Bullying--The Other "B" Word - page 5

by rn/writer Guide | 13,151 Views | 56 Comments

Not long ago if another nurse rolled her eyes when you gave report, cut you off while you were asking a question, or ignored you when said you needed help wasting a narcotic, she would have been called the b word that rhymes... Read More


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    She was a peer, there was no imbalance of power, she did not make any real or implied threats toward me, yet she was relentless in questioning my nursing judgement. For everything. Hourly. Every shift I worked. This was a women let go by this same institution 8 years prior, unapologetically lazy, and mean to patients. I was her target because I started in the department 6 months after she had.
    Thank you much for your input.

    The imbalance of power may have existed only in your co-worker's head, but it's clear she had an agenda, was out to get you, and had the relentlessness part down pat.

    Based on further research (including your observation), I actually did go back and change the line about bullying requiring an imbalance of power. It most often involves some kind of imbalance, even in a peer-to-peer situation (this kind of bully might be angling for an increase in power or see herself as more important than she really is), but there are times where the bully wants to get rid of someone who is on a level playing field and, like your "associate" did, will engage in all kinds of intimidation tactics and dirty tricks to achieve their goal.

    Over the next couple of weeks, I will be posting a three-part series on properly identifying workplace bullies and another series about how to deal with them..

    Thanks again, for sharing your experience and your thoughts. I'm glad you were able to move on without a lot of fallout. Many others are not so lucky.

    Here is part one of How To Spot a Workplace Bully:
    http://allnurses.com/nursing-blogs/h...ce-627389.html
    PintheD likes this.
  2. 2
    Quote from mac10023
    My point is this: I believe there are degrees of witchery and bullying, extreme bullying being harassment. Think of it as a continuum - witch to bully to harasser.
    I believe this comment sums it up ..... thankyou.
    Agree there is a continuum from witch to bully. The nurse bully is no more than an accomplished catty witch a couple of steps along the continuum.
    Her MO is particularly effective because many nurses feel powerless in their work environments.
    If you work where nurses are not 'allowed' to sort their own conflict out (where all stuff gets directed to the manager) and where 'write-ups', tittle-tattling are rife; where nurses are belittled and treated like children - then the catty type fits right in.
    What might be laughed off in more professional environments is not a laughing matter in nursing. When grown women can't properly defend yourself against stuff that their children don't even have to tolerate ....then I think that perfectly illustrates why the catty nurse witch can so easily become a bully
    Last edit by pedicurn on Oct 12, '11
    PintheD and rn/writer like this.
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    The dichotomy in nursing is the "dirty little secret" no one wants to speak about. I have always been amazed at the level of disrespect, pettiness,disdain and yes,bullying that is so prevelent in the nursing profession. Why is it that the ideals of compassion,empathy and caring are pounded into our heads from the first day of school but when one of our own needs the same, we turn away? I went under the knife because of a cancer scare and I was told by my manager,who is a nurse/minister, that I could quit. No sorry to hear it....What can we do to help. Upon my return to work it was no better so I took matters in hand and through the help of HR this person was shown the door. I have heard a nurse,who carries around a bible, defend her bullying of others. She stated that she felt they were stronger because of her treatment of them. When I graduated 16yrs ago I was told by a seasoned nurse that her actions were because "it's always been like this....that's the way I was treated". Nursing school is no better than the experience in the workplace. How many of you have either been the recipient or witnessed the abuse of power exacted by instructors? To be a nurse means that you are constantly giving of yourself mentally,physically and emotionally. Is it too much to expect that your peers whether in the classroom or the workplace make some attempt to emulate the ideals set down by Florence so many years ago?
    multi10, twinkletoes53, and rn/writer like this.
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    My hat is off to you Miranda for writing so many excellent articles on bullying and this --The Other "B" Word. Your articles show your integrity and education along with an enormous amount of sympathy for all people in the workforce. Thank you very much.
    twinkletoes53 and rn/writer like this.
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    You teach people how to treat you. Confrontation is hard but you have to stand up to those who do not do the RIGHT thing- if you cannot do it for yourself, how will you do it for your patients? or those you mentor? Know that you are worthy of dignity. Know your workplace rules & regulations. Role play with trusted mentors if you have to so that you find the words and eye contact that will help you stand your ground. Bolster your backbone by reading or listening to the tales of anyone who has been oppressed yet did the right thing. Be confident in your core values. I know my core values and those guide me: HONOR, COURAGE, COMMITTMENT.
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    Totally living the experience ... worst experience of my almost 28 years. Was stunned to learn that the Target of this kind of personality is often amongst the brightest, and most loyal of the employees. It is the Target's ability that often makes them "the Target". In other words, when dealing w/ the Bully, the mediocre nurse is rewarded, while the nurse that is creative, caring and popular with the doctors, the patients and their peers are selected for humiliation and elimination.

    When dealing w/ my bully I have learned that nothing can beat clear concise documentation. In other words, e-mail is your very best friend. My case is on-going, and required legal assistance. When in doubt consult someone who knows employment law and never, ever break w/ policy.

    It's time to eliminate this personality type from our profession. The end result is poor patient care and that is not acceptable.
    Hotfornursing, multi10, DroogieRN, and 2 others like this.
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    Rather it be 'bullying" or "rudness" is just symantics. Both terms and situations have no place in the work place.
    Besides, I want to know who is caring for patients while nurses are so busy fighting, arguing, and putting each other down? We need to get rid of personaity conflicts, and focus on giving the best nursing care we possiably can. FLTNRSE2
    Last edit by fltnrse2 on Nov 17, '11 : Reason: spelling erroe
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    Quote from fltnrse2
    rather it be 'bullying" or "rudness" is just symantics. both terms and situations have no place in the work place.
    besides, i want to know who is caring for patients while nurses are so busy fighting, arguing, and putting each other down? we need to get rid of personaity conflicts, and focus on giving the best nursing care we possiably can. fltnrse2
    there is a huge difference between bullying and someone who is merely being rude to you. bullying has absolutely no place in the work place. rudeness is undesirable but is a fact of human relationships.

    a lot of factors contribute to this perceived (or actual) rudeness in the workplace. in some cultures, to look a stranger (or a male) in the face is unspeakably rude. so a male from that culture comes to our city and is shocked at the rudeness of american nurses who dare to look him in the face. have they been rude to him? i don't think so, but he does. folks from new york are a lot more abrupt than folks from madison, wisconsin or seattle, washington. what may be a normal exchange between nurses in new york, where you come from, may be considered unspeakably rude in madison, where i come from. have you been rude to me? you probably don't think so -- i probably do.

    suppose we both agree that it's rude to fail to aknowledge someone's morning "hello". but my dog just died or my mother just fell and broke her hip or my husband packed his bags to leave me last night and i'm preoccupied and don't notice when you tell me hello. have i been rude to you? from your perspective, maybe. from mine -- what rudeness? i didn't even see you this morning.

    it's not all cut and dried, but equating rudeness with bullying devalues bullying.
    rn/writer likes this.
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    RN/Writer I really enjoyed your article. I have dealt with some B----ness at work and my best dose of medicine was being assertive and nippy the BS in the butt before it escalated. I hope others read your article and learn how to toughen their skin and don't allow someone shower on their parade

    Keep up the writing!!
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    Quote from Fltnrse2
    Rather it be 'bullying" or "rudness" is just symantics. Both terms and situations have no place in the work place.
    Besides, I want to know who is caring for patients while nurses are so busy fighting, arguing, and putting each other down? We need to get rid of personaity conflicts, and focus on giving the best nursing care we possiably can. FLTNRSE2

    No, the point of the article was to say that there is a definite (and large)
    difference between rudeness and bullying. They have different goals, executions and remedies.

    A rude person expresses unhappiness by lashing out at others, often in many directions. The goal is to let everyone know how bad or angry or annoyed they feel. Those who are affected need to stand up to the person and, if that doesn't work, to get others involved who will let the person know that their behavior needs to improve.

    A bully wants to eliminate the threat. Their attacks are focused and personal. They may appear nice but their intent is to undermine their associate or their subordinate with the ultimate goal of getting rid or them or causing them to suffer enough to leave on their own. This needs a lot of documentation, the involvement of HR and possibly legal action.

    You're right to say that the workplace would be better without either of them, but confusing the two has the potential to take a bad situation and make it much worse.
    Last edit by rn/writer on Nov 18, '11


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