A Plea to Nurses Everywhere - page 3

I don't seem to process everything that I see, hear and do at work until I am home. My lack of reflection until later might have something to do with running around like a Looney Tunes character for... Read More

  1. by   Multicollinearity
    Quote from Altra
    Screaming, OP? In a 9-year career as a nurse I have never witnessed screaming.

    And I think "shock" at unprofessional behavior probably stems from some degree of naivete about people in general, or a belief that somehow nurses are set apart from the rest of the population.
    In my (short) 3 years as an RN I have witnessed unprofessional behavior at 2 workplaces. I have witnessed an RN screaming, and I mean physically shouting an another RN. I have witnessed the DON screaming so loudly at a nursing supervisor that I cleared the area of patients. I have witnessed a nurse practitioner throw a chart at a CNA. That all was workplace number 1. At workplace number 2 I have witnessed an RN shouting at another RN in front of patients. I have witnessed yet another RN shouting at yet another RN and one quitting on the spot (abandonment) and the other being fired. I have witnessed "nurse wars' so bad that HR investigates for hostile work environment, and people get fired. And I have stayed out of all of it.

    I believe these sorts of behaviors and incidents happen in certain areas of the country more than others. I believe I have seen more of these behaviors than some nurses because I have worked in rural areas with a severe shortage of nurses - meaning "problem" nurses are attracted.

    Something tells me if I worked at, say, a big-city teaching hospital where they have their pick of applicants - I wouldn't have seen so much of this behavior.
    Last edit by Multicollinearity on Mar 13, '13
  2. by   jadelpn
    I dunno, I think one can't be "too nice". Being nice doesn't equal being a "doormat" who is "walked all over". Perhaps it is this attitude that people feel the need to be aggressive. Being appropriate in a professional setting for some needs to be learned. (there must be an app for that LOL) In all seriousness, that there are so many threads regarding "eating one's young" and "rude co-workers" would lead anyone to believe they perhaps need to check themselves if they are aggressive on the job. But besides leading by example, it is the charge RN/Manager/DON/HR who needs to impliment an enough is enough culture. Behaviors as over the top as this won't change unless there's consequences.....
  3. by   mrsbacktoschool
    Wow. These were the things I was worried about when making a career shift into nursing...
    I don't remember this type of stuff when working in long term care, but I wasn't nursing staff, so maybe I did not see it. I do remember being thrown under the bus by my DON and her telling me once, "Wow. You are smarter than you look." But I always thought of her as a bully who must have had a lot of insecurities to treat others with such passive aggression.
  4. by   amygarside
    Thanks for sharing this. This is the reality of nursing, sometimes it is not all bed of roses.
  5. by   LadyFree28
    Quote from Multicollinearity
    Something tells me if I worked at, say, a big-city teaching hospital where they have their pick of applicants - I wouldn't have seen so much of this behavior.
    That may be a possibility....not just hospitals, but any well run organization, be it home care, hospitals, sub acute facilities, LTC, even nursing programs.

    I live in a "big city". I currently work in one of those teaching hospitals. I have also worked in other settings. The places that couldn't keep people because of wages, location, etc, would attract "problem" or "issue" people, and would delay firing them. One person had been suspended ten times, mostly for things that were reportable to the board.

    I think it's also purely relative to the person...O can honestly say, working with "cantankerous" or "back biting" "Type A" or everything in between individuals, that does not equate to lateral violence IMHO.

    I say to people to tread lightly on those aspects. I had a former co-worker "think" that a group of co-workers were laughing at her. She was new, and she had looked like she was in a recent incident or accident-no sure, because, to me that would be personal; however, she may have been self-conscious of it. I didn't realize she was including me in it until months later, she followed me into a patients room and threatened me, and the pt overheard it. I reported immediately to my supervisor. My patient was more upset than I was. I wasn't upset; I went to the right person and reported it. When they interviewed her, she stated two other co-workers confirmed to her that "we" were laughing at her, when that was not the case. These two co-workers eventually fired, for insubordination and she was fired for insubordination and abandonment.

    I truly felt as though she had that "nurses eat their young" in the back of her mind, she gravitated to individuals who were unhappy at the job, and it was a recipe for her own undoing.
  6. by   JZ_RN
    While I wholeheartedly agree with your point, I have been screamed at at treated disrespectfully 100 times more often than I have done so to others. This should really be a plea to everyone to consider that the other people you talk to are humans and also work hard.
  7. by   beewink
    I haven't seen the outbursts to the extent the OP has, but I have experienced hostile working conditions. Two reasons I have seen. One is administration allows this to occur. They know which physicians yell, yet do nothing. They see the nurses who 'eat their young' and turn a blind eye. I don't know why their leadership is weak, but they are the wrong choices for their positions. The other reason is the customer service oriented model that is now the norm in healthcare. This, in my opinion, leads to much frustration among staff members and physicians. Our hands are tied by having to tell patients, 'I have time for you', when in reality we don't have time for their every whim. I worked in an ICU where the manager was mad at me one day when I hadn't gotten an alert - waiting to be transferred patient - the lemons she asked for. I was too busy hanging blood on one of my other patients.
  8. by   JacobBrown
    Wow I'm so glad my current hospital job is not like that! We all work together on night shift to get things done and the doctors are pretty decent. We get along we'll with pharmacy and lab.
  9. by   rnunley
    I volunteer in a huge hospital in Texas, and the environment is great. All of the medical staff is cooperative and respectful. Only on the rare occasion do I see a nurse stepping out of line from the rest of the group or a specialty tech acting arrogant. Throughout all levels of management, the hospital supports and reinforces this behavior. It helps with hospital ratings, is reflected in patient surveys, and other staff members know that good health care providers need to be respectful and cooperative to build an effective team.

    If your environment is anything but this, see if upper management has an open door policy and go talk to them. The change must start at the top; you can't change that place alone from the lower rungs. If not, go to a better facility. There are lots of magnet hospitals out there waiting for someone who respects their coworkers and wants to provide great patient care. An ugly environment will always make you unhappy.
  10. by   SarahLeeRN
    Quote from Altra
    I am somewhat familiar with Cheryl Dellasega's work on this topic.

    The 2003 ISMP survey to which 1,565 nurses responded - 48% reported "strong verbal abuse". (52% apparently did not)

    Intimidation: Practitioners speak up about this unresolved problem (Part I)

    There were 2.4 million registered nurses in the US in 2003 (Women's Bureau (WB) - Statistics on Registered Nurses) I'll leave it to someone better versed in statistics than I am to determine the validity of a sample size of 0.065%.

    "Screaming" is not a term I find in the survey summary -- and I cannot necessarily interpret all "strong verbal abuse" to be "screaming".

    I believe the semantics are important. Screaming is a very different behavior than various other forms of jerkiness.

    I certainly do not deny the existence of unprofessional behavior in general, or bullying specifically. But you yourself noted that your original post was "not necessarily reflective" of your work environment as a whole.
    Thank you for your input. I agree that the semantics are important. In reflection-I think that screaming perhaps was too strong of a word for me to input into this post. If you note how I phrased the following "Staff nurses raising their voices (ok, screaming)" I can see how perhaps my version of loud voices raised in anger perhaps did not need to be represented as screaming. I did not realize that the word would be received so strongly.
    However, once I have submitted here, it doesn't seem that I can go back and edit.
    Thank you also for noting that this is not necessarily reflective of my work environment as a whole.
    The above behaviors do NOT happen and have not happened to me personally in my work environment. If this was an every day occurrence, I assure you I would not be working there!
    I have seen them happen, however, among different people in several different environments.
    My intent is to bring up that unprofessional behavior does take place more than even perhaps I observe. And whenever I see it, it makes me sad.
  11. by   SarahLeeRN
    Quote from mrsbacktoschool
    Wow. These were the things I was worried about when making a career shift into nursing...
    I don't remember this type of stuff when working in long term care, but I wasn't nursing staff, so maybe I did not see it. I do remember being thrown under the bus by my DON and her telling me once, "Wow. You are smarter than you look." But I always thought of her as a bully who must have had a lot of insecurities to treat others with such passive aggression.
    Please to do not think that this is indicative of all nursing environments. It CAN be if individuals do not allow themselves to think before they speak and act.
    But I by no means wish this to scare anyone away from the profession or to have you start out with a negative impression. As has been brought up by several replies to this article, there are many wonderful working environments. This is just a snapshot of several incidents that I have seen over time and is not indicative of my working environment as a whole. It COULD be a work environment though-and if it was an everyday work environment I would seriously question the management.
  12. by   akaffo
    Well said, your story is so true and you can find this in almost every facility in the united states and sometimes you ask yourself why some health care workers are in this peofession, why? As a student few months ago I said to myself I will make sure I treat students nice whenever I come in contact with them because it was a struggle to find a willing nurse to work with a student and they let you know they are not interested in helping you because you are wasting their time, it is a shame but I guess that is just the way it is, I am going to make a difference with every student and I am not going to eat my young
  13. by   T-Bird78
    I've seen a fellow nurse sit back in her chair, fold her arms, and say "that's not my job today" while the nurse who was working with the doc had to run and do 4 different things instead of the lazy one getting off her butt and taking a task. Another time, there were three of us working with the doc, and simultaneously three things were going on that needed a nurse: a chart was put up to come back, a procedure was done and needed evaluation, and the doc needed assistance in a room. When I suggested we each grab one task and be done quickly, I was met with the eyeroll and one person walked off and emailed our clinical director to complain that I was bossy. Not only did I get a personal visit from the clinical director, I wound up doing all 3 things by myself instead of them being delegated evenly. At my current job, I'm the only LPN with a group of MAs. One of the MAs is borderline bullying in her treatment of me. I was hired as an LPN to do jobs outside MA duties (our company has strict guidelines for what MAs can and can't do and their role is limited to rooming pts, vitals, and cleaning rooms. I was hired to be the allergy nurse and help the midlevels with phones and messages because that's outside the MA scope of practice). More than once, the MA has pulled me out of an allergy test or allergy shot and, in front of the patient, said I'm supposed to be helping her and the PA can do the test. When I reminded her that I wasn't hired to be a MA, she rolled her eyes and said title didn't matter, we all do the same job. When I reminded her that I was hired because I had responsibilities beyond MA work, she said I'm supposed to help her out, then do my "other stuff" when I wasn't busy. She complains about working by herself with two docs, yet leaves at 4:00 (even though her shift is supposed to be until 4:30) and leaves me by myself with two docs plus closing the clinic, and I get yelled at in the morning if I don't close to her specifications. The funny thing is she gets in an hour before I do and I still have to help her open up. She is older and has been at this place longer, so if I say anything I get a sigh/eye roll/stomp off response. Our manager has defined my role to her but she still insists I've got it backward and helping her is my top priority, not my job I was actually hired to do. Grrr.