The new nurse bully: Older nurses not always the culprits

Although research shows that new nurses tend to be victims of bullying by their older counterparts, a new blog post on nurse bullying says that sometimes the reverse is true.

Nursing profession expert Renee Thompson contends in the second installment of a series that she often receives messages from older nurses who say they are being bullied by newer, younger nurses.

Thompson, an expert in professional development, launched her blog in early November with American Sentinel University in Aurora, Colorado. She plans to write two blog posts per month to address a problem so severe that about 60 percent of new nurses quit their first job within six months, according to a university announcement. The bullying trend, perhaps best summarized by the phrase "nurses eat their young" coined in 1986, can often threaten patient safety,

In her latest blog post, Thompson says that older nurses who bullied younger nurses typically suffer from low self esteem. But that is not the case for younger nurse bullies, she says. Rather, they suffer from high self-esteem, a phenomenon among millennials who were raised by parents who praised them constantly and now have entered the workforce thinking they are better than others.

To end this behavior, she called on hospital leaders to create work environments that allow for experienced nurses to mentor newer ones--and vice versa--and put an end to all disruptive, unprofessional behavior. 

"Nurses can be so kind and compassionate to their patients yet they can be horrific to each other," Thompson writes in the post. "We each have an ethical responsibility to address bullying behavior independent of age, gender, years of experience or position."

To learn more:
- read the blog post
- see the announcement

Related Articles:
Nurses take aim at workplace bullying
Nurses say peer bullying is rampant--and patients pay the price
Hospital bullies pose a danger to patient safety
Nurse self-care: Solution to peer bullying?