Workplace mobbing...

  1. Came across an interesting thread on another nursing website...where the Oregon Dept. of Environmental Quality has become the first government agency in the nation to institute a "workplace mobbing policy." Many have fallen victims to this and it will become part of the cultural vocabulary like sexual harassment and racial discrimination. The best way to describe workplace mobbing would be like comparing it to the bully on the playground who intimidated and harassed other kids to the point where they wouldn't return to the playground. In the workplace it is very similar. The goal of the mobber (ies) is to get the victim (s)fired or force them to quit.
    Cultural anthropologist Noah Davenport is co-author of a book,
    Mobbing: Emotional Abuse in the American Workplace. She says it can take the form of persistant mean behavior, persistant rudeness and persistant humiliation and the effects that it particularly has on the target that has been singled out results in stress-related physical illness such as heart disease or mental illness. She has also conducted some preliminary research on the issue and has found mobbing to be more prevalent in gov't agencies, non-profit organizations and academia, stating reasons to be due to poor management, competition for limited resources, and difficulty firing incompetent employees.
    Has anyone ever been a victim to workplace mobbing?
    I've seen many people fall victim to this. We've lost many good workers due to this and it's about time there's a policy implemented against such behavior.
    One particular story I recall is, one nurse immediately put in a transfer to another unit b/c another nurse took eight monthly summaries from pts charts that she had just finished. How did she know it was her? Well she couldn't actually prove it, but when this nurse finally finished her last summary, she said, "Wow, thank God I'm finally finished with those summaries!!!" Guess who was at the nurses station when she said it? The other nurse who allegedly took them all out, and she was the only other nurse there. The one nurse went back to check something she had written and found no summary and she knew that she did it. Looked in another chart for another summary and no summary. All others she did were gone too. This other nurse had the reputation of doing nasty things to other employees like taking their keys and hiding them for a week or so, then acting like the hero looking like she found them, zeroing in on the new nurses, and making them feel like 2 cents, harassing other co workers to the point where they'd put in a transfer b/c they just couldn't stand it any longer. She belonged to a clique that always did nasty things to others and they actually seemed to "get off" on doing things like that. Very sick people. What drives people to be like that? It always seems that it happened to the nurses who were the most caring and the hardest workers. What's your take?
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    Joined: Mar '01; Posts: 3,254; Likes: 53


  3. by   RN-PA
    Hmmm... Interesting term, "mobbing". The closest thing I've seen to what you've described was when I worked on a Med-Surg floor of a hospital a number of years ago, and I witnessed behavior on the part of day shift nurses that I labeled, "like jackals gathered around the prey". They were such a mean and caustic group that I often hoped that they saved some "niceness" for their patients, at least. They'd backstab one another, gossip and pass stories around about new nurses, and generally make life miserable for someone they didn't like.

    I remember getting report from one of the newer nurses on that shift and trying to comfort and encourage her while she cried her eyes out over the treatment she received from the nasty clique. I even had to change from night shift to evenings so I wouldn't have to face the day shift nurses' surliness and attitudes every morning. (They were easier to follow than to be followed by them, shift-wise.)
  4. by   tigger2sassy
    Night Owl-- boy have you ever hit home with me right now!!!I am presently in a situation that I am not quite sure how to deal with it-- could really use some advice right now-- we have this nurse that was hired a little over a month ago as the "Midnight Shift Manager"-- i work second shift-- i have observed this "person" belittle, badger, intimidate, write up, lecture, and verbally abuse second shift crew-- she recently has begun leaving little one to one letters on our time cards with different criticisms--i have had the second shift nurses and aides coming to me complaining about her (no, i am not the shift supervisior) i would suggest to them to complain using the appropriate chain of command-- i really couldn't step in until it affected me directly-- earlier this week i got one of those letters on my time card-- she put on it that i do a great job but--- "Failure to follow through will result in disciplinary action. Do not jeopardize your license by allowing the residents to be left unattended" I perceive this as a direct threat and did not appreciate it-- my residents are not left unattended at shift change,the woman is an egotistical power hungry witch!!
    it has taken all of my self control not to let myself lose control-- i have a thing about professional ethics which i am proud of-- i took this letter along with a couple of other nurses to the administrator to ask his advice-- he had us make a copy for "her" file and that was it-- she was allowed to intimidate and verbally abuse the second shift staff again-- the next morning i typed up an official letter to the director of nursing voicing my concerns, gave her one and also a copy hand delivered to the administrator--the only results so far are "It's being handled"-- well, this has not been handled-- she has not been fired, or even disciplined, have been off for a couple of days and dread going back-- she is the type that would be capable of anything-- by the way i also found out that she is friends with the don and one of her administrative assistants-- i also found out that she was fired from the same facility for doing the same thing I am presently making 20.00/hour for doing my job-- it took that much for them to get me back to work for them because they were in so much trouble with state deficiencies-- i am now having to consider giving up what i have worked so hard for and work in a place that would cost me a cut of 5 to six dollars an hour-- i don't think that is fair-- i do my job the way i am supposed to-- i am respected at my facility-- the morale was extremely high and everyone was overjoyed that i came back to work-- we had worked together to build a team that was a great team only to have everything shreded to bits by this idiot-- now morale is so low who knows what will happen next-- i am just about to the end of my rope on what to do except to throw in the towel and try to move on somewhere else-- either way i lose, but at least i will have my self respect that can't be taken away if i leave-- what do i do--your input will be much appreciated
    thanks for listening
  5. by   P_RN
    I too have seen this first hand. The NM hired some of the "oddest" people.

    That's the only way I can put it. Then in spite of any warnings or notices from the staff, she would defend the things that someone she hired had done....that is until SHE decided.

    Then she and her "friends" would make life miserable for the victim....usually the new hire.

    I saw probably 30 employees treated so. Then it was my turn when I got hurt. The things she did, didn't do, and what she said..will never be forgotten by me. I guess it's a power trip. I don't know how else to explain it.

    A co-worker told me her grandma describes it as someone being "IT." Sooner or later you WILL be IT.
  6. by   canoehead
    I've been mobbed, I stayed at that position for a year trying to "repair" relationships but finally quit for my own mental health. Thank goodness I wasn't a new grad, for the only thing that saved my sanity was my mother saying " you were an excellent nurse before you went to work there at several hospitals, it doesn't make sense that you would be an awful nurse just at this hospital" She was right, so I quit and got a job elsewhere, and it took a few months for me to feel secure again.

    When I gave my notice to the NM I said that my quitting wouldn't solve the problem, they would just find someone else to pick on. She said "yes, probably." No wonder that floor still has trouble keeping RN's.
  7. by   live4today
    After talking directly to the "mobbing nurse(s)" regarding his/her/their behavior, and noticing "no changes", then one should try the "chain of command".

    After trying the "chain of command" and seeing "no changes", then one should seek "legal counsel".

    Legal counsel will intervene on your behalf with the "mobbing nurse(s)", bringing serious attention to the matter for the entire hospital admin/nursing admin to see and answer to.

    Then, once things have been "resolved" (HA!), turn in your resignation lettter for better opportunities elsewhere.

    "It's not whether you get knocked down. It's whether you get up again." -- Vince Lombardi
  8. by   mario_ragucci
    i hope this stops
    Last edit by mario_ragucci on Feb 22, '02
  9. by   Teshiee
    I have seen that behavior but now there is a name for it. Personally I haven't been targeted for that vicious mess but I truly feel for individuals who have suffered. When I start a new unit I keep my mouth shut and ears open. I start to get a feel for who I can deal with and the ones I don't. I make a point not to take any crap right away but willing to help also. I think also it is best to document things that happen so when you have to your chain of command you have evidence in hand.
  10. by   lever5

    There are more of you than her! Do it back!!!!
  11. by   night owl
    Doing it back won't solve the problem, doing it back isn't very professional and if I wouldn't tolerate it, why on earth would I do it back and stoop to their unethical, disgusting, down right cold hearted behavior? Just not my cup of tea. It's just plain viciously evil and these people need to be dealt with. I feel that one day they will have it all thrown right back at them to the point where they wish they had treated others differently.
  12. by   Sleepyeyes
    Check out some "workplace violence" sites:

    are just a couple to get you started.
    I personally would "vote with my feet" on this one. Best wishes.
  13. by   cargal
    An especially good site to describe horizontal abuse in nursing is: .

    I have suffered at the hands of a nurse in control and the poor management that allowed and promoted it. The funny thing is, they can't see it and will deny it -but that is a hallmark of the abuser. Left that job and won't look back, even thought it was very painful at the time.
    Last edit by cargal on Feb 23, '02
  14. by   zumalong
    "Failure to follow through will result in disciplinary action. Do not jeopardize your license by allowing the residents to be left unattended"

    CYA cover your arse!!! If you are at a job you enjoy--then try not to let this tear apart what you have worked for on your shift. Start documenting (for yourself) on her supposed complaints. Save any written "notes" she has left you and your co-workers. It sounds like she is just a bully who is probably needing some serious psychiatric care (or maybe just some haldol)

    There are power in numbers. Is there any way you can all get together and write a letter? Include the behavior patterns of this witch (with a B) and keep copies of any resulting communication.

    Make sure you follow the chain of command but don't let up until this behavior does. I am not clear about your position, what about the evening supervisor--is she (or he) supportive of the evening shift?

    I have worked with people like this. They thrive on intimidation, my saving grace was the other people I worked with. We always banded together and one way or another the "problem" either left our unit, or stopped the intimidation.

    Then if following the chain of command does not do trick, take all your notes, copies of intimidating letters, etc. and contact labor board or a lawyer.

    This sounds great if you can put up with the harrassment and if the rest of the staff is in agreement. What about the other shifts? Does she write them up also?? If this is not possible then look for a position elsewhere--however when you give your exit interview write out why you are leaving and send copies to all the administration in your facility.

    It is hard to work in those conditions, and it is frustrating if no one else wants to try to stop the behavior--Good Luck. Keep us informed.

    Take Care Cheryl