Bullies in the workplace - page 4

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   H ynnoD
    I'll listen to someones suggestion.Will give a hand and also take one,But if your not my Boss don't try and tell me what to do.I'll be nice about it,but if you start to become a pain,I'll tell you something like, Bite Me...
  2. by   ERRN5778
    I have had similar experiences from which I think I have been a vicitim of being bullied. For one, while I was getting report about a particular patient from another nurse, this patient had just gotten new onset of Afib HR 150s, was febrile, and anxious. All she had done was give him tylenol. She did not call the doctor nor give him an antianixety med. Needless to say, after looking at the EKG strip, this episode started nonetheless 10 minutes before the end of her shift. So I was expected to handle this situation eventhough it started on her shift. I was new and she was an old "expericenced" nurse. So I really didn't know how to stand up for myself. Thankfully, the doctor was not upset at me, and ordered cardizem and other things. Mind you I had 5 other patients to assess that morning so you can imagine how hectic that morning was. Thankfully, by mid morning things had resolved. Unbelievable huh?
  3. by   Nurse Nanna
    I am soooo sorry there are so many bullies out there and that there are some who even have the audacity to "bully an instructor." Sounds like the one I had to deal with. She was constantly nit-picking and gossiping about the LPN and RN instructors on our floor; personally, I was thrilled to have the assistance from the students, who for the most part were very eager to learn. She seemed to think that she was qualified to make a judgment and verbalize her opinion on which students would make it and which ones wouldn't. She is just a "nasty" person. But, like I said before, she and the manager had been friends and worked the floor together for many years. The manager's answer to "everybody's" complaints about this bully was "Oh, God, that again, why can't you all just ignore her. That's just the way she is. She really doesn't mean anything by it; she's just bossy!" What a shame though that anyone, especially an instructor has to put up with that crap. But, good for you for standing up to it. Thank God for his Precious Son and His strength to push us forward to do His will. I agree that there should be at least ways some type of training for students r/t bullies and how to handle them before they get out of school and face them on the floor. We had so many "new" nurses walk off the floor in tears, go home in tears, transfer to other units, and quit nursing completely because of this bully. It is a sad shame that someone goes through nursing school and graduates and gets a license, only to quit because of someone like that. Some people just don't have the strength to stand up to these bullies. I am an older person (in my 50's) and I've seen a lot of crap in my time, but I have to admit that even this one catches me off-guard. You just don't expect it somewhere as "professional" and "busy" as a medical facility. God Bless you and the many others who have the courage and strength to stand up to it. We are so desperately "short" of nurses in this country and bullies are running them off everyday. Seems that someone with authority would get the picture after while and put a stop to it.
  4. by   layna
    Bullying is harassment. Plain and simple. We all need to remeber that we are at work to take care of patients like professional adults. Report the behavior to your manager if you are unable to deal with it yourself. If your manager asks you for documentation of the inappropriate behavior, please do not be afraid to do so. If you need extra help, there are several courses out there on how to deal with difficult co-workers etc.

    Good luck!
  5. by   Nurse Nanna
    I did report to 4 managers with no action from any of them-excuses and/or advise to "ignore it", then to the director of nursing whose answer was ALWAYS "rise above it, you're better than to let it get to you" with no action, and then to the administrator who refers everything back to the director. At one time I demanded a "group" meeting with all parties involved and took each person "face" on with "what is the problem?" Of course the answer (as with a coward or bully), "There's no problem, I don't know what you're talking about." When I related a certain situation or conversation, this person nervously looked around the room and shook her head, and with plenty of body language, denied knowing what I was talking about. The director asked me, "Could it be that you two just have a communication problem or a personality conflict?" Gee, I thought my evaluation said "communicates well with peers and supervisors, well liked by staff, patients, and family members." End of meeting. Director states "as long as she denies any wrong-doing or any knowlege of what you're stating, it's non-actionable. Get me documentation with dates, times, and incidents." I documented actions, conversations, bullying, harrassment, gossip, patient abuse and neglect which is a matter of opinion and perception of the situation I was told----I go "BY THE WRITTEN BOOK." Again, denial. Then I get called in and asked to see my nurse's notebook (I was 1 of only 2 nurses in the facility who used a nurse's notebook - the other nurse was trained by me when coming to my unit.) I gave it to the director and asked "what's going on now? why am I here?" The bully reported me for 'taking notes from patient charts, and making notes on other employees and taking them out of the facility." This was not true. I did write down my accuchecks, VS, pt shift notes, etc and I did my paperwork at the end of the shift (I was the charge nurse) and I recorded info in the charts, made notes in the nurse's files and then shredded the notebook pages after everything was recorded. 90% of the time, I stayed after the next shift came on and did this. I was told by the DON that I needed to be careful what I wrote down and it was a breach of confidentiality and a breach of privacy for me to carry anything out of the facility in a notebook. I DID NOT DO THIS! Since the bully was one of the people standing at the time clock 15-20 minutes before end of shift, I don't know how she or anyone else would "know" it if I had done that. Of course, the director came around on a regular basis to check my notebook and I finally refused to show it to her anymore stating "everything I put in this notebook (which is MINE) goes into the permanent records, so I prefer that you go look at the facility records and let me get on with my work. I don't have time for this crap." She corrected me by saying "this stuff." Now that pissed me off. She was always catching me in a room and come in a closing the door and asking to take a peek at my notebook and then standing in front of the door. One day I told her "You're standing in front of the door and you need to move so I can go out and take care of my patients. If you continue to stand there and block the door, then you are holding me against my will and that is not only against corporate policy, but it is "a form of kidnapping or bondage and is punishable by law." She moved and never said a word. That was the last time she asked to look at my notebook. Next thing, someone (after investigation was complete-90 days of hell later-guess who the complainant was?) reported me to the State for 'patient abuse'. Anonymously of course - but after a couple of other nurses came forward and admitted they had over-heard this bully and two other nurses (who "hate" so and so) talking about what they had done, the Director called and asked the State to send the investigator back to the facility to "follow-up" on a couple of things she had. The audio tape of the report was brought into play, the CEO and everybody else was brought into the picture and the tape was listened to by Human Resources, the DON, Administrator, and the investigator and determined that it indeed was the "bully" and one of her 'friends'. Of course, it was a HUGE PLUS that both my patient and the spouse vehemently denied that ***** had ever been anything but professional and caring to both of them. But, it was a lengthy, expensive for the facility, and fraudulent report to the state. The 'friend' who actually made the call was given the opportunity to "resign". However, she went to work for another medical facility. Go figure. Meanwhile, my life was a wreck for over 3 months. You just don't know why some people are so nasty and to what lengths they will go to "make your life hell." After two years of this hell and misery, I quit and went to another facility; the directors response to my resignation--"well, I have talked you into staying before, but I know how unhappy you are and that you and *****will never see eye to eye, so I'm not going to try to stop you this time." I walked out and said "NOTHING!" She did try to prolong my last day, but I stuck to the 30 days and I was out of there. Here we are now 3 years later, and guess what? The bully is still there, still has been passed over several times for promotions, and is still bullying new nurses around until they leave. Kind of makes you wonder where the real problem lies doesn't it. Throughout the system, people talk about the problems in that facility and conclude that the primary problem is a DON who does not enforce corporate policy and an Administrator who refers everything back to the DON and here we go round and round. It is frustrating. You go above the administrator and it always, as you all know, rolls back downshill again. So each step you go up the COC, it's a whole new process until you say "I'm out of here. What's the point." That's why I'm back in school and will try my best to obtain a position where "I Can And Will Make A Difference" not only in the patient's care and life, but in the life of a nurse who is busting her buns to do a good job and being harrassed miserably. It's a dirty job, but somebody HAS to do it. I know nurses from California to Virginia and North and South, literally all over the USA and I hear the same old "floor war stories" from everyone. It just sounds crazy that people in position and authority to "stop" this crap 'choose' to do nothing. Once, when the DON asked me "What can we do about this problem?" and I responded, "when someone is this unprofessional and this unresponsive to attempts to resolve the problem(s), you need to get rid of them." Her response, "OK, say I do that, say I fire her; you know the situation, there are NO nurses, we are in a desperate nursing shortage, HOW do you plan to replace her?" I again, said, "Well, no disrespect intended, but is YOUR job and responsiblity, not mine." She told me to leave her office. Like I said, the bully is still there, a little over 5 years at this facility.
  6. by   mattsmom81
    I can totally relate Nurse Nanna. Had one of these types go after me in the same way, with much the same results...I overcame and moved on, but it was a draining process. Amazing how these types worm their way into the management's hearts...probably by being a snitch for them.

    And like you, my strength to get through my ordeal came from elsewhere too...it would have been easy for me to give up but my faith got me through.
  7. by   VickyRN
    This is exactly my point, Nurse Nanna. It is too dangerous professionally to battle it out with these sickos. Best to leave the facility where there is rampant bullying going on. IMHO, it is not worth the stress. Some battles should be fought and others are not worth fighting. I trust in the Lord also and firmly believe that He is my defense and my protector.
  8. by   nowplayingEDRN
    I might add that it is common to see bullying in the nursing profession in the critical care areas where things are high strung. the competition to be better than your co-worker seems to be very prevelant. Unfortunate because things go better all the way around when we work as a team.
  9. by   H ynnoD
    Document everything and file harassment Charges with the Labor board.They will be forced to do something about it as long as you stand your ground and not give in.Seen it happen at my work a few times.Its very serious issue and the company can't ignore it once the labor board is involved.The company has the burden to prove if the charges are true or false to the satisfaction of the labor board and you.....
  10. by   layna
    Nurse Nanna...Are you familiar with the chain of command? If you have already documented incidents and your manager has not taken care of this situation, then you need to let her know that you are going to her boss or to the Human Resources Director for additional assistance. You don't have to be emotional about it when you tell her this. Be "matter of fact" and professional. Follow through. You owe it to your patients. Don't run away from this. It is everywhere and you need to learn to deal with it effectively or you will always be "on the run"...and what kind of life is that?

    You will be in my prayers.

  11. by   Nurse Nanna
    I have been "all the way up the COC to Human Resources". After I had gone up the chain of command (COC), my nurse manager gave me a "mediocre evaluation" and I was shocked!! to say the least. However, the evaluation was not done in a sit down meeting with me face to face (as required); she had filled out the evaluation and written at the end that I had refused to sign it (which was an absolute lie.) She had accidentally left "all" the evaluations laying at the nurse's station when going home on Friday night and one of the 'nosy' nurses picked it up and looked through it, then came to me and said "You refused to sign your evaluation? Good for you, I wouldn't have signed it either! You are an excellent nurse and I love working with you." "Huh? What evaluation?" Of course, I photo-copied it and went took it into the DON's office Monday morning. The outcome of that meeting? with the Don, myself and the nurse manager? The nurse manager told the DON, "I made a mistake, it wasn't **** that refused to sign and due to confidentiality, I can't say right now who it was." And as far as I know, she got away with that. I also had brought in my last two annual evals and asked for her to tell me "exactly" what had changed that down-graded me from excellent to average--after stammering and turning red-faced and her telling the DON that she would like to speak with her privately, I was asked to give them a moment. Next thing I knew, the nurse manager came out of the office, I was called back in and the DON was telling me that my evaluation would be "gone over with me" and I would be asked to respond to each section and sign each response. I went to Human Resources and filed a complaint, with documentation and request for a meeting with both the nurse manager and DON which was held in the human resources office. After 2 hours of back and forth and the director of human resources stating, "this is not a bad eval ****, why are you unhappy with it?" I told her "You have my complaint and all the documentation of the last 6 months of hell I've been through over there. This "mediocre" eval is retaliation for my complaining about the harrassment and the bullying tactics and lack of corporate compliance in that facility. It's ridiculous and absolutely unacceptable! Tell me how I can go from excellent all around to barely acceptable performance and from communicates well with everybody to needs to improve communication skills-will recommend communication workshop? This is wrong. It's retaliation." I again was asked to go through the entire eval one section at a time and tell the nurse manager, DON and resource director exactly why I disagreed with the eval, and what I thought it shoud be." After 2 long gruelling hours, I was asked if I thought I should be allowed to write my own eval and have them sign it. I said "No I don't; but when THIS one goes in my permanent file, you will ALL be hearing from my attorney. This is retaliation, it's harrassment, and it's unprofessional! And you, Ms. Resource are supposed to be non-biased and listen to the complaint. You have sat there for two hours agreeing that I have no reason to be complaining and it's obvious that when I came in here it was three against one before I got here. Here are copies of my last two evals in case you don't have them in my file; you make the comparison and see if you can find out 'exactly' why there has been such a dramatic change in the managers opinion of my performance." On that, I walked out. The next day and every day I was off, I was looking for another job. The nurse manager was very "cold" shouldered and did not speak to me for the next several weeks. She would leave notes or leave messages for other nurses to tell me -------. I flatly ignored her notes and messages, telling the other nurses that if she had a message for me, she could deliver it in person because what she was doing was unprofessional, unacceptable, and in violation of my privacy and confidentiality rights. The DON sent me notes and left messages on my home answering machine that I needed to come in and respond to and sign my evaluation. I did NOTHING. I just wanted out of there, because it was going downhill every day and I knew it was not going to get any better. I NEVER heard a word from human resources, not a word.
    I stated in an earlier post that the turnover at this facility is "very" high; the highest turnover rate in the area. But, the folks who have been there a long time are the ones who are there for a paycheck who just don't care (and say so) and the bullies. It is sad to hear someone say "I come in, do my time, collect my check and go home. You aren't going to change anything around here, it's been like that ever since Ms. DON and Ms. Administrator took over." What a sad, pathetic, unfulfilling way to work. A career is supposed to be your life's work, something you enjoy, a way to fulfill your personal, financial, and spiritual needs. Mercy, this has been hell, but I know there is a better place out there somewhere. This is a small area (geographically and population wise) and everybody knows everybody and everything that goes on. I love living in the country and living the small town life, but sometimes I think I should have stayed in the "big city"; I know some of this kind of nonsense probably went on, but there were so many people and such large facilities, and nobody really knew anybody, so it maybe it just wasn't so noticeable (or evident). The Lord will get me through it; he's working on me now to get through one more step in school and go the next round. What's that saying, "One Day At A Time?" There's a wonderful song too, "One Day At A Time--Sweet Jesus, That's All I'm Asking Of You". I just about have that one worn out. HaHa. Thanks to all of you listening out there; it's nice to be getting the "support" notes. I knew there HAD to be someone out there who understands what I'm talking about. He does answer our Prayers. My Sunday school teacher told me, "He is anwering your prayers in His way; maybe he wants you to go on with school and be in position to make those changes you haven't been able to make. Maybe He put you there with the strength to withstand it long enough to find out what and where the problems were." Her wonderful advice "not to question His decisions, just go with it" was really cute. I said "I'm doing the best I can, but it sure would be nice if He and I could have the good ol' face to face and He could tell me exactly what in the world He has up his sleeve for me." She said "Oh, you are so impatient." Funny conversation, but I guess you really had to be there to really appreciate it.
  12. by   H ynnoD
    Nurse Nanna-sometimes Gods will for my life scares me,because I can't see the end result,also wish He would let Me in on it,so I could understand better.Just know His way is always the best way.Hope and Pray it all works out for You.With Him leading I'm sure it will.
  13. by   LauraLou
    Bullying is like the pink elephant in the room. Everyone knows it is going on, but nobody addresses it openly. Bullies thrive in that type of environment.

    Sometimes by directly addressing the issue, you take away some of the bully's advantage. I have found that openly addressing the issue in front of others sometimes helps.

    For example, I told one bullying coworker in front of some other employees-

    "I don't understand why you are so nasty to me. I admit I am not perfect and make mistakes, but your constant criticism and harassment is uncalled for. I don't know if picking on me makes you feel better about yourself or if you have some unresolved issues from childhood, but I am tired of being your victim. I hope we can move past this and develop a productive working relationship, but please know I will not be bullied by you any more."

    Everyone was shocked that I actually said that out loud, but it did bring the issue out in the open. Needless to say she was furious and told me I was imagining things. Her attitude towards me got worse for a while, but eventually she backed off some. She was still nasty to me, but stopped criticizing everything I did. It took a lot of courage for me to confront her, but I'm glad I did.

    Obviously this doesn't always work and you may need to find a new job. But at least you will feel good about yourself for having done something, rather than feeling powerless and victimized. Those feelings will impact your self esteem and confidence. Don't let someone with obvious emotional and psychological issues make you feel bad about yourself.
    Last edit by LauraLou on Jul 20, '03