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Why Do Nurses Eat Their Own?

Nurses Article   (95,339 Views | 293 Replies | 634 Words)
by nrsgofold nrsgofold, RN (New) New

nrsgofold has 20 years experience as a RN and specializes in ER,ICU.

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As current times have shown, we're short staffed. Administration wants to make money. So cuts are made to equipment and man power. Who has your back? Who can you rely on? Your fellow nurses? I'm not so sure anymore. Why do we as nurses eat our own when we should be teaching them and guarding them as our own. The fact is as we age our young nurses are going to be taking care of us, but there are those all too eager beavers who will in fact burn you. This is my experience. You are reading page 18 of Why Do Nurses Eat Their Own?. If you want to start from the beginning Go to First Page.

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Here's what we posted at work

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I am a nurse with over 40 years of experience, the last 8 as a nursing instructor. I see the seeds of the "underling" you mentioned in many of my students. Unfortunately, the "me first" culture of today has spawned a generation of selfish, self-absorbed, entitled people who will stop at nothing to get what they want. They say they want to become nurses to "help people", but they are not willing to put in the time and effort to gain the knowledge they need to do this safely. If they fail a course, the fact that a book was never opened has nothing to do with it. it is the instructor's fault. "The tests are too hard!", "That was never taught in class (even if the pages are on the syllabus!); "You used another source for lecture-you can't do that!" I was subjected to vicious personal attacks, both to my face and on social media, even threatened with legal action. After over 40 years of enjoying a sterling professional reputation, I was trashed; my reputation destroyed in our small town. It got so bad that I had to leave the college where I taught. I am sure that once these people eventually graduate, they will behave in the same manner as "underling".

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Ruby Vee has 40 years experience as a BSN and specializes in CCU, SICU, CVSICU, Precepting & Teaching.

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I am a nurse with over 40 years of experience, the last 8 as a nursing instructor. I see the seeds of the "underling" you mentioned in many of my students. Unfortunately, the "me first" culture of today has spawned a generation of selfish, self-absorbed, entitled people who will stop at nothing to get what they want. They say they want to become nurses to "help people", but they are not willing to put in the time and effort to gain the knowledge they need to do this safely. If they fail a course, the fact that a book was never opened has nothing to do with it. it is the instructor's fault. "The tests are too hard!", "That was never taught in class (even if the pages are on the syllabus!); "You used another source for lecture-you can't do that!" I was subjected to vicious personal attacks, both to my face and on social media, even threatened with legal action. After over 40 years of enjoying a sterling professional reputation, I was trashed; my reputation destroyed in our small town. It got so bad that I had to leave the college where I taught. I am sure that once these people eventually graduate, they will behave in the same manner as "underling".

I wish I thought you were exaggerating, but I know you're not. I hear the same thing from my friends who are nursing instructors.

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SmilingBluEyes has 20 years experience.

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I used to believe I wanted to be a nursing school instructor but after seeing what was going on in my kids' schools and with the new generation coming into nursing (some of them , not ALL) and all the butthurt entitlement happening, NO FREAKING WAY. I don't have time for all that. Teaching, in general, is its own special level of hell with helicopter parenting and entitlement overtaking sensibility and responsibility.

Hell to the naw.

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Replies like this highlight the ops point....mean spirited and nasty....and reading on through many nasty posts continue....why even bother to reply with a snarky negative post....wait I know.....you are nurses....attempting to make yourselves look like you are all that while trying to minimize the credibility of the OP....Unreal

Some folks are indeed eager to wield their shiny gavels, and the internet will always bring them to the surface.

Edited by Phledd
(Forgot to add quote)

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Farawyn has 25 years experience and specializes in A little bit of everything..

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I used to believe I wanted to be a nursing school instructor but after seeing what was going on in my kids' schools and with the new generation coming into nursing (some of them , not ALL) and all the butthurt entitlement happening, NO FREAKING WAY. I don't have time for all that. Teaching, in general, is its own special level of hell with helicopter parenting and entitlement overtaking sensibility and responsibility.

Hell to the naw.

Hmm. Come visit the SN forum. Threads upon threads of this.

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ErraticThinkerRN has 10 years experience and specializes in Critical Care, Trauma, CCU/MICU/SICU.

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Nurses eat their own because it's how they're acculturated in too many settings. There's tons of sociology literature on behaviors of oppressed groups and how it relates to nursing, so I won't bore you all with that. Except that I will say that the younger nurses everyone loves to complain about are molded by the exact culture nurses also love to complain about that they seem to foster and carry forward. There is this insecurity that exists within nursing that is so sad in that any accomplishment or perception of someone "moving up" is seen in a negative light, like a relatively new nurse being picked for a management role, or a nurse that has graduated with a bachelors degree in an area that is composed of mostly diploma or associates degree nurses.

I've experienced this time and again as a 32 year old nurse that's been a bedside nurse for ten years. When I finished my masters degree, there were snarky comments that I was trying to "move on up" and "leave the rest behind." The comments have grown more fervent since I'm now a PhD candidate in Nursing.

Let's be honest with ourselves for a minute and admit that there's a reason younger nurses want to move into management so soon, or want to become advanced practitioners. It's generally not out of laziness, or thinking they are better than anyone, but really it's just that the culture sucks. Being a bedside nurse isn't the draining part half the time. Dealing with bedside nurses is draining. And, again, I say this as an experienced ICU nurse that's still at the bedside. My main point here is that this discussion continues and seems to go nowhere because of a fundamental reality that nothing will change until the culture changes. If you want to be treated like a professional, then act like one, and support your nursing colleagues in whatever goals they have. Want to know the main difference between Nursing and Medicine as professions? When there's a problem for physicians, they circle the wagons and back each other up. Nurses throw each other out and fend for themselves. That's why Nursing doesn't get ahead, and we continue to have the same discussion about nurses eating their own.

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Boomer MS, RN has 17 years experience and specializes in Med Surg/ICU/Psych/Emergency/CEN/retired.

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Nurses eat their own because it's how they're acculturated in too many settings. There's tons of sociology literature on behaviors of oppressed groups and how it relates to nursing, so I won't bore you all with that. Except that I will say that the younger nurses everyone loves to complain about are molded by the exact culture nurses also love to complain about that they seem to foster and carry forward. There is this insecurity that exists within nursing that is so sad in that any accomplishment or perception of someone "moving up" is seen in a negative light, like a relatively new nurse being picked for a management role, or a nurse that has graduated with a bachelors degree in an area that is composed of mostly diploma or associates degree nurses.

I've experienced this time and again as a 32 year old nurse that's been a bedside nurse for ten years. When I finished my masters degree, there were snarky comments that I was trying to "move on up" and "leave the rest behind." The comments have grown more fervent since I'm now a PhD candidate in Nursing.

Let's be honest with ourselves for a minute and admit that there's a reason younger nurses want to move into management so soon, or want to become advanced practitioners. It's generally not out of laziness, or thinking they are better than anyone, but really it's just that the culture sucks. Being a bedside nurse isn't the draining part half the time. Dealing with bedside nurses is draining. And, again, I say this as an experienced ICU nurse that's still at the bedside. My main point here is that this discussion continues and seems to go nowhere because of a fundamental reality that nothing will change until the culture changes. If you want to be treated like a professional, then act like one, and support your nursing colleagues in whatever goals they have. Want to know the main difference between Nursing and Medicine as professions? When there's a problem for physicians, they circle the wagons and back each other up. Nurses throw each other out and fend for themselves. That's why Nursing doesn't get ahead, and we continue to have the same discussion about nurses eating their own.

Very interesting and thought provoking commentary. I would agree with most of what ErraticThinker said. The question is how to change the culture. Much is also published on the subject of lateral/horizontal violence. Nursing can be its own worst enemy. I propose having an across the board entry level for nursing being the BSN for starters. Nursing is the only profession that does not require a graduate degree. A BSN, although not an advanced degree, might be a start toward a change moving forward.

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kbrn2002 has 25 years experience as a ADN, RN and specializes in Geriatrics.

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I HIGHLY doubt that management hires people simply because they "look good," from a business standpoint. If you have no interest in management, then why do you say that new nurses "step on you" to get above? Again, please explain how all of these young nurses "step on you," shove you down, and climb their way to success. Because, you know, their success depends on your failures, right? This is such an immature and egocentric generalization that I can't believe it's coming from a seasoned nurse.

Maybe they have more drive and passion, maybe they have more qualifications for management than you. Being a floor nurse and working in management have different skill sets.

You seem to have a lot of resentment against young nurses, even though you most likely were one yourself. Which only proves the hypocrisy in your statements.

Oh, and just because I don't have any work experience as a nurse, does not mean I lack common sense. If you're going to use your seniority to save your pride, then you really have gotten yourself into a corner. Because all you need is common sense in this situation, really. Maybe stop blaming other nurses for your shortcomings.

You are fortunate indeed to have lived such a sheltered life thus far that you have never seen this behavior. It is sadly not at all uncommon for an ambitious new employee to run to co-workers, middle management and even upper management with complaints about any number of things, often with the goal of making themselves look better by putting somebody else down. It is a "look Mom, look! See what I found!" that unfortunately too often works.

You are free to brag about your common sense when you have actually been a working nurse long enough to have experienced, well, anything that actually shows you have enough common sense to not participate in this very behavior that you claim to find so rare.

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You are fortunate indeed to have lived such a sheltered life thus far that you have never seen this behavior. It is sadly not at all uncommon for an ambitious new employee to run to co-workers, middle management and even upper management with complaints about any number of things, often with the goal of making themselves look better by putting somebody else down. It is a "look Mom, look! See what I found!" that unfortunately too often works.

You are free to brag about your common sense when you have actually been a working nurse long enough to have experienced, well, anything that actually shows you have enough common sense to not participate in this very behavior that you claim to find so rare.

I find it hard to believe a worker can go to management, tattle-tale on everyone, and then management will think, "This is the only good worker on the entire floor, and I know this because they say that everyone else is bad. I better promote her/him for sure."

What would exactly would they tattle about? How do you know that they even tattled? You do know what defamation (slander) is, and that it is illegal? Did a worker actually do something wrong when they tattled? "Experience" does not explain away these questions, and I, personally, do not buy into it.

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Jensmom7 has 36 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Hospice.

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I honestly don't care what your grades in Nursing school were. They only reflect how well you were prepared for taking and passing Boards.

I prefer, and respect, solid common sense and the ability to not kill me or one of my loved ones.

And I'm pretty sure I said this somewhere before, but I'm on call and just spent 8 hours in the field, so I have no cares within me to check.

Edited by AN Admin Team
quoted removed post

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I was a CNA for 8.5 years in one SNF and got the best character development I could ave asked for. I looked up to great CNA's and LVN's who prided themselves in their work and the good of the patients. They loved their patients. They were their when they died and went to their funerals. A hard working group of mostly women and a few men. No cursing, especially at work. Fast forward to 2014 and 2015. I am now an LVN/LPN. The culture has changed. Everyone uses filthy profanity and nearly prides themselves on it, even in front of pts. No more professionalism. Everyone tattooed. Most management doesn't even have an inkling of team building. They really didn't before, but after 25 years of Steven Covey's 7 habits of Highly Effective People and Pete Lencioni's Three Signs of Misserable Job, i would think someone in nursing and hospital management would have gotten the memo. SNF's continue to be understaffed, CNA's and nurses continue to be overwhelmed and not able to spend enough quality caring time with pts, Medicare pays less and expects more, all these years and the industry continues to put us all into an ethical dilemma. Nurses have less power to discipline CNA's for irresponsible behavior, and even so, I can't fault them for being imperfect with an excessive load of pts.

The majority of nurses I have worked with, I liked, the few that were objectionable had personal problems. One tiny LPN, who was actually very competent at what she did, was a tiger sometimes, and I stood close and watched and tried to learn what I could (dealing with EMT's who were trying to get out of taking one of our SNF pts to the acute hospital). One the other hand, she was suspiscious and could play people against one another. I tried to stay out of those, She was being manipulative like my mother, and I had learned that was a no win situation. Part of me felt sorry for her. But she was nonetheless a time bomb.

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