Why does every unit have a princess?

  1. 22
    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 hospital with the exception of L&D. Throughout my travels, I have come to see that in every area, there reigns a princess.

    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 initially thought that this nurse was the most knowledgeable or skilled but over time came to realize that this wasn't correct. I can wholeheartedly admit that at times I did resent this disparity, but I had a hard time really fathoming how it was permitted.

    I am a reflective person so I have examined myself for the presence of jealousy and although not a refreshing find, I had to accept that it was there. I think I used to mask it in righteous indignation that I was a hard worker so why was her mediocre at best work hailed in such high regard. The answer is she is popular, powerful or both: I am not a princess.

    I genuinely like to work hard. My relationship with my pts is very private. I allow them to see me and I them in a way that is deeply meaningful. I think often where we go wrong in nursing,myself included, is we expend energy comparing ourselves to each other. Usually, if I am having a strong reaction to a person, they are showing me something about myself that I haven't yet faced. Why is there a princess in every unit? I really don't know.

    What interests me is what can I learn from her. The princess no longer becomes my enemy when I register my own truth: that I am quiet, I am deep, I am respected but in my career there are times when I too wished to be popular.
    Last edit by NRSKarenRN on Oct 8, '12 : Reason: Fixed typo's and spacing.
    Soliloquy, mrsmamabear2002, LDRNMOMMY, and 19 others like this.
  2. 45 Comments so far...

  3. 0
    Sorry for all the typos. I should have read it again.I hope its not too distracting.
  4. 8
    I know exactly what you're talking about, but I've found the princess doesn't exist in every unit, or every job. But when you do work with one, there's no mistaking you're in the presence of royalty. I too try to be self aware, and examine what it is about the Princess that I resent so much. Would I turn down extra holidays off if management threw them at me? Would I turn down the primo schedule that has the rest of us salivating? Would I turn down the superior raise and evaluation even when I knew I was at best average?
    No.
    So it seems to me that the princess can only exist, when management crowns her. I try to keep that in mind, and save my worst feelings of resentment for the supervisor/unit manager/CNE/CEO who allow her to reign.
    As to why they exist, I just don't know. Obviously management sees some promise in them as nurses, that escapes us mere peons.
    The one thing that is absolutely true in every princess I've ever worked with, they eventually move on to a better position. Always. Leaving their adoring subjects mourning their departure.
    loveoutloud, Psychtrish39, RURN2O11, and 5 others like this.
  5. 3
    don't hate me cuz im more popular
    Melina, itsnowornever, and Lame like this.
  6. 11
    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.....
    abbaking, TeleRN44, Paul'in'FL, and 8 others like this.
  7. 3
    Quote from Pranqster
    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.....
    We have a guy on our unit that I guess you could call a prince? He's allowed to pick and choose the easiest patients for a shift, even if it means having to reassign all new patients to several nurses. ("Well, I had them last weekend so I want them back." Never mind that I've had them for the last two nights!)

    He's less annoying, in general, so his behavior doesn't garner as much grumbling as that of our last princess but it's still frustrating.
    Syrenia, opossum, and nrsang97 like this.
  8. 4
    Why? Because she can get away with it.
  9. 3
    Sometimes life is really unfair, because there are those nurses that can almost get away with it and you are not even sure why they are able to. The best way for me to deal with it is to put it in the back burner of my mind and focus on myself as a nurse. If I know I was able to do my work to the best of my ability then other things can fade into the background.
  10. 2
    The only princesses I've worked with were either related to or good friends with people like medical directors and those who have buildings named after them. Could be just luck of the draw, though.
    Last edit by nursel56 on Oct 9, '12
    Not_A_Hat_Person and gonzo1 like this.
  11. 2
    I do believe there are some nurses who see themselves as advocating for their own needs, but that is not what we are in this for. What we are in this field for means different things for different people. Entitled behavior is apparent in those who, in an effort to not expand so much energy themselves, delegate to others-- I would think--as to not have to take responsibility for an assignment or they are uncertain of their own clinical competence.
    There can not, in my opinion, be a running theme that our jobs define us as individuals. They are seperate things.
    What makes me take pause, OP, is that you describe your practice as having a private, meaningful relationship with patients. This is (and just my 2 cents) inappropriate on a number of levels, as you are defining yourself by the work that you do. If you have a rich, full life outside of work, the "princess" would perhaps not take you to a level of jealousy. And you can be right on the money with your patient's medical and/or emotional needs, without getting into a non-theraputic relationship with them. My point is that your choice of practice is not what everyone adheres to. One can be empathetic and an advocate without taking a meaningful relationship over the top. So perhaps you may find it irritating that the "princess" doesn't practice at that level. If you are putting your all into a relationship with your patients, there is precious little that is left over for you. So to explore that would not be a bad thing.
    The behaviors you describe of your co-worker are extreme and inappropriate. It could be changed if you perhaps have a nurse governence committee of some sort that you can ask that behavior be part of a initiative for cultural change on your unit. And bottom line-- this all has to do with who is in charge, and their ability to "take charge" and re-direct this behavior of tantrum throwing and such.
    Medic29841 and nursel56 like this.


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