Sabotaged at work

by Nurse Beth Nurse Beth, MSN (Columnist) Educator Columnist Innovator Expert Nurse

Specializes in Med Surg, Tele, ICU, Ortho. Has 30 years experience.

Dear Nurse Beth,

Lately, I’ve found myself the target of some very uncivil nurses. From sabotaging work assignments, to changing my passwords to the EMR system, to blatant lies, to assuming I’m not at work to work despite proof of the opposite. My question is how do you effectively deal with ignorant amongst us when no one thinks their behavior is a big deal? How do I remain passionate around those who don’t take civil behavior serious?

Dear Targeted,

The question is not how to deal with uncivil behavior, because this goes far beyond incivility. Uncivil behavior is being ignored when you greet someone, or otherwise being treated impolitely. 

What you're describing is out-and-out malicious behavior. If you're working in an environment where no one thinks lying and sabotaging patient care assignments is a big deal, you're in a toxic workplace.

Toxic workplaces take many forms, but they all foster low morale and high turnover. Patient care suffers because energy is channeled away from patients and towards drama and dysfunction. 

Favoritism, cliques, and bullying flourish. Employees may hoard supplies and equipment if there's a feeling of "each man for themselves" and lack of teamwork. Managers are weak and part of the problem.

This is no place for you. An employee who wants to perform well and give good patient care will be undermined, and will suffer burnout and worse. You even begin to question your own sanity, and wonder if you're over-reacting. Toxic workplaces, once established and allowed to exist, rarely get better. They can affect your mental health.

The question is "How do I get out of here?"

Start looking for another job because it's easier to find another job when you're still employed. I hope you find one sooner than later, and best wishes to you. 

Nurse Beth


6,391 Posts

Agree--leave. This is ridiculous and malicious behavior and the fact that it's being tolerated is even worse than the behavior itself.

Hoosier_RN, MSN

Specializes in dialysis. Has 29 years experience. 3,588 Posts

I'm wondering how they are changing your password to the EMR, did you give your password to them so that they could? Everywhere I work has some learning modules on how to avoid this for HIPAA reasons, so I'm curious. Give details of the sabotaging your work assignment if you could, as this carries different meanings to different people. It would help to give a focused answer for your problem

2BS Nurse, BSN

Has 9 years experience. 675 Posts

"Managers are weak and part of the problem". I have yet to work with a strong manager. It seems as if they are promoting any warm body these days. ?