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Rude vs Mean vs Bullying

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Esme12, ASN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care, ED, Cath lab, CTPAC,Trauma. Has 41 years experience.

that was awesome!

Rude = Inadvertently saying or doing something that hurts someone else.

Mean = Purposefully saying or doing something to hurt someone once (or maybe twice).

Bullying = Intentionally aggressive behavior, repeated over time, that involves an imbalance of power.

Experts agree that bullying entails three key elements: an intent to harm, a power imbalance and repeated acts or threats of aggressive behavior. Kids who bully say or do something intentionally hurtful to others and they keep doing it, with no sense of regret or remorse -- even when targets of bullying show or express their hurt or tell the aggressors to stop.

Bullying may be physical, verbal, relational or carried out via technology:

Physical aggression was once the gold standard of bullying-- the "sticks and stones" that made adults in charge stand up and take notice. This kind of bullying includes hitting, punching, kicking, spitting, tripping, hair pulling, slamming a child into a locker and a range of other behaviors that involve physical aggression.

Verbal aggression is what our parents used to advise us to "just ignore." We now know that despite the old adage, words and threats can, indeed, hurt and can even cause profound, lasting harm.

Relational aggression is a form of bullying in which kids use their friendship--or the threat of taking their friendship away--to hurt someone. Social exclusion, shunning, hazing, and rumor spreading are all forms of this pervasive type of bullying that can be especially beguiling and crushing to kids.

Cyberbullying is a specific form of bullying that involves technology. According to Hinduja and Patchin of the Cyberbullying Research Center, it is the "willful and repeated harm inflicted through the use of computers, cell phones, and other electronic devices." Notably, the likelihood of repeated harm is especially high with cyberbullying because electronic messages can be accessed by multiple parties, resulting in repeated exposure and repeated harm.

FlyingScot, RN

Specializes in Peds/Neo CCT,Flight, ER, Hem/Onc. Has 28 years experience.

Kind of like what I was trying to say in a post in another thread before it got de-railed.

amzyRN

Specializes in ED, Cardiac-step down, tele, med surg.

Good examples. I think continued rudeness and meanness can also cause issues at work, leading to poor performance, unnecessary stress, and even patient safety (distraction from the task at hand). Meanness and rudeness can distract attention away from patients, focusing it on drama of negative social interactions. If it involves leaving team mates to flounder (not coming when a nurse needs help with patient care) this can also cause a reduction in quality of care and possibly even endanger patients.

These are my theories anyway. I am unfamiliar with research to prove any of these possible negative consequences in nursing. I think one of the main things that can happen is that it has the potential of increasing employee turnover which can also negatively impact the morale of the unit and even negatively affect the facility. People may even leave nursing entirely. I wonder if some of these hostile people are aggressive with patients too. If they are aggressive in other areas of their life it may be projected onto patients. To prove any of this there would have to be studies, which may have been conducted in other fields and how what affects may be measurable. There has been an increased awareness of this and much effort on many employers to stop workplace hostility.

In my personal experience, as an elementary school kid, I was actually bullied and was on the receiving end of meanness. I have experienced meanness in nursing and during nursing school. I have not experienced this in other jobs I have held, not saying it doesn't happen frequently, but it didn't happen to me. I think part of the causes is the stress of the job, so I have been able to forgive a lot of it, though some was totally uncalled for as for me personally was a very hard working nursing student and did ask for a lot of "hand holding".

When I was doing a residency program, my preceptor exuded a lot of hostility against me. Perhaps part of it was because she was forced to precept me and may even have been racially motivated (she would make negative comments that stereotyped racial groups and in particular one that I belong to). As mentioned before, the job is also high stress and when people are under stress I think they can take things out on other people. I also think there was a communication breakdown between me an this preceptor and at the time I lacked the ability to have a frank discussion of events and use the chain of command. That may have resolved the issue, but maybe not.

Sometimes a person does not fit into the culture on a certain unit or other work environment and the person will have to move on. And sometimes this is for the best, because there is often another unit or work environment that is positive and enriching that motivates everyone to do their best work and provide the best care and/or best services.

I think changing these issues requires an active role of the person on the receiving end of the aggression. People have got to become better communicators and also develop the courage to confront these attitudes. It is similar to kids who had to stand up to the mean kid on the playground. Someone in another thread said that a "frank and to the point" conversation will often do the trick. I really believe that in many cases of meanness and some of the bs drama that can occur, if the receiver has a respectful direct conversation with the person, this will often work. Then if it doesn't the person has leverage with the hire ups, because the person confronted the person respectfully.

People who don't use the chain of command are at a disadvantage because they are not doing their part. It is also awkward for the manager to always have to intervene and with the extra work load they have, maybe they don't have time.

As adults we have a responsibility and need to develop an ability to have these kind of conversations with people in life in general. I don't think people should have to tolerate an a*****all the time. Okay, everyone has a bad day but when it is an everyday thing, someone has to put their foot down. There is a physician I work with who is so rude to nursing staff most of the time, and he even threw something at a nurse before. He was placed on a leave of absence after that, and is still rude to nurses (particularly female nurses) upon his return.

There was once an issue I had with him where he started to giving me the 3rd degree for calling him on a patient, and I informed him that it was my job to contact him since he was the specialist and that I will not hesitate to contact him again with questions should they arise. I let him know that I am the patient advocate and I will continue to do my job. I told him if he has any issues with this they can be raised with my supervisor. If I have a question, I will ask the physician because they are the expert and that is their job to provide answers and guidance not to cop an attitude. If this physician were to throw something at me, I would have called the police and pressed charges.

LadyFree28, BSN, RN

Specializes in Pediatrics, Rehab, Trauma. Has 10 years experience.

I WISH this could be a feature post. :yes:

I do think people are having a knee-jerk reaction to anything that is received negatively is "bullying"; I think having discernment, and checking the self before making a decision of whether situations are constituted as bullying is needed.

I have been made fun of, maybe bullied or shall I say attempted to be bullied; but my temper just would let me; I've had to use my words and fists as a child-first were less frequent, but was needed, IMHO; I've to use them as an adult in a DV relationship; I know how a "powerless" relationship can entail.

I've recently had to call out one of my coworkers rudeness to the point that this individual was spreading particular misinformation; even to the point it was questioning nursing judgement and I had ENOUGH of it-I did it professionally, I just hope this individual doesn't misconstrue it as bullying because I was confrontational, yet I pulled this individual to the side and gave my "I'm only telling you once " talk; I pull out this "elevator speech" when I get an unfair assignment or have to make myself clear to ensure communication or perception is NOT to be skewed, and that as much as I give respect; my expectations are the same you don't have to like me, but The expectation is we can coexist for the pts-that's the bottom line.

TiffyRN, ADN, BSN, PhD

Specializes in NICU. Has 28 years experience.

Fabulous!! This also helps explain why it is that Judy's (obviously not her real name) obnoxious behavior is not the same when it is directed at me; an experienced, confident nurse as opposed to directed at Sallie NewGrad. It's all about the balance of power, or the perceived balance of power.

Wooh, I'm going to try to remember this posting and cut/paste it into discussions as needed. Thank you for bringing this to us!

chiandre

Specializes in EDUCATION;HOMECARE;MATERNAL-CHILD; PSYCH. Has 25 years experience.

Rudeness, Meanness, Bullying - It does not matter what terminology used to describe these repugnant behaviors. These negative behaviors are not acceptable anywhere especially in the Nursing profession. Nursing profession claim to be a caring profession but there are nurses actively and passively engaging in these abhorrent behaviors.

Nursing community needs to start speaking out against these negative behaviors.

BrandonLPN, LPN

Has 5 years experience.

Rudeness, Meanness, Bullying - It does not matter what terminology used to describe these repugnant behaviors. These negative behaviors are not acceptable anywhere especially in the Nursing profession. Nursing profession claim to be a caring profession but there are nurses actively and passively engaging in these abhorrent behaviors.

Nursing community needs to start speaking out against these negative behaviors.

I think you missed the point.

It DOES matter what terminology is used. Calling simple rudeness or brusqueness "bullying" dilutes the meaning of the word.

RNIBCLC

Specializes in Maternity.

Rudeness, Meanness, Bullying - It does not matter what terminology used to describe these repugnant behaviors. These negative behaviors are not acceptable anywhere especially in the Nursing profession. Nursing profession claim to be a caring profession but there are nurses actively and passively engaging in these abhorrent behaviors.

Nursing community needs to start speaking out against these negative behaviors.

Did you read the article? I'm afraid you may have missed the point.

Did you read the article? I'm afraid you may have missed the point.

I don't think she missed the point. I read the article, & I agree with her. By the article's definition verbal bullying is the same thing as mean behavior multiplied. Her definitions aren't necessarily quintessential either. Some see a single act as bullying if it has the potential to be repeated.

TiffyRN, ADN, BSN, PhD

Specializes in NICU. Has 28 years experience.

Nursing community needs to start speaking out against these negative behaviors.

It is. I know because I wrote a scholarly paper on it with at least a dozen references; most from nursing sources. I was able to do this because of all the current literature on the topic. Position statements from TJC, ANA and many specialty nursing organizations. The nursing community is speaking out against these behaviors. What needs to continue to happen is beyond rhetoric. . . It needs to involve actions against the offenders from leadership. I was fortunate to have a management team that supported the bullied and put the heat on the bullies prompting them to seek employment elsewhere. The power base was broken and we now speak freely of the dark years, being vigilant lest such types creep up again.

chiandre

Specializes in EDUCATION;HOMECARE;MATERNAL-CHILD; PSYCH. Has 25 years experience.

Thank you mariebailey! To RNIBCLC and BrandonLPN, I read the article. I did not miss the point.

If somebody makes unintentionally rude remarks about me frequently or deliberately makes mean remarks to me often (even though I have asked them to stop), then I should just dismiss and excuse the behavior?

To me, that is bullying. Rudeness, meanness and bullying should not be condoned under any circumstances. By the way, I disagree with the author that rudeness, meanness and bullying should be distinguished. All three behaviors are inexcusable.

chiandre

Specializes in EDUCATION;HOMECARE;MATERNAL-CHILD; PSYCH. Has 25 years experience.

It is. I know because I wrote a scholarly paper on it with at least a dozen references; most from nursing sources. I was able to do this because of all the current literature on the topic. Position statements from TJC, ANA and many specialty nursing organizations. The nursing community is speaking out against these behaviors. What needs to continue to happen is beyond rhetoric. . . It needs to involve actions against the offenders from leadership. I was fortunate to have a management team that supported the bullied and put the heat on the bullies prompting them to seek employment elsewhere. The power base was broken and we now speak freely of the dark years, being vigilant lest such types creep up again.

Thanks!!

Some nurses are still in denial or too scared to assist the bullied.

RNIBCLC

Specializes in Maternity.

Thank you mariebailey! To RNIBCLC and BrandonLPN, I read the article. I did not miss the point.

If somebody makes unintentionally rude remarks about me frequently or deliberately makes mean remarks to me often (even though I have asked them to stop), then I should just dismiss and excuse the behavior?

To me, that is bullying. Rudeness, meanness and bullying should not be condoned under any circumstances. By the way, I disagree with the author that rudeness, meanness and bullying should be distinguished. All three behaviors are inexcusable.

Gotcha, I'm meant no offense. I agree with your point ;)

RNIBCLC

Specializes in Maternity.

It is. I know because I wrote a scholarly paper on it with at least a dozen references; most from nursing sources. I was able to do this because of all the current literature on the topic. Position statements from TJC, ANA and many specialty nursing organizations. The nursing community is speaking out against these behaviors. What needs to continue to happen is beyond rhetoric. . . It needs to involve actions against the offenders from leadership. I was fortunate to have a management team that supported the bullied and put the heat on the bullies prompting them to seek employment elsewhere. The power base was broken and we now speak freely of the dark years, being vigilant lest such types creep up again.

Since you already done the research, why don't you write an article for AN? Think about it.