Nurses Eating Their Young…trying to handle it…

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    Profile photo of AnonymousRN

    Desperately needing some advice/kind words/wisdom on this topic. I feel like I’m drowning.

    So the more I’m finding out, the more of a “hot topic” this is. And I didn’t really even understand until I experienced it first hand. They say nurses eat their young. I’m living through this right now.

    As a new grad RN (I’ve been on my floor for a little over half a year…) I’ve been dealing with a lot of unfortunate drama on my unit. I’m not sure how many other people deal with this, or have peer evaluations, but it started with the evaluations.

    I go into my nursing manager’s office, expecting some CONSTRUCTIVE criticism, as I am new and I know I’m no where near perfect. What I got was bombarded by insults. Rude comments my “leaders” had made about me that did not accurately reflect my work performance. I was completely shocked. I broke down and ended up crying in her office because I was not prepared for these comments at all.

    I won’t even go into what all was said, but it was awful and completely opposite of my actual character. I did have two or three good comments, saying how helpful and willing I was, and how good I am with my patients….but surprisingly, those comments didn’t even get brought up at ALL. All we did was focus on the negative comments of one or two (I’m assuming) of the charge nurses. And my manager really didn’t defend me at all, she kind of just went with it. I’m night shift, so I understand she never sees me…but still. Just because these people have been around for a long time doesn’t mean they aren’t clicky or unprofessional.

    So, once I got over the initial shock, I decided to talk to one of the charge nurses I thought I could trust, and ask her if there was something about my behavior or work ethic that needed changing, or if I was doing something that could be coming across the wrong way. I want to be the best employee I can be, after all. She told me that she didn’t see any problems…as long as I’m doing my job, I’m fine. She even went so far to say that someone was “out to get me.”

    After that confirmation (I even talked to a couple of my other peers that said everything was fine, not to worry about it), I kind of just let it go. Told myself, “well obviously someone has a personal problem. I can’t let that get in the way with my work.”

    A few weeks later, I received a message from a fellow co-worker telling me that this same person (charge nurse who told me that I was fine) was talking crap about me on a day I wasn’t there…I won’t go into details here either, but basically that she didn’t want to work with me because of x,y, and z. And many other insulting comments.

    So here I am again, feeling like crap. I’m dreading going to work, because I feel like if I do anything wrong, or ask anyone for help, I’m going to get whispers behind my back, or people saying that they don’t want to work with me. How is it fair, that I, a new nurse, am terrified to ask my superiors for help? How is it fair that I’m trying to provide the best patient care that I can, but am criticized for asking for advice? We’re supposed to be a team.

    This is taking the joy out of what I do, and it’s affecting me at home, as well. I’m feeling (at times) depressed, and bullied. I don’t know what to do. I’m the low man on the totem pole, and I don’t feel like there’s anyone I can trust to talk to (including my manager, who seems extremely biased). I’m questioning my decision to go into this profession at all. I don’t want to feel this way, and I know I need to grow a thicker skin because if this is how it’s going to be, this is how it’s going to be. But I can’t help but feel miserable about it. Unfortunately I still have to consult with and be professional with these people, even if they don’t grant me the same courtesy.

    The more I talk to fellow nurses, the more I’m finding out that this is a trend for many people. Something needs to be done. Also, I’m not the only nurse in my area that has experienced this bullying.

    What do I do?

    To anyone who read all the way through this and actually replied, thank you. Your words mean more than you know.

    Profile photo of AngelRN

    I believe it is time you move on & find another position. Transfer w/in ur hospital if u would like 2 stay @ your facility. When it starts 2 affect u @ home I believe it is time 2 make a change, life is too short. When I was a new Nurse I work on a unit that had very poor management. I saw one of my friends get fired over a failed test even after she offered 2 attend the class again on her own time & retake the test. I was hired w/4 other new grads & by 8 months I was the only 1 left. I talked 2 an experienced Nurse who was in the Float pool & she recruited my 2 my current position (where I have been 4 the past 16 yrs) in the pool. I was getting sick b4 work & lo & behold all that stopped as soon as I transferred even tho I was nervous about starting a new position in the Float pool. I have a wonderful boss now & supportive co-workers. Sometimes it is time 2 move on. Network w/other Nurses I other areas & really think about where else u might like 2 work. I’m sorry u have had such a rough time but there are good places 2 work w/good management. Good luck!!!


    There is something to be said for moving on to another job with less drama … the only problem with that is most departments have their fair share of drama queens. I have been at my current job for MANY years, and during that time I have seen countless managers come and go. Some good, some not so good. Some have loved me, others have hated me and wanted me fired. Some have given me great evaluations, while others focus on the negative. I actually love my current boss, but my latest evaluation was the 2nd worst eval I have ever received, which kind of sucked some of the joy out of working there for a while.

    I have also seen the old nurse cliques go away as people would retire, get fired, change positions, etc, and new cliques form. Nurses do eat their young, and their old, and the other shift, etc. If you really are that miserable, it might be worth moving on to something else, but there is something to be said for sticking to your guns and standing up for yourself. I have quit jobs which had too much hate and discontent for my taste, but I have also stuck it out through some awful years of hostile managers.

    Either way … Good luck. You aren’t alone in this. As a general rule, honesty is the best policy, but you can’t trust as many people as you might think you can trust. Whatever you say will be twisted and used against you, so if you just need to vent, do it with people outside of the workplace, but call BS when you see or experience BS at work, eventually (I hope) people will stop noticing the target you have on your back.

    Profile photo of ronnie2309

    I can remember 16yrs ago it happened to me. I have cried many days but take this as lesson learned. Transfer to another unit or facility, just take a stand for yourself. What doesn’t kill you, will make you strong.

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