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Why Do Nurses Eat Their Own?

Nurses Article   (94,093 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.

1 Article; 1,553 Visitors; 2 Posts

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

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

1,744 Visitors; 67 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 gotta step in an say with as much respect as I can muster: you are out of line in a lot of what you are saying. Many nurses have their faults and their petty negativity that distracts them from using the power they have to make real change, but you're out of line saying that the idea of well-educated nurses is ridiculous. You may claim to be well educated and list whatever credentials you have, but they don't amount to squat in your people skills area. You aren't superior to these so called "uneducated" nurses. You are just as ugly and nasty as you claim they are.

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2 Followers; 103,235 Visitors; 14,620 Posts

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.

Well, then, the problem will be taken care of in short order, won't it, and we can all get back to doing our jobs, instead of carrying on about how our coworkers mistreat us.

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I never understood why nurse's eat their own. We're all tired, and I believe that some choose to take their misery out on others; it makes no sense!

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

1,744 Visitors; 67 Posts

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.

I'll be happy to provide the research.

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I have witnessed what this topic is referring to as nurses "eating their own." But it only seems to happen when there is trouble with the unit in general. I have worked in a stable environment where there was very little turnover in the nursing staff, the same nurses worked together for YEARS. We all knew each other's families, the doctor's families, we went to each others weddings, suffered through each other's divorces or deaths of family members, joys of births of children, marriages of children, grandchildren... and then a new administration came in and wanted all of us old nurses out. We weren't ALL older. Our unit had grown, and we had taken in younger nurses, and they had fit right in, and become part of us, and had been there for years too, just not as many,but I think we were probably viewed as an expensive unit. A happy, well oiled, but EXPENSIVE unit. We wanted to be the best, as well. We kept up to above par with our education, etc, I won't go into all of that. But we were good. We were expensive, because we were all at or near the top of the salary scale. And we were happy for many reasons. And then the administration came in and started stirring up trouble. Well let's say the administration was fired, and a NEW administration came in, to find a way to cut the fat. And we were some of the fat. So they started by cutting our supervisor. Then our 8 hour shifts went, and we had been quite happy with the shifts the way they were. Then the Holiday schedules were messed with in a way that got everybody fighting, people started quitting, new grads came in and were taking positions that should have belonged to existing employees. This was a ploy obviously designed to cause more expensive nurses to move on, and leave holes for the cheaper ones, and it worked. I for one, left.

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I didn't say nearly what I wanted to say about all of this above comment, because I was having a lot of hesitations with the computer. It took me over an hour to type just that. So please excuse the typos and please realize there was much more meat to the whole process!

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

1,744 Visitors; 67 Posts

Well, then, the problem will be taken care of in short order, won't it, and we can all get back to doing our jobs, instead of carrying on about how our coworkers mistreat us.

I sincerely hope you never get placed into a situation where your supervisors, coworkers, team mates, go out of their way to place you into situations where you are doomed to provide less than standard patient care due to concerted efforts to deprive you of supplies, support, information and more required to do your job. Including overloading you with high acuity patients rather than having them shared among the team. Having doctors and charge nurses refuse to speak directly to you because they don't like your face or call you a name that isn't yours because they say they can't be bothered to learn your real name. To be sexually harassed by a doctor and when you report it to your supervisor, you get laughed at and cajoled because you're "too sensitive." I hope you never have to experience these things because they'll leave you feeling less than a person. And the antics those coworkers play at only endanger the patients.

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

2 Followers; 97,648 Visitors; 12,645 Posts

I have witnessed what this topic is referring to as nurses "eating their own." But it only seems to happen when there is trouble with the unit in general. I have worked in a stable environment where there was very little turnover in the nursing staff, the same nurses worked together for YEARS. We all knew each other's families, the doctor's families, we went to each others weddings, suffered through each other's divorces or deaths of family members, joys of births of children, marriages of children, grandchildren... and then a new administration came in and wanted all of us old nurses out. We weren't ALL older. Our unit had grown, and we had taken in younger nurses, and they had fit right in, and become part of us, and had been there for years too, just not as many,but I think we were probably viewed as an expensive unit. A happy, well oiled, but EXPENSIVE unit. We wanted to be the best, as well. We kept up to above par with our education, etc, I won't go into all of that. But we were good. We were expensive, because we were all at or near the top of the salary scale. And we were happy for many reasons. And then the administration came in and started stirring up trouble. Well let's say the administration was fired, and a NEW administration came in, to find a way to cut the fat. And we were some of the fat. So they started by cutting our supervisor. Then our 8 hour shifts went, and we had been quite happy with the shifts the way they were. Then the Holiday schedules were messed with in a way that got everybody fighting, people started quitting, new grads came in and were taking positions that should have belonged to existing employees. This was a ploy obviously designed to cause more expensive nurses to move on, and leave holes for the cheaper ones, and it worked. I for one, left.

This made me sad. This is how I worked, and felt about my co-workers, and it was all shuffled and ruined by Admin.

If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

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

2 Followers; 97,648 Visitors; 12,645 Posts

I sincerely hope you never get placed into a situation where your supervisors, coworkers, team mates, go out of their way to place you into situations where you are doomed to provide less than standard patient care due to concerted efforts to deprive you of supplies, support, information and more required to do your job. Including overloading you with high acuity patients rather than having them shared among the team. Having doctors and charge nurses refuse to speak directly to you because they don't like your face or call you a name that isn't yours because they say they can't be bothered to learn your real name. To be sexually harassed by a doctor and when you report it to your supervisor, you get laughed at and cajoled because you're "too sensitive." I hope you never have to experience these things because they'll leave you feeling less than a person. And the antics those coworkers play at only endanger the patients.

How do you know she hasn't? Or the next one hasn't?

I'm sorry for what you went through.

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833 Visitors; 14 Posts

Isn't it amazing that there are so many posts and examples, yet it has never been properly dealt with? I am glad to see it surface.

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Nurse Leigh specializes in Telemetry.

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Oh look all the first-time posters. Lovely way to introduce oneself - by saying nurses eat their young/own then blaming it on females or jealously, or old nurses. Welcome. :rolleyes:

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

1,744 Visitors; 67 Posts

How do you know she hasn't? Or the next one hasn't?

I'm sorry for what you went through.

You're right; I don't. It isn't fair of me, but I took from the wording a kind of flippant approach to the discussion of bullying and Incivility in nursing. The words implied to me that doing our jobs, while important, weren't affected adversely by the toxic environments created by the behavior nurses "whine" about. Which led me to perhaps unfairly assume she had never enkuctered such hostility because I can't imagine anyone who experienced it would be so disregarding of it

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