What is up with nurses telling students

  1. that if they go into specialty "X, y or z" they will have to work their butts off and never get any breaks, only 5 minutes to pee and eat in 12 hours? I've been told this three times in the last 2 weeks. I think that the nurses telling me this (one was my clinical instructor!!) were trying to make certain specialty nurses seem like they were some kind of super-nurses, but all I got out of it was that if you want to work L&D or NICU, you must be a chump who will slave away under poor working conditions for a lousy 18$ an hour.

    Seriously, does anyone else fear that they wont be working where they want to because they don't buy into the whole idea of nurses being martyrs? I think that very few other professions would look on someone as having a bad attitude because they wanted to take their lunch break.....but apparently nurses do.
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    About yogastudentRN

    Joined: Nov '02; Posts: 75; Likes: 16
    PCT, nursing student


  3. by   llg
    I hate to say it, but I think you are right in some of your conclusions. Some nurses have fallen into a trap of "glorifying victimization." In some circles, it is considered an honor to be "tougher" than everybody else. It has become a competition to see who is the toughest, as in, "You think you have it tough, well, where I work ...."

    As you have realized, it's not a healthy mindset. It's similar to the mindset that allows battered women to stay with abusive husbands because "he needs me." (I want to write an article on the phenomena some day, but never seem to get around to it.)

    The challenge for you is to find out whether it is just a few unhealthy individuals who think this way -- or whether it is the predominant culture of a unit that you might like to work in. Almost every unit has a few employees with negative attitudes, so don't let a couple "bad apples" scare you away. However, I wouldn't want to work in a place where the predominant culture was so unhealthy.

    I worked in such a place once, and it wasn't until I got out of it and put a little distance between myself and that experience that I saw it for the abusive relationship that it was. As with battered women, don't forget to be kind to those nurses. Many are victims of abusive relationships and what you are seeing is a reflection of that. They need to be helped out of that "glorified victim" mentality. Bashing them only adds more abuse.

  4. by   l.rae
    Originally posted by yogastudentRN
    , but all I got out of it was that if you want to work L&D or NICU, you must be a chump who will slave away under poor working conditions for a lousy 18$ an hour.

    You can add ER to your list of martyrs too...unfortunately.....EXCELLENT post llg!...very good analogy of abusive relationship imo.....hence, nurses may be smarter than you think though, consider the shortage of bedside nurses getting the heck out of dodge at the first opportunity. Some of these nurses are just putting their time in the trenches for experience when they move on to friendlier fields of nursing....slowly, we are figuring this out
  5. by   Sleepyeyes
    I agree, llg, I've worked under conditions such as you describe--and I left for those reasons.

    Even though my new unit in a different hospital is very busy, we are encouraged to cover for one another so we get our lunch breaks. So don't settle for less.