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Nurses eat their young

hpvarnad hpvarnad (New) New

I'm a nursing student planning on graduating in December and then working as a nurse at a hospital, I just wanted some opinions from other nurses on what I have been hearing about experienced nurses "eating their young" and giving new nurses a hard time. Is this true for the most part? Any advise on what I can do in order to somewhat keep this from happening?

roser13, ASN, RN

Specializes in Med/Surg, Ortho, ASC.

"Advise" should be advice.

Do a search here for NETY. You'll find plenty of advice.

For the most part, it is NOT true. Your experience will be individual to you and the unit /staff where you begin your career.

I am a crusty old bat that went out of my way to mentor and support newbies. Keep your eyes and ears open and your mouth closed. Learn from those that will teach you. Ignore those that wont.

Best of luck! Let us know how it's going.

psu_213, BSN, RN

Specializes in Emergency, Telemetry, Transplant.

Do a search here for NETY.

Yes! This is the AN approved abbreviation for "nurses eat their young." :yes:

Does it happen? Yes, but very infrequently. Most of the times NETY is claimed, it is either: (a) a nurse being rude (which is not good, but it is not NETY), or (b) an experienced nurse telling it like it is to a new nurse to help that new nurse, and the new nurse, not liking the message and/or the delivery, claims NETY. (I love that someone came up with that abbreviation!!)

There are many threads on this topic that you might find of assistance. Sure, SOME nurses eat their young, but, certainly NOT all. I personally have had more positive and insightful experiences with wiser nurses than negative. Most are more than willing to show you the ropes if you show a willingness to learn.

ArtClassRN, ADN, RN

Specializes in Med Surg.

As in any profession, some people are ignorant jerks.

JustBeachyNurse, RN

Specializes in Complex pediatrics turned LTC/subacute geriatrics.

Honestly I've had more issues recently with the reverse--mean, disrespectful young new grads (RN or LPN) with more teamwork & collaboration with "older" more experienced nurses.

I find most mean or vindictive people were born that way and didn't develop that persona over time or with experience. Some (not all) of the younger nurses I've encountered were know-it-all, refused to listen (almost to the point of patient harm!), totally unaware of their inexperience, rude, demanding and at times divisive. Scary when laughed at their errors or near errors (not nervous laugh which I could understand, not embarrassed laugh) that could have been detrimental if not caught.

I'm always leery of a new hire seeking short cuts (not those seeking efficiency those what want to know minimum expectations)

)

Ruby Vee, BSN

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

I'm a nursing student planning on graduating in December and then working as a nurse at a hospital, I just wanted some opinions from other nurses on what I have been hearing about experienced nurses "eating their young" and giving new nurses a hard time. Is this true for the most part? Any advise on what I can do in order to somewhat keep this from happening?

If you seek it, you will find it. Whether or not it is actually there.

Experienced nurses don't "eat their young." Whoever thought up that catchy phrase has surely made a lot of money on book deals and the speaking circuit, but has not done much to advance the profession and practice of nursing.

RunBabyRN

Specializes in L&D, infusion, urology.

I think it stems more from new nurses not respecting the experience and wisdom most COBs (crusty old bats) carry with them, and the sense of entitlement that some new nurses can have. It seems like almost every NETY post here (or my other favorite, lateral violence), once people start asking more about what happened, it's the OP's lack of maturity, lack of ability to stay out of drama (or to stop creating it), or their sense of entitlement.

I've been around those intimidating older nurses who seem to have a chip on their shoulder and an evil eye for the newbie, but once I consistently showed them respect, their demeanor changed COMPLETELY, and those are often my best allies. Kill 'em with kindness, offer to help (especially with the undesirable stuff), acknowledge them for what they really can offer, and keep your eyes and ears open. One must show respect to gain it.

Then again, there are always those PITA nurses... :)

SoaringOwl

Specializes in Med-Surg and Neuro.

You don't hear people say, "Teachers eat their young", or "Doctors eat their young". There is something different about the culture of nurses.

I worked in another profession prior to nursing. I do see a different attitude in older nurses that I didn't experience in my other profession. In my other profession, the older professionals treated me as a colleague from day one. They asked me how we're being "taught these days" how to do something. Not so in nursing. They don't ask. I've shared evidence-based practice when I see nurse breaking protocol, and the old nurses don't give a crap. They continue to do what they've always done, even when I've just explained how it endangers the patient. In nursing, you're looked down upon in the beginning, and thought to be an idiot. I miss feeling like an equal.

I'm sure I'll be bashed about how I'm new so what do I know, I'm entitled, etc. This is my second career, I ain't no spring chicken. I'm just saying this attitude doesn't exist in other professions, and I know that because I've worked other professions.

I don't think it exists as much as it's talked about.

Edited by Farawyn

I'm sure I'll be bashed about how I'm new so what do I know, I'm entitled, etc. This is my second career, I ain't no spring chicken. I'm just saying this attitude doesn't exist in other professions, and I know that because I've worked other professions.

I would never bash you for your opinion that this doesn't happen in other professions, but I'd say that my experience working in other professions tells me that this ABSOLUTELY DOES happen in other professions.....simply because I HAVE experienced it. I have seen newbies (in my former, non-nursing life) who feel they know better, insistent to the senior staff that they are right. Typically, they are taught WHY they are wrong, and that's that. No "NETY!", just "oops, guess I have something still to learn". It's the interpretation of the exact same learning curve that makes other professions "Non-ETY" and ours....NETY.

DH is a professional engineer. On occasion he gets the 'pleasure' of a new engineer informing him (with 30 years of experience behind him) why he is wrong about something. He then has to decide whether to blow off the newbie (because the NEWBIE is wrong, and he doesn't feel like teaching that day) or taking the time to explain whatever it was the newbie misunderstood (because he does feel like teaching that day, and sees worth in the newbie). In the end, the experienced engineer WAS correct; if the newbie accepted it as a learning experience, my dh became a mentor. If the newbie did NOT accept it, and instead felt he needed to continue to ask others (who would also tell him he was wrong), maybe he'd eventually understand, maybe not.

You don't hear the expression Engineers Eat Their Young (EETY). But I imagine the insistent (and wrong) newbie probably felt that way. THAT would be the difference: it's not that the elders are 'eating their young', it's that the NURSING culture loves to foster this idea, for some bizarre reason.

The attitude that newbies need to learn DOES exist in every profession. How well the newbie TAKES that determines where they'll go from there. In most every profession, the newbie learns to suck it up and LEARN. In NURSING, the newbie tends to cry 'unfair! NETY!' ....and it does get tiresome.

This isn't my first rodeo. I entered nursing school at 37 years old and worked in other positions in two other fields prior. I can assert that accounting managers, school principals, and kitchen managers all do, in fact, eat their young. They just don't talk about it like new nurses and students do. :)

And I've seen more than one surgeon devour an intern publicly. Doesn't make it right, but oh, boy, it happens.

Yet we don't hear about DETY (doctors eat their young), do we? I think, maybe, that it's understood that in medicine, the newbie has to earn stripes, and expects a certain amount of "why don't you know this?" and "NO, you are WRONG" from educators/senior staff. But I think you'd be hard-pressed to hear whining that it's being dispensed unfairly by 'mean, bitter doctors'.

Yet we don't hear about DETY (doctors eat their young), do we? I think, maybe, that it's understood that in medicine, the newbie has to earn stripes, and expects a certain amount of "why don't you know this?" and "NO, you are WRONG" from educators/senior staff. But I think you'd be hard-pressed to hear whining that it's being dispensed unfairly by 'mean, bitter doctors'.

I've seen their briefing prior to rounds in several different hospitals. How I wanted to jump in and help that intern who stalled when answering a question about hepatic encephalopathy and lactulose. He blanked out completely and started stammering. Then unleashed the instructor about how intern A was unprepared for the rounds, could intern B inform him of the correct answer. It can be hazing, plain and simple, as well. But I don't hear a lot of complaints, and the next morning intern A was at the top of his game.

I'm my own harshest critic. There isn't much anyone else could say to me that would be harder on me than I already am on myself.

I agree; do a search. Also while you are at, learn about nurses who "eat their old". Cause there is more and more of that under the guise of claiming "bullying" when a new nurse is corrected even in the most polite way. Good behavior and manners go both ways.

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