New Nurse/Old Attitude

Nurses Relations


Specializes in CCU, SICU, CVSICU, Precepting & Teaching.

[color=#0c0b62]it must be summer again -- all the posts from newer graduates who have just started new jobs and are convinced that their new colleagues are being mean to them. then they proceed to tell us that they're not contributing to the problem -- they barely say anything at work, yet they're "approachable and friendly -- and it's entirely the fault of their colleagues who are bullies. and a bunch of other newer grads jump on the thread, proclaiming how awful it is that nurses eat their young, and how everyone knows that old nurses are mean to newbies. next it will be the "they're all jealous because i'm so much younger and more beautiful" posts. [color=#0c0b62]

[color=#0c0b62]at the same time, there's a post decrying the unfairness of it all that the chatty, social nurse gets the job when the quieter nurse with the better gpa (who is convinced that she is the better nurse) doesn't get hired. as one of the quieter ones, i can see her point -- sort of. i'm beyond lucky that i started my career when there was a shortage, because i probably wouldn't get hired now. i'm actually shy, although probably none of you who read my posts would believe that.


[color=#0c0b62]the thing is, hiring managers hire those people they'd like to see at work every morning. especially when it comes to new grads -- we can teach you how to be a nurse; but we cannot teach you how to be the person we enjoy working with. so the social person is more apt to be hired than the quiet person. male or female, great school versus ok school. fabulous gpa versus just barely got through -- managers are going to hire the person they can chat with. whether that's fair or not, that's just the way it is.


[color=#0c0b62]if you're quiet and shy and you managed to get hired, that's great. congratulations. you've got your work cut out for you because in addition to learning how to be a nurse, you now have to learn how to get along with your new colleagues.


[color=#0c0b62]you might be there for the patients, to do your job and not to make friends. but the fact of the matter is that nursing is teamwork, and it's hard to feel as if you're part of a team (or for others to feel that you are) if you're not friendly with your coworkers. that means you have to be prepared to chat with them. i've seen posts from newbies who were incensed that their older colleagues asked them personal questions such as were they seeing anyone or how old their kids were. probably all their colleagues wanted was some basis for chatting. politics and religion aren't very safe topics, but nearly everyone likes to talk about their kids.


[color=#0c0b62]so you're working at a new job, and because you're new, you make mistakes. most of us understand that, and when we're not stressed out by the overwhelming pressure of keeping our patients safe and cared for while orienting you, we're understanding. however when we point out your errors and you are quiet or defensive, it appears to us that you don't get it. you could hurt someone if you don't get it right. we need for you to get it. if we point out a few errors and you don't seem to appreciate the seriousness, we may get more strident when we point out the next error. hence the complaint from the newer nurse that "they're acting like i killed someone when no one was harmed." that's not the experienced nurses being nasty to a newbie. that's the experienced nurse trying to elicit the proper appreciation of an error. usually.


[color=#0c0b62]i'm not saying that there is never an experienced nurse being nasty to a newbie . . . but i am saying that it doesn't happen nearly as often as i see it complained about. when you think about it, i'm older than the parents of the last few orientees i've had. when their parents point out errors, they probably roll their eyes and complain about how unfair mom or dad is being. (just like we did when our parents came down on us.) it's not that far from complaining how mean the experienced nurses are. fortunately, i've been blessed with truly smart newbies with great attitudes. some of the attitudes i've seen on this board, though, aren't nearly as good.

Specializes in Gerontology.

Spot on as usual Ruby!

Really appreciate this post. I've been in situations where I felt like I bent over backwards to help an orientee "get it." I've helped train several that ended up doing fantastic on my unit. But when the few that really just can't get the hang of it quit or get fired, everyone seems to end up pointing the finger at the preceptors, saying the person was treated unfairly, picked on, etc. It makes me crazy! You just can't make those judgments when you were not the one dealing with the person day in and day out, banging your head against the wall to get them to understand the importance of the work you do! I have made a new nurse (with 6 months unrelated experience) get out of the break room to get vitals that were late. She came back in less than 2 minutes later, picked up her phone... said she couldn't get vitals because the dinamaps were all out. HELLO, that's no excuse, you have a stethoscope, thermometer and EARS! I'm here to help and teach, but passing nclex doesnt mean you throw critical thinking out the window, and laziness won't be tolerated. The best advice I have for new grads who think the experienced nurses are mean is for them to become experienced, go to day shift, and try their hands at training new nurses. Pay your dues, earn your respect, and if you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen. I usually love teaching, and helping a new girl get off orientation and able to work independently is a source of pride for me. But some people really need to get over themselves. This is nursing, not nursery school!

Specializes in cardiac-telemetry, hospice, ICU.

Ruby, I agree with much of what you say. Maybe we see so much of the complaining because these newbies are stressed and a bit freaked out because they are afraid of doing something wrong, and venting here is just a release. It would be interesting to see what the 'complainers' of whom you speak will post in the coming years. Soon I will be a newbie, and I will try not to wag my tongue too much while I freak out!

We all know there are some newbies that come in with the super nurse mentality. Then there are some who have the nclex way of doing things so drilled in their head they are uncomfortable with the way we really do things, which is far from nclex world. Then there are the ones who truly had no idea what the reality of nursing would be. But that is not everyone.

While it is not always true, I think a lot of us see how new nurses get treated and there is always someone that goes out of their way to make them feel stupid. I don't understand it. Don't you want to have more staff? Currently, our manager decided to hire 4 new grads, and put 2 on days and 2 on nights. It is too hard to have 4 new grads together on one shift because they can't all be scheduled together once off orientation. The two on days are being run off by older nurses who think it is unfair that newbies got days. What did these two new grads do wrong? Nothing. Do any of them have the maturity to tell the manger they find this unfair? Nope they would rather be a team of mean girls. I feel for these newbies, but as a night shifter, we simply can't have all e new grads together on nights it would be too hard to make a schedule so they aren't all together without some help. Let's face it, nursing is tough. The social aspect of it is similar to junior high. It is absurd.

This was a very good article. I do understand the "nurses eat their young" its the same in MOST healthcare. When I was a fresh MA; or CNA in LtC.. also now that I am a PCT in a hospital & in LPN school. I have alot of new nurses on the unit and i see older nurses with the attitude than new grads dont know anything. While they might not know it all they all offer valuable aspects.

Specializes in Hospice / Ambulatory Clinic.

Part of the problem also is in nursing school nowadays they emphasis the fact that nurses in the field are "doing it wrong" and only new fresh nurses know the new correct way of doing things.

Specializes in EMT, ER, Homehealth, OR.
Part of the problem also is in nursing school nowadays they emphasis the fact that nurses in the field are "doing it wrong" and only new fresh nurses know the new correct way of doing things.

Could not agree more. Some schools even but it out that because they are getting a BSN they will be in management; so when they work on the floor they are upset. As far as old nursing doing it wrong that has been a long term issue since the practice of nursing is always evoling.

Specializes in Emergency, Haematology/Oncology.

All to do with that word, attitude. Rotten shift unfolding in acute, ED. Acute team leader asks me if I have seen the (new grad) nurse looking after 5 bedded bay #4. I say I haven't for a while but assumed that she was at dinner (no, she had dinner at 530pm, it's now 1945hrs). For the next hour or so, myself and team leader unwittingly looking after bay #4, doing odd tasks when the docs asked. Eventually team leader very frustrated and we have figured out that no-one has seen her for over an hour, "where is such and such?". I say I'm not sure, then I transfer a patient down to our short stay unit which is separate from the main department. Said nurse is sitting in the very out of the way nurses' station, on facebook. She flashes me that "I've been sprung" look, I confirm with the short stay T/L that she has in fact been there all this time, then tell the co-ordinator. I have never been so livid with a nurse in my life. How dare she!. When she returns, one of her pts. has a critically low BP and is moved to resus- she then proceeds to garner sympathy for the rest of the shift about how inexperienced she is, etc. I wish I could have said out loud the words in my head that night. Of course, she tells the other new grads what an awful b___h I am, and they should watch their backs!

New graduate nurse assists with her first intubation last week with me shadowing. Very smooth intubation, she did really well and we got to talk it all through. I tell her how well she handled it and we do some education. She proceeds to tell me that I am an excellent teacher, how much she learned, thankyou and could she roster herself on some shifts with me to learn some of the more critical interventions if that is okay with me?. You bloody well bet it is okay with me! She has an excellent knowledge base and works very hard. Excellent attitude. These examples demonstrate the times when I will gladly eat my young, or have them over for dinner at my place.

I will be a new nurse (hoping someone hires me!) and I can say that with those I go to school with it's the quiet ones that complain about the nurses. I consider myself VERY out going and VERY chattable (not a word). When I finished my ER preceptorship both charge nurses asked why I hadn't put myself on the schedule yet, did I not know how to? I explained I was a student and had just ended my preceptorship and thanked them for the great time and they BOTH said (a) they had no clue from the way I acted that I was a student and (b) they can't wait to see me as an RN on the floor (lets hope they tell HR that!). I can't say I am the most knowledgeable, I do ask questions when I dont know what to do, I chat with EVERYONE when the time is right, I make sure to know EVERYONES name (or give nick names to those I can't remember, one doc will forever be sandwich doctor, he thought that was funny!). I always tell the new students to be NICE and FRIENDLY.

DONT say "Do you have anything you want me to do"...DO say "I can do ____________ for you" and then go do it right away.

I have heard the complaints, and the people they come from don't surprise me.

To those that have had newbies give a bad attitude or blame their crap on you, I am very sorry. It gives new nurses like me a horrible name and I hate it.

Specializes in Hospice / Ambulatory Clinic.

There was a girl in my cohort who used to hide in the supply closet during clinicals. She was a phlebotomist and her opinion was she wasn't going to do any work until she got her license and was going to be paid for it and didn't want to be helping the nurses for free. She was so surprised when she failed clinicals. I think she thought she was so smooth.

I am a new grad, I've been working on my unit for 4 months now and I consider myself incredibly lucky that I work with an amazing group of people. They all have made me feel welcome since day 1 and are always willing to help or answer my questions. The unit itself works really well, all day long you'll hear people asking "do you need help with anything?" or "how's your day going, let me know if you need something!". In turn of course, I always help out others whenever I can as well. I've already learned so much from them and appreciate them so much. Its great to know that even on stressful overwhelming days they've always got my back :) So kudos to those who are kind and willing to help teach a thing or two to us still learning!

On the other hand though I can kind of see where some of the other new grads are coming from, I definitely worked with nurses during clinicals who were not so helpful. I had days where Id come in eager to learn and they'd just look at me over their brow and say "oh...i have a student, ugh". Plus maybe the whole "they're jealous because i'm pretty" thing is just some people's way of hiding their insecurities, its a tough job market and many rejections can be really difficult. idk, just my :twocents:

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