Behavior That Just Shouldn't Fly

by jadelpn 6,060 Views | 13 Comments Guide

We can never assume a co-worker's intent. Someone "just joking" or "they didn't MEAN anything by it" is rarely a good excuse. The issue can be that information that is heard can be subjective. So it is really a double edged sword. It is hard to look at things objectively when you are a target. It takes a strong leader with zero tolerance to support a nurse's stance that they are the target of bad behavior.

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    Behavior That Just Shouldn't Fly

    There's something to be said about being professional. That one's conduct as a nurse is appropriate. There is a tremendous amount of undue stress and drama when a co-worker is less than stellar in action or words.

    To learn and apply what to do in these situations is difficult. More often than not, an earnest nurse with good intentions will transfer, or sever employment all together in response to being a target of a co-workers bad behavior.

    The Joint Commission has some strong language regarding conduct. This is not limited to nurses.

    http://www.jointcommission.org/assets/1/18/SEA_40.pdf

    So the question becomes, what to do? Is there really a way where we can all just get along?

    We can never assume a co-worker's intent. Someone "just joking" or "they didn't MEAN anything by it" is rarely a good excuse. The issue can be that information that is heard can be subjective. So it is really a double edged sword. It is hard to look at things objectively when you are a target. It takes a strong leader with zero tolerance to support a nurse's stance that they are the target of bad behavior.

    The Joint Commission's stance is that they are wanting to see Code of Conduct policy. Does your facility have one of these? Does your HR department support claims of unprofessional conduct?

    There are a few other avenues to take if you are the target of bad behavior of co-wokers. Most parent companies have ethical hotlines that one can call or report online if your leader or HR doesn't respond appropriately to complaints of poor conduct.

    Unfortunetely, we lose good nurses every day due to unsavory work conditions that can be controlled, but are not. If you are one of those nurses, make sure that in your exit interview that you are clear as to why you are leaving. It may not make a bit of difference, however, you will be heard.

    There are those among us who are the ones throwing the arrows. Sometimes, if conditions are less than ideal, it can get really easy to drink the kool-aid and join the conversation. I would ask you to "just say no"! People don't usually go into the nursing profession to make mistakes. We all don't know everything all of the time, so questions are a good thing--especially when we are talking about a patient's well being. Nursing school is not easy. Therefore, one can assume that someone who has successfully passed a program and the NCLEX has intellegence on their side. There is a part of every nurse that has to have some sort of compassion.

    It takes all kinds, and nursing is no exception. If you find someone's personality to be unsavory, thank your lucky stars that you only work with this person and they are not a friend (or heaven forbid family member) that you have to deal with outside of the walls of the facility. Personality not to your liking is very different than being a target of someone's actions towards you due to their personality. So never get caught up in "they are just so darn unlikeable". That is their issue, and unless they make it yours, it is their cross to bear.

    Finally, be mindful of the fact that patients can and do see and hear much more than one would think. Especially when they all receive a survey in the mail asking about their stay. With lots and lots of room for comments. So in this new year, we can and should be mindful of our actions and words, to report when we are targets of bad behaviors, and to know that we should be at work to do what we came to this profession for--take care of patients.
    Last edit by Joe V on Dec 31, '13
    GinginRN, Emergent, NextGen, and 6 others like this.
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  3. About jadelpn

    jadelpn joined Nov '08 - from 'Massachusetts'. Age: 49 jadelpn has '25' year(s) of experience and specializes in 'ER, Med Surg'. Posts: 3,383 Likes: 7,611; Learn more about jadelpn by visiting their allnursesPage


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    13 Comments so far...

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    Thank you for this! As a 22 year old female hoping to get accepted into nursing school in the future I need to remember this. Not only have I experienced it, but sometimes like a speeding ticket, you follow the law for a little while and get comfortable and complacent again. Thanks for the reminder.
    Emergent and jadelpn like this.
  5. 0
    Mathew 5:5
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    Great article.
    Emergent and jadelpn like this.
  7. 0
    Quote from jadelpn
    It takes a strong leader with zero tolerance to support a nurse's stance that they are the target of bad behavior.

    ... Personality not to your liking is very different than being a target of someone's actions towards you due to their personality. So never get caught up in "they are just so darn unlikeable". That is their issue, and unless they make it yours, it is their cross to bear.

    Finally, be mindful of the fact that patients can and do see and hear much more than one would think.
    Slippery slope in deed!

    Frankly, some people are particularly sensitive. Others take it upon themselves to be 'sensitive' on other people's behalf. I think the whole issue relating to sensitivity is completely out of control. It's hard to know what to say because you don't know who might be sensitive about this or that, or who will be offended simply because it might be offensive to someone who's not even around to say they are offended!

    I think it is more appropriate to investigate if people are targets of bad behavior rather than assuming they are. Be supportive without being unduly convinced of that which you have no objective data to support!

    I think it's best for colleagues to discuss these issues with one another as adults before inviting a third party into an issue. Too often, those who are 'afraid' of confrontation or just prefer 'not to get into it' with others go over head before they try to work things out.

    The workplace should be a place for mature, professional conduct. That should mean at least making a reasonable attempt to work through difficult issues and understand each other's unique perspective before we respond to what is said or done.
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    With HCAHPS becoming more important, hospitals will have to address this issue. My hospital is initiating customer service training for all employees. HCAHPS currently only affect Medicare reimbursements, but analysts are betting that they will soon be used to determine all reimbursement rates.
    jadelpn likes this.
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    I left my very first nursing job because of the craziness and spitefulness of the MAs to me, the only "nurse" in the clinical area with them. I did everything in my power (professionally and socially) besides sell my soul to the devil to try to get these vicious ladies off my back so I could give my all to my patients.
    I'm sure most, if not all, of you remember what it was like to be a fresh new grad at the start of your nursing career! You are so nervous, afraid, elated, HAPPY -so you do not need the unjust added stress of worrying about what your coworkers are going to do or say next to try to sabotage you. I have stories that would make your skin crawl. I could write a book, but I'm trying to put it all behind me. It still upsets me to this day to think about it because in the end they "won." After I left, another MA was hired. Obviously that was their intention all along because for some reason a licensed nurse intimidated them.
    On a positive note, I believe I'm a better person and coworker because of my experience. I know how to NOT act in the workplace - just do the opposite of what they would do!
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    Quote from NextGen
    With HCAHPS becoming more important, hospitals will have to address this issue. My hospital is initiating customer service training for all employees. HCAHPS currently only affect Medicare reimbursements, but analysts are betting that they will soon be used to determine all reimbursement rates.
    HCAHPS should mean NOTHING if they cannot be tied to nurse staffing and acuity measurements... "customer service" is moot without proper NURSE staffing-that should be the upmost "customer service"...
    http://www.ahrq.gov/research/finding...ing/index.html
    cherryames1949 and Alexsys like this.
  11. 1
    Quote from 1hopefulChik
    Slippery slope in deed!

    Frankly, some people are particularly sensitive. Others take it upon themselves to be 'sensitive' on other people's behalf. I think the whole issue relating to sensitivity is completely out of control. It's hard to know what to say because you don't know who might be sensitive about this or that, or who will be offended simply because it might be offensive to someone who's not even around to say they are offended!

    I think it is more appropriate to investigate if people are targets of bad behavior rather than assuming they are. Be supportive without being unduly convinced of that which you have no objective data to support!

    I think it's best for colleagues to discuss these issues with one another as adults before inviting a third party into an issue. Too often, those who are 'afraid' of confrontation or just prefer 'not to get into it' with others go over head before they try to work things out.

    The workplace should be a place for mature, professional conduct. That should mean at least making a reasonable attempt to work through difficult issues and understand each other's unique perspective before we respond to what is said or done.
    As adults, we should not have to be in a place where we have to start taking it upon ourselves to "work things out". There are rules in place to prevent bad behavior. Part of HR's job, as well as a manager's job is to consistently apply the rules. It astounds me how much a manager will look the other way on as to not offend the overly sensitive instigator. And unfortunetely, people who engage in this nonsense are really good at getting offended at being called out on their actions...
    Emergent likes this.
  12. 5
    I'm a good natured person who has been the target of bullying and mobbing before. I think it's because I'm not very aggressive, and I'm not a joiner, I march to my own drum. I've always been a little 'different'. Sometimes I get a little tired of the way I'm treated by some people. I like where I work now, but there are a few people who tend to bully me a bit. I think they are rude and disrespectful, and try to ignore it.


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