Sexual harassment?

  1. I don't really know what to call it because it's not my boss or my co-workers but, every time we get a young, male, hypersexual patient on our floor, he beelines straight for me. I have lived in bad neighborhoods in my life--I've been harassed on the street and still am. But dealing with this day in and day out at work is new to me. Sorry if this is intentionally vague but I don't want to reveal too much of myself...

    I am not THAT young... I started this job in my late twenties. I have been on this unit for about a year. But I am one of the younger nurses on the floor and also one of the most fit, I guess. My entire life I felt like the ugly duckling, mostly due to a skin condition that has cleared up but I will always feel like that girl, you know? When I was younger and wanted male attention, it was nowhere to be found. Now that I am circling thirty and am engaged, I am perped constantly. And I cry in secret (well, I try to). I want to be glib and coy... I want to let everything roll off me like water off a duck's back. And I want to be immune while still retaining my sensitivity. My co-workers tell me, "Oh, it's just because you're so cute." First off, I am not. Secondly, what has that got to do with anything? And third, all I want to do is crawl out of my own skin... I'm sorry. I'm really just venting here and not looking for any real advice. It's just that every day I get sadder and sadder. I worry about my depression as one of my patients threatens to rape me to a male co-worker. I worry about my sanity. Thanks for listening.
  2. Visit hollyann12 profile page

    About hollyann12, BSN, RN

    Joined: Jun '11; Posts: 6; Likes: 10
    from US
    Specialty: 3 year(s) of experience


  3. by   eatmysoxRN
    I think you should see if your employer offers a mental health assistance program. It sounds like you're struggling a lot with more than just your current situation.

    I know what you mean about some male patients. I am not fit but most of the time many men just make inappropriate advances. You have to be firm and set limitations and let them know right off that they are not permitted to do that. If you continue to feel uncomfortable then speak to your charge about changing assignments. Best of luck.

    ~ No One Can Make You Feel Inferior Without Your Consent -Eleanor Roosevelt ~
  4. by   Tait
    Unfortunately you are not alone. I have been told I provided "the best fantasies" and was also held up against a sink by a detoxer who I think was using it as an excuse to be rough. I am not any kind of beauty queen, but it reality that doesn't matter. Sexual harassment can happen to anyone, despite age, appearance, or status because it really isn't about us, but the delusions in the other person's mind. I would report all occurrences to my boss, seek Employee Assistance and see if you can get in to see a counselor, and alert co-workers when you are having issues with a patient. I will agree that sometimes co-workers can be just as bad. After I was held against the sink by one patient (at 6am the ONLY time I went into his room without a co-worker) I came back to work a few days later to see his paperwork on my team. He was back, but he wasn't on our floor, however the techs thought it would be funny to make it look like he was mine.

    In the end you have to be proactive for yourself. I have been doing counseling as well, for several anxiety issues, and it has made a world of difference for me. While it will not stop someone from harassing you, it will help you understand your value as a human being, deal with being objectified, and give you more strength to advocate for yourself.

    It breaks my heart to hear you are dealing with this.

  5. by   LadyFree28
    I second a lot of the posters here.

    I also suggest taking some self-defense classes or classes in how to use "defensive" words.

    I took a self defense class and it did wonders in deescalating a lot of situations, even when I communicated with doctors.
  6. by   Marshall1
    I agree 100% w/the other posters you may benefit from some counseling as it sounds like there is a lot going on..I'd like to add:

    If a patient made ANY type of threat toward myself or another coworker I cannot imagine not reporting it to the supervisor, documenting it and notifying security if the facility has such. This is not to be over-reactive but lets face it - there are more mean spirited or impaired people coming into the facilities..I don't care what color, what sex, how rich, how poor - a threat is a threat and the threat of rape is NOT a joke - ever - nor is the threat of harm in any form.

    Nurses and women (and yes I know men too but more so women) are objectified in many areas - porn is full of the "nurse" fantasy and some patients have NO idea nor do they care about what a real nurses is/does - they are seeking only self pleasure/gratification and some people are just plain screwed up/nasty individuals.

    We are responsible for protecting ourselves and laying the ground work with a patient - if they say/do something inappropriate try to calmly, firmly and clearly let them know their actions (verbal or non-verbal) will not be tolerated and do what you have to - even if this means going up the chain/switching patients - do ensure your safety. We are not toys for patients or nor should we be targets for their anger, sexual issues or whatever else. If you don't feel that management is supportive of nurses when these situations arise then you have to decide if this employer is worth sticking with. Regardless of what an employer may say, they are responsible to a point for ensuring a safe, harassment free work place. If you have a Risk Manager call them. I am not saying anytime a patient makes a compliment you should over react - most people know the difference between a non-threatening "you look nice today" or "you sure are pretty" versus "I'd like to ____" or grabbing you.

    There is NO job I would allow myself to be harassed nor would I stand by while if another co worker was the target. Learn to VALUE YOURSELF - you do not deserve to go to work and stress about some idiot that can't control himself on top of everything else.