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I was bullied out of my job

Nurse Beth Nurse Beth, MSN (Columnist) Educator Columnist Innovator Expert Nurse

Specializes in Med Surg, Tele, ICU, Ortho. Has 30 years experience.

She made up stories about me and accused me of being unsafe. My manager believed these stories, wrote me up, and put a performance plan in place, even though I told her that I could prove with documentation that the accusations were not true. I went to the Director of Nursing and asked her to look into the situation, but she never did, and instead sided with the manager. I ended up quitting the job at the last minute because I was terrified of being fired.

I managed to secure another job, and eventually worked my way into the Cardiac ICU. I have been a nurse for 6 years, with 4 of them in the ICU. I have never had one complaint about safety or my nursing practice since. I have received excellent reviews, am a charge nurse, and was elected as the Coordinating Council representative for my unit.

Unfortunately I am also burned out and am seeking a change of pace. My job options would be significantly increased if I could work for my first employer again, however I sent in a resume and they have told me that I am not eligible for rehire. Is there any way to dispute this matter, and clear my name-- even after all this time?

Dear Bullied,

There are always two sides to a situation, and I'm going to base my answer on the assumption that what you say is accurate- that you had no legitimate performance concerns. Your work history for the past six years speaks to that assumption, although something triggered the nurse manager's friend, who started all this.

What you don't offer is an explanation for the unprovoked attack on you by the nurse manager's friend. Did you inadvertently offend her/him? Do you think she/he felt

threatened in some way by you?

You received a write-up for unfounded accusations and then appealed to the DON, who sided with the manager. Lesson: it rarely works out well to go above your manager's head, especially when you are new.

It sounds like this nurse wanted to affect your future employment- and she/he did. Bad behavior, but enough about her/him. Let's talk about you.

Unfortunately, you do not have recourse (legal or otherwise), for reversing an ineligible for rehire status. It's entirely up to the facility, (in this case, the inexperienced, new manager) as to when they can stamp ineligible for rehire” on an employee's termination papers.

You can always write a letter of explanation, and request that it be placed in your file, which may or may not help-but can't hurt.

The other thing you can do is try to get back in through personal referral. Do you have contacts within the facility? If this manager is as bad as you say, after 6 years, she has burned some bridges and showed her true colors, assuming she even kept her job. Contact your contacts, and ask for referrals.

Hopefully there has been a changing of the guards” in your favor. If not, trust that other opportunities will present themselves for you and your great skill sets.

Best wishes,

Nurse Beth


Edited by tnbutterfly


Specializes in Orthopedics, Med-Surg. Has 18 years experience.

Something else that may help is if you've got any letters from former patients or even better, physicians you've worked with, thanking you for your efforts above and beyond the call of duty. If it's from physicians they know, so much the better.

Write HR a nice letter, include copies of whatever you can that shows you're worth hiring, and cross your fingers. If they still won't hire you, why would you want to work for a bunch of jerks like them? They're holding a grudge against you for their own malfeasance?

"You can always write a letter of explanation, and request that it be placed in your file, which may or may not help-but can't hurt." I like this idea.

Why didn't you prove your self sooner? Why fight after the fact?

You could have transferred to another unit. Also learn to move on.

Consider finding employment with a comparable facility, maybe the next

town or state over. Good luck. Life goes on.

Also learn how to WORK management to your benefit. There are MANY management styles & personalities.

Some don't like being challenged & may not have good management skills.

I guess I'm different but I don't go where I'm not wanted. I have to much pride for that. I would had never given them the satisfaction of knowing I had tried coming back.

If you're burned out and want better opportunities i would have moved to a different larger city.

That chapter in your life should have been closed, there was a reason why you didn't last there and simply look at it like it wasn't meant to be and look you didn't need them. You're a charge nurse and have done well. Don't ever look back at where you had left. I personally wouldn't want to work at a place that's obviously unfair to people and play favorites.

I wouldn't even waste more time with them. I say move on before you get more disappointed. Good luck to you but you don't need them.

BuckyBadgerRN, ASN, RN

Specializes in HH, Peds, Rehab, Clinical. Has 4 years experience.

I don't know that I'd want to go back to a company that treated me so poorly, as you say they did. No way would I beg to come back!!

Question, I keep getting notifications in my email regarding this specific post but it's talking about work from home good paying jobs. i come here and find nothing. I'm just wondering if those were spam post that are being deleted or why am I seeing this?

enclosed are examples of what I see in my emails


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traumaRUs, MSN, APRN, CNS

Specializes in Nephrology, Cardiology, ER, ICU. Has 27 years experience.

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Specializes in Psych, case-management, geriatrics, peds. Has 30 years experience.

Nurse Beth,

Sounds like it might be wise for you to read more research on bullying, psychological violence, etc., because your answer clearly shows your lack of knowledge on this topic. Read Gary Namie's work at: workplacebullying.org

tnbutterfly - Mary, BSN, RN

Specializes in Peds, Med-Surg, Disaster Nsg, Parish Nsg.

Nurse Beth,

Sounds like it might be wise for you to read more research on bullying, psychological violence, etc., because your answer clearly shows your lack of knowledge on this topic. Read Gary Namie's work at: workplacebullying.org

Perhaps you could offer your opinion about this particular situation.

Nurse Beth, MSN

Specializes in Med Surg, Tele, ICU, Ortho. Has 30 years experience.

Nurse Beth,

Sounds like it might be wise for you to read more research on bullying, psychological violence, etc., because your answer clearly shows your lack of knowledge on this topic. Read Gary Namie's work at: workplacebullying.org

Hi, there. I appreciate feedback, but I'm not sure I understand your concern.

The OP's question was how to contest a "not eligible for re-hire" status.

Make a fresh start. It will be hard. Really, you need to try to resolve the record if they will tell another employer you are a "Do Not Rehire."I won't say i was bullied, I was unwilling to work in service of a narcissist. A new "Golden Girl" manager was hired who was all and only about her. She liked a certain look and type of nurse. She wanted young,pretty, submissive, and very green. The unit became all about her mission trips and a conduit for her "image." She was very attractive, but a sneaky liar. We collected many surplus items from deliveries and C.Sections to send "on the Missions," but she usually "forgot" to take them. She took an idea I sent her and presented it to pediatricians as if it were exclusively hers. Unfortunately, because she wasn't careful enough, the protocols and order sets associated were not correct. When I talked to peds about it, they realized she was not the source of the idea. How embarrassing for a narcissist who is never wrong. I think that really made her hate me! Plus, I do not look like Barbie or swoon for anyone. This woman also wrote an article, published on a national website, and used the real first names of staff and described them in a derogatory way. Who is that stupid? (Small hospital in a small town-not hard to figure out who they are). My most favourite "___ism" was the test she "made" for staff because we were so deficient. When googling an answer, one of my coworkers found that the test was from a 100 level OB class at a state college in another state-VERBATIM!

I spent at third of my life at this place (16 of 48 years). Finally two+ years later and after she was "let go," I am over it. She was replaced by an equally toxic former staff person, who she hired as a sidekick (also thin and attractive). This person turned on her and ran to administration every time she cleared her throat apparently. I do believe they look in the mirror and see each other's face staring back at them! The only way I would ever go back is if they cleaned house and another institution took over. Don't waste your time. Go somewhere else. Let yourself be open to other possibilities and move on. It is really difficult, but it will be for the best. I do not know all of the ins and outs of your story, but going where you are "not wanted" is not a good solution. What if this happens again? There are some really horrible people in healthcare and generally in some workplaces. You, it seems, were in such a place. Even if you are not totally "happy," it is better to be safe from another incident. This assumes they would even take you back. That may not even be possible. I got copies of all of my evals from HR and I kept them in case they would ever dare give me a bad reference. In many states you are able to view your HR record and perhaps obtain a copy. Good luck!

I am a 58 yr old nurse who worked on a busy med/surg tele floor for 10 years. The last 3-4 years the company has been hurting financially due to many patients with no health insurance. They brought in a new BSN nurse administrator from a hospital that closed. She had her nurses come over from that hospital 9 favoritism) and started harassing the nurses that had years there. She made false accusations and said snide remarks... they let her go after a year, The next supervisor was a cardiac cath lab RN ex military. Brand new MSN supervisor who was even worse. He stopped our self scheduling .. put us on fri, sat, sun, mon.. 12 hrs. He had favoritism for his younger nurses who worked 2 fulltime jobs... He said he prefers "younger more moldable nurses as to older nurses set in their ways.. I watched at least 3 nurses over 50 get fired... and then me... he claims a Dr asked for something during the discharge that wasn't done. the Dr. was famous for not computer charting but putting it on paper... I read all my orders on the computer. this was not in it.. Long story short. they put me on probation one week without pay. They never told me why. My union rep said I need to resign. I said I wont. And 49 days later they sent me termination paperwork. I feel it is age discrimination. And sadly try to go against a huge corporation. I feel that I no longer want to give a company my full loyalty since I was back stabbed, And being 58 I don't care if I had a Phd. chances of my being hired are slim ... they look at age on every application


Specializes in Orthopedics, Med-Surg. Has 18 years experience.

I feel your pain. You didn't work for Tenet, by any chance? In any case, your story is a familiar one to their employees.

Healthcare can be a very 'unhealthy' place and sometimes lead to 'un-healing' experiences. (Imagine how these folks treat some patients? Yikes.) You use the term narcissist and there do seem to be a share of people with personality disorder who are attracted to healthcare as a profession.

At the end of the day: The only person we can change in the equation is ourselves. (Or the setting of where we choose to work.)

Also realize that some settings are truly toxic and most normal people cannot cope with them. Nobody should have to contort themselves into a pretzel to 'fit in'.

Please read this article on Strategies to cope with Bullying.


Cheryl Dellsega is a PhD prepared nurse at Penn State Hershey Med Center. She has written several books about nurse-nurse and woman to woman lateral violence. I read When Nurses Hurt Nurses: Overcoming the Cycle of Nurse Bullying and would highly recommend this book.

Setting someone up in the way described is a form of workplace bullying.

It is sad that nursing has become an environment of survival of the best or most talented socially self-protected.

I've wondered of late if some nurses are so hate and anger filled because of the overwhelming stress of impossible workloads and expectations that they joy in hurting other nurses who are not in the IN....you know the old...anger indirect

Some of this behavior is like one would expect to see in the 13 year old girlfriend click group....just plain vicious.

I think all nurses should be forced to adhere to diversity paradigms (need strict diversity paradigms within nursing NOW!)

I also have been terminated wrongfully....however, in my case there was a DOH investigation, which was fortunate for me, because not only was I cleared, but the mal-intent came out clearly and the facility GOT THEIRS!

I would never want to work for that management again. I recognized how pathetic their own lack of ability in oversight caused them to attempt a scapegoat on me.

At some point we need to start calling this type of behavior what it is....and that is just plain evil, immoral, and unbecoming to nursing and nurses. I am so ashamed and embarrassed by behavior of this type. I do not think them clever...just a complete embarassment to nursing.


Specializes in Long Term Acute Care, TCU. Has 16 years experience.

You burnt that bridge when you quit without notice. You do not deserve to get that job back.

Likely, you neither did an exit interview nor did you bring the matter up with Human Resources. Never quit a job. Give a two week notice and let them fire you.

Two week notices should always go through Human Resources first. Let them know the exact reason you are leaving and how it has become a hostile environment.

Age discrimination is rampant. Most new Managers/Supervisors have little to no floor experience and are more concerned with making friends with the "cool" kids than they are with running a professional unit. I will only work at facilities where most of the management is close to my age. A lot of youth in authority positions is a bad sign.


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