Queen Bee Syndrome: Hazing Issues Among Nurses

Kind and caring have often been considered synonymous with Nursing. When people mention “nurses”, they are often envisioned as soft spoken, kind-looking people in white who are capable of doing good to others. There are people outside the profession who have always thought about how it must be working with these kind-hearted angels, however, what they do not know is that certain darkness and not-so-good things actually happen within the four walls of the hospital.

You know that feeling you get upon passing the Nurse Licensure Exam and finally attaching an RN to your name after years of hard work and burning candles? Ecstatic, right? It makes you feel that all the hardships that you experienced in nursing school and in reviewing for the board are worth it. Finally, you get to reach your dream of becoming a Registered Nurse.

Nurse Bullyingnurse bullying

After receiving their first ever license card, the first thing newly Registered Nurses do is look for a job and work in a health care facility as soon as possible. They get too excited to finally start their nursing careers that some don’t come prepared with all the horrors being a newbie in the area bring.

In every health care facility, there will always be that one person who acts like the “good nurse” in front of co-workers, physicians and higher authority, but when it comes to newbies, she turns into a queen bee and makes their lives and first months in the hospital a living hell. This issue is often termed as “eating the young” or the new members of the health care team. It may be a form of harassment, bullying, hazing and many other things.

This abusive treatment new nurses receive from the queen bee may range from the simplest and slightest to the most harsh. For some, it may seem new, but this issue has been present for years in the nursing profession already. Most nurses get to experience this from their first few months in the clinical area. As some get this treatment, they do it to another, and then to another, from generation to generation. It has turned into a cycle.

The Nursing Profession’s Dirty Little Secret

Studies show that 60% of new nurses leave their first position within six months because of this treatment. Some may experience a form of verbal abuse or harsh treatment from a colleague in their early days in the profession. When you become a target of nurse bullying, you find it difficult to become an effective nurse.

It may seem like a dirty little secret of the nursing profession, but this issue needs to be publicly acknowledged. Not only does it damage the image of nurses, but it also brings about a lot of complications in the work area. It is seen as something that brings nurses down.

New nurses face a lot of difficulties as they start with their nursing careers. In these first few months, a number of adjustments must be made on their part. They try to blend in and keep up with the demands professional nursing brings and since they are new to the profession, they often lack self-confidence in their nursing abilities. However, this must not stop them since they must still learn to deal with ill patients and their families, and life and death issues, and all other nursing tasks and work to be done within the 8-hour time frame.

Some nurses think that by bullying the ones, they train them to get tougher and stronger. However, that is not what new nurses think. In a time where new nurses are struggling to keep pace with their environment, they must be welcomed with support and with open arms. Instead of verbally abusing them, it is best that nurses treat each other with respect and must work as a team. With these, it will not only benefit new nurses, but patients as well as you, together with your colleagues work hand in hand in the aim of providing quality care to those in need.



Liane Clores, RN MAN

Currently an Intensive Care Unit nurse, pursuing a degree in Master of Arts in Nursing Major in Nursing Service Administration. Has been a contributor of Student Nurses Quarterly, Vox Populi, The Hillside Echo and the Voice of Nightingale publications. Other experience include: Medical-Surgical, Pediatric, Obstetric, Emergency and Recovery Room Nursing.

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