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Nurses eating their young - a twist

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by pebblebeach pebblebeach (Member)

pebblebeach has 1 years experience and works as a CNA, nursing student.

4 Likes; 1,861 Visitors; 60 Posts

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I'm a new grad¬†nurse of 8 months and I wanted to share this¬†as it goes against the cliche¬†stereotype of veteran nurses eating their young. I wanted to thank all experienced nurses out there (the ones who remember paper charting¬†ūüôā¬†) who truly support new grad RNs. This is the experience I've had on my unit so far, and I see these women (and men!) as unofficial mentors, who I can come to with a problem and not feel afraid.

What has truly surprised me is the bad behavior I've experienced from nurses younger than me. I'm in my 30s (second career nurse), and the examples I give below have all happened to me from 20-something nurses with a few years on the unit, who ended up as charge RN by default, lack of staffing on weekends, etc.

This is how I've felt buoyed by the veteran nurses on my unit, and the opposite from a handful of younger "mean girl" nurses:

Calmly bringing me to the side (note: not in front of the staff or patient, and not shouting or in a condescending tone) and pointing out a mistake I made with a pt. This is succinct and not a cat and mouse "do you know what you just did wrong in there?" ( <- This is literally how some parents speak to toddlers, fyi, not how colleagues should speak to each other!)

It's also not a place of judgment, regardless of whether or not they are judging my mistake - i.e. "I'm not sure how you don't know this already," or "I thought this was pretty clear to you, but" It is something like: "Hey, Mary, Let's talk over here for a sec. In Mr Smith's room earlier, You didn't do the final MRN check against the patients chemo bag. I checked it, and it was fine, but we always do it three times - at delivery, outside the room, and inside the room before we initiate the med. It's super important because X."

Note that there is no hand-holding, no congratulating me on "You did great on this, but ___" I'm not asking for a hug. I'm only asking for respect. 

Obviously an exception to this is if I'm about to do something immediately compromising to the patient's care, we're in a code, etc. 

Learning, for me, does not come from a place of fear or shame or guilt-tripping. When a teaching opportunity comes along, and it begins with shaming (doing it in front of others), eye-rolling, or fear ("if you did that and I wasn't in there, the patient could be in the ICU right now") - I will likely not remember the clinical lesson later. All I will remember is the way you made me feel, and I'll start to dread working with you, avoid asking you questions -- which therefore becomes a potential barrier to patient care if you're the only one around. If you're so concerned about the mistake I made and you want to protect the patient, wouldn't you want the new nurse to learn from the mistake without feeling like she's just been verbally attacked?

I've had these girls yell at me in front of the patient, refuse to come into a room when I call to ask them for bedside help because "you won't learn anything if I hold your hand", gossip about me / other new grads within earshot, eyeroll when I ask a question and one would "quiz" me on what I just did wrong. If I didn't guess correctly, she said she would wait until I realized it so we could talk about it. How do I know what I don't know yet?!

Initially these moments felt like a tidal wave and I took it personally, now, I only approach the nurses who speak to me with respect - and so far, that has been the older nurses. So, I just wanted to say thank you to those of you that know who you are. ‚̧ԳŹ¬†

Does anyone else have "mean girls" on their unit, perhaps maybe born in the '90s....?! (not to generalize or anything ;) ) It took me so off-guard, feels very high school and they tend to stick together at work (much like high school) I finally told one of them I didn't appreciate her attitude (outside of the patient's room! calmly! what a concept!) and she told me "if I'm going to make it as a nurse I need to stop being so sensitive." LOL
 

To quote Ellen, be kind to one another folks.

(And yes, my use of "women" and "girls" here was an intentional wording choice)

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Generally speaking, I think it's best to ignore as much of this as humanly possible.

We can choose to spend our time taking the best care of patients possible, or we can choose to use brain and emotional power trying to figure out why some adults only seem to feel good about themselves by trying to tear others down. Overall, trying to get others to see the error of their ways isn't going to be much more successful than it is for them to explain to you that you'll need to toughen up and be less sensitive.

All of this is a function of life experiences, personality, maturity, and a lot of other things that we don't control in others. The only thing we can do is be willing to examine our own selves and change things we know we could do better.

And then realize that how others handle their own emotions is not about us.

I can see you have a little bit of an edge about all of this, yourself. ūüôāSo I will repeat myself:¬† It's your choice to focus on patients or to become distracted by stuff that literally won't matter in your life 2, 5, or 10 years from now.¬†

It's good that you have written out and shared your observations. That can be part of a process of personal growth and gaining understanding. ūüĎćūüŹĹ

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pebblebeach has 1 years experience and works as a CNA, nursing student.

4 Likes; 1,861 Visitors; 60 Posts

On 2/23/2019 at 7:26 AM, JKL33 said:

Generally speaking, I think it's best to ignore as much of this as humanly possible.

We can choose to spend our time taking the best care of patients possible, or we can choose to use brain and emotional power trying to figure out why some adults only seem to feel good about themselves by trying to tear others down. Overall, trying to get others to see the error of their ways isn't going to be much more successful than it is for them to explain to you that you'll need to toughen up and be less sensitive.

All of this is a function of life experiences, personality, maturity, and a lot of other things that we don't control in others. The only thing we can do is be willing to examine our own selves and change things we know we could do better.

And then realize that how others handle their own emotions is not about us.

I can see you have a little bit of an edge about all of this, yourself. ūüôāSo I will repeat myself:¬† It's your choice to focus on patients or to become distracted by stuff that literally won't matter in your life 2, 5, or 10 years from now.¬†

It's good that you have written out and shared your observations. That can be part of a process of personal growth and gaining understanding. ūüĎćūüŹĹ

Of course it bugs me, I wouldn't have written all this out otherwise ;)

I just feel communication is so important & helps the patient in the end. I really appreciate nurses who communicate well & effectively & it always blows my mind (in any profession, not just nursing) when someone chooses cattiness or immaturity over simple communication. You're right though, I will continue to work on letting it go. Thanks!

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Ruby Vee has 40 years experience as a BSN.

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On 2/21/2019 at 8:04 PM, pebblebeach said:

I'm a new grad¬†nurse of 8 months and I wanted to share this¬†as it goes against the cliche¬†stereotype of veteran nurses eating their young. I wanted to thank all experienced nurses out there (the ones who remember paper charting¬†ūüôā¬†) who truly support new grad RNs. This is the experience I've had on my unit so far, and I see these women (and men!) as unofficial mentors, who I can come to with a problem and not feel afraid.

What has truly surprised me is the bad behavior I've experienced from nurses younger than me. I'm in my 30s (second career nurse), and the examples I give below have all happened to me from 20-something nurses with a few years on the unit, who ended up as charge RN by default, lack of staffing on weekends, etc.

This is how I've felt buoyed by the veteran nurses on my unit, and the opposite from a handful of younger "mean girl" nurses:

Calmly bringing me to the side (note: not in front of the staff or patient, and not shouting or in a condescending tone) and pointing out a mistake I made with a pt. This is succinct and not a cat and mouse "do you know what you just did wrong in there?" ( <- This is literally how some parents speak to toddlers, fyi, not how colleagues should speak to each other!)

It's also not a place of judgment, regardless of whether or not they are judging my mistake - i.e. "I'm not sure how you don't know this already," or "I thought this was pretty clear to you, but" It is something like: "Hey, Mary, Let's talk over here for a sec. In Mr Smith's room earlier, You didn't do the final MRN check against the patients chemo bag. I checked it, and it was fine, but we always do it three times - at delivery, outside the room, and inside the room before we initiate the med. It's super important because X."

Note that there is no hand-holding, no congratulating me on "You did great on this, but ___" I'm not asking for a hug. I'm only asking for respect. 

Obviously an exception to this is if I'm about to do something immediately compromising to the patient's care, we're in a code, etc. 

Learning, for me, does not come from a place of fear or shame or guilt-tripping. When a teaching opportunity comes along, and it begins with shaming (doing it in front of others), eye-rolling, or fear ("if you did that and I wasn't in there, the patient could be in the ICU right now") - I will likely not remember the clinical lesson later. All I will remember is the way you made me feel, and I'll start to dread working with you, avoid asking you questions -- which therefore becomes a potential barrier to patient care if you're the only one around. If you're so concerned about the mistake I made and you want to protect the patient, wouldn't you want the new nurse to learn from the mistake without feeling like she's just been verbally attacked?

I've had these girls yell at me in front of the patient, refuse to come into a room when I call to ask them for bedside help because "you won't learn anything if I hold your hand", gossip about me / other new grads within earshot, eyeroll when I ask a question and one would "quiz" me on what I just did wrong. If I didn't guess correctly, she said she would wait until I realized it so we could talk about it. How do I know what I don't know yet?!

Initially these moments felt like a tidal wave and I took it personally, now, I only approach the nurses who speak to me with respect - and so far, that has been the older nurses. So, I just wanted to say thank you to those of you that know who you are. ‚̧ԳŹ¬†

Does anyone else have "mean girls" on their unit, perhaps maybe born in the '90s....?! (not to generalize or anything ;) ) It took me so off-guard, feels very high school and they tend to stick together at work (much like high school) I finally told one of them I didn't appreciate her attitude (outside of the patient's room! calmly! what a concept!) and she told me "if I'm going to make it as a nurse I need to stop being so sensitive." LOL
 

To quote Ellen, be kind to one another folks.

(And yes, my use of "women" and "girls" here was an intentional wording choice)

I, too appreciate directness.  Unfortunately, we are in the minority.  Most people who will say they appreciate direct feedback really want any negative feed back wrapped up in rainbows and sparkly stuff -- to the point where they can overlook that it was, indeed, negative feedback.  

It is true that you do need a pretty thick skin to survive as a nurse, but that thick skin is usually required because of the poor behavior of patients and their families and not of your colleagues.  Even the physicians these days are more pleasant and appropriate and less given to tantrums than they were when I started nursing, back in the dark ages.  

Venting is allowed, and a good way to get things off your chest.  But I'd advise against making enemies by telling someone you don't like their attitude.  It is better to describe the specific behavior you don't like.  And perhaps do your best to ignore the behavior of the children.  They'll grow up one day.

 

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On 2/21/2019 at 8:04 PM, pebblebeach said:

I'm a new grad¬†nurse of 8 months and I wanted to share this¬†as it goes against the cliche¬†stereotype of veteran nurses eating their young. I wanted to thank all experienced nurses out there (the ones who remember paper charting¬†ūüôā¬†) who truly support new grad RNs. This is the experience I've had on my unit so far, and I see these women (and men!) as unofficial mentors, who I can come to with a problem and not feel afraid.

What has truly surprised me is the bad behavior I've experienced from nurses younger than me. I'm in my 30s (second career nurse), and the examples I give below have all happened to me from 20-something nurses with a few years on the unit, who ended up as charge RN by default, lack of staffing on weekends, etc.

This is how I've felt buoyed by the veteran nurses on my unit, and the opposite from a handful of younger "mean girl" nurses:

Calmly bringing me to the side (note: not in front of the staff or patient, and not shouting or in a condescending tone) and pointing out a mistake I made with a pt. This is succinct and not a cat and mouse "do you know what you just did wrong in there?" ( <- This is literally how some parents speak to toddlers, fyi, not how colleagues should speak to each other!)

It's also not a place of judgment, regardless of whether or not they are judging my mistake - i.e. "I'm not sure how you don't know this already," or "I thought this was pretty clear to you, but" It is something like: "Hey, Mary, Let's talk over here for a sec. In Mr Smith's room earlier, You didn't do the final MRN check against the patients chemo bag. I checked it, and it was fine, but we always do it three times - at delivery, outside the room, and inside the room before we initiate the med. It's super important because X."

Note that there is no hand-holding, no congratulating me on "You did great on this, but ___" I'm not asking for a hug. I'm only asking for respect. 

Obviously an exception to this is if I'm about to do something immediately compromising to the patient's care, we're in a code, etc. 

Learning, for me, does not come from a place of fear or shame or guilt-tripping. When a teaching opportunity comes along, and it begins with shaming (doing it in front of others), eye-rolling, or fear ("if you did that and I wasn't in there, the patient could be in the ICU right now") - I will likely not remember the clinical lesson later. All I will remember is the way you made me feel, and I'll start to dread working with you, avoid asking you questions -- which therefore becomes a potential barrier to patient care if you're the only one around. If you're so concerned about the mistake I made and you want to protect the patient, wouldn't you want the new nurse to learn from the mistake without feeling like she's just been verbally attacked?

I've had these girls yell at me in front of the patient, refuse to come into a room when I call to ask them for bedside help because "you won't learn anything if I hold your hand", gossip about me / other new grads within earshot, eyeroll when I ask a question and one would "quiz" me on what I just did wrong. If I didn't guess correctly, she said she would wait until I realized it so we could talk about it. How do I know what I don't know yet?!

Initially these moments felt like a tidal wave and I took it personally, now, I only approach the nurses who speak to me with respect - and so far, that has been the older nurses. So, I just wanted to say thank you to those of you that know who you are. ‚̧ԳŹ¬†

Does anyone else have "mean girls" on their unit, perhaps maybe born in the '90s....?! (not to generalize or anything ;) ) It took me so off-guard, feels very high school and they tend to stick together at work (much like high school) I finally told one of them I didn't appreciate her attitude (outside of the patient's room! calmly! what a concept!) and she told me "if I'm going to make it as a nurse I need to stop being so sensitive." LOL
 

To quote Ellen, be kind to one another folks.

(And yes, my use of "women" and "girls" here was an intentional wording choice)

There are so many mean people in the world, including nurses. 

And even those who are nice to your face could be stabbing you in the back.

Just do your best and, yes, do toughen up that skin.  I am not saying you are wrong to feel as you do.  Just that it's sometimes not possible to know who is a true pal and who isn't.  I think it's safe to say, though, that nobody is going to take a bullet for you.  Most people will betray you in a second if they fear trouble by standing with you.

Good luck.  Yes, I do think you will be fine, I'm just sharing my view.

And it could be that the young ones are jealous or  feel intimidated by you or are having personal issues or Heaven knows what, so there isn't much left over to help or encourage anyone else, even if it appears otherwise.  Appearances can be deceiving.

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If they are refusing to help you, that becomes a horse of another color.  Have their refusals caused any falls or preventable accidents or other serious consequences?

I would ask them more about their refusals to help you.  To me, that says they are immature, lazy, or idiots.  I would try to not be accusatory, just let them know that you were really surprised that they refused to help or even come advise.  Do it with one at a time, privately.  Be humble.  If their responses don't feel right, it might be time to CONSIDER discussing this with the boss.  That will not make you any more popular, of course.

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