If you are familiar with the field of nursing, then you are probably familiar with the saying "Nurses eat their young", but I think that in such a short time of being a full fledged nurse, I've experienced something worse -- prideful, condescending nurses. Nurses eating their young speaks to the tendency of seasoned nurses being extremely impatient with new nurses and just down-right awful to them. This makes for a very stressful entry into the nursing field. Thankfully, I haven't experienced this because I entered the nursing field at a facility I was already working at as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA). What I have heard and observed, however, is Registered Nurses (RNs) who talk down to Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) and CNAs. Not only is this a disgusting quality to have, but I tend to get offended, and stick up for my CNAs, because I've been in their shoes.
I HATE when I hear an RN say, "You're an LPN, you don't tell me what to do!" in response to an LPN advocating for her own patients. I hate when I hear an RN say, "You're a CNA. Who are you? Remember your job description". No matter the situation, NO ONE has the right to speak to another in such a manner. The fact is, on every level of the nursing ladder, we have a right to advocate for our patients. On top of that, if you are rude to your fellow nurses and aids, you will get ZERO help. When you need extra hands, you will find none. When you need extra eyes, you will find none. In fact, your job gets 1000X harder when you are rude to your fellow nurses.
Last week, I decided enough was enough, and even as a new nurse, I stood up to my RN supervisor who made the statements mentioned above. As I advocated for my LPN co-workers, and my CNA co-workers, my supervisor told me to shut up and not to talk to her because she is the supervisor. At that point I added A LOT of bass to my voice and told her about herself. I could have been written up, but I didn't care, because here was an RN talking to everyone, including me (an RN) as if she was better than us all. This nurse was not at all solving the problem she aimed to solve in the beginning, but instead made the problem larger on all fronts, thus jeopardizing the safety of our residents.
I try to look at situations like these, and grab lessons that I can keep with me and/or share with others. After the aforementioned incident, I kept thinking of the advice my professors constantly gave "YOU decide what kind of nurse YOU will be." They said this because there are a lot of nurses who cut corners in the wrong ways, and they didn't want us to get caught up in the wrong things we may observe. As I consistently watch the behavior of this particular supervisor, I am determined not be a supervisor like her. Instead, I will be a better nurse, a better leader, and a better advocate, than the example she is providing me with.
You may not be a nurse, but you may have a leadership position in some area of your life. You may not be a nurse, but you may be an advocate in some way. Pay attention to what others have done before, to what others are doing around you now, and decide what YOU will stand for. Will you be a leader that inspires those you work with, or will you just be a manager of persons? Will you advocate for those who may not be able to fight for themselves, or will you allow others to continue to be oppressed?