Since I graduated nursing school, I networked very hard to get a position in the OR. Since I started this journey a few years ago, the OR was the only place I wanted to be.
Now, I am in full swing in the OR with preceptors and I can tell you, your parents are correct in regards to "strong personalities." However, not having ever worked on the floor, I don't know if the saying "Nurses eat their young" is any different in either area. The problem I am having is that I feel I have a good grasp of the basics and what I need to do to be successful, yet my preceptors are giving different information to my bosses (not all my preceptors, just one or two). It's not even the surgeons, who can definitely get surly with anyone in their line of fire...I can handle that and have never had anything negative directed towards me, yet. What I am having difficulty with is a preceptor telling me I'm doing a great job and then come to find out that same person/persons going to my boss to report back and say that I am not 'meshing' with what I need to do. It's beyond frustrating.
I'm a very positive person, I smile a lot, I say hello/good morning to everyone...and that annoys some people. All the preceptors do things differently in how they approach the patient or how they organize themselves and I have a different preceptor every day...so, if I pick up something from one person and take it to the next case/patient, then my next preceptor says "that's not how I do it..." and therefore I seem to them to be lost or not able to prioritize (of course, according to the way that particular preceptor I have that day does things).
I am tired of hearing "the OR has 'different/strong' personalities" because at this point I am taking that to mean that some of the people who work in the OR basically work there because they are not 'people persons' and so you get the phrase "strong personalities." It's total BS to me.
I LOVE LOVE LOVE my job/the work I do. I love the OR techs, who I have great respect for and who help me tremendously...the problem I have faced are other RN's who have bad attitudes. So, do not be afraid of the surgeons...as I am finding out that they are normally not the obstacle you have to overcome. I have tried rolling over and being gracious (that was my first approach, which was construed as 'weak' and 'lost')...I have tried being more assertive (which is construed as 'not listening' to my preceptors)...I have tried letting my preceptors lead me which turns into "she doesn't take initiative." Basically, I am feeling like I will never win this battle...it's wearing me down and making me rethink my options because most days I feel like I cannot win.
In my situation, there are some very wonderful RN's who are fabulous teachers and are willing to let me take the lead. The problem is only the negative preceptors are the ones piping up and giving feedback.
Again, I adore the work done in the OR...it is fascinating, fun, and exciting to be part of such a specialized area. It really upsets me to think that I am considering giving it up because the strong personalities that people like to mention about the OR equates to nothing more than some people just having bad attitudes who don't want to be teaching anyone, anything. Take this information for whatever its worth. If you love the OR as I do, then maybe you can overcome what I have not been able to up to this point...and that is the 'perception' of what you can/cannot handle from a select few who don't know how to teach and have no business being a preceptor in the first place. I'm not so sure this mentality is isolated, however, to the OR. So, good luck with whatever you decide to do! Regardless of 'some' people in any area you go, the OR is so extraordinary. It's not the work you will have trouble with, it's navigating the broad mood swings of a few people who will be in charge of your training. Good luck with whatever you decide!