Mobbing support - threats, hostile work environment

Updated:   Published

I have a meeting with my manager today.

I know that she feels I am the problem. I have asked to transfer shifts as well as opportunities in the hospital in the past, only to be told explicitly now. I have expressed my concerns to my boss before in regards to my treatment and she calmly listened, and seemingly took no action. My best guess is that she assumed it would just go away.

I was physically threated by a coworker Sunday when she stated to another nurse "I am about to kick her ***". This was because I asked her to work as a team. As charge nurse she has to help me take care of my patients, if she feels I am not doing an adequate job. She refused. Stated she did not have time to do my job. All this while my patient was being appropriately cared for.

For a year and half I have faced challenges with these 4 women. But I can honestly tell you now is the first time I have feared for the safety of patients among these nurses. I also notice they throw other new nurses, techs, pulled nurses to the wolves and often call other departments and nurses "stupid". I fear my my safety at work as well. I don't want to go into the med room, supply room, or walk to my car at night for fear of a verbal assault.

I am doing my very best to do the right thing. 2 of the nurses will be leaving in December, for different opportunity. 2 will be left.

I really enjoy the patients, doctors, and care I am allowed to provide in my current position. I have so much faith in the good of mankind that I hope for these best out of these situations. I also am fearful for the safety of these patients. Not so much with them, but the patients of nurses that aren't in their social group.

What can I do to make this better? How can this be fixed?

mamamerlee, LPN

949 Posts

Specializes in home health, dialysis, others. Has 35 years experience.

Did you hear this statement yourself? You need to go to HR to report this, if you did. You certainly seem to have a hostile work environment.

Best wishes.

cookienay

197 Posts

Specializes in ER, education, mgmt. Has 18 years experience.

Keep a journal, document every instance. Go to HR- this needs to be handled by them. If you feel strongly enough about it you can call JCAHO. They are addressing lateral violence in the workplace and my be interested to investigate your claims. Your other option is to find another job.

Also, I respectfully disagree with your description of the charge nurse role. The charge nurse is not there to help you take care of your patients. She is there to make sure all patients are cared for and that the staff have what they need to do that. Although that sometimes does mean she is required to perform patient care duties at times, it does not mean she is there as an extra pair of hands if you are busy. Although verbal assaults and threats are NEVER acceptable, it makes for a negative impression when you tell the charge nurse what her job is. Please know I am not bashing you, just offering a gentle reminder of the other person's perspective.

Good luck and keep us posted.

NurseBrittney

185 Posts

I went to house supervisor immediately. She reported to Hr and my manager. I spoke with HR, they said my manager would handle it.

In regards to charge nurses role. The instance that occurred, involved her sitting at the nurses station, arms crossed, calling physicians and getting orders for my patient when she felt they were having difficulty breathing. I did not see her assess the patient. I feel that If she as charge feels I am not handling a situation appropriately, it is her responsibility to remedy it.

The patient was not having any difficulty breathing. The alarm on the pulse ox sensor was sounding erroneously. She discussed this with every nurse but me, and choose to call the physician without discussing it with me. She had him order unnecessary medication and worried and stressed the family.

It is her job to take charge, and she refused, stating she did not have time.

Rabid Response

309 Posts

Specializes in ICU/CCU. Has 5 years experience.

I wasn't there so I can only know what you've written here, but what you've written leaves a lot open for interpretation. I'm not sure what you think your charge nurse ought to have done. From your second post it appears that she was trying to act in the interest of the patient by calling the doctor.

You are really afraid to walk to your car for fear of a verbal assault? That sounds a little bit hyperbolic to me, but your fears are your own and, so, subjective. I do know that when someone says, "I'm about to kick her ass," it can mean everything from "I'm about to punch her in the face" to "I have seriously had it with this girl." I'm not sure which way your co-worker meant it because I wasn't there. In any case it was highly inappropriate but so, in my opinion, was telling your charge nurse how to do her job (or that she should be doing some aspect of YOUR job).

Try again for a transfer. No nurses can work safely in an atmosphere where there is so much hostility between co-workers.

cookienay said:
Keep a journal, document every instance. Go to HR- this needs to be handled by them. If you feel strongly enough about it you can call JCAHO. They are addressing lateral violence in the workplace and my be interested to investigate your claims. Your other option is to find another job.

Also, I respectfully disagree with your description of the charge nurse role. The charge nurse is not there to help you take care of your patients. She is there to make sure all patients are cared for and that the staff have what they need to do that. Although that sometimes does mean she is required to perform patient care duties at times, it does not mean she is there as an extra pair of hands if you are busy. Although verbal assaults and threats are NEVER acceptable, it makes for a negative impression when you tell the charge nurse what her job is. Please know I am not bashing you, just offering a gentle reminder of the other person's perspective.

Good luck and keep us posted.

Maybe what she needs is another pair of hands, hopefully attached to a pleasant disposition and a courteous demeanor. And some true leadership wouldn't be bad, either.

Calling JCAHO will get her fired.

From OP, I need to know exactly what is happening? How did the trouble start?

LA_StudentNurse

142 Posts

Specializes in Med Surg, ICU, home&pub health, pvt duty. Has 10 years experience.

If you really feel threatened by this co worker and fear threats against your person, you have the right to file a restraining order. There are specifics as to the rationale for the request. In Calif one does not need an attorney to file and the superior court clerk has a hand out that outlines the steps to file and what had to be done. The court also has an advocate program that will help those seeking a restraining order. Or one can hire an attorney to do the paperwork and represent them in court.

A restraining order is a very serious order as it will restrict a person's civil liberties. You will have to have a valid rationnale and specifics to file and potentially win your case. Should you win, the person you are seeking the restraining order from would have to stay away from you for a certain amount of feet, etc. :twocents:

Blackheartednurse

1,216 Posts

Wow what a sad story but ufortunately very common in in the world of nursing..I experienced lateral violence myself..I had a preceptor grab my drug book out of my hands without any warning or consent...I was like what the **** but I was this little scared new grad,new to the scene so I just let it go,but couldnt believe how this person had the nerve to invade someones personal space and took away stuff that didnt belong to her...I really feel bad for you,I would look for another job,you wont win with the whole mafia thing (it is a mafia and you wont breakthrough).You dont belong in this toxic envinronment,you are so much better than that...:twocents:

Blackheartednurse

1,216 Posts

cookienay said:
Keep a journal, document every instance. Go to HR- this needs to be handled by them. If you feel strongly enough about it you can call JCAHO. They are addressing lateral violence in the workplace and my be interested to investigate your claims. Your other option is to find another job.

Also, I respectfully disagree with your description of the charge nurse role. The charge nurse is not there to help you take care of your patients. She is there to make sure all patients are cared for and that the staff have what they need to do that. Although that sometimes does mean she is required to perform patient care duties at times, it does not mean she is there as an extra pair of hands if you are busy. Although verbal assaults and threats are NEVER acceptable, it makes for a negative impression when you tell the charge nurse what her job is. Please know I am not bashing you, just offering a gentle reminder of the other person's perspective.

Good luck and keep us posted.

I totally disagree with you about the role of charge nurse..I'm really sick and tired of people saying that the charge nurse is holier than thou and cant get her hands dirty...when another nurse is drowning under a pile of work it is the charge nurse responsibility to step in and help..have you forgotten about patient safety..Egos aside we are talking here about sick patients and we should work as a team..

NurseBrittney

185 Posts

This is my point exactly. We have to work as a team, regardless of our personal feelings, the patient is always the priority.

She called the doctor without assessing the patient herself. She went upon a previous days assessment and the words of another nurse. I don't think it is at all appropriate to call a physician and request orders without assessing the patient. It completely disregards the nursing process.

While I don't want anyone to do my job, what I do want is teamwork. I want the charge nurse to take charge when she feels it is needed. I want to feel like when I need help, it will be given.

I was written up at my meeting. First time I have ever had it happen in my entire life. I was told I was the problem and my personality is to blame. My concern of the threat, and harassment were disregarded. I was told that She denied it and no one else came forward and said she said that. When I asked if she asked anyone point blank if they heard her say it. She said no. She told me if I felt so passionately about it that I was more than welcome to take it up with human resources. She basically told me it was my fight to fight and that she couldn't take my word.

I feel defeated. I was forced to transfer to a night position. She refused my request to transfer to a different floor.

I do not know what I have done to deserve this. This is wrong and I have been punished for standing up for myself and my patients.

Blackheartednurse

1,216 Posts

toomuchrock said:
This is my point exactly. We have to work as a team, regardless of our personal feelings, the patient is always the priority.

She called the doctor without assessing the patient herself. She went upon a previous days assessment and the words of another nurse. I don't think it is at all appropriate to call a physician and request orders without assessing the patient. It completely disregards the nursing process.

While I don't want anyone to do my job, what I do want is teamwork. I want the charge nurse to take charge when she feels it is needed. I want to feel like when I need help, it will be given.

I was written up at my meeting. First time I have ever had it happen in my entire life. I was told I was the problem and my personality is to blame. My concern of the threat, and harassment were disregarded. I was told that She denied it and no one else came forward and said she said that. When I asked if she asked anyone point blank if they heard her say it. She said no. She told me if I felt so passionately about it that I was more than welcome to take it up with human resources. She basically told me it was my fight to fight and that she couldn't take my word.

I feel defeated. I was forced to transfer to a night position. She refused my request to transfer to a different floor.

I do not know what I have done to deserve this. This is wrong and I have been punished for standing up for myself and my patients.

Wow it is funny how the managers,charge nurses and other more seasoned nurses can team up and work together in in order to bully a newer nurse but refuse to work together for the patient sake!!

Specializes in Flight, ER, Transport, ICU/Critical Care.

Let's not forget -

THREATS of PHYSICAL VIOLENCE are POLICE matters.

Seems that you are having problems that defy solutions. I think it is easy to get so mired into the mess that you cannot find your way out. Life is short - this seems like even if you win the battle you lose the war.

There is a lot of power and redemption is declaring - ENOUGH - I will find a situation that I will blossom in - not get trapped in a bunch of sustaining ROT. Just an idea.

Good Luck!