The Bo Jackson phenomena of nursing


Do “new nurses” scare you, too?

Lately I find myself becoming quite the cynic. I’m not a cynical nurse, I’m just discovering things throughout my ‘world’ that are cause for cynicism. Well, not everything in my world. Mostly the new nurses.

Now remember, I haven’t even been a nurse a decade yet! And here I am remembering the “good old days” of nursing. Scary. I know.

I guess what gets under my skin is I’m finding more and more ‘newer’ nurses who think they know everything. OR they think they’ve experienced everything simply because they’ve been a nurse ‘long enough’, to see the ‘same thing’ more than once. Complacency can infect all of us at one time or another. We get so comfortable with repetition that we find safety in it, and then we find braggadocio. I’ve been doing this for a mere seven years, and to this very day, I still learn something new, or appreciate a new concept every day.

I cannot shake the feeling that the ‘newer’ nurses scare me just a little. This hollow, yet inflated, ego is going to get them in trouble. So much trouble that I often wonder if their patients will suffer.

It was handed down to me in a very profound way that it’s our job, as nurses, to expect the unexpected. To think in terms of the ‘worst case scenario’. To prepare for the worst, but expect the best. To always have our ‘game’ face on, and to always play our ‘A’ game. I just don’t see that with these ‘newer’ nurses. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’ve seen plenty of awe-inspiring new nurses, that can and have put me and other experienced nurses to shame. I am humbled by their skills, I really am. But, I can’t remember the last time I felt humbled by a new nurse.

I’m not just talking about whom I’ve worked with shoulder-to-shoulder. I’m talking all facets of interaction (in-person & on-line). So it’s not just my small circle of the world.

Maybe I need a breather?

Maybe I need a change of scenery?

Maybe it’s not me at all?

I don’t know. What I do know is that it’s my responsibility to myself and my profession to continually challenge this new attitude. I’m not saying we need to ‘put’ anyone ‘in there place’, but we definitely need to educate and enlighten those that need it.

Am I alone on this, or have others come across this ‘Bo Jackson’ phenomena of ‘knowing everything’?

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

This was a post over at Scrubs. I was trying to figure out why I have come across so many new nurses who have this trait.

Do “new nurses” scare you, too? | Scrubs – The Leading Lifestyle Nursing Magazine Featuring Inspirational and Informational Nursing Articles


5 thoughts on “The Bo Jackson phenomena of nursing

  1. Most new nurses I went to school with (myself included) had many days at their first job that they went home in tears because of the stress. I don’t know who these cocky new nurses are. Sure, there are some I suppose but it’s certainly not the norm in my experience.

  2. I’ve been a nurse 9 years. All of which are in ICU so i was a new nurse in the ICU. I too however seem to be feeling this at times recently. My favorite line I’ve heard recently “I’m booksmart”. What does that mean??????? You can get some A’s in classes so that entitles you “being the best nurse”? Its rather funny actually. I am a firm believer in what your post says…..I’ve done a lot but am open to new ideas and I generally learn something new every week. That being said I’ve pretty much had it with the bedside and am in the process of applying to CRNA school. Nursing has been good to me but I’m tired of the politics, the lack of administration having a backbone and supporting nurses but quick to blame nurses. The families seem to have gotten less respectful also.
    Sorry to stray from your main comment. Overall I think new nurses are who they really want to be. The best nurses understand they don’t know everything, they just know what to do.

    1. I just hope that this self-entitlement doesn’t’ come at a cost to their patients. Good luck with CRNA school!

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