As a new nurse, I’m all too familiar with the proclivity for older nurses to try to intimidate newer, less experienced, nurses.
This concept, this idea, this fact, has been around for a very longtime.
After all, it isn’t like the colloquial saying, “Nurses eat their young” was created yesterday.
In fact, nurses start to eat their young as they hit the floors during clinical.
It starts, in my opinion, in nursing school.
Now, as my former classmates and instructors know, I’m verbose, stubborn, bright, and intense.
Time for a Change
As an older male entering a traditional nursing school full of young 20 something females with whom just entered college for the first time, I found nursing school extremely challenging to say the least.
As an older professional, former law enforcement officer, I didn’t like being bullied, intimidated, or humiliated.
And, I often fought back, usually to no avail.
Overall, nursing school was a good experience, but I’ll never forget some of the tactics my professors tried to use to break me down, put me down, and insult my intelligence.
As a nursing technician, I remember the abuse I, as well as many of my colleagues, endured.
Many nurses, especially new nurses, like to pick on, chew up, and demoralize their less experienced, less educated nurse technicians.
I’ve been yelled at, ridiculed, lambasted for not being able to read minds, and I always, believe or not, bit my tongue (nursing school excluded).
Now, as a registered nurse, I still witness nurses eating their young.
Sure, it’s usually subtle, nurses putting newer nurses in situations they know they can’t handle for their own amusement.
Or, using their caustic wit as a weapon, they will try to put their younger counter parts in their place.
I’m not immune, I’ve been victimized.
However, I have tough skin, armor I’ve developed over the years from monsters bigger and badder than my colleagues in balloon decorated scrubs.
However, the past is the past.
Now, this is the 21st century. And guess what?
I, as well as many others, am now the future of nursing.
And now it’s time to eliminate the practice of nurses eating their young.
Not only is it unethical, contradictory to our ethical tenet of doing no harm, it costs hospitals, long-term care facilities, and clinics too much money.
It needs to stop
Unfortunately, the turnover in hospitals is ridiculous, costing our healthcare system millions of dollars every year.
The practice of nurses eating their young is, in a sense, no longer economically viable.
We just can’t do it anymore, and we shouldn’t.
How are we supposed to dispose of this atavistic relic rite of passage?
Well, we must quit putting up with it.
As a future administrator, I will not tolerate abuse amongst my team members.
I challenge my peers and all present administrators to put an end to this, as it is shameful.
We’re nurses, we’re advocates, counselors, ethicists, and technicians all rolled up into one.