Why are nurses such back-stabbers?

  1. 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 nurses who feel superior when they tell on someone to the manager? This recently happened to me and I thought I had a good rapport with my co-workers yet one of them ratted me out to the boss on an off-the-cuff remark that I made. Why does this happen? Is it because the majority of nurses are women and women are catty individuals. I'm a woman btw. From now on though, I am just going to do my work, and only talk to the other nurses/aides about clinically relevant stuff only. Other than that, I'll keep my nose in a book. Actually, I won't be working at this current place much longer. There are staffing issues that put my license in jeoprady so I am starting a job hunt after the holidays.

    So, why do we do this to eachother?
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  2. 243 Comments

  3. by   MsBruiser
    You said it, not me. I think gender plays a huge role.

    I'm a guy. Consider myself a typical blue state liberal. Even was educated (BA, MA) at a historical women's college that turned co-ed. Can't stand sports, etc, etc. In other words, I am about as much of a feminist as the other person.

    But since I started nursing school I am sounding more and more like a Neanderthal guy when talking about some of my classmates. Only 5 guys in a large, large class. A lot of the women (not all - but lots) spend an inordinate amount of time ********, moaning, backstabbing, and sabataging each other. I simply am amazed at the behavior. I see the same thing with RNs at my clinicals. The good news - being a guy, I am largely immune or at least not atuned to that behavior as far as I am personally concerned. Every week there is inevitably a huge breakdown in my class as some student cries about how someone is treating her. Yuck...no wonder a lot of the directors where I am an extern have said (both men and women - all highly educated, intelligent people) "we love to hire men." In fact, half of the questions at my extern interview entailed how I would handle social situations ("what if someone is gossiping about you"). In my 12 years in the corporate-world, no one would EVER ask a stupid question like that at a job interview. It prompted my wife to ask "what kind of profession are you training for????"

    I love nursing - but am continually amazed at how nurses treat each other. Good thing I'm just a clueless guy capable of ignorning it.

    BTW, the next time someone "tattles on you" about a remark you SUPPOSEDLY made, just say "I have no ideal what you are talking about."
  4. by   Lorie P.
    the million dollar question?? i think because of 2 things, 1 , they are jealous because you do your job and do it well and 2, because they aren't as great as they think they are and yes a third, some nurses need to stab other because they are missing something in their onw life and the only way to avoid that "thing" is talk about some one else.
    just me and my thoughts.
  5. by   P_RN
    Oh let me tell you about when I wasd a telephone operator. There were all kind of "rules" that made no sense at all.

    You had to put your purse under your chair with the handle to the right.

    You had to use a red mechanical pencil with #2 lead......they "said" it was electrically charged (no kidding).


    You had to pull your switchboard cord (yeah this was in Jurassic times, but still.....) from the front row of cords, not the back-duh they were connected together.

    You had to request a break by putting a red piece of cardboard on a clip so it was laterally. If you put it vertical well you were out of luck.

    Oh and your headset had to be to your right ear, no matter if you could hear better in your left.

    Nursing has NOTHING on Bell Telephone. The ONLY reason people (not just nurses) PEOPLE backstab is to make themselves appear/feel/ superior.

    When they crawl over othersONLY look like the worms they are.
  6. by   shoegalRN
    Let me tell you. I work in corporate america in a call center for Large Business accounts for a major telecommunications company, where the majority is WOMEN (think operators), and I see this day in and day out. I see the pettiness and the ******** and complaining and the back stabbing, especially if there is a higher position at stake. It's not based on work ethics and what you know, it's based on who you know and how far you are willing to go to get that position. It's so cut throat, it's unreal. Based on my experience in coporate america, I will carry this lesson to nursing school and the real world. I've learn to only form work related working relationships and everything else is off limits.
  7. by   meownsmile
    I think basically its a manipulation thing. Managers know that people are looking to make their lives easier and they choose to appear to reward people who spill about things that go on when they arent around, as well as it strokes the ego of management to see co-workers barking about each other. Youve surely heard of divide and conquer. Little do these people know they are doing nothing to promote themselves but in most cases being used until the rest of the staff cant stand to work with them any longer and they eventually get squeezed out.
    IVe seen it over and over,, eventually the write-ups start coming on the person who likes to recount everything and eventually they (management) cant ignore it. I hate write-ups by the way,, i think they need to be used gingerly and after much analysis of a situation. Write-ups can be as bad as the "tattletale" game. These people tend to forget what goes around comes around.
  8. by   shoegalRN
    Quote from P_RN
    Oh let me tell you about when I wasd a telephone operator. There were all kind of "rules" that made no sense at all.

    You had to put your purse under your chair with the handle to the right.

    You had to use a red mechanical pencil with #2 lead......they "said" it was electrically charged (no kidding).


    You had to pull your switchboard cord (yeah this was in Jurassic times, but still.....) from the front row of cords, not the back-duh they were connected together.

    You had to request a break by putting a red piece of cardboard on a clip so it was laterally. If you put it vertical well you were out of luck.

    Oh and your headset had to be to your right ear, no matter if you could hear better in your left.

    Nursing has NOTHING on Bell Telephone. The ONLY reason people (not just nurses) PEOPLE backstab is to make themselves appear/feel/ superior.

    When they crawl over othersONLY look like the worms they are.
    Oh, you are SOO dead right! I work for AT&T and let me tell you, I've seen it all. I've heard of people getting "followed" on their sick days because someone "told" coporate security they were not "really sick". I've seen all the "smile in your face, you're doing such a great job" later only to be repriminded for not "following the script" on a call, although the "customer" was clearly irate and had every right to be. I've seen people climb the corporate ladder without ANY degree, no knowledge other than the 8 hour crash training course, and STILL manage to land the position because they went out to lunch with a friend who was in charge of hiring for the position just to "put in a good word" for them. Not to mention, their attendence is horrible and they are one step away from getting fired.

    Oh, I figure if I can deal with this, I can deal with ANYTHING.

    I've heard their are politics in nursing as well, but I just think that's with ANY job. There will ALWAYS be someone who feels that "cutting corners" will get them up the ladder faster.
  9. by   Wendy_RN
    Unfortunately, I don't think backstabbing is confined to nurses, but rather in the female gender. Another poster mentioned jealously, and I agree that is probable one of the biggest factors. I think some people do it just to boost their self esteem. You know, if they make someone else look or feel bad, the offender will feel better about themselves. We have all heard the comment, "Nurses eat their young." I think that is just another way of referring to the backstabbing that some women choose to do.

    I hate you have had this experience. Sometimes it is better not to be too personal with coworkers, at least until you really know them and know for sure you can trust them.
  10. by   DoubleblessedRN
    Because the profession is predominanty women, and that's how women are.
  11. by   RN BSN 2009
    I've noticed this a lot... Too much cattyness with women.
  12. by   TrudyRN
    Quote from Stopnik
    You said it, not me. I think gender plays a huge role.

    I'm a guy. Consider myself a typical blue state liberal. Even was educated (BA, MA) at a historical women's college that turned co-ed. Can't stand sports, etc, etc. In other words, I am about as much of a feminist as the other person.

    But since I started nursing school I am sounding more and more like a Neanderthal guy when talking about some of my classmates. Only 5 guys in a large, large class. A lot of the women (not all - but lots) spend an inordinate amount of time ********, moaning, backstabbing, and sabataging each other. I simply am amazed at the behavior. I see the same thing with RNs at my clinicals. The good news - being a guy, I am largely immune or at least not atuned to that behavior as far as I am personally concerned. Every week there is inevitably a huge breakdown in my class as some student cries about how someone is treating her. Yuck...no wonder a lot of the directors where I am an extern have said (both men and women - all highly educated, intelligent people) "we love to hire men." In fact, half of the questions at my extern interview entailed how I would handle social situations ("what if someone is gossiping about you"). In my 12 years in the corporate-world, no one would EVER ask a stupid question like that at a job interview. It prompted my wife to ask "what kind of profession are you training for????"

    I love nursing - but am continually amazed at how nurses treat each other. Good thing I'm just a clueless guy capable of ignorning it.

    BTW, the next time someone "tattles on you" about a remark you SUPPOSEDLY made, just say "I have no ideal what you are talking about."
    IMHO, gender has naught to do with it. Some of the men I've worked for and with have been just as bad as any woman, in this regard.

    As for why so many employers prefer men - no hormones, relatively few child care issues compared to women, physically able to lift and turn patients more easily, little muss or fuss with getting married, no pregnancies to accommodate (light duty, long mat leaves), better able to defend themselves, more respected by the male doctors, at least the older ones.
  13. by   TrudyRN
    Quote from nurse-lou
    From now on though, I am just going to do my work, and only talk to the other nurses/aides about clinically relevant stuff only. Other than that, I'll keep my nose in a book.

    So, why do we do this to eachother?
    a very wise decision; good luck job hunting.
  14. by   jjjoy
    In addition, perhaps the fact that much of nursing is shiftwork and the groups of co-workers on shift often change from day-to-day. So instead of just seeing the same two or three annoying/slacker/backstabbing/etc colleagues day in and out and learning how to avoid the wake of their negativity, you run across more of this type more often and you don't have as much chance to figure out how best to deal with each one because not only do you not work with them every day but with each different staffing mix each day, the dynamics may change and their behavior may change. It may be easier for those bothered by these bullies/jerks/etc to ignore these folks and let them get away with more because they don't have to deal with them every day.

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