How to promote tolerance and support teamwork, - page 2

There are numerous posts here about bullying and lateral violence. There is no denying the existence of this behavior, and anyone can be a target. Early in my career, I was a target more than once,... Read More

  1. by   Teacher Sue
    Different people bully for different reasons. For some I think it is a control issue, some may feel their status is threatened by new staff, and some may get some kind of satisfaction out of being mean. One characteristic I often perceive in bullies is low self esteem. It seems that instead of trying to build up their own self esteem, bullies find it more gratifying to tear others down to their level. They may think that criticizing others and pointing out every little error makes them look better by comparison, but in reality it only makes them look unprofessional and hateful.

    I know it is difficult to move past this knd of thing, but as long as you are focusing on your past experiences, you are allowing her to exert control over you. And if you showed fear and allowed her to intimidate you at the BLS class, she got exactly what she wanted. Bullies are like sharks. They can smell fear and are attracted to blood in the water. I don't know you, and can't tell you what will work for you to get over this. But for your emotional health and your career, you need to find a way.

    Quote from wish_me_luck
    Thanks, Teacher Sue, on behalf of all of us who were bullied. We appreciate the efforts that some managers are putting forth to combat this problem.

    I must ask though because I don't understand; is this a control problem? Like if you have a choatic unit and you have a couple of bullies and some new people. Will they bully the new people because they feel like that's the only control they have over something? Is it a jealousy factor? I want to move on from my past experience but I have to be honest, I really am afraid it will happen elsewhere. I just want to go to work and take care of my patients and not be bullied.

    I know I had to renew my CPR cert. and my former bully was actually in that class. She gave me "the glare" as I call it; she stared me down. I don't know if she was trying to intimidate me or what. I tried to ignore her and not look at her after I saw that. After all, I was there to get my CPR cert. renewed; not get into it with her. BTW, my bully was the "senior bully" not one that was bullying to avoid bullying like you were.
    Last edit by Teacher Sue on Sep 6, '12
  2. by   wish_me_luck
    Thanks for reply. That's unfortunate because while they are busy tearing others down, they don't realize that some people already have a low self esteem. I tried to stay "chippy" because I refused to be a "debbie downer" but it definitely hurt personally (I always felt like I was an awful tech; I later realized I wasn't alone in the treatment and wished I had stuck it out...even though it was full time and I went to school full time). I wasn't trying to take her job and I never rubbed me trying to get my BSN (she was an ADN) in her face (please, that was not a stab at the ADNs for any ADNs reading this; just some people feel threatened).

    Is it fair to ask how a manager would handle a bullying situation on an interview? Would they put me in the "don't hire" pile right off?
  3. by   ProgressiveActivist
    In many hospitals these days, a bullying personality equates "leadership skills" to the management.

    These people aren't being weeded out in nursing school. Therein lies the problem.
  4. by   SarcasticLVN
    I really like this post! Bullying really is a problem in facilities and I see a lot of seniority at my place. One of my managers with get on me for something petty but will cover the senior nurses butts even though they've made some bad mistakes.
  5. by   mariebailey
    Thank you for this post.
  6. by   samadams8
    Quote from Teacher Sue
    No, they have both gone to other hospitals. They both tried to transfer to other units within our hospital, but their reputations were well known and no other manager would have them. I started out by changing scheduling guidelines. The previous manager gave them whatever they wanted, because she rationalized that they would just trade shifts with others to get what they wanted anyway. I scheduled them a fair number of off shifts, and set the expectation that all trades had to go through me. They did try to pressure others into trading shifts, but I would not approve the trades. I also started making out assignments myself, rather than have the charge nurses do it. They would try to change their assignments when they came in, but I would not allow this either. The practice on the unit had been to rotate charge among all of the staff. I picked two promising staff members and made them permanent charge so that these two were not in charge any longer. And I gave the charge nurses authority to help with performance evaluations. Queen Bee number one was chair of the unit practice council, and I relieved her of that duty. And I just started making them accountable for their behaviors. They were very angry with me at first, and would tag team me with complaints. One would be in my office with an issue about the way I was handling things, then the next day the other would be there complaining about the same thing. Their previous performance evaluations had been stellar, I think because the previous manager was intimidated by them. When they got "unacceptable" on their evaluations, they were livid. And I did place both of them into corrective action for their behaviors. Throughout the process I had extensive support from my director and the CNO. A big part of the issue was that the previous manager had left this situation continue for several years. She was a good person, but I think she was bullied as well. She did tell me that these two were the main reason she decided to leave her position. They both hung on for about a year and a half, then left. I truly hope that they did not continue acting this way in their new positions.
    Isn't amazing how it may only take a few people to cause a whirlwind of trouble?The bully thing often becomes a cycle of violence, until it becomes part of the unspoken culture. I have seen this at staff meetings too. People are afraid of the intimidation, so even though they agree that something needs to be addressed to others prior to the meeting, they back down and tighten up during the meetings. They have seen the good guy be made to look like the bad guy too many times.
  7. by   RNitis
    The greatest is the bullying by your so called "mentors"..The ones who say they will take you under their wing, but the first to listen to the "other girls" on the floor over you (the other girls on the floor, whom by the way, feel threatened by your very presence even though you're a pushover who doesn't step on anyones toes)...Then there is the other upper management (hospital nursing supervisor-different job) who feels the need to announce to the whole floor in a meeting (passive-aggressively) that you are somehow different from the rest of them (when she has no idea who you are or how you work, because she's never on the floor!!) The exact conversation was over a scholarship the hospital offers to employees. An older RN was asking about the scholarship in relation to her getting her Masters, when I was used as this example, Supervisor says "well, the bike scholarship was started for (as she looks at me), people like (..insert my name here..) who wouldn't necessarily be able to go to nursing school if it weren't for these scholarships"...say f'ing what?!?! You somehow know that I'm not from "the elite" and means what exactly?? Needless, to say, I was secretly mortified (by the way, I never used a damn scholarship, I have good ol student loans I still need to pay, have never asked for a handout for one bit of my schooling and probably won't..I come from a single mother who raised three kids on her own and she was the first in my entire line of family to go to college-paid by loans, also-my cousin second, me the third)..What do you do in that situation? Absolutely nothing because the higher up have all known these people their whole careers and your word means nothing. If it is listened to, it somehow gets turned on you to be the one in the wrong....and you can't exactly give these people a piece of your mind, so you walk away feeling defeated and feeling you need to learn to be more assertive...wouldn't matter how assertive I could have been, you can't win over the ones who feel (and like to show) that they are invincible. (also the ones who love to have noses in their cracks and don't let up until you follow the line. No thanks, I'm not one to endlessly attempt to kiss it for the mere hope for advancement or acceptance...personal problem rant..I'll shut up now
  8. by   ProgressiveActivist
    Even if the bullies are fired, promoted or transfer out, the unit dynamic is set and the most power hungry person gets ready to take on the role of unit bully/troublemaker/miss pick a fight/lazy sarcastic queen bee. It is so predictable, especially when you have a weak manager.
  9. by   samadams8
    Quote from libbyliberal
    Even if the bullies are fired, promoted or transfer out, the unit dynamic is set and the most power hungry person gets ready to take on the role of unit bully/troublemaker/miss pick a fight/lazy sarcastic queen bee. It is so predictable, especially when
    you have a weak manager.
    This is precisely why leadership, ON ALL LEVELS, is absolutely imperative! You don't really know how the hirer up ethos works, or lack thereof, until you are thrown into a bully sort of situation-- or if you have a good view from the sidelines. How administration responds reflects on whether or not they take their value statements seriously. When you don't see the ethos, start looking elsewhere.
    Last edit by samadams8 on Sep 8, '12
  10. by   samadams8
    Re: my previous post--posted after 3am on my Ipad. Um, should read higher up, not hirer up. Sorry folks.