Workplace bullying

  1. 0
    We all hear about Bullying. But what about Bullying in the workplace? I believe Nursing is notorious for Bullying in my own opinion. Why do I say that bc I have been Bullied in Nursing and it caused harm to me. The statement "Nurses eat there young" is very true. Whether it be a new grad or a new nurse to a new floor. or a working with seasoned old nurses who gang up on nurses with not that many years experience.

    With that said I would like to hear your stories of being Bullied as a Nurse. I will also tell my story in which sent me into a deep depression and nervous breakdown.

    Do you believe these nurses should be disciplined by the board for the Bullying they have done that has either harmed or not harmed another nurse?

    Very curious for your input thank you.
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  3. 11 Comments so far...

  4. 9
    I have witnessed bullying as a nurse. And when I do, I torment the bullying offender by any means necessary. I let them know in no uncertain terms in a perfectly even voice that his/her behavior is unacceptable. Phrases I like to use:

    "Why don't you take it down a notch?"

    "Do you always act like this or is there some reason for your behavior?"

    "We do our best to help each other out here."

    "Stop it."

    "Knock it off."

    "Grow up."

    (When they are peppering the outgoing RN with questions about minutiae "The information you are looking for is in the Kardex right in front of you."

    "Does your face always look like that?" (Once when someone was staring daggers at me.)

    Bullies want you to be uncomfortable, intimidated and quiet. Stand up for yourself and be none of these. Develop good working relationships with your coworkers and band together and stick up for each other when it occurs.

    A while back I was doing observation for a committee and saw a nurse unreasonably berate another very new nurse in front of a patient. I told my abused coworker she did NOT have to put up with that and understood she could not verbally respond in front of her patient. I made sure my coworker knew I was reporting the bad behavior verbatim to my unit's boss, my committee, and the president of the hospital. Not sure if it got back to the offender but my coworkers sure appreciated the support.

    I understand that people will tell me "You are just as bad bullying in response to bullying." Those people are wrong.
    almostnewgrad311, monkeybug, GrnTea, and 6 others like this.
  5. 2
    My story starts where I teed off one of my main preceptor's as a new nurse. I had known this nurse as a tech and we were friends so I actually requested her to be one of my preceptors when I was hired as a new RN.

    What I did not know, and my manager and peers failed to tell me also, was that she had already had red flags up as a preceptor. I found out way too late that the last person she precepted just quit right before coming off orientation.

    One of the biggest problems was that she wanted to look like an awesome preceptor and she thought that to do so my time management was to be up to par with hers, a seasoned nurse. So she would ride me (when she wasn't BS'ing with peers) about how fast I was getting everything done.

    She would also put my questions off (we'll talk about that later...later never came) and would also tell me to do one thing (like call the CNA to get a BP) and then say another (like you've got to do it yourself, they're busy-she was very partial to a specific CNA). I could have just done it myself the first time...woulda helped my time management!

    This really did not help me transition roles, learn, or help with gaining respect from the other nurses or CNA's, or learn proper delegation skills.

    Needless to say, I was trying to stick it out in a miserable situation (six weeks) but we ended up boiling over the week before I came off orientation and I voiced my concerns to the manager. Both BIG mistakes!

    My manager actually put me on an extended "orientation" period where I flew solo but I was aware that my job could be terminated at anytime all because of my preceptor's feedback. I was crushed.

    I had already worked for this company for years! But that's not all...

    Once I totally ticked off my preceptor, I ticked off her click of nurses that I had known as a CNA/tech prior to becoming a nurse. This set me up for a horribly unsupportive and cold-shouldered first year as a nurse.

    I was treated like I was an absolute idiot when I asked questions. Answers were given with an annoyed undertone if given at all. Techs would say that they would help me and then never show up or what I delegated would get "forgotten about." I was also just excluded from simple things like ordering out for food. Food would just randomly show up and others would be eating...hmmm...

    I work on a 40+ bed unit so this is a fair number of peers to be shunned by. Thankfully I had a few go-to people that absolutely saved my patients for me when I knew something was wrong but was too inexperienced to know yet just what was going on. My patients will always come before my pride so when I had questions or needed help then I asked anybody I could find but who I asked and who I could find make an impact on the whole learning experience.

    I have time and a high turn-over on my floor to thank for being almost bullied free these days. Here I am 2+ years later as one of the more seasoned nurses on my floor with the newbies and other peers asking for my help often every shift. I am also one of the main preceptor's on my floor for my shift and as far as I know I'm a damn good one too. Turning out to be a damn good nurse as well!

    As my grandmother always told me...

    What does not kill you will only make you stronger. Amen Grandma Amen

    P.S. I have noticed a few of the newer nurses (like new grads) being kinda "clicky". I wonder if this is where the "nurses eat their young" tradition evolves from. You know what clicky rhymes with huh...
    Last edit by Esme12 on Oct 31, '13 : Reason: TOS/profanity/use of letters and symbols
    TheMoonisMyLantern and Prudi like this.
  6. 0
    I forgot to answer the last question.

    No, I do not think that the BON should punish bullies.

    I think that the manager or the person in charge should deal with the conflict appropriately and provide support/resources for both the bullies and the bullied.

    We know from watching our kids grow that often bullies come from being the bullied in the past...the unfortunate difference are that we are adults and not children.
  7. 1
    Quote from ArtClassRN
    I have witnessed bullying as a nurse. And when I do, I torment the bullying offender by any means necessary. I let them know in no uncertain terms in a perfectly even voice that his/her behavior is unacceptable. Phrases I like to use:

    "Why don't you take it down a notch?"

    "Do you always act like this or is there some reason for your behavior?"

    "We do our best to help each other out here."

    "Stop it."

    "Knock it off."

    "Grow up."

    (When they are peppering the outgoing RN with questions about minutiae "The information you are looking for is in the Kardex right in front of you."

    "Does your face always look like that?" (Once when someone was staring daggers at me.)

    Bullies want you to be uncomfortable, intimidated and quiet. Stand up for yourself and be none of these. Develop good working relationships with your coworkers and band together and stick up for each other when it occurs.
    If defeating a bully was as simple as "standing up for yourself", no one would be bullied. Unfortunately, bullies are very good at isolating their victims, and some take "standing up for ypurself" as a challenge, and escalate the bullying. Often the same bullies are protected by someone higher up in the food chain.

    One of the biggest workplace bullies I ever encountered had sued her previous employer for unlawful termination, and she made sure everyone knew it. HR would not touch her, even when she harrassed multiple employees. Another huge bully was related to the head of accounting. He was also untouchable, and he knew it. When my mother worked for Amtrak, there was a lot of extreme bullying, and the culprits could not be disciplined because the union would defend them every time.
    Prudi likes this.
  8. 0
    I left a job largely due to being bullied--by a MA. I'm an LPN and was brought in on a temporary basis to see if a LPN would be a good fit. There were only MA's and one RN who worked directly with the doc, I'd be doing allergy testing and shots and assisting the mid-levels. The bully MA thought I was hired to be the 4th MA, and when I reminded her that I wasn't a MA and wasn't hired to be one, she said "we have the same title, as (hospital system name) employees, so we all do the same thing" and walked off. There were two halls that the 3 MAs and myself had to work, and two docs on each hall. She would only room pts for one doc on one hall and reprimanded me when I roomed a pt for the other doc in the other hall--even though we were supposed to. She was the opening MA, got there an hour before I did, and was responsible for unloading the autoclave and stocking rooms each morning; I was responsible for loading the autoclave each evening and shutting down the rooms. She would only stock her 3 rooms and tell me I was supposed to stock the other 3 rooms on our hall (remember, I'm loading the autoclave, so all the instruments are dirty) and when I mentioned that, she got mad. She told the doc that if he was missing any instruments it was my fault because I didn't stock the rooms like I was supposed to. She also argued with me in front of a pt because I was putting a pt in a room with the functioning scope and she said the doc didn't care; I told her the doc needed the scope because pt was c/o sinus issues. After she argued with me again that the doc didn't need it, the doc finally stuck his head in the hall and told her to back off because I was right. She stomped off and refused to help me for the rest of the day. When I was offered the permanent job, I turned it down and the docs and manager all said that they'd deal with her, just to keep me. It didn't work.
  9. 2
    Unfortunately, sometimes when you stand up to bullies, they just push back harder. A nurse that I worked with was a bully. She ran off 2 new grads, a CNA and even a patient (this was long term care). None of the other nurses were ever able to figure out why she didn't get sacked but we do know she had sued a previous employer.
    This nurse would spray air freshener in the nurses station. I asked her to stop due to my asthma and migraine. Instead of stopping, she got worse. I stood my ground, and she sprayed more. I finally had to go to administration, who did nothing. She bullied everyone. She is still there and thankfully, I am at a hospital that takes bullying seriously. Point is, sometimes, bullies do NOT back down because they either have nothing to lose or they know they won't get busted.
    Not_A_Hat_Person and dance4life like this.
  10. 0
    I have several stories. For one I am a Traveler. I get bullied all the time. It is sad that I have become accustom to it.
  11. 0
    Quote from BamaRN2004
    We all hear about Bullying. But what about Bullying in the workplace? I believe Nursing is notorious for Bullying in my own opinion. Why do I say that bc I have been Bullied in Nursing and it caused harm to me. The statement "Nurses eat there young" is very true. Whether it be a new grad or a new nurse to a new floor. or a working with seasoned old nurses who gang up on nurses with not that many years experience.

    With that said I would like to hear your stories of being Bullied as a Nurse. I will also tell my story in which sent me into a deep depression and nervous breakdown.

    Do you believe these nurses should be disciplined by the board for the Bullying they have done that has either harmed or not harmed another nurse?

    Very curious for your input thank you.
    ​Ageist.
  12. 0
    A nurse I worked with at the last job had a horrible rep as a bully. She was actually a good nurse, but the problem was not so much bullying in my mind, but gossip. She would offer to help you with a patient, then talk about you (when you weren't around) that she "had" to help you. She did this with seasoned nurses and newbies. She was always badmouthing someone, and the funny thing is, she wasn't allowed to pass narcs because of a diversionary past, so someone always had to cover for her pt's narcotic needs. (And there were a lot in that place.)


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