Nurses eating their young-venting

Nurses General Nursing


Just wondering, when have you put in enough time to get some respect, or is it just because I'm young. I am so sick of being the scapegoat for all the problems, sick of being treated like I'm not in the same league as them, and foremost, sick of having my ideas and my nursing underminded by others!!!! This morning after giving report, Nurse X went to assess my patient. She comes out saying" Did you take her pulse, because it's very irregular!!" I told her that I did and it was normal for me. A minute later she comes out saying "Did you look at her arm, it's all puffy down to her hand!" I replied that I checked it and it was fine at 0530 and she goes"Well, I have to take it out, and I have to call the doctor because she needs an EKG." The way she spoke and looked at me made me feel as though I hadn't even looked at my patient!! This is the kind of behavior that new nurses are dealing with every day, constant negativity about their work. Just once during labor training, I would have liked to hear an encouraging word . Instead the usual comment would be" That isn't wrong, but it's not the way IIIIII would do it". I began to think that maybe nursing wasn't for me because I could'nt do anything right(Now I know better). Why is it that in a profession where change is constant, senior nurses can't adjust to new people? I just want to say" Guess what, I'm new, and that means I don't know everything like you do!!!" I've been at my job for almost 2 years and see no end to this behavior in sight- maybe it has something to do with the fact that I am their childrens' age? Any body feel the way I do? :o :angryfire

Trauma Columnist

traumaRUs, MSN, APRN

97 Articles; 21,237 Posts

Specializes in Nephrology, Cardiology, ER, ICU.

I'm sorry you are dealing with this. Its a shame! I work in an ED and we have had a huge influx of new grads. I love their enthusiasm, their happiness and most of all - their youth! My sons are 23 and 18 now and I appreciate these qualities in them too. Besides - if you think about it - you are our future! Thanks for becoming a nurse!


6,620 Posts

I know what you're talking about. I copied a line from a friend... When giving report to someone like that, just look at them completely seriously and say "It must be terrible to have to take over from such a bad nurse". Usually it will get them off balance long enough to get finished with report.

Personally, I just think there are some people who always need to find fault and it's easier to get away with it if they do it to the newer people (regardless of age). You can either freak out at them enough to make them scared of you or just blow it off.

Tweety, BSN, RN

33,525 Posts

Specializes in Med-Surg, Trauma, Ortho, Neuro, Cardiac.

I'm very sorry. But a healthy dose of self-esteem, tough skin and big balls will take care of that.

Don't allow anyone any power over your feelings.

I know what you're saying, but it's not because your young. People occasionally try that with me. "Did you even look at the heart monitor.....did you do anything about.....' Other shifts are always going to make judgements. I have to rise above it. Look them in the eye with confidence and say whatever I have to say.

Good luck.

leslie :-D

11,191 Posts

my dearest darchild, :wink2:

please do not get offended by my teasingly affectionate endearment, but since i am old enough to be your mom, i feel my maternal instincts surfacing.

remember this forever. nurses do not eat their young: they eat whoever they damn well please. there are nurse *****es and your regular qd *****es. it has nothing to do with age. the light at the end of the tunnel is when you're in your 40's, you (hopefully) have a wonderful sense of self; along w/that somes inner peace and security. you don't give a rat's butt about what others think of you. at 23, i did not feel that way. believe in what you do and what you aspire to do. do not let anyone get the worst of you. do not give them permission. best of luck.


1,037 Posts

It happens.. It is actually happening to my best friend.. She works on an Oncology floor and they are known throughout the hospital for being hateful to other nurses/students.... Its not her shift, its the day shift.. They come on and are real hateful to her.. By the time she gets home someone has already called about something that is nothing.... ITs to the point now where the closer to 0800 it gets the sicker to her stomach she becomes.. She is considering transferring off that floor.. Which I think she should.. No reason for other people to be so hateful.. They have even yelled at her.. All I can say is one person EVER yelled at me, and Im gonna get right back at them... Especially a fellow nurse..

llg, PhD, RN

13,469 Posts

Specializes in Nursing Professional Development.

remember this forever. nurses do not eat their young: they eat whoever they damn well please. QUOTE]

I agree completely. People often use expressions such as "eat their young," but the truth is, many nurses have a bad habit of not supporting each other... period. They don't support their colleagues and/or their leaders any better. Instead of working together to solve problems, they point fingers and blame each other. That makes us very vulnerable to anyone smart enough to use a "divide and conquer" strategy on us.

Hopefully, with a little more time, you will develop a thicker skin and not let the comments of a few mean-spirited colleagues get you down. Most of all, I hope you never become one of the mean-spirited people.

Take care,



6,620 Posts

I think the expression comes from the fact that nurses have an easier time eating those who are less experienced (and that used to always mean young). I don't see bullies picking on those who are confident.

llg, PhD, RN

13,469 Posts

Specializes in Nursing Professional Development.
I think the expression comes from the fact that nurses have an easier time eating those who are less experienced (and that used to always mean young). I don't see bullies picking on those who are confident.

Good point. Thanks.



16 Posts

I have been a nurse for a long time....I started as an LPN, went on for my ADN and then BSN and finally my MSN....From the beginning of time in this profession we have been known to eat our young. :stone I think that some areas are far better known for this practice than others.

You need to know that you will make mistakes, and you will have to stand up to them...this is how we learn in life. You will become a better nurse as time goes on.

Believe in yourself...learn everyday, and do not be afraid to stick up for yourself if need be. This stage of your career will pass and you will soon feel much more confident in yourself and your skills.....

Hang in!!!! :)


10 Posts

As a new graduate, your assessment skills are not going to be as good as a nurse with 10 years experience. You may not of picked up on something as easily as she did, because you are just starting out and that is ok. It isn't anything to be ashamed of, it takes experience to develop those skills. And remember this...THEY WERE ALL NEW GRADS ONCE TOO! How easily they forget that they were once in your position. But nursing is difficult because who are nurses? Mainly women, and women by nature are always looking to tear down other women to make themselves look better.

Nurses could have so much power, being that we are the largest group of healthcare providers...but we don't use it because we spend so much time fighting with eachother.

jschut, BSN, RN

2,743 Posts


Oh do I ever know how this feels.....

I've recently started a new job and work 2-12 hour shifts on the weekends so I can go to school also.

I start work at 6p, so when 10-6 shift comes on, I tend to stay on the hall I have been on for 4 hours. Certain nurses get angry at me because "that's their hall" (difference being one hall has 11 less people than the other.) Then, I get ostracized for "not doing this" and "not doing that", and the other nurse goes and answers call lights down my hall if I am just a few seconds later than she thinks I should be.

This certain nurse actually said to me to give my patient a dose of morphine because pt was getting up and down alot at night. I told her no, because the morphine had been ordred for resp distress which this woman wasn't in with SaO2 sats in the upper 90%'s!

But of course, this nurse knows everything and has done everything, and I am nothing but a little peon for her to trample.

It's very hard to take when switching from being a boss at the old job to being a "slap-on-the-hand baby" at the new job you are trying real hard to like....(and NEED, because they offer better benefits and better pay and will work with school schedules...)


Good luck! And if you find out a good way to solve this one, I'll be watching cause I could use the info too! ;)

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