I discussed a question (with one of my colleagues) posed by one of my readers about being forced into resignation from a job that she loved to avoid a wrongful termination due to trumped-up accusations. After a long discussion on the subject, she agreed to address this issue in a post. Below you will find one experienced nurse’s explanation of what she feels is wrong with the Nursing Profession and why building camaraderie is important.
We, as nurses, have failed to realize our own value. I am not sure if it is because we are a predominantly a female profession if it’s because, as females, we are new to the professional workforce, if it is because nurses often care about others more than their career, or if it is because of the tendency for women to be passive-aggressive in nature and that we throw each other under the proverbial “bus.”
You will never hear of these things happening to the doctor. Doctors stand together as a unifying force, even though their numbers are far smaller than that of nurses. That is why I think it is important to build nursing camaraderie and then take it one step further. Nurses as a profession are 2,737,400 (2012) strong. Without nurses, all patient facilities would be at a stand still. The doctor’s offices would close. No school can function without a school nurse. Some companies have nurses on staff, and all insurance companies rely on nurses every day. But, we as nurses often forget that we are a profession and that we stand stronger in numbers than almost any other profession.
When we consider how physicians are treated with a collective number of around 661,400 (2008); It is not their education or numbers that make physicians a force to be reckoned with. It is only that they demand the treatment they receive; and, as a whole, will not tolerate anything different. On the other hand, nurses see opportunity in their co-worker’s failure, and return is treated the same. How many times have you heard a fellow nurse make a derogatory remark and truly be happy at another nurse’s misfortune because they didn’t like the other nurse? The message that nurses inadvertently send to nursing management is that the nurses will tolerate that behavior and even encourage it because they judge fellow nurses on their social life, clothes, or any other issue that is not directly related to the nursing profession. We are all guilty of this to some extent, and we are treated the way we deserve. Not literally but metaphorically.
When those in the nursing profession realize as a whole that we ARE a profession and deserve to be treated as such… strike that…. DEMAND that we be treated as such; our work environment will dramatically change. But it takes all nurses or at least the majority to behave like a profession and not behave like high school cheerleaders. It is a tough pill to swallow, but we will get what we expect, and we are judged by management according to our actions. It is hard as a nurse to stand up to management. Yes, we will have to lose our jobs on principle. We have to encourage other nurses to do the same and shatter that glass ceiling that continually holds nurses back.
Many nurses are so excited to become a manager to get off the floor that they are willing to throw the nurses they manage under the proverbial “bus” to stay off the floor. Many Unit managers enjoy having no patient load… In return, they will appease upper management and throw their nurses under the proverbial “bus” to not have to take a patient load themselves. Then the floor nurse, either hoping for a promotion or just because they don’t like that “Nurse Mary Jane” is skinny… happily throw fellow nurses under the proverbial “bus.” As long as this behavior happens, we can’t quite blame the top executives sitting in the corner office; can we? Change starts from within. Each nurse is responsible for how ALL nurses are treated. Once we all stand strong and demand a good work environment, sheer numbers will guarantee our true success in being seen as a professional, not a glorified waitress, housekeeper, and pill pusher.
The opinion on camaraderie voiced above is a powerful one. What are your thoughts? Do you think that the back-stabbing, ‘eating-our-young’ attitudes in nursing can be changed? Are you willing to leave a job based on principle? Are you willing to take the next step past simple camaraderie? Do you agree with the author above? Disagree? Share your thoughts below.