Earlier, I was flipping through the May 2012 issue of The Walrus
, and on one of its pages, there is a short item written by Victoria Beale, titled Ratched Effect: Nurses, the original mean girls
. She writes:
Quote from Victoria Beale
Nurses are expected to show untold compassion toward patients and deference to doctors-which may mean their empathy is exhausted when they deal with fellow nurses. According to dozens of articles published in professional journals, nursing is prone to "lateral violence," or bullying within a group of roughly the same status. These studies contend that because the characteristics required of nurses, such as "warmth and sensitivity," are undervalued by those higher up in the medical hierarchy, nurses experience a lack of "autonomy and control" over their workplace. Some feel compelled to exert power aggressively over those equal to or just below them, such as novice or student nurses; in the United States, 60 percent of newly registered nurses leave their first positions within six months as a result of lateral violence (globally, it's one in three). Nurses refer to this phenomenon as "nurses eat their young," also the title of a 2005 study on the subject.
I am a recent entrant to a nursing program in Vancouver, B.C., and even though I have not worked in the healthcare sector, I can see the plausibility of Beale's observations, namely the exhaustibility of one's patience. I am, however, a little surprised by the researches that attribute nurse bullying to the perceived lesser ranking of nurses relative to other health professionals.
I would be very interested to hear from those who has witnessed or experienced this "lateral violence" in the Canadian healthcare sector. How was it dealt with, and are novice or student nurses the most common victims? Or has one noticed acts of aggression made toward foreign-trained, less-specialized (eg. LPN), visible minority, male, or older nurses? Or vice versa?
In three years time, I am expected to graduate from my nursing program as an Asian, male, registered nurse. I can't say at this point that I am worried at all about what has been stated in the article, nevertheless, I think this is a considerable issue given its commonness, and that one day it might happen to me or those around me, so I would like to have at least a little familiarity with current nurses' experiences.
May 22, '12
Be aware that in nursing you may also find yourself "making decisions and actions that are ethically questionable or incongruous with your personal views despite being perfectly legal". Politics plays a huge role and you will sometimes find yourself having to do things you don't agree with.You can also become bored with your obligated tasks.
As for bullying I have not experienced any overt bullying and none related to differences in position/qualifacations. Usually bullying is personality driven not based on education.
You do become emotionally stoic.You care but you can't fall to pieces.You do what you have to do as a professional.
Last edit by loriangel14 on May 22, '12