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The Cannibalism of Nursing


This is not what I thought my nursing career would be like after passing the NCLEX. I've never met so many different personalities, it's insane. Sometimes I think, "maybe if I would have gotten pregnant at 17, I'd have 4 kids living on welfare in my section 8 house eating steaks with my food stamp card living it up right now". But no. I haaad to go to college to be a nurse. I could have been a stripper, a drug dealer, or anything else for that matter. I hope my 26k in debt is worth it.

by ShelbyLPN1992 ShelbyLPN1992 (New)

The Cannibalism of Nursing

I've been an LPN in New Orleans now for about a year and a half. I started out just OK with my career choice. Since I'm an LPN, the choices of work that I have are basically nursing home, clinic, doctors office, or if I get lucky, a hospital once I get some experience.

I ended up in a nursing home. I'm not going to lie, I've NEVER wanted to work in a nursing home. I almost quit nursing school in the middle of clinical because I had to go to a nursing home. That setting is just not for me. Well, after I graduated nursing school, hardly any place decent was hiring a new LPN with no experience. So, what did I do? I sucked up my pride, and applied at the closest nursing home that I could find. It was that, or make $14 an hour at a clinic. Besides, working at this particular nursing home saved me a lot of gas money. The pay was actually a lot better than what my other classmates were being paid. Most of my classmates did go to clinics, not for the money, but for the great hours.

Anyways, to get to my rant, the nursing home wasn't so bad. I actually was OK with it. The problems came with the employees. I worked with nothing but ratchet nurses that talk behind your back and CNAs that did half *** work due to their c/o "we gettin paid minimum wage so this place gunna get minimum wage work". The attitudes were horrible.

The CNA turn around rate was also horrible. Always working under staffed and under paid. My relief even started making a habit of calling in at the last minute, leaving me there till a new relief could come. Nobody has any body's back in nursing. I became friends with a CNA and we became kind of close. We were close until she stole something from me and lied about it. I get stolen from a lot on my unit. I guess that's normal, right? On top of that aggravation, The family of the residents are always complaining because their loved ones ADLs are hardly ever completed due to the staff's attitude and under staffment. It's just so much stress being a nurse.

After a year and a half, I feel like it's not necessarily the work load that makes me hate my job, it's the stress of managing my unit and accepting the things that I can't control. I've changed as a person; I think I've even lost hope for the human race like it's gotten that bad. I've never met so many rude, catty, backstabbing, selfish people in my life. I don't know if it's because nurses are all stressed out or if it's me. I don't even know how some of the nurses that I work with even passed high school, much less have a nursing license. One nurse that I work with had to write an incident about a resident that fell on the floor. She literally documented "res found on flow."

I just can't deal. I don't know whether to forward my career and become an RN, or work in a cemetery where there's no complaining. Did I mention that one of my older nursing co workers tried getting me to over dose my hospice patient. Oh his respirators are 9? Give him morphine he's going to die anyway. The saying that "nurses eat their young" is so accurate. Do you know what that makes nurses? Cannibals. Oh you passed your NCLEX? Congrats. Next step? Try not to cry too loud while your co workers eat you alive for their own amusement.

I work in New Orleans, but New Orleans works me.

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94 Comment(s)

Feel better now?

It sounds like you work in an incredibly toxic environment. Don't ding the whole nursing profession because of one bad employer. I haven't had a remotely similar experience in my 6 years of nursing.

marcos9999, MSN, RN

Has 5 years experience.

SNF work can be absolutely dreadful. Ounce in a while you may find one that is actually nice. They do exist. However you friend's fall report "res found on flow." is genius. A report like that is what I which I could write, maybe this way I would have some time to take care of patients.

blondy2061h, MSN, RN

Specializes in Oncology. Has 15 years experience.

Giving morphine to a hospice patient with a respiratory rate of 9 is appropriate if they are showing signs of pain or air hunger.

Here.I.Stand, BSN, RN

Specializes in SICU, trauma, neuro. Has 16 years experience.

Well unless they're breaking out the fava beans and Chianti.... I'm not seeing evidence of cannibalism.

Stealing is wrong, but not limited to CNAs. Laziness/poor work ethic is wrong too, but again not limited to CNAs.

You can't make the blanket statement that nobody has anyone's back in nursing. Come work with me for 5 minutes -- my team and I survive on each other's backs.

Now I see some stuff in this post we need to talk about. You felt the need to bring age into it...was this *experienced* nurse seeing evidence of pain or air hunger in the bradypneic hospice pt? Does she know that holding the MSO4 will result in uncontrollable pain by the time the next dose is due?

You express surprise that your colleagues are licensed nurses, or even high school grads. Not nice.

What really stood out to me however, is the way you phonetically quote the CNAs' speech/grammar patterns. Not nice. At all.

There are clearly some issues with the workplace culture. I have very little tolerance for subpar elder care. The CNAs should try their best, regardless of what they're being paid -- they knew their wage before accepting their jobs, and it's not the residents' fault CNAs are paid so low. Theft should not be tolerated.

But really? If we're talking NETY, honestly I see a lot of room for you to improve here.

You took a job in an environment you hated so much during school that you almost quit - and are surprised that you're not happy there?

I'd say some serious self reflection is in order - which is usually the case in NETY threads, IMO.


Specializes in Pediatrics, Pediatric Float, PICU, NICU. Has 15 years experience.

Not a single thing you mentioned in the post really showed anything related to "NETY." What sounds like a horrible work environment and culture, sure, but not NETY. :yawn:


Specializes in Critical care.

I don't get why this qualifies as an article- it's just a rant...

I don't get why this qualifies as an article- it's just a rant...

Took the words right out of my mouth. I wish this would be moved to a more appropriate spot and not on the opening page.

Davey Do

Specializes in around 25 years psych, 10 years medical. Has 42 years experience.

"You gotta pay your dues if you wanna sing the blues and, you know, it don't come easy."


Some of the best LPNs who later became RNs, and I humbly include myself in this list, started out in the trenches of LTC facilities and utilized those experiences to better themselves later in their careers.

Jules A, MSN

Specializes in Family Nurse Practitioner.

I don't get why this qualifies as an article- it's just a rant...

Not that anyone cares about my two cents but none of these "articles" are I would consider an article anyway. They seem to be a grandiose way to post a thread just like any of the other threads.

Although I do have to give OP kudos for cracking me up initially yeah I've often fantasized about the pros that might have come from swinging on a pole for big bucks way back when that was an option. :D

catsmeow1972, BSN, RN

Specializes in OR. Has 15 years experience.

I have worked in some toxic environments in nursing myself. I have had days, weeks, even months where that job at "Bodacious Ta-Ta's" sounds like a step up in the world.

I was spawned as a nurse in a high stress specialty area (OR) as i was initially a scrub tech. Just recently i have made a transition to floor nursing. I am liking it far better than i thought I was going to. I will say I was very apprehensive, after all i was this star OR maven who could could scrub and circulate any and everything, right? Guess again, with all my wonderful experience, I am still occasionally poking myself with the diaper pins of a new baby nurse.

I promise you, it is not rainbows and daisies all the time. One (of many) things i have learned in my short time there, is to respect those who came before you. That means other nurses and techs. Sometimes crappy attitudes and minimal work ethic come from knowing that you are not appreciated. That appreciation can come in as simple as "thank you for your help today."

One thing that I have had to learn the hard way, is to ask for help. I am very OCD and controlling (find me a nurse anywhere that does not have a touch of that.) I have to constantly remind myself that I can delegate. That is part of the responsibility of nursing.

One definite no-no is to be putting down your fellow nurses and techs. If they are indeed as you describe them, consider that someone in their baby nurse years may have treated them as such and you are only contributing to the cycle. Otherwise as someone above stated, try actually listening to what some say. Sometimes underneath that crusty old bat exterior is a person that cares very much about his/her patients and is more than likely worth listening to.

Last but not least....to the writer of this article/rant....you are still a baby nurse yourself. You are not really in a position to pass judgment. If you are that miserable in that setting, go work elsewhere. While yes, while the income from nursing can make for a reasonably comfortable lifestyle, if you are only in it for the money, it is not the place for you. No amount of money is worth being miserable and if you are that unhappy, you are of no help to the residents and correct me if I am wrong, is not that our ultimate responsibility?

Edited by catsmeow1972
punctuation and inability to type


Specializes in ICU, trauma.

Like a previous poster already said, it is COMPLETELY appropriate to give morphine to a hospice patient with a resp rate of 9, because the reality of it is, they are dying. As nurses we try to make that transition as easy as possible. Dont be afraid to medicate hospice patients! Like your "cannibal" co-worker said, he is dying and in pain. Maybe take time to listen to your co-workers and respect them because they are a wealth of knowledge and experience, especially to a new nurse.

Julius Seizure

Specializes in Pediatric Critical Care.

What it sounds like is a horrible work environment and culture, sure, but not NETY. :yawn:

It does sound like that. OP, I would ask you to contemplate this: Are you contributing to the horrible environment, or are you doing what you can to make it better?

I am sorry that you work in such a bad environment. However, I feel worse about the residents who are forced to live there. They don't have the option to get up and leave. You do have that choice.

If you enjoy the nursing work, then you should pursue your RN. The RN behind your name will open up more job choices. Perhaps you can then find a more suitable work environment.

Nursing isn't easy. The job is tough, and you must work with all kinds of personalities and work ethics. As time goes on, you will become more comfortable learning when to assert yourself, versus when to let things slide. I have worked with nurses and techs with stellar work ethics, and some that are indeed questionable.

As for the conditions for residents at your facility, if you feel residents are in danger, and family members are complaining, encourage them to file a compliant with the state.

Nursing homes are regulated by the state, and should take such accusations seriously.


Specializes in Adult Internal Medicine. Has 10 years experience.

There is a bit of irony when a rant about rude, catty, backstabbing, bad attitude coworkers is riddled with insults of the coworkers in question.

Its a bad work environment not NETY. NETY doesn't exist. Change jobs.

chacha82, ADN, BSN

Has 3 years experience.

I too would like to see this removed from the front page - it's not an article, it's a rant. Not trying to sound harsh, but 26K is expensive for an LPN program and it was your choice to take that debt on. I'm sure you're joking about thinking drug dealers have it better. You can pay that debt off if you get serious about it. I have no idea what your situation is, but if that's contributing to the stress, do what you need to and make a dent in it. I also think your welfare comments are inappropriate.


Specializes in Post op care with Plastic surgery Pat. Has 6 years experience.

I realize when you speak in absolutes you are not really meaning all nurses. At times when we are mad and frustrated the way we word things is really us being frustrated at our situation. You have a lot going on in your place of work. Yes, unfortunately there is people that judge, steal,are lazy etc... What I'm seeing is maybe you are not doing enough self care for you. I would sit down and make a plan of what I want to do. a paper of if I stay or if I leave. It sounds like your feeling out of control in your situation and without knowing the personal details of your background perhaps that is contributing also I do not know. Know that you are important to those patients. You are one person and you are doing your best. You do matter in the world of nursing we all matter. We are a team...