Bullying in nursing

  1. Hello to all my fellow nurses. When I was a nursing student, I was always warned of old (referring to age and experience) nurses eating their young. I experience this when I was in my first year in nursing, but I feel like the "eat your young" thing is way beyond to an old term "bullying". My background... I'm a 31 y/o male and been a registered nurse for 6 yrs. now (2 yrs in Telemetry and 4 yrs in ICU).

    I decided to post this to hear from what you guys experience in the work place. The story goes... when I was working in telemetry, I kept getting pick-on and teased by my co-workers. I guess, I was the ONLY young and the ONLY guy in the unit. My co-workers in telemetry always love to talk about family, relationship, and what's annoying, their life in the bedroom. I'm a joker and am always known for bringing smile on everyone and to all my patients. I had 2 confrontations with 2 female colleagues during my first years of my nursing career. The first one was a miserable woman who always had an argument with everyone. I always stood up for what was right. One day, we were assigned on the same team. I already received my assignment and wanted mine. When I refused to give up my assignment, she reported me to the nursing supervisor. I was mad and I told her, "I don't know what's your problem. Why are you so miserable to everyone? Maybe you don't get enough attention from home." She flipped, rubbed her breast in front of me and my charge nurse and told me "honey with these big breast I have, I get them every single day." I was not even referring to whatever she was referring. That was one incident. Another incident was I was joking with my good friend about a fart joke and this other lady was ease dropping. She told everyone that I make fart jokes because my butt-hole maybe big and that I get it down there. I was mad for such assumption. Apparently, my hospital is small and ghetto that if I bring these problems to human resource, nothing would be done. I kept my skin tough and I left telemetry to go to ICU. I was hoping to have a peace of mind, but I'm getting to realize, no one is nice in nursing. Everyone eats each other.

    I've been in the ICU for 4 yrs. now. My goal for going to ICU was to get my experience and go to CRNA school, but I don't know about that anymore. I took my CCRN last year and felt so motivated, but my gut is telling me to do something else. Anyway, let me get back to my story. When I went to ICU, I thought that was it. My dream job until I retire (LOL). I love ICU, but I don't like my co-workers anymore. In our ICU, I am the youngest and ONLY male nurse. People always ask if I have a girlfriend. They constantly try to match me up with someone. There's this one particular woman who always ask me when I will get married. I think relationship and marital questions are VERY personal. My answer to my co-workers were always... "why are you so concerned about my life when you're not even my mother?" (Too defensive, I'm just tired of it.) My 2nd year in ICU, people speculate whether I am gay or not. I decided to post this on allnurses because last month, 2 of my co-workers told me the most HURTFUL thing anyone can say. The flu was a big thing this year and apparently I caught it. I got sick for a while, and recently got over a nasal infection. One of my co-worker made a comment about my cold last month. She told me that I should get checked for AIDS because of my cold. Then 2 weeks ago, I asked another co-worker regarding azithromycin and nasonex. She was so ignorant and told me, "OMG, maybe you have HIV now." I told all my friends and my sister because I did not know how to deal with it. It's VERY HURTFUL. I have not DONE anything to my co-workers. I'm so nice to everyone. My sister and friends advised me to "IGNORE" them and that I should just focus on my work, no socializing. I've been doing it, but it's not a good working environment when you don't like anyone. WHAT SHOULD I DO??? ANY ADVICE???

    One of my old co-workers was being bullied too, but she decided to leave, go to school full-time and work per-diem 2 yrs. ago. I'm in the process of applying for my masters in nursing right now, but I'm sure I won't be staying long with this hospital. I have no one to report the problem to.

    I LOVE nursing and I LOVE to work in a VERY professional environment.
    Last edit by Joe V on Mar 27, '13
  2. Visit erwindt profile page

    About erwindt

    Joined: Feb '09; Posts: 21; Likes: 11
    Registered Nurse; from US
    Specialty: 6 year(s) of experience in Critical Care


  3. by   NicuGal
    Wow, sorry to hear all if that! But why are standing for this? We have never ever treated our guys like this! You should report them to HR, TJC has a huge stance on bullying in the workplace. I don't understand why you don't have anyone to go to, does management know this is going on?

    The other thought is why don't you leave? You are allowing your self to be bullied and victimized. I know you said you are applying for your MSN but that is not a reason to stay. You are staying in a toxic place for what?

    Take it into your hands and stand up for yourself!
  4. by   erwindt
    Thank you for your great advice Nicugal. I think I need to go back to working hospitals in Manhattan. I think the reason why I stick with my hospital this long is because I just live a block from it. I enjoy the convenience, but I don't think the convenience is worth it with an environment like this.
    Last edit by erwindt on Mar 24, '13 : Reason: grammar
  5. by   gaonsi
    This doesn't sound like a normal situation. I am a new grad, and I've had one instance with being bullied at work. I went to my car at the end of my shift, cried, and came back the next night only for our mutual patient to say she was relieved I'm back and the other nurse and her "mean, non- caring spirit was leaving." I say this to say that if you do well with your patients, they are the real determinate of your success. Don't let yourself be bullied. Stand up for yourself. Maybe it's a facility thing. Have you considered working in another hospital? But if CRNA is what you want, go for it! The galaxy is your limit. Maybe they're mean because you have something they want. Freedom, skill, critical thinking? I don't know. I'm rambling now but good luck. I hope they start leaving you alone and you get into your too choice school!
  6. by   Blackcat99
    No one is nice in nursing. That seems to be a true statement in nursing. It doesn't seem to matter where I am working. I always seem to find people at the workplace who are just plain mean and hateful. I don't understand it either. Good luck.
  7. by   lovinlife11
    Sorry op you're in such a terrible place, nurses are brutal to eachother, I tend to agree with your family though, you're there for your patients, ignore them and do the best you can. I suspect they are intimidated by you.
  8. by   erwindt
    I love allnurses.com. Since I was a student, I come to this site to find support and word of encouragement from others. Thank you all for your feedback. You're right gaonsi. They envy me. I was voted as Rookie of the year few years ago. Maybe that or maybe because I am in-charge most of the time at work and I also balanced our unit schedule. I am giving some hard thoughts of moving to NYU Langone Medical Center or Bellvue Hospital in the city. I have already vested 5 yrs on my NYSNA. Since this whole problem, I've been very quiet at work and people realize that I don't talk that much anymore. I just do my work and go home. The word friendship doesn't exist in nursing.
    Last edit by erwindt on Mar 24, '13 : Reason: x
  9. by   uRNmyway
    Ok, so I might get flamed...but if this problem is recurring, have you considered that YOU might somehow be the source? I might be completely off, and I apologize if I am. But some of the things you mentioned that you took so personally, well they seemed pretty innocent to me. Of course, not all of them. Joking about having HIV is extremely inappropriate. And that's another thing, even if it would be inappropriate, have you considered that maybe it was just a joke, a very dumb joke?
    I think it's sweet that your colleagues were trying to set you up with people, unless they were purposely trying to set you up with known jerks or something. Simply based on what you said, I see nothing offensive about that. And keep in mind you work in a field that is very much female dominated. Women do tend to like to talk about their home lives, gossip, and vent about their stressors.

    I don't know. I'm kinda conflicted on this. I have been bullied at work and lost my first nursing job because of it. I know how it feels. But it just seems like some of these things might have been taken completely out of context, or offense taken at something that was really just meant as something innocent.
  10. by   gmondina
    Well I think you are working in an unhealthy environment. You mentionend it was ghetto so you are too good for this place. You should file a report for harassment. Document the days, events, and names just in case.
  11. by   kguill975
    Wow, I'm sorry you're going through this. I can't say I've ever experienced bullying from a co-worker (I work in the OR, so the surgeons are usually the bullies), but you should leave. All it takes is one or two toxic people, and groups are formed. They offer nothing productive, and most of the time they're like crabs in a bucket, all fighting each to get ahead. There are too many places to work, go somewhere else.
  12. by   NicuGal
    I have to disagree about nurses being mean. Our unit has over 100 nurses and 99.8 % are nice! You always have those unit crabs, but that is everywhere. Our staff is pretty cohesive and we get along most of the time. We don't have any issue telling each other good job or giving constructive criticism.

    If you allow people to be mean to you then it will be bad. You have to stick up for yourself.
  13. by   dt70
    Maybe one of their friends wants a job in the icu and your in the way?
    Talk about how much you like it there , like your never going to leave.
    Don't be too confrontational.
  14. by   erwindt
    Insane as it is, one of the male nurses in the evening shift is leaving in 2 weeks because he was also tired of our co-workers. He's transferring to another unit. Another guy also left after the New Year, decided to go back to his country and quit nursing for good. I later found, he won several millions from a scratch game. Work is work, pointless to stress it out.