Hostile work environment

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vivacious1healer

vivacious1healer

Specializes in Neuroscience/Neuro-surgery/Med-Surgical/. 258 Posts

I agree with the other posters....DO NOT IGNORE this problem.

Be professional and direct. Take that RN aside, and explain how this is affecting you, and how you can address concerns in the future.

If that cannot be done, then take a step further, and include the manager, from there go to HR. Quite honestly, I am not sure I would have a conversation with this person without a witness.

What that charge nurse is doing is considered lateral violence

caliotter3

38,333 Posts

There is a possibility that there is something going on with this person that is totally dealing with her. You may just be the unlucky recipient of the behavior. I remember when I was going through the throes of menopause, everything was wrong was my motto. Way out of kilter, out of the blue I would escalate and pow, whoever was there or the chair in the hallway 20 feet away. When I figured out that something was wrong and had come to a conclusion about what was behind it, I warned all of my coworkers because I could not get help to control it at the time. I didn't want anyone to think that my kooky behavior had anything to do with them and that I could not help it just happening out of thin air. People around me acted understanding when we talked about it.

Not saying that this is what is wrong with her or that it might be something else, like family problems, but there is always a possibility that her behavior has little, or nothing, to do with you. At least give her the benefit of the doubt until you have seen enough to convince you otherwise.

ShiphrahPuah

ShiphrahPuah

Has 3 years experience. 91 Posts

There are several nurses on my floor who go out of their way to try to criticize whatever they can about me. The days I don't work with those nurses, I love my job, but on the days that one or more of them is working, I dream about moving on to another job -- the only problem is that there are people like that at most places. I have tried the "kill them with kindness" route, and that does not work. One of those nurses was assigned a patient she had the day before who was very difficult and obnoxious. I offered to trade with her because she felt the patient specifically had something against her due to race. That patient WAS a handful, but instead of being grateful that I took the patient, this other nurse picked at me all day for minor stuff. I know I have to get some balls and just stand up for myself, but I often think that a LOT of nurses are extremely unprofessional. This is my second career, and I never saw this crazy bullying in the corporate environments in which I worked. When I can set my automatic reaction to the bullying aside and consider the people who are doing it, they are ALL insecure people who are trying to make themselves feel better by feeling bigger than someone else. It makes me roll my eyes and want to say "Just grow up!" There are days I just long for a more professional environment.

tolerantgirl

tolerantgirl

207 Posts

Thank you for all the helpful suggestions. I did take this person aside in private and tell them how I felt. They were very defensive and angry, but then changed and became very apologetic and overly nice, even telling me how proud they were of me. It was so sugar coated that I thought I would vomit. I don't expect anything to be done about this person's behavior. I have another year there because of a contract and after that year, I plan on looking elsewhere because I don't think I can deal with that type of work environment. I just want to go to work and take care of my patients and learn without being terrorized.

helikias

helikias

136 Posts

tolerantgirl said:
Thank you for all the helpful suggestions. I did take this person aside in private and tell them how I felt. They were very defensive and angry, but then changed and became very apologetic and overly nice, even telling me how proud they were of me. It was so sugar coated that I thought I would vomit. I don't expect anything to be done about this person's behavior. I have another year there because of a contract and after that year, I plan on looking elsewhere because I don't think I can deal with that type of work environment. I just want to go to work and take care of my patients and learn without being terrorized.

Good for you! And you are smart to see through the fakeness. Don't be surprised if this person really starts treating you super-badly now. That's what happened to me and my friend.

I thought of a few other things to help you out until you can change jobs:

1. Start writing things down in a notebook after this person talks to you. Be subtle, yet make sure he/she sees you. What you are trying to do is strike the fear of God into this person that you are documenting everything he/she says. If you are asked about the notebook, just say "Oh, I like to write down the feedback I get so that I can keep track of it and learn from it." If they try to get more info out of you, change the subject. But be careful -- doing this CAN get you fired.

2. A good response for when you are spoken to disrespectfully is to "Well, allRIGHT-y then!" said with a little laugh and a smile, and with the HINT of an eye-roll. Enough people rememeber "Seinfeld" that you can pass it off as just a catch-phrase, and it won't seem terribly rude -- but it gets the point across. Make sure to laugh after you say it, then they can't get you for it.

3. You can also try making the person repeat himself/herself over and over by pretending not to hear: "I'm sorry, can you repeat that? What was that? Pardon, I didn't catch that?" People will tend to become too embarassed to repeat rude things and might back down.

4. "Thank you for your time" seems to make people shut up. I used it yesterday with my bully boss. He was going off on me for something that made no sense, he just wanted to treat me like dirt. I guess he was tired of flirting with my coworker who makes a million mistakes a day but wears a magic low-cut blouse that erases all errors. Or maybe his wife was nagging him again (he likes to complain aout her, she's 8 months pregnant, poor thing). So as soon as I could jump in politely, I said "That's intersting. Thank you for your time." Boy, did that shut him up, but fast.

Good luck ... people sure can suck sometimes, can't they.

Jules A

Jules A, MSN

Specializes in Family Nurse Practitioner. 8,863 Posts

helikias said:
Good for you! And you are smart to see through the fakeness. Don't be surprised if this person really starts treating you super-badly now. That's what happened to me and my friend.

I thought of a few other things to help you out until you can change jobs:

1. Start writing things down in a notebook after this person talks to you. Be subtle, yet make sure he/she sees you. What you are trying to do is strike the fear of God into this person that you are documenting everything he/she says. If you are asked about the notebook, just say "Oh, I like to write down the feedback I get so that I can keep track of it and learn from it." If they try to get more info out of you, change the subject. But be careful -- doing this CAN get you fired.

2. A good response for when you are spoken to disrespectfully is to "Well, allRIGHT-y then!" said with a little laugh and a smile, and with the HINT of an eye-roll. Enough people rememeber "Seinfeld" that you can pass it off as just a catch-phrase, and it won't seem terribly rude -- but it gets the point across. Make sure to laugh after you say it, then they can't get you for it.

3. You can also try making the person repeat himself/herself over and over by pretending not to hear: "I'm sorry, can you repeat that? What was that? Pardon, I didn't catch that?" People will tend to become too embarassed to repeat rude things and might back down.

4. "Thank you for your time" seems to make people shut up. I used it yesterday with my bully boss. He was going off on me for something that made no sense, he just wanted to treat me like dirt. I guess he was tired of flirting with my coworker who makes a million mistakes a day but wears a magic low-cut blouse that erases all errors. Or maybe his wife was nagging him again (he likes to complain aout her, she's 8 months pregnant, poor thing). So as soon as I could jump in politely, I said "That's intersting. Thank you for your time." Boy, did that shut him up, but fast.

Good luck ... people sure can suck sometimes, can't they.

Oh and this is both mature and not at all hostile. :rolleyes:

Baloney Amputation

Baloney Amputation, BSN, LPN, RN

Specializes in LTC, Acute Care. 1,130 Posts

Jules A said:
Oh and this is both mature and not at all hostile. :rolleyes:

Sometimes when you're not playing on a fair playing field, you have to fight fire with a little bit of fire. She could take the high road and continue to get bullied by this person, or she could probably stop this bully in her tracks by dishing something sharp back just once. Cats have the right idea...a cat will sit there and won't bother anyone, but bother and poke at it enough and it'll eventually lash right back. When it lashes and scratches just that one time, the cat won't be bothered anymore and can resume sitting there bothering no one, but now the cat has made it known that it won't tolerate being picked on.

ozoneranger

ozoneranger

Specializes in Acute post op ortho. Has 31 years experience. 373 Posts

applescruffette said:
Sometimes when you're not playing on a fair playing field, you have to fight fire with a little bit of fire. She could take the high road and continue to get bullied by this person, or she could probably stop this bully in her tracks by dishing something sharp back just once. Cats have the right idea...a cat will sit there and won't bother anyone, but bother and poke at it enough and it'll eventually lash right back. When it lashes and scratches just that one time, the cat won't be bothered anymore and can resume sitting there bothering no one, but now the cat has made it known that it won't tolerate being picked on.

Personally, I like to fight fire with...

ICE

COLD

WATER

Or super, sugary, kindness. It's hard to be mean to someone who treats you really well.

Well, it is for me, anyway.

Rhonda V

Rhonda V

33 Posts

I am working in a hostile work environment at this time. My supervisor is constantly in a bad mood at work, and often speaks to the staff in unprofessional manner. She has been reported to Human Resources more than once in the past. She was most recently investigated in December 2009 due to one of our CNA's filing a complaint against her to Human Resources. I was called into the office in front of the Administrator, and I told him how abusive she can be with staff. She even talks to our Administrator (her boss) in an unprofessional manner...and he doesn't do anything about it. After the investigation, it was determined that she was just "doing her job." She continues to belittle me almost on a daily basis, and it really hurts because I'm a sensitive person. It's not in my character to "fire back", and I'm very intimidated by her. Other coworkers of mine know what she's like, but at least we have each other to vent to. We have a new male ARNP who started at our company a few months ago, and he definitely has fired back at her. She picks on him a lot. I've even told our Administrator that I think it's wrong how she talks to him. His replay was, "I just have a thick skin." Everything else about my workplace is nice except for my supervisor. I'm not at ease working there because of her, and I've been there for over 1 year. She can't be reasoned with, and I'm not comfortable talking to her. Some of our staff are aware that she has her own problems including an eating disorder. She weighs herself sometimes more than once a day at work, and a coworker swears she heard her vomiting in the bathroom during the lunch hour last week. She's as skinny as a stick and has the body of a 12 year old boy (she's in her 50's). She obviously has mental problems which makes her treat others this way. She's worked for the company for about 8 years, but they'll probably never get rid of her. What upsets me most is why or how a corporation like ours can continue to allow a supervisor to remain in the position she's in when she's already been written up and had complaints against her. Other people have quit because of her, even a lab lady! There are bad nursing supervisors in lot's of places, but I just had to let you know that you are not alone and THEY ARE OUT THERE!

tiredstudentmom

tiredstudentmom

Specializes in Medical Assisting. Has 5 years experience. 162 Posts

What does one do when the coworker in question has actually lied to the doctor (private practice) to either get her way or to just cause a problem/trouble? I actually had this happen and since the office manager doesn't deal w/ conflict and just slaps a "bandaid" on the problem, I feel that the only solution is to find a different work environment. I work w/ a couple of girls who are in their very early twenties and still act like they're in high school. I moved away from such behavior a very long time ago.

Jules A

Jules A, MSN

Specializes in Family Nurse Practitioner. 8,863 Posts

amyRMA said:
What does one do when the coworker in question has actually lied to the doctor (private practice) to either get her way or to just cause a problem/trouble? I actually had this happen and since the office manager doesn't deal w/ conflict and just slaps a "bandaid" on the problem, I feel that the only solution is to find a different work environment. I work w/ a couple of girls who are in their very early twenties and still act like they're in high school. I moved away from such behavior a very long time ago.

I think you are making a wise decision. If I wasn't happy with my coworkers this is exactly what I would do. There is a better fit out there for you and no sense hanging out in a toxic environment. Personally while I think everyone should be able to act mature and work together at what point do we take responsibility and leave if we just aren't a good fit for a team?