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I don't think i can be around this co-worker anymore.

Nurses   (4,726 Views 45 Comments)
by fulitarn fulitarn (Member)

951 Visitors; 45 Posts

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3,006 Visitors; 150 Posts

My advice is to stop being so passive! Why did you "freeze" instead of saying, "Get your hands the **** off me?!" At the computer, you say you wanted to run, but you didn't. You sat there. Why? You're giving him all the power. He can feel it and he relishes it. STOP DOING THAT. When he came up to you again after being counseled, you should have firmly said, "Get away from me right now," and then moved to where other people were present.

Do not allow this to continue. Go back to HR and tell them he is continuing to get too close to you on purpose and imposing unwanted personal attention on you. But you have got to start sending clear, impossible to confuse messages to this creep and enlist your coworkers as helpers. Ask them to intervene if they see him getting too close or you seem uncomfortable.

Tell HR you can't work shifts with someone who is clearly laying the groundwork for sexual harassment or worse, and has already committed the first act of harassment.

It's really easy to tell people to stop being so passive, but freezing is a natural response for some folks. It's my first response too. I've dealt with this regarding an RT at work- but he got scared of me and my response. The first time I froze. The second time, I immediately knew it wasn't a mistake or a miscommunication on my part and let him have it. He was the one worried from then on out, tried to explain himself, and has since made himself scarce and requested to work on units other than mine. Freezing is a normal biological response. Please don't try to blame people when that is their first reaction.

OP- do please continue to go to your manager about this if this guy is continuing to harass you. You should not have to feel obligated to deal with the perp directly.

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3,006 Visitors; 150 Posts

This is a tough situation for you to be in, and clearly you are very uncomfortable. Some people are just socially clueless and also unable to pick up social cues, and he sounds like one of those people. He also clearly does not understand professional boundaries!!

My suggestion to you is this. I think going behind his back to your manager and HR just makes things more awkward for both of you, and that just creates more tension and hard feelings. I would speak with you manager about things and ask if the three of you can have a conversation about this together, that way you understand what his thoughts are and he understands that he is invading your personal space and that it is not welcome. I find that doing this clears the air usually, and the average person will stop the behavior and both parties are better able to move forward without the awkwardness that comes with telling on someone essentially.

Annie

Yeah, no. The OP should feel free to go the manager (behind the perp's back at any time) over this. The OP should not be made to feel guilty of creating tension, hard feelings, or even be made to feel like they should be a good girl and be understanding of the perp's social cluelessness or lack of personal boundaries, at this point. Obviously, a guy that continues creepy behavior after an episode described by the OP, is not an average person. As such, any normal person isn't beholden to making them see the light on their own.

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3 Followers; 33,625 Visitors; 4,130 Posts

I was also victimized by childhood sexual abuse. Somehow I still have the ability to tell people to get their hands off me when it's warranted.

that is you, Slap.

OP needs to deck him and call the cops.

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NightNerd has 5 years experience as a ASN, BSN, RN and works as a Med-psych nurse.

15,384 Visitors; 770 Posts

Uggghhhh, what is it with certain coworkers and their insistence on giving backrubs to everyone?! I have a coworker who does this often, and several of us have agreed we find it intrusive and uncomfortable.

You were perfectly within reason to say something to your manager, OP. That's not a normal interaction to have with a coworker, and it does need to be addressed. Some people are more comfortable than others with being direct, so it's totally okay to ask for help if you don't think you can convey what you need to on your own. I can't tell from your post whether the second incident was him being clueless and awkward or something more unsavory, but either way it sounds like he still doesn't get it.

I liked the suggestion to check in with HR and have a meeting between you, this coworker, and a third party. That way you have someone to help you bring forth what it might be harder to say when it's just the two of you, and you might both leave with a clearer understanding of what's expected. If you share patients with this person, it's probably best to be able to have some everyday interaction, and that can start by having this conversation. You don't have to disclose anything you don't want to; just somehow help him understand: "I was uncomfortable when you started rubbing my back that day, and I want to address that so that we can keep taking care of patients." Whoever is with you both in this meeting should be the one teaching him appropriate physical boundaries; that is not your job. You are merely bringing to light that he is having this issue. If it continues after this intervention, you are absolutely entitled to make further complaints and escalate them upward. However, hopefully this will make it obvious to him that he needs to make some changes.

I also agree that therapy would be helpful for you. Again, it's not your job to teach anyone how to behave appropriately; it's just also good to continue developing assertiveness and communication skills for your own benefit. You would not be doing this for anyone else, just to help you cope and handle this tough situations if they arise.

Good luck!

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saskrn works as a RN.

8,595 Visitors; 560 Posts

My husband is an RN, and he's been on the receiving end of MANY female RN's giving him backrubs, etc, and it makes him extremely uncomfortable. This doesn't only happen to women.

He now makes it widely known that he doesn't want to be touched by anyone, for any reason. And also that he's happily married.

I've witnessed the harassment he's endured from others before they realized I was his wife, and it boggles my mind that people think this behavior is appropriate.

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3,006 Visitors; 150 Posts

My husband is an RN, and he's been on the receiving end of MANY female RN's giving him backrubs, etc, and it makes him extremely uncomfortable. This doesn't only happen to women.

He now makes it widely known that he doesn't want to be touched by anyone, for any reason. And also that he's happily married.

I've witnessed the harassment he's endured from others before they realized I was his wife, and it boggles my mind that people think this behavior is appropriate.

I hear you. One of my male co-workers is harassed by some female nurses that think they are hilarious. One day, I mentioned to them when they were doing it in front of me that it was sexual harassment. He thanked me. It's not okay for anyone to do it and women need to learn that too.

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Orion81RN has 5 years experience.

7,179 Visitors; 635 Posts

My advice is to stop being so passive! Why did you "freeze" instead of saying, "Get your hands the **** off me?!" At the computer, you say you wanted to run, but you didn't. You sat there. Why? You're giving him all the power. He can feel it and he relishes it. STOP DOING THAT. When he came up to you again after being counseled, you should have firmly said, "Get away from me right now," and then moved to where other people were present.

Do not allow this to continue. Go back to HR and tell them he is continuing to get too close to you on purpose and imposing unwanted personal attention on you. But you have got to start sending clear, impossible to confuse messages to this creep and enlist your coworkers as helpers. Ask them to intervene if they see him getting too close or you seem uncomfortable.

Tell HR you can't work shifts with someone who is clearly laying the groundwork for sexual harassment or worse, and has already committed the first act of harassment.

I am sure you are not meaning it this way, but you are stating this in a "blaming the victim" kind of way. "Why did YOU..." "YOU sat there...WHY?" "You should have..."

THIS IS PARTLY WHY PEOPLE DON'T COME FORWARD!!!! OP already stated she has PTSD/anxiety, and we expect her to act in the "right" "perfect" way in the middle of being harassed??? No, we victims of assault think of all the should haves after and beat ourselves up enough about it without having someone else ask us, "why didn't you..."

Edited by Orion81RN
Correction

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Orion81RN has 5 years experience.

7,179 Visitors; 635 Posts

I was also victimized by childhood sexual abuse. Somehow I still have the ability to tell people to get their hands off me when it's warranted.

I truly am happy for you. Perhaps you can't fathom everyone's response in any given situation will be different. Especially with PTSD

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Jory has 10 years experience as a MSN, APRN, CNM.

1 Follower; 11,146 Visitors; 1,172 Posts

I am not trying to minimize what you are experiencing in any way because he is beyond stepping over the line. However, I do strongly feel that taking your power back and not leaving it to others, may be very therapeutic.

It doesn't need to be a major confrontation. The next time he looks over your shoulder, turn around and say, "Can you please not stand right behind me and watch me chart? It makes me uncomfortable."

Men like that get off on the fact they are making you uncomfortable....turn it around.

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