top of page

Nurses Eat Their Young

We’ve all heard the term: “nurses eat their young”. And some of us have even had the displeasure of experiencing it first hand. If you don’t know what this means, you, my friend, are lucky.

This term describes when older nurses are unwelcoming to novel nurses. They may scoff when a novel nurse asks for help. Or they boast about how long they’ve been at a certain facility. Sometimes they won’t share supplies, explain procedures, or help.

We all know about the nursing shortage. So if we are so desperate for nurses. Why would we ever create a hostile, uninviting work environment for novel nurses?

This is a million dollar question. Some experienced nurses view this as a right of passage. But let’s call it what it is: bullying. Plain and simple. And nurses are quitting the field because of it.

I’m happy to say that non-traditional nursing roles don’t have the same, pervasive hazing tactics. In fact, I’ve found the field to be much more welcoming overall.

Early on, I had a rough experience with an experienced writer who chose to

bully me after I bought her poorly written course. Luckily, that was the only experience for me. I’ve written it off as a “one-time” issue.

So if you’ve struggled with hazing tactics from self-righteous nurses, there are other roles without their foreboding presence.

Let’s talk about some other options and the pitfalls to the “eat your young” mentality.

Non-traditional Nursing Roles

Non-traditional nursing roles aren’t as cut-throat as the bedside. I’m not quite sure why being the more experienced nurse means you get to be mean to novel nurses. But it doesn’t happen in other areas. Not all niches are the same, and not all nurses are created equal.

Some alternatives to staying at the bedside with rude nurses are:

  • Writing

  • Career coaching

  • Teaching

  • Case management

  • School nursing

Remember: your nursing license doesn’t tether you to the bedside. It lets you practice as a nurse anywhere.


If you’re getting bullied, you don’t have to stay. There isn’t a “right of passage” into being a nurse. You passed the accrediting exam and went to school. That was your right of passage. Some random nurse on a clinic floor doesn’t get to dictate your clinical worth.

You can just leave, there’s nothing tethering you there. There are plenty of other jobs, traditional or non-traditional. Being bullied is not a part of being a nurse. We have enough hardship to deal with. We don’t need additional stress added to the mix.

You’re Valuable

Regardless of what some nurses say, you are an incredibly valuable nurse. And the entire nursing community is lucky to have you. When the nursing infrastructure is this fragile, every single nurse is valued.

This holds true for novel nurses that may not have seen every procedure before. So remember: it’s okay not to know everything. Nursing is a lifelong

learning profession. You may not know the name of every single medication. And you may not understand the intricacies of every machine on the unit. And that’s okay. You’re here, you’re lovely, and that’s enough. Don’t let anyone steal your sunshine.

Use Common Sense

Some nurses will be rude to the point of ruining another nurse’s productivity. This becomes hazardous when a nurse is looking for a lift and can’t find one. Or they have a question on medication use and no one will answer. Or no one will share supplies.

If you feel like your license is in danger, you need to quit. You have no other option. Your license is your livelihood. If you lose it, you’ve worked this hard for nothing.


Some nurses are just bitter. That’s all there is to it. Don’t let any nurse, experience or novel, make you feel like you don’t belong. Let’s start calling “nurses eat their young” by its true name: unrelenting bullying.

It’s a good thing you have options. As a healthcare worker, you’re well-educated and experienced. You don’t have to remain in a job where you’re underappreciated and bullied.

If you're ready to leave, I can help.

22 views1 comment

Recent Posts

See All

1 comentário

Avaliado com 0 de 5 estrelas.
Ainda sem avaliações

Adicione uma avaliação
23 de mar.
Avaliado com 5 de 5 estrelas.

Great presentation! Short and sweet !

bottom of page