As an ethical issue in nursing, we all know nurses who think being mean to newer nurses is a “right of passage.” They appear to take pride in demoralizing the “newbies” and think they are toughening them up to make them good nurses. They talk about how they were tortured as new nursing professionals and step into the role of tormentor once they establish themselves as an experienced, competent nurse with presumed authority. What they don’t realize (or maybe they do but choose to continue behaving badly) is that studies show that being “hard” on someone when they are in the learning phase of their nursing job doesn’t make them strong but actually does the opposite, being hard makes the learner weak. A Classic Example Katie, a new nurse, works on a medical surgical unit with a nurse patient ratio of 5:1. Today is her first day off of orientation. Katie is given the following assignment: two patients in isolation, one patient going through the DTs, one in 4-point leathers, and one with the most difficult family members who have already threatened to sue the hospital and every doctor and nurse in the building.
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