Bullying like I am back in middle school

  1. 1
    ...and I hated middle school. I recently started working in the operating room at a large hospital. The operating room is broken up into pods, so that we end up working with pretty much the same small group of people everyday. This can either work out to be highly enjoyable and efficient, or it can drive you to drink.

    I find myself in the latter group, as well as being an unwilling cast member of "Mean Girls 2: The ******* are Back".

    I am not new to OR nursing, but I am being either deliberately ignored or condescended to by scrubs and nurses, at least one of whom just graduated.
    For example, one scrub will ignore me and wait until anyone else enters the room to ask for stuff. She then makes a big showy production of it by only addressing them by name, thanking them profusely as if no one else was willing to help her. Oftentimes I am less than 3 feet away and looking at her.

    Others are less passive aggressive, and just act openly horrible towards me.

    I have tried offering support (I am the "IT expert"), helping people out, and laying low. I have tried to be friendly and funny. They are not interested. I do not fit in: I am not in my twenties. You could trade me in for two of them.


    I feel like I can't talk to my pod manager. All of the queen bees are buddies with him. Yesterday we had a mandatory meeting that no one told me about. Everyone gathered together, in front of me, and left for it (including the manager). I didn't find out until later where they were going.

    I am desperate. I would love to leave, but my husband currently has a temporary and low- paying job. We barely make even the most basic ends meet.
    MBARNBSN likes this.
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  3. 33 Comments so far...

  4. 6
    I hate reading these posts. I guess I don’t understand why professional nurses feel the need to act like complete butts to each other. The common compliant continues of, “we are working so very short-staffed and we need more help.” Yet, they completely ignore a person who is trying to help. While I know it is easy to sit behind this keyboard to tell you to ignore them, but honestly, I don’t know what else to say. I confront those kinds of people head-on. My thought is this…they are already creating friction. I have had a few who continued to act that way towards me. The majority tend to change the way they treat me. I am not there to be friends. If you want help from me during a shift, you best reciprocate the relationship. If not, don’t ask me for anything. I don’t know what’s wrong with people. I see this happening a lot. I know there is literature on the subject (lateral violence, I think is the term).

    Anyway, so as long as you’re a good nurse, that’s all that matters. They will eventually come around. It makes me feel bad that you feel as though you can’t talk to your manager about it. If the other nurses are his pets, then he has boundary issues.

    Good luck!!!!!
  5. 8
    This is never a good thing, and makes for a really, really long day.

    I shiver to say it, and perhaps easier said than done, however, just go in and do your thing and leave. You do not need these people as friends. You do not need to get involved in their foolish games.

    If the atmosphere gets to where you believe you being set up, go to hr (most have employee relation groups), go to your union rep if you have one. It is not about the personality, it is about patient safety and your co-workers purposely allowing you to fail and appear as if you are not doing your job. There are many facilities that have a committee of people who are committed to changing and improving employee relations. I would go to a member of that group and have a discussion.

    Meanwhile, look at internal job openings. Is there somewhere else you could be that has an opening? I would also go to the manager of that unit and talk about how you could be a good fit, that this is your goal, and see what you need to do to get there.

    You have been at this gig a long time. You know that for some, their perceived importance is due to their own issues, and not you. Which doesn't mean it makes it any easier to work every day, but food for thought.

    Lastly, I would be direct. "What is it that you need me to do for you now"? "I am not used to be addressed in such a tone, however, I would be more than happy to help". "I do not appreciate being addressed in such a manner. You need to stop".

    Best of luck to you with this situation.
    Lev <3, gonzo1, cardiacfreak, and 5 others like this.
  6. 3
    I'm sorry to hear this. It's tough enough when your a teenager but to be treated like an outcast as an adult and you can't leave because it's your bread and butter, that's a different story.

    You seem to be doing what I would suggest which is laying low, helping out, and throwing a little sense of humor into the mix. Something is obviously up, so maybe you should ask someone (the nicest someone) what's going on and if you had done something. Or you could just carry on and kill them with kindness. Doughnuts always help!

    I hope it works out for you. I don't like seeing people being treated as an outcast, I have a sensitive bone when it comes to this type of stuff. If they have a problem with you then they should man up and tell you.

    Good luck!
    Lev <3, SoldierNurse22, and Esme12 like this.
  7. 8
    You have to confront passive aggressive behavior and acknowledging among a group stops it or at least makes the individual think twice about acting immaturely....

    If someone is rude, call it out so that there is no misunderstanding.
    TheBrooklynRN, Stcroix, GrnTea, and 5 others like this.
  8. 3
    Saying a prayer for you. Not at fun situation!
  9. 1
    They are obviously intimidated by you. Show them that you are not in anyway intimidated by their ways. Go in lay low if they don't want your help let them do it themselves.

    Keep your job until your husband gets situated. Then ask for transfer, or stir up an investigation with hr. My moto is "no one messes with my families income."

    Good luck & sorry you have to deal with immature people, they'll get what's coming to them. Karma.
    GrnTea likes this.
  10. 8
    For Heaven's Sake. <shaking head> Lack of communication with co-workers has an effect on patient safety. This is intolerable. Walking (running) away will let the Mean Girls win. They will not change their behavior unless they are forced to.

    Here's what I would do.
    1. Look up the facility policy on 'disruptive behavior'. Everyone has one because it is now a JC focus area. It will spell out exactly what you are supposed to do, how to report it, etc. Take action based upon that policy.
    2. Discuss with Manager - deliberately use the term "hostile work environment" and how it is affecting your job. Ask for a change in your work assignment so that you don't have to deal with these immature yoyos. Follow up with a letter to your manager documenting the discussion & any agreed-upon follow up actions. Keep a copy for your records.
    3. If manager does not act to correct the situation, talk with HR - provide specific objective examples of the behavior. Make sure they know that it is causing you extreme stress, and point out the negative consequences re: patient safety and quality. Follow up with a letter to the appropriate HR person... keep a copy for yourself.

    DON'T involve any co-workers or discuss what you are going to do with any of them. This will always be interpreted negatively and could end up getting you fired for any one of a host of reasons. Stay very professional and objective. No overt retaliatory actions toward the culprits. I'm pretty sure you will get HR/Admin attention if you use the right terms: "hostile work environment", "Harassment", "Disruptive Behavior" and "Patient Safety" are all trigger phrases which indicate that you know your legal rights & may not be afraid to seek outside help.
    Meriwhen, Lev <3, gonzo1, and 5 others like this.
  11. 4
    Your comment "I am the IT expert" got my attention.
    I will bet the rent ONE person got a whiff that you feel superior because of that. New people are required to pay their dues mefore they come across as the expert in anything, even if it's scrubbing the toilet.

    I don' make these "rules" or play by them.. strongly feel this is the way it is.

    HR , the manager, even a union cannot fix this. It's an attitude problem, attitudes are not definable.
    Lay low until you have enough time in to transfer.

    Feel free to PM me , I've seen lateral violence (been there)
    Lev <3, Kooky Korky, imintrouble, and 1 other like this.
  12. 1
    nurses are like bloodhounds...they can sniff out the tiniest bit of arrogance...your comment "I am the IT expert". and they will RUN with it. Lay low, do your job, and go home. You dont need them as friends
    Jessy_RN likes this.


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