Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Eating our young?

There's an expression about the way we older health professionals treat young people in the workplace - it is said that "we eat our young". For example, McKenna et al (2003) surveyed new graduate nurses in New Zealand and found that most of them had experienced some sort of bullying or horizontal violence. This results in absentisim, sickness and stress, and ultimately nurses leave the profession.

Supporting , not eating
The 'Young Professionals in Aged Care' meeting I went to the other day only emphasised the importance of supporting and nuturing that young people need in the healthcare workplace. Indeed, it is becoming increasingly obvious as I spend more and more time at the coalface as opposed to the academic environment, that the way we support staff, whatever age they are, is one of the biggest issues we face in healthcare.

Networking as a startegy
Networking is a key strategy for workplace support. It's hardly rocket science, and it is certainly not new. Neverthless it is worth emphasising, especially to young people who may not realise its potential.

I am a great enthausiast of online networking because it takes you so much further than face-to-face networking does. Networking provides opportunities for mentoring, connecting, sharing knowledge and resources.

Key to building a network
I would say that the key to developing an effective online network is taking the time to get 'out' and meet people using a variety of online communication tools. Help people and share your knowledge and resources - like 'pay it forward' - people will do the same back to you.

Here is the presentation I gave about how to network using the web last Friday. What would be your advice for building a network? What benefits have you seen in online networking?


McKenna, B., Smith, N., Poole, S., & Coverdale, J. (2003). Horizontal violence: experiences of Registered Nurses in their first year of practice. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 42 (1), 90-96.

Image: 'Lion (Panthera leo)' Arno & Louise


Pam said...

This post reminded me of an occurance very early into my nursing career. My first ward a surgical ward had two ward sisters the usual senior and junior sister. The junior sister was obnoxious to say the least put i`ve pretty much always just been one to keep myu head down and get on with it and didn`t really think about how she was behaving until my fellow student left 3 wks into her placement. The other staff constantly began to say to me do you not think she is speaking to you terribly and its awful that she made your colleague leave and they went to the senior sister and complained. All three of us senior sister, junior sister and me had to go into the sisters office and i sat dumbfounded when the senior sister turned on the junior one saying as she flung her arm in my direction, "This poor student is terrified of you what do you have to say about that?" There was then the usual excuse of misinterpreting language used blah, blah but i just couldn`t wait to get out of that office! it did give me the experience very early on into my career about challenging senior staffs behaviour but it is an experience I will never forget.

Sarah Stewart said...

Like you, I can relate some terrible stories from the past - I can also tell you of some horrible stuff that goes on now!

We have to nurture our young folk, or we're never going to be able to retire in 10-15 years time!