Ending the cycle - page 2

What can we do to combat ******** and backstabbing in the nursing profession? I realise that the cause of this behaviour is complex and includes oppression from the medical profession and the... Read More

  1. by   cmggriff
    I have to agree with SuzanneRN. I've worked in a lot of different jobs in a lot of different situations and have found no significant difference in behavior of men and women. I think the difference lies elsewhere. When I have worked in a hospital where backstabbing and ******** were commonplace, it seems the management seemed to encourage (reward) the behavior. I am working in a hospital now where this kind of behavior is not so prevalent. But I notice the people who engage in it are getting rewarded for it either.
    When training dogs and children it is best to ignore unwanted behaviors and reward the desired ones.
  2. by   Doc
    Kday, a very good description of the "why" behind the behaviour. It is essentially what I was saying, only you said it better.

    But really I don't see that adults are that different from children when it comes to fear, loss of power, need for love, and all the basic desires and instincts human beings go through. I originally came from a psych background and so am also a believer that adults have "child" aspects in them - these are the unresolved conflicts within themselves.

    I agree that there is nothing like assertiveness to confront the negative behaviours of nurse-eaters and what I was talking about was empowerment. What a better way to empower yourself (and thus be an example to others) than to be assertive!

    Still, there is an underlying loss of control, a fear, as you say, of not amounting to anything, of being outperformed, of looking small, of not being accepted. Why can't we do both - be assertive and be empowering to others? And yes, don't forget I came from psych and so I agree perhaps some people are too far gone for this approach, but one must never lose faith, for that is the final condemnation of a human being. By the way, I agree, lets make prozac in the air filters standard hospital policy On second thoughts, bring on the nitrous oxide


  3. by   Q.
    Hello there..
    This is an interesting discussion. I'd like to add a few of my experiences.

    I work on an all-female unit. The ******** and backstabbing is at a plateau right now. I personally feel that working with ALL one gender can be a problem, especially women. Yes, men can be just as nasty and backstabbing - in a different way - but I think working with all one gender allows the dysfunction to flourish. In an all female unit, enter one man and he may be enough to alter the unit personality slightly. In an all male workplace, enter one female and she may be enough to alter the men slightly to watch their mouths, clean up their act, etc.

    It has been my contention that nursing isn't alone in this dilemma. My husband tells me that this kind of thing also runs rampant in his profession (Information Technology) where you have project managers belittling system analysts and system analysts belitting programmers. Some IS professionals have an associates and some certifications, others have an MIS degree. I think nursing has a larger problem because the profession is so numerous. I see it a little like crime. Crime appears to goes up when the population goes up, only crime really only went up PROPORTIONALLY to the population, so it seems like a straight percentage increase. Nursing has something like 2 million nurses - that is the single largest profession in America. There are more people with varied education, backgrounds, walks of life thrown together - there is going to be problems.

    The nurses who backstab, like Kday said, are most likely unhappy with themselves, or could simply be unhappy with their current job or role. Many of them have to orient new nurses. One nurse on my floor has no choice but to orient: she is the only full time straight days person - the rest of us rotate shifts. To be consistent with a consistent preceptor, then this nurse has to do it. But these nurses who eat their young, they would have that behavior if they worked in the grocery store, in the bank, in the factory, in an office setting. I worked in an insurance company with a wide variety of people, male and female, and the backbiting was just as evident there. It's everywhere.

    It effects us as a profession more than other professions because our profession now is under scrutiny. We foresee a worse than ever shortage looming on the horizon and we are scared. Alot of us don't see a resolution to this other than to leave the bedside or stay on and ride the tide. We see our lack of organization and standardization as a means to our cattiness. I see the end being an organized, unified profession with standardized education and point of entry. I realistically don't see the backbiting to stop, because it never will. It's human nature to be this way, unfortunately.
  4. by   Mijourney
    Hi Doc. Under another post, it was pointed out that we can't change a person's behavior, but we can change how we respond. I believe that's the best way to deal with a situation. It takes a lot of discipline to be consistently assertive to encounters, but I believe that it can become a habit with time, patience, and practice. This applies not only how we respond to others but to our personal circumstances.

    I agree with the posters who pointed out that men can be bears in their behavior. When I worked in the hospital setting, I would see male doctors eat each other individually or in gangs. I would hear of partnerships breaking up on the same level as the couple in the movie "War of the Roses."

    I do feel that due to alot of factors, people today tend to be more methodical in how they undermine others. You do have those who engage in fist fights or worse. But, you can't tell me that someone who has diabolically sat down and strategically planned out someone's demise, individually or with a group of others, is not as dangerous as that fist fight or cattiness. Maybe even more so.