"Nurses Are So Mean"

I wish the phrase "nurses eat their young" had never been coined. Thirty some years ago when I was a new grad, the phrase hadn't yet been coined. When I had problems with my co-workers, I could only look at my own behavior. I was young, fresh off the farm and totally unprepared for my new job as a nurse.

Updated:   Published

  • Specializes in CCU, SICU, CVSICU, Precepting & Teaching. Has 40 years experience.

You are reading page 2 of "Nurses Are So Mean"

FlyingScot, RN

2,016 Posts

Specializes in Peds/Neo CCT,Flight, ER, Hem/Onc. Has 28 years experience.

I think Ruby makes a good point. If everytime a person has a negative inter-action with a coworker, be it brusque words, a crabby countenance or a mood of impatience, and they label it as "lateral violence" then the meaning of the term becomes diluted leading to the potential of having it used so much it actually invalidates people who are truly victims of real bullying. We could call this the "lateral violence card". Don't get me wrong, nobody should have to suffer being mistreated but there is a big difference between bad moods and bad people.


640 Posts

Specializes in Perinatal, Education. Has 9 years experience.

I loved your post, Ruby. May I be a bit positive? If you have had consistently positive experiences at jobs, schools and in your personal life, it is probably also you. So, give yourself a pat on the back and keep it up! You can't control others' behavior, but I have found that I get what I give more often than not. I also agree with you that some of it you just need to let go. There are miserable people out there (chronically and situational) and you need to realize that it is not about you. It is their thing. :twocents:


180 Posts

Ruby Vee!

My gosh, what happened to make you so sarcastic? You aren't being accused of being beautiful nor young (and not even perfect). Your posts are so long, you are like the OP a week ago who wrote her angst about being bullied.


31 Posts

Specializes in Level 1, Level 2, Level 4 trauma and med.

ChicagoNIT...I'm with you. This beat down on our fellow nurses' all needs to change, just like healthcare in general is changing. Those bad attitudes neeed to be checked at the door. Or those folks will be looking for new jobs. Believe it...Press-Ganny scores are going to be influencing medicare/insurance reimburshments to hospitals. When revenue is affected, you know heads are going to roll. I'm old school, have experienced all the bad that's out there, and change is coming!! If you can't change...it's best to get out now! Put on that happy face when you come to work. Answer the phone like your a professional. Leave your ipods in your locker! And be nice!

hoope, RN

1 Article; 34 Posts

Specializes in currently in Medical.

Yea i totally agree witht his post. People should try to FIX ourselves as you said.

If we change own actions and then only we can promote a better nursing image.

It always starts in you whether you are a nurse or any normal person .


lets make a difference in nursing instead of finding mistakes on eachother.

Good post :)


4 Posts

I've been in health care for 10 years.. I have been both mistreated and welcomed. I would have to say the mistreatment outweighs the welcomes though. I think a lot of the problem is the differences in education. A lot of the older nurses weren't required to take the classes we are forced to take today to become a nurse. They had to basically teach themselves doing it hands on.

When I took A&P I can't count how many nurses I worked with that said they never had to take that class! Most also weren't fortunate enough to be provided with adequate orientations so when new nurses are on long stretches of orientation it seems like they are being babied.

I think there is resentment on both ends.. I think it may be intimidating to some of the older nurses to have a new nurse who went to college for 4 years step into a position that maybe she(the older nurse) took years to work her way up to. On the other end I think that new nurses are taught to speak up and for lack of a better word reeducate older nurses if they see them doing something wrong or outdated. Of course someone straight out of school is going to be a little more up to date but no one wants to hear it.

I find it sad that women are so rude with each other. I do agree that no matter what situation your in you should always try to respond in a way that will encourage better behavior. "Kill em with kindness" one might say:)

I would love to see the day where nurses band together and care more about the job at hand than competing with their co workers.:rolleyes:

realnursealso/LPN, LPN

2 Articles; 783 Posts

Specializes in Peds Homecare. Has 34 years experience.

I always love Ruby's posts. I wish I worked with her! I am so sick of the way things are in the whole world. This entitlement attitude. Just like the way people treat children these days, then wonder why they don't have a clue about being a grownup years later. I too learned the hard way. I worked with a bunch of harpies at my first hospital job. I guess the thing that bugged them the most was the smile on my face every night at work. Sometimes people have bad days, and if you value them as coworkers, you cut them some slack, because you care. Your job isn't a kindergarten, and sometimes the problem you are pointing out in others, you have 4 fingers pointing back at you. And the I'm beautiful baloney, is just what it is, nonsence ****. In all my 30 years of nursing I never looked at a fellow employee and said, I don't like them because they are beautiful. Still shaking my head at some of the replies to Ruby's post.

A New Start

39 Posts

Look at the length and tone of your rant. You sound every bit as whiney as the people you complain about.

I agree many of the folks are too sensitive. Most are younger. They just lack the skills or the confidence to defend themselves. But its the responsibility of us elders to give them a good professional example. I've witnessed many a pigtailed RN get abused by a Dr, or an old burned out nurse that should have quit a long time ago.

Everyone in this business has seen the toxic culture of many nursing teams. Its just true. I'm fortunate. 90% of women and men I've worked with are pros that I want to emulate.

You said you're entitled to have a bad day. If you try to take your bad day out on me, I'll put you in your place, fast! And I'm a 53 year old LVN student. I don't know why the bullies don't pick on me, but they dont.

Now if whiney posts bother you, go away. But don't just come on here and puke. You said you didn't like it yourself.

I'm lucky. I respect my colleagues, and they respect me. All the way from the top to the bottom. We leave most our problems at home. And we keep one another accountable. We do care for one another on the side as time permits. Mostly, we remind one another of the folks whose feelings are most important. The patients. It's about our patients.

Keep coming back.

A New Start

FlyingScot, RN

2,016 Posts

Specializes in Peds/Neo CCT,Flight, ER, Hem/Onc. Has 28 years experience.

Someday CRNA, I've been a nurse for nigh unto 24 years and I had a whole response typed out but I erased it because there are just no words to respond to what you have written.


102 Posts

I think there's a lot of truth on both sides here. Ruby, your original post sounded like you don't really think that bullying happens to nice, professional people at all. Later you seemed to acknowledge that it does, but that you're focusing on those situations in which people are so self-absorbed that they can't see that they are the problem. I would agree with that analysis.

We hear a lot about the current generation and how they've been raised (to whine, to feel entitlement, etc.), and the resultant short-comings. Well, we have to ask ourselves whether we would be reacting in the same way if we were being raised by the same kinds of parents in the same generation. Of course we would. This is not to say that they are not responsible for their behavior, just that we might be the same if we walked a mile in their shoes.

With this in mind, I think venom is not appropriate here. Isn't it better to educate rather than condemn? People might respond well to it if you made your point in a kind way that makes them aware that they might have the kind of problem you describe. Some of them might even do some soul-searching, and improve themselves. However, sending a message that they are weak, self-absorbed whiners isn't likely to do anything but exacerbate the problem.




2 Posts

Specializes in ICU.

What we seem to have here is a problem with too many women working in close proximity. It's not an age thing because I am a young but I definitely don't have an attitude of entitlement. I have been involved in many different groups with different male-female ratios. Fraternity (all men), jobs (half male/half female), and nursing school (all female except myself). In my experience women seem to be much more sensitive, especially young nurses who do not have a high confidence level. The people in my nursing school classes like to complain that someone is mean to them but when they explain what happened it is something trivial. What really happens is that the "mean" person in question did not go out of their way to be nice. Girls like to gossip about TV shows, patients, and other people as soon as they leave. Guys are generally focused on what sports game was on or what stupid thing their friends did last weekend.

Not trying to generalize but females are usually considered the more emotional and sensitive sex so when they are massed together conflict is sure to occur.