Bullies in the workplace - page 3

Being a non-confrontational person I always wondered why I had such difficulty staying in a position for more than 2 years. My usual reason for leaving is a hostile work environment-backstabbers,... Read More

  1. by   gwenith
    I refuse to call this type of behaviour "lateral violence" or any one of a dozen diffent names. I now call it what it is bullying.

    When we talked about "lateral/horizontal violence" we came close to justifying it. It is one of the reasons why, although this problem has been recognised for 20+ years nothing concrete has been done about it. Calling it bullying puts it into "do not tolerate" basket and takes away ANY justification.

    Yes! Bullies are often weak individuals unable to cope. Yes! there is a degree of horizontal viloence fueling the bullying but lets not justify it.

    Where possible the BEST outcome is to change the behaviour of the bully. It is not often you can manage to do that and almost never when you are in a position under them. The trick if you can manage it is to spot emerging bullies. Those on the same level as you and stop them from bullying. Getting yourself up form under is only the first step.
    Last edit by gwenith on Jul 17, '03
  2. by   Milehighnurse
    Originally posted by VickyRN
    I had a clinical on a floor this past spring that was just out of hell. The whole floor was full of bullies!!! One of the nurses there made one of my students cry (she was so mean), she also cursed at another student. They all ganged up on me and made me feel like the most inept, incompetent instuctor ever. I was sooo sooo close to quitting teaching after this bitter experience, but God have me the grace to rise above it. Hopefully, I won't ever have to return to that floor again . Thankfully, all of my other clinical experiences have been great.
    Nice way for seasoned nurses to welcome aspiring students. God Vicki, how did you tolerate that? Were you able to get that situation brought to the attention of the UM/NM?
    What is going on out there people? This garbage HAS got to S T O P!!!!
  3. by   VickyRN
    I am a very quiet nonconfrontational person who has a lot of insecurities. I was a brand new instructor with practically zilch orientation. It is very hard for me to deal with people like this. This was the floor that I referred to in a post a long, long time ago ("Code Status Error"). I think the nurse involved in the terrible error was out for revenge. Most of the nurses on that floor were viscious. The students hated it, too.
  4. by   JuicyJem
    Growing up when I complained about "bully types" at school, my parents would sympathize with me, but always remind me that there would be people like this no matter where I went in life. I have slowly developed a no nonsense attitude when it comes to this stuff being directed at me, but it took a lot of part time jobs with the exact same type of bullying that you all are describing. I am still in school (for 5 more months), so I have only had one hospital job so far. The thing I noticed was a lot of competition between the nurses like someone mentioned earlier.
    I had a co-worker at a photography studio, which is what I have been doing to get through school, who was absolutely AWFUL to me every day that we worked together for 18 months. When I finally decided to stand up for myself, it was amazing how she got meaner. Its just the nature of the beast. Like one of you said in an earlier post, bullies have a low self confidence. It sounds cheesy, but its true. They are going to attack the newcomers that threaten them most, the ones who are sharp in their skills and have a personality and a work ethic that WOWs whoever is in charge.
    A bully being a bully doesn't have to change who they are bullying. If you're a great nurse, student, CNA, whatever, you don't have to let anyone else's insecurities become yours. YOU are the one THEY are afraid of, or they would leave you alone and welcome you.
    I've spent a lot of time thinking about this so I wanted to put in my 2 cents. Thanks!
  5. by   funnygirl_rn
    VickiRN...how sad for you & your students...not very condusive for learning. I am sorry to hear that.

    For the life of me.... maybe I am naive' or been sheltered or maybe BLESSED is the word I should be using... with a loving family, great relatives, the kindest friends, & co-workers/acquaintances I could ever ask for etc....but why would someone WANT to treat another human being with malicousness & a cold-heart...whether it be a co-worker, patient, new grad, or a future nurse...with so much contempt & nastiness....wouldn't it be far easier to be kind & friendly....you could make a new friend, or better yet make someone smile who might really need it.

    But, being rude & callous to someone....certainly doesn't win you any points "upstairs".
  6. by   Mira
    I just got my Royal College of Nursing Bulletin today,glad to know that there is an increasing awareness about bullies in the workplace,and we are encourage to link up with others via www.rcn.org.uk,they said that it got a detailed advice and links to other useful websites.`got to check it soon.
  7. by   mednurse
    I worked with a social worker that was trying to bully me. She really did upset me and I was always so nervous to go to work. One day I reported her to mangement, she lied and denied everything AND the bullying got worse. It seems that bullies get worse after they are reported-but what else should the victim do if other interventions (showing self-confidence, etc) don't work?
  8. by   2bPhD
    This sounds like HOSTILE WORK ENVIRONMENT HARASSMENT and it is against the law. It falls under the SEXUAL HARASSMENT laws. You can find plenty of information on the web. If you file a complaint and your supervisor doesn't address the problem then the facility that you work at is liable. It is not only wrong to make other people feel uncomfortable at work, it is illegal and you don't have to put up with it.
  9. by   Nurse Nanna
    I understand exactly what you're all talking about. I am a very non-confrontational person, until I have HAD IT!! I worked at the same facility for over 2 years. We had a "bully" who had been there 20 years (off and on) and knew everyone in the hospital. She is a horrible gossip, lazy, always asking for a 'favor', and makes a lot of mistakes; but she REVELS in someone else's mistake or what she perceives as a mistake because "it's not the way "I" would have done it.") After her bullying me for 2 years (she was a personal friend of the nurse manager) and me finally talking to the assistance manager about it and finding out that she had bullied many, many nurses over the years until they quit, I decided to STOP her in her tracks. She would do things like go talk to every nurse on the unit about "so and so made this mistake and I caught it and covered her a**, now I gotta talk to her about it." It's like Who Is She? Ya know, when you come in and at least 2 or 3 people say, "I heard you really screwed up yesterday" or "***** said you messed up such and such" it just starts your shift off on the wrong foot. She would write notes like: "I caught a mistake you made" and detail it with the person's name on the note, but not sign it, and leave it taped at the nurse's station where everyone could see it. She would walk into a patient's room and question you on something you were doing and go into "teach" mode because "that's not the way I do it" or "I've never seen it done that way, who taught you that?" Embarrass you in front of the patient and family. It took me a while, but I finally got her OFF my back by coming back at her with comments or actions that embarrassed her "in front" of other people. I would look at her and ask "Oh, gee, I didn't realize you were the new manager, what happened to ****?" or "Well, maybe it isn't the way you'd do it, but then, you aren't doing it are you?" One time, I handed her the IV bag and tubing and said "Well then darlin' why don't you do it your way" and walked out of the room. She come out after she was done and apologized "I didn't mean to make you mad." "Oh, I'm not mad, I just thought you wanted to do it your way." and walk off. On a med error 'she' supposedly found and decided that I had made and she left an UGLY note at the nurse's station for everyone to see-I called the pharmacy to let them know I had investigated the error and found not only the exact day and time it happened, but the person who had signed off, and the pharmacist said "I asked ***** about it and she said you had worked the shift before and had made the error." WRONG!! This is one where she had gone to every RN and LPN on the unit and said "****really screwed up and I caught it and reported it to the pharmacy." So now she is not only and bully, but a liar, because she didn't find a mistake, the pharmacy questioned a discrepency. So, I wrote up 'my' investigation of the error including my conversation with the pharmacist, photocopies of the dispense reports and pharmacy discrepency questionnaire and made several copies and gave 1 to the manager, 1 to the asst. manager, left 1 taped at the nurse's station "Attention: All RN's and LPN's-please read! Important!" Boy was she ticked. She really went into "I'll find something on you"mode. She made a nasty comment in front of the staff at shift change, (so everyone was there) and I looked her straight in the eye and said "Golly *****, I'm just beginning to realize how insecure you really are; I got big shoulders hon, and I'm no more perfect than you or any other nurse in this facility, so if it makes you feel better about yourself, go for it." Some of the nurses started laughing and one said 'you go girl!" She stormed off. She came back later, privately, and asked "Have I done something to make you mad at me?" I said "No, I just have your number and I'm going to tell it like it is from now on. No more BS". She asked "What are you talking about?" I smiled and said "Think about it." I was always very good about changing a shift or a day with her or anyone else if they wanted off for kids sports, weddings, etc. She came to me 3 or 4 times and I said "No thank you, I think I'll just keep my schedule as is". She finally got the hint. No one else would change with her, so that left her "stuck". She learned to LEAVE ME ALONE. I have since left the facility, and I hear she is still bullying new people around. Very high turnover rate in that unit. Managers advice? Ignore her. ??????????? How can you when she's in your face everyday and running to the manager with "guess what I found." Whewww, thanks for listening. It's hard to do, but you gotta do it. Ya Gotta Stand Up To The Bully's!! And, you can do it nicely and or non-confrontational; not much they can say once you EMBARRASS the hell out of them in front of 'their own audience.' Good Luck. Nurse Nanna
  10. by   jtfreel
    almost 20 years ago i had a mentor who taught me a powerful lesson: work is business. her point was you don't have close friends at work, you have acquaintainces. you don't work based upon 'feelings and emotions' you work based upon standards and outcomes. in other words, it is a professional environment.

    she emphasized that i would teach people how to treat me and that that would be with respect or without. she also emphasized that i was solely responsible for how i was treated. if i accepted unprofessional behavior, it was me giving them permission. in this process, i was always an active player and only a victim if that was my choice.
  11. by   VickyRN
    Wow, Nanna, I am impressed. Don't know if I would have the stamina to fight it out like you did. Is it really worth the battle, stress, confrontations, knowing somebody is constantly watching you, out to get you? Some bullies are dangerous. Isn't it better just to leave? Sad managers and DON's allow this crap to go on. One bad apple in the bunch can run off the best nurses on the unit and cause constant high turnover.
  12. by   Nurse Nanna
    Stamina? Ladybug, it ain't easy, but sometimes ya gotta do what ya gotta do. Take a deep breath, talk to Him and then go for it. My background helps. I was the oldest of 7 children, was in a very abusive relationship and after a serious injury, was able to "get out" of the marriage and get into therapy. I had a wonderful friend who led me 'back' to the Lord. I was a single mom for several years, working and going to school, and staying involved in my childrens education and activities both as an observer and a leader when time allowed that luxury. I went through a lot of therapy off and on in my younger years. After a few years, I married a wonderful, ambitious, professional man. I owned my own business for 12 years and I attended many many conferences, workshops, etc. on professionalism, how to train and maintain professional employees and obtain the highest quality of performance from them. I had a wonderful staff who respected me and my work ethic and the courtesy I extended to them for a job well done. I "study" a person well before I form an opinion, and tend to "think things through" before making a decision on "how to handle the situation". I am a wife, mother, and grandmother, all of which I have succeeded and fulfilled to His requirements. I am a Christian and a loving and patient person who "loves" to take care of others. The Lord led me to nursing. I have been told by professors and mentors that "you are a natural, you make it look so easy." I am not patting myself on the back, because I don't see this as anything special. Two months out of nursing school, I was waived from the 90 day probationary period after having been floated all over the facility in various positions to "fill in if you feel comfortable you can do it". I never had a problem "filling the position or completing the task" offered to me for the shift. I said from the beginning, use me where you need me. I was promoted (after that two months) to full time charge nurse and given my own unit of 60 patients, with 1 medicine nurse, and 2 to 4 nurse aides per shift; the managers, director, and administrator were always complimenting and praising me: "Lady, you have really turned that unit around 1000%! How in the world did you turn those aides around?" I answered with these brief words: "professional courtesy and mutual respect; I lead by example - TEAM WORK." Other nurses in the facility who had been there before me, some for years, really took offense at being "passed over" and told me so. One nurse told me "Who the hell do you think you are little miss perfect? You are making the rest of us look bad and we don't like it!" My response to her: "No hon, I'm not perfect, there was only one perfect person ever, and He died for our sins and I am doing my best to do His will; I'm sorry **** but the only person that can make you look bad is you and you're doing a real good job right now." Wow!!! Did I say that? She threw the ink pen she had been waving in my face and stomped off mad as hell. The facility administrator called me in the next day and asked what had happened between me and *****. "Oh," she said; "I heard the story a little different, but how was that perceived as 'pushing religion' in her face?" All the nurse's on my unit and shift were Christians. I held a brief unit meeting one afternoon (right after report) after I had made that realization and we all got the biggest kick out of it. Every nurse, from the aides to the RN's were Christians and practiced His word, some of them carrying small pocket Bibles in their lab coats. We had about every denomination on earth, but we all shared one God. We went to the director and administrator with this discovery. The director, who is a Christian also stated, "Praise His Name! That's why your unit runs so smoothly and efficiently and the patients and families love all of you. Did you know, *****, we have less complaints and lower incidents on your unit and shift than anywhere else in the facility? We have all been observing you for months and have been trying to figure out what your secret was so we could bottle it and sell it. Now we know, it's the most simple thing, The Bible." Wow!! I didn't know whether to laugh, cry or feel paranoid - they all had been observing? Thank you Jesus for keeping me honest. HaHa. But really, did that ever make our day, week, month. Word got out in the facility and needless to say, little miss ink pen came again and let me know how she felt. I told her "I'm sorry you feel that way; I'll pray for you." Whoa! She let me HAVE IT! "Don't you start that religion **** on me!" I turned and walked away and she slammed the door. And she wonders why after 17 years, she's still being passed over for any leadership position. Maybe some anger management classes. Sad thing, she is a very knowledgable nurse, but she has a nasty, hateful, attitude. My evaluations included comments like: professional appearance, leadership and attitude; excellent assessment and observation skills; practices 'holistic' care; sharp attention to detail; communicates well with staff and clients; well liked and respected by her peers; ALWAYS willing to go above and beyond the call of duty, not only for her unit but for the facility as well; diligent and meticulous. Like I said, I'm not patting myself on the back, I was raised with this type of work ethic and it is "just the way it is." But it does "feel good" to hear it or see it on your evaluation. When you see other people that are 'here for a paycheck' or 'puttin' in my time and gettin' out of here' and they don't give a rats behind about the way they look, the way they act or treat other people and the sloppy treatment of their patients, it makes you wonder what the world is coming to. There are a LOT of excellent, professional nurses out there and I have been fortunate and blessed to have had a few of them to mentor me and show me the ropes. I also strongly believe that the workplace is 'no place' for friends. Friendly and friends are two different things. When you get two or three or four nurses who "are friends" and "team up" against another nurse due to plain old green-eyed jealousy, they can make life pretty miserable. As much as you'd like to "ignore" them, sometimes it just can't be done. What I can't understand is: "where do they find the time for all this crap.?" I hit the floor running and usually stay after my shift to complete paperwork because my patients CARE is my #1 priority!. Some of these ladies are at the time clock 15 minutes before the end of the shift (uh, report?) waiting for the earliest minute they can punch out. They say they do report at the timeclock while the oncoming shift is waiting to punch in. What about confidentiality, accuracy? Anyway, like I said, THE PATIENT AND HIS/HER CARE IS THE #1 PRIORITY, and when you have people carrying on with the gossip, harrassment of other nurses, and bullying people around, any way you cut it, the patient is NOT receiving the quality of care he/she deserves. BECOMING A NURSE IS A CAREER CHOICE, NOT SOMETHING FORCED ON US; AREN'T WE OBLIGATED BY HUMAN DECENCY TO PROVIDE THE "BEST" CARE WE CAN POSSIBLY GIVE. Thanks for letting me vent.
  13. by   night owl
    Originally posted by VickyRN
    I had a clinical on a floor this past spring that was just out of hell. The whole floor was full of bullies!!! One of the nurses there made one of my students cry (she was so mean), she also cursed at another student. They all ganged up on me and made me feel like the most inept, incompetent instuctor ever. I was sooo sooo close to quitting teaching after this bitter experience, but God have me the grace to rise above it. Hopefully, I won't ever have to return to that floor again . Thankfully, all of my other clinical experiences have been great.
    They even bullied the instructor... Pheeeeeeeeew, that is really pathetic! I guess they really don't care who they run into. When will people learn that alittle respect will go alooooong way?
    Every nursing school should have a required course, "Bullying 101," How to recognize the workplace bully, different types of bullying and what makes bullies do the things they do? And "Bullying 102" How to deal with the workplace bully, sticking up for yourself, bullying and the law. That way the students aren't thrown into it without some knowledge of it. Then, just to remind employees that it is inappropriate behavior and against the law, mandatory inservices should be given every year just like sexual harrassment inservices. I think bullying is way more prevelent than sexual harrassment and yet, most of the time, it's swept under the rug. Hold people accountable!Let the facility send the message to their employees that they mean business and this behavior WILL NOT BE TOLERATED!