"Nurses are so Mean" - page 12

by Ruby Vee 62,551 Views | 219 Comments

I wish I had a dollar for every post I've read claiming that "nurses are so mean," "nurses are nasty to each other," "nurses eat their young" or "my preceptor is picking on me for no good reason." And then if you add in all the... Read More


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    In reply to the excuse that nurses who are rude or mean maybe just having a bad day or some personal crisis. That is no excuse, Ive working in healthcare for over twenty years and have never been anything but pleasant, no matter what was going on in my personal life. A true professional leaves their problems at the door and puts on a smile.
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    Quote from terrykoz
    in reply to the excuse that nurses who are rude or mean maybe just having a bad day or some personal crisis. that is no excuse, ive working in healthcare for over twenty years and have never been anything but pleasant, no matter what was going on in my personal life. a true professional leaves their problems at the door and puts on a smile.
    maybe you actually were pleasant every single day, no matter what was going on in your personal life. or maybe you just thought you were. some of the most un-pleasant people i've encountered had no idea how they were perceived by others.
    sharpeimom and blueheaven like this.
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    I can see both sides of this argument. Some nurses are indeed mean- Get used to it- Learn how to handle these situations effectively and move on. I think anyone getting into this profession had better develop some thick skin. On the other hand, when I was in school I got really tired of the incessant whining and sense of entitlement a lot of these younger students had. Just imagine what it's going to be like when an entire generation of self-absorbed kids raised on reality television come out of the nursing programs. Believe me, they are coming- Get used to it!
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    I wish I could agree with this article as it appears most others have however I really cannot. I worked as a travel contract RN, agency RN, as well as a staff RN (BSN from TWU) for over ten years. I have been in everything from Home Health to administration, and specialized in critical care. And I can tell you most nurses are mean. It's not the norm they are not. I remember working in a hospital in AZ as a contract/agency nurse. Sure, the staff nurses on the unit were supportive of each other. But because I was the "nurse making the big bucks" I was given the most difficult patient load...in fact two of those patients were strapped in their w/c at the nurses station. I had zero support or help, and the nurse techs gave their loyalty to the staff nurses. That was just one episode of this career I have gladly left behind. Staff work was equally challenging in that nurses were overloaded....nevermind working overtime. You were working overtime just showing up for your regular shift. By that I mean that it was not uncommon for me to have 12 patients on a tele floor. I recall one shift where I had 6 d/c & 6 admits. That's 12 different patients. There were also maybe two nurse techs on the floor and if they were feeding a patient...guess what....you get to do everything else in addition to charting, med pass, doctors orders, etc. And if you don't get it all done in premium time you are said to be inefficient with your time, can't prioritize, etc. Nurses from my generation (I am 52) are leaving by the droves for these reasons among too many others to mention here. I have lost a brother in law due to a heart attack at 45 from the ER stress, his son left cold turkey an ER as a nurse anethetist from the stress, my sister also an RN developed several chronic illnesses from the stress, and I have had nightmares for years from the unbelievable practices I witnessed to patients, mean patients, mean staff, mean administration.....yet I was blessed to have met a man I am now married to who rescued me from this. If I had known half of what I went through I would have NEVER become a nurse. I have met many other travel nurses who were traveling for the money to change careers. I have convinced my neice not to become a nurse. I have been in enough circumstances and time zones to work in all kinds of nursing situations, and there WAS NOT ONE worth crying over, losing your health over, going to school for, or anything else. If you are burned out, it's for a reason. It's not you. It's your body telling you to take care of you and get a life (your life) before it's too late.
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    I personally think people can definitely be mean or insensitive. But, we all have bad hair days there isno doubt our egos get squashed inthe process. I really like what you said aboutlooking within though! You are totally right! Sometime we like to play the blame game too. Because it is easier to blame someone else than actually figure out how we can make it better. Thank you so much for your article it really helped me out of a pitiful slump......realizing I need to pray over my situation a little more carefully. Ahhhhh.....and what can I do to fix this or make it better.
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    And yet you are here posting notnursinganymore.
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    Yes, blueheaven, that is correct. For the first time in almost five years since I left nursing, I did a search to see what's out there in the form of educating would-be nurses (and those who are burned out) of the real personal risks they are taking as they make the leap of faith into a profession that may be calling them to their own demise. For many, this discovery isn't made until it's too late, i.e., my R.N. late brother in law. Had I known of many of the things I know now, I would have chosen another career to fulfill the desire to make a positive difference in people's lives. I went into nursing to help people, and I got out of it to save my own life. The purpose of this search which brought me to this blog is to educate anyone who wants to know what it really means to be on the floor, in administration, telemedicine, etc., as I have done it all, with many family members included, and many nurse co-workers across the USA. Now, after five years of healing from the burn-out stress, the difference I want to make is offering real information as I wish I would have had pre-nursing. It is my contribution for the many experiences I endured, and the reader may make their own assumption. Nevertheless, the information is available to truly help other people who want to know, and this blog is just the beginning.
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    I do agree with quite a bit of your post. When I was young and stupid, I worked OT everytime it came down the way, was on every unit based committee known to man and just generally busted my butt for my employer (at that time). Erroneously thinking in my immature way that somehow my employer would have the same loyalty to me. It took a life threatening illness, being off work on SL for almost 4 months and getting canned one month after I returned to work for me to see the error of my ways.

    The combined stress of 2 very young children, a crazy workplace environment, and a crazy family environment almost put me in the grave.

    It is a shame that my nursing curriculum did not include self care strategies, limit setting etc. All of these things I have had to learn on my own and with professional help.
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    Quote from Grapenut
    [FONT=Calibri][SIZE=3]. . .I agree with your point that if everywhere you go you get treated with some degree of hostility, maybe you need to take a longer, harder look at yourself. But that’s not to say that bullying doesn’t happen in nursing. When I graduated, I worked PRN on a med-surg unit as there were no full-time positions at the time. The first full-time position that came open was on a different med-surg floor than the one I was working on. The floor where I was working PRN was great. My nurse manager was very supportive. . .
    I've worked in both types of units also, and the first 10 years of my career were mostly with the supportive type. Then I was hired for a job with the toxic/mean/bullying type. I'm convinced it is the manager who creates the good and the bad. I've seen good people change when in the presence of the bad as they wish to curry favor and avoid becoming a target themselves. It was disappointing as h** to see it happen, but when a person truly needs that job to put food on the table, they will compromise their internal values. If ever I worked with those same people and the dysfunctional ringleader was off that day, it was as if the sun came out from behind the clouds for a little while.

    Quote from notnursinganymore
    I wish I could agree with this article as it appears most others have however I really cannot. I worked as a travel contract RN, agency RN, as well as a staff RN (BSN from TWU) for over ten years. I have been in everything from Home Health to administration, and specialized in critical care. And I can tell you most nurses are mean. It's not the norm they are not.
    I'm sorry you had that string of bad experiences, but to be fair to the many wonderful nurses I've worked with over the years, and to those who may be considering nursing, I feel your impression is skewed to the negative too much. One thing us older nurses have been blessed with that new nurses may not be anymore, was an incredibly wide vista of opportunities to change the place, the manner, and the specialty of our daily job without leaving our career altogether. When I could handle a lot of stress and crazy hours I worked in a hospital with high acuity patients. When I needed more normal hours I moved to ambulatory care and worked several specialty areas within that. When I wanted to return to bedside but not be overwhelmed I went into home health/private duty nursing.

    In all of those there were the "devils" and the "angels". Most were somewhere in between. I have been stabbed in the back by people who I thought were my job-friends. I learned that for most people working together it is job first, friend later. It doesn't make them all evil people. My daughter is considering her options now - probably wants PT but open to other jobs - maybe even nursing. I won't sugarcoat anything, but I don't feel I have the right to convince another person to stay out of the field because of my own personal experiences whatever they were.
    talaxandra likes this.
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    Hello Nurse 156,

    I agree with your message. And yes, there were moments of working with 'angel' nurses for whom I am surely grateful. If only all nurses were such. It doesn't negate the fact however, that many of the circumstances (most) were in fact not good, and had nothing to do with me. I've had five years out of nursing to sort that through. In fact, one hospital in Rhode Island where I completed a 12 week travel contract was known as a "h*ll hole" by other travelers, yet I was asked by my supervisor on my assigned unit to train oncoming contract nurses and begged to return by the techs. I know I was a good and kind nurse. Yet, it was common to be moved to two different units during a shift, and sometimes three. Multiply that stress with critical patients for each move. Unfortunately, the scales do tip on the negative side after all is said and done as to working as a nurse, which is my point. For the most part I believe most nurses go into the field with the right intentions. And diversification in the field is surely one of the lures into it. I also worked as a home health liason as well as a home health nurse, and in telemedicine, outpatient clinics, and the like to stay in the field yet to get away from the hospital stress. My widowed sister, whose husband she lost at 45 years due to the high stress and long hours (and obligation to get food on the table for a family) is an RN herself and worked most of her years in administration. She has many horror stories of her own, including the lying and deceit that goes with it to "curry" management. It is not my intention to persuade a potential nurse negatively away from the field. It is my mission if you will, in my retired status as a tribute to the service and life work my family and I contributed, to give a clear and honest recount on real life experiences for what could happen again to someone else. By doing so, it is a most generous offering of self to help someone else decide if they would want to be in a similar situation one day.
    Last edit by notnursinganymore on Jan 7, '11 : Reason: changed word same to similar
    nursel56 likes this.


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