On episode 96 of The Nurse Keith Show, I reflect on a blog post published on Digital Doorway on February 20th, 2017. In that post, I reflected on how the law of the jungle often seems to be the rule of the day in nursing and healthcare. Do we just throw our young and vulnerable novice nurses to the lions?
Nursing has a hierarchy of power and experience just like any other profession; in fact, it also has a hierarchy that sometimes feels akin to the laws of survival on the savanna or in the jungle.
Have you ever observed that the less experienced and more vulnerable nurses frequently get left on the outside, often falling prey to bullies and “predators”? This is the herd mentality at its worst, and many novice nurses are taken down by bullies and power-hungry colleagues who eat them alive when they’re demonstrating the slightest weakness.
In order to counteract a situation that lends itself to the burnout and attrition of newer nurses (as well as those seasoned nurses who are for some reason vulnerable to bullies), the circle of safety needs to extend its protection to everyone. Rather than leaving more vulnerable colleagues to be picked off the edge by predators and bullies, the circle closes around those who need its reassuring sanctuary, whether they be older, younger, or somewhere in between.
To learn more about how I addressed this phenomenon, check out the original blog post and listen to the podcast to hear me riff on this subject that I’ve been thinking about for quite some time. As I concluded in that post:
This isn’t rocket science, but we nurses need to learn the skills that will help us to bully-proof ourselves, speak up in the face of bullying, end nurse predation, and enclose our colleagues in a circle of safety that keeps the lions on the outside and the vulnerable protected from harm.
We can make different choices, and it’s our daily decision regarding which path we will take. I implore you to extend the circle of safety, protect the vulnerable, and bring a sense of community and symbiotic togetherness to your corner of the nursing world.
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Keith Carlson, RN, BSN, NC-BC, is the Board Certified Nurse Coach behind NurseKeith.com and the well-known blog, Digital Doorway.
Keith is co-host of RNFMRadio.com, a wildly popular nursing podcast; he also hosts The Nurse Keith Show, his own podcast focused on career advice and inspiration for nurses. Keith was previously the resident nursing career expert at Nurse.com.
A widely published nurse writer, Keith is the author of “Savvy Networking For Nurses: Getting Connected and Staying Connected in the 21st Century.” He has also contributed chapters to a number of books related to the nursing profession, and has written for Nurse.org, Nurse.com, MultiViews News Service, LPNtoBSNOnline, StaffGarden, Working Nurse Magazine, and other online platforms.
Mr. Carlson brings a plethora of experience as a nurse thought leader, online nurse personality, holistic career coach, writer, and well-known successful nurse entrepreneur.