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Why Do Nurses Eat Their Own?

Nurses Article   (94,090 Views 293 Replies 634 Words)
by nrsgofold nrsgofold, RN (New Member) New Member

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 5 of Why Do Nurses Eat Their Own?. If you want to start from the beginning Go to First Page.

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

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The topic post of this thread contains anecdotes, whose salience is implicitly in question. As many stories you can come up with of lazy young nurses who have thrown you under the bus or snuck out of the building to make out with each other, I can come up with just as many stories of gossiping, lazy, and overweight 40 and 50 something year olds who are "assignment dumping" on younger nurses and "type A" personalities talking about their "vast experience" ad nauseam. They would just as meaningless as the examples in the OP.

You do "Code Dumping", literally, and bail on your co-workers when they need you most by your own admission, so this really means not that much, ya know?

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heron has 40 years experience as a ASN, RN and specializes in Hospice.

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I'm wondering if anyone has ever worked anywhere, ever? This happens all over the place, people. It is part of the work environment. People don't always get along and warm and fuzzy and gooey and smiley and "pat me on the back, I showed up!"

Just go to work and do your job as best you can. As you work more and go through stuff with people, you will form bonds. Most people can work together if they try. They don't have to be best friends.

If the environment is truly toxic, change jobs.

This is not rocket science.

Yes, and I'm pretty much done with the whining. Why I should be expected to control the behavior of my co-workers escapes me ... and that's exactly what's being demanded here. Those who are in the habit of civility will continue, those who aren't are not going to change their ways any time soon.

Personally, I think the whole meme is being perpetuated because it gets us blaming each other for the stresses of working in this healthcare system rather than the people actually in control. Pretty much the old "Evil Eve" schtick.

I would be willing to bet that those waxing most eloquent about this are the same people who contemptuously dismiss, say, university students of color, for demanding their own "safe space". Frankly, I can't take any of it very seriously. Just another riff on nurses' station character assassination, transferred onto AN.

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

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I'll take a tongue over a dagger any day. :blink:

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Slhengy has 10 years experience and specializes in Cardiac, Ortho, Med/Surg, ICU, Quality.

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I wanted to make one more point about this being prevalent in other industries. Before I became a Nurse, I worked in the financial industry with over 1,000 employees in a fairly small work space and even though cliques were formed, I have never experienced the degree of hatefulness that I have experienced in Nursing.

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I started nursing late in life - in my fifties. Prior to that I was a teacher, business woman, and did a lot of other jobs as well. A BN is my fourth degree. I have a BA, BEd, MEd as well so I'm well-educated. While it's true that nasty people are in every profession, I can tell you with certainty that nursing has the highest number of bullies and nasties, period. And by the way, any idea that nurses are well educated is ridiculous. I completed a nursing degree after my other degrees and I know that nurses are NOT well-educated or well informed by any stretch. The introductory liberal arts courses they take are usually something that they sigh about because they "have to" to take them but, "What does this have to do with nursing?" They are not typically curious or enlightened individuals, which is part of the problem. They are in a rush to be middle class, get a secure job and then stay there for life.

I also believe that a lot of Borderline Personality types are attracted to nursing because of the "angel of mercy" aura that allows them to be nasty and kind at the same time. "Borderlines" thrive on drama, are usually paranoid (need to sabotage others), and live in complete denial of their own behavior. They really do believe their own "split" persona - that is, "I'm a nurse so that proves I'm a good person." Actually, I believe that about 50% of nurses are "borderline" Borderlines, and they wreak havoc wherever and whenever they can, but hide it beneath their angel of mercy disguise, (in their own minds). Never in my life have I encountered so many nasty individuals intent on causing problems for others. Think I'm exaggerating? CK out the literature - 60% of new nurses leave their first job because of bullying from their nurse colleagues. The literature is FULL of articles about horizontal violence in nursing. Just google it and you'll get pages on it, and ck out the professional journals. People have done their doctorates on this subject.

I'm laughing because I know y'all are fuming right now since Borderlines have no insight into their own behavior.....

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JimmyDurham9 has 6 years experience and specializes in Ambulatory Care, LTC, OB, CCU, Occ Hth.

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Yes, and I'm pretty much done with the whining. Why I should be expected to control the behavior of my co-workers escapes me ... and that's exactly what's being demanded here. Those who are in the habit of civility will continue, those who aren't are not going to change their ways any time soon.

Personally, I think the whole meme is being perpetuated because it gets us blaming each other for the stresses of working in this healthcare system rather than the people actually in control. Pretty much the old "Evil Eve" schtick.

I would be willing to bet that those waxing most eloquent about this are the same people who contemptuously dismiss, say, university students of color, for demanding their own "safe space". Frankly, I can't take any of it very seriously. Just another riff on nurses' station character assassination, transferred onto AN.

See, now, you ticked me off with your use of the word "whining." No one is whining at you, and you are not expected to control the behavior of your coworkers. You are just expected to exhibit basic common respectful manners we all were taught at home. That includes not tolerating rude and bullying behavior designed to break down co workers rather than coach them and be a team player. The tides are turning. Individuals not in the habit of behaving civilly in the workplace are no longer being tolerated. There are no places for ugly, rude, and difficult coworkers.

Edited by JimmyDurham9

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

2 Followers; 97,647 Visitors; 12,645 Posts

I started nursing late in life - in my fifties. Prior to that I was a teacher, business woman, and did a lot of other jobs as well. A BN is my fourth degree. I have a BA, BEd, MEd as well so I'm well-educated. While it's true that nasty people are in every profession, I can tell you with certainty that nursing has the highest number of bullies and nasties, period. And by the way, any idea that nurses are well educated is ridiculous. I completed a nursing degree after my other degrees and I know that nurses are NOT well-educated or well informed by any stretch. The introductory liberal arts courses they take are usually something that they sigh about because they "have to" to take them but, "What does this have to do with nursing?" They are not typically curious or enlightened individuals, which is part of the problem. They are in a rush to be middle class, get a secure job and then stay there for life.

I also believe that a lot of Borderline Personality types are attracted to nursing because of the "angel of mercy" aura that allows them to be nasty and kind at the same time. "Borderlines" thrive on drama, are usually paranoid (need to sabotage others), and live in complete denial of their own behavior. They really do believe their own "split" persona - that is, "I'm a nurse so that proves I'm a good person." Actually, I believe that about 50% of nurses are "borderline" Borderlines, and they wreak havoc wherever and whenever they can, but hide it beneath their angel of mercy disguise, (in their own minds). Never in my life have I encountered so many nasty individuals intent on causing problems for others. Think I'm exaggerating? CK out the literature - 60% of new nurses leave their first job because of bullying from their nurse colleagues. The literature is FULL of articles about horizontal violence in nursing. Just google it and you'll get pages on it, and ck out the professional journals. People have done their doctorates on this subject.

I'm laughing because I know y'all are fuming right now since Borderlines have no insight into their own behavior.....

I'm laughing, too. Projection and Google are sooooo cool!

Horizontal violence and having to "lick your wounds" because you were disagreed with on a message board 2 weeks ago are 2 totally different things, or did you not learn that in school when you were learning to diagnose people based on message board posts?

I see this is your first post, btw. Welcome to AN! Look around, there is tons of support here.

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

2 Followers; 97,647 Visitors; 12,645 Posts

See, now, you ticked me off with your use of the word "whining." No is whining at you, and you are not expected to control the behavior of your coworkers. You are just expected to exhibit basic common respectful manners we all were taught at home. That includes not tolerating rude and bullying behavior designed to break down co workers rather than coach them and be a team player. The tides are turning. Individuals not in the habit of behaving civilly in the workplace are no longer being tolerated. There are no places for ugly, rude, and difficult coworkers.

Whining is apt.

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290 Visitors; 2 Posts

I have seen it, too. And if the title is offensive to you it might be worth it to figure why. I have been treated so badly by RNs that I never wanted to move up from LPN.

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holisticallyminded has 7 years experience and specializes in LTC, Medical, Rehab, Psych.

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As nurses, we size people up every day (and have to) just as all humans do. Some of us are better than others at reading people, but we all come in to every interaction with personal bias and ideas of what makes a good nurse. We size others up within minutes and react according to our personal code of conduct.

Older nurses often feel threatened by younger nurses but I have also seen negative reactions based on the need to constantly "train" someone without having enough senior/experienced nurses to rely on when things get tough. This makes for some pretty negative attitude.........and can you honestly blame these folks? If you've never experienced being the only person who had worked as a nurse longer than a year (I'm at 7, and this has happened to me MANY times), you won't know what I mean. But does this excuse behavior? No, absolutely not.

As far as feeling threatened, there are many reasons for this. Aging nurses may just feel the aging process every time they look at younger folks (with more energy and positivism) coming in. Or as their pay scales max out, they may wonder how much the newbies are coming in at. They may just be plain tired (time to retire and I have met many nurses who simply can't afford that option and hold a grudge).

Then there's this story that I witnessed years ago when I did something else in healthcare:

I was working in an office with 4 women of varying ages (I was in the middle in my late 20s/early 30s). We were interviewing for a relief position. A young woman came in, cute as a button with a WONDERFUL personality, fully qualified for the position. All of us LOVED her. Except one. The oldest woman in our group had been going through a divorce, attempting to lose weight, battling depression and had a damn bad attitude (possibly menopausal to boot). As the interview proceeded, she was very flat affect and appeared angrier than usual. After the interview, we all chatted about the candidate. When this woman was asked what she thought, she initially couldn't respond, uttered something about her age and newness that the rest of us liked (she was just so damned enthusiastic- I wanted her on the spot), and finally came out with the fact that.........she was PRETTY. Yes, this bothered the woman intensely. And of course this was discussed behind her back later.........

The woman wasn't hired. Can you believe it? We got a heavy set girl instead. I'm not kidding.

And having been on other interview panels, I can tell you that things absolutely DO go this way sometimes. So what happens when you don't choose the candidates and you have to train attractive, new, young people with bright futures? Some people in ANY field hold this in and let it out in very mysterious ways.

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danielle2000 has 1 years experience as a MSN, RN and specializes in Family Practice.

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Eloquently stated. I always felt the reason nursing in the hospital scene is dying due to lack of solidarity. I have witness backbiting, stepping on toes, and egos to get ahead. But only to see 2 graves. The unsuspecting nurse and the shark nurse ripping the entrails of trust. I made it a rule to NEVER vow loyalty to any job only the patients I serve. Pursue educational endeavors with a back up plan, and keep my personal life personal. Hospitals reel of infested misery. I refuse to do another 10 years of it

Nurses have so much power and refuse to use it. I haven't given up on nursing just in a hospital settimg, NO MAS!

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6,138 Visitors; 277 Posts

The topic post of this thread contains anecdotes, whose salience is implicitly in question. As many stories you can come up with of lazy young nurses who have thrown you under the bus or snuck out of the building to make out with each other, I can come up with just as many stories of gossiping, lazy, and overweight 40 and 50 something year olds who are "assignment dumping" on younger nurses and "type A" personalities talking about their "vast experience" ad nauseam. They would just as meaningless as the examples in the OP.

NOT anecdotes. Very real, and very studied. There have been some anthropological/sociological research applied to the potential reasons why this happens, but if people cannot agree on whether this phenomenon even exists, how receptive can they be to the possible reasons why.

Horizontal violence among nursing students.

Stress and verbal abuse in nursing: do burned out nurses eat their young?

Do nurses eat their young?

I would love for JimmyDurham9 to share some of his research on the topic. Perhaps, one proved that it is real, perhaps solving the problem can be the next step.

...Because from my work and research on the issue for the ANA's position statement and my own personal experience in nursing, I can safely say I have never encountered a group of individuals so petty, mean-spirited, ugly, unprofessional, cruel, and down right hateful than in nursing. Nursing takes the cake for having some of the most disrespectful, passive aggressive, bad attitude individuals- from floor to administration...

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