Bullying--The Other "B" Word - page 2

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... Read More

  1. Visit  DolceVita} profile page
    2
    Nicely done.

    I would like to see people at work learn to look after their own needs better. When someone is extremely witchy I tend to ask them about it (usually later and in private). It is not OK to be obnoxious to me at work or anywhere where else. What i do not do, is make it personal. I simply state "xxxxxx is really not OK with me". I don't make them wrong by using incendiary language (calling them rude) nor do I globalize the problem (e.g.tell them other people on the unit think a,b or c about them). This helps prevent the situation from escalating. If they react badly, and some do, I can go home knowing I have looked after myself. The next time I see that person I greet them properly and look them in the eye (i.e. I don't hold a grudge). Hopefully this sends a message that it was their behavior and not them that was the issue.

    In the general course of my day people can be tense and terse, as can I. When I take this personally I am the person with the problem. This direct approach is hard -- because it is direct.

    Oh yes, and when I am a jerk and someone points it out, I am grateful because I know it took courage to approach me. I don't want to be the team witch.

    BTW don't think I am having private words with everyone who is rude (or whatever).
    dudette10 and rn/writer like this.
  2. Get the hottest topics every week!

    Subscribe to our free Nursing Insights newsletter.

  3. Visit  duckyluck111} profile page
    11
    I don't think that holding people to a higher standard of civility is necessarily a bad thing. Instead of telling the sensitive people to "get a thicker skin", I'd tell the rude people that they need to work on their character.
    DroogieRN, VICEDRN, PintheD, and 8 others like this.
  4. Visit  rn/writer} profile page
    0
    Quote from duckyluck111
    I don't think that holding people to a higher standard of civility is necessarily a bad thing. Instead of telling the sensitive people to "get a thicker skin", I'd tell the rude people that they need to work on their character.
    I wasn't telling sensitive people to get a thicker skin. I wanted to help them distinguish between rudeness and something more threatening. People who automatically see bullying in witchy behavior are far less likely to "tell rude people that they need to work on their character," which, I agree, can be just what the nurse practitioner ordered.

    Loutish classmates or co-workers are just asking for others to stand up to them, refuse to be cowed by their snarkiness, and set some limits (not always wise with a bully). LThe whole group can benefit when the ill-tempered are called on their bad behavior. But if you convince yourself that you're dealing with a bully when you're not, you'll probably back away and start feeling oppressed.
    Thanks for the input.
  5. Visit  pedicurn} profile page
    7
    Great post - thankyou.

    Just a point though - I feel witch can easily blur into bully in some situations. In these situations nurses bully with cattiness - their practice of exclusion and minimisation, for example - is how they do it. Nothing more complex or worldly is required - not much more evolved than high school bully girl behaviour.

    A sense of powerlessness results when the workplace culture doesn't allow confrontation ( the NM handles the issues - resulting in most people limiting their visits into the NM's office to report an infraction), when huge evidence is required from the bullied to substantiate a case and when the whistleblower becomes victimised.
    This is great culture for the nurse bully and being very witchy is how these individuals bully in nursing
    This sense of powerlessness is perhaps more pronounced in those who have invested more into their education. Those newbies with a prior degree plus their nursing degree seem to feel this 'powerlessness' very acutely - 'I went to university for how many years and now I have to put up with this high school garbage'. Our second career newbies; particularly those who have had professional corporate roles, take a good hard look at the bully girls and tend to make a swift exit. This exit is often right out of nursing.

    The culture of powerlessness enables these witches to become bullies when people lose part of themselves (confidence? selfesteem?) or; as is common - their jobs when they walk away, or their careers when their chain of progression is broken.

    So they do achieve their purpose here simply by some very catty behaviour - competition leaves. Those they target? New nurses with intelligence, sensitivity, potential to develop strong clinical skills and who happen to have obvious professional skill (the whole package).
    Note they rarely are catty to everyone. They leave most of the others alone - bar some rude behaviour.
    They do have a goal - but it handily becomes muddied in this scenario.
    What i am trying to say here ..... the nurse bully MO is often a calculated cattiness.
    It's effective... they learnt it in high school and it still works in many nursing environments
    Last edit by pedicurn on Oct 6, '11
    VICEDRN, PintheD, *LadyJane*, and 4 others like this.
  6. Visit  rn/writer} profile page
    0
    Quote from DolceVita
    Nicely done.

    I would like to see people at work learn to look after their own needs better. When someone is extremely witchy I tend to ask them about it (usually later and in private). It is not OK to be obnoxious to me at work or anywhere where else. What i do not do, is make it personal. I simply state "xxxxxx is really not OK with me". I don't make them wrong by using incendiary language (calling them rude) nor do I globalize the problem (e.g.tell them other people on the unit think a,b or c about them). This helps prevent the situation from escalating. If they react badly, and some do, I can go home knowing I have looked after myself. The next time I see that person I greet them properly and look them in the eye (i.e. I don't hold a grudge). Hopefully this sends a message that it was their behavior and not them that was the issue.

    In the general course of my day people can be tense and terse, as can I. When I take this personally I am the person with the problem. This direct approach is hard -- because it is direct.

    Oh yes, and when I am a jerk and someone points it out, I am grateful because I know it took courage to approach me. I don't want to be the team witch.

    BTW don't think I am having private words with everyone who is rude (or whatever).
    The bolded part above is an excellent example of assertive behavior. You stand your ground, focus on the behavior, set some limits, and walk away knowing that you took care of yourself without attacking the other person. And then you let it go.

    Bravo!
  7. Visit  rn/writer} profile page
    0
    Sorry but I have to disagree with you. The definition of a bully is NOT that a person must be actively out to cause significant harm to you, i.e. losing your job.
    I don't think we disagree at all.

    The examples in your quote (post #10) are not just witchy behavior, and they would cause significant harm to a person's sanity and sense of well-being. Bullies do have agendas, even if they're nothing more than torturing the victim.

    The point of the article was to help people distinguish between the calculated, relentless targeting of a bully and the snitting and sniping of a rude person. Not every crabby co-worker is a bully. But if every ill-mannered act is perceived as bullying, people may be too freaked out to practice the assertiveness and limit-setting that can let a witchy person know they need to back off.
  8. Visit  anotherone} profile page
    0
    Quote from rn/writer
    Thanks, guys, for the input

    I wrote this because I have seen so many "bully" complaints that were really reactions to someone's rudeness. We're all so Kumbyah and Kool-Aid these days that people have either forgotten, or were never taught in the first place, how to take care of themselves and their tender feelings, so a brusque exchange now rubs against them like sandpaper.

    As soon as the new "B" word enters the picture, you have folks who freak. Most of the time a few lessons in snappy comebacks or zen calmness would take care of things. But without that, and without the ability to distinguish between a witchy co-worker and a bully, things can get ugly fast.

    Let me just add that this article is directed toward adults. Kids have a whole different dynamic that I don't even want to approach. But grown-ups need to learn how to take care of themselves in the school and work worlds without feeling persecuted when some curmudgeon gives them a hard time.
    How is bullying different in kids, can a peer be a bully? is the definition different? are the kids who are "bullied" now the adults who will be "bullied" as adults ?
  9. Visit  codeblue22} profile page
    0
    Document, document, document. I have a whole notebook of information on specific episodes which holds incriminating evidence of hostile nurses and managers, including sexual harassment. I also included names of witnesses to the bullying. Your memory may fade or the bullying episodes become foggy or blend together, or are indeterminable... and if u need to recall events for disciplinary reasons, it will be helpful to review your notes.
  10. Visit  rn/writer} profile page
    0
    Quote from anotherone
    How is bullying different in kids, can a peer be a bully? is the definition different? are the kids who are "bullied" now the adults who will be "bullied" as adults ?
    Being bullied as a child may well predispose a person to being bullied as an adult. But it can also have the reverse effect of causing that child to decide that no one is ever going to push her around again and becoming a bully herself. Many bullies were traumatized by someone earlier in life and they chose the path of mounting an offensive defense.

    With kids, the wrongness of bullying is exactly the same. The targeting, the relentlessness, the gut-wrenching reaction of the victim and the bully's intimidation of peers, etc. also parallel adult experience. But because of the variations in their developmental stages and processing abilities and the tendency of teachers and other leaders to dismiss complaints as normal playground squabbling, bullying in kids is harder to identify and stop.

    I am so glad that schools are finally taking this seriously and teachers are being taught how to spot the subtle signs of bullying. Many schools are bringing the topic out in the open and putting practices in place that make bullying socially unacceptable and harder to pull off.

    But I don't want to get into the topic of kid bullying any further because it's so complex and requires specialized instruction to deal with effectively.

    Thanks for your questions.
    Last edit by rn/writer on Oct 7, '11
  11. Visit  Not_A_Hat_Person} profile page
    2
    I don't know. it sound like you're saying "witchiness" is okay. In my experience, people who pride themselves on being blunt and to-the-point take extreme offense when other people do the same to them.
    *LadyJane* and Mulan like this.
  12. Visit  sistasoul} profile page
    7
    Quote from duckyluck111
    I don't think that holding people to a higher standard of civility is necessarily a bad thing. Instead of telling the sensitive people to "get a thicker skin", I'd tell the rude people that they need to work on their character.
    A million times yes!!!!!! I have heard this saying many times- People treat you how you let them. This puts the blame on the person who is not the aggressor. This saying implies it is OK to treat another poorly because they may be timid or quiet. What kind of ass-backward thinking is that?
    FranEMTnurse, trixie333, *LadyJane*, and 4 others like this.
  13. Visit  lweatherby} profile page
    12
    Witchy, bully, rude, hateful, catty....whatever...it is all unacceptable and I should not have to spend my time trying to figure out which one you are projecting. It is completely unnecessary even in the most tense situations. I have NEVER felt the need to be any of these things to my co-workers....even in the worst of situations. I should not have to learn how to deal with it, learn to protect myself, develop a thicker skin, study the dictionary to determine my most appropriate response or analyze your childhood in an effort to determine your motivations. YOU should learn how to act like a human being who has chosen a difficult and stressful career that requires many women working together as a team in order to deliver the best care possible to the patient.

    I work with a great group of nurses that respect and help each other no matter what the circumstances. However, I have encountered the witch/bully/catty/hateful person in the past. She ran off many a new nurse and is still there tending the revolving door with the manager scratching her head wondering why she can't keep nurses.
    Hotfornursing, multi10, LaneyB, and 9 others like this.
  14. Visit  gcupid} profile page
    0
    Quote from rn/writer
    The bolded part above is an excellent example of assertive behavior. You stand your ground, focus on the behavior, set some limits, and walk away knowing that you took care of yourself without attacking the other person. And then you let it go.

    Bravo!
    It's an excellent result for the individual who just got attacked.....but I was thinking maybe he/she should go for the Jugular vein. Make the bully an example by crucifying him/her. If the victim is black hair, blue eyes...when the victim retaliates the bully wouldn't even go after another profile that even vaguely resembles him/her....

    Nip it in the bud not only for yourself but for the next possible prey.


Nursing Jobs in every specialty and state. Visit today and Create Job Alerts, Manage Your Resume, and Apply for Jobs.

Top