Why do We continue to eat our young?

  1. Why is it, that in this day and time when we have all complained about staffing,patient ratio and acuity, that there are still nurses out there who make it almost impossible for any one to help?

    Please forgive the following pity party. I worked a extra,unscheduled shift(12 hours) last night to help cover a unit at my hospital that is chronically short staffed. There was also a new hire,new graduate orienting with one of the regular staff nurses. I am not a rookie,can floot to most any floor and contribute, and am not lazy. But any time I or the new nurse asked any kind of question, we were met with blank stare,talk to the wall attitude.This, along with the two staff nurses whispering,laughing and just being ugly
    , has remedied me of my urge for extra shifts, and if that poor girl who was on her third ever shift at the "MED" has the nerve to show back up. the she has a backbone of steel and will be a force to be reckoned with in the near future.

    Any feedback, or similiar experience out there?



    "My life is full of exceptional characters, but I haven't figured out the plot yet"
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  2. 8 Comments

  3. by   catlady
    Hate to tell you, but what you describe is not unique to nursing. There are lots of people like that in the business world, too.

    "Nurses eating their young" is a phrase that sets my teeth on edge. Nastiness isn't a factor of age or experience. There are as many wonderful veteran nurses and snotty new nurses as there are of the opposite. It's related to what kind of person you are, period.
  4. by   Mijourney
    Hi BeBe. I agree with catlady's post. It doesn't matter where you work, you will run into adversity. I'm going to open a can of worms here, but I've got to make an observation. It may be in error so someone correct me if I'm wrong. I don't know what country you work BeBe, but I've noticed that most of the references to nurse eating on this bb are from those of us who work in the states. I realize that nurse eating doesn't apply to a good many nurses, but from my observation, it is pervasive enough to make one wonder if there is something inherently defective about the personalities of nurses in this country that causes us to eat one another? Perhaps the stress of being a nurse and frequently having to go above and beyond for our patients, families, physicians, administrators, and other staff cause us to take or release our frustrations on one another. This is not an excuse, but a possible reason.
  5. by   Charles S. Smith, RN, MS
    Originally posted by Mijourney
    Hi BeBe. I agree with catlady's post. It doesn't matter where you work, you will run into adversity. I'm going to open a can of worms here, but I've got to make an observation. It may be in error so someone correct me if I'm wrong. I don't know what country you work BeBe, but I've noticed that most of the references to nurse eating on this bb are from those of us who work in the states. I realize that nurse eating doesn't apply to a good many nurses, but from my observation, it is pervasive enough to make one wonder if there is something inherently defective about the personalities of nurses in this country that causes us to eat one another? Perhaps the stress of being a nurse and frequently having to go above and beyond for our patients, families, physicians, administrators, and other staff cause us to take or release our frustrations on one another. This is not an excuse, but a possible reason.
    I have posted on this topic previously and I continue to hold the same view, having no other evidence to convince me otherwise. That is...we have been socialized in school for competition, not collaboration; we have continued that socialization in the work place, almost incestuously, to the point that nurses no longer can be collaborative. Competition seems to be the dominant ingredient for success in nursing. In addition, competition breeds a sense of "power over" for the victor and the behaviors are perpetuated. Feeling "power over" less knowledgeable or less skilled individuals bolsters self esteem, but at a false positive level. There is innately a lack of self esteem for those individuals who display these behaviors. I would argue that there is so little power in their lives that they use this workplace power as a way to maintain some semblance of normalcy for the rest of their lives. It is unfortunate because at the expense of others, these nurses gain a fleeting sense of satisfaction that will ultimately not serve them well in the long run.

    chas
  6. by   P_RN
    Gracious how I hate that phrase. I think Chas. has a good point in what he wrote. However, some folks are just plain nasty!

    Not to polish my apple, toot my own horn, or gild my lilly.....LOL
    but I had new nurses REQUEST that I be their preceptor.

    I LOVE students, new RNs, and even **GASP** new medical residents. A lot of them called me MOM.

    The last year I worked I precepted 6 new nurses in 10 months including a gal who had not passed her boards 3 times.....we prayed, meditated, studied and I pinned a guardian angel to her shoulder the last time she took boards.....she passed.....and then asked me to be her preceptor....I felt so very honored!!

    I bet you will find those carnivores are the same ones who tail-gate, road rage, flip the bird at you on the road, and break in line in the cafeteria......snotty people who like to THINK they are superior.
  7. by   Charles S. Smith, RN, MS
    Yes, P_RN, some folks are just plain nasty...and somehow that nastiness gets rewarded in our workplaces. We can not afford to lose one potentially expert nurse right now, yet we take pride in running them away and keeping others from experiencing a very rewarding and fulfilling career.

    chas
  8. by   Elenaster
    I know this discussion has been brought up several times before and as I student, I realize that "young eating" exists. However, I never realized how serious it can be until I started working on a new floor as a CV tech in May. Apparently, the day shift nurses on this floor enjoy tortuing new grads. In the past year, they have had 5 new grads quit before finishing orientation. I think this is outrageous

    This is a small unit (16 beds) and is usually staffed with 4 nurses and 2 techs when at capacity. The acuity is high and the patients are monitored but it seems like an ideal place to work, except for the vicious nurses.

    I have worked some evening shifts with the night crew and they are terrific. One of the nurses there told me that when I get out of school how well I will like where I work will depend not on the patients but the people I work with. I'm really starting to see what he means the more I work with day shift. They are very quick to judge, rude, and have big time superiority complexes. The fact that they have "eaten" five new grads scares the bejesus out of me and I think I will be looking for employment elsewhere when I graduate.

    Charles has made an excellent point about the competitiveness of nursing that starts in nursing school. As a BSN student currently, I have to admit that the program has made me fiercely competitive academically, even with some of my closest friends. Perhaps I will be more self-aware when I return to school in August and will be less cutthroat with my peers and more supportive.
  9. by   catlady
    I will again ask, how is the competitiveness that is supposedly fostered in nursing school any different from the competitiveness that one sees in, say, law school, or an MBA program? I would suggest that people who are competitive are drawn to fields where they feel they can compete. It's not the school that does it to them.
  10. by   Stargazer
    I'm not sure I agree. I don't think nursing is "traditionally" perceived as a competitive field. I've told this story before, but in the first nursing program I attended, the staff were very adversarial with the students and actively fostered competitiveness among the students. I found this atmosphere so toxic that I transferred to another program where the faculty were very supportive and nurturing and the students consistently held study groups and helped each other out.

    The essential difference is that business and law, by definition, are adversarial and competitive fields. Nursing, being a "helping" profession based on a team model, does not evidence any clear prima facie advantage to making oneself look better at a co-worker's expense.

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