How to handle being belittled by superior?

  1. Hi all,

    My practice regarding a specific technique while performing a skill came into question at my job recently, and I was subsequently reported to management. I have no issues with accepting and correcting my understanding of the procedure, what I am upset about is the way in which I felt I was belittled by my manager. I was spoken to in an extremely degrading manner and spoken to as if I was a child being scolded. This has weighed heavily on my mind since it happened.

    How would you proceed? Would I be making a mistake if I spoke to my manager and let them know how their approach made me feel?

    Thank you.
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  2. 12 Comments

  3. by   WKShadowRN
    I'd let it go. It will come off as sour grapes related to the constructive criticism.
  4. by   meanmaryjean
    Agree with PP. Let it lie.
  5. by   Sour Lemon
    Quote from 2bNurse-88
    Hi all,

    My practice regarding a specific technique while performing a skill came into question at my job recently, and I was subsequently reported to management. I have no issues with accepting and correcting my understanding of the procedure, what I am upset about is the way in which I felt I was belittled by my manager. I was spoken to in an extremely degrading manner and spoken to as if I was a child being scolded. This has weighed heavily on my mind since it happened.

    How would you proceed? Would I be making a mistake if I spoke to my manager and let them know how their approach made me feel?

    Thank you.
    It would be better to let them know how you learned something and your nursing practice has improved. Resist the urge to react emotionally.
  6. by   CrunchRN
    Did you screw it up badly? If so you need to own it. If not, you need to find out why they reacted that way.
  7. by   ckim
    I agree with the first commenter. It's happened before to me as well, although not from a manager. I've also had well-meaning, experienced nurses try to teach me things the incorrect way.
  8. by   ottersloveoysters
    As much as it sucks, I would let it go and move on. Some people have a thoughtful way to deliver constructive criticism, some don't.
  9. by   cherryelle07
    I recently had this issue. I would agree with previous posters. Just let it go. Sometimes I have to remind myself how stressful my superior's job must be with a lot of the things they personally have to deal with when it comes to cooperate expectations for their region. It's not hard to get snippy or rude when you've had 500 things go wrong that day and you have to fix it somehow or face getting flack from your superior. Then there are some people who just don't have the tact to deliver constructive criticism kindly. He/She might think they are helping, but don't realize their tone or choice of words. Tomorrow is a new day and who knows... your supervisor might come in with a different attitude and it'll all be in the past.
  10. by   Buyer beware
    You know OP it would be great if all nurses and all people for that matter would tone down the the self-rightous indignation over you not being perfect like they are; but yes, move on and avoid the rush.
    Kudos to the colleague who may have spoken to you first
    You're not the first or only person ever to be harranged by Godzilla. I'm sure there are other punching bags cowering just down the hallway to the left.
    So as the saying goes: you want professionals? treat us like professionals!
    This approach like infectious disease is contagious and in a good way.
  11. by   SmilingBluEyes
    You know a good while back, my supervisor yelled at me in front of fellow staff, patients and others. It was humiliating. I had no problem with the notion that I should be corrected (even though I really did nothing wrong and it was false). I did have issues with how it was done. But I let myself cool off for a couple days.

    Then I went to the manager, shut the door, and had a frank and unemotional discussion about how it was wrong to yell at me in front of colleagues, patients and others. I said that it was fine to take issue with what I did, but never in the manner it was done. Not only was it hurtful, but it compromised others' confidence in my abilities and competence. That is not ok.

    It worked. I got an apology and expression of understanding that I was justified in how I felt. And it never happened again.

    Sometimes we have to just communicate clearly and it's ok to set boundaries in a professional manner.
  12. by   TheCommuter
    Quote from 2bNurse-88
    Would I be making a mistake if I spoke to my manager and let them know how their approach made me feel?
    I believe in addressing incidents as they are happening, not a day or two later. It is more effective to tactfully interrupt the person at the very moment they are scolding you to tell him/her, "I feel degraded when you scold me in public. We can discuss this in private if you wish, but it is unprofessional to speak to me like this publicly."

    Nip things in the bud as they happen. Do not ruminate for days after the incident over supervisors who won't be losing a minute of sleep over you. Good luck to you.
  13. by   danielle2000
    Never accept rude behavior!!!! I do not know why people feel others should get a pass for being nasty. If you are in a leadership role you definitely have a bigger responsibility in being professional and not come off like some bulldog. You can own a mistake but you do not have to tolerate someone being rude. I have no qualms addressing that issue because I believe in nipping problems such as these before it becomes a code gray situation. I was always told send them to hell with a smile.
  14. by   Horseshoe
    Quote from SmilingBluEyes
    You know a good while back, my supervisor yelled at me in front of fellow staff, patients and others. It was humiliating. I had no problem with the notion that I should be corrected (even though I really did nothing wrong and it was false). I did have issues with how it was done. But I let myself cool off for a couple days.

    Then I went to the manager, shut the door, and had a frank and unemotional discussion about how it was wrong to yell at me in front of colleagues, patients and others. I said that it was fine to take issue with what I did, but never in the manner it was done. Not only was it hurtful, but it compromised others' confidence in my abilities and competence. That is not ok.

    It worked. I got an apology and expression of understanding that I was justified in how I felt. And it never happened again.

    Sometimes we have to just communicate clearly and it's ok to set boundaries in a professional manner.
    I love that story. I had a similar incident when I was a teacher. When I called the Vice Principal on his behavior ( I was a young "rookie" teacher), he was shocked. He apologized, though, and never disrespected me again.

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