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Bullied as a kinda new nurse

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by allyyy allyyy (New Member) New Member Nurse

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Ruby Vee has 40 years experience as a BSN and specializes in CCU, SICU, CVSICU, Precepting & Teaching.

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On 7/2/2019 at 10:49 PM, allyyy said:

I feel like I’m being bullied by the nurses on the floor that I’m orienting on. I’m a quiet person who does work quietly and thinks in my head. I only have barely a year of rehab/LTC experience so this acute setting feels pretty new. So I’m not the kind of person to go running around yelling out all of my patients problems. I read, I think, ask many questions and keep moving. I'm now being followed by the educator over an accusation of "not knowing why the patient is getting the med". I had a meeting today with my manager, supervisor, and educator and I felt like that came out of nowhere and I was completely shocked. And my preceptor was there and I felt like I couldn't say anything because I know that she said something. But I've never given the wrong patient the wrong med and I always look up meds I don't know and I always look up the doctors notes. I made an appointment to  to see where that came from with only my manager, so we’ll see how that’s goes. Overall, My preceptor and I are butting heads. I feel like I'm not learning anything important from her. She proceeds on telling me things that I already know and I try to switch the topic up but then she gets annoyed. One time she was talking about something and I looked away to look at my computer (I like to multitask) and she bursted “LOOK AT ME” in front of everyone like I’m a child. I started tearing up after that. I was so embarrassed. And after that I feel like everyone is bullying me. And I wish I spoke up sooner about these issues. Idk. There's two sides of the story. But overall, I am hurt and offended that they think I would put my patient at risk. I've spent the last two days crying and I've already accepted that I'm probably going to be fired if I don't quit first. Idk. Idk what to do. 

You're not being bullied.  The fact that you brought up being bullied at all, and that you've spent the past two days crying and contemplating quitting makes me wonder whether you're mature enough to be a nurse.  Communication has to happen, and apparently you're not only NOT doing that, but you're unjustifiably proud of not doing that.  ("I'm not the kind of person to go running around yelling out all of my patient's problems.")  Negative feedback happens, too, in every new job.  You're not dealing with that, either.

In other words, the problem is you.  YOU are the one that has to turn it around.  If it's too late to salvage this job, you'll need to turn it around before the next.  

If you cannot communicate to your preceptor, the educator, and everyone else who needs to know why the patient is getting the medication, they cannot be blamed for believing that you don't know.  Even if you don't know why the patient is getting the med, you ought to be communicating what you're going to do to remedy that situation.  Look it up?  Ask the physician or the pharmacist?  Your preceptor and educator both have the responsibility of ensuring that you know why you're giving the medication.  It is your responsibility to communicate to them that you know or will find out.

It doesn't sound as though you are learning anything from your preceptor and again, that's on you.  You need to communicate with her.  She cannot assume that you know something; she has to MAKE SURE that you know.  Therefore, you need to prove to her that you do know something (communicate) rather than changing the subject or turning away from her to look at something else.  That was unconscionably rude, and I cannot believe you're attempting to justify such rudeness as "multitasking."  

You should be embarrassed about YOUR behavior.  Unfortunately, I don't see that happening here.  Please do some honest and unflinching self-reflection before you have this meeting with your manager because otherwise, I fear you will shoot yourself in the foot.

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myoglobin has 11 years experience as a ASN, BSN and specializes in ICU, trauma, neuro.

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35 minutes ago, Ruby Vee said:

You're not being bullied.  The fact that you brought up being bullied at all, and that you've spent the past two days crying and contemplating quitting makes me wonder whether you're mature enough to be a nurse.  Communication has to happen, and apparently you're not only NOT doing that, but you're unjustifiably proud of not doing that.  ("I'm not the kind of person to go running around yelling out all of my patient's problems.")  Negative feedback happens, too, in every new job.  You're not dealing with that, either.

In other words, the problem is you.  YOU are the one that has to turn it around.  If it's too late to salvage this job, you'll need to turn it around before the next.  

If you cannot communicate to your preceptor, the educator, and everyone else who needs to know why the patient is getting the medication, they cannot be blamed for believing that you don't know.  Even if you don't know why the patient is getting the med, you ought to be communicating what you're going to do to remedy that situation.  Look it up?  Ask the physician or the pharmacist?  Your preceptor and educator both have the responsibility of ensuring that you know why you're giving the medication.  It is your responsibility to communicate to them that you know or will find out.

It doesn't sound as though you are learning anything from your preceptor and again, that's on you.  You need to communicate with her.  She cannot assume that you know something; she has to MAKE SURE that you know.  Therefore, you need to prove to her that you do know something (communicate) rather than changing the subject or turning away from her to look at something else.  That was unconscionably rude, and I cannot believe you're attempting to justify such rudeness as "multitasking."  

You should be embarrassed about YOUR behavior.  Unfortunately, I don't see that happening here.  Please do some honest and unflinching self-reflection before you have this meeting with Our manager because otherwise, I fear you will shoot yourself in the foot.

I think it is a matter of perspective. To me my primary job as a preceptor is to the best of my ability to equip the orientee to "survive" his/her new job and hopefully to prosper.  I don't see myself as some sort of "nursing guardian" to ensure competency (the NCLEX and nursing school are for that). I see nursing in a sort of "thin blue line" sort of fashion (much like the military or the police look out for their fellow officers) because metaphorically we are in  the back woods of the Kandahar province taking enemy fire.  I view orientation from a sort of "good, better, asxxxxx system".  You should always strive for good anything less and you will probably eventually get into trouble, better is a worthwhile goal but may not always be possible (or even optimal if it causes you to neglect something even more important like another patient that is destabilizing or helping a fellow nurse do something vital for their patient) and if you are going for "best" then you are probably one of those OCD personality/type A people who often end up as preceptors who see's it as their personal God given responsibility to guard the sanctity of nursing on the backs of their fellow nurses.  In Kandahar that attitude may find your fellow soldiers setting you up to take a shot from a sniper (or unfortunate friendly fire), but in hospitals it is often used by management as an extension of their tyranny a form of modern day "Judenrat" doing managements dirty work.  I also see circumstances where preceptors like maintaining "perpetual" staffing shortages so that their overtime (or that of their friends) isn't threatened.  Indeed my SO was told in first week at the CVICU at Methodist hospital in Indianapolis "good luck the last five orientees haven't succeeded don't you know I have a new pool and need the overtime". She shouldn't have been surprised when her preceptor set her up on several occasions (including disconnecting chest tube suctioning to see if she would catch the error, and switching out tube feeding after it had been checked, but not hung).  

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On 7/2/2019 at 11:49 PM, allyyy said:

One time she was talking about something and I looked away to look at my computer (I like to multitask) and she bursted “LOOK AT ME” in front of everyone like I’m a child. I started tearing up after that. I was so embarrassed.

This is not the way to talk to an employee, or anyone.  Your preceptor, like many people in authoritative positions, doesn't seem to have a very high level of social intelligence.  I would never talk to talk to someone that way- it's a great way to make people dislike you and not respect you.  

I walked out of a "great" job in my previous career b/c a co-worker spoke to me like this (not a manager).  I told him "You can't talk to me this way- I don't know who you think you are, but not even my own father talks to me this way, so I don't know why you think it's appropriate." Then I immediately quit, much to the manager's shock, telling him I was unhappy and that the environment was abusive.  Best decision ever.  No amount of money is worth being treated like garbage. 

You are not being bullied, but your preceptor is treating you like garbage when they embarrass you in front of others -speaking to you like a child, regardless of whether or not you looked away from his/her eyes during a discussion. 

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21 hours ago, Ruby Vee said:

 That was unconscionably rude, and I cannot believe you're attempting to justify such rudeness as "multitasking." 

OP mentioned that the preceptor keeps telling her things she already knows, and in a busy environment, having to stand and listen to something you already know when you have a bunch of other things to do can be excruciating. It would be hard for anyone to maintain focus. You can't assume her preceptor is a good one- she might be one of those people who is a controlling micro-manager and doesn't trust a good worker when she sees one. She might be threatened in some way by OP. 

There are bad managers in the workforce who target people to harrass to some extent for one reason or another -I have been a target before and it's not a fun place to be.  Automatically blaming the target because they are in an inferior position is exactly what enables this type of behavior. I wouldn't call it "bullying," but I would definitely call it unfair. 

"I'm now being followed by the educator over an accusation of "not knowing why the patient is getting the med". I had a meeting today with my manager, supervisor, and educator and I felt like that came out of nowhere and I was completely shocked. And my preceptor was there and I felt like I couldn't say anything because I know that she said something. But I've never given the wrong patient the wrong med and I always look up meds I don't know and I always look up the doctors notes. I made an appointment to  to see where that came from with only my manager, so we’ll see how that’s goes."

OP doesn't seem like an aloof idiot, is my point. I'm giving her the benefit of a doubt. 

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24 minutes ago, BSNbound21 said:

This is not the way to talk to an employee, or anyone.  Your preceptor, like many people in authoritative positions, doesn't seem to have a very high level of social intelligence.  I would never talk to talk to someone that way- it's a great way to make people dislike you and not respect you.  

I completely agree. I think the "LOOK AT ME" stuff (and probably some of the rest of it) was 100% inappropriate regardless of the OP's behavior.

 

15 minutes ago, BSNbound21 said:

OP mentioned that the preceptor keeps telling her things she already knows, and in a busy environment, having to stand and listen to something you already know when you have a bunch of other things to do can be excruciating.

 

Well, you have the option to communicate. Either in the moment, or better yet, you can communicate proactively, early on in the orientation or at the start of a new shift. "I feel like I'm good with [....the basics]. Would it be possible to focus more on [x] today?" If that doesn't work, talk to the NM or educator.

In the scenario posted, both actors are wrong, not just the one being aggressive instead of passive-aggressive. You need to know what attitude you are projecting so that you aren't perceived as acting any way that you don't actually mean to portray. The OP's actions sound borderline obstructionist.

 

21 hours ago, myoglobin said:

if you are going for "best" then you are probably one of those OCD personality/type A people who often end up as preceptors who see's it as their personal God given responsibility to guard the sanctity of nursing on the backs of their fellow nurses. 

 

This is a terrible generalization; as wrong as it would be to say that if you aren't at least a little OCD about a role as important as nursing, then you're just not too smart and probably lazy on top of it. 🤨 Both are at least a little wrong (I suppose 😉).

Look, as an orientee, either you wish to benefit from someone else's experience/expertise, or you don't. If you do wish to, you should act like it in a way that others can interpret as such. If orientation is not needed and all is well because someone has passed NCLEX, then by all means we should point in the direction of the policies and supplies and let the Guardians of the Sanctity off the hook. 🤷🏽‍♂️

Yes, they out there. But there are also just people who feel there is some reason that we do this thing called orientation. They feel responsible related to both internal and external pressures.

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myoglobin has 11 years experience as a ASN, BSN and specializes in ICU, trauma, neuro.

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23 minutes ago, JKL33 said:

I completely agree. I think the "LOOK AT ME" stuff (and probably some of the rest of it) was 100% inappropriate regardless of the OP's behavior.

 

 

Well, you have the option to communicate. Either in the moment, or better yet, you can communicate proactively, early on in the orientation or at the start of a new shift. "I feel like I'm good with [....the basics]. Would it be possible to focus more on [x] today?" If that doesn't work, talk to the NM or educator.

In the scenario posted, both actors are wrong, not just the one being aggressive instead of passive-aggressive. You need to know what attitude you are projecting so that you aren't perceived as acting any way that you don't actually mean to portray. The OP's actions sound borderline obstructionist.

 

 

This is a terrible generalization; as wrong as it would be to say that if you aren't at least a little OCD about a role as important as nursing, then you're just not too smart and probably lazy on top of it. 🤨 Both are at least a little wrong (I suppose 😉).

Look, as an orientee, either you wish to benefit from someone else's experience/expertise, or you don't. If you do wish to, you should act like it in a way that others can interpret as such. If orientation is not needed and all is well because someone has passed NCLEX, then by all means we should point in the direction of the policies and supplies and let the Guardians of the Sanctity off the hook. 🤷🏽‍♂️

Yes, they out there. But there are also just people who feel there is some reason that we do this thing called orientation. They feel responsible related to both internal and external pressures.

My main point is that in my experience surviving orientation if by far the most difficult part of the job as a nurse. No doubt part of the problem for me is that I am stubborn, anti-authoritarian and as someone who was reading medical journals at about the age of 12 had a medical background from a theoretical background that rivaled many residents (while also being a manual skills moron/Asperger's type of person). I view preceptors as a "resource" rather than a hoop to jump through, and certainly in the case of my SO, they were one of the worst experiences of her entire life (other perhaps than living with me, depending upon what day you ask her). I  always try to do my best for my coworkers, patients and others, but have essential total and complete disregard for whether or not anyone (including my own family) "likes me". This isn't usually a problem except when I'm put in a position of needing to "be liked" by a preceptor to keep my job.  

Edited by myoglobin

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Ruby Vee has 40 years experience as a BSN and specializes in CCU, SICU, CVSICU, Precepting & Teaching.

11 Followers; 65 Articles; 170,455 Visitors; 13,938 Posts

1 hour ago, BSNbound21 said:

OP mentioned that the preceptor keeps telling her things she already knows, and in a busy environment, having to stand and listen to something you already know when you have a bunch of other things to do can be excruciating. It would be hard for anyone to maintain focus. You can't assume her preceptor is a good one- she might be one of those people who is a controlling micro-manager and doesn't trust a good worker when she sees one. She might be threatened in some way by OP. 

There are bad managers in the workforce who target people to harrass to some extent for one reason or another -I have been a target before and it's not a fun place to be.  Automatically blaming the target because they are in an inferior position is exactly what enables this type of behavior. I wouldn't call it "bullying," but I would definitely call it unfair. 

"I'm now being followed by the educator over an accusation of "not knowing why the patient is getting the med". I had a meeting today with my manager, supervisor, and educator and I felt like that came out of nowhere and I was completely shocked. And my preceptor was there and I felt like I couldn't say anything because I know that she said something. But I've never given the wrong patient the wrong med and I always look up meds I don't know and I always look up the doctors notes. I made an appointment to  to see where that came from with only my manager, so we’ll see how that’s goes."

OP doesn't seem like an aloof idiot, is my point. I'm giving her the benefit of a doubt. 

OP sounds like someone who is blaming others rather than taking a good look at her own issues and contribution to the failure in communication.  What is happening to the OP is because she isn't communicating with the preceptor.  Sometimes it is kinder to point that out than to give her the benefit of the doubt.  

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39 minutes ago, JKL33 said:

I completely agree. I think the "LOOK AT ME" stuff (and probably some of the rest of it) was 100% inappropriate regardless of the OP's behavior.

I dunno. If I was precepting and my orientee repeatedly "multi-tasked" while I was trying to get information through to them I might get a little testy. 

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myoglobin has 11 years experience as a ASN, BSN and specializes in ICU, trauma, neuro.

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9 minutes ago, Wuzzie said:

I dunno. If I was precepting and my orientee repeatedly "multi-tasked" while I was trying to get information through to them I might get a little testy. 

In my experience in the ICU you are often "multitasking". Thus, I can be having a serious conversation with my manager over something I missed (say an NIH on a patient a month ago which she might bring to me during the shift), but I'm also watching my patients vital signs, how close are my drips to running out, and are the two confused patients next to mine going to get up or pull their central lines out and is someone going to answer the other two call bells that have been going off for five minutes, and did anyone respond to that rapid response, its USUALLY some variation of that scenario most of the time.  Multitasking is my baseline, and it doesn't mean that I'm not considering the information. I may ruminate, contemplate (hell write volumes on this site) about something that happened months (if not years ago) and go on to read five articles on the subject. Again everyone is different. I will almost never look at someone in the eyes not even my own SO/wife let alone my preceptor. 

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12 minutes ago, myoglobin said:

I will almost never look at someone in the eyes not even my own SO/wife let alone my preceptor. 

I would totally divorce you over that!😂

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14 minutes ago, myoglobin said:

In my experience in the ICU you are often "multitasking".

There is multi-tasking and there is being rude. Turning away from someone, particularly someone you don't know well, and focusing on a computer screen (or phone or tablet) is extremely impolite. It's like a grown up version of a teenager's "talk to the hand". 

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I prefer the "what's on your mind" approach in the case of someone who isn't saying much to where I can't tell if I'm being disregarded or they are just thinking of other things. Either that or I'll say what I'm going to say and then ask a pertinent question.

My main beef with the OP was the complaint that this preceptor was boring him/her with things already known, but the OP reports no measure taken in attempt to clarify and come to an understanding with the preceptor. Instead, OP apparently said nothing and preferred to characterize communication as running around and yelling. So s/he is just being cantankerous and yes, obstructionist. You can be quiet, reserved, contemplative, and secretly knowledgeable all you want - - but then you can't complain when others struggle to understand your level of competence.

**

Re the multitasking defense: No matter how you slice it, you can almost always multitask in a way that lets others know they aren't being disregarded, especially when you are on orientation and aren't solely responsible for a patient load.

 

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