Bullying

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    I would like to hear from other nurses about effective ways to handle people who are nasty, have friends who back them up who are also mean, and use the system to make my life a misery at times. I find the trends are changing and that the hospital doesn't want this type of behavior and yet they have loopholes in the system that allow for this to happen. I want to say too that for the most part, I would say the nurses I work with are great. There are just one or two mean people and the few times I've had to work with them alone, my night has been a nightmare and I don't know how to handle it.
    Things I've tried so far that have been a total fail and why:

    1. Go my direct supervisor: Yes, they agreed this was wrong and dealt with it. But....friends of the bully came out of the woodwork and falsely accused me of things. They also wrote me up over ridiculous accusations in which the management threw it in the garbage. It doesn't matter. The purpose of the attack was to sting me. It worked.

    2. Talk to the bully: Bullies have more excuses for being bullies than one can imagine. My personal favorite is the one that says they were born this way. Hmmmm. The other is that in their country they are all bullies. I can't believe how many other nurses buy this one hook, line and sinker as though it is normal. What is wrong with these people? So now if you want to be a bully, you can by just being born in said country? At any rate, it doesn't work because at this point, the bully says they will no longer support me at work. Bully also starts spreading hateful rumors in which I said publicly something I never said. This causes young nurses to actually believe this ridiculousness and to talk to me in a demeaning way about my need to learn how to talk.

    3. Be nice back to bully instead of reacting: This seems to communicate a roll over and take it mentality. I think this makes matters worse. It's like they establish their superior position so that I find myself being pushed around in the wake of their domination. This causes me to preform nursing actions their way instead of the way I want to do them. I'm not saying those things are wrong necessarily. They are just not the way I would have done them and that bothers me. There are reasons we do things the way we do ie. use a particular type of taping method just for example.

    4. Say or do nothing: It keeps the thing going.

    Things I haven't tried for fear they will make matters worse:
    1. Go up the chain of command to the next level of authority: I am afraid that this will tick off my supervisors and I will be out a job.

    If ANYONE has found a way to deal with these wonderful folks, I would REALLY like to hear from you. Help!! I don't think that in this day and time, this junk should be tolerated and yet, it is. Thanks for any advice. I am really looking forward to hearing from someone out there that has found an answer. My biggest concern is that one day they are going to get me fired by either too many accusations and write ups or through bullying me into a way of doing things that ends up being the wrong way.
    NJRN33 likes this.
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  3. 23 Comments so far...

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    If there is any way possible get out, transfer to another floor. I have been in your shoes. I have come to believe with all my heart that most (not all) nurses are just plain MEAN!!! For those of us who are not in a nursing clic, and just want to go to work do our jobs and go home are picked apart, put down and etc.... If you do not have a nursing manager who has your back, your screwed. If that is the case you have to either live with it or get out. No that is not fair. You can try going up the chain of command, but that sometimes works against you, especially if the nurses are making things up about you. They can say anything they want and you will continue to go to work hating it and your peers, which will affect your job performance. Is it OK? NO!!!!! But it will get even worse and eventually you will resign or get fired.

    That sounds harsh, and not fair. I went through the same thing. I tried just being nice, ignore them and just do my job, going to their superior, bringing in "goodies", documenting everything nothing worked. If they are out to get you they will. I got fired, and wish I had just resigned.

    Stay strong. Nurses can be the worst people to work with. Some are very supportive. Seek them out. Women in general who work together are mean and in clic's.

    Good luck, I wish you well. It is never nice to be accused of something you did not do. I wish I had never gone into nursing. But that is my education and thats what I do.
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    one response you left out - sue the offender for verbal and mental abuse (assault). Assume it has nothing to do with the hospital and everything to do with that person. Make an example out of them.
    VanessaRn89 and JacknSweetpea like this.
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    If you can't just ignore it and not take it personally, get a new job. If they are bullies and mean it is probably just their personality and we all know its hard to change.
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    I totally agree with nursingj. Get a transfer or start hunting for new job where your manager is either neutral or backs you.

    This is a very scary situation because how will you concentrate in such hostile environment.

    Good luck !
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    [QUOTE=classicdame;6159950]one response you left out - sue the offender for verbal and mental abuse (assault). Assume it has nothing to do with the hospital and everything to do with that person. Make an example out of them.[/QUOTE ] It's interesting that you brought this up because I am in the process of interviewing attorneys to bring action to a co-worker who wrote a total falsehood about me and it almost cost my job. As far as I'm concerned she committed slander and libel, and needs to be brought to task. I can prove with documentation and witnesses that her accusations are untrue. I'm not going into the specifics of the incident on an online forum, but when someone is actively trying to mess with my livelihood and professional reputation.....it's ON! I have no use for someone like that and I want to hit 'em where it hurts! Their checkbook!
    NocturneNrse likes this.
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    This will probably not be a popular opinion. I will probably get all kinds of responses about professionalism, being the bigger person, yada-yada-yada. Great for you. This happened to me. I loved my job. And I was in a clique. But there was the "other" clique. My choices were roll over and play dead, find a new job, or grow a backbone. Well, I loved my job and refused to allow this group of nurses to "run me off". So, when it came to THAT GROUP OF NURSES, I was just as obnoxious and aggressive as they were. Yes, it took a while to hone my skills. But, eventually, I did, and they left me alone. They moved on to other victims. Did I like it? No. Self preservation. Did I do it in front of patients in the ICU or families? Absolutley not. It is amazing the message that a saccharin coated acid comment with a smile can deliver. However, I am from the south and I did learn to say **** you with a smile early. Good Luck. I know how miserable it can be when your team around you makes your life miserable.
    erhnurse, Sisyphus, and NocturneNrse like this.
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    I believe you will have to be tough with them. Going to managers does nothing. Managers want you to solve your own issues and don't intervene unless they absolutely HAVE to. Being nice to them, does make you look like a wimp. You don't have to join in with their cruelty, but dish it right back TO THEM!!!

    Good luck... I've been there too, many many MANY times. Hang in there!
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    Thanks for the helpful comments. I don't think I'm at the point of suing yet even though I feel that I need to do something more aggressive to get them to stop. But it is an option if I'm fired over this or if these things are used against me later as though to say, "Well, everyone can't be wrong here."

    Our hospital is not divided into separate units. We are asked to go to other departments on a regular basis. So opting to go to a different unit will not work.

    I saw a link to a web site about bullying from this thread and it was like they were reading my mail. So I think this is not an isolated incident. Many people go through this. That was encouraging to see that the world has become aware of what I am going through.

    I know our director would be intolerant of it. But if I go to her before I go to my supervisor, I will probably get her in trouble and I will lose my job. They will find a way to fire me. Nobody wants a troublemaker on board. Right?

    Anyway, thank you for the help. Any more thoughts are greatly appreciated.
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    Document their behavior and file a complaint with HR. Many facilities have some sort of written policy on behavior. Unless management knows about it they can't do anything.
    wish_me_luck and SandraCVRN like this.


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