"Nurses are so Mean" - page 3

by Ruby Vee 62,544 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. 6
    Someday CRNA, I've been a nurse for nigh unto 24 years and I had a whole response typed out but I erased it because there are just no words to respond to what you have written.
    CCL RN, LockportRN, KYCNM, and 3 others like this.
  2. 6
    I think there's a lot of truth on both sides here. Ruby, your original post sounded like you don't really think that bullying happens to nice, professional people at all. Later you seemed to acknowledge that it does, but that you're focusing on those situations in which people are so self-absorbed that they can't see that they are the problem. I would agree with that analysis.

    We hear a lot about the current generation and how they've been raised (to whine, to feel entitlement, etc.), and the resultant short-comings. Well, we have to ask ourselves whether we would be reacting in the same way if we were being raised by the same kinds of parents in the same generation. Of course we would. This is not to say that they are not responsible for their behavior, just that we might be the same if we walked a mile in their shoes.

    With this in mind, I think venom is not appropriate here. Isn't it better to educate rather than condemn? People might respond well to it if you made your point in a kind way that makes them aware that they might have the kind of problem you describe. Some of them might even do some soul-searching, and improve themselves. However, sending a message that they are weak, self-absorbed whiners isn't likely to do anything but exacerbate the problem.

    Regards,
    Mukfay
  3. 4
    What we seem to have here is a problem with too many women working in close proximity. It's not an age thing because I am a young but I definitely don't have an attitude of entitlement. I have been involved in many different groups with different male-female ratios. Fraternity (all men), jobs (half male/half female), and nursing school (all female except myself). In my experience women seem to be much more sensitive, especially young nurses who do not have a high confidence level. The people in my nursing school classes like to complain that someone is mean to them but when they explain what happened it is something trivial. What really happens is that the "mean" person in question did not go out of their way to be nice. Girls like to gossip about TV shows, patients, and other people as soon as they leave. Guys are generally focused on what sports game was on or what stupid thing their friends did last weekend.
    Not trying to generalize but females are usually considered the more emotional and sensitive sex so when they are massed together conflict is sure to occur.
    LovebugLPN, shoegalRN, latebloomer74, and 1 other like this.
  4. 0
    That is sooooo true fungez!! So true!!
  5. 10
    I've been looking into options to leave nursing. I have many reasons, could create a whole thread with them. I'd be lying if I said the toxic work environment presented to me at hospitals isn't one of them.

    There is something unique and bitter about the way I've seen many nurses go about treating other nurses. This alone would not bother/concern me in the bit except for the fact that then you throw in the way administration/doctors (is there not more than a few threads about physicians yelling at nurses)/family and everyone else treats us on top of how we treat each other and...............well, you end up in a work environment that no paycheck justifies.

    What I mean when I say the interaction between nurses tends to be unique and especially bitter is:
    I was a landscaper before I was a nurse. Before that, I worked in the resteraunt business. The landscaping work environment is known for being very sink or swim. It is flooded with individuals who are chronicly unemployable. In my years as a crew supervisor, as many as just below half my work crew was, at the time, less than a few months removed from being released from prison for drug distribution/domestic violence etc. The rest of my crew was for the most part young part time workers with work ethic that mirrored their age and, then there were a few laid off middle aged people who worked well but would only be there short term. To sum it all up, I did not work with people who considered being "professional" a priority nor did they care in the least if their interactions with others was positive or not......with a few exceptions sprinkled in. Now, I must say, I prefer their company to the company of a great many of the nurses I've worked with.
    As a crew suprevisor, yes.....there was a high risk for physical violence. On the other hand, these people would vent their frustrations, complain........then go back to their business. That is where these teen-agers and recently free convicts were more mature than the avg. nurse tends to be. They got their feelings out in the open, said what they needed to say and moved on. In the nursing field, someone telling you what is bothering them is often preceeded by months of verbal digs, unecessary write ups and nasty notes left in mailboxes. Then, after three months of being pricked and pinched to death, with no explination of why (which leaves you with no alternative but to think these people just have a baseline of nastiness to them), the reason why they were upset with you in the first place finally comes out......usually in the middle of a conversation not relating to it in the least bit. Most of the time, whatever it was.......did not warrent the prolonged passiveness. Most nurse vs. nurse squables I've witnessed involve syringes being left on a med cart or something else as ticky tacky.
    People who think the medical field has a monopoly on gossip and backstabbing are, IMHO, wrong. Before being a landscaper, I worked in resteraunts. They TRULY could have you believing all sorts of strange things about everyone if you bothered to tune in to the grape vine. But again, I prefered their company.
    In the resteraunt business, people who...........didn't work hard, were nasty to other employees on a regular basis or were just asking for it (acted obnoxiously, left early with work to be done still) were the ones who got talked about. If you prefered not to play the "gossip goes around" game, you could simply mind your own business, do your work and not be a part of it. No so in nursing. In nursing, the gossip/backstabbing is so random it would take a mathemetician to create a formula that could explain why one person got gossiped about more than any other. This randomness leaves things open for interpretation. Some people will walk away thinking "they only talk about me because I am cute". Others will walk away thinking "I need to work harder at something". Problem is.................the few who do walk away thinking they need to change have no idea what to change, because the backstabbing and gossip is completely random most of the time. Its not like they can say "Oh, only people who are late all the time get talked about, maybe thats my problem". We are too bussy hissing at the color of scrubs they picked or giving them verbal pinches over how much McDonald's they eat to shed any light on the true issue.

    My experience in nursing has shown me to be tribal with my coworkers. I know who I can trust, who will answer my questions honestly, who I can say "I'm having a bad day" to and explain why...........and I stick to them. The rest are none of my concern. If they need my help they will ask for it, and I will give it, but I don't open up my social doors to every co-worker anymore. A lot of problems with the nursing field went away for me when I adapted this way of dealing with co-workers.

    I don't have a strong opionion for one side or the other in this thread. But I do have a strong opinion about whether or not the nursing work environment is toxic or not. Sometimes it is the new people who insist they are owed something and believe they are picked on because they have more clevege than the other nurse. Sometimes it is the experienced nurse "eating their young" who create it. As far as that whole issue goes, I don't think its being experienced or new that decides if you are part of the problem or not. Lets face it, for an environment to be as toxic as it is in nursing, both sides have to be contributing heavily to the problem. No way just one side or the other causes all this.
  6. 8
    Sometimes, you just have to reach down and grab your boot straps and pull yourself up!

    I'm quite the introvert, and I don't often end up in the middle of a tight knit group of buddies at any job. I'm okay with that. I get to avoid the gossip and crap, and concentrate on my job and the people who need me to be focused on them. I treat people the way I want to be treated, help when I can, and ask for help when I need it. I strive to do the right things. For the ones who do not, it's interesting to see how that comes back to them, even if it only means they are unhappy and can't figure out why.

    Thanks for writing what so many of us wanted to say...
  7. 1
    I do agree with the OP's post for sure, but on the other hand, I also think that there are alot of nurses who are just ******. Ive been a nurse for 5 years, I myself get along with everyone, but there just seems to be a lot of nurses who are just ******. I think it has to to with so much estrogen in the work place and not necessarily the fact that we are nurses. I prefer working with men. There is not the drama with them that you see with women.
    bratandtoadsmom likes this.
  8. 0
    While I am a lowly student, I've been told by some of the experienced RNs I'm taking grad classes with that men on staff function like graphite rods in a fission reactor, in that both go a long way towards preventing meltdowns.

    6mos 'til I get to see if it works in practice...
  9. 4
    Quote from gamurse
    what we seem to have here is a problem with too many women working in close proximity. it's not an age thing because i am a young but i definitely don't have an attitude of entitlement. i have been involved in many different groups with different male-female ratios. fraternity (all men), jobs (half male/half female), and nursing school (all female except myself). in my experience women seem to be much more sensitive, especially young nurses who do not have a high confidence level. the people in my nursing school classes like to complain that someone is mean to them but when they explain what happened it is something trivial. what really happens is that the "mean" person in question did not go out of their way to be nice. girls like to gossip about tv shows, patients, and other people as soon as they leave. guys are generally focused on what sports game was on or what stupid thing their friends did last weekend.
    not trying to generalize but females are usually considered the more emotional and sensitive sex so when they are massed together conflict is sure to occur.
    while i'm not convinced it has anything to do with estrogen vs. testosterone, you got it. at least part of it. people will complain about someone being mean to them or "eating them alive," when it's really that someone didn't go out of their way to be nice or to help them out.
    CCL RN, dragonfly55, wooh, and 1 other like this.
  10. 1
    Quote from GaMurse
    What we seem to have here is a problem with too many women working in close proximity. It's not an age thing because I am a young but I definitely don't have an attitude of entitlement. I have been involved in many different groups with different male-female ratios. Fraternity (all men), jobs (half male/half female), and nursing school (all female except myself). In my experience women seem to be much more sensitive, especially young nurses who do not have a high confidence level. The people in my nursing school classes like to complain that someone is mean to them but when they explain what happened it is something trivial. What really happens is that the "mean" person in question did not go out of their way to be nice. Girls like to gossip about TV shows, patients, and other people as soon as they leave. Guys are generally focused on what sports game was on or what stupid thing their friends did last weekend.
    Not trying to generalize but females are usually considered the more emotional and sensitive sex so when they are massed together conflict is sure to occur.
    Wow. Part of me wants to let you sink yourself in the workplace. By 'trying not to generalize' you are doing a pretty good job of it.

    Words fail me to provide an appropriate response. I agree that we all need to develop thicker skin, but seriously, if you don't check your own attitude and stereotypes about women at the door when you go to work, you are going to have some trouble getting anyone to take you seriously.
    tkane likes this.


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