Nursing Hostility and Other Nonsense - page 4

by RegisteredNuisance 14,149 Views | 53 Comments

In my short career as a nurse I've seen some terrible behavior among nurses, and I'd like to share my take on things. I've only been a year for two years, and working as a nurse for 13 but in that short amount of time, I've... Read More


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    I worked in construction for 12 years before I went to nursing school. Construction can be extremely hostile, with scheduling conflicts, work performed out of order, yelling, rampant drug use on the job, shoving matches, competition between team members, back-stabbing, etc. From what I have observed in the hospital, it too can be an unkind place. I'm not trying to belittle or disparage anyones experience with bullying or hostility, but the hospital can be a picnic when compared to my previous career. True, I am still a student, and will probably get torn a new one on a regular basis as soon as I step foot into my first job, but stay strong my brothers and sisters. It's cheesy, but I love you and want you to be be best that you can be. You deserve to be happy and fulfilled in this career that I consider a privilege.
    vld123, BrandonLPN, and anotherone like this.
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    I loved reading all of the experiences that nurses related in this topic. After almost 20 years, and being a straight, married male, I have to say that women tend to be a little sensitive. As plumbtrician mentioned, construction probably has its share of drama, only with a much harder edge. A quote from one of my favorite movies:

    Peter Gibbons: Let me ask you something. When you come in on Monday and you're not feeling real well, does anyone ever say to you, "Sounds like someone has a case of the Mondays?"

    Lawrence:
    No. No, man. Sh%t, no, man. I believe you'd get your ass kicked sayin' something like that, man.

    Nursing hostility can be a little more passive. I once worked with a nurse who would push my charts on the floor if they crossed an "imaginary" line on her part of the desk. So I took tape and put a line. Wrote "my side", "your side"....got written up.

    In a recent job, if I worked one day in a busy ICU without seeing a coworker burst into tears and run into the breakroom, I went home and told my wife.

    But changes in hospital staffing are not helping. With larger hospitals using float pool to fill staff positions, deliberately understaffing, and shorting staff at the end of shifts rather than call someone else in, it is no wonder nurses are more frustrated than they used to be. There isn't any unit loyalty, or administrative loyalty anymore. And don't even get me started on the latest "quality measures".

    Its nice to be near the end, rather than at the beginning, I guess.

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    The meanness, the back-stabbing, the rudeness-----its not just in nursing.
    I was an early childhood education teacher before I left that field to go into nursing. Oh, do I have stories for you guys! You see, when you work around WOMEN, that's how it is. I have been victimized by these predator-like women when I was a teacher. They were back-biting, disrespectful, rude, catty and just plain mean. When I went to nursing school I was told by my nursing instructor that nurses eat their young. My nursing instructors also told me that they will not give me a reference for me to work in a hospital or nursing home. They must have sensed something in my personality because they said a doctor's office or clinic would be a good fit. I refuse to work in a hospital. I would rather do home care nursing where it's just me and the patient and the only people I answer to are the families. I am through trying to be liked and accepted by FEMALES in the workplace. That attitude I had is exactly why I suffered as a teacher-----trying to be liked-----but NO MORE.

    I think most women in general are catty and cruel to each other. Not all but MOST of them in the workplace are like that. That's why when I get my nursing job, I will keep to myself. I am not, I refuse, to go out of my way to befriend any nurse or any other WOMAN in the workplace. Women fought hard to get good jobs and good pay and look at how they act. All they want to do is destroy each other. They rarely want to uplift each other. They rarely want to build each other up. They just want to hurt each other. They enjoy that. It is not just the nursing profession----it is any profession dominated by WOMEN. Ick! People may be offended by reading my blog. Too bad. I won't even tell you about the female bosses I had to deal with. Female bosses are worse than male bosses. Trust me. I am just going to say this: I will be nasty to anyone that is nasty to me. All the days of me being sweet to people who are nasty to me and hurting me are over, those days are gone. I am not going out of my way to befriend ANYONE. Especially if the person is a woman. I will keep to myself and try not to smile at anyone. It is what it is folks. I am just trying to survive in my new profession.
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    Dayum. Are you male or female? Someone needs a timeout
    inshallamiami and nursekmck like this.
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    What did we get into nursing for? Most of us it was "to help people". There is the added benefits of science, love of the body, satisfaction in "fixing" and finally of working in a professional environment where every person is needed to contribute their expertise in order to obtain the best possible outcome for the patient. In the hospital setting we cannot advertise that we "Are compassionate, we care, we listen and we explain" if we do not do that with one another. This problem is becoming common place in hospitals today. We can complain, we can choose to ignore the hostility or we can try to come up with ideas that would actually lead toward a change. What about:

    1. Making the public aware of this widely accepted behavior in hospital settings.
    2. Going to our unions and include a professional code of conduct in our contract. (That would put the responsibility on the Human Resources department to do what they are experts in.)
    3. Suggest to your hospital and Union that Charge Nurses receive management training, including professional and interpersonal communication.
    4. Go to your local Nursing Schools and volunteer or encourage teaching on professional communication, working together effectively and how it effects the safety of the patient.
    5. Do not participate in this behavior.

    We can complain, we can be discouraged, we can leave the profession or we can come together to make a change.
    plumbtrician likes this.
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    It rubs off on the patients as well:
    As a nursing student, I watched 2 ICU nurses, while changing a stroke patient's brief, turn her over, point at the BM, and say, "Oh look, it's a *co-workers name*", and then laugh hysterically. The worst part is that I know the patient could understand them, she just lost her ability to talk effectively during the stroke....
    A fellow student watched two other ICU nurses put an NG tube in an unconscious pt who had tried to commit suicide. When the stomach content came up they said, "There's, that Heineken....wait no, he's too white trash for that....here comes that Bud."
    My fellow nursing student and I discussed this with our instructor in front of the class, the consensus (including my instructor) was, "Oh well, your co-workers are the ones you lean on, and you have to have a sense of humor"....what??
    I never have behaved that way...but I did get burned out so maybe they were right....NOT, ....it's still not right.
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    This kind of behavior has been around for the past 40 years I have been in nursing. I refuse to participate in that kind of behavior of gossiping,belittling co-workers or new staff to make themselves look better. If people have a problem with that - it is exactly that , their problem not mine. I went in to nursing to care for people , granted it is nice when this type of behavior isn't around.
    RURN2O11 likes this.
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    I don't agree with the 'it happens in all fields' and 'we need to develop thicker skins' comments. I worked in another field for 25 years, in numerous different jobs, and I rarely experienced the kind of mean/angry/quick-to-jump-on-people stuff that I've heard about a lot in nursing. In fact, this is - by far - *THE* most surprising thing to me about this field. I always thought nurses were nice, and they certainly were to me as a patient. As the original poster is saying, we all worked hard to get here, and I would add that this is a stressful/demanding field, so I'd think people would work WELL together, and lean on each other, rather than be snippy and take their frustrations out on each other. I guess somewhat parodoxically, because I'm a nice person and not quick to anger, these other types anger the hell out of me - I feel like saying 'what in the hell is wrong with you?'. Then again, I must admit that I feel like I understand few people these days.
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    I think that you must have a thick skin to some degree in order to do nursing in the hospital, but my goal is set a good example by maintaining a positive attitude and when confronted with hostility to push back. What I mean by "pushing back" is to figure out how to disarm the attacker and ensure that this type of behavior is not acceptable. This may be difficult to accomplish.
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    Excellent advice-no matter what your occupation.
    Thanks for reminding me of the importance of patience, love, and tolerance for our fellow humans-be they patients, co-workers, or the strangers we interact with in our daily commute.


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