Why do we eat our young?

  1. I have talked with nurses of all degrees and certifications at various settings about this, and I cannot seem to figure out why we are so brutal to one another. If our main goal is to be a proficent healthcare provider/teacher, what is the point of all the in-fighting and back-biting?
    Physicians certainly don't practice this behavior. Is it that most nurses are female and most physicians male? Any opinions on the subject?!? How can we "fix" it?
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  2. 5 Comments

  3. by   P_RN
    This is a recurring question in Nursing. It has been addressed on every nursing forum on the net. Here is what the folks at Springnet said....(I participated in this one) http://www.springnet.com/content/nur...902/eating.htm
  4. by   hoolahan
    I think it is taught in nursing school. At least that's what I think after my experience getting my BSN.

    Not all nurses eat their young. Some of us remember how awful our GN exp was and go out of our way to make it better. However, in my current state of crispy-fried burn out, I don't have the energy to orient a new person, as well as wear 5 hats while on duty. Truth be told, I haven't seen many new nurses come to the units I have been working in with the staffing agency.
  5. by   Chuckie
    I w
    Last edit by Chuckie on Jan 18, '03
  6. by   Barbara Rose
    There are probably several reasons that these things happen. But, Chuckie, when a new nurse starts, they are eager and want to learn. Read up on your psychology and sociology about oppressed people. As nurses work, they become more and more oppressed. At some point, the only "power" they see themselves as having is within their own group. So, they "pick on" the weak, and new nurses to feel better about themselves.
    That is just my theory, but I can tell you that since this continues to recur over and over again, I think it is at least in part true. If we don't learn from history we are bound to repeat it, right? Anyway, there are also other factors such as stress, personalities, and yes gender. But, there are also such poor working conditions out there that people loose their vision. Most nurses become nurses to help people and make a differnece. When you loose that vision from over work, exhaustion, underappreciation, and other bad experiences then you become bitter. Again, just a few ideas, but hope you can get the picture. In a perfect world this doesn't happen, but in life it does. And, then there are those nurses who just shouldn't be nurses in the first place - and that is likely to get worse before it gets better due to the shortage.
  7. by   Stargazer
    Actually, I can't agree that physicians don't practice this behavior. As a group, there is certainly no love lost between surgeons and internal-med-based specialties. And neither of them have much use for psychiatrists. I think the way they deal with it is a bit different. Instead of the petty, one-on-one backbiting that you see with some nurses, docs tend to do a lot more political maneuvering within the system to gain an advantage for their own groups. And because docs rely heavily on referrals, they also have the ability to avoid individuals they don't like or get along with. Certainly there's a fair bit of backbiting and backstabbing in med school and internship/ residency, where people are jockeying for grades/rotations/positions. The main differences seem to be the dynamics (business vs. personal) and the perception.
    Them's my thoughts, anyway. Your mileage may vary.

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