Bullies in the workplace - page 5
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
Jul 20, '03I'm getting bullied at work.
I'm a contigent nurse...I get pulled where they need me. When I first started I worked mostly on a telemtry floor where the nurses worked great together. Everyone was so nice.
One day I was sitting at lunch with these nurses...they started talking about this one nurse. One of the nurses next to me said," she doesn't work here anymore...she got fired. " I said, "What she wasn't a good nurse?" The nurse said, "No she was a good nurse I think certain people didn't like her and ganged up on her..."
I sat there in awww...even though I've seen it done before(at a different hospital). But I thought all these nurses seem so nice. I'm lucky they "liked" me.
Well now I'm working on a "different" unit...there's two nurses on the opposite shift that don't seem to like me. They are giving me a lot of hassle. I'm trying not to let them ruffle my feathers...but by the end of 12 hours they have a lot more snappy comments...and I'm too tired to come back with a comment back. I need to start dealing with them different...
Any idea's how to deal with people would be great!! I think I'm too "nice"...I'm an excellent nurse...but "bully" type nurses sense my "soft, quiet" personality and pounce on the opportunity to be manipulative with me.
I'm starting to miss my old job.
Jul 20, '03I just had a thought--
If anyone is getting bullied at work--maybe we can be each other's support system. My dh has a hard time understanding--
P.M. me or ICQ me--147432798
Jul 20, '03To LauraLou and askater11
I am not currently working anywhere - I am taking some home courses, adding to my credits in hopes of obtaining a position in which "I will have the authority" to be able to stop some of this bullying crap. I'm not sure exactly what or when that will be, but I am studying, praying, and allowing the Lord to lead me into whatever and wherever it takes. Does that make sense. First, I don't "need" to work; I enjoy working, especially nursing. And, I DID finally stand up to it and embarrass the bullies in front of their own audiences and they did stop bullying me; however, they continue to work in respective positions and continue to bully other coworkers who fear losing their jobs. I didn't fear losing my job because I didn't need it. I just put up with it long enough to "size up the situation and determine how to confront the situation in a public but professional way." And like you say askater11 when you take it headon, they almost act "innocent and offended". Makes you want to smile. I too told one of my bullies, "I got your number!" and "I'm sorry you are so insecure but if it makes you feel better about yourself to find fault, I got big shoulders, bring it on" in front of half a dozen other nurses at shift change and that was the end of her nonsense. I do think a nurses' support group would be wonderful. That is sort of what I was working on in my mind; but still putting an idea together on how to start it up and coordinate it. So far, the few short days I've been registered on allnurses.com I think we have a pretty good start on it. Maybe we can get it going here on allnurses.com; now wouldn't that be a hoot. Nurses' giving bullied nurses ideas and support on how to "handle" bullies. Also, just having someone to talk to that has been through it and/or is going through it really helps a bunch. Until I got onto allnurses.com, I had met a couple of nurses here and there who know the problem exists, but they just don't want to or just don't feel they can "deal" with it; they prefer to try and 'ignore' it or go home miserable everyday. Not this grandma; I prefer to use the chain of command and if that fails, take it head on and if that fails; move on. Here's a FUNNY story, and I'm not THAT brave, but my 'baby sister' who I raised from 4 years old, is also a nurse up north. She had a 'real bully' on her butt and she finally took her head on; they ended up in the managers office, then the don's office, and as usual, basically nothing happened. Seems the bully and the manager were both single and 'party' buds. So, she waited in the parking lot one night after work. She said this "B" turned as white as a sheet when she walked around the corner and saw her standing in front of her car door. Sis said to her "Me and you need to talk about your problems." The bully said "I don't have a problem." My sister told her, "Oh? Then let's both remember that and you get the **** out of my face and get off my **** back or YOU WILL HAVE A BIG PROBLEM, YOU UNDERSTAND THAT 'B'! Now you go run to your 'buddy'- but this NEVER happened! I have a 'buddy' sitting in my car, see right there? and we're at *****right now for dinner. You have a nice night now, ya hear!" She called me when she got home and said "Well sis, I did it. I caught the 'B' in the parking lot; either I'm gonna get fired tomorrow or I bet she'll never bother me again." I said, "Baby girl, I raised you to be a whole lot tougher than me." We laughed and I said, "well, if you get fired, I guess we can both be thankful that there IS a nurse shortage out there." She never heard anything back on it and the bully applied for a transfer, stating "personal reasons". My sister called and said "The Wicked Witch is leaving." I don't want to become a bully or harrasser, but hey, ya gotta do something to stop these sickos. I cannot understand why administration will allow this crap to go on and continue to lose good nurses because they don't want to "deal" with problem issues. It is their job and they ARE required by law to stop it. They continually get away with filing 'investigation into complaint' forms with 'no cause for action' findings and nobody further up bothers to look into why there are so many 'unfounded' complaints and such a high turnover rate. I ran into a nurse shopping this afternoon that I used to work with at my first facility where the bullies made my life hell. She said "ya know, how long has it been since I saw you - almost 3 years? well, nothing has changed over there, same of crap, same old hateful nasty people." She said she was about ready to go somewhere else, giving up on any 'changes' happening. I also spoke to another nurse I trained when she came to us; first thing I taught her was to 'stand your ground' with these people or they will walk all over you. On this unit, we do our job, we practice TEAMWORK, we don't gossip, we don't backbite, and we take care of each other. The facility is small, but the units are open and some of these people think 'they' run this floor-"I" run this floor. She told me "yeah, I kind of got the feeling on unit # that they didn't like you because I was told when I was sent over here tonight to watch out for you because you are a 'dog' and if it isn't perfect you will write me up." Now, this was interesting, you all know that it doesn't work that way. I explained that I didn't care what anyone said or thought and that basically the information was false and then briefed her on my work ethic, my ideas on professionalism, teamwork, and holistic patient care and that these things were MY priorities and anything less than that was unacceptable. I also shared my willingness to teach or physically assist her or anyone else, and my openness to listen to any suggestions or ideas she would have to offer to help our unit to be "the best" unit in the facility and make it a 'home away from home' for our patients and their families. She gave me a big hug and said "OMG, are they so wrong about you. Where do we start?" This nurse had come out of 3 years in the army and then to nursing school, so she had some great work ethic and the desire to be a professional. We worked great together; she requested a permanent position on my unit, which she didn't get, but she was made a 'floater' and covered any shift, any unit, within a couple of months training. She is an excellent nurse, very knowledgeable; AND she tells it straight up and to the point to anybody (such a professionally-matter of fact demeanor that she leaves people just looking at her with nothing to say.) I'm still trying to accomplish that. HaHa. After less than a year, she was given her own unit charge position. I left the facility shortly after that. When one of the nurses finished her school, she became the DON at another facility and took this nurse with her. They both continue their education and are doing great. I have been offered a position with them, but at this time, I'm continuing my credits at home (slow but sure) plus I have other family obligations that keep me from being able to go out of the home to work. Wow! Didn't mean to get sooooo out there. It is so wonderful to have nurses to talk to that UNDERSTAND the level of frustration we deal with. You both have a wonderful day and keep on nursing. Together, we Can, Do, and Will make a difference.
Jul 21, '03If your not my Boss and can't fire Me,then bite Me.I'm a mechanic,going to school to be a Nurse.We had a Mechanic who got moved up to kind of oversee us.Went to his head and now he's the Company snitch.All He was suppose to do is give us some help if we needed it.Some how He got the impression that made Him our Boss.LOL!He went crying to the Boss that I was picking on Him,I would'nt do anything he told Me to.They just told Me to leave Him alone and they moved Him away from us.Then He told them I was'nt doing my Job,got me a Bad evaluation and they started watching Me.It just back fired on Him,because they seen then it was Him not Me and I got revaluated with a big Raise.If they can't fire you and your doing your Job,don't take Guff from anyone,it is'nt worth it.
Jul 21, '03Donny
You are from Fresno, CA? That's cool. My birth state is Calif. I was born and raised there and moved to the east coast about 8 years ago. Lived in Sutter/Yuba/Solano Counties. Small world.
Good for you for standing up to that person. Sometimes these folks get the idea that being put in a "leadership" or "over-see" the shop or floor position makes them boss. Like you say, "You can't fire me, you don't want to 'work', so get the hell out of my way and let me do my job." I guess it goes on everywhere; my son had a similar problem; worked 14 months, got put on travel to set up new stores, promoted 3 or 4 times with raises, made dept mgr. and then his store mgr was transferred and some new person came in from another area and for some reason "just didn't like him" and made his life a living hell. He finally confronted this man in his office because he had been promised by the previous mgr several weeks before that he was getting his own dept and a raise on a certain date which had come and gone. This new guy decided "no" with "I don't have to have a reason, I'm the boss". My son (who was young-20-and inexperienced and a bit hot-headed) told him "No, you're an a**hole, I worked all over this store and ran all over two states setting up new stores and I don't deserve to be treated like this, it's wrong and I quit!" and walked out, throwing his name clip on the floor. He came home and we called the store and the man refused to talk to either of us. I called our attorney and he said to try to resolve it through corporate hdqtrs which we did, only to find out this creep had called them after I called him and reported my son for "gross misconduct" and requested to "fire" him. They told me he had been terminated the afternoon before. I tried to explain what had "actually happened" and then put my son on the phone to talk to them and they said if he felt he had a complaint to go to the store and try to work it out with the manager. The man refused to see us. My husband attempted to talk to him stating that "the kid has had an exemplary record, an I want to know what the problem is." Now, my husband was 55 years old and this, maybe mid-late 20's man told him "The problem is he don't work here anymore!!" and hung up on him. We called our attorney and he said he could look into it but the labor codes in the Commonwealth of Va. were a little different than in Calif. and it could get quite expensive to pursue it. We let it go. Oh well, guess it was the way it was supposed to be,
because he decided to go on to college and get a degree and he just graduated in May of this year. He has a good job (started part-time a couple of months before graduation) and is very happy, and his Boss (the "owner" of the company) works with him and they get along great. He asked for a copy of his diploma and a grad pic to frame and put up in the business. He has taken him to lunch and asked his "educated" opinion on things and has already given him two raises for his research into a couple of problems that they had and he was able to find and solve the problems. He said "Mom, I thought I liked my job at ***, hell no, I LOVE this; it's hard and it's stressful at times, but dang mama, I love it, it's something new and exciting everyday; it makes my heart kinda beat fast." You know Donny, that's what our "careers" should be: Fun, Exciting, Kind of a new learning experience everyday. I'll add you to my prayer list of many, including myself, and together, with His help and guidance, we will ALL get through it. Happy Nursing and you hang in there.
Jul 21, '03Thanx Nurse Nanna.Yea if your going to fight for your rights at work it is best not to quit,because then you have no rights since you are no longer an employee.Be happy your not in Calif. right now,has been over 100+degrees for 12 days now and is going to continue for awhile.Take Care and May God Bless You!
Jul 21, '03Donny:
Our oldest son is still in Calif - Yuba County area; we talk via messenger everyday and two of our other children just vacationed out there and returned home last week and this week. They both said, yea, I remember the difference between Va. hot and Ca. hot now mom. It is drrryyy in Calif and hot as hell. Well, it has been hot here too, but it is humid, your clothes stick to you and you literally peel them off.
At any rate, my rights are not nearly as important to me as "the patient's rights" that are being violated due to all the time used up by the bullys and the co-workers time used trying to combat the bullying or defending themselves against it. Some day, with the Lord's help, I WILL be in position to do something about it. Even if it is to "enlighten" folks and "bring it out in the open" so the folks in charge will HAVE to stop it. Like I said before, I don't know exactly when, how, or where I will be able to do something about it, but it is a goal. I love nursing, and I intend to continue nursing, but I feel the bullying is a MAJOR issue throughout the workforce in this country and not just in nursing I'm finding out. So, maybe I will end up travelling and doing seminars or something. Might be a hoot to meet some of you out there on the road somewhere. HaHa. I think maybe setting up a "conflict resolution unit" in the facilities and staffing them with people who can and will take the charges/complaints seriously and require some sort of counseling for the bullies might be the way to go. Come on Jesus, help me out here. Wish you all the best and hang in there.
Jul 21, '03Nurse Nana,
I too hope someday to be in the position to do something about bullying. I would like to create an environment where everyone is treated with respect, regardless of job title, seniority, who they are friends with, etc.
My motto would be "You do not have to like everyone you work with, but you do have to treat everyone in a professional manner."
There is no reason why this behavior could not be changed if every workplace took a "no tolerance" approach, such as they do with sexual harrassment. Bullying creates a hostile work environment and impacts morale and productivity.
No one should have the right to make another person feel insecure, inadequate and powerless.
Jul 21, '03Thinking that bullies got insecurities in life,praising them the way they look gives a good psychological effect.I have develop a skill on cold treatment-once they`ve done something nasty,I make sure they will receive a very cold treatment,I don`t talk to them because I`m waiting for a good timing,once I knew that there are people who hates them,that`s the time I talk back with an impact-usually scripted,most of them get shocked because I am typically a quiet person.I realised the one that makes me powerless or victim of the bullies is myself that`s why my mantra now is"I am not subordinate to anyone but to God and to myself,I will not stoop down to the level of this insecure people,I can do better by ignoring them,and I have to make sure they don`t have the power over me".
Jul 21, '03I believe that facilities will not take bullying from coworkers, managers, doctors, and patients/family seriously until they have to defend against lawsuits. Lawsuits filed by nurses: claiming 'hostile work environments." I can't think of a better description of my workplace..."nurse hostile."
We should document document document and ask for action; every time we are harassed for simply trying to doing our job. On a nightly basis I see harassment by doctors, patients, family or dysfunctional coworkers. What I find amazing is that so many nurses blow it off and accept it. I have a healthier self esteem apparently.....it gets to me.
What generally happens to nurses who stand up and demand satisfaction from managers is they are dubbed 'bad attitudes' and 'troublemakers' and then dirt is slowly collected on them. They are too often run off. We must start to fight back, IMHO.
During my experience with the corporate bully with her cohort bully buddies, 3 supervisors resigned while watching what the bully was doing to me. They agreed with me privately what was going on, and said they had endured it too, and couldn't hack it anymore. But...would any of them speak up to the DON? NO. Did any of them TELL the DON why they were leaving? NO. They used generic reasons to avoid being troublemakers. I had to go it alone. Tis is a problem in nursing...we don't stick together when it counts.
Maybe this will change someday.
Jul 21, '03LauraLou
You are absolutely right. There should be a "no tolerance" approach to bullying and harrassment of 'any kind' such as there is for the 'sexual harrassment', which is another whole problem of its own. Bullying does make and 8, 12, or 16 hour shift about the most miserable, incrediby long day anyone could imagine. I have worked doubles as many as 6 days straight and then some 8's and 12's in there, going as many as 12 days without a day off; the job of nursing is extremely hard work, especially if you're a loving and caring person, but you can somehow get yourself through it with a supportive staff that works well together. It's kind of like natural childbirth, once the push is done, you look back and it didn't seem so bad; the end result was well worth the labor. But, you do one little 8 hour shift with a bully up your tail, and it feels like it will never end and when it's over and you know by looking at the schedule that tomorrow will be the same old long tedious grind, it makes for a miserable few hours off because you can't help but dread it. I'd rather work 64 hours in a 6 day period without the bully than to do a 5 day 40 hours with one. The emotional, mental, and physical stress the bully causes
another coworker should be a darn good case for a law suit. Headaches, nerves and stress, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, and not to mention, when you know you have someone dogging you just waiting for you to do something they can nail you for, you are definitely going to make a mistake-and that's when it becomes dangerous for the patient. And that, is when the managers, directors, and other admins should be on their toes and putting a stop to it. We have such a world wide shortage of nurses, you'd think when a new nurse came through the door, someone would grab them and treat them like little gold nuggets-polish and shine and care for them like the precious commodity they are; not discourage and bully and dog them to death until they either transfer, go somewhere else altogether or quit nursing completely. In my 5 years on the East Coast, I've seen two brand new nurses, (honor students) walk out and say "forget this, I just wasted a bunch of time and money in nursing school." One nurse went back to her old job (?retail I think) and one went back to school for Business Admin I think she said. What a gross miscarriage of their rights--both of these nurses complained to their charge nurses, supervisors, managers,- no response." My final complaint and reason for resigning at the first facility was "hostile work environment in which the powers that be choose to allow it to continue." I am one who sends copies to everybody in the organization. I did not get even one response from anybody. Maybe if enough of us get out there and start "watchdogging the bullies" we can create a 'national alert' to this thing. Hang in there and take care of you. Tell it straight up and to the point and don't back down.
Jul 22, '03Are these Bullies that you all have been talking about,supervisors or just other nurses ,maybe on the same level as You?
Jul 22, '03Donny
Bullies are on all levels. I have experienced bullying from people below rank, at rank, and above rank. Sometimes, because they have been "around" longer, they think they have seniority or "rank" over a new coworker even if she/he has had more education and has a higher degree of education. I agree that new nurses can learn a lot from lower ranking nurses that have been around for a while, but it is also true of the older nurses being able to learn from newer ones because of constant new technology being taught in the schools that sometimes get missed in the workplace. I had one mentor that had been nursing over 30 years and I was 2 years out of nursing school; I went to her and said, you know, the procedure manual says -------and the way we were taught was ------- and that's the way I've always done it and now **** just jumped all over me because that isn't the way we do it here. I'm confused; am I supposed to go the the procedure manual for every single procedure before I do it and be sure it's exactly according to the manual?" She looked in the manual - the particular procedure in question-it hadn't been updated since 19**. Anyway, little miss jump on you was the person responsible for the manual updates and apparently had gotten behind at some point and the pages never got put in the book. The Asst. Mgr I went to remembered a workshop a couple of years before that had changed the way the procedure was done; so, I got a pat on the back and the Mgr had a meeting and stated, apparently we've been doing this incorrectly for a couple of years now and ***** brought us the new procedure, so maybe all of you CAN learn something from these new nurses. Well, I was dirt for a while, but that's ok. The patient got the procedure performed correctly and miss watchdog got caught in her own BS. She had to go through all the procedure manuals and update them-of course she asked for help and I said, "sorry, I have an appointment, I can't stay over today." She was the same degree as me, but she had been there for about ever. She, by the way, is one of the Biggest Bullies I have run across in 5 years. But I finally took her head on and she learned to leave me the hell alone. Almost 3 years on that unit and I quit to go back to school.
But, to answer your question, you have the bullies on ALL levels. These folks either "are old buds" or get to be "buds" with managers and/or administrators and then it is hell to pay because they think they got the "inside." I had one manager who constantly harrassed me and called me at home cursing about things and I finally reported her. She denied it; I offered to bring in taped messages she had left on my answering machine and the DON said, "That isn't necessary, you two can work together, I've seen you do a wonderful job together. Now go back to work and stop this silliness." We stepped out of the DON's office and got back on our unit and the manager said "I need to talk to you" and we went in her office. She said "Now you see what I meant when I told you before that me and Ms. **** are like this (and did the crossed tight finger thing). You tell her anything you want and I'll deny it. She'll believe me. Hell, we go to lunch and everything, we are close. Report me again and I CAN and WILL make your life hell." I said "You already have, but that CAN and WILL go both ways." I walked out of her office with her yelling "Don't you dare walk out on me, I'm not finished with you yet!" I yelled back "As a matter of fact, yes you are; the conversation is over, and Ms. **** also answers to somebody you know. And you both answer to the Board of Nursing. I have answering machine tapes AND everytime you call me you can bet your butt every word will be recorded!!" She was cold as ice for several days and then calmed down, but she never called me at home with her ugly mouth anymore. That is the kind of stuff that is just plain nasty nonsense and makes your life and your job miserable. I don't know how these people get so ugly and hateful and how they can go home at night and live with themselves, but good grief, they all need to STOP!!
You know, a bully is a lot like a wife beater; they continue until someone hits back and then it's such a shock to them, they act almost indignant and get "defensive" - "What did I do?" Um, besides being a jerk? Hang in there and take care. Don't give up nursing school Donny. As you know, there are bullies everywhere, not just in nursing. We all grew up with bullies on the playground; once someone stands up to them, they move on. Just do it calmly and professionally and with plenty of witnesses so you got your butt covered when they run crying about it - because they will and they do. They are always the 'innocent' one.