Why are nurses such back-stabbers? - page 5

Why do nurses feel the need to "tattle" on colleagues to the boss for petty things? Behavior like this does nothing to elevate our profession and everything to keep us down. Why are there some... Read More

  1. by   imenid37
    I think men can be gossipy too, but I think we women are socialized to accept it more. For some women, gossiping is like a guilty pleasure. It is almost joked about. The problem is that it can go too far and then someone gets hurt. Guys, that I have known, mostly don't care about some of the same petty stuff women do. They care about other petty stuff, like sports (sorry I am not a fan) which isn't so detrimental to others. I can think of a few glaring male exceptions I have known over the years. For example, the worst gossip and most petty person I worked w/ was a male doctor. It may just be that I have worked w/ many, many more women than men. I get sick of those who try to work their way up the food chain by tearing others down or falsely inflating their own importance. I don't really get the competion thing either. As staff nurses, everyone is pretty equal, etc., in terms of salary and what they are supposed to do. Time and again, I have seen people schmoozing the doctors or kissing management's behind and they really are getting nothing tangible from that. I blame management response to pettiness. They tend to act on some very trivial situations which, in the big picture, are very unimportant. I think this just perpetuates the cattiness.
  2. by   imenid37
    Quote from salseranurse
    If they talk to you about other people, they'll talk about you to other people.
    Never a truer phrase spoken!
  3. by   SharonH, RN
    Quote from ruby vee
    [font="comic sans ms"]i learned years ago that you elicit the responses you get.

    i find it truly saddening and disappointing that nursing, predominately a female profession harbors such negative stereotypes against women. it truly amazes me how few of our members seem to actually like nurses, or to like women. it is small wonder that many nurses are having negative experiences with their co-workers. it seems that few nrses really like their co-workers, their profession or their gender. how sad that someone would have a negative experience with a co-worker (which that person may or may not have contributed to with an "off the cuff remark") and then generalize against an entire gender and most of a profession!

    i agree 100% with ruby vee here as well as earlier comments made by deb(smiling blue eyes). this thread makes me sad. very sad. the op is having some problems at work and she takes the actions of a few and generalizes them to an entire gender and a profession and immediately receives a chorus of amens from dozens of people, presumably adults, mostly women. thus you're propagating the very behavior you're condemning.

    what's worse, the op never gave us the details of what these "tattletales" told about. perhaps her co-workers had genuine concerns about something she did and felt legally and/or morally obligated to take it to a higher authority versus merely having a pow-wow with her. i have found after 16+ years in this business that what is one person's no big deal is actually a life-threatening mistake to another person.


    we've all had negative experiences with co-workers. this does not justify negatively labeling an entire profession or gender just as it would not be acceptable if she had asked why were "asians" or "blacks" or "mormons" or "southerners" or "short people" such backstabbers.
  4. by   auntmimi57
    I have resigned last night due to unbelievable crap quite similar. I'm an LPN night shift pt. time got too freindly w/my workers- and as a poster said just go in do your work..well they are right.
    I'm in such awe of how unfair it is to see people stay while the bad apples - very bad ones remain.
    My heart goes out to you.
    I am so sad that you can be too nice to people onlyto get screwed in the end.
    Oh well..it is a learning thing I have learned yet once more not to trust.
    this was my last try at Nursing in a long term type setting b/c of bull and Nursing in general.
    I should be thrilled and as I do not have to work in this highly dysfunctional setting a revolving door of nurses, cna's coming going
    Just a tad sore today but I will get over it and will take this learning experince with me in all areas of life.
    If my spelling is bad sorry but I was awake nealrly the entire night :/
  5. by   MsBruiser
    Quote from SharonH, RN
    I agree 100% with Ruby Vee here as well as earlier comments made by Deb(Smiling Blue Eyes). This thread makes me sad. Very sad. The OP is having some problems at work and she takes the actions of a few and generalizes them to an entire gender and a profession and immediately receives a chorus of amens from dozens of people, presumably adults, mostly women. Thus you're propagating the very behavior you're condemning.

    What's worse, the OP never gave us the details of what these "tattletales" told about. Perhaps her co-workers had genuine concerns about something she did and felt legally and/or morally obligated to take it to a higher authority versus merely having a pow-wow with her. I have found after 16+ years in this business that what is one person's no big deal is actually a life-threatening mistake to another person.


    We've all had negative experiences with co-workers. This does not justify negatively labeling an entire profession or gender just as it would not be acceptable if she had asked why were "Asians" or "Blacks" or "Mormons" or "Southerners" or "short people" such backstabbers.
    I have to disagree. I don't like stereotyping as much as the next person. But there are certainly gender-related personality traits that permeate the profession. That is a fact - and it shouldn't be ignored. As a guy in a nursing program - read my other post where I establish my feminist credentials - I'm appalled at a lot of the behavior I witness among my fellow classmates. I am getting tired of the weekly meltdowns and public tears. The public "culling from the herd" of the people they don't like. The outright cruelty for those deemed "not part of the group." What many of the guys just blow-off, the women will escalate to the nth degree of drama. I find it down-right sad that half of my extern job interview questions related on sittuations having to deal with dealing with petty behavior from my co-workers. The directors stated "we need more men" not because I can lift more, won't get pregnant, and have fewer childcare issues - they said it because I responded "My personal life is my personal life - I'm not here to make friends but to do a job - I ignore people I don't like."

    I will sum this up another way. A huge part of my nursing curriculum seems to focus on "professionalism". WHAT A LOAD OF CRAP!!!!!! Why should professionalism have to be taught? Who ever heard of an academic program teaching professionalism (I already have a Masters degree - never had to learn "professionalism")? Do you think medical schools teach "professionalism"? In fact, do you think medical students turn their post-conference sessions into teary confessionals like so many of ours seem to be? Educated women in other professions are appalled when I tell them of that aspect of my curriculum, and some of the behavior I witness on a consistent basis.

    There are many positive aspects of nursing and I'm tickled pink I've chosen this career change. But attributing gender differences to mere stereotyping ignores some hard realities our profession faces. We must "clean up our act" if we are to truly be seen through a lens of respect by others. A doctor will NEVER criticize another in public...I see RNs do this all of the time. They have learned to protect and support one another.
  6. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Quote from LDK6294
    Hi to all who have contributed to this topic --
    Here's the thing; having talked this over with a psychologist, it was put to me this way: IF you, as a conscientious, ethical, worker do all you can in a given day to provide the best possible care within the scope of your responsibilities, then you set an example of doing the right thing. Often, others notice that you are doing what they themselves are not, whether that includes taking an extra few seconds to calm someone in pain, or listen to a concerned family member, it only highlights to the observing co-worker the things they realize they should also be doing. Perhaps they've remarked to you that 'patient so-and-so is very difficult' but then see said patient respond warmly to you because of your extra effort and little bit of attention. That sets up some uncomfortable feelings in the co-worker; it requires reassessment of their own skills and abilities.
    Face it, none of us like to look in the mirror and see warts. So what is easier? Instead of making changes internally, striking out by way of high-school type behavior is a tried and true defense mechanism that frankly, quite a few people resort to. It isn't an answer, it isn't mature, and it usually sets up an uncomfortable environment for all involved; sometimes (in the case of a LTC setting) even patients get involved in these mini-dramas. This is only an explanation as to the why of it; how to 'change' how nurses and other health-care professions treat each other belongs to each and every one, it comes from within. Recognizing that others may feel threatened by someone modeling behavior in a higher standard goes a long way to diffusing a sense of "What's their problem?".
    Their 'problem' is just that; THEIR problem. So what if the perception is that a nurse is 'snooty' because they refuse to associate with juvenile behavior? Again, it only holds a mirror up to their own inadequecies. This applies to all careers, male and female. It may feel like it's just in nursing, but as others have already attested, it's everywhere. Listen to the lyrics in a song called "High school never ends" by a group called Bowling for Soup. It's spot on.
    Life is what you make of it. Cheers!
    IN other words, do unto others. YES this works, most of the time!!! AMEN AND AMEN. If you are in a place that is toxic, like I said, it behooves you to get out. You alone cannot, nor should you try, to change, singlehandedly, a toxic environment.

    Either way, "if it's to be, it is up to me" applies. You in the end, have to take care of you. Complaining and generalizing change nothing. Either model the behavior you want to see, or if that fails, move on.
  7. by   jimthorp
    I've been a nurse for 15 months now. I am one of three male nurses in my facility. I don't work side by side with them so my perspective is somewhat skewed. From the day I walked onto my floor for my PPD test I knew I would fit in with the two other full-time nurses, both female. I don't remember the conversation exactly but basically it was something to the affect that you can start "busting my nuts" on <insert start date here>. That interaction set the stage for what has been a great work environment with these two nurses.

    The then HR person practically offered me the job walking in for the interview and was very excited when I later accepted the position. HR was hoping I would have a calming affect on other staff and I think have.

    During my first 8 months or so I was floated regularly (low man on totem pole) to other floors. Being a new nurse out of school is stressful enough without being floated around to floors you are unfamiliar with. I have observed the "cattyness" of other females (nurses and CNA's) in the way they treat each other. I seem to be immune to this and I guess it's because I am, as one poster suggested, "a clueless guy" or maybe its the way I carry myself or my calm nature or the way I treat others, I don't know. Lord only knows what is said behind my back and quite frankly I don't give a rat's patute. I'm not there to win a popularity contest.

    It seems I am well respected by the DON, ADON, PT, OT, Dietary, other nurses, CNA's, residents, visiting ambulance personnel, visiting hospice personnel, resident family members, and even the Administrator...i.e. just about everyone. I'm surprised the Administrator likes me as sometimes I am a thorn in her side. I speak up when I see something I do not like but do it in a professional manor. Other staff seem intimidated by her. I write things on the department head meeting report nobody would have dreamed of writing previously.

    I have not been floated in several months and I am thankful for that. Myself, the other two full-time nurses on the floor, and the regular floor CNA's joke around, bust each other's nuts, work hard, work smart, support each other, help each other, and together make our work lives and the lives of the resident's as stimulating as posible. The other two nurses on dayshift and I work as a well oiled machine. I have heard comments from several other non-nursing department personnel that our floor is the best run floor in the facility.

    I entered into nursing after loosing my job during the downfall of the tech industry. As a volunteer EMT in the 80's-90's I had thought that I'd enjoy nursing but had what appeared to be secure positions I enjoyed so I did not pursue nursing. Prior to nursing I held positions in management, R&D, Quality Control, and production in various industries and work environments. Although not limited to nursing, never before have I witnessed the frequency and extent some women will go to make others look bad and themselves look good nor the frequency of the pi$$ing and moaning. I have not seen this among working groups where women are the equal or minority gender.

    I cannot speak for other nursing programs but during my nursing school I thought it very strange the frequency of and emphasis placed on "follow the chain of command" and "conduct yourself as a professional". Now I know why. It appears to me that at least my school recognizes the existance of the generalization suggested by subject line of this thread and is trying to do somthing about it.

    It boils down to the fact that no one person can change this prevailing reality. YOU have to start by objectively looking in the mirror and evaluate yourself and how you react and interact with your environment. Tolerating and working with those that won't is difficult at best but for your own mental health you must learn how. It is far easier to cast blame on another than to face the objective reality in that mirror every day. Just watch the various reality court room shows. I am absolutely amazed at how many people cast blame on someone else for their own mistakes, and shortcomings and cry "I am a victim". At the end of the day you are the one that has to face the objective data in that mirror.
  8. by   SharonH, RN
    Quote from Stopnik
    I have to disagree. I don't like stereotyping as much as the next person. But there are certainly gender-related personality traits that permeate the profession. That is a fact - and it shouldn't be ignored.


    NO, it is not a fact. NOT. Facts are objective, facts can be proven or disproven. That female nurses are gossipy, back-stabbers, and catty cannot be proven. Every negative trait listed and attributed to females on this thread has been personally observed by me in some men. Every positive trait that you ascribe to men, mostly yourself, has been observed by me in some women.


    You believe physicians would never criticize or browbeat each other. WRONG. I have personally seen it happen. On more than one occasion. I have had physicians vent to me about other physicians. You stay in this business long enough, you will see.
  9. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Quote from SharonH, RN
    NO, it is not a fact. NOT. Facts are objective, facts can be proven or disproven. That female nurses are gossipy, back-stabbers, and catty cannot be proven. Every negative trait listed and attributed to females on this thread has been personally observed by me in some men. Every positive trait that you ascribe to men, mostly yourself, has been observed by me in some women.


    You believe physicians would never criticize or browbeat each other. WRONG. I have personally seen it happen. On more than one occasion. I have had physicians vent to me about other physicians. You stay in this business long enough, you will see.

    absolutely. Which is why assigning the term "fact" to a subjective observation and/or generalization is so offensive to some of us. And yes, I have seen some VERY petty and unprofessional behavior on the parts of physicians, one or two of whom I had to remind to be professional in front of their PATIENTS!
  10. by   MsBruiser
    Quote from SharonH, RN
    NO, it is not a fact. NOT. Facts are objective, facts can be proven or disproven. That female nurses are gossipy, back-stabbers, and catty cannot be proven. Every negative trait listed and attributed to females on this thread has been personally observed by me in some men. Every positive trait that you ascribe to men, mostly yourself, has been observed by me in some women.


    You believe physicians would never criticize or browbeat each other. WRONG. I have personally seen it happen. On more than one occasion. I have had physicians vent to me about other physicians. You stay in this business long enough, you will see.
    YOU ARE SO RIGHT!!!! Gee - it's not like I haven't read threads like this before...you are correct, it must all be a figment of our imagination! There are not gender differences because they can't be proven...
  11. by   SmilingBluEyes
    There are gender differences; no one disputes that. But it is offensive to me as a woman, to hear "women are backstabbing gossipy hags". Why that can't be understood, a mystery. Saying ALL doctors are above-board and professional while nurses are unprofessional back-stabbers, also rather offensive, to me as a nurse who considers herself a professional.

    It's easy to name-call and generalize. For us, it seems to be much harder to be part of the solution, rather than contributing to what we see as a problem, isn't it?
  12. by   Tweety
    Quote from Stopnik
    I have to disagree. I don't like stereotyping as much as the next person. But there are certainly gender-related personality traits that permeate the profession. That is a fact - and it shouldn't be ignored........


    The dynamics of a male and female dominated profession are indeed different. But why does the overriding characteristic of nursing have to be one of drama, backbiting, and cattiness? Don't female nurses have any other redeeming qualities?

    This isn't anymore fair than labeling the male dominated professions dog eat dog, backbiting climbing your way to the top, being more interested in what's in their secretaries skirts.................

    It's a shame the school you're in rather than deal with their people and raise mature professionals decides instead they need more men with their egos and air of superiority.
    Last edit by Tweety on Dec 16, '06
  13. by   PeachPie
    I think that the biggest problem that nurses have is their tendency to be "Morality Vultures." Morality Vultures are Schadenfreude-diggers who take up any opportunity to swoop down and put you below them, often with a lecture about how the Morality Vulture's poop doesn's stink. If you ask about an NCLEX question, you're lazy and need to do yor own work. If you're stressed about rude family members or violent residents, you're not looking at their perspective and you're not empathetic. If you've had it with CNAs who honestly shouldn't have passed the state boards, you're a condescending snob. If you're hoping that a nursing job will be so much better than a CNA job, you're an idealist and a snob. If we've had it with the obesity epidemic after 600 lb patients throwing out our backs, we're rude and sterotyping obese people. We're encouraged to be nonjudgmental and follow the zillions of HIPAA and JHACO rules, yet we're expected to tattle on others as well.

    My mother taught me to let things go if they didn't concern me and/or if nobody would benefit from my two cents. In her words, "Did anyone ask you?" Thanks Mom. Too many nurses try to live such a good, moral life that they turn into a secret police.

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