A little about me: I have been a nurse 3.5 years ( 1.5 years as a medsurg/tele RN right out of nursing school, and a little over 2 years as an ICU RN). I currently work at a large comprehensive stroke center, level 2 trauma, and cardiac center. I am currently working in the neuro/trauma/medical surgical ICU unit. I consider myself a quiet passive toddler nurse now instead of a baby and need advice about what I would consider dealing with certain individuals being bullies toward me, toxic young nurse cliques, and potentially misguided management (this is the nicest way I can put it)? I am at a loss and have been feeling extremely depressed and have started taking meds for almost a year now to help when I go to work. This is my first job and hospital and know for a fact this is not my forever home but I’m not sure if leaving right now is the best answer?
The hospital I work at hires a lot of new nurses straight out of nursing school primarily from this one school. More than half the hospital graduated from this one university for nursing. I was one nurse from that school the went and directly got hired as a new grad and only know the current hospital I work at. I work nights which is where most of my stress and problem lies. My unit is RUN by young nurses who think they are the boss and the best to the point where the old nurses don’t get involved with them and may be victims of bullying/gossip/bystander syndrome themselves. About 80% of the nurses on nights are under 35. Currently I’m mostly friends with the older nurses waiting to retire or respiratory therapists on my unit due to the toxicity. Let’s just say our unit is the greys anatomy of our hospital too and is knows for the ICU rns being bullies...Don’t get me wrong there are but very few wonderful and kind young ICU RN’s on my unit (that are in the cliques) though I don’t hang out with them outside (which I’m okay with), they do extend a hand to be professional and help me at work if I ask without disregarding me.
When I started ICU coming from the floor, I asked a bunch of questions since I was a new nurse entering a specialty unit. This has given the whole unit, including the day shift that I am apparently stupid. My mom told me that there is no such thing as a stupid question. The unit also supposedly encourages questions when you are new if you don’t know something... here’s the fallacy...the more questions you ask apparently the lower your IQ and what grade of stupid you are. So my IQ is probably below 50 at this point even after 2 years.
The young ICU RN’s pick up the new grads every 4 months and tell them I’m stupid and not trust their patients with me for whatever reason. They coagulate together since the new nurses want to fit in even though they aren’t necessarily bad people but become a bystander. There is an actual circle of young people invite except me and a very few other young nurses not invited (very exclusive) to outside work gatherings. These nurses are also favored by management even though they have done sketchy things. Not to mention breaking more than one nurse in California and get away with it even prior to COVID. They also have a tendency to give me my break last coincidentally or forget to break me so I have to ask...this was an issue before that I had to bring to my manager who stated it’s my responsibility to remind the breakers to give me a break even if it’s there only job to break.
The few coworkers that were nice young ICU rns all left and their reason was due to the bullying on the unit. My coworker who got hired said one of the interview questions was: though we don’t approve of bullying, our unit is know for bullying, how are you going to handle working in this situation knowing that? It’s been addressed to management multiple times not just by me but the other people who have left that there was bullying and they tried addressing it before quiting. It didn’t help those people and actual put a target on those people and mine for being trouble makers for the unit. So keep your head down the people who still are there say... Also, if you speak to management in a closed supposed safe space, they disrespect your feelings and gossip about it.
I don't like coming into work anxious and crying. The reason I still work at the hospital is because I love the patient population, I love caring for people (poop and other bodily fluids and all), the critical thinking aspect, adrenaline, and supposed educational opportunities to grow. Honestly the few young and the older nurses make work bearable when I get lucky to work with them. Do I suck it up since it sounds like no matter what this is an issue every where with ICU or quit? Would hospitals even hire me as an ICU RN with just two years ICU? I would try to travel but I have responsibilities to my family. Am I being too dramatic and just keep my head down and let them continue to talk? I would be grateful for any suggestions or even someone else sharing a similar experience. I always remind myself that “hey, you can’t be the first, only, and last nurse to be experiencing this can you?”
If you read the post in it’s entirety, thank you very much for taking the time to read this!