Eating Their Young - page 2

Another questions from a future nurse of America! I have been browsing this board for a while and can't help noticing the high number of posts from new nurses getting bullied about by the veteran... Read More

  1. by   nurs4kids
    I've been wondering something about this "eating" thing. I'm a reformed "young eater", thanks to many on this bb. I have not only worked hard within myself to be tolerant of the young, but have become very active in the training and nurturing of the young. I've found there is no one answer as to why nurses "eat their young", but I have noticed we do not eat ALL the young. So, obviously it's something to do with personality or attitude. Anyhow, recently, we've acquired a "new nurse", who isn't exactly young. She has 30 yrs experience in nursing, just not a damn drop of it in peds. She was hired in at the top of the pay scale, because of her "experience", so she's making more than most of the staff there (can we say major compression??). Here's the problem: She's almost unteachable. She's been in the field so long that it's hard for her to change her approach. She did hospice prior to this job, and she gets so caught up in the social aspect of a patient that her meds are hours late because she's in patient's rooms talking. She asks fifteen-thousand questions a night, often the same 15k she asked the previous night, and many of them are petty things. Before her arrival, I always agreed, "there is no stupid question". Well, my attitude has She tries very hard and as sweeter than sugar, but she just doesn't get it. The staff is very irritated because she's making 5-8 bucks/hr more than most, yet they're constantly doing her job and answering her questions. Soooo, this has brought about the question in my mind. Could it be possible that compression of wages is a big factor behind nurses eating their young? Do we feel that because they are making more than we made as new grads; almost as much as we're making now, that they should be capable of practicing as we do???

    just a thought..
  2. by   Mijourney
    Hi jan. Welcome. I agree with night. In this case, it may be more helpful to give us specifics instead of making sweeping generalizations.

    You write you are 51 y/o. That means that you should be at the point that you have security within yourself, can discern and read between the lines. Do not judge the whole of nursing solely based upon what you read on this bb or even what you may experience on your first job or two. Judge nursing on the basis of what you plan to bring to the profession and especially to the patients and families. As others have pointed out, stay focused, stay positive, work hard and have fun. If you're already caught up in the things that will hinder your success and prevent you from experiencing a measure of satisfaction with nursing before you get started, you may find your experience in nursing alot tougher to swallow.

    Even though you are new to nursing, you weren't born yesterday. There are younger nurses who will look up to you and look to you for leadership. Come into nursing prepared to be a good and effective leader. That way you won't be one of the ones responsible for eating the young and new. Best wishes as you continue your schooling.
  3. by   janmae1950
    I appreciate the responses to my question and agree with someone here who said in essence not to worry about it now! On the other hand, I don't want to be surprised when I start working.

    On another note, this newbie is going to get Certified Nursing Assistant training at a local nursing and assisted living facility starting January 21st. I am looking forward to it. I'm still taking pre-requisite courses at school. But I need a paycheck and this opportunity will give me an up close and personal look at health care. I would also hope that working as a CNA will help when I do go into nursing.
  4. by   thisnurse
  5. by   woo 2
    i have seen this happen also, but i do believe the attitude of the person orienting makes a big difference. many of the new nurses are coming in with theattitude they know it all, also the transition from 2 patients when you are a student to 5-6 as your primary and possible covering another 6 for the lpn is stressful for all new nurses. also if you change fields you may have been an expert ccu nurse but are a novice ortho nurse so when a new nurse is hired we should assume nothing about skill level, i enjoy new staff and find i can learn something from everybody, new staff needs to share that attitude. also if you show a willingness to learn and to be part of a team it goes a long way with the old staff.
  6. by   DAB
    As a 2 year RN who was nibbled I know how miserable it can be. Depending on who was in charge, things were either tolerable (meaning overworked but appreciated) or wretched (meaning overworked and given the @#%$ assignments including more than once two new surgical admits before any other nurses got one). However, I accepted that as part of the "newbie" process and resolved not to do that to others. After a while, nurses going off were asking that I be the one to take their patients because they knew I would take excellent care of them. I left that position not due to being eaten but due to a long drive from 45 minutes to 2 hours one way depending upon traffic. I'm now in a position where I supervise support staff and within reason try to evaluate what is already on their plates when making assignments.

    Personally inspite of being "served" occasionally I did love the high degree of care involved in the first job and would consider taking that job again if we lived closer or in case we ever do.

    I think that some of the fact that young nurses are served with sauce has to do with not only who's in charge nurse wise but also administration/management. A floor is representative of who's in charge and the attitude they have toward nursing in general.
  7. by   sajaha
    It's for all the reasons you mentioned and a few you didn't.
  8. by   cooolman
    "Eating their young" is not only confined to nursing profession cos this is more in other profession. I worked for many years in different field before and seen more bad bugs there comparing to the places I worked during my nursing experience. Nurses do develop more communication skill with positive attitude and have much better understanding about their environment. They are best in handling things in spite bad bugs who might be carrying a bad chip on their shoulder. Of course some people try to be over smart ha but they point three fingers towards and only one towards us. psychology and understanding of our staff can be significant to have positive relationship among staff. SMILE IS INFECTIOUS IT SPREADS LIKE A FLU, WHEN I SMILE OTHER SMILE TOO. Does't matter if someone does't smile. This is the most eff ective way to develop positive relationship. :hatparty: :beercuphe
  9. by   UM Review RN
    Really Old Thread Alert~

    But I do agree with you Cooolman, on the whole...
    Last edit by UM Review RN on Mar 22, '06
  10. by   1happygirl
    I would like to find the root of this problem also. While I do agree that it is not exclusively with nurses, since this is a high stress/steep learning curve profession upon graduating, I think mentoring is especially important. I do not agree however it is just with nurses who have been in the profession a long time or 'diploma' nurses. I have even had new graduates who have been out in the field 6-12 months ask me (at the time a non-nurse) did I think so&so(another new nurse) knew what she was doing and would she 'make' it in the profession.

    This is an interesting topic to me as I was recently asked/prepared for it in a very competetive interview. The interviewer stated she would like it changed, would I handle this problem?

    On a side note, this is sad when compared to Med Students that try to support and stick together and we have as difficult (if not more so) job and we are not supporting our own. Competition is one thing, eating our own another.
    Last edit by 1happygirl on Mar 22, '06
  11. by   Jennerizer
    I think it's a combination of power trip & insecurity. I don't know if it's jealousy or they just feel better about themselves when they treat others terribly. It's ridiculous & immature.

    I experienced this at a hospital I worked at. The nurse literally said "I will chew you up & spit you out." I wanted to laugh & ask her "Who do you think you are?" However, I didn't want to encourage her to continue with this childish behavior. I did not tolerate it. As soon as this harassing nurse started bothering myself & a co-worker, we reported her for harassament to our manager & to the unit manager. They did nothing about it. They simply told us to hang in there, that this is the way she is, etc. Whenever she would try to speak to us in her negative way, we'd point blank tell her to stop talking to us. It got to the point that a few other staff members were also beginning to act the way she was & the techs would tell us how the nurses were talking behind our backs. Again we reported it to management to no avail. I think it was 6 or 8 weeks when I decided to quit. I won't work in a negative environment where the nurses are more concerned about being bullies than taking care of patients. Life is too short to put up with that b.s. & there is no way I would ever lower myself to their level.

    I work at a hospital now where everyone is supportive of one another. There are no cliques or bully insecure nurses looking to prey on someone new. Even the travelers & the agency nurses are treated's a great environment to work in.

    Last edit by Jennerizer on Mar 22, '06
  12. by   Tweety
    Unfortunately it does happen. But remember people come to this board to vent their concerns. There are millions of nurses around the country and the problem isn't as rampant as it might appear due to people coming here for advise and to find support.

    I've been fortunate that in my 15 years as a nurse I haven't worked in an environment where nurses eat their young. I know it happens but I can't tell you what the dynamics are. There are a few good ideas here. That's not to say I haven't come accross bad attitudes, but I don't generalize that to the profession. I think for the most part nurses are hard working, suppportive, mature and want to do their best in a stressful situation with limited resources both from the environment and within themselves.

    Sometimes a new grad nurse or a student works with 30 nurses in the course of a week and one nurse treats him/her bad and then comes here and says "why do nurses eat their young??? Why are nurses so catty?" or "why don't nurses like students?", generalizing a whole profession based on one bad nurse. When enough people do that people on the board invariably make a post such as yours. (Do a search)

    I did however work in for the newspaper many years ago, and I lasted only one month because the established folks were unsupportive and eat me up and spit me back to the streets. LOL
    Last edit by Tweety on Mar 22, '06
  13. by   1happygirl
    Before going into my new job as a new GN, how do I inoculate myself?

    As an extreme overgeneralization, it appears the less knowledgeable always have an attitude.

    Sorry, I'm new but how do you start a thread? (where to you go-I've been unable to find or do you have to be a premium member?)

    Also, it would appear this is different/or handled differently by male nurses as opposed to female nurses.

    While I agree allnurses is not representative of the nursing majority and is a good place to vent, it is a very scary thing to think about as a new grad.

    I realize it may be all in how you handle it but why do people want to work at a non-supportive job for less money and longer hours? If we eliminated the non-supportive aspect, we could tackle the others.
    Last edit by 1happygirl on Mar 22, '06