"Nurses are so Mean" - page 7

by Ruby Vee

61,819 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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    yes everyone has bad days i agree, but i thought part of the nursing profession was to help people. not just patients but coworkers. part of the definition of nursing is teaching. if a nurse gets tired of answering the same question for the 100th time maybe they should rethink their position. part of nursing i believe is not to bring your bad mood to work with you, or if you do because i know thats an impossible task, try to mask it the best you can. no one deserves to be spoken down to, new or not. patient, clinical student, or seasoned RN..
    annmarie899 and is5512 like this.
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    Quote from ~normajean~
    yes everyone has bad days i agree, but i thought part of the nursing profession was to help people. not just patients but coworkers. part of the definition of nursing is teaching. if a nurse gets tired of answering the same question for the 100th time maybe they should rethink their position. part of nursing i believe is not to bring your bad mood to work with you, or if you do because i know thats an impossible task, try to mask it the best you can. no one deserves to be spoken down to, new or not. patient, clinical student, or seasoned RN..
    I don't think that anyone has an issue with answering questions, the issue is the same person asking the same question, and not retaining the knowledge they should be learning with an answer to the question. Maybe it's something complicated they don't get with the first time, but when it's the 8th, 25th, or 99th time someone has answered the same question for that question, red flags should start to appear.

    I currently work with a nurse who truly scares me. Fresh out of nursing school, and some of the things she's asked me how to do (multiple multiple times) are things that are nursing 101. Honestly, I don't understand how she graduated nursing school without knowing (and this is just one example) how to spike and prime an IV bag. Our pumps are also heavily covered in hospital orientation (2 weeks) and in unit orientation (minimum of another 6 weeks). So she's now been on our unit for 6 months, and still doesn't know this? Red flags are flying.
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    hi there,

    it seems there are two different issues being discussed - one is bringing a bad attitude to work (and I agree with normajean, as nurses and professionals, we need to set the tone and the example of being positive, and continue to be the best we can be, even on bad days - because as the saying goes, it all trickles down, especially if you are teaching or being an example for new nurses!)
    The second issue being discussed is a nurse who is not 'getting it' - or perhaps being enabled in some way to be helpless. A nurse educator colleague of mine discussed this issue in class, of a new nurse who consistantly did not learn how to do IV insertions, and was having the other nurses do it for her ( for a whole year!!) Half of the problem was that the other nurses were enabling her, and the other half is that the new nurse was not taking ownership of learning how to do it for herself. A situation like that needs to be addressed and rectified - quickly. If the nurse is truly incompetent - she may need to look for another line of work. If the issue is lack of confidence or high anxiety levels - that can be addressed by a positive mentoring partner for a period of time to help this nurse gain the skills she lacks. But it needs to have a set time, and a goal, it can't drag on for months and months.
    I see this as a different issue than new nurses who may be asking a question several times because they are newbies, and overwhelmed with an avalanche of new information. Let's face, we have all been there and done that. We should be kind to those who follow in our footsteps!

    We have all been the 'novice to expert' many times over in our careers, and if we keep learning and growing, it continues to be a revolving door, and that feeling of being a novice should keep us just a little humble!
    JMHO
    Annmarie
    RetRN77, Doc Lori, R.N., nursel56, and 1 other like this.
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    back to the original post........there are no "mean nurses"...
    just nurses that have seen a lot, been through a lot, and maybe have toughened up some...and yes, some of us have little patience for a new grad that cannot seem to grasp basic skills.......we do try to help, but enough is enough....
    On the whole, most new grads I have worked with have done well.......
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    i use to think nurses were mean until my first clinical rotation...
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    Looks like an interesting read. Well I'm absolutely agree that no can help you out as long as your not bothering about yourself. If that's does not happens then end of the day you end up with blaming the co-workers, the boss and even to the job also. And its not sounds good if your dumping your garbage on everyone else by being rude. It better try to deal with the problem, Find a friend to confide in, get a counselor, just learn to leave the attitude at the door.
    Last edit by Silverdragon102 on Jun 1, '10 : Reason: TOS
    annmarie899 likes this.
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    Good advice Bert33. Sometimes you have to let the small stuff roll off your back. And the funny thing is - if you confront the really mean people, often times they crumble because they are weak inside. They are just bullies on the outside. The first time I confronted a young smart-mouth nurse for telling me to 'get off my fat ass and take care of the call light' - I turned around and told her - in a very professional manner, that her language was inappropriate and unprofessional - she broke down in tears. It was too funny. This is the same nurse who acted like she knew it all, but would stick a patient 6 or 7 times to start an IV, then ask for help ( I would go in to the bedside and try to start the IV on her patient) and would find uncapped bloody IV needles all over the bed. Some people are all bluff and no substance. Sometimes you have to call their bluff.
    LockportRN likes this.
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    Though I agree with most of what you say (and disagree with those who criticize you for venting a bit), I think it is undoubtedly true that many experienced nurses are ill-prepared to be preceptors. Precepting is a specialized skill that takes a great deal of patience and a clear awareness of learning styles and the varying abilities of the nurses one is training. Just because you have been a nurse for many years, even an excellent one, doesn't mean you will be any good at precepting. I have even considered that there should perhaps be a special certification for being a nurse preceptor, except that the last thing we need is one more thing to be certified for!
    LockportRN and annmarie899 like this.
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    I have to say that having worked in a number of places and seen many new nurses coming in to their first jobs, there is plenty of criticism and too-high expectation, especially in specialty areas in hospitals. I have worked for many years with nursery nurses who openly called other nurses idiots, new or not, because they didn't have the depth of experience or knowledge in the nursery. I have seen the same behavior in labor and delivery nurses everywhere, and especially there, the "old" nurses all seem to think that if the "new" nurse makes any mistake, they're the one that takes the fall for it, even though the "new" nurse has a license and even may have experience. I have had orientees complain that my coworkers and I were "mean" for intervening in a situation where urgent action was required and they were either too inexperienced or too dense to notice that something needed doing right then. And I have been mistrusted just because I was new, and it was expected, always, that I prove myself before anyone would trust me with my own patients, much less theirs while they were on break. I have had very few collegues actually show me something to help me gain a skill or learn something without a tone of voice that didn't communicate that they thought I was stupid because I didn't know what they were showing me. Nobody knows everything and learning is ongoing. Very little of that behavior had anything to do with whether their kids were giving them trouble, they had marriage problems or car trouble. It almost always was a professional thing. Enough of those orientees were older than me that blaming youth and beauty for their perceived persecution would be completely invalid. There were plenty of times when I was older and more experienced than my orienter, and still got the mistrust. I'm an excellent clinical nurse by my own and others' measure and I still have seen and received plenty of clinical criticism, aside from the interpersonal nit-picking and back-biting that goes on. There have always been cliques and good-old-girls clubs in every hospital I've worked at. Some of that crap had to do with ethnicity. Yes, we go to work to earn a living while performing a service that fulfills needs and satisfies both us and our patients, and we usually have no choice about who we work with. It isn't realistic to expect that everyone we work with will be astute, fast, efficient, kind and selfless every minute regardless of what's going on in their personal life, nor that work is a place to socialize. It is realistic to expect that everyone will do their job, pull their weight, and practice safely. If we hold the same, realistic expectations of ourselves and our coworkers and treat each other fairly, always, that would go a long way toward changing the perception that nurses are "mean."
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    I'm still just a nursing student but I completely agree that nurses can be mean. Through no fault of a nurse, people completely try to take advantage of a smart person and their mind because they don't want to use their own mind.


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