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Nurses and Bullying: 4 Things You Can Do

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jeastridge is a BSN, RN and specializes in Faith Community Nurse (FCN).

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What can you do about bullying in the workplace?

Bullying is real. It happens in all workplaces, including settings where we work as professional nurses. How can you recognize it? What can you do about it? You are reading page 2 of Nurses and Bullying: 4 Things You Can Do. If you want to start from the beginning Go to First Page.

Snatchedwig has 11 years experience as a ADN, CNA, LPN, RN and specializes in Medsurg.

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2 hours ago, morelostthanfound said:

Respectfully, I disagree and feel this is bad advice for new nurses.  I have worked as an RN for almost 30 years and have certainly seen my share of bullies.  Often (as others have pointed out), these bullies have the tacit support of their nurse managers, and/or influential physicians.  Coworkers see and know this and for a new grad, who has no clout or cred, to 'man up' and 'put these bullies in their place, could mean career suicide.  I'm not advocating being a doormat and am not sure if there is always a surefire answer, but this rash approach could end a career before it even begins and in some locations, new grads are facing great difficulty in finding employment.  

Let me guess, your usually the one who assume the victim role? 

 

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Jedrnurse has 25 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in school nurse.

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2 minutes ago, Snatchedwig said:

Let me guess, your usually the one who assume the victim role? 

 

Ouch. You can make your point without getting so personal.

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Snatchedwig has 11 years experience as a ADN, CNA, LPN, RN and specializes in Medsurg.

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4 minutes ago, Jedrnurse said:

Ouch. You can make your point without getting so personal.

That's the internet for ya

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AN Admin Team has 50+ years experience.

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Please let's be civil to one another. Some comments are starting to look like they resemble the topic .... 

Don't engage. Doesn't usually end well.

 

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SummitRN has 5 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in ICU.

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On 11/26/2019 at 8:17 PM, Snatchedwig said:

I dont care what anyone says. Bully can only go so far. It takes ONE time to man up and put them in their place, problem solved. Hell the ones that were considered bullies at my job and I get along perfectly well because I put them in their place the first time they tried. 

 

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I find that the easiest method is to kick their chair out from under them and then while they are stunned on the floor, pee on them to establish dominance. 

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Jedrnurse has 25 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in school nurse.

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8 hours ago, SummitRN said:

I find that the easiest method is to kick their chair out from under them and then while they are stunned on the floor, pee on them to establish dominance. 

As long as you put a "Caution Wet Floor" sign up afterwards.

You wouldn't want to inadvertently cause an accident now, would you?

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FullGlass has 1 years experience as a BSN, MSN, NP and specializes in Adult and Geriatric Primary Care.

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Thank you for a thoughtful article.  Bullying is all too common, and occurs in many different professions.

Like the example in the article, I switched became an RN then NP in mid-life, after being a business executive.  Looking back on my career, standing up to bullies in the right way generally worked for me.  There were times that I did not, due to fear, and in retrospect, wished I had stood up for myself.

In my experience, people in the helping professions, or people who are great for advocating for other people, often have trouble standing up for themselves.

There have been some excellent suggestions given.  I'll add a couple more thoughts:

- try to find an ally and/or coach.  An experienced RN that you trust and can provide some insight and guidance.

- it's important to have "f*ck you" money.  A minimum 3 month emergency fund, ideally 6 months, so you can quit a job that is making your life miserable.  Bullies sense weakness and fear.  When you know inside yourself that you can walk away from the job, it will subconsciously give you a more confident air that can deter bullies.  

- read up on developing assertiveness.  There are many books and videos out there.  There are also books and videos for learning to deal with workplace bullies.

Best wishes.

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Nurse Beth has 30 years experience as a MSN and specializes in Med Surg, Tele, ICU, Ortho.

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Great article, thank you.

I was a new nurse manager when a doctor who was a well-known bully began to berate me at the nurses station bc a lab was not resulted. It was so humiliating. He was tall, imposing, and absolutely withering in his manner.

I asked him if we could speak in private and amazingly, he agreed. He followed me to my office. I said "Dr. Baker, we both want the same thing. The best for your patients. I will do everything I can to provide the best patient care on this floor, but you cannot undermine me in front of my staff. If you ever have a problem, let me know. In private".

To this day I have no idea where those words came from!  But it worked and he gave me nothing but respect from then on.

I learned a lesson that day that I had to use later on with a nurse colleague who bullied me. Another story :).

 

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jeastridge is a BSN, RN and specializes in Faith Community Nurse (FCN).

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On 11/30/2019 at 9:37 AM, Nurse Beth said:

Great article, thank you.

I was a new nurse manager when a doctor who was a well-known bully began to berate me at the nurses station bc a lab was not resulted. It was so humiliating. He was tall, imposing, and absolutely withering in his manner.

I asked him if we could speak in private and amazingly, he agreed. He followed me to my office. I said "Dr. Baker, we both want the same thing. The best for your patients. I will do everything I can to provide the best patient care on this floor, but you cannot undermine me in front of my staff. If you ever have a problem, let me know. In private".

To this day I have no idea where those words came from!  But it worked and he gave me nothing but respect from then on.

I learned a lesson that day that I had to use later on with a nurse colleague who bullied me. Another story :).

 

Great story. Thank you for sharing. I was reading Richard Rohr's book, THE NAKED NOW, this morning and he says, "What you see is what you get. What you seek is also what you get. We mend and renew the world by strengthening inside ourselves what we seek outside ourselves, and not by demanding it of others or trying to force it on others." (p.160). You showed respect and behaved with decorum and integrity. 

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jeastridge is a BSN, RN and specializes in Faith Community Nurse (FCN).

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On 11/29/2019 at 3:44 PM, FullGlass said:

Thank you for a thoughtful article.  Bullying is all too common, and occurs in many different professions.

Like the example in the article, I switched became an RN then NP in mid-life, after being a business executive.  Looking back on my career, standing up to bullies in the right way generally worked for me.  There were times that I did not, due to fear, and in retrospect, wished I had stood up for myself.

In my experience, people in the helping professions, or people who are great for advocating for other people, often have trouble standing up for themselves.

There have been some excellent suggestions given.  I'll add a couple more thoughts:

- try to find an ally and/or coach.  An experienced RN that you trust and can provide some insight and guidance.

- it's important to have "f*ck you" money.  A minimum 3 month emergency fund, ideally 6 months, so you can quit a job that is making your life miserable.  Bullies sense weakness and fear.  When you know inside yourself that you can walk away from the job, it will subconsciously give you a more confident air that can deter bullies.  

- read up on developing assertiveness.  There are many books and videos out there.  There are also books and videos for learning to deal with workplace bullies.

Best wishes.

What great suggestions! I especially like the idea of having cash on hand. Money can't do a lot of things but it CAN buy options. It can make life more bearable by providing that escape valve--just in case it is needed. Thank you for sharing your constructive ideas. Joy

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TitaniumPlates has 15 years experience and specializes in ED.

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On 11/26/2019 at 4:41 PM, Daisy Joyce said:

One of the issues about bullying in nursing is that the staffing issues and busyness of most floors, cause new nurses to question themselves (“is my preceptor bullying me, or she stressed from an impossible workload and I’m just dragging her down with my slowness?  Is the workload really too hard, or am I just slow—and maybe stupid?”)

A typical newbie doesn’t have any frame of reference to know.

Wrong. The person in the example is an experienced, second careerist and a highly educated Chemist.  Which is precisely what some nurses find soOsoOOooooOOOO  intimidating and threatening.

I've seen this before many times. An older, more mature and life experienced nurse comes in---maybe she's a new grad--but she's certainly not stupid. She ran a household of 5 kids or a department of 27 sales people or a unit of soldiers.

But nurses do this just like any other profession. Don't give me that crap about "she's just harried and rushed"---sorry---I don't act like an arsehole to people because I am "rushed". I don't say s#itty things or threaten people because I'm "harried".

If you have to act this way---when your rushed or overworked?  This profession is not for you and this says so much more about YOU than about the new grad.

It's about time good nurses start walking and finding other places to be. Misery loves company---leave the nasties to each other--maybe they'll drive the unit into being shut down or the patients will complain enough because there isn't a one that can hold their tongue.

I love how nurses seem to think they're some sort of special sauce that they get to act all crappy and get away with it because...stress. Like nobody else has a stressful job. Just them.

Best advice is in the article.   document and burn them. Don't sit back and be afraid and don't ever run if you can fight.  I document, document, document. And when they least expect it---they're sitting in HR cooling their heels---and a few times?  Losing their jobs.

Yeah. I think they deserve it....because now I'll get the "but you cost a nurse her job!"

No. The nasty  nurse cost herself her job.

 

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jeastridge is a BSN, RN and specializes in Faith Community Nurse (FCN).

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3 minutes ago, TitaniumPlates said:

Wrong. The person in the example is an experienced, second careerist and a highly educated Chemist.  Which is precisely what some nurses find soOsoOOooooOOOO  intimidating and threatening.

I've seen this before many times. An older, more mature and life experienced nurse comes in---maybe she's a new grad--but she's certainly not stupid. She ran a household of 5 kids or a department of 27 sales people or a unit of soldiers.

But nurses do this just like any other profession. Don't give me that crap about "she's just harried and rushed"---sorry---I don't act like an arsehole to people because I am "rushed". I don't say s#itty things or threaten people because I'm "harried".

If you have to act this way---when your rushed or overworked?  This profession is not for you and this says so much more about YOU than about the new grad.

It's about time good nurses start walking and finding other places to be. Misery loves company---leave the nasties to each other--maybe they'll drive the unit into being shut down or the patients will complain enough because there isn't a one that can hold their tongue.

I love how nurses seem to think they're some sort of special sauce that they get to act all crappy and get away with it because...stress. Like nobody else has a stressful job. Just them.

Best advice is in the article.   document and burn them. Don't sit back and be afraid and don't ever run if you can fight.  I document, document, document. And when they least expect it---they're sitting in HR cooling their heels---and a few times?  Losing their jobs.

Yeah. I think they deserve it....because now I'll get the "but you cost a nurse her job!"

No. The nasty  nurse cost herself her job.

 

You bring up some good points. Thank you for sharing your perspective. Joy

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