Nurses eating their young

Nurses eating their young………….

An old topic revisited

A friend sent me a link to a random website having to do with nursing careers.  In this link there was an article written by a nurse.  The article was very disenchanting in that this nurse admitted to eating his/her young and attempted to justify the reason why they made sure they did so.  Long story short, they wanted to make sure that the new nurse that they precepted would go on to do a good job and that this would reflect on the experienced nurse, I guess in the long run….. Another theory brought on by a new male nurse was that most nurses are female, most preceptors are older and that apparently hormones play a large part in the “eating the young theory”.

First of all, nursing is not the only industry that has new hires and older preceptors.  I do take some offense in the hormonal theory but this would be me as a professional letting someone else’s beliefs effect how I feel etc.

I have seen on occasion that new grad or a person that feels that they know more than most of the experienced nurses hit the floor and have a reality check placed on them.  This is not usually done by the nurses in the emergency room (where I live), this is done usually  by the first patient  that isn’t textbook presentation, and the “eating the young” is not done by staff but usually by the patient themselves.  The more experienced nurses will usually come to help and “protect” our newest team member contrary to popular belief.

Now have I seen a nurses eating their young? Unfortunately, I have seen someone get for the lack of a better term “bullied” in many industries not just nursing. I have actually noticed that nurses have been taking a big stand on this type of behavior towards their co-workers. Papers have been published on “Lateral Violence” and many institutions will not tolerate this behavior towards co-workers. More non-medical industries are catching on to this and this is of great importance.

When we do have those challenging personalities, one could ponder why they feel that they need and want to eat their young, I have to wonder if this is more of an issue with this person and the need to feel significant. I wonder what is happening in their personal lives that makes them want to be so malignant.  Usually when you meet these individuals who I might add may be a nurse or a checker at the grocery store, there must be something missing.  There is some innate need to feel important and get their significance in their life by instilling fear and apprehension to those they can bully for the lack of a better word.

We all age, get older, get sick. One may want to think about this when they are putting down the hammer to an apprentice as this may be the person who care for you later in your life.  Nurses are a proud, professional, and caring set of people.  Instead of lowering ourselves to the level of, “eating our young”, why don’t we instead think of, “nursing the nurses”. I honestly think we as a profession will benefit more.

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Anna Curran. RN, BSN, PHN

Anna Curran. RN, BSN, PHN
Clinical Nurse Instructor

Emergency Room Registered Nurse
Critical Care Transport Nurse
Clinical Nurse Instructor for LVN and BSN students

Anna began writing extra materials to help her BSN and LVN students with their studies and writing nursing care plans. She takes the topics that the students are learning and expands on them to try to help with their understanding of the nursing process and help nursing students pass the NCLEX exams.

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