Nurses Eating Their Young

In homage to an allnurses member who wrote a wonderful article entitled "Nurses Are So Mean", I'd like to provide excerpts from my personal blog which I wrote not to long ago. I give enormous kudos and applause to the writer of this article, and I sincerely agree. It seriously is about taking the time to evaluate your self and your actions, and the rationales for your reactions. It is about looking inward... it is ultimately about personal growth and fulfillment.

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You are reading page 5 of Nurses Eating Their Young

Doc Lori, R.N.

6 Articles; 135 Posts

Specializes in Dialysis,M/S,Home Care,LTC, Admin,Rehab.

Hi everyone! I am torn about the posted responses to this article. On one hand I am thrilled that this piece has stimulated such discussion. On the other hand, I feel somewhat saddened that it seems to have divided us. Because of this, I am going to clarify my rationales for writing this to begin with.

The goal was to share a common theme with you, nurses, my peers- regarding the psyche of some healers. It was my hope from a personal place of sincere compassion that this would be a useful tool of self examination for any readers with whom this topic may resonate. The core philosophy of my practice, which is devoted to the health, wellness and balance of the nurse is not being advertised or exploited on this site. I simply find joy in the hopes of providing even one soul with an eye twinkle of understanding.

In my experience, not all, but many nurses who seek my professional guidance because of burnout uncover that they were energetically led to a healing profession because of a dysfunctional upbringing. Broken down further, this usually accompanies such issues as poor self esteem, and even further examined, this attributed to the need to obtain sense of self esteem extrinsically, from outside of themselves.

Controlling another nurse, or a nurse eating their young is not a defining issue in and of itself. It is a side effect of having a poor sense of self worth and healthy boundaries. It is just one spoke on the toxic wheel of nurse Burn out.

This article was shared in the hopes of raising awareness about the authenticities of nurses as individuals.

My favorite DON used to say this often during a staff meeting. "If the shoe fits, wear it".

It was obvious after those meetings that some of the rattling going on was because some didn't realize that the shoe fit and some didn't know that they were shopping for shoes to begin with! Let the defensiveness and backlash begin!

If you read something and it moves you to react acerbically, perhaps there is a glimmer of innate identification.

I am not poorly judging nurses who "eat their young". I am absolutely indicating however that if this concept does resonate with you, and you react to it, that there will be some inner reflection, growth and illumination for your sake.

I wish you all peace, I wish you all self love, happy healthy boundaries, and Joy.

heron, ASN, RN

3,796 Posts

Specializes in Hospice. Has 51 years experience.

But then, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar ...

Doc Lori, R.N.

6 Articles; 135 Posts

Specializes in Dialysis,M/S,Home Care,LTC, Admin,Rehab.

True. And a spade is a spade, or is it a suit in a deck of cards? Depends on perspective, oui?


559 Posts

Specializes in retired from healthcare. Has 25 years experience.

The subject of nurses abusing each other has come up over and over again on this site.

Some of them have a blantent lack of concern for your welfare.

I remember one charge nurse who demanded that I go in a room alone to take care of a patient who was violent and abusive and who I was terrified to be near. I managed to wiggle out of it because the other girl working with me came to help me when I asked her to.


6 Posts

There are some nurses who love to help us students learn & become better...and then there are a lot who can be nasty and rather not be bothered with. I remember one day in class I heard one nurse whisper to another nurse "I hate when they have the students here, they make it so difficult for us and ask so many questions". Not only that but some speak to you so rudely like you are slow but expect you to know what they know already. But I really do appreciate the ones who teach us, and when I receive compliments it's great to know I am improving


8 Posts

What a great article. We do need to examine why we would want to "eat our young." For myself I love new grads, all that enthusiasm and new knowledge seems to rub off and give new energy to everyone. I pray the eaters are in the minority as we so badly need this younger set to relieve the vast shortage.

Two things

1. I find it ironic to read this message today having had a discussion in class yesterday about this very subject.

2. I'm also glad to see that there are at least some people that like new grads hopefully one of you will be my charge nurse in the not so distant future!!


8 Posts

ruby vee said:
so you saw someone stomping around and having a bad day and you took it upon yourself to tell her she should quit her job, and you're surprised that she then told you she didn't like you? of course it's annoying to have a co-worker complaining all day long, but I fail to see how that makes her a bully. nor is complaining all day "eating young." it's just someone in a bad mood (whether or not it's a perpetual bad mood) complaining about it all day. if you tell her she should quit her job and she yells at you, that's you asking to get yelled at.

surly co-workers are hard to take, but unless it's a constant issue, they're targeting you personally or you have supervisor status over them, just leave them alone and let them work it out. and if you pretend that you're interested in their personal problems -- or at least as if you care that they have personal problems, then aren't you showing compassion and empathy?

it's not all about the patients. some of it has to be about each other.

isn't our compassion and empathy one of the things that drove us into wanting to be nurses... should have been

Specializes in Psychiatric, Public health, and Family. Has 2 years experience.

This is a beautiful article... I am a new grad... and I really needed to read this! Thank you to the author.


347 Posts

Specializes in Oncology&Homecare. Has 27 years experience.

Re: "Nurses Eating their Young" I have never read a better description of why nurses eat their young! You really nailed it Doc Lori. Fear can make people do ugly things. Thanks for summing it up so well. Hopefully, it will make us stop and think the next time we want to pop someone's bubble.


1,016 Posts

Well, nurses who do this better stop. It's been the basis of at least 3 of us who have left our unit this past month. We have one "master" preceptor whose job it is supposed to be to mentor and train new nurses. So far, she has managed to run all of us off who aren't tied down by a contract.

She's been complained about numerous times to the management, but still she remains. We've all found other facilities to go to where there are reports of GOOD management and leaders.

Suit yourself, admin -- you keep these types on, your'e going to have to continue to deal with constant staff turnover. You are the ones whining about the expense of it -- yet you seem to put people in positions of power over new nurses who make their lives miserable. Does not compute.

Some of these eater types need psychological help in a bad way.

classicdame, MSN, EdD

2 Articles; 7,255 Posts

Specializes in Hospital Education Coordinator.

I hear new grads make this cliche/complaint. Some use it as an excuse for not being responsible and accountable for their own actions. For the first time in their life, someone has called them on it. So the cliche is meaningless to me anymore.


33 Posts

What's funny is that I have had this happen to me. You gotta realize a couple of things. #1) Bring your A game if you know that you're getting a rude nurse, #2) As the saying goes, "Kill em' with kindness." Unfortunately you will run into those who are cranky for whatever reason (having a bad day, burnout, just rude overall). When you present your best, don't take it personally as I've learned from nursing school. I will forever remember what my L & D teacher stated to us. She said, "Don't ever let me catch you eating your young." She was my most favorite teacher of all time. There are times, rude nurses have become helpful nurses, and sometimes they help so much in the past, that it just becomes tedious to explain. So please, just do your best and realize someday when you are a nurse, how not to treat a student nurse. Btw...When I've killed nurses with kindness, I've gotten apologies about having a bad day and for the treatment.;-)