Elorra, I am sad to hear this problem crosses international boundaries, but not at all surprised. I guess, you have to weigh your options. I have been frustrated by gossiping/favouritism causing the workplace to be a very unproductive and unprofessional environment. I have not, however, actually been the object of any scandals/extensive gossip like some of my co-workers have. In some ways, I'd love to leave, but it would cause me another set of problems (transportation, scheduling, less time w/ my kids), so I stay where I am. Do I find myself getting in to this crap? I'd love to say no but sometimes I do. Part of it stems from my frustration w/ management's lack of response to people who don't do their jobs. (I work w/ a woman who magically "needs to stock cribs or feed sleeping babies" when there is an emergency, so she can't help EVER. She , of course, requires extensive help if there is any trouble w/ a pt. she is caring for). The reason management doesn't want to deal w/ this person and others varies. She is not a "favoured" person. In fact, the manager is glad to gossip w/ you about what a ding-a-ling this woman is. To address her inappropriate behaviour might mean they would be expected to deal w/ some others who act out inappropriately who they do like or perhaps they are just too darn busy kissing the behinds of those on upper rungs of the management ladder to bother w/ piddly issues like pt. safety.
It is only my opinion and not universally true, of course, but I think the healthcare environment today dictates that those in management are implementers of regulations and policies (some of the HIPPA crap and computerized nurse-unfriendly charting we have comes to my mind). This is a shame because there are lots of talented folks w/ leadership potential and integrity, but they are not "what upper management is looking for." How many people on this board know managers who lack clinical knowledge about the units they "lead", but know when the VP of nursing's birthday is? They love to spout of to staff who dare complain that the staff person is not "a team Player", when it is the manager who is playing the individual sport of olympic "arse-kissing" to administraion who is demanding cost-saving, pt. jeapordizing measures. Are there some really good managers out there w/ ethical backbone who do a great job? EMPHATICALLY YES! Sometimes, they get ripped apart because they are true leaders who don't want to play today's healthcare "game."
Although, I know I slip and gossip when I spout off about other co-workers, I try to stop myself when I realize what I am doing. It's not appropriate. I try to just speak to the person directly at the time of the incident. I also know I am far from perfect. I do try to remove myself from the gossip-brown-nosing-back-stabbing cycle as much as possible. It's why my body says work day shift, but my mind tells me to stay on night shift.