Supervisors made fun of me behind my back

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Hello Nurse Beth,

I was made fun of by supervisors behind my back when I complained about unsafe staffing!

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Career Columnist / Author

Nurse Beth, MSN

157 Articles; 3,217 Posts

Specializes in Tele, ICU, Staff Development.

Dear Made Fun Of,

I'm very sorry to hear your supervisors mocked you.

Management Fail

Being ridiculed and unsupported by your supervisor is disheartening and hurtful, especially when you are raising legitimate concerns about unsafe staffing. 

It's unfortunate when management neglects patient safety and fails to provide sufficient staffing.

Some managers appear to have forgotten their time at the bedside and seem more focused on gaining the approval of higher-ups in administration by not advocating for patients.


There is a difference between mocking and bullying, and I'm not saying you were bullied. I don't know much about the situation, but the incident shows characteristics of potential bullying.

There's a power imbalance, and the intent is to silence you. If you feel humiliated and fearful, and this continues, this could be a form of bullying.

When it's done behind your back, it becomes passive-aggressive.

It's not okay to engage in this behavior.

How to Raise Concerns

When expressing concerns about staffing, it's important to approach the issue from the perspective of patient safety rather than the worker's point of view.


"I'm drowning and can't keep up."


"My confused patient in 4123 keeps trying to get out of bed, and I'm getting a patient back from surgery at the other end of the hall who is receiving a blood transfusion. I'm concerned my confused patient is not safe."

Change the Accountability

Seek assistance from your charge nurse, house supervisor, or manager. It is their responsibility to provide a solution to the issue at hand.

Let's say your charge nurse asks you to take an ED admit who is already on their way. It's 0130, and you haven't been able to take a break.


"I haven't had a break all night!"


"When would you like for me to take my break ?" It becomes her responsibility to make sure you get a break.

Address the mocking

You could choose to stand up for yourself and talk to your supervisor about the incident. 

Here are some steps and suggestions on what to say:

Stay calm and composed. If you decide to talk to your supervisor about the issue, try to remain calm and collected. Emotions can run high, but keeping a level head will help you communicate more effectively.

Choose the right time and place. Find an appropriate time and private setting to discuss your concerns with your supervisor. Avoid addressing the issue in front of others, as it may escalate the situation further.

Be specific and factual. Clearly explain the incident(s) where you felt mocked and the context in which it occurred. Stick to the facts and avoid personal attacks or assumptions.

Express your feelings. Share how the incident made you feel. Let your supervisor know that her actions hurt, disrespected, or disappointed you.

Reinforce the importance of patient safety. Reiterate that your primary concern is the safety and well-being of patients. Emphasize that safe staffing levels are critical to providing quality care and ensuring patient safety.

Request open communication. Ask your supervisor to be available to discuss your concerns and encourage them to consider the staffing issues seriously.

Seek clarification. Allow your supervisor to explain their perspective or intentions. It's possible that they may not have realized the impact of their words.

Set boundaries. You expect a respectful and professional work environment where concerns are taken seriously and addressed appropriately.

Request support. If you still feel uncomfortable speaking directly with your supervisor or if the issue remains unresolved, ask if there is a process for escalating concerns to higher management or human resources.

Document the conversation. Take notes during or after the talk to document what was discussed and any commitments made by your supervisor.

This would be challenging, and there are no guarantees that the outcome would be entirely satisfactory- but it would be personally rewarding.

You would be showing emotional maturity and demonstrating the professional behavior your supervisor lacks.

For those reasons, it could personally benefit you to do this.

If the issue persists, it may be necessary to involve higher authorities, such as the director of nursing, human resources, or a nursing union representative.

Always prioritize your well-being and the well-being of your patients.

If the situation becomes unbearable or toxic, consider looking for alternative job opportunities where your patient safety and staffing concerns may be better aligned with the organization's.

Very best,

Nurse Beth

Who told you the sups were making fun of you?  Are you sure they were making fun of you?  Gossip, gossip, gossip.


171 Posts

So what? If the staffing is unsafe, complain and document who you complained to, when etc.

And like Kooky Korky said - how do you know? And why not ask them directly about it? This isn't high school. Stand up for yourself but also don't buy into the he said she said silliness either.

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