Reply To: "Eat their young"

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Well…you can leave me out of that “we.” I do not treat others poorly. While I don’t doubt that definite bullying exists in horizontal violence, I think there is often more to the story than is completely told. For instance: If I remind a co-worker that this is her third cigarette break and the shift is not even half over, while I’m staying over processing order or finishing an admit…is that eating my young? Especially if I arch my eyebrows “just so?” Because I’m thinking, just thinking, that if you’ve got time to smoke this much, you have time to do this stuff and still provide care at the appropriate level, and I can go home.

I once told my orientee not to unpack her bag when she informed me that “she didn’t go to nursing school to answer call lights” in response to my instruction that we work as a team on our unit, it’s the only way to survive. Frank, blunt, honest replies to behavior that needs correcting is not bullying. Is it eating your young? What about the young preceptor in another forum who wasn’t sure how to deal with two new nurses who preferred to sit at the desk and chat rather than showing a little initiative and teamwork? Hints weren’t working, and others were complaining? Eating their young? I don’t think so. But it wouldn’t surprise me to learn that the two new nurses would say they were being mistreated.

At some point, when the issue is behavior, somebody has to break the news that clinicals are over, you are a licensed professional, and you’re going to be expected to act like it. I’m not a mind reader. I don’t know what you don’t know. New nurse, your job is to help the preceptor help you. Speak up. Ask for guidance. Veterans your job is to respond like a professional and not be impatient or presumptive.

There are some meek, timid souls who take every suggestion, every correction, as a personal assault. And have you noticed, when you are telling somebody a truth they do not want to hear, more often than not, you are told to “Stop yelling” even when you are speaking in a normal tone of voice?

I will always take a moment to run over to another unit to help start an IV, or pull a lab, but I’m also a firm believer in watch one, do one, teach one. If you’ve watched me once, I’m going to ask you to try it the second time. Expecting others to learn? Not eating your young.

In LTC, at least on the rehab to home unit, I don’t see a lot of young-devouring, nor did I experience it when I started not so long ago. What I do see more of is that we are left out on on own to sink or swim, without adequate job training or resources to consult. Not because of apathy, bullying, or hazing, but because the sheer volume of work that has to be done doesn’t leave any time for teaching and mentoring. Maybe we don’t eat our young on my unit because we usually don’t have time to eat anything, period.

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