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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.

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The perioperative setting is vulnerable to workplace bullying, but interventions to eliminate intimidating and unsettling behavior among nursing staff can help eliminate the problem, according to an article published in the April issue of the AORN Journal.

Lorraine Bigony, R.N., of Frankford Hospital in Langhorne, Pa., and colleagues write that lateral violence in the perioperative setting includes nonverbal and verbal abuse or innuendo, withholding of information, infighting, sabotaging, scapegoating, invasion of privacy, and betrayal of confidences. Such behavior has been acknowledged as toxic to the nursing workplace, they note.

Full Story: http://www.modernmedicine.com/modernmedicine/Modern+Medicine+Now/Perioperative-Bullying-Reduces-Nurses-Effectivenes/ArticleNewsFeed/Article/detail/594983?contextCategoryId=40146

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P_RN has 30 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in ORTHOPAEDICS-CERTIFIED SINCE 89.

33,081 Visitors; 6,011 Posts

One of the reasons I left OR nursing. Back in the 70's my NM thought it was disrespectful of me to complain about a surgeon throwing instruments at the kick bucket, and hiding sponges just to watch us panic at the count. Can you believe we used to hang bloody 4-4s on a rack when we counted?

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RetiredTooSoon specializes in Retired OR nurse/Tissue bank technician.

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We were able to bring our one problematic physician under control by writing him up to not only the board but also the health region, which could have temporarily yanked his privileges on the spot, especially when staff started to refuse to work with him after he threw bloody sponges at staff and had a giant temper tantrum.

Unfortunately, they did little to stop the doctor who was doing unnecessary procedures or the OB/Gyn who was so horrible to the scrub nurses (if the instrument wasn't in her hand by the time she finished the word, she was barking and hollering). I finally refused to work with the OB/Gyn and told her I had and why. She though I was being dramatic, but she was nicer to me in the hallways and lunch room after that.

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lamazeteacher specializes in OB, HH, ADMIN, IC, ED, QI.

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Please see my post tonight in the "Medicine or Customer Service" thread. It's not about perioperative bullying, and may give some insight from a patient's perspective of antiquated dysfunctional behavior.

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15,332 Visitors; 1,723 Posts

We were able to bring our one problematic physician under control by writing him up to not only the board but also the health region, which could have temporarily yanked his privileges on the spot, especially when staff started to refuse to work with him after he threw bloody sponges at staff and had a giant temper tantrum.

Unfortunately, they did little to stop the doctor who was doing unnecessary procedures or the OB/Gyn who was so horrible to the scrub nurses (if the instrument wasn't in her hand by the time she finished the word, she was barking and hollering). I finally refused to work with the OB/Gyn and told her I had and why. She though I was being dramatic, but she was nicer to me in the hallways and lunch room after that.

He threw bloody sponges at the staff? Unbelievable.

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sallber has 9 years experience.

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Hi!

I believe this article was speaking more of lateral violence, which is nurses practicing abuse and demeaning fellow nurses.

While physicians are certainly a source of abuse, it is nurses who abuse each other that this article was speaking of.

Just some clarification :specs:

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RetiredTooSoon specializes in Retired OR nurse/Tissue bank technician.

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He threw bloody sponges at the staff? Unbelievable.

Yeah, he wasn't in a good mood that day. I refused to work his clinic for a month or so after that (we did surgical clinics, pre-op clinic, OR and PARR) and when I came back he was as sweet as pie and was always buying me pop or juice at the start of each clinic.

He was actually better in general after that; I guess he figured that we'd all just let him have his tantrums without complaint.

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37,985 Visitors; 4,700 Posts

Bullying needs to be a zero tolerance behavior anywhere!

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flightnurse2b is a LPN and specializes in EMS, ER, GI, PCU/Telemetry.

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unfortunately, it's not just perioperative nursing.

i've worked in a few different specialty areas, there are always the intimidating nurses who make others miserable, the ones who betray your confidence and the ones who will throw you under the bus in a second.

some nurses not only eat their young, they eat each other. our jobs are hard enough as it is without having to worry about farting sideways because one of the other nurses on the floor is going to squeal on you or chew you out in front of everyone.

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micco specializes in OR.

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i have worked in a facility where a couple of nurses routinely sabotaged other nurses by unplugging equip or removing necessary equip from the room or they might remove all the prep supplies or positioning equip when the circulator left the room. the circulator would be left scrabbling to find things or would look stupid in front of the surgeon. i personally have had this happen to me and asked another nurse what was going on only to find out that this was an ongoing problem in this facility. i think this behavior goes on between techs and nurses too. may be it is a power struggle type of thing.

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GadgetRN71 has 10 years experience as a ASN, RN and specializes in Operating Room.

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This behavior does still happen..On a positive note, facilities are trying to remedy the situation(at least the smart ones are..). I've experienced bullying too and I've found that you have to be confrontational about it. I give it back to people now because most bullies are cowards. The good thing is that you sure do develop nads of steel after experiencing this.

On a side note a PP mentioned hanging bloody sponges on racks..we still do this, but they are sponge counter bags. I like them personally, easy for everyone to see how many sponges are there-makes the counts go much smoother.

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I have been researching lateral and horizontal violence in the OR. For so many years, I have experienced the sabotage and mean-spirited antics of co-workers. So many times I have heard, " It's just the way she is. Don't take personally." I've also been told that I'm too nice(therefore, it's MY fault). Well, I am so happy that finally this issue is coming into the limelight and exposed for what it is: Institutionalized BULLYING. This problem is being addressed by many agencies, including the ANA, Joint Commission, APNA, and the National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime.

I have seen nurses cope with difficult doctor's by flirting, "spoiling"them, cowering, crying, and feeling nervous and sick all the time. Lateral violence is just as bad, if not worse. Co-workers setting one another up to look bad, sabotage, withholding information, back-biting, spreading unkind rumors and untruthful information. The new employee gets a hazing session by being "frozen out" by the insiders.

Yes, it has finally been identified for what it is. I urge all nurses who feel victimized by their co-workers to speak up. Your employer is legally bound to provide you with a safe work environment, free from threats and harassment. The bullies are the problem, not you.:yeah:

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