Bullying--The Other "B" Word - page 6

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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    Dear RN Writer,

    Yes, thank you these articles on "Bullying" is exactly what I was looking for. Ive worked in a hospital since I was 14 years old, then 20 years as an LPN, followed by another twenty as an RN rising to the ranks of a Flight Nurse, which was always my dream. Then I had a bought with cancer followed by a 95% occlusion of my LAD. I live on disability,which is just over a thousand dollars a month, so it took two years to get the money together to take a RN Refresher course. Two days before I was to finish the 180 hours of clinical with a preceptor, I was told not to come back, I was going to get my license without my preceptors endorsement. Two weeks afer I began my clinical I had a situation involving a Mother and daughter who wanted to kill each other, a husband, and four small children all under the age of five. My preceptor was in the break room directly across from this patients room. I opened the door and you know how another nurse sounds when they need help right? I clearly ask her to help me with this situation so that we could defuse the situation before anyone suffered an injury, she was also aware that security had been called to that room the day before. My preceptor whoe's two buddies were having a liesurly lunch said to me the she was eating her lunch and refused to come help me. I calmly closed the lunch room door and told the secretary to page security to the room. Then all hell broke loose, and her actions came back to bite her, and she never let me forget it. It was my bad luck needless to say that she is the one person who fills out my clinical evaluation. I have been terminated from the program, had one appeal deied because the DON at the University beleived every word as if it were gospel. Now I have one more chance I have appealled to the Provost Marshall and will have my last hearing January 30th. If you pray please remember me. I need all the help I can get. Again thank you for getting these articles to me. There is information in them which I think can be helpful to me, the other peice of hard evidence I have are my cell phone records. The Precetp accused me of being a no call no show on 9 different days. the phone records will show that a phone call was made from my apartment to that hospital at an exceptable time to call off, and I only talked to one nurse everytime, I even followed up with an email on one particular day because this nurse had been up all night and she was running on empty so I sent a brief email to my precept just in case, the good thing is that my precept wrote back and said thanks for the note because the night nurse didn't tell her I had called in. Sometimes all it takes is to catch someone in a lie, which usually follows the logic if she lied once how can we beleive anything else she has to say.... I apologise for the many typos that are in this letter to you but I updated to google chrome and haven't been aboe to get any spell check to function.
    Again thank you for your effort in presenting this topic, it so describes the situation I have been in.

    Linda Zink FLTNRSE2

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    what a wonderful article
    i am 25 i became an RN at age of 23 went to univeristy at age of 18 and came to this country at age of 15 (sry going backwards)
    i went through tears/burn out just like newbies, but i have always been responsible and mature throughout my life. My English might not be as great as any of you but I consider myself "being proud of abrasive/blunt/on the point" and "became serious offended/sensitive when others have done the same to me"---yes, I am insecure,volunerable, and extremely sensitive.
    I tend to go extreme: overpleasant when my clinical performance is well done at work or overdepressed when new nurses/team members are bright, have no language barrier and young. I go home and remain in "no peace" by beating up myself--(1) reflect on my day, do research, figure out how to be more efficient tomorrow and how do I not to make the same mistake tomorrow (2) crying on why people are tongue slashing at me yet make themselves sound so "reasonable"? --she is dumping her new admission on me, dumping her discharge on me, even demanding me to deliver vital sign machine for her which is a simple task that she could do it herself---she is an LPN with at least 10 years experience, i am an RN with 1.5 years experience.
    Because i am scaried, because i was wrong at the very beginning when i got this job. When i 1st started, i want to make friends, i want to fit into the culture, i want to survive. And some girl came to me, very friendly, invited me to her social life, made me feel "i am all supported and i am being accepted". Time tells the truth--she doesnt want to be my friend, she never looks upon people who speak English as a 2nd language, she wants me and others to (1) get OT for her, (2) helping her stabbing people she doesnt like, and most importantly (3) do her job so she can be lazy.
    I regret i didnt keep distance from her. Now its harder for me to pull myself away from her as she constantly reminding me "you are already part of the club, too late" and harder to set limits cuz i never set my limits in the beginning.
    However, i would call her a "true manipulative" and a "controller" but not a "bully" as she blows up at the whole team including our leader. She constantly using phrases such as (1) let me make myself crystal clear.... (2) i dont have time nor i have the patience to... (3) this is not fair.... (4) this is getting ridiculous....When she wants to let her anger and frustration out, she doesnt care, she blow it on your face, not only me but also the rest of the team. Some team members tell her off "this is your job and go do it" and some team members suck it up like me. When people do tell her off, she would (1) complain to leader "i dont like the way this person talk to me" (2) do incident report on coworkers (pinpointing), (3) telling the person "I have always be on your side and protect you, now I ask you to do one thing, one thing you forget? You always have excuses. I will never, ever talk to you again, i will never, ever protect you again". I felt so funny because i always hear she says "I told this person off because i told her we are adults so be it" meanwhile she behaves the exact way as a highschool girl.
    I appreciate this site with OP's generous thoughts and selective replies. Now i clearly know i should not get too close to any coworkers in a work place nor i should share my private life with any of them, thats the 1st step to set up my limits and boundries, because if i ever did, my life today wont be so hard and stressful. I guess part of my age is naive. I open my heart and trust people easily. I am not saying that you cannot make friends in a workplace, i made one very good friend from my previous job. But i have learnt a very important lesson when it comes to boundry =D
    Last edit by whitebunny on Jun 1, '12 : Reason: gramma
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    You are learning a valuable lesson, whitebunny. It's okay to be friendly with co-workers, but that should not be the primary focus of your attention.

    The best thing you can do is decide what you're going to do and how you're going to feel and limit all interaction with this other person to job-related matters. Refuse to be pulled into arguments about what you owe her. Don't listen to threats or guilt trips. If she fills out incident reports, let your boss know that this other person is trying to retaliate against you for personal matters.

    Whatever happens, present a blank expression to her. Don't let her see you respond emotionally to anything she says. That's how bullies and mean people get their payoff. Seeing others squirm and suffer feeds their ego and adds to their power. Have a good cry in the bathroom, if you must. Go home and punch pillows or yell at the clouds. But discharge all negative emotions where she won't be able to see them. Then you can look at her with a stone face or even a polite, but distant, smile.

    Keep your head in the game and concentrate on caring for your patients. If this person is mean enough to try to sabotage your nursing care, keep a diary of such incidents and inform your supervisor. This would be a patient safety issue, not just a personality clash.

    I admire you for being able to make the transition to another language and culture. You have much to be proud of.
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    I realize this is an old thread, but thought I'd necro to add my thoughts. The apparently rampant bullying problem has come up a lot lately in my circles and like the OP, I think a lot of the apparent increasing frequency has to do with the redefining of what it means to bully. In conversations I have stated people with more social control must rebuke bullies for their bad behaviour; the rejoinder I often get is "but you can't bully them back". But shaming someone for bad behaviour isn't bullying. It's a way of laying down the ground rules for the group culture. And if it's not allowed, well no wonder no one knows how to act appropriately.

    However I think that brings us to a bigger root problem. Rebuke is seen as "bullying" because it's negative and "not nice". I think a lot of these problems stem not from the fact that we're meaner but from the fact that North American culture has elevated an insipid "niceness" to the supreme virtue.

    A friend once told me "niceness is just kindness minus any honesty." That's the rub I think. Kindness is a virtue. Nicety is an empty facsimile of it that has been stripped of all realness and truth. Kindness refers to being gentle and considerate while niceness has the connotation of being "agreeable". So while kindness is honest, nicety requires a lot of dishonesty and pretense. A direct and blunt person may be kind, but is never nice.

    Yet we confuse the two and want people to be nice all the time (this can also be seen in debates where people assume everyone who disagrees with them is mean and a h8r. Really they're just not playing nice.). In reality they are very different and produce very different sorts of behaviour.

    In addition, Kindness is directed outward in concern for others, while niceness is always self directed. For example, the kind person will rebuke or disagree with others because his concern for the other is greater than his concern about whether that person likes him or is a friend. These people disagree with you because they want you to get better at what you're doing--if that means you get angry at them, so be it. Yes they try to handle conflict in a gentle manner, but they don't back away from it if it means a better outcome.

    On the other hand, the nice person will just let you continue on, try to "get along", never say anything negative or "mean" and hope everyone likes him--these people care about themselves and their image more than they care about you. The side effect of this is that all negative emotions to go underground which creates a culture where they are expressed in increasingly passive aggressive ways. The "nice" person won't tell YOU what you're doing is wrong, but he will tell everyone else. And as this behaviour is rewarded and accepted, it becomes more and more entrenched. The perpetrator can then claim "but I've always been nice to her" even if they've been targeting you with passive aggressive obstruction for months.

    I've noticed that people often say "bullying" of this passive aggressive type is one of the pitfalls of a female dominated profession and to an extent I agree with that. I do think that's going to change in the next number of years, because the reason this behaviour is more common amongst females is that they have always been enculturated to be "nice" while men have been enculturated to be direct. This is changing and now everyone is expected to play nice all the time, both male and female. Make no mistake, it has nothing to do with sex and everything to do with gender education. As a woman who is not and has never been nice, I have definitely seen the repercussions of going against the norm.

    Not surprisingly I think the antidote to niceness is kindness. The PA behaviour needs to be handled directly and honestly, with gentleness and consideration. But it must be handled and boundaries must be set, understanding that avoiding the problem (whatever it may be) only perpetuates it.
    metal_m0nk, rn/writer, and Ruby Vee like this.
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    Really good observations, lemur00. I would add that this labeling of everything negative as bullying stems, not only from female enculturation to be "nice," but also from the "everybody gets a trophy" school of thought, in which feeling bad is something to be avoided at all costs. And making someone else feel bad is tantamount to assaulting them.

    But what about when a person does something wrong and ought to feel bad about what they've done? They don't need to feel bad about their very personhood, but when no one is ever asked or allowed to feel bad or embarrassed or ashamed of what they've done (when their actions clearly merit such a response), there is no remorse, repentance or growth. What shows up in the place of thoughts and emotions that might lead to change and eventual maturity is excuse-making, blaming (you made me feel bad), and avoidance.

    Hope the pendulum starts swinging back toward taking responsibility and resisting taking every little wrinkle as a personal attack.
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    Yeah that's what I mean about social control. This is the same pyre satire has been hoisted up on (how many people out there think satire is noble and moral? Yet its whole purpose is to moralize). No one can make another person feel bad without obviously being a fat ugly jealous loser. Yet there are certain things people need to "feel bad" about, and the people with more social power I think have a responsibility to use their influence to curtail bad behaviour. The problem is that when group leaders shirk this responsibility, the true bully "gets away with it" and is never forced to take responsibility for his actions. At the same time, everyone feels vaguely bad but feel powerless to stop him.

    Of course as I hinted, the other side of that is that bullying in some ways is becoming more common because direct confrontation is increasingly becoming frowned upon, and fewer people know how to do it well. If healthy ways of dealing with conflict and negative feedback aren't encouraged, they are replaced with unhealthy ones.
    morte likes this.
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    Quote from jadelpn

    Ah, but in opinion it IS happening. This is akin to the notion of "my husband verbally abuses me" vs, "no, your husband is just an *******" or "my parents are so abusive" vs. "they are very strict" . Even sexual harrassment in the workplace. One's hysterically funny joke makes someone else uncomfortable, and one can be brought up on sexual harrassment charges. Inappropriate behaviors have no place in the workplace. Bullies seem to be informed and cunning perpertrators. They know how to push the envelope JUST so far. And I truly believe that perpetuating the myth that one has to put up with someone else's bad behaviors when directed at them in the workplace (where often one doesn't have a choice of leaving or not) is not correct.
    Much of what you you as examples are (IMO) subjective. I think sexual harassment is the most objective of what is listed here (with the exception of physical abuse).
    Not saying that none of the others can be considered bullying, it is obviously situation dependent.

    The example I really have an issue with is the parenting one (strict vs. abusive). As a parent, and a professor of (young) nursing students, I see more and more that the new generation is so quick to call people mean and strict, citing that "she hates me", or "she yelled at me". Me telling my child she has to go to bed earlier (because she has trouble waking up, not as a punishment), IMO, is not bullying or abuse (but if you ask her, it is). problem is these perceptions often stay with people, and carry into their adulthood. Many people cannot handle being corrected, or told that they need to improve on something (notice I didn't even say reprimanded or disciplined- I do my share of discipline at home, it's not my job to do it at work). We have become so that we have to tiptoe around everyone's ego, that to tell someone they're not performing up to par is akin to bullying. Remember, everyone gets a trophy these days, just for participating. Everyone is a winner!!!

    This is not so say there is no such thing. I've seen it, I've heard many stories (that I am inclined to believe) where bullying does exist. This thread has make me look back at my career in nursing, and I'd say the majority of negative encounters I've had we're with witches. I think it's rather self centered to think that everyone that was mean to me was "out to get me" (especially when I see them acting the same way with others). Are they all investing so much time out of their lives to make mine miserable? Nah. OTOH, my daughter has been a victim of cyber-bullying, by her ex-best friend. When someone is using the Internet, accessing your account, making up fake accounts to send you nasty messages, I'm guessing (by the definitions stared here), that this is more than just being witchy, no?

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