Workplace Bullying

  1. I have been reading the varioud responses and thoughts regarding nursing, and the state of nursing with a great interest. Reactions I have seen range from angry to dejected. But there doesn't seem to be a lot of proactivity involved. Many nurses complain about the meaness of fellow nurses but don't know what they can do about it. Many have been abused for so long that they seem to think that whole thing is a nautural built-in for nursing. Others seem to think their nursing license also licensed them to be cruel and inconsiderate of others--including patients. After reading several articles about nursing "eating its young" and what we Americans choose to call Workplace Abuse I'm beginning to get a clearer picture of what reaally is wrong with out wonderful profession. My conclusions at this point: (1) nurses in general are attracted to the pain of martrydom, (2) nurses in America are thwarted by the weight and constraint of Political Correctness, (3) too many of us forget why we chose nursing. One of my Psychology professors told me that people who enter the helping fields do so for deep seated reasons. I believe that we who enter nursing, other than for an income source, enter because we have this drive to help people who need help. The trouble is, along the way we learn to beat out chest and moan that it is taking far too much out of us. With regard to the constraints of political correcness, if we ALL called wrong wrong, and stood our ground against injustice in all of its evil forms, things might be different. In America we nursea aren't experiencing workplace abuse, we are being BULLIED, it is that plain. In medicine we tend to attach what are considered more pointed words to a disease, when in actuality the words we use distort the deeper significance of things. For example, myocardial infarction sounds too cerebral for the average person out in public, and so they close off to the words. But, how many of you, in your patient teaching have used the words heart attack and noticed that the patien and families give undivided attention? The same goes for the various forms of bullying we see and expereince as nurses. Two years ago I conducted an interesting pilot study regarding the existance of workplace bullying at a hospital in Oklahoma City. The results were both expected and apalling. Ninety percent of the nurses who responded to my survey indicated they had experience workplace bullying several times in the past year, but seventy three percent of them indicated that they would not choose to become proactive against such injustices. Rather, the majority indicated they would either leave the unit where they work, leave the hospital, or leave nursing completely. Why have we chosen nursing as a career? I believe that should be the most imoportant question we nurses--worldwide--address for 2001 and beyond. We supposedly work to better the lives of those we are entrust the care of. Aren't we also entrusted with the care of each other?
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    About Ray

    Joined: Mar '01; Posts: 3
    RN (IMC)


  3. by   cargal
    I have just witnessed this destructive phenomenon again, the last shift I worked, with a nursing assistant in tears because of staff abuse. See the post "Literally eating the "Hell" out of your youngs from angelnurse dated 2/27/01. There is an extremely informational post from Doc on the psychology of bullying that I found very helpful. Bullying is very damaging. We cannot keep staff at our facility, and although I have identified the problem now, I really don't know what to do about it, except now I am empowered with information. I feel the problem stems from poor mangagement and has a trickle down effect. The management actually defers this kind of treatment, but hides behind the perpetrator, not only allowing it, but sparking it. Soon we will have to close because we won't have any staff left.
    Please respond if you have felt to be a victim of bullying in the nursing profession. I would like to hear from you- I too felt so along for the longest time.
  4. by   lorlins
    I am going to try to sum up my feeling, after my almost 32 years of nursing. It won't be easy because it is so diverse. I feel nursing offers more than it takes away. I have worked in several states, in large and small hospitals, and in almost every aspect of nursing, except in teaching. To this day, I still have a very soft spot in my heart for nurses. We occupy a unique spot to not only observe lives happening, but to make a difference in those lives, and what you do is only up to you. I have been treated poorly at times by fellow nurses, other staff, and by patients, and I have also been by the bedside when however painful or gratifing it was, I would not be anywhere else in the world, while asking myself, why do I choose this? I choose it because I want to be a player in this game of life, and not a bystander or observer. In nursing you see people at there best and at there worst, and everything in-between. I am near 60 years old now, and I am thinking of retiring, but I have always been proud to tell folks I am a nurse, and after I am not practicing as a nurse, I will continue to say with pride, " I was a nurse".
    To the young nurses I say, " If you have the goods to do it, do it!" After some years, you won't have to ask, you will KNOW what kind of person you are.

    [ May 18, 2001: Message edited by: lorlins ]