Why does every unit have a princess? - page 2

by echoRNC711

10,166 Views | 45 Comments

When I graduated nursing school some 20 years ago I made a promise to myself to explore all of nursing and feel satisfied that I have done that. I have specialized in several areas and have done per diems everywhere in the... Read More


  1. 13
    Just wait til princess gets pregnant. It gets worse!
    Not_A_Hat_Person, noyesno, CloudySue, and 10 others like this.
  2. 7
    Quote from Pranqster
    I think you nailed it!

    "The princess as I see it is the nurse who is allowed to demand and receive privileges and the staff as a whole panders to it. Specifically, the princess can protest her assignment, demand extra staff and throw an occasional tantrum when she gets upset. This same assignment and staffing ratio has been managed without complaint or problem by other shifts yet when the princess complains it becomes a "justifiable issue that needs immediate correction. "

    I can't understate how many times I hear how much smoother the shift is when there are men working. I don't want to offend the ladies, I love'em, but you asked.....
    Our current "princess" is a guy!

    Love this, OP. This would be a great AN article.
    RNJill, Psychtrish39, FecesOccurs, and 4 others like this.
  3. 2
    Quote from rubato
    Why? Because she can get away with it.
    Bingo! Our facility has ZERO tolerance for this kind of behavior and those that come in with that attitude are quickly weeded out. (Thank God!)
    Psychtrish39 and Meriwhen like this.
  4. 7
    Quote from Elladora
    Bingo! Our facility has ZERO tolerance for this kind of behavior and those that come in with that attitude are quickly weeded out. (Thank God!)
    You said it perfectly. Yes, there are the 5% who have exceptionally strong blood/money/social ties to the powers that be, and so their antics can't be helped. But more often than not, the "princess" (or "prince") continues to thrive because everyone else lets them.

    At the same time...are you (OP) and your unit resentful that she is getting things changed for her and you're not? It could be because she is actually asking/complaining, while the rest of you have chosen to "tough it out" and suffer in relative silence. Admittedly, I don't work there so I don't know if her requests/complaints/behavior is justified (e.g., is she asking for extra staff with a patient load of 10 or a patient load of 3? Does she have 3 post-CABG patients while the others have none, or does she not want to deal with a demanding walkie-talkie?).

    So she could really be a princess or just being assertive; I can't judge that as I haven't witnessed her in action. I can only go by your side of the story, which is only one POV.

    But one thing that I have learned pretty fast as a nurse is that if you don't ask, you don't get. Management isn't going to rush in to offer help or make changes if you don't say anything: they're going to assume that all is well. If you're not making any complaints about your 7 patient load that you're struggling to stay afloat with, then they're going to read that as you can handle 7 patients just fine and move on to the next issue.

    Not saying to complain over every single little thing, but perhaps there are times where speaking up would be justified, even at the risk of gaining a label from coworkers. Just something to think about.

    Last edit by Meriwhen on Oct 9, '12
  5. 5
    Quote from rubato
    Why? Because she can get away with it.
    That pretty much sums it up. The longer version:

    They exist because we let them. The amount of attention and effort is takes to redirect an individual like this is taxing and demanding. Eventually, it is just easier to let them have their way because there are just other, more important things you need to attend to.

    Why does it take so much? Because they are calculating and persistent. Selfishness rules their though processes and actions. They are manipulative to the core. I place many of these individuals in the same category as sexual predators and serial killers.

    Think that is too dramatic? Consider this: If you were to take a rape prevention class, the first thing they tell you is "Its not your fault, the person who did this to you is wicked and built for taking advantage of people." Sexual predators can walk into a room full of people, not say a word to anyone, and pick out the 2 or 3 individuals who are vulnerable to their plans. Its as if every neuron they have is directed towards getting an advantage over other people. Same goes for serial killers, they know who will put up a fight, who will fall for the tricks and who won't.

    How does this group of princes and princesses take advantage of us? They use a rarely talked about but very present (like the pink elephant in the room no one is talking about) human trait against us. It is our natural tendency to treat well liked, charismatic people differently. Ever notice how some people can tell a joke, and no one reacts, even if the joke is hilarious. On the other hand, someone who is "popular" can tell a bad joke and everyone will laugh, because they want to share a moment with the person. Same part of human nature gets triggered when these nurses do their thing.

    First, they make everything a popularity contest. They work hard at getting on everybody's good side, whatever it takes. They are bubbly, understanding, into the same music you are, have the same hobbies you do...........blah blah blah. Just like a car salesman, they win as many people as they can over. They are seeking favoritism and preferential treatment though, not friends (much like the drug addict seeks narcotics). Then, slowly but surely, they start asking for this and that accommodation. At first, no one notices, its no big deal because we love working with them. Eventually the accommodations become expectations. One day, you look up, and this person you used to like so much has turned into an intolerable brat who is more demanding than anyone should ever be allowed to be. Good luck turning things around once they get to this point too............may as well be telling the heroin addict "you must stop now."

    On the bright side, there is a solution. Just as sunlight kills the vampire and Superman has to worry about kryptonite, these nurses have their thing they fear. That thing is assertiveness. Assertiveness is like garlic, a little bit goes a long way. If they are held accountable and are expect to perform just like every other nurse, from the start, the behavior never gets to pick up enough steam to be effective.

    You'd be surprised at how these people react to being told "no". I do it all the time, actually get some enjoyment out of it. They'll be sitting at the nurses station, scanning Pintrest or Facebook and ask me to do them "a favor" (answer their call lights, get the stuff they printed off the printer for them, w/e) and I always say no. They are like children who have had their Christmas toys taken away. Some throw tantrums, others get embarrassed and go into hiding for close to an hour.

    The reason so many of these nurses exist though is, the assertiveness must be consistent. Just as when you are dealing with a staff splitting patient and each nurse, from shift to shift, must be consistent in their reactions..........so too must the leadership on the unit be with the prince/princess nurse. This is where we fail, and the monster is created. They are like children who know dad will OK something but mom won't.....and they act accordingly. Charge Nurse B must follow Charge Nurse A's lead when refusing to accommodate them, and the manager must be on board too. How often do you see nursing units where everyone is full on board and consistent?
  6. 3
    Quote from Meriwhen


    You said it perfectly. Yes, there are the 5% who have exceptionally strong blood/money/social ties to the powers that be, and so their antics can't be helped. But more often than not, the "princess" (or "prince") continues to thrive because everyone else lets them.

    At the same time...are you (OP) and your unit resentful that she is getting things changed for her and you're not? It could be because she is actually asking/complaining, while the rest of you have chosen to "tough it out" and suffer in relative silence. Admittedly, I don't work there so I don't know if her requests/complaints/behavior is justified (e.g., is she asking for extra staff with a patient load of 10 or a patient load of 3? Does she have 3 post-CABG patients while the others have none, or does she not want to deal with a demanding walkie-talkie?).

    So she could really be a princess or just being assertive; I can't judge that as I haven't witnessed her in action. I can only go by your side of the story, which is only one POV.

    But one thing that I have learned pretty fast as a nurse is that if you don't ask, you don't get. Management isn't going to rush in to offer help or make changes if you don't say anything: they're going to assume that all is well. If you're not making any complaints about your 7 patient load that you're struggling to stay afloat with, then they're going to read that as you can handle 7 patients just fine and move on to the next issue.

    Not saying to complain over every single little thing, but perhaps there are times where speaking up would be justified, even at the risk of gaining a label from coworkers. Just something to think about.

    We have more than one princess on our unit. Three actually, and they are all friends AND they are all friends with the DON. Untouchable in everyone's eyes.

    Then there is me who calls them out on the mat and tells them "no" when they want unreasonable accommodations. Yes, they play the popularity game and tell everyone I'm not a "team member" and I'm a grumpy old nurse "who eats their young"...........but their attempts to bother me are toothless, all bark.

    Maybe I'm a little suicidal or something, but I don't think the 5% are as capable of enforcing their wishes as they/others think.

    I tell them "no" just the same as everyone else, enjoy the temper tantrum show and move on having stood up for myself. In short, I call their bluff. So far, none of them have been holding a hand as good as they proclaim to have.
  7. 0
    Our unit "princess" is married to one of our cardiologists, so yeah, she gets away with a lot. She only works one shift a week, and it's an 8 hour shift, when everyone else has to work 12 hour shifts. She shows up late every day she works (not just 5 minutes, I'm talking 20-30 minutes late), but it's perfectly acceptable, since she's the princess. She also gets to pick and choose her assignment. She's also refusing the more time-consuming patients.
  8. 0
    We had one where I used to work, the only person who could work 12's on the entire unit. Everyone else had to work 8's. No clue as to why, but I do not miss that.
  9. 2
    Unfortunately, there is a princess on every job and in every field. HOWEVER, count yourself as lucky if you are able to witness a "regime" change and the princess' untimely fall from grace. Great Article!! Good Luck!
    Not_A_Hat_Person and echoRNC711 like this.
  10. 3
    Ah, well, this is one of those things in life that goes on everywhere. Just remember to do right and be true to yourself, b/c the BIGGER reality is no one 'wears a crown' forever in this imperfect world. Also "It rains on the just and unjust." And even if it seems to 'chiefly (rain) on the just, because the unjust steal the umbrella of the just,' God sends the winds and gales to blow the umbrella out of the unjust people's hands.

    Everything comes around in due season; therefore, don't trouble yourself about these kinds of folks. The elements of life come down on us all, and the just are more prepared to weather these elements. Thus the "weather" will distill the truth about people in due season.




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