Sorry - 1st post a disaster!

Nursing Students General Students



I guess you can tell I've never posted before. Wow, I messed up and deleted both of the posts that I double sent. Ooops!

Well, anyway, the first post was about disention in the ranks. I have been in a BSN program for 2 semesters so far (starting semester 3 on 8-27). The first semester, everything seemed to go well among all of us new students. This past semester did not flow as well.

There seems to be some back biting going on among some of the younger students (I"m one of the older ones at 36). My question is: what to do? These students have tried very hard to conquer and divide, unsucessfully, but I'm not sure now how to handle these couple of students.

I have been personally attacked (behind my back, of course), as have others, and I am not sure how to proceed. Do I say something? Do I pretend that I don't know what they've said? I haven't had to deal with this type of behavior since high school, nor do I want to. We have 3 more semesters to finish, so there will be plenty of time still needing to be in the same class.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated, as I am rusty on this type of behavior and how to deal with it. Thanks for listening!


This also goes on at our university. You said "I haven't had to deal with this type of behavior since high school, nor do I want to. " I think part of your answer is there. Allot (not all) of these students have just gotten out of High School and haven't matured enough to know that this behavior is unacceptable.

Do you have any kids yourself? How would you handle the situation at home?

I have had this situation at home and resolved it something like this..... I told both my boys that gossiping is an unacceptable behavior and can harm a person beyond repair. Now, at home, we have the option of removing privaleges which does happen. At school I see three options.

1. Take that student off to the side and explain to them that, even though you are students, you are entering a profession that this type of behavior is unprofessional, and unacceptable.

2. If the student continues with this behavior, tell them that you will not hesitate to go to the instructor first, and all the way up to the Dean of the school, if they do not stop. Let them know in no uncertain terms that you will file a formal complaint, which could affect their standing in the school.

3. Let it go, and ignore it, and see if it stops. I don't think that it will stop because, for some reason, some students may see you as a "threat" and see the only way to deal with it is to gossip, and try to make you seem like a bad person to everyone else.

It is soooo sad to see this going on, because people that do this tend to carry it out into the field causing bad feelings, low moral, and other nurses leaving the area because of that persons behavior.

I hope this helps. Let us know how things are going!!

You know, there is sooooo much of this that goes on, but I don't think it's just a nursing or nursing student thing. In any group of people, you will find some people who get their jollies through gossip and slander, and it seems that this behavior gets even worse when you are in a competitive environment such as you find in school. What can you do?!? I personally don't think there's much you can do, other than set an example. I refuse to backbite, and when another student tries to gossip around me I just defend the person they're slandering. I don't know what, if anything, might be being said behind my back, and you want to know what: I don't care, not one little bit. It is high school behavior, and I am way, way above it.

I do not really agree that going to instructors- - - up the chain - - - to the Dean, the best idea. What will your dean do about it? Probably not a thing. Your school officials can not control what students talk about outside of class, and as far as I know, at my school there is no protocol for filing a complaint against a student unless they are harrassing you, which is far different than having them gossip.

I like the Biblical way of dealing with this myself: . . . pray for those who spitefully use you. Matt 5:44.

May your life be richly blessed, Laura!

When I was about to start my LPN year a friend of mine that had graduated 2 years prior told me of all the back biting that goes on. I was a bit nervous because I knew how hard nursing school was going to be let alone dealing with that stuff. At orientation I asked the instructors if this was true and they said "Yes, it happens every year." Everyone in the class talked about this and we all agreed right then and there that we weren't going to do that. Everyone got along in my class and we were one big happy family. I truly think that because this issue was addressed early on is the reason why we all got along so well. The instructors even commented to all of us that they had never seen a group so closely bonded before. During our RN year the LPN students were constantly bickering amongst theirselves and came out and asked an instructor one day how come our class got along and theirs didn't. She said "teamwork!"

It's kind of hard to ignore back biting and I'm the type of person who will confront someone rather than let them get away with that type of behavior. I suggest holding a class meeting and trying to work out these issues. It might not work for everyone but at least it can be addressed and hopefully help some. Nursing school is hard enough, you shouldn't have to deal with Junior High behavior on top of it. Good luck and best wishes!


You gave very sound advice so I called my Dean and asked her if we had any protocol. She stated that if it came to her or an instructor the student that was doing it would:

1. Be counselled in confidentiality (if they talk about their classmates they will probably talk about patients)

2. Be verbally warned.

if it continues

3. Written warning.

4. Appear before a peer board to determine if this behavior is harmfull and if continuing school is in the best interest of the student, the school and the field.

5. The recommendation is then given to the Dean and she then brings it to another committee consisting of instructors and herself.

6. The student is then told of the outcome, which could include, suspension from the program, probation in the program, expullsion from the program.

So maybe you should check with your school to see if there is a protocol for this type of behavior. If not, maybe you could suggest one be instituted.:)

Thank you everyone who replied. And yes, I do have children - two boys, 11 and 16. I guess they don't seem to gossip, or at least I've not heard them, so this really hasn't been an issue in our home. Sometimes the 16 yr old will complain about his instructors, to which I tell him they are his elders and are to be respected. Respect is a big issue for me, so I guess that's why this is hard - I have felt disrespected by these fellow students, whom we all should respect each other for simply making it to the point to which we have!

I have developed a close relationship with a few fellow students, with whom I can talk and study and feel safe. I have worked in various offices and establishments throughout the years, and do know that this type of behavior is not uncommon, but it still is not right.

I think what I will do on Monday when classes start is just attend class, listen to lecture, take my notes, and hope these students are not in clinical with me this semester. I know it sounds like I'm burying my head, but I do so detest confrontation, especially when I believe this is long-standing behavior, to which I will not be able to change. If I am asked why I am not interacting with them (which, believe it or not, they still think everything is alright!), then I will simply tell them the truth about what I know. Several of us met in an informal way last semester to discuss some "weird" feelings we were all feeling, and decided it was just stress. We thought everything was o.k., but the back biting continued. I believe I will just disengage myself from them, unless necessary for class, and continue on my educational path as I have been.

Thank you again for responding, as I appreciate all the different viewpoints we all have. Sometimes it takes more than one set of eyes to see something clearly. This has become clearer - and yes, I will pray for them. I believe we all need it, but I believe these students need a little extra!

I am finding that the worst sort of backbiting is coming from the fact that we have a lot of LPNs in my group that are upgrading our licenses.

The "younger" girls (median age for the LPNs is about 35, I am the oldest at 42), tend to be spiteful, as if "they are so old, how can they possibly do this?"

It is a lot harder to unlearn some of the things we have practiced for many years than it is to learn something for the first time.

Most of us older ones are really serious about our educations, and most of us have it coming right out of our "family" pockets to pay for this education.

I have seen over and over the younger girls failing a class that we paid over $600.00 for, and for the life of me, cannot IMAGINE throwing away all that work.

Much less throwing away all that money.

The older ones are the ones who get the better grades in this group, and we seem to be the ones who study more, and thus, "have all the answers."

It is hard to try to explain to the younger girls how much more valuable we all find this experience, most of us NEVER dreaming that we would get this opportunity to better our educations, and we have worked much harder to get to this point.

We have banded together, and have done a lot with our study group and the benefit of our combined 60 years of experience!!

Let me tell you, it STILL hurts when the girls say, "Oh, let so and so answer, she knows it ALL, anyhow.....

It's hard to keep a straight face and a civil tongue when you hear that......


I, also, have felt the "sting" of having people say the same thing - "ask Laura, she knows all the answers". It isn't nice, but I think there may just be a little jealousy involved there.

The only thing that differentiates me from some of the younger students, in my opinion, is that I am, too, paying for my own education, so I need to make the most of it. I am way too old for Mom and Dad to pay, I have my own family, and would never qualify for financial aid. Kinda stuck in the middle ground, you may say. I'm no better, or worse, than the others...just different.

I also have heard that the older, returning students tend to do a little better, maybe because we don't have the time to do it all over again! :rolleyes:

I guess the only thing I can do is remember why I'm in nursing school, and be true to myself. I have my family's and God's support, so I believe that is all I need to see me through!


Specializes in NICU.

I just HAD to respond to this post. I am noticing almost the exact same thing lately at our school; we're in an ADN program. I had noticed before that there were a select few students who banded together and seemed to mock everyone and anything that crossed their visual path, but they were sorely the minority; most of the other students seemed nice and kind. In our program, we've so far tended to be fairly close-knit. In part, this is because many of us are NOT straight out of high school...we've had children or other careeers or were too broke or in debt to attend school. We had low self-esteem and bad marriages and every conceivable type of issue that we had to overcome to get where we were on the first day of class. I'd say that the median age of our students is about 35, with some below and above that, naturally, but most of the students falling somewhere near there. I agree on a number of points previously posted, such as us being more prepared to work hard and waste less time, being more serious, and in general just being wiser than the majority of our younger counterparts (personally, I'm 24, but have seen enough drama and tragedy to last a lifetime). Lately, though, I've noticed the competitive streak getting stronger and stronger, and I can name numerous situations when one student purposely tried to belittle or sabotage another to make themselves appear better or more 'with it'. This infuriates me, to be honest, but there is little I can do about it. It takes all kinds of people, and the bad ones only serve to make US better people, not the other way around. If what they are doing is seriously damaging, I'd consider taking action. Otherwise, I'd follow the credo of 'Keep your enemies closer than your friends' and just say a prayer that one day they'll be able to see how childish and pointless all the backbiting is. Don't let one apple spoil the whole bunch! If you've noticed, chances are other people with similar values to yours have noticed. Band together and forget about the other ones. They're not worth the effort it takes to stress about it. Good luck!

Laura, it is a common problem everywhere. In my class I am a junior the majority of the students are between 20-23 with the oldest being 27. Some of them are still immature and think if you do not wear certain clothes or drive a certain car then you are not cool enough for them. Cliques happen everywhere no matter how young or how old you will be it will happen. As long as the students do not personally come up to you and harass you or anything else many schools will not and can not do anything about it. I have also found older students to make fun of people too. At my school there is an accelerated option program for those who already have their bachelor's degree and many of them are in their 30's and above many with families and some of them think they are high and mighty and think they know it all because they have more life experience and already have a bachelor's degree in something else. It happens in all age groups. I have found though that in between last semester and over the summer and now this curent semester some of the girls in my group have done a lot of maturing and have a much more serious outlook on school and studying instead of worrying who is with who as far as dating issues and what party is going on this weekend. They are more focused on school and getting their careers on the right start. For some they will never see the picture and sometimes it has to do with home training and how they were raised and for others they still have not grown up yet. Many of the younger students you are referring to have no responsiblity yet as far as family and sadly for some of them they will not become serious until the day they have a family. There are a lot of younger students though who are serious even though they do not have any responsibility as far as a family. For some people maturity really come at age. Some blossom eariler than others.

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