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Colorado State Flag
Monday, May 25, 2020  

What Do Nurses Eat?Published 1/10/2005

It’s that time of year again and we are seeing the influx of new grads into the market. There are two times a year when the nursing profession is hit with a boost of new blood each May and December at graduation time. Now is probably the best time ever to be a new Nurse in terms of job selection. The market is spread thin and vacancies are high. A new nurse can pick and choose from any area they wish to enter. There are many enticements and benefits being offered. They are interviewed and then persuaded to join the team. When they choose and are fed to the veteran nurses the real education begins.

There are many areas available hospital, nursing home, hospice, and home health to name a few. You can break it down even further if you go into the hospital there are ICU, CCU, ER, med-surg and OB/newborn. You can ask a floor nurse and they say, "I don’t know why anyone would work critical care." You can talk to a CCU nurse and they will say, "I can’t believe anybody wants to work on the floor." If you ask ER nurses they would ask, "Why would anyone work anywhere else?" The fact is that nurses are needed in every field. Finding your niche in life is the grand idea. The problem is that wherever they go they may run into veteran nurses that are unwilling or unable to give them the time and patience needed to get them started on the right track. I know most of you have heard the old saying, "Nurses eat their young." I believe this phenomenon is a result of the constant stress, strain and bustle of performing daily nursing care.

When the new grads enter their respective fields they are given an orientation period. This can vary usually from 8-12 weeks depending on facility. The new grads soon find out that while nursing school was very demanding it was not exactly an exact replica of working conditions. Things start moving and they don’t slow down in the real world. You have to quickly develop the skills to time manage, multi-task, and hold your bladder. During orientation you should be able to ask your preceptor any question and get help with any problem you have. You should definitely ask about anything you don’t know or are not sure about, rather than risk making a mistake. I think part of the problem with nursing orientation is that veteran nurses already have a system. Performing the tasks they perform in a manner that serves them well. Letting another person come in and take over is very hard to do. We may not do things the only way they can be done but most of us feel we do things the best way they can be done. I believe that control is a large part of the nursing process as pertains to a nurse’s performance. The autonomy we enjoy is from doing the things that have to be done in the way that most pleases us.

Veterans try to remember the time when you were the new grad. Think back about your preceptor. Did you have a kind, caring, enthusiastic preceptor? Do you look back fondly on that time? Were you one of those that in your time had the veteran that allowed only one way (their way) to perform a task? Did they stand over you making you nervous? Were they domineering and frightening? Did they know so much more about all that was going on around you? These are some of the feelings that new grads have. They want to perform well and want to do the right thing and follow all procedures and policy, but nerves can be difficult to overcome. Veterans find that new grad that you were and bring them to the surface to nurture our new peers into the fold.

Graduates the time to act is now! You worked hard and under diverse conditions to become the person you are today. When you pass the Board exam for licensure, you have earned the right to be where you are. Take a deep breath and come out swinging. You can do it!

In my opinion we do not eat our young. We can be less than receptive. Nurses must be flexible and expedient. We have very little tolerance for wasted motion or incongruent patterns. In short we wound our young! Hopefully though, not terminally.

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