Nurses being victims of workplace bullys.

  1. I am increasingly amazed at how Nurses let themselves be victims of workplace bullys and let themselves be harassed and treated disrespectfully. I would like to find out the possible causes of this, so here is a poll...please participate. Ad other possible causes if you like. Please participate so we can begin to find sollutions to end this vicious cycle in our profession. Thanks.
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  2. Poll: Why do Nurses let themselves be victims of bullys?

    • Because Nurses, in general, are co-dependent.

      18.42% 7
    • Nurses, in general, want to be liked by everyone.

      28.95% 11
    • Nurses are, in general, uncomfortable with conflict and anger

      23.68% 9
    • Because Nurses, in general, lack assertiveness skills.

      26.32% 10
    • Because Nurses, in general, don't want to "rock the boat."

      39.47% 15
    • Because Nurses, in general, still buy into the Florence Nightengale mentality.

      18.42% 7
    • Nurses, in general would rather deny problems, not confront them.

      13.16% 5
    • Because Nurses, in general, want everybody to "get along."

      39.47% 15
    • Because Nurses, in general, are women who let themselves be "door mats."

      7.89% 3
    • In general, Nurses have low self-esteem.

      10.53% 4
    38 Votes / Multiple Choice
  3. 44 Comments

  4. by   teemarie
    Quote from HarryPotter
    I am increasingly amazed at how Nurses let themselves be victims of workplace bullys and let themselves be harassed and treated disrespectfully. I would like to find out the possible causes of this, so here is a poll...please participate. Ad other possible causes if you like. Please participate so we can begin to find sollutions to end this vicious cycle in our profession. Thanks.

    u know i am trying to figure out the same thing --u think its bc maybe there is some confusion-- compassion = let yourself be abused ???---on my private duty case there are 2 nurses that allow the pt to abuse them--ex: pt will ask for a neck massage --over and over-- until your hands fall off-- now, i do not play ---i'll give a massage, but i have my limits --but the other 2 nurses will do it over and over and then complain about it-- i ask myself why?
    do they not know how to set limits? on another issue i have had problems with a HHA that swears he's a nurse in disguise-
    he is also disrespectful to me-- to the point where i do not even talk to him unless it is absolutely necessary-- now, i dont know if its my fault or he's sick in the head--maybe i didnt set limits with him to begin with and now he thinks he can get away with stuff-- there is definitely many reasons why this occurs--

    on my part I think; 1: i didnt set limits with the HHA -- i was too friendly?-talking , laughing --joking--not appropriate for home setting --must be more assertive and professional! wow that hurt
    2: I try to avoid confrontations: something i must learn to handle
    3; Mom always said be a good little girl---haha
    if i come up with anything else i'll let u know
  5. by   HarryPotter
    TeeMarie: so much appreciate your reply and honesty. I am so glad there are others who are actually looking at this phenomenom and tryng to alter it by looking at themselves. Keep in touch. Check out my poll...please add your own comments so others can "get a grip." Harry.
  6. by   SmilingBluEyes
    I can't answer as I DO NOT Let myself be a victim of ANYONE. I am not co-dependent or fearful of people as a rule. I do stand up for myself in the face of a person attempting to bully me and am no one's doormat. Am I an anomaly in nursing or something? I can't imagine most of my coworkers taking crap from anyone, either. Maybe we are anomalies on my unit?
  7. by   teemarie
    Quote from SmilingBluEyes
    I can't answer as I DO NOT Let myself be a victim of ANYONE. I am not co-dependent or fearful of people as a rule. I do stand up for myself in the face of a person attempting to bully me and am no one's doormat. Am I an anomaly in nursing or something? I can't imagine most of my coworkers taking crap from anyone, either. Maybe we are anomalies on my unit?

    If u can't answer why bother to respond--hummmmmmmmmmmm
  8. by   UM Review RN
    I think nurses train themselves to be cooperative rather than confrontational. But more than that, I believe that there is a genuine victim mentality associated with the nursing profession that's been caused as a result of losing our autonomy.

    We can talk all we want about autonomy but in the employer/employee environment that most of us labor in, we have very little of it, and what we do have can be taken away on a whim.
  9. by   HarryPotter
    Angie...very interesting reply. I had never thought of that possibility. So, if our lack of autonomy plays part of the victim/bully behavior, are u saying that Nurses bully because they feel a sense of lack of power because of company practises and that nurses who are victims feel that way because of the same? So, do u think it just comes down to having power, wanting power and not having power??? If so, what can we do about it as Nurses.
  10. by   UM Review RN
    Quote from HarryPotter
    Angie...very interesting reply. I had never thought of that possibility. So, if our lack of autonomy plays part of the victim/bully behavior, are u saying that Nurses bully because they feel a sense of lack of power because of company practises and that nurses who are victims feel that way because of the same? So, do u think it just comes down to having power, wanting power and not having power??? If so, what can we do about it as Nurses.
    __________________
    The question was why do nurses let themselves be victims of bullys. The basis for my answer lies in the belief that at the root of nurse victimization is health care management paternalism.

    We all have felt the fear of losing our jobs, being blackballed, or being labelled a troublemaker if we speak up. We all have felt the squeeze between being ethically honorable for our patients and being a "team player." These are techniques management uses to divide, coerce and manipulate us.

    Nursing is no longer an autonomous practice because by definition, we work for someone. We have no realistic recourse to being employed by someone at some point in our career, whether it's to gain experience as a new grad or to learn a new area of nursing.

    Therefore, when management does things that are counterproductive to the well-being of the patient or heaven forbid, the well-being of the nurse, we are afraid to speak up. We become victims. They become bullies. This causes our self-worth to erode and makes a wound bed for the opportunistic backbiting, nurse-eating, and bullying behaviors that many of us have learned to put up with.
  11. by   saskrn
    I think it may be a combination of things - self esteem issues, respect issues, power trip/control issues...

    I think that nurses get bullied by so many different departments and disciplines, that it turns them one of two ways - either their self esteem gets weakened or they, in turn, become bullies themselves.
  12. by   Spidey's mom
    Deb answered because you asked a question about why nurses let themselves be bullied and since there was no option on your poll to say that some of us don't think "nurses" as a whole get bullied more than any other group, she answered why by relating how she won't allow herself to get bullied.

    I'm with Deb here. I don't allow myself to be bullied. And I don't see nurses as a group getting bullied. It is individual people who for whatever reason allow themselves to be bullied. Individual people in all kinds of jobs.

    So your poll is skewed.

    Why does anyone let themselves be bullied?

    steph
  13. by   HarryPotter
    Hi...very interesting. Angie, if what u say is true, ther are a lot of embittered nurses out there. In my experience with management, when bully/victim activity is going on the managers are not addressing the issue, nor are the bullys and victims. On the other hand, when I have worked with managers who do not allow victimization to go on, there has been none or if there is it is delt with immediately. Going further thinking about what u said, that would mean that managers and management who allow this kind of behavior would want it to continue to keep the "statis-quo" and their power trip going. Like goes to like, so then I guess that a person who is power hungry and a bully would only be comfortable working with like minded people. What do you think? And, what can we do about it?
  14. by   HarryPotter
    Stevie; Research has shown that the Healthcare Industry is the #1 place where you find workplace bullys. Education is the second. Its interesting to me that in both these fields, people who get into them are people who have an interest in helping someone.
  15. by   UM Review RN
    Quote from HarryPotter
    Hi...very interesting. Angie, if what u say is true, ther are a lot of embittered nurses out there. In my experience with management, when bully/victim activity is going on the managers are not addressing the issue, nor are the bullys and victims. On the other hand, when I have worked with managers who do not allow victimization to go on, there has been none or if there is it is delt with immediately. Going further thinking about what u said, that would mean that managers and management who allow this kind of behavior would want it to continue to keep the "statis-quo" and their power trip going. Like goes to like, so then I guess that a person who is power hungry and a bully would only be comfortable working with like minded people. What do you think? And, what can we do about it?
    I think that a good manager simply won't allow bullying and those nurses will either get with the culture or they'll be reassigned.

    The rest of us need to raise our awareness of what is perceived as bullying behaviors, and resist the temptation to bully others or to be bullied.

    I've met some nurses who I feel are bullies, but who themselves genuinely feel their rude, aggressive, controlling behaviors over their "too-passive" coworkers (this is their opinion, not mine) are what make them "good" nurses.

    With experience, we learn to define our boundaries about what is and is not acceptable. Just like in other areas of our lives, we see others engage in successful behaviors and emulate them. As we teach ourselves to prevent treatment that demeans or denigrates us, we teach others to promote their own dignity and self-worth.

    Where the media has failed us, the Internet has been a great boon in sharing ideas and raising awareness about many nursing issues. I believe that as Internet access becomes more common, there will be more changes coming for nurses everywhere.

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