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how to deal with harrassment in the workplace.

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by rookieRN123 rookieRN123 (New) New

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This is more of a question rather than an article. I am a new nurse and have been employed for nearly 6 months. I am, by the way, the first new nurse hired for this type of position in the agency because they wanted to be able to train me the way they wanted in order to make the supervising physician satisfied. My "training" consisted of two weeks with the nursing supervisor, then I was turned loose to figure things out for myself. (I am not in a practice that puts me at risk for harming the patient.) The physician has some very specific expectations, from what I have been told, but there is no written material or training module to work through. I am expected to read and study on my own to figure out what I need to know, but I am berated by the physician because I didn't get what I was supposed to. During the last 3 months, I have been dealing with what is termed by our facility's anti- harassment policy as "a hostile work environment". I have been subjected to belittlement, insults, and rudeness. I have the support of my nursing staff, but they seem to be helpless on what sort of action to take. I have learned from watching something else unfold that our harassment policy looks good on paper, but is very difficult to implement. My, most agencies require at least a year of experience.There are a few things I can apply for with 6 months experience that I plan to try for. Things have heated up a lot in the last week, and I am afraid I won't make it to the 6 month anniversary. Should I go ahead and file a formal harassment complaint with HR? Or should I keep biting the bullet until my 6 month mark and then leave? I am concerned about leaving without another job lined up. I may be able to hold it together while I am at work, but I am an emotional wreck after I leave. My husband is very concerned because he has never seen me this distraught and fearful. What in the world should I do?

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icuRNmaggie has 24 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in MICU, SICU, CICU.

1,970 Posts; 25,244 Profile Views

The guy is a bully and he is counting on you being a timid and non confrontational target.

You sound overly sensitive and may be magnifying a bit.

Next time just focus on the job and say "I'm not psychic doctor, exactly what is it that you need."

"Was there a please somewhere in that request?"

"Barking like a dog is not going to make what you want magically appear."

If you're not doing things fast enough to suit him say casually "I'm working on it."

It has been my experience that the least competent/inexperienced doctors like to diminish those around them (nurses) to make themselves feel better.

Those behaviors are a huge red flag of an incompetent physician.

Once you stand up to them, it stops.

As my friend in ER likes to say, suck it up cupcake. Learning how to manage difficult MDs is part of the job.

You need to confront the rude behavior before you go to HR.

If this creep does not shape up after you set him straight, you need transfer or line up another job.

Edited by icuRNmaggie

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11 Posts; 588 Profile Views

Thanks, I do need to learn to stand up to him in the right way. He has been in his practice for many years, but is lacking in good social skills. His name is often brought up a work with an expletive attached. When I try to go through my chain of command, my nursing supervisor responds with, "He's like that to everyone. He's not a bad as he used to be." Seriously? Why is that ok? Somehow he has gotten by with this for years. My hunch is that the bottom line is that the hospital system doesn't want to lose $$$$$ by letting him go.

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icuRNmaggie has 24 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in MICU, SICU, CICU.

1,970 Posts; 25,244 Profile Views

You also have a responsibility to learn the equipment needed for the procedures done in this office. Those should all be listed on the billing page.

For example, removal of staples, have the kit and steristrips ready. Take notes and show a spirit of cooperation. You can do this.

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Gooselady has 23 years experience as a BSN, RN.

601 Posts; 7,273 Profile Views

I wouldn't say you are 'too sensitive'. I'd just say you are not apathetic about being bullied and verbally abused :) Not apathetic like the rest of the staff.

If you can tolerate it, please do take the suggestions above about sticking up for yourself a bit more. Nurses need to learn to cope with EVERY possible human character issue lol. The key to coping with difficult people is to DETACH emotionally from them.

In other words, do NOT give this bully-of-a-doc YOUR PERMISSION to judge your worthiness as a person or a nurse. You are not subject to anyone's 'definition' of you. This is a plain and simple life lesson that you learn as you go a long being alive :D

Think of this MD as . . . disabled. Personality disabled. Character disabled. He's pathetic when it comes to managing, deferring and directing. Pffft. You can cope with him. He can call you names and you can blink a couple of times and get on with it. Theoretically, at least.

I do believe you can detach and let go and not take his baloney PERSONALLY. Does that make sense? This job will NEVER be optimal or tolerable or acceptable. It's just that you want your 'year' of experience and by gawd this dork doctor is not going to get in your way.

On the other hand, if you just can't seem to get to the place where you are rolling your eyes along with the rest of the staff, please do resign, and save yourself, OK? Not everyone is cut out to put up with this crap. I'm not. I'd have blown that joint. I'm more 'mature' as a nurse and a person now and I still wouldn't put up with that longer than it took to realize I've just been insulted.

Except you are saying you need to stay put and I can see your reasoning. That's the ONLY reason I'm encouraging you to get some detachment and not-taking-it-personally skillz.

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3 Followers; 36,937 Posts; 98,006 Profile Views

Deal with it as much as you want to deal with it, as long as you want to deal with it. If you can hang on until you get a new job, great. If you can not, well, decide when too much is too much. No use in making yourself sick over someone else's shortcomings. Life is too short for that.

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3,726 Posts; 23,714 Profile Views

I couldn't have said this when I was new and also young but in addition to advice posted above, I see myself saying to him, "Do you really want to start over with yet another nurse in this position or do you want to build a working relationship?"

Try to see this as the way it really is. An arrogant probably bottom of his class MD and a new nurse trying very hard to be good in her work. He's kinda pitiful actually. His personal life probably sucks and the medical field isn't all he thought it would be. Whatever it is, happy fulfilled people don't act like that. He has a big weakness, remember that when you stand up to him.

And I do think you should practice asserting yourself and standing up to this guy. Whenever you're ready to quit a negative environment, as long as you or your license aren't in danger, practice the skills you need to take with you. Might as well falter at the place you're leaving anyway and come better prepared for the next and hopefully better place.

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385 Posts; 9,071 Profile Views

Forget about HR and the chain of command. Call the jackass out and tell him to knock the crap off. And no sniveling, crying, or apologizing (from you, that is). Make sure you keep eye contact, too. Pig...

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1 Follower; 51 Articles; 4,800 Posts; 93,521 Profile Views

Stop him in his tracks, as soon as the first half comment comes out of his mouth. "Dr.________, what is it you need from me at present?"

"What is it that you would like for this patient now?"

Don't personalize this. And I know that is easier said than done, however, if you need to keep this job until such time as you can transfer, you need to decide if you can do the tasks that are required of the position (keeping the MD's issues as his issues/character defects) and direct the interactions to the said task at hand as opposed to personal insults/interactions.

Because at the end of the day the MD looks like a total tool, and patients notice that as opposed to anything else.

And use this job as a huge advantage. Learn everything you can clinically, billing, coding, whatever it is that is going to set you up to be ready for a transfer. And if you are doing all this studying at home, I hope there's a certification at the end of that.

Finally, I would look at your company's website and see what jobs are available. If you see a couple you are interested in, see about speaking with the unit manager about what you need to transfer. Put your ducks in a row now.

Best wishes, and remember, HE looks like the idiot with the psych/social issues, not you. Much the parent of a oppositional child, you need to redirect focus. Which is tiring, for sure, but use this position for every little thing it can teach you and move on.

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11 Posts; 588 Profile Views

Great advice! I am looking elsewhere, and I am learning and asking questions from others in the department to learn more about what each person does to help ME benefit MYSELF and the patients I take care of. I decided this: I am studying on my own ONLY when I WANT TO, and if it does not interfere with my personal or family time because I WANT to learn...not because the doc told me to. I am pursuing certifications/CME credits relating to the specialty on my own time with my own money, and I will use those to help pole-vault me into position for a better job. The uniqueness of my current job has a different structure than a hospital setting; so,although there are several nurses, we each work with a different doctor. The patients are his patients before they are my patients. THAT is what makes it more difficult to let things roll sometimes. My nurse manager is very supportive of me personally, but in a sense she has her hands tied, because of the structure of the agency. My husband has not given in to encourage me to quit, because he knows that deep down, in spite of all the emotional hullabaloo, I can't let something like this lick me, and he wants to let me fight as long as I can. I have gotten a second wind, so to speak from the support, and I will come through this stronger, and, I hope, a better nurse. I have a few leads in a related specialty which is very encouraging also.

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