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Perioperative Bullying Reduces Nurses' Effectiveness

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by Brian Brian, ASN, RN (Member)

Brian has 16 years experience as a ASN, RN and specializes in CCU, Geriatrics, Critical Care, Tele.

1 Follower; 13 Articles; 200,926 Visitors; 3,695 Posts

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12,655 Visitors; 1,451 Posts

He threw bloody sponges at the staff? Unbelievable.

I assure you, it happened all the time. Sponges, instruments, screaming, and every kind of stupid behavior was tolerated, even expected, of doctors.

It is long past time that this must STOP.

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3 Articles; 13,487 Visitors; 915 Posts

In some sick perverse way the nurses who are not the ones who are bulllied often enable the behavior (that's just how she is, ignore it, she has an unhappy life, she is always that way with new people, yada yada yada). It is no different than childhood bullying. And like the victim of childhood bullying the one who speaks up about it is seen as the one with the problem. She will often find herself friendless and possibly fired. People that bully others in the workplace gravitate to places where they can get away with it because of weak leadership. Standing up for yourself is more effective than "tattling". If you are dealing with a bully, chances are that the "manager" already knows and chooses to ignore the behavior.

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840 Visitors; 3 Posts

Yes, what you say is true. Weak managers often do look the other way, and yes the victim may get the blame. The issue of workplace violence (interpersonal) is being investigate by OSHA, The Joint Commission, the ANA, the APNA, the Workplace Violence Research Group,and the FBI, to name a few. That tells me that it's time to put on you big girl (or boy) panties, and kick up some sand! Heck, if you're being victimize, document it, and go to human resources. Get an attorney or call your state nurses association. Nursing has been a predominantly feminine, and subordinate profession. We have given up our seats to "the doctor", had instruments thrown at us, we've been belittled in front of our coworkers. If that's not bad enough, we've turned against each other for popularity and crumbs of approval from "the doctors". This behavior is that of disenfranchised, subordinates. This is not the way professionals behave. If we remain complacent because we don't think things can change, then we are defeating ourselves. Sunnyaria

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nerdtonurse? specializes in ICU, telemetry.

3 Articles; 31,724 Visitors; 2,043 Posts

Wasn't in an OR, but I worked for a bully back in the 80's -- economy was in the toilet, couldn't get a job in my field, became an asst. mgr at a Toys R Us to pay the bills. My manager was angry because I'd filled up a baseball display with softballs (we didn't have the other vendor's material), and he threw a softball at me, hard -- and he absolutely meant to hit me. I ducked, picked up another ball, and fastballed it right into his chest. He never gave me problems again....Now I'm horrified, thinking I could have triggered an MI....

Perhaps Dr. personality would stop throwing sponges if he was on the receiving end of a few....or was told very firmly, "you throw one more, I'm calling the police and filing an assault charge, the pt has HIV."

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YogaloverRN has 23 years experience and specializes in Med/Surg,OR,Pain Management,Home Health.

1,887 Visitors; 38 Posts

Wow, its about time they did something about the uncalled for behavior in the OR, when I finally got a chance to work there, after trying for a year, I went through the "hazing", which was 6 weeks with the vascular circulator in the vascular room, I cried every day. She would leave me alone, the scrub tech would stand there with her hands under her arms and if I asked a question, she would just stare at me, then here comes the doctor who would call me a "dumbass", and "why don't you have the patient ready?", etc, after 6 weeks, I told the supervisor if you don't take me out of that room, I will kill ___! Got my own room, the one no one else wanted, so now that circ would sabotage my cases, hide my equipment. She would even put empty vascular graft boxes back in the slot so you grab one and run back to room and s___ its empty!! If I was "first off" due to working all night on call, they would "forget" and not even come to let me go until 2:00 without even a lunch break. Yep, sounds like abuse to me, but I couldn't even go back to the floor cause my old super was ****** at me for transferring. Oh yeah and then there was the guy scrub tech who would come in late, joke and carry on with the doctors but didnt know the instruments as well as me, and not help me do anything. Geesh I lasted 2 years and then had a nervous breakdown and got fired. Best thing that ever happened to me. :D

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1,483 Visitors; 25 Posts

When I was a younger nurse working on a med-surg floor I was once accused of by another nurse of sabotaging the plug of an N/G Tube by putting it on really tight. After that I stopped helping her with her assignments.

Years later I worked with a subcontracted CRNA who would swat at the other nurses if they did something she didn't like. I saw that I was assigned to work with her one day and so informed her that if we had to work together, if she slapped me or anyone else that would be the last thing she would be doing there that day.

She never slapped anyone again and they eventually stopped using her services altogether.

If you confront these Morons about their antisocial behavior, that's usually all it takes. I agree that nurses tend to be enablers which only perpetuates bad behavior.

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1,346 Visitors; 14 Posts

I give kudos to all nurses who can work in the OR. I work night shift on a general post op and ortho floor. Dealing with some of the surgeons for 5 minutes at 0300 to get an order that they should have written earlier, is let's just say, quite an experience. I could not imagine having to be in such close contact with them for several hours at a time.

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2,652 Visitors; 262 Posts

I took the perioperative course 3 yrs ago and had always wanted to work in this specialty. We were bullied as students, set up to fail by the instructors and management was a joke and in on the game. I chalk it up to immaturity, and I think it is exceptionally sad that nurses, who are supposed to be professionals, would engage in this type of behavior. Are we not supposed to be there for the patient? Who thinks that this is acceptable behavior in any environment, let alone one as critical as the OR.

Until nurses acknowledge their part in this, and until they stop promoting the bullies into management, the problem will continue to exist and grow.

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pooh54 has 22 years experience and specializes in Level 2 and 3 NICU, outpt peds.

3,545 Visitors; 91 Posts

In some sick perverse way the nurses who are not the ones who are bulllied often enable the behavior (that's just how she is, ignore it, she has an unhappy life, she is always that way with new people, yada yada yada). It is no different than childhood bullying. And like the victim of childhood bullying the one who speaks up about it is seen as the one with the problem. She will often find herself friendless and possibly fired. People that bully others in the workplace gravitate to places where they can get away with it because of weak leadership. Standing up for yourself is more effective than "tattling". If you are dealing with a bully, chances are that the "manager" already knows and chooses to ignore the behavior.

It's very bad for the unit and all the personnel in the unit when the manager actively encourages thi form of "managing," I've seen this and have ben the victim of the same. No help from the Hospital

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micco specializes in OR.

3,231 Visitors; 111 Posts

i stopped working in the OR for over a year because I just couldnt stand the manager. I was yelled at by a fellow circulator during morning report. My offense was standing there and not looking at her while she talked so I guess she took that as disrespect. I said I was not going to be disrespected by a coworker and left. the manager did not say a word and did not bring it all day. The next day I was still fuming over it. The circulator had the gall to complain about me not talking to her and the manager talked to me about how i could get over it and it was nothing, that the nurse was brought up by German parents and that is how she is. when the manager is weak or scared, bullying behavior is going to occur

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JavaMama98 specializes in LTC, Rehab, hemodialysis.

1,966 Visitors; 45 Posts

I'm a new nurse in a LTC facility. Only had my license 2 weeks. Should I expect some form of hazing or being "frozen out" and if so, how do I deal with it?

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5,826 Visitors; 426 Posts

I remember when I was having surgery on my wrist about 10 years ago. I just remember feeling VERY uncomfortable around the staff. It was like they were possessive about me. They were saying things to each other like, "You used that size IV catheter? Oh you blew the vein again. I will do it since we need to get her in there. Did you remember this....etc." It was awful. I was like, what is the deal? NO teamwork, (there anyway). I since have become a nurse of course, I wasn't even thinking about nursing seriously at the time, but it was so bad it made me think, when I was considering nursing. I thought, do I want to be in such a toxic, anxiety filled profession-the job alone is enough-we don't need to add to it by bashing each other. Thank goodness, I didn't think about that too long...but I just look back now and know it was so UNnecessary. I transfered a patient down to ICU the other day and the charge nurse was like that. Just very "comment-y" to her coworkers. Did you remember this? Oh you didn't lock the bed....blah blah blah. No new nurse would want to hear that. Or any future nurse in the families who visit--it is nurses like that who really make the profession unsavory to possible recruits. I was one of them, and I remember just how I felt, even though I was doped up.

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