Mental Health Nurse has four Stomachs

by Angela Brooks

Mental Health Nurse becomes a herbivores and chews up her team mates


The nurse arrives on the unit with full gear ready to fire on the first co worker that gets in her way. She is armed wih fresh ink pens, a sharp eye, eye brows scowling, slobbering at the mouth to find the first error to start her attack. She is a herbivore.

Herbivores which means they do not eat meat, only plants, grass and cereal. They are ruminant animals which means they have more than one stomach. Cows have a four part stomach, each part used for a different process.They chew a cud 4 times before swallowing.

Why am I telling you about a herbivores?

Some nurse become them, they are the negative energy that walks in the unit and when they find a co-workers errors they take a bite, chew on it, roll it around in their mouth and swallow until they find a little more they can chew on and they puke it up and start over.

The common phrases you learn in nursing are "nurses eat their young"  and "only the strong will survive".

 Nurses eat their young. The expression is standard lore among nurses, and it means bullying, harassment, whatever you want to call it. It’s that harsh, sometimes abusive treatment of new nurses that is entrenched on some hospital floors and schools of nursing.
It’s the dirty little secret of nursing, and it needs to be publicly acknowledged, and just as publicly discussed, because it’s keeping  us down.

 Bur the truth is, nurses are hurting each other.  Stories from the ‘front line’ cannot be ignored. These stories are the voices of nurses telling the world about their experiences. In addition, research shows that 60% of newly registered nurses leave their first position
within six months because of some form of abuse from a co-worker. The first step to healing our relationships is the most difficult: to recognize and openly discuss the problem.Only by understanding the origin and reasons for our behaviors can we even begin to create the healing environment that is so desperately needed in nursing- for ourselves, as well as our patients.

Candise once a new nurse at her job shares her story:

When I was new to the facility where I am currently working; I was assigned to a preceptor/ mentor that "had  more seniority than anyone else in the hospital." (Sigh and eyeroll). But I was new so I simply smiled politely  and nodded as she went on random rants about this and  that. One day a physician wrote admission orders on a new patient, as I transcribed them  independently, because she had more important things to take care of, I ran across an order I couldn't quite make out. So I pleasantly trot over to the unit where my preceptor is  taking care of her important business (gossiping in the office with social workers) and ask her "do  you think  this says Invega 4 or 6 mg?" To which she replied, "How should I know?" (Deep breath and smile) "Well, I thought since you work with these physicians everyday I thought you might be more familiar with their handwritting." Her reply, (hands on hips), "Well, I guess  you thought wrong. These doctors get paid way more  money than me so I suggest you figure  it yourself or call the doctor yourself!" My reply "Thank you very much;  i'll see what i can do." (Thinking to self well i hope i can figure out what this signature at the bottom of the orders represents so that I can call the right doctor to clarify this order.) She retired about a month  after i came out
of orientation.

Angela is a nurse that has worked for 21 years in the same state funded psychiatric hospital assisting some clients that others might refuse to treat. She works on the psychiatric ward.

She also runs her own company on the side and supports other nurses in how to bring passion into their role at work. Out of the box remedies for speaking to people and more.

Angela's blogtalk radio show is laser sharp for today's world! Learn more about Mental Happiness Support Tools here

* Please note: I am not here to CURE, DIANOSE, Treat or suggest replacements for what a doctor prescribes – I am sharing my nursing adventures with you.

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Angela Brooks is a retired nurse after 25 years in mental health. She used her lunch breaks to build her business part time on the night shift. Her car became a mobile university as she listened to business training, coaching calls on CD and phone webinars. She blogged while she was at her sons' baseball practices.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 Carla J Gardiner August 23, 2010 at 9:29 pm

Oh my goodness, Angela. 


I am still laughing at your newsletter, "the belly laugh". You see, my friends love to get me laughing because once I start…I can not stop. It must be the pent up stress and the laughter is a release. Not only does my belly roll, I start crying, then I snort and then I get a side ache!



It seems I would fit right in with your group, not sure if it would be the client side or the nurse side:) At any rate, this is such a great article. Anyone who has the chance to work with you Angela is receiving such a gift.



From your loving tender side to your firm leader/teacher side, they will greatly benefit from your years of on the job experience and passion for your work.



Thank you for sharing and bringing a smile to my face. Hope I sleep as good tonight:)



Carla J Gardiner

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