A sad myth: nurses eat their young


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There is a “myth” I think it is way past time to dispel…and if there’s any truth to it, I want us all to work for a solution.

It is a quotation about nurses that is so sad, I refuse to repeat it when I’m giving presentations to my nursing colleagues. I fear that by repeating it, I too am perpetuating its use.

So I will state it once now, praying that this is the last time that I, or any other nurse, ever has to hear it.

The despicable phrase is: “Nurses eat their young.”

Because I speak full time to nurses and am an expert on nurse recruitment and retention, I get to talk to thousands of nurse a year. Every now and then someone repeats this horrible phrase. Too often it is a new grad or first year nurse. I was shocked to learn that 20% of first year nurses quit in this country! Our nation is expected to be half a million nurses short within the next ten years.

We need to mentor our new nurses.

I believe strongly (can you tell?) that we need to care for each other, build each other up, help each other out. Nurses can do a lot to end this shortage by creating an environment where others want to work.

We need to “love our young.”

LeAnn Thieman
LeAnn Thieman, LPN, CSP, CPAE, is a nationally acclaimed professional speaker, author and nurse, and the coauthor of Chicken Soup for the Nurse’s Soul and Chicken Soup for the Nurse’s Soul, Second Dose. She is an expert in nurse recruitment and retention.

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