Share Your Story > Nurses Eat their Young------and their educated!!

"Nurses eat their young!" I remember my nursing professor warning us that sometimes experienced nurses were mean to new nurses, until they proved themselves. It was to be expected, we knew it was coming.
20+ years later, I find myself back in school earning my DNP at the University of Miami, while continuing my job as faculty at a community college. It was an exciting time, I would be the first DNP there.
As the months flew by the bullying began. It began slowly, with more duties, additional assignments, etc. I found myself constantly having to re-assure her that I was not leaving. She would tell others, “She’s leaving us”. I began to feel guilty about wanting to go back to school. During our last meeting, she said I was disloyal, not committed, that I wasn't there for her--. I was shocked.
One day, I mentioned it during a class discussion at U of M. I was shocked to hear that quite a few of my classmates were having the same issue at their institutions, hospitals, etc. Several of them had transferred departments or resigned their positions. Betty shared that her boss would not allow her to take personal days for clinical hours or even graduation!!. We realized that we were experiencing nurse bullying by those above us. Elevating ourselves through education should have been applauded; instead it was discouraged.

December 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMarlene McBride, RN

So true. I am working on my master's and I was being bullied at my place of work by my supervisor, assistant manager and charge nurse, even had been given a name, can you believe it, so it seems that these people act as if they were back in high school. I took the matter into my own hands and contacted their superiors and asked for them to step in, it seems to have gotten better, but I am always on the defensive and it can be very stressful, keeping you from concentrating on the real issue.... your patients. I was told the same thing to keep my mouth shut, yes with those words since "nurses eat their young" and the worse part is that these "leaders" nurse managers are okay with this. AMAZING

We are in the business of caring, so why should we not care about each other and reward the people that are doing what is necessary to get more education to be able to serve everyone better.

I am so glad to have found this website. Thank you for all the hard work that has gone into this creation. Just so you know my response to these "moronic" people was exactly that "maybe it is time that some of us (nurses) change this perception" maybe we need to take the necessary steps to let everyone know that this is not to be tolerated at any level and that people will be educated and given a chance to correct the behaviors, but enough is enough.

I am so excited to be a part of this new en devour getting people re-focused on the true meaning of nursing ....CARING sincerely about what we do.


January 23, 2013 | Unregistered Commenteranita

"Nurses eat their young". This is so old, so tired a comment. I am an older nurse and I can assure you that over the years, I NEVER treated younger or less experienced nurses with disrespect. I am not naïve enough to believe that this does not happen, but in today's very competitive healthcare "marketplace", older nurses are facing bullying more and more by their much younger counterparts. I just recently obtained an advanced degree and also became certified in my practice. I have had more doors slammed in my face when trying to advance my career, than I ever had when I was much younger. I am getting to the point to where I may be contacting a lawyer to find out if I have a case to file an age discrimination lawsuit. The new, younger nurse of today, displays very little interest in advancing their career by means of education or participating on committees to gain leadership experience. Even though I have had 20 years of mentoring, precepting, leadership and clinical experience, (in addition to my educational credentials), I am now facing a form of professional sabotage (just another name for bullying), that I never knew existed; i.e., asking for more opportunities to take charge on our unit; having younger, less experienced co-workers placed in this position; recently passed over for a promotion, with a younger, less experienced, non-credentialed colleague hired instead; all this after being told by human resources that I am an "excellent" candidate for the position. In addition, I am being forced to work PM shifts, when the majority of my younger co-workers with less experience and also being new hires are given prime day shifts. I consider ALL of the aforementioned incidences a form of bullying of an older nurse.

I am constantly amazed at how much time my younger colleagues spend texting at the nurses station, shopping on the internet and participating in social media during work hours. They have little to no knowledge about efficient time management because they are too busy socializing and spending little time actually caring for patients and yet, the large majority of the clinical coordinators in our institution are under the age of 40 (most of them are in their 20s and 30s), while those of us with a very impressive and large body of clinical and leadership expertise are kicked to the curb because we are viewed as being in the "twilight" of our careers. A great number of our younger nurses are using their time at our academic medical center as a stepping stone to another opportunity. They are extensively trained and tend to leave within a 3-5 year time period for greener pastures.

They have no desire for long term commitment to our organization, nor do they feel that they have to work their way through the ranks by demonstrating their expertise in the clinical milieu or in leadership strategies. They display an outrageous lack of respect for their older, more experience colleagues and I suspect that this attitude is being fostered and tolerated by our senior management.

I'm sorry, but the new, younger nurse of today is not being bullied; they are being coddled and thus have very little understanding of the massive responsibilities that are required of them.

August 9, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLaura

I hear you. I, too, am an "older" nurse with 18 years of hard labor (med-surg) under my belt. I've preceptored and mentored dozens of younger new nurses and this got me pretty much nothing. You are so correct that many younger RNs have no time for clinical duties and could care less as long as they have their i-phones.
The saying that nurses "eat their young" really isn't applicable anymore. Nurses eat their members who are perceived as get it.
I am a 61 year old California RN who works night shift. I am informed, regularly, that I must ask a night supervisor half my age, permission to contact the after hours MD! I assumed that this was just a professional courtesy--to let your supe know what was going on and, depending on the urgency, could also be done after the call to the MD.
I let my supe know that I was calling the night doc because a patient was scheduled to get his second dose of Levaquin and his allergy band and record says that he has had past reaactions to quinolones--moderately to severe tendinitis! My supe asked me, "You mean to tell me you want to call a doc in Tel Aviv (we use a long distance hospitalist service) to ask him about a med that has already been approved by two doctors and a pharmacist? I said, "yes". She told me that if i didn't feel "comfy" giving that med, she did and would do it....I said "No". She then trotted down to the ED and came back with a print out saying that quinolones and fluoroquinolones were not the same. Again she told me to give the med and not call the MD.....! I took the paper she gave me, underlined on it and gave it back--I underlined the black box warnings about both those drug famiiles and told her I was not giving the med and I was calling the MD.
I called the MD who said, Deb, I know you, why would you even ask--this med should not be given until your hospital's medical director reviews it tomorrow. I told him what the supe had said. Apparently he called her because about twenty mins later the supe was walking down the hallway saying, "Wow, that Dr ____ is really up on things!". Of course this old bat who told her the same thing still has to ask permission to call him.
The same supe, that same night, decided that SHE was going to educate a new grad despite the fact that the grad's preceptor was present and she was being precepted. The supe told the new grad that she could take on this new admit, raved at how good the new grad had been up till that night and was very persuasive. Seven hours later, after the supe badgering the grad, standing over her, dictating how to do the (ponderous) electronic admission and the grad's eyes glazing over, I said, "She needs a break, she has been ehre for seven hours without a break"...Supe said, "She doesn't need a break, I asked her two hours ago". I said, "I wasn't asking you, I was telling her to take her break."
When she had left on a break, the supe said about the new grad, "She needs to set her own limits". I said, "No she does not need to set her own limits---YOU are the authority, YOU said this was something she could do, she trusted YOU and YOU got her into an admit that was tricky AND did not support her.
New grad got her break.
I got complained about.
My DON called MY former preceptor (I'm in a master's program) and wanted to know if she knew what had gotten into me. My former preceptor told her she should ASK me directly. Then my former preceptor called me and told me I might want to touch bases with the DON. I called the DON immediately, got her on the phone (she sounded pretty terse) and told her that my former preceptor said to call because you might want to touch bases with me? She asked me when would be the best time to call me back...

That was two weeks ago, haven't heard a thing from the DON but I've been booted out of being a preceptor for the new grad program.

....and I'm looking, at the age of 61, for a new job.

October 3, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDeborah

I had no idea that bullying was a problem in the nursing profession until today. I have interviewed many nurses about gratitude, but none of them even mentioned this. Is there anything non-nurses might be able to do to help? Thanks!

October 9, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDawn