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Journal of Nursing

Why Do Nurses Eat Their Young?

Taylor Caron, Senior Nursing Student [email protected]


Have you ever been in a situation where you just want to scream and run out of the room but could not because that would be considered unprofessional? As a senior nursing student my answer to this question is yes! At one point or another most nursing students are made to feel this way during clinical rotations. There is no worse feeling then stepping onto a unit and not being welcomed by anyone. We understand that the nurses are up to their eyeballs in work and having a student work with them that day may not be ideal, but it needs to be done. Instead of stressing about the unwanted student and making our lives miserable, give us task that can help lighten your workload. We enjoy new learning experiences and are up to do anything nursing related! We are there to learn so we can one day work equally beside you, so work smart and delegate.

The real question is, why is this happening? At some point every registered nurse was in the shoes I am now. Most experienced some form of bullying while doing clinical rotations. Rationally, it would make sense that if they experienced this humiliation they would not cause it for others in the future. Unfortunately rationality does not always win and we are left with irrational and immature behaviors. It happened to them, so it must happen to all. They eat their young.

The new nurses entering the work force are the simple fix to this issue. As we start to work on units and receive our first nursing students, we need to remember how we felt back in school. Even if we are up to our eyeballs in work, we need to be compassionate and treat that student like a human being. This is the only way the vicious cycle will stop. Work smart, delegate and do not eat the young.

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