The value of experience in nursing

  1. 0
    I am writing this post because I am concerned by the number of new nurses/students who appear to feel threatened/offended by some of the points of view more experienced nurses hold in regard to certain attitudes they experience from new nurses.

    It is 17 years since I received my RN and 15 years since my BSN. I graduated from both programs with high honors, joined the nursing honors society, received very good clinical recommendations. The ADN program taught me to be a competent (beginning) bedside nurse: Becoming an RN meant that I had passed the minimum standard for entry level into the practice. I had no doubts when I passed the NCLEX that I was a novice nurse. My subsequent BSN education broadened my training and introduced me to new avenues of practice for nurses. At the end of both programs I was an entry level nurse. I had no reason to call myself anything else when my nursing experience was limited to nursing school; certainly I had no reason to consider myself good or excellent.

    It has taken me years, as experienced nurses have mentioned, to reach a point where I feel I have been able to put all the pieces together, and this translates into providing better patient care. Within my range of experience I feel I am relatively competent, and maintaining that competence requires continual effort and near continuous studying. I recently studied for and passed the CEN exam (I have not worked as an ER nurse), and the wide range of content plus the fact that I do not have ER nursing experience made studying a big challenge. I learned more of the big wide range of nursing (and medicine) that is out there, and was humbled in the process. Being open to learning made me a better nurse.

    I am not sure why some newer nurses appear to be offended by experienced nurses reminding them that striving to be a good or excellent nurse is a worthy goal, but that one does not begin as a good or excellent nurse. I too am puzzled when new graduates speak of being "great" or "excellent" nurses. When one's nursing experience is limited one has no basis in reality to speak of being great or excellent. I personally could never imagine speaking of myself in terms of greatness or excellence. I too wonder if the common culture nowadays is narcissistic self-promotion and instant attainment of excellence.

    I feel that we are very fortunate to have some experienced nurses on this forum who are willing to offer their insights and experience. I personally learn a lot from more experienced nurses, and I always gravitate to their posts. I think that sometimes the more experienced nurses' frustration at some of the attitudes of newer nurses is evident, but I find it worthy of consideration that the experienced nurses are often in the workplace working with new grads and serving as preceptors. I would hate to come on this forum and find the experienced nurses had stopped posting.
    Last edit by Susie2310 on Jul 31, '12
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  3. 24 Comments so far...

  4. 7
    I wonder whether this thread will also be closed for staff discussion?
  5. 2
    Susie2310, I share your sentiments! I have my ADN as well... 29 yrs. I have my BS in Community Health Ed. I feel with new nurses these days IMO, from what I have witnessed, when family members are in the hospital. ITtjust seems the "newer" nurses don't take the profession as serious or something. I know I will probably get hammered for this. Thats why many feel they are "great" already, and feel offended if corrected by senior RN's. they feel they have passed NCLEX just like you. I don't think its stressed enough during nursing school to look up to senior rn's, once hired on. Thats why they are quick to wear the long nails, looking cute and the likes, smacking gum......LOLOL ok that was extreme Then look clueless when unable to hang blood.
    Fiona59 and Susie2310 like this.
  6. 5
    Well said.

    I do have my opinions on why some new nurses can be stereotyped into having certain unlikable attitudes because I was just there 5 years ago... to me, it is a combination of a younger generation with a generally over-confident attitude (USA ranks lowest in math & sciences yet #1 in confidence!) & a brainwashing of sorts by the nursing school instructors & the media.

    That said, time & experience usually brings about a tolerable balance.
    Fiona59, llg, redhead_NURSE98!, and 2 others like this.
  7. 9
    Honestly, I feel that we are beating a dead horse on AN. Experienced nurses versus new/young nurses. When will it end? Why can't we all just get along? There are some new nurses that have the "know it all attitude" and there are some experienced nurses that I wouldn't let touch me or my family member with a ten foot pole. Okay, so now that we got that out of the way, lets move on. This is really getting old.
  8. 6
    I am 27 years old and have been a nurse for 18 months. Before becoming a nurse I volunteered in a hospital in post-partum, NICU, med/surg, and patient services (delivering flowers, etc.). After that I worked as a home health aide. I remember being absolutely horrified as a volunteer listening to the way the nurses talked about their patients and each other at the nurses station. I thought surely this was only the hospital I was volunteering at (despite it being one of the best rated hospitals in the city). Sadly I have found that this is the culture of some of the less positive and professional nurses. When I started nursing school I found some of the instructors to be firm, stable, and intelligent. I loved these nurses the best. I did not go to nursing school to be emotionally coddled nor abused. Although I find the sweet coddling nurses to be much preferred over an abusive, codependent, self righteous, gossiping, self-sacrificing nurse any day.

    Nursing school was extremely stressful and I started my first job with a very short orientation. I found most of the older nurses to be a great help and I asked for their advice constantly. There were and are a few of the nurses which annoy if not frighten me. They gossip, are belligerant and obnoxious, think they know everything to the detriment of the patient, and are generally low class in my opinion. When I come to get report and they are talking about how this patient is a ***** or fat or whatever borish expletive they have come up with that day I usually leave the room and come back when the actual report starts. I am very professional with these nurses but do not trust them nor look to them for advice. But then there are the awesome experienced nurses. My favorite has worked in the hospital for 30 years, is very strict and emotionally stable. You always know what is expected and where you stand. She has trained countless new nurses and we all thank her and love her for it.

    Now that I have proved myself many of the experienced nurses treat me as an equal. That is all I want as an inexperienced nurse; to be treated with respect. I am open to constructive criticism but do not belittle or humiliate me. I do not come to work to be abused or to abuse. And do not forget that verbal abuse and gossip are forms of violence. Do not expect me to grovel at your feet because I lack experience. Do not think I will fail to openly and tactfully question your nursing judgment when I think a patient's well being is at risk. If I am wrong, and many times I am, I am sure you, as the experienced professional you are, will have a good rationale. I am a nurse, not a martyr. I am not co-dependent. I think boundaries are important in this field. You are my co-worker, not my parent. You will find in life that you get what you give. And yes, I am a great nurse. I am an EXCELLENT nurse despite my lack of experience. My patients know it, my DON knows it, but most of all I know it. I believe in myself and it is my hope that every other new nurse loves themselves as much as they love their patients.
    Esme12, nursewhocares, orthonurse55, and 3 others like this.
  9. 2
    Quote from Susie2310
    I am writing this post because I am concerned by the number of new nurses/students who appear to feel threatened/offended by some of the points of view more experienced nurses hold
    Could you give a few examples, please? If there are some specific posts that have upset you, that's one thing. If not, this feels like yet another instance of someone beating a dead horse. This topic has been absolutely worn out on AN.
    Fiona59 and Daisy_08 like this.
  10. 4
    I think the OP wrote a great post.

    I am a new graduate. I agree there are many other student and new graduates who think very highly of themselves, and this is not only annoying but also disconcerting. I really have no problem with the experienced nurses on this forum saying that they have a problem with these specific new graduates attitudes. I only have a problem with the generalization that ALL new grads think this, or act this way.
    I am going to be starting my first job as a nurse in a few weeks and I am scared that I will be judged merely because I am a new grad, and others have put a sour taste in the mouths of the experienced nurses.

    Please don't let the few ruin it for the rest of us!
    sweetgeorgia, Susie2310, RN In FL, and 1 other like this.
  11. 0
    Quote from pecanpies
    Could you give a few examples, please? If there are some specific posts that have upset you, that's one thing. If not, this feels like yet another instance of someone beating a dead horse. This topic has been absolutely worn out on AN.
    With respect, you are absolutely free to cease reading this thread, and so is anyone else, and if no-one is interested then it will die of its own accord. I started this thread because I realized I wished to comment from my own personal experience. It was not my intention to polarize a discussion, or to take a position against new nurses. I am speaking simply from the point of view of an older nurse, who has also been a new nurse.
  12. 2
    Quote from OnlybyHisgraceRN
    Honestly, I feel that we are beating a dead horse on AN. Experienced nurses versus new/young nurses. When will it end? Why can't we all just get along? There are some new nurses that have the "know it all attitude" and there are some experienced nurses that I wouldn't let touch me or my family member with a ten foot pole. Okay, so now that we got that out of the way, lets move on. This is really getting old.
    Clearly, some people will continue to lose sleep until they feel their lessers have been put in their place.

    To every single person beating this horse: Who gives a flying crap if someone on an internet forum uses the word "good" or "great" to describe themselves? Why would anyone take that personally unless they were speaking in comparison to you? Because it sounds a little too much like an underling claiming YOUR crown?

    Grow some real self esteem. Then maybe you can stop trying to find it through divisiveness and class systems. Then maybe you can let others be.
    Fiona59 and GenYgrrrreatnurse like this.


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