How do you handle bullying?

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    Okay first of all. Nursing is a professional job yet why are nurses not always treated that way. I find it annoying that actually nurses bully other nurses and you can literally google horizontal violence and read about it. I think I can stand anything else but I want to be respected. I don't want to worry about being bullied. And it starts it nursing school. None of us like this so why don't we change the system.

    And I think it would be great if you could share times you have been mistreated ( by doctors, patients, fellow nurses) and how you handled it so it didn't happen in the future. Also, which specialty of nursing has the least of amount of this type of nonsense.

    I think lack of good social support really leads to stress. What stressful times did you face in nursing school. Should nursing school really be a "weed out" process? Does being mean to students and pushing them to breaking point mean you picked out the best nurses for the future. I mean I think it hard for any human to decide who has the makings of a good nurse and who does not only God knows
    Last edit by tnbutterfly on Aug 24, '12
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  3. 4 Comments so far...

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    I started working in a new unit in a new hospital and the bullying began almost immediately. Horizontal violence is the correct term! I'd always been able to get along wherever I was. Even when I was travel nursing, I made a point of trying to be a real part of the unit, contributing to potlucks and such. I never had issues until I went to work in this particular NICU. I thought maybe I had just run into a clique while I was doing my initial orientation on dayshift, but it was pervasive throughout the unit, on every shift. The first night on night shift when my orientation was complete, I got to listen to a rundown of my faults, capped off with "Why did the manager have to hire her?" It was the most miserable 11 1/2 months of my life. I tried being friendly, being firm, keeping to myself, etc. I had two trusted coworkers, the rest were outright hostile. I finally bailed. Life is too short.

    As for nursing school, I did not experience weeding out. I do see that in the several ADN schools in our area. They accept a whole lot of students with the full intention of flunking a portion of them out. In our BSN program, we only lost 1 out of our class. The school was very selective and had small class sizes. It was grueling, but I always felt the teachers were invested in our success. They never cut us any slack, but they genuinely wanted us to learn and succeed.

    With doctors, I've always found that a bland, flat stare with flat tone of voice tends to diffuse some things. Bullies hate it when they don't get a reaction. I've never had any serious issues with doctors. In the couple of tirades I did experience, I just stared at them, let them finish, and said, "ok." And what was I saying ok to? Maybe it was "ok, you are an idiot" but they couldn't prove it! I couldn't be accused of being disrespectful, but I certainly didn't give them what they wanted, which is usually tears, protestations, or an argument.

    I have I've only worked in L&D and NICU, but I've worked in many hospitals, and most L&Ds I've experienced are good. You have to work together, and the doctors have to trust you. I had to sit with a pregnant girl in ICU one day to monitor the baby, and I finally decided she was laboring. I called our OB and he came and agreed with my assessment. The ICU nurses watched us interact and they commented that we seemed to have an exceptionally good relationship, when in fact he's the doc I feel the least comfortable and buddy-buddy with. I think L&D nurses and OBs just by necessity have to have good relationships. Not to say that there aren't some real a&&h@l3s in obstetrics, but I don't think they are the majority.
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    Moved to Nurse Colleague / Patient Relations for more response.
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    Has anyone else wondered if bullies start their bullying part of life as 'mean girls' and 'mean boys'??? It seems that bullying is quite prevalent in nursing school, so was it that way for those bullies in high school and earlier? Something in OP's post just jumped out at me to make me think that was.

    I have also long thought that Type A personalities (remember Type A & Type B) might be somehow related to ADD/ADHD.

    Inquiring minds want to know.
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    Bullies start really young and continue their behavior throughout life. I don't allow them to phase me with it their horizontal and lateral violence at work and have been around that type of unprofessional behavior several times and it irks those bullies when you don't allow them to get to you. Stooping to their level is something I will not do and I just allow themselves to look pathetic in front of others on their own accord. Taking the high road is the better way unless there is blatant horizontal and lateral violence that is ongoing. Documenting the incidents and writing them up and reporting them is key because it doesn't allow them to continue such behaviors unless they desire termination and the facility wants to be part of a lawsuit.


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