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nurses "eating" young

Specializes in er, pediatric er.

I have always heard that nurses are notorious for "eating" their young. I graduate in May. I have to say that I have witnessed this first hand, and have experienced it, as well. I have always wondered why this is and wanted everyone's opinion on why it happens. It seems to me that experienced nurses would want to nurture young nurses instead of offering them up to the wolves....so to speak.

Tweety, BSN, RN

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

It seems to be experienced nurses would indeed want to nuture new nurses.

Fortunately, I haven't worked in an environment where it's widespread. I sometimes wonder if one nurse gives a new nurse a bad attitude, then the new nurse generalizes about "nurses eating their young" when it's only one or two people.

Most of the time experiences nurses are busy and overwhelmed with their day to day activities, and unfortunately don't have much time to "nuture". I think that while we many not be available to nuture, it doesn't mean we are eating our young.

But some are quite tasty with a little A-1 sauce.

Begalli - you are great at stating the obvious, so thanks!!

Tweety, I love new nurses with A-1. A little crispy on the outside, tender inside. :)

I too think that this is an overdone concept. There are a couple of reasons, as you stated, that people might feel that they aren't welcomed. We are busy, we are tired. Another is some people are just not good at teaching. Another is some people are jerks. That isn't limited to nursing. I'm not sure the answer to training new employees is matching them with another nurse. Do we get paid extra to proctor? (I guess some do but we don't).

Maybe hire a new hire orienter period. ha ha

steph

I have to agree. I am currently a student and I sure have met some grumpy people. Try not to let them bug you. I plan on keeping that in the back of my mind so when I have to help a new nurse I wont treat them like I was.

Tweety, BSN, RN

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

Steph, so many students and new grads say things like "why are nurses so rude to students" and "why do nurses eat their young", I'm beginning to wonder am I just blind to it happening? Because it didn't happen to me and in all my years I don't see it happening. It must happen because so many people say it does, and it's not fair to discount their feelings. Does your perspective change with experience? Or am I just too much into my own high nurse to patient ratio am I oblivious to what's going on around me in the profression (most likely).

I know the new grad on my floor is treated royally by myself the preceptor and my coworkers. We all did happy dances and hugged her when she passed boards this week.

Tweety, BSN, RN

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

I have to agree. I am currently a student and I sure have met some grumpy people. Try not to let them bug you. I plan on keeping that in the back of my mind so when I have to help a new nurse I wont treat them like I was.

Absolutely there are some grumpy people in health care. There are some downright evil mean and nasty witches. But they tend to be that way to everyone, not just the new grads.

I think the simple fact of the matter is that as a nursing student, and even as a new nurse, you really don't have any idea what experienced nurses are dealing with on a daily basis.

If I'm taking care of very acute, decompensating patients, I might not have time to be the facility's shiny happy welcoming committee. With that said, I do try to nurture and encourage new nurses and I love to have nursing students, but everyone doesn't like to teach.

Whether or not you have a good precepting experience depends on a lot of variables, not the least of which is the staffing on your unit and the mental health of your preceptor on any given day. Nursing is a stressful job... when I was a new grad, I didn't know everything (far from it!) but I was willing to help other people where I could and did not expect to be coddled. *Your* attitude also has a lot to do with it.

This phenomena isn't exclusive to nurses. Ask any new paramedic or cop if they were nurtured as rookies.

there is alot of "older nurse eating" too.......I have seen it w/my own eyes. No less disgusting, if you ask me.

I dont' get why we can't nurture EACH other; dangit we are a nurturing profession right????

Now, go visit those threads. This one has been "done to death" here before, as someone before pointed out.

RNview

Specializes in Medical Oncology, Med-Surg, L & D.

i am a new rn too. so far, i haven't eaten alive :chuckle in my opinion, there are only 2 kinds of experienced nurses.

1) one who loves to teach

2) one who doesn't want to be bothered.

most of the time, the don knows who are the best teachers.

note: please don't get me wrong. nurses who are not willing to orient doesn't mean they are not great nurses, they are great too just like the ones who love to teach. all nurses are good teachers (think about patient/family teachings).

but especifically for orientation, there are few who are not good at it. so goodluck to all new nurses. :nurse:

please do not generalize the statement "nurses eating their youngs." :) :twocents:

i am a new rn too. so far, i haven't eaten alive :chuckle in my opinion, there are only 2 kinds of experienced nurses.

1) one who loves to teach

2) one who doesn't want to be bothered.

most of the time, the don knows who are the best teachers.

note: please don't get me wrong. nurses who are not willing to orient doesn't mean they are not great nurses, they are great too just like the ones who love to teach. all nurses are good teachers (think about patient/family teachings).

but especifically for orientation, there are few who are not good at it. so goodluck to all new nurses. :nurse:

please do not generalize the statement "nurses eating their youngs." :) :twocents:

i hope you are finding the ones who want to help most often. there are a lot of us out here. the bad ones seems to be the ones so many judge us by as a group.

They not only eat the young, they eat the old, and each other.

RNview

Specializes in Medical Oncology, Med-Surg, L & D.

i hope you are finding the ones who want to help most often. there are a lot of us out here. the bad ones seems to be the ones so many judge us by as a group.
so far, i am very thankful to those who initiate to help. and so far, i haven't seen any who "eats their young." though in my previous work place, i've seen nurses who are not getting along with their co-workers which is so sad. sometimes too much stress at work leads to this. but sometimes it is just plainly the attitude. i believe that anywhere we work, there's always good and bad; be it in nursing or any other profession. so sad that "nurses eating their youngs" actually happens in some place.:o

some are quite tasty with a little A-1 sauce.

Particularly the ones who try to come across as if they already know all there is to know about nursing (making it very obvious, in the process, that they know just enough to be dangerous). The ones who act like that practically hand us the bottle of A-1 sauce. No one likes to teach and nurture a cocky know-it-all.

begalli

Specializes in Critical Care/ICU.

Begalli - you are great at stating the obvious, so thanks!!

You're welcome! :plonker2: (what's with these smileys? that's not what I clicked!)

Don't get me wrong by the bluntness of my 1st post, I LOVE precepting, especially new grads.

I think that so much is expected of nurses and what often may happen is that a nurse comes into work one day and is told, by the way, you will be orienting so and so today. This is another expectation put upon a nurse who may already be stressed or is stressed now because of the added surprise burden.

It would be nice if nurses had the choice of whether or not to orient new people. I get the feeling that a choice isn't always available to nurses.

Where I am we are asked weeks ahead of time if we would be interested in precepting a new nurse. We are allowed to say no if we don't want to, but that's not a problem because there are others who do.

There are all types of personalities in life. I really don't believe that nurses "eat their young," but rather that some people in life just come across abrasive or stand-offish or whatever and some people are very sensitive to that. It can go both ways.

Something I will never forget during my 2nd month being a nurse on my own and the best advice my nurse manager ever gave me is....."get a backbone and don't take things personally." Of course this statement is taken way out of the context in which it was originally stated so it may sound harsh, but believe me she was sooooo right on. And once I did what she suggested, I was and am a much better nurse because of it.

nursemike, ASN, RN

Specializes in Rodeo Nursing (Neuro).

Momentarily possessed by Satan. All better, now.

Ruby Vee, BSN

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

steph, so many students and new grads say things like "why are nurses so rude to students" and "why do nurses eat their young", i'm beginning to wonder am i just blind to it happening? because it didn't happen to me and in all my years i don't see it happening. it must happen because so many people say it does, and it's not fair to discount their feelings. does your perspective change with experience? or am i just too much into my own high nurse to patient ratio am i oblivious to what's going on around me in the profression (most likely).

i know the new grad on my floor is treated royally by myself the preceptor and my coworkers. we all did happy dances and hugged her when she passed boards this week.

i think "eating your young" is part of the culture of some units. i congratulate you on never having encountered it! i have, and it sucks! however, i also agree with the previous poster who said that maybe some new grads have a bad experience with one or two nurses, then generalize it to "nurses eat their young."

snip

Any suggestions?

I have witnessed a little eating of young on my unit, or at least some serious nibbling. One new gal has had a hard time gaining the respect of her peers. She's smart, she's hard-working, and she cares, but she came to us awfully green. The early take on her was that she was "book-smart, but no common sense."Well, I'm a guy, and she's got some really nice hooters, so I have to believe that all she needed was some experience, and it's beginning to appear as though I was right. snip

You want suggestions? Well how about refraining from comments like this on a BB or in real life?

You want suggestions? Well how about refraining from comments like this on a BB or in real life?

Excellent point. :chuckle

caroladybelle, BSN, RN

Specializes in Oncology/Haemetology/HIV.

Steph, so many students and new grads say things like "why are nurses so rude to students" and "why do nurses eat their young", I'm beginning to wonder am I just blind to it happening? Because it didn't happen to me and in all my years I don't see it happening. It must happen because so many people say it does, and it's not fair to discount their feelings. Does your perspective change with experience? Or am I just too much into my own high nurse to patient ratio am I oblivious to what's going on around me in the profression (most likely).

The problem is not all nurse "eating their young" is really nurse eating the young. Sometimes it is young that have no idea how to behave in a hospital environment, how to work hard and that the world is not that delicate Ivory tower that treats one with kid gloves.

I recently did a column on this for another BB. Sometimes the young in question need to be eaten.

Nursing school is a time of weeding out, ugly though that may seem. Many people in nursing school, even among its graduates, are not physically/psychologically/spiritually/educationally suited to be Nurses. Some will graduate and stay nurses...others will get out.

I have dealt with many new nurses that were great and I have dealt with some that really had no business caring for living creatures with feelings. I have dealt with some that were so incredibly inappropriate that patients refused them.

We see it on this BB. Someone vents on a situation in which they feel some entitlement, or that addresses professionalism, or manners, or that has been discussed ad nauseum. They spell poorly, use run on sentences, and are almost incomprehensible. Then one of us mentions that it is unprofessional to use such poor spelling and grammar (if they are discussing "professionalism"), or that we disagree with their opinion, or tell them that the suggestion is unworkable in our experience, or that they are not "entitled" to aid or assistance, or that they behaved badly.

And we are accused of being unsympathetic or heartless or "eating our young". That anyone that would say such things must be a terrible nurse or a bad person. And then another will get sanctimonious about how they would never do such a thing.

Disagreeing, gently correcting based on experience, and pointing out errors that are contrary to one's purported message...these are not "eating". Unfortunately, some new grads do not know the difference between these ane truly "being eaten".

Nursing is no longer "Cherry Ames". We can't stay impossibly neat and tidy, patients are no longer polite and it gets ugly in the trenches. You need to be tough to survive. And if your feelings get hurt by a harsh word or two, or you always expect fairness....well, life isn't fair.

And yes, I was eating by my first preceptor out of Nursing school. And it kept me from getting a job that I wanted. But you know, I survived it and have become a sought after Nurse. The person that treated me badly, well....she is no longer a nurse. But I don't expect goodness and light, wherever I go. If I am in a bad assignment, I try to make it better, and if life is good, I enjoy it.

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