"Nurses are so Mean" - page 2

by Ruby Vee

61,863 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


  1. 13
    Quote from chicagonit
    is there some reason you feel so personally defensive about this topic? after reading this post (and several others you've written) it starts to make one wonder about the source of all the defensiveness. i'm not trying to personalize this to you specifically, but it has been my experience that when one takes up the cause of something so fervently and so publicly, that the source of the frustration really has to do with something deeply personal within themselves.

    quite honestly, this topic has been beaten to a pulp. i would hope that we can all agree that it's all of our personal responsibilities to be respectful, thoughtful and considerate in our interactions with those that we work with. imo having a 'bad day' is really no excuse to be disrespectful to coworkers or make other people suffer around you (especially those that are learning and may need a little extra attention). we should all check our attitudes and personal problems at the door as much as possible when we come to work. work is work. not a place to abuse coworkers or vent out our personal frustrations.
    you got me. my co-workers all hate me because i'm beautiful and i'm surrounded by crowds of mean people who have been bullying me my whole life.

    there have been dozens of posts -- and a younger relative or two -- bemoaning the "fact" that everyone they know hates them for their extreme good looks and that they're perfect people who are the victims of bullying or lateral violence for no good reason other than that others are jealous of their sheer perfection. and they know that "nurses eat their young" because no matter how many times they change jobs, their co-workers are always nasty to them. i'm getting tired of hearing it, and i guess i had hoped that maybe someone would read my post and have an "aha!" moment. ("oh, maybe they don't all hate me because i'm young and attractive; maybe it's because i keep blathering on about my youth and beauty all day every day.") or whatever. i know that i'm going to be terminally stupid until the teenager is at least 25, but maybe i can make a difference for someone else.

    so you're right, in a way. the source is something personal. i don't think that makes the message any less real, however. and while i agree with you that we should all strive to leave our personal problems at the door when we come to work, none of us are perfect people (with the possible exception of some teenagers i know) and sometimes we just can't do that. when that happens, i would hope that our co-workers could cut us some slack. when my father was dying and i was terrified that i couldn't find a situation for my mother who couldn't be left alone and my mother-in-law who also has alzheimer's had to step up to an increased level of care and we couldn't find the right place for her and the teenager was sneaking out every night to stay at her boyfriend's house and bringing home horrible grades and my husband totalled the car and my dog and my sister-in-law, my oldest friend and my father died all within the same four month period i know i was guilty of being brusque, short or otherwise imperfect more than once or twice. fortunately, my co-workers were aware of the situation and cut me a lot of slack. even the new grads. especially my own orientee.

    i'm not saying lateral violence doesn't exist. but i don't think it exists to the extent that some people seem to think it does, and i'm fairly certain that many of the people who claim they're being "eaten alive" have merely mistaken a preceptor going through a really rough period in her personal life or an educator who is weary of the same mistakes being made over and over without any learning taking place or the frustration of a manager who finds that every new hire wants every weekend and holiday off for bullying. or maybe they just think that every negative interaction or correction is bullying.
    Last edit by Ruby Vee on Apr 27, '10 : Reason: Spelling and punctuation. I'm not perfect there, either!
    CCL RN, JBudd, kids, and 10 others like this.
  2. 3
    Anywhere you go, you are going to have to deal with a lot of different personalities. Not just nursing. Now I have been a nurse for 5 short years but I have learnt a few things. Some nurses are not very nice to their opposites on the unit, they feel the need to nit pick about everything, and some other nurses are very nice. Its the same everywhere. The original poster was correct, you cannot control anything others do, but you can control your response and your behaviour. I agree that the UM influences the atmosphere on the unit, that is very true.
    Finally most of us work long hours in a stressful environment, if we all checked our attitudes at the door and stayed professional and courteous to each other, the job will go a lot smoother. Let's cut each other a little slack. We are nurses, we rule the world
    dragonfly55, tkane, and Pam Hart like this.
  3. 4
    I think Ruby makes a good point. If everytime a person has a negative inter-action with a coworker, be it brusque words, a crabby countenance or a mood of impatience, and they label it as "lateral violence" then the meaning of the term becomes diluted leading to the potential of having it used so much it actually invalidates people who are truly victims of real bullying. We could call this the "lateral violence card". Don't get me wrong, nobody should have to suffer being mistreated but there is a big difference between bad moods and bad people.
    kids, tkane, wooh, and 1 other like this.
  4. 4
    I loved your post, Ruby. May I be a bit positive? If you have had consistently positive experiences at jobs, schools and in your personal life, it is probably also you. So, give yourself a pat on the back and keep it up! You can't control others' behavior, but I have found that I get what I give more often than not. I also agree with you that some of it you just need to let go. There are miserable people out there (chronically and situational) and you need to realize that it is not about you. It is their thing.
    KYCNM, tkane, silverbat, and 1 other like this.
  5. 2
    Ruby Vee!
    My gosh, what happened to make you so sarcastic? You aren't being accused of being beautiful nor young (and not even perfect). Your posts are so long, you are like the OP a week ago who wrote her angst about being bullied.
  6. 5
    ChicagoNIT...I'm with you. This beat down on our fellow nurses' all needs to change, just like healthcare in general is changing. Those bad attitudes neeed to be checked at the door. Or those folks will be looking for new jobs. Believe it...Press-Ganny scores are going to be influencing medicare/insurance reimburshments to hospitals. When revenue is affected, you know heads are going to roll. I'm old school, have experienced all the bad that's out there, and change is coming!! If you can't change...it's best to get out now! Put on that happy face when you come to work. Answer the phone like your a professional. Leave your ipods in your locker! And be nice!
    Pam Hart, Teacher First, shoegalRN, and 2 others like this.
  7. 0
    Yea i totally agree witht his post. People should try to FIX ourselves as you said.
    If we change own actions and then only we can promote a better nursing image.
    It always starts in you whether you are a nurse or any normal person .
    BE THE CHANGE THAT YOU WANT TO SEE IN THE WORLD..

    lets make a difference in nursing instead of finding mistakes on eachother.

    Good post
  8. 9
    I've been in health care for 10 years.. I have been both mistreated and welcomed. I would have to say the mistreatment out weighs the welcomes though. I think a lot of the problem is the differences in education. A lot of the older nurses weren't required to take the classes we are forced to take today to become a nurse. They had to basically teach themselves doing it hands on.

    When I took A&P I can't count how many nurses I worked with that said they never had to take that class! Most also weren't fortunate enough to be provided with adequate orientations so when new nurses are on long stretches of orientation it seems like they are being babied.

    I think there is resentment on both ends.. I think it may be intimidating to some of the older nurses to have a new nurse who went to college for 4 years step into a position that maybe she(the older nurse) took years to work her way up to. On the other end I think that new nurses are taught to speak up and for lack of a better word reeducate older nurses if they see them doing something wrong or outdated. Of course someone straight out of school is going to be a little more up to date but no one wants to hear it.

    I find it sad that women are so rude with each other. I do agree that no matter what situation your in you should always try to respond in a way that will encourage better behavior. "Kill em with kindness" one might say

    I would love to see the day where nurses band together and care more about the job at hand than competing with their co workers.
    Last edit by somedaycrna on Apr 28, '10
  9. 7
    I always love Ruby's posts. I wish I worked with her! I am so sick of the way things are in the whole world. This entitlement attitude. Just like the way people treat children these days, then wonder why they don't have a clue about being a grownup years later. I too learned the hard way. I worked with a bunch of harpies at my first hospital job. I guess the thing that bugged them the most was the smile on my face every night at work. Sometimes people have bad days, and if you value them as coworkers, you cut them some slack, because you care. Your job isn't a kindergarten, and sometimes the problem you are pointing out in others, you have 4 fingers pointing back at you. And the I'm beautiful baloney, is just what it is, nonsence ****. In all my 30 years of nursing I never looked at a fellow employee and said, I don't like them because they are beautiful. Still shaking my head at some of the replies to Ruby's post.
    CCL RN, KYCNM, tkane, and 4 others like this.
  10. 14
    Look at the length and tone of your rant. You sound every bit as whiney as the people you complain about.

    I agree many of the folks are too sensitive. Most are younger. They just lack the skills or the confidence to defend themselves. But its the responsibility of us elders to give them a good professional example. I've witnessed many a pigtailed RN get abused by a Dr, or an old burned out nurse that should have quit a long time ago.

    Everyone in this business has seen the toxic culture of many nursing teams. Its just true. I'm fortunate. 90% of women and men I've worked with are pros that I want to emulate.

    You said you're entitled to have a bad day. If you try to take your bad day out on me, I'll put you in your place, fast! And I'm a 53 year old LVN student. I don't know why the bullies don't pick on me, but they dont.

    Now if whiney posts bother you, go away. But don't just come on here and puke. You said you didn't like it yourself.

    I'm lucky. I respect my colleagues, and they respect me. All the way from the top to the bottom. We leave most our problems at home. And we keep one another accountable. We do care for one another on the side as time permits. Mostly, we remind one another of the folks whose feelings are most important. The patients. It's about our patients.

    Keep coming back.

    A New Start


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