That particular question came from the comments on the post before last, and it's a hell of a poser. Why can't we, in the immortal words of R. King, all just get along?
Ego. Fear. Exhaustion. Territorialness (well, it's a word *now*). Bad examples set by other people.
I have heard, oh my friends, horror stories from residents and nurses alike about how they're treated by each other. I read once, on another blog, of how an older nurse told the new nurses in her charge to treat residents badly so they'd know their place. I once witnessed an attending telling a resident that nurses tended to get hysterical over nothing. That was the same guy who swept an entire counter full of charts off into the face of a charge nurse, so consider the source--but it goes to show you that there are bad, bad examples on both sides.
There's also the issue of turfing, or of being territorial. We all want what's best for the people in our care, and sometimes we disagree on how to accomplish what's best for those people. If two people have equally compelling arguments on two sides of an issue, and they're both convinced they're right, you tend to get discord. Sometimes it's hard to admit that, even though you have a good plan, somebody else might have a *better* one. We tend to fall a little in love with both our patients and our treatment ideas; getting over that posessiveness can be difficult. So we fight.
And exhaustion. Imagine, if you're a new nurse, doing everything you're doing now, but with increased power and no sleep for the last 48 hours. (Yeah, yeah, I know there are work-week limits now, but they're honored more in the breach.) Imagine that everything that you do will be gone over with a fine-toothed comb by people whose job it is to teach you hard lessons quickly and sharply. Imagine that, if you screw up, it could easily kill somebody--and you feel like there's nobody checking your work.
Contrariwise, residents, imagine being a new nurse: you're dropped onto the floor after a couple of years of school and told--and it's really true--that you are ultimately responsible for every single thing that happens to your patient. Doc writes a bad order? Pharmacy doesn't catch it? Charge nurse and second nurse go ahead and sign it off, and you give that drug or perform that treatment and it hurts that patient? That is, ultimately, the nurse's responsibility. You're also expected to supervise other people, play peacemaker with family members, coordinate getting the person to radiology/ultrasound/CT/whatever, and still find time to make sure they're not lying in their own shit.
Ego and fear go hand in hand. Everybody's afraid of screwing up and looking stupid. Everybody's afraid of losing some perceived power they have in any situation. And that tends to make people jerky at best and assholish at worst.
The thing is, though, that doctors and nurses have the same feelings and the same reactions to situations. We all get frustrated, we all remind ourselves that you can't medicate crazy, and sometimes we all just need a cup of caffeine and a shower.
My advice? If you want to work with people who aren't jerks, find a facility that fosters respect among colleagues. If you're unlucky enough to have an attending who shoves charts off of counters and yells at his residents and nurses in common areas, try to be the opposite of that person. Likewise, if you're a new nurse with a preceptor or mentor who views residents and interns with disdain, ask for another preceptor or find another person to hang out with.
Most of all, when you get angry or frustrated, try to remember that the other person is likely just as angry, frustrated, and frightened as you are. If you yell, apologize. If you break down in tears of frustration, that's okay. If you need to, you can take a deep breath, give the issue a rest for two minutes, and return to it in a calmer state of mind.
All of us are in the same boat. Rather than smacking each other with the oars, we ought to dig in and start rowing. Forgiveness, a sense of humor, and keeping hold of your self-respect helps a lot.