Bullying - What is it?

  1. 0
    A lot of threads discuss whether or not bullying is rampant. I want to give some examples of behaviors and I am interested in people to tell me which one(s) consist of bullying, rude behavior, or social abuse.

    (1) A nurse grabbing a sheet from her orientee's hands, stating in a raised voice that "its too sloppy, give it to me" so that she can fold it herself over a patient.

    (2) A nurse not letting her orientee go to lunch or cover their orientee's lunch because the orientee had to catch up on documentation, even though the nurse had taken lunch herself.

    (3) A nurse loudly commanding their orientee in the nurses station to finish their documentation before doing anything else because they don't want to get out late.

    (4) A nurse asking another nurse "why did you needlestick yourself?" after an accidental needlestick that requires the nurse to go to occ health.

    (5) A nurse asking another nurse during ICU handoff why they didn't obtain an order to replete their patients potassium of 3.8.

    These are real life situations that I have experienced or observed. In my opinion, the majority of them demonstrate the height of rudeness. The last one demonstrates someone suggesting that a nurse didn't follow their patient's labs to replete their normal potassium level to one that was more normal.

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  2. 86 Comments...

  3. 7
    Quote from RNdynamic
    A lot of threads discuss whether or not bullying is rampant. I want to give some examples of behaviors and I am interested in people to tell me which one(s) consist of bullying, rude behavior, or social abuse.

    (1) A nurse grabbing a sheet from her orientee's hands, stating in a raised voice that "its too sloppy, give it to me" so that she can fold it herself over a patient.

    (2) A nurse not letting her orientee go to lunch or cover their orientee's lunch because the orientee had to catch up on documentation, even though the nurse had taken lunch herself.

    (3) A nurse loudly commanding their orientee in the nurses station to finish their documentation before doing anything else because they don't want to get out late.

    (4) A nurse asking another nurse "why did you needlestick yourself?" after an accidental needlestick that requires the nurse to go to occ health.

    (5) A nurse asking another nurse during ICU handoff why they didn't obtain an order to replete their patients potassium of 3.8.

    These are real life situations that I have experienced or observed. In my opinion, the majority of them demonstrate the height of rudeness. The last one demonstrates someone suggesting that a nurse didn't follow their patient's labs to replete their normal potassium level to one that was more normal.
    My answers would be:

    1: rude behavior. Not necessary, but not bullying.
    2: breach of company policy and unacceptable. Don't know that I'd call it bullying, but I'd call it being a jerk.
    3:again, jerky behavior.
    4: this is a good one. My father did this for my whole life. Turns out when he'd yell at us when we hurt ourselves as kids, it SCARED him and he reacted by yelling "Why did you do that?" (He is a very gentle man) But it could be jerky behavior.
    5: this seems uninformed to me and/or finding a nit to pick.

    I'm sure someone might find a bully in the bunch, but it won't be me
    toomuchbaloney, annie.rn, GrnTea, and 4 others like this.
  4. 1
    Good reply; another question. What if it is one person doing all of those behaviors to one other nurse? Does the targeting from one nurse to another constitute bullying? Or maybe the consistent act of being rude?
    toomuchbaloney likes this.
  5. 8
    I think those examples just make the person an ****, not a bully, but I guess the line is kind of blurry there. By using the term a-hole instead of bully though, I feel like it's less of a victim mentality. I've dealt with many a-holes in many different parts of life. Calling them bullies and implementing bullying policies won't make them any less of an a-hole and won't make them magically go away.

    Basically, I just feel like the term "bully" is being over used and creating a victimhood mentality that is only contributing to the problem it's trying to solve. To me, bully is someone abusing their power for absolutely no reason except to show they have the power to do so. In the examples you gave, the perpetrator was a-hole, but they were still trying to make a point, just in a very ineffective and rude way. To me that's different than bullying.
    Last edit by Silverdragon102 on Jul 12 : Reason: changed to all **
    tntrn, annie.rn, GrnTea, and 5 others like this.
  6. 9
    Yeah, you pretty much nailed it. That is a rude person who is prickly to deal with. A bully? Doubt it. They are probably equally jerktastic to anyone they perceive as likely to take it.

    Responses:

    1. *cheerful* Its ok! I got it! or *cheerful* Great idea, lets do it together!

    2. *cheerful* I am taking my lunch break now, my blood sugar is getting low. See you in a half hour!

    3. *pleasant* I don't want to get out late either. Mr. Soandso in room 16 is due for his second bag of potassium. If you would rather I work on this could you take care of hanging that for me? Thanks!

    4. I don't know but it has me pretty shook up.

    5. Because this is a 24 hour job and it is something that I did not get to. So moving on, Mr. Soandso got taken to IR to have his gtube placed blahdeblahdeblahcontinuewithreport.
    annie.rn, GrnTea, openyourmind, and 6 others like this.
  7. 2
    Quote from RNdynamic
    Good reply; another question. What if it is one person doing all of those behaviors to one other nurse? Does the targeting from one nurse to another constitute bullying? Or maybe the consistent act of being rude?
    If it is one person, maybe they're just not a very nice person. I know a few people who constantly are like this. They're just rude people, as they aren't even nurses.
    annie.rn and GrnTea like this.
  8. 2
    IMH (umble) O, everything but number 2 is not more than quirks. Rude, for sure, especialy number 1, but can be excused if not being done consistently by the same person, and especially if done toward the only one another person, in which case there should be a chat with someone.
    Number 5 is actually pure ICU business talk. Patient can suddenly drop urine output, for example.
    Number 2 and 4 are the ones to be addressed then and there. The latter one should be understood as "how that happened?", so that possibly wrong technique used by the nurse, such as recapping needles or poor handling, can be remediated and the nurse wouldn't hurt herself next time with needle contaminated by genuine HIV.
    annie.rn and GrnTea like this.
  9. 10
    (1) A nurse grabbing a sheet from her orientee's hands, stating in a raised voice that "its too sloppy, give it to me" so that she can fold it herself over a patient.

    (2) A nurse not letting her orientee go to lunch or cover their orientee's lunch because the orientee had to catch up on documentation, even though the nurse had taken lunch herself.

    (3) A nurse loudly commanding their orientee in the nurses station to finish their documentation before doing anything else because they don't want to get out late.

    (4) A nurse asking another nurse "why did you needlestick yourself?" after an accidental needlestick that requires the nurse to go to occ health.

    (5) A nurse asking another nurse during ICU handoff why they didn't obtain an order to replete their patients potassium of 3.8.
    "Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted" Ralph Waldo Emerson

    1) Not bullying
    an example of bullying "Don't you ever learn anything? I can't believe you are so stupid that you can't fold a sheet"
    "its too sloppy, give it to me" impatient control freak but not a bully
    a better communication...Let me show you a way to do this quickly and neatly that I have learned

    2) Socially inept behavior....bully? No. Handled better: I am going to go to lunch. You need to finish your documentation first. In nursing it is important that tasks are finished in a timely manner. You can join us when you are done.

    3) again a lack of social skills...not a good teacher by any means bully? no. A better communication: In nursing it is important to organize ourselves so that we can leave on time...you have fallen behind now take a moment and catch up.

    4) Asking why did you needle-stick yourself while maybe not the most flowery expression...it is important to understand what happened and how it happened so that you can change a behavior to avoid future practice/technique mistakes.

    5) I wouldn't call asking another nurse asking why the potassium wasn't called. Maye the patient was having ectopy. Maybe this patient is on massive diuretics that even a small decrease of potassium can be a big deal in the presence of massive diuresis. Some cardiologists and cardiac surgeons are slightly more aggressive in the presence of certain diagnosis or surgeries. Asking why someone didn't call or replace a lab isn't being a bully.

    Just because someone doesn't communicate in the tone or manner that you would prefer them to doesn't mean they are bullies ot that you are being bullied. I think the development of emotional resiliency is important in any work environment
    Meriwhen, OCNRN63, Ruby Vee, and 7 others like this.
  10. 2
    Definition of a bully:

    "use superior strength or influence to intimidate (someone), typically to force him or her to do what one wants"

    "
    blustering, quarrelsome, overbearing person who habitually badgers and intimidates smaller or weaker people."
  11. 3
    Quote from Esme12
    "Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted" Ralph Waldo Emerson

    1) Not bullying
    an example of bullying "Don't you ever learn anything? I can't believe you are so stupid that you can't fold a sheet"
    "its too sloppy, give it to me" impatient control freak but not a bully
    a better communication...Let me show you a way to do this quickly and neatly that I have learned

    2) Socially inept behavior....bully? No. Handled better: I am going to go to lunch. You need to finish your documentation first. In nursing it is important that tasks are finished in a timely manner. You can join us when you are done.

    3) again a lack of social skills...not a good teacher by any means bully? no. A better communication: In nursing it is important to organize ourselves so that we can leave on time...you have fallen behind now take a moment and catch up.

    4) Asking why did you needle-stick yourself while maybe not the most flowery expression...it is important to understand what happened and how it happened so that you can change a behavior to avoid future practice/technique mistakes.

    5) I wouldn't call asking another nurse asking why the potassium wasn't called. Maye the patient was having ectopy. Maybe this patient is on massive diuretics that even a small decrease of potassium can be a big deal in the presence of massive diuresis. Some cardiologists and cardiac surgeons are slightly more aggressive in the presence of certain diagnosis or surgeries. Asking why someone didn't call or replace a lab isn't being a bully.

    Just because someone doesn't communicate in the tone or manner that you would prefer them to doesn't mean they are bullies ot that you are being bullied. I think the development of emotional resiliency is important in any work environment
    I don't see doctors, pharmacists, teachers, and other professionals talking to one another in the manner I described above. But I see it in nursing. I also see it in min. wage places like Taco Bell and Burger King, or in hairdressing salons. The quotations I gave resemble how one might talk down to a misbehaving child, in my opinion. I wouldn't dream of grabbing stuff out of people's hands and saying "give me that." I actually see that as physical hostility. It's an invasion of space. Why in nursing do you find this behavior defensible? How come it doesn't pervade in other professions, or at least appear so? Is it because we (you) hold ourselves to a lower standard?


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