces, maybe a few nicer people...but one thing I am likely to find is the same mentality and treatment of nurses. in most facilities unfortunately. I DO believe nurses are the scapegoats of the healthcare system, but nobody will save us; we will have to do the work ourselves if we want it to change.
  13. by   Repat
    Quote from mattsmom81
    Maybe it is more honest to say many nurses find themselves in an oppressive situation. Meaning, we have all this responsibility and accountability and little authority. We are told it is our duty to speak for our patients but when we do we are punished too often. It seems a scapegoat position. Don't tolerate it? Go somewhere else? Well, we can...and are likely to find similar..a few different faces, maybe a few nicer people...but one thing I am likely to find is the same mentality and treatment of nurses. in most facilities unfortunately. I DO believe nurses are the scapegoats of the healthcare system, but nobody will save us; we will have to do the work ourselves if we want it to change.

    You are more than right! And studies have found that this kind of abusive behavior is more likely to occur when people feel powerless. And double right, too, that no one else is going to "save" us. We must do that ourselves. I know that I was a thorn in my manager's side, I admit it, but everything I did was worded professionally, and I always acted professionally. So, although she hated to see me coming, there wasn't a whole lot she could do about it - AND, I now have records of all my correspondence with her if anything should 'come up'.

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