Cruelty and Lack of Respect in the Forum

  1. I am a member of several nursing chat rooms and forums. Ours is a stressful job, and, just like the horrible jokes that nurses tell at the dinner table that grosses out the non nurses at the table, often only nurses get nursing "stuff". I have just joined allnurses and am appalled at some of the lack of basic politeness, personal respect, and gentleness on this site. Nurses are an opinionated bunch. They bring to the table different education levels, personal and professional experience, and personal values (see biases) I am just as guilty of this as anyone, but why are nurses often so cruel to each other on this site? I have read many appropriate, well thought out, respectful posts, but I've also encountered many posts, where someone is either asking a question that might be "obvious" or asking for opinions on a personal or professional course of action, and they are hammered by the responses. The sanctimonious, rigid, and sometimes downright abusive answers have made me ashamed of sharing in this "family". What scares me more is if some "professionals" react this way to another health care worker, like a pack of wolves after the slowest babe in the herd after they have shown some weakness, how do they treat patients, colleagues, and subordinates in the "real" world. Then again, perhaps they use a chat forum to excise all of the cruelty and meanness that they don't dare show when they have to look someone in the eye. I have read personal attacks and nasty opinions that have far outreached the original topic of the post and wander into personal and professional attacks with no basis or founding. I will NEVER post a question or request for comment on here that shows weakness or uncertainty after seeing the overstepping and lack of personal respect in many responses. Isn't the first thing nurses learn in "Nursing 101" is how to "argue" or "give an opinion" in a respectful, therapeutic, and positive manner? Another thing we learn as nurses is that, for the human animal, there are often no "absolute" truths and that it is up to every nurse to try to realize what is fact and what is colored with personal biases, hopefully using these personal aspects of ourselves to strengthen our character and build up, not break down, the needy or "weaker" among us.

    Annette BS RN Not hiding behind a Username
    Last edit by Anne413 on Sep 10
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  2. 7 Comments

  3. by   Lil Nel
    Very well said, Anne413. You are absolutely right!

    My guess is that real answer to the dilemma is found in the middle of your post. Because this is the Internet, many posters feel free to show sides of themselves that probably don't share with co-workers and patients.

    Kudos to you for stating what needed to be said.
  4. by   traumaRUs
    We have a terms of service to which everyone agrees upon joining. Please report any posts that violate our terms of service. We have a volunteer staff of mods that all donate many hours to keeping AN a safe place to land.

    However, we also depend on our members to help us - please report posts.

    Thanks.
  5. by   Anne413
    Quote from traumaRUs
    We have a terms of service to which everyone agrees upon joining. Please report any posts that violate our terms of service. We have a volunteer staff of mods that all donate many hours to keeping AN a safe place to land.

    However, we also depend on our members to help us - please report posts.

    Thanks.
    I have moderated many chat rooms and forums, usually victims of abuse or foster children that need a safe space to express feelings and concerns. I've seen several posts here where members have stated that their conversation and comments should be completely unmoderated. It's very difficult to have productive moderation if members don't think it is needed. I will do my best to report the worst of the inappropriate comments in the hopes of promoting more productive interchange.

    Thank-you, TraumaRUs for your service.

    BS RN Psychiatric
    Pediatric Psychology
    Crisis Management
  6. by   Neats
    I have been a member since 2007. There are times I log on and I can go for months without logging onto allnurses.com. I took this site to be an uplifting wisdom site that would be filled with lots of experiences shared. I then took off my rose colored glasses and realized this site is an ordinary site in that it is uplifting and also filled with snarky comments. As a whole I have come to enjoy this site even more from a professional stand point. I enjoy when wisdom shares with whom ever that maybe, and I just skim over the snarkiness and let people be people (do I think some comments are just insults...yes, you are being rude yes, I just want to say be nice). If you get your feelings hurt from this site then maybe you should not review what others have said, just skim over or go to another post you feel happy with, no issue. If the snarky comments do not bother you then I suggest there is no issue ether. People have a right to say what they want, just remember the legal issues some members have had in the past...we do not live in a world of rose colored glasses, nor do we live in a world of repression. I am glad for the ability to tune people out and welcome other people into my topic or join others in their topic. We have common ground its called allnurses.com great place to start.
  7. by   wernicke
    I suspect the Internet emboldens people to say things they otherwise wouldn't, since they get to hide behind a username and profile pic. Also, with the Internet, they only see the comment, not the person making it nor any nonverbal cues such as body language. People thus get reduced to a single comment or question in many cases. I've always suspected that internet flaming is similar to road rage in that way. You don't see the person, just one action that upset one for some reason.

    While I really dislike it when it happens with opinions, I can see why. But when people get that kind of angry with totally normal questions, I find that disturbing. I've also seen a lot of nurses say some pretty unkind things to nursing students. I would not go so far as to shout "NETY!", but I do think some of it qualifies as bullying. I think it can also point to a relatively disturbing way of looking at things. It's not common but I have seen nurses treat patients and their families harshly. There are a few nameless people on here who I have seen be very, very nasty unprovoked. I don't post all that much so I've never had it directed at me (yet!), but it absolutely happens.

    I think another thing to keep in mind is that no one is really anonymous or un-doxxable. I saw a topic here a while back where someone got into serious trouble in real life because someone at work found her AN account.

    Overall though, I think the good outweighs the bad on here. People on this site have helped me with a few different things, most recently my decision to go into homecare.
  8. by   Mulan
    I've worked with some really nasty people over the years so maybe it's just a reflection of real life.

    Some people may be hiding behind a keyboard but I bet that's not true for all.
  9. by   ®Nurse
    Personally, I’ve found that I can only tolerate a month or two of the undesirable behavior before I start to catch myself falling into the same cattiness that I abhor (hence, taking a long break), or finding myself being appalled at what is stated and condoned on this site. I think it is a form of a defense mechanism that spreads like the norovirus among posters once you reach a certain exposure of postings.
    Hoping that all people can conduct themselves in a manner that the profession of nursing SHOULD be elevated to is a noble endeavour. However, human nature is not going to allow perfect behaviour as much as it is so desperately needed to be demonstrated.
    I just heard my Mother’s voice in my head finishing up this post with the saying “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen”. lol.

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