Well, everyone here depicts nurses as being such great people, but lets face it - a lot of us are not! We may have all done 3 or 4 years of university, but there are a lot left who went through the old hospital system - and they were the mentors of the first few generations of university trained nurses, who then shared the mentoring of the next generations... and thus the tradition has been passed on.
Don't get me wrong - I think the majority of us are nice and even the ones who seem not to be have their good points, but the stresses of nursing (taking crap from doctors, violence and abuse from patients, horizontal violence, abismal nurse-patient ratios, unfair rostering, poor leave arrangements, etc) can tip just about anyone over the hilt! Many nurses tend to ***** at each other as a way to cope with these daily stresses. Instead of talking about how the conditions are poor and doing something about it, they talk about how Betty wouldn't help them with this or that, or how Jane forgot to do a care plan, etc, but they would never say these things to their face.
Instead, the nurse who is being ******* about gets subtle messages from the one who has been ******** about them, and some of her friends. I'd like to hear from any of you who have experienced this. I'm sure that's the majority of you, because studies done in the US, UK, Australia and Ireland all show that this is so. The percentage of people reporting verbal abuse or other forms of "horizontal violence" uncovered in these studies ranges from 30% to 67%, and is considered to be vastly under-reported!
These are a few tips I can offer which I have found useful:
1. It's important to take this in stride - it's not really as personal as it seems. ****** behaviour directed at you SEEMS personal, but you're just an unlucky target.
2. Often (but not always) the best thing is to ignore the behaviour, as it'll usually be a one off. You may think that because Sandy has ******* about you to all the night staff, they're all going to keep their distance from you. Don't believe that for a moment! If they have 6 months or more post-grad experience, they'll know not to take it to heart. ******** is, well, just ********!
3. If it is a recurring thing, first approach the person, preferably when others are around, and say: "you seem to be upset over ...... How come you didn't just come up and say so?" By showing that you're approachable, you're firstly showing others around you that you're a reasonable person (hence dispelling the myth they've just tried to spread about you), and secondly - you're setting an example so that maybe they'll just tell it to your face next time.
4. Don't underestimate the value of talking to superiors about these things. Nurses are by far one of the most avoidant groups of people when it comes to confrontation. Nurses have switched jobs, quit the profession and even committed suicide because someone was giving them a real hard time. If you take the step and see a superior, don't be hesitant about it. If your nursing manager detects hesitancy, he/she may not take you very seriously, and then you will feel like you have no support.
5. Be PUBLIC about issues. If you think there is something wrong with the profession, or with your workplace, come out and say so. You will be encouraging others to do the same, rather than keep it all inside and then SNAP AT SOMEONE when it becomes all too much! If YOU decide "aggh, it's not worth it" or "it's not that bad", YOU will end up being the perpetrator of ********/back-biting behaviour! Also, be public at a community level. Have you ever wondered why nursing schools have THE HIGHEST drop-out rates? One college which neglected its students (in a pretty bad way) ended up on a TV current events program. They also got taken to court (the students wanted their fees back). You don't have to do anything that extreme (unless that's how you feel about it, of course). You can send editorials out, post messages, etc.
6. Remind yourself that you are in one of the most special professions around. Nurses get to see the most of their patients. All the little things we do make such a big difference. There is such a big range of employment opportunities/specialty areas your degree can get you. Most of all, remember how you felt when you made a difference to certain people, or the compliments/gifts they gave you.
I wish you all success and good times for the new year!