Bullying--The Other "B" Word - page 4
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
Oct 10, '11Well written and you do raise an interesting point of comparison. I, however, have had personal experiences in nursing that just aren't as cut and dry. For instance a fellow nurse in PACU of a Magnet hospital. Yes she was a witch, as, I believe, most if not all those classified as bully are. 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.
I know witchy nurses after 14 years on the job. I can ignore that, but this one was another story altogether.
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. All of it ugly and unnecessary.
Just my 2 cents. By the way I quit that job because of this nurse. Have never given it a second thought but was delighted to learn she was fired two weeks after I left (verbally abusive to a patient). I stand firm in my assessment - BULLY!
Oct 10, '11She 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.
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:
Oct 12, '11Quote from mac10023I believe this comment sums it up ..... thankyou.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.
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 bullyLast edit by pedicurn on Oct 12, '11
Oct 12, '11The 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?
Oct 12, '11My 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.
Oct 12, '11You 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.
Oct 20, '11Totally 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.
Nov 17, '11Rather 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. FLTNRSE2Last edit by fltnrse2 on Nov 17, '11 : Reason: spelling erroe
Nov 17, '11Quote from fltnrse2there 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.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
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.
Nov 17, '11RN/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!!
Nov 18, '11Quote from Fltnrse2Rather 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
Jan 20, '12Dear 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 to function.
Again thank you for your effort in presenting this topic, it so describes the situation I have been in.
Linda Zink FLTNRSE2
Jun 1, '12what 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 =DLast edit by whitebunny on Jun 1, '12 : Reason: gramma