The New Target of Nurse Bullying

By NT Contributor on Mon, Nov 11, 2013

nurse bullyingWe’ve all heard the phrase “nurses eat their young.” Unfortunately, many of us have experienced it as well. And there’s a new area of nurse bullying on the horizon that was virtually nonexistent a generation ago.

As new gadgets and gizmos appear in our units, there is a new segment of the nursing population experiencing the berating and belittling that used to be reserved for brand new nurses. This is bullying directed toward our seasoned but technology-challenged veterans.

Not a Laughing Matter

When I was working in the area of home health, at first I found the older nurses’ struggles with technology comical, in a way. The administration had recently introduced a new computer charting system. The task began of not only teaching the new system, but also teaching the seasoned nurses how to use a computer in the first place. I had to laugh out loud when I heard one of our 25-year veterans loudly say from the next office, “Double click? Double click? What does that mean?”

As I heard the exclamation from the other room about double clicking, I could virtually see the rolling of the eyes of the younger nurse trying to teach her older colleague. The younger nurse in this situation was very patient and calm in her teaching. However, I could just imagine how the situation could deteriorate under different circumstances and lead to a case of nurse bullying.

Veterans Under the Microscope

Why is this situation so potentially disastrous? Here’s an illustration which we can all identify with. Under normal circumstances, we can drive our cars effortlessly and without errors. We can draw upon our training and years of experience to guide us through the process effortlessly.

But what if there’s a police officer driving behind us? Suddenly every thought, every movement, even every reflex becomes a conscious act. Our nervousness and agitation can cause us to make mistakes that we would not normally make.

The same holds true for a veteran nurse who can, under normal circumstances, handle a load of seven patients with ease. But that changes when this same nurse is placed under a microscope, belittled and harassed by those who may be a little more knowledgeable in certain areas such as technology. Just as a graduate nurse can make unnecessary mistakes when constantly harassed, the same can hold true for our treasured seasoned nurses.

Measures Against Bullying

What is the solution? How can we retain our nurses who have a wealth of experience to share, but who work among less patient, less admiring, younger coworkers? The solution needs to lie with the management and with the initiation of a no-tolerance policy against bullying in any way. That’s regardless of the abuse being directed at the newly hired or those who are near the end of their nursing careers.

We in the nursing community hold precious lives in our hands. Should we not encourage one another and, at times, help our coworkers to function at their best as we all move toward the goal of excellent patient care? Perhaps we can all find the same voice of compassion toward one another that we direct toward our patients and put an end to nurse bullying.



83 COMMENTS

Anonymous 4 months ago
I am not a nurse. I must state this right off the bat, however, my wife started out as a cna and worked for 7 years and in that time started college for her RN. I watched the struggles she endured through school. I remember her getting dropped from a school because she lost weight (we are into fitness and she had gained a lot of weight and worked out to fix what she called her problem). The teachers were very nasty old crones with a very bad attitude towards any and all of there students (in case you missed it, this is my point, it started in school with bad teachers, teaching the dog eat dog behavior). I'm not saying this happens at every school, however it is very alive and well. My wife was told by these (so called) teachers, that she will never make a good nurse and find a job doing something else ( no I'm not joking). Skipping ahead in time- my wife graduated and went directly to were she wanted to be, surgical nursing. She worked at a great hospital but still had, not only other nurses but also doctors with the "god like" attitude bullying each other. She was determined to continue her education and finished her bachelors degree. Today I can say, my wife has her masters degree in nursing education and works as an educator in the same school she received her associates degree from, and also is a house supervisor for a higher end nursing home. Bullying even in the educational facilities continues even there. My wife made it her goal (after she was bullied right out of school by those nasty people) to fight back and teach her students, not bully them and put them down, and to educate them on not being bullies themselves. So many, especially RN's from the old school think they can be over bearing because they are RN's and thats what they were taught. Most of your older nurses are retiring and most if not all of the existing have been well trained with new technology so I can't see that being an issue to much anymore. The really sad part at seeing this take place from just an average guy listening to all this negativity against each other over the years and being an outsider all I can say is this: STOP thinking you are at the top of the food chain, you are not the best and only nurse that can do your job, most likely there is always someone out there that can do your job better than you. Don't forget why you wanted to be a nurse, that includes helping your peers, we know it wasn't for the pay check. If your teachers taught you with an iron fist and made you cold to the rest of the world, quit! you dont deserve to be called a nurse. You worked hard for your license, so did everyone else, treat them with the respect they deserve and you will get respect in return. With that said, Unfortunately only the people that see this post will be the people that see the problem and are not part of the problem (because the problem people dont care enough to read this article because they are to good at what they do to take the time to keep up on the latest news). Lastly if any of you are or will ever be an educator, START THE NEXT GROUP OF NURSES with the ability to see they are not gods and they need to work together. Oh and for the RN's that think they are above ass wiping, WAKE UP!!!! your CNA's are nurses aids, they HELP you do your job, not do the crap work you don't want to, and pass a few meds, the lpn's deserve it too, they do a lot in the functions of daily nursing.

Gracie Fisher 9 months ago
I do not agree with bullying, but I also do not excuse the problem/target nurse for neglecting her education. Technology is healthcare, a nurse is responsible for care, thus the older nurses have an obligation to seek an education. ALL NURSES HAVE AN OBLIGATION TO KNOCK THE ATTITUDE OFF AND WORK AS A TEAM WE ARE NOT IN KINDERGARTEN

Anonymous 11 months ago
When will some nurses wake up and realize that you don't build yourself up by beating others down. You build yourself up by building others up. If you insist on bullying and beating on other people--karma will bring it back around. Spread love and light not hate and darkness. Especially as administrators--you will always get so much more from your staff with positive reinforcement. That's not to say some people have to have some confrontation, but I have found that when you confront them, they generallly admit that they have done wrong, unless they are sociopathic--and there are always a few of those around. But on the whole--love and support each other and the whole will be so much greater than the sum of it's parts.

Anon ymous 11 months ago
I was going to make a comment about how grossly inappropriate the image with this article is but then I started reading the comments and realised the subconsciously suggestion that tattooed nurses are the threatening young nurses is not the biggest issue here. Read the comments back to yourselves...young nurses are horrible, uneducated nurses are horrible, management is horrible...but I'm not a bully, I see them all for the horrible people they are and I'm being bullied. The comment that made bile come up in my throat was the suggestion that the 'old' bullying was a 'mother/daughter' relationship. No. It wasn't. Nurses are mean, adminstrators are mean, Doctors are mean but here's the important thing...it's not because of their professional designation or age or colour or anything else...it's because sometimes people are nasty. There might be 20 young nurses on your unit who are professional and appropriate and who want to be part of a great team but that one person with the borderline personality problem is the one who is bullying and so everyone that age gets tarred with the same brush. Gross over generalization and stereotyping are the issue.

Dana Baucom 12 months ago
I see this everywhere, and at 37 I have experienced bullying from my much younger classmates. You make a valid point, and one which I have attempted numerous times in the past 7 months to communicate. If we are the compassionate, patient, and nonjudgmental individuals we claim to be- we should be treating everyone with equal respect and civility. And as nurses, we should work as a team- showing that compassion, understanding and patience with one another! A little kindness goes a long way! I tell my daughter (she is 5 years old & is more mature with better manners than most adults I've encountered) that just because someone treats you in an ugly way, doesn't mean that you should stoop to that level to "get them back." We actually role play where I will act a certain way and she how she responds. If she needs any help, I will offer advice and different ways she can handle various situations she may encounter with the kids at her school. This doesn't mean that she will never come home with hurt feelings, nor does it mean she will always respond to rudeness & disrespect while maintaining her integrity( after all, she is only 5). But, it will, I hope, give her a strong foundation and ways where she can stand up for herself without being hurtful or disrespectful. Can this be a mandatory class for nurses & future nurses?

Anonymous 3 years ago
I also first encountered it in nursing school. If you are an instructor and believe belittling or passive agressive behvior is ok GET OUT! this is where it starts!

Anonymous 3 years ago
I am a Nurse Manager of an ICU unit. This is my second career. I have been in it for 8 years now. I came from a career that was a Blue collar and behvior like I have seen in both theses two union enviroments have shocked me. There was zero tolerance in the Blue Collar enviroment you were sent home! This is a very sad profession of non caring persons to each other that care for patients. Guess what all of you, there is no age, gender,experience disgrimination about Bullys they come in all shape and sizes. I have witnessed nurses being brutal to each other and sweet as pie to a physician n the next breath. What is wrong with you all! I have had meetings, met with higher administration and have had groups in to work on the problems. It is not always the nurse manager it is you all who witness it, you need to stand up to the bully tell them they are inappropriate, there is nothing like peer pressure.Sometimes theses nurses have been allowed to act like this for so many years it is normal behavior. I find greed in both age groups, both age groups think they should be paid higher, nothing will ever be done about bullying until you speak up to THEM and across the country in all nursing associations take on a Zero tolerance for Nurses as bullies!

Dana Baucom 12 months ago
I agree! This is in all age groups! Mutual respect should be the foundation for any relationship, regardless of one's skills or level of education. We all have something to contribute! I am with you: ZERO TOLERANCE FOR BULLYING IN NURSING!! It's time to move on and take this profession to new heights! We can't do that while arguing amongst ourselves and putting one another down.

Anonymous 3 years ago
I am currently writing a paper about nursing and bullying. I found this article very relevant. I am a 27 yr veteran and floated to different units. I had a teacher in school who make maternity pts wait for their pain meds and no one said a word to her. Later on, another teacher would berate us in front of pts, drs, staff, and again, no one would say anything. I am a teacher now, and WILL NEVER treat anyone like that. By being kind, you can bring out the best in everyone. Keep writing great articles.

Anonymous 3 years ago
It starts in nursing school. To me, intimidating and belittling/embarassing students is not a a way to help them get through the semester or pass te semester. It really upsets students and ruins any confidence they may have had. I dont think instructors realize this or they just don't care. It's okay to be strict but not disrespectful or demeaning. We're just trying to get an education. I think the instructors forget that they are there to help us learn.
It makes me want to give up if this is what the profession is like, bully and intimidation. They are driving away people that have the good heart and passion for helping people.

Anonymous 3 years ago
I've been a nurse for 30 years. I've said for years that the young nurses eat their seniors. Finally there's an article that addresses my concerns.
I hope there is a lot more written about these issues and that more research is done. It's high time nursing researchers heard the other side of the story.

Anonymous 3 years ago
I have only been a nurse for 8years, and unfortunately i have witnessed a very good RN being bullied, and i have been bullied myself as well. M- who happens to be one of our best nurses in the psych unit, cause she comes with a wide variety of backgrounds, is bringing to the behavioral unit a lot of medical knowledge wot take care of our patients even better. but, on of our charge nurses(D) doesn't like her at all, so D, somehow, has made a purpose in her life, to bully M. and M, like any good nurse under pressure, has made pretty bad mistakes. when i tried to protect her, i got some people accusing me of stuff that never happened. but because there were more Rns accusing me of bad behavior, i was never approached, and instead, they were believed. and i lost a raised for a whole year! the favoritism managers play with their favorite RNs is sickening, these RNs are lazy, and do not follow protocols, however, they are manager's friends, so no matter what they don't do, they get away with it. this CN-D, gets away with what she does well to everyone, bullying because she is one of the favorites. D is so bad as a nurse, that once we had a pt who was escalating, instead of trying to de-escalate him, she made fun of him, and had him place in a 4 point restraint, just to tell him that "he didn't look so tought after all, didn't he?" she is baaaadd!! but there is nothing nobody will do, everyone wants to be her friend otherwise, she will bully them. this is bad, the worse part is that here in SD there are not too many psych units to go work in, and managers speak to each other, and if you fall into their "unlike" list, there is little chance that you will ever find a job as a psych nurse again.

Anonymous 3 years ago
Dear Michelle M, You've shared the words right out of my heart, too.

Anonymous 3 years ago
It was meant for me to run across this article today. I am 46 years old. I started computer programing in high school in the days of DOS formatting. I have always been able to keep up with computers due to my own fascination and desire to learn. I have passed on my skills and knowledge to anyone who asked or needed a little nudge to keep up. I worked alone in a computer lab and I also assisted students and professors with many aspects of hard and software issues in my years. Even as a nurse I have been the one to "fix" the computer or printer problems on the unit when no one was available. It was easier for me and my co-workers. Over the years with computer charting, I have had every kind I can think of. MedTech, Essentris, Essentril, WatchChild, Epic...too many to name all. I have effectively used all and shared my knowledge to help in any way I could. WHY? Because we all are suppose to work TOGETHER. Being legal, effective, and prudent nurses was what I was taught and I still believe. But I am the dinosaur. I kept up with the technology. I kept up and evolved with my patient population. Be it age or race. I learned a different language to help be a more effective nurse. I worked many hours, shifts, floors. I can be a clerk, an aide, and even a housekeeper. High tech and low tech. DOES IT MATTER ANYMORE? A BIG NO!!!! Your work history and ethics use to mean a lot. It spoke of your professionalism as well as your character. Not only does it seems that "nurses eat their young"..but also, their old, different, smarter, hard working, not there for the money but for the patient, not afraid to use the chain of command if needed believing that it is there for the right purpose, and just being a good nurse and a patient advocate. Now a days, you can't get old. Not just in age and experiences, but in traditional mindset of work ethics. Meaning, we all should work together as a team. Not if you don't like my friend. Not if you get along with the doctor I like that I am trying to get a date with. Not if you just couldn't trade shifts with me because what I had to do was more important than what you had to do. Not if I am friends with the nurse manager. Not if the other nurses are afraid to have your back, even if you are right, to stay on the good side. Not if the doctor is a total jerk, but you still are his hands, eyes, brains, computer, professional, and good representation and extention of him to his patients and collegues. What I am trying to say is I didn't start this for the money, it isn't about the money, it is about my life and livelyhood and the way people are in this profession today can hurt your career, your finances, your feelings and your spirit. I may be getting older but i didn't believe I was ever this naieve about people. It is sad that this much respected profession has no respect for it's professionals. This affects people's lives. Even with all this, I enter work praying each time for a safe patient and nurse. We are expected to practice an interdisciplanary approach to nursing yet not with each other. There is no professional, ethical nor moral support for us anymore. A computer can never do what I do. I FEEL. For my patients, for my professionalism and respect. Technology and people affect the growth of nurses today. I see new nursing students coming in all ready to jump in to what they probably are dreaming will be this rewarding and financially sound profession. I still try not to taint that dream. We are overworked and underpaid. But sometimes a thank you, good job or a smile can be worth so much more. What we bring into this profession, to our patients may be one thing. What we are willing to learn and grow in this profession is another. How the effort and we ourselves are valued is entirely another. Just venting!! All cried out today. Praying for a better tomorrow.

Miss Melissa 11 months ago
I agree. Nurses make up the largest medical profession in the USA. Imagine what we could do if we all stood together!? Baffles me to no end.

Anonymous 3 years ago
As a very experienced RN at a large city hospital I see bullying on a daily basis by one particular coworker, twenty years my junior, who has made it her goal in life to swear at me, berate me, facebook about me, ridicule me in front of patients,and attempt to influence newer, younger coworkers to follow her path. In truth, I am far more educated than her, far more experienced, and far better liked by all my coworkers because of my strong work ethic and kindness. The nurse manager refuses to fire this individual, despite numerous complaints from many RNs on the unit about disrespectful and, in one case, physical abuse from this individualthat they have experienced. HR does not seem overly concerned, either. It is my intent to inform the hospital that, if further behavior towards me continues, I will hold the hospital responsible for PTSD, and I will take a leave at their expense in the form of workmen's comp. Hopefully money talks to the administration.

Mrs. Nurse 12 months ago
Did you say anything to the nurse that you feel has been bullying you? You need to speak up and take a stand, and then follow up with your manager who can then take the behavior and do discipline. If it isn't communicated early and often to management, they won't know about it. As nurses we must feel empowered to stand up for ourselves and our patients by speaking up in a respectful manner to address the behaviors of our team members. Write a comment

Anonymous 3 years ago
Great post, Nancy R. As a home health nurse (I do pediatric private duty) not a day goes by that someone doesn't ask me why I don't work in a hospital. There are lots of reasons, some stated by previous posts. I can definitely relate to not having the back up and technology. Thanks for an encouraging word!

Anonymous 3 years ago
I am a nurse for 37 years and a nursing faculty member
for over 15 years. Besides the occassional unprofessional and rude behavior from physicians, I have seen mean, unprofessonal behavior from nurse to nurse, including nurse to nursing student. It is amazing to me that with the staffing shortages over the years that more people aren't more welcoming to new grads and new hires on their
units. You would think they would realize that it's to their benefit to help retain nurses. these unprofessional behaviors from people that are in a "caring" profession arent too caring to each other sometimes..it's sad. I once got yelled at by a nurse because I was spending too much time with a patient being discharged....I was vindicated several months later when one of that nurse's patients had to return to the ER because she forgot to take out the Heparin Lock before he went home....Nursing is not a popularity contest...but maybe we should all act like we're competing for Miss Congeniality....If we're self-centered about things, doesnt' it make sense to help people around you function to their best ability in order to make your job easier? Call me crazy!!It's a shame that the caring aspect of our profession isn't always applied to our collegues....The unit managers have to "nip it in the bud" and not support these behaviors.....It's also unfortunate that it's taking an outside regulatory body like JCAHO to hand down a mandate to deal with this..Shame on us...

Anonymous 3 years ago
It's not bullying. It's age discrimination. The new age of MBA hospital administrators only see nursing as a cost center. They believe in the McDonald's staffing pattern: get them in young and cheap, burn them up and go for the next new batch. They do not see nursing as what makes their hospital what it is. They have told human resources and nurse managers to cut nursing costs. And one way to make a dramatic cut is remove the older nurses with the higher salaries due to longevity and all the increases during the nursing shortage. But all nurses need to remember that they too will become old one day. Age may be discriminated upon, but age doesn't discriminate.

Marsha McGlamry 11 months ago
That is so true,then they have the nerve to wonder why so many more serious mistakes are being made.

Anonymous 3 years ago
It's time for nursetogether.com to get some new articles written for their email newsletter. This is the second or third time the same article has been the feature. It's not even a good article. Nurse bullying should not occur no matter who it is directed to. The biggest problem with seasoned nurses is that they are so resistant and even angry when change comes, they can not handle it.

Anonymous 3 years ago
I have worked as a LPN for 10 years before I decided to move up in nursing and get my RN degree. In the past I have experienced nurse bullying from the more experienced nurses. Me being young and somewhat attractive added more flame to the fire. But, I became a nurse for the true love of caring for people. I over looked alot of the petty bull that was going on around me. I fought through it. I let my skills speak for me. Now me being an RN on a sub acute unit in a long term health facility, I have more control of my team players. I preach team work to my colleague. I embrace new nurses and I stand up for what's right.

Anonymous 3 years ago
I don't believe you can blame it on any one "age group". I was bullied by a group of nurses while starting a new position in a department that I already had experience in. The nurses decided amongst themselves that I did not "fit in" and proceeded to make it hard on me. There were whispers and laughter while I was trying to learn the new job. And, to make matters worse, the assistant manager chimed in and began hurling insults. I resigned after 3 weeks. The lack of camaraderie made it very difficult to learn in an already stressful position. Nurses need support and positive feedback from co-workers and especially managers at any level of experience! I now see that this facility was poorly managed, which was reason for the high turnover of nurses. It is a shame that the facility I would have otherwise loved to work for, allowed this level of behavior. The night nurse preceptor had a reputation of being a bully and nothing was ever done to rectify. Sad.

Anonymous 3 years ago
I don't believe you can blame it on any one "age group". I was bullied by a group of nurses while starting a new position in a department that I already had experience in. The nurses decided amongst themselves that I did not "fit in" and proceeded to make it hard on me. There were whispers and laughter while I was trying to learn the new job. And, to make matters worse, the assistant manager chimed in and began hurling insults. I resigned after 3 weeks. The lack of camaraderie made it very difficult to learn in an already stressful position. Nurses need support and positive feedback from co-workers and especially managers at any level of experience! I now see that this facility was poorly managed, which was reason for the high turnover of nurses. It is a shame that the facility I would have otherwise loved to work for, allowed this level of behavior. The night nurse preceptor had a reputation of being a bully and nothing was ever done to rectify. Sad.

Anonymous 3 years ago
I left the hospital setting because of bullying, although it was never called that in the light of day, preceptoring is the term they used. This "seasoned" nurse was one of the most bitter, angriest women I have ever met and even though I am an older woman who came to the nursing field later than most, she still was brutally mean and demeaning. She even told me once I should go back to being a stay-at-home mom since that is all I seem fit to be. Nice, huh? It took several tries, but I finally found my place. I am a case manager in a wonderful home health agency and you can bet I go out of my way to respoect and build-up those nurses around me with ages of experience and knowledge. It took me four years of searching to find this home, and I feel so lucky to be there. Home health nurses get looked down upon by hospital nurses, treated like home health is where bad nurses go to die...what a shame. The visit nurses at my agency are so sharp, so caring and kind. It's easy to think you're super nurse when you have all the back up and technology to lean on, try saving a life with just the few things you carry in your kit, and the huge amount of smarts you need in your brain. Then you can call yourself a nurse.

Anonymous 3 years ago
My Husband is an LPN, I work as an STNA. Last year, he had gotten hired at my facility where I work at. He was a brand new nurse. To my surprise, my husband was getting bullied by other nurses, ones that I thought were my friends. He was nervous because He was a rookie and the bulling made it worse. he was fired after 2 months of employment. he has not found another job since. I'm still there Which I cant belive that I still am.

Anonymous 3 years ago
I think the desire for the business side to discharge and admit in a half hazard way is a a form of bullying. It has been my experience both in skilled nursing homes and on the hospital side that the nurse gets stuck (and I do mean stuck) doing the paper work portion more often than not with no ability to organize his/her time because they are happening regardless of what is currently on that nurses plate. So little respect is shown to nurses in this process it makes me want to cry. It makes me feel helpless and belittled. I think that is the definition of bullying.

Anonymous 3 years ago
Gossip Town
Author Unknown

Have you ever heard of "Gossip Town."
On the shore of "Falsehood Bay?"
Where "Old Dame Rumor," with the rustling gown,
Is going the live-long day?
It isn't far to "Gossip Town"
For people who want to go,
The "Idleness Train" will take you down
In just an hour or so.

The "Thoughtless Road" is a popular route
And most folks start that way.
But it's a steep down grade and if you don't look out
You'll land in "Falsehood Bay!"
You glide through the "Valley of Vicious Folk"
And into the "Tunnel of Hate"
Then, crossing the "Add-To-Bridge," you walk
Right through the City Gate.

The principal street is called, "They Say"
And "I've Heard" is the public well,
And the breezes that blow from "Falsehood Bay"
Are laden with "Don't You Tell!"
In the midst of the town is "Telltale Park"
You're never quite safe while there,
For it's owner is "Madam Suspicious Remark,"
Who lives on the street "Don't Care."

Just back of the park is "Slanderous Row"'
Twas there that "Good Name" died,
Pierced by the dart from "Jealousy's Bow"
In the hands of "Envious Pride."
From Gossip Town peace long since fled,
But Trouble, Grief and Woe
And Sorrow and Care you'll meet instead
If ever you chance to go!
Please lets be Nurses to help patients and each other instead of tearing each other apart. A Nurse can be CNA, LVN, RN and all of the Healthcare TEAM which means anyone that helps with patients in any way.

Anonymous 3 years ago
I am in my Master's Degree in Healthcare Administration with Education there are almost the whole class of RN's they have been bullying me and I am an LVN. Also the instructor's as well. They both have said many times if you are not an RN then you are not a Nurse. Sorry I do not think the RN's can do the work of an CNA and LVN. My MOM was in Kaiser Hospital in ICU they NEVER combed her hair and NEVER gave her a BATH. They would come into her room and without warning they would flip her to the other side but they never spent time talking and giving her comfort and consideration. IN the way I have bee treated by RN"S they deserve to be bulleyied out of NURSING. I have been in nursing since 1965. I started out as a Candystriper at 16 and have worked my way through nursing Ladder. Nursing/ Healthcare is suppose to be TEAMWORK where is it now????
They surely do not deserve the 30-50 dollars an hour for wages they get. Convience me there are still RN's that can be part of a team.

Anonymous 3 years ago
What a well written article, I have been in nursing 22 years and am presently working for a pharmacy and doing home infusion. What about bullying from our nurse supervisors and managers who happen to be younger. I am very good at what I do and can do anything they ask me to do but I just feel that I cannot take it anymore and do not want be in the nursing profession any longer.

Anonymous 3 years ago
I was bullied by 5 nurses including a supervisor. The behavior went far beyond abuse ,my professional sig was forged onto a documentwhat to make it look like I agreed with what was written.(I did not.)The situation was extreme and I considered leaving the profession for good. I was hired into another position in the same agency,and find bullying to be tolerated and encouraged.

Anonymous 3 years ago
There is no excuse for sniping for any reason. During an annual eval I was told by my manager that the LPNs, and Patient Care Technicians enjoyed working with me because I was willing to help them when they got backed up. This manager looked upon this willingness for teamwork negatively, and that is her ordeal not mine. In time it bit her in the britches.
My response to the topic is about the absolute cut-throat behavior that some nurses conduct. During a lunch break I went into the lounge, and there was a nurse that was ostersizing another nurse just because the person was turning 40 years of age.(I was turning 50, and she kept talking without batting an eye) I would have expected this behavior from a New Graduate, strictly for the younger age, lack of life experience, but this individual was almost 30, and a mother of two. As a team we are supposed to promote wellness, and save lives. The people that do their best to circumvent that focus need to "change their ways" preferably, or find another place of employment away from civilization.
If bullying is so rampant in the profession set up classes to educate much like the Sexual Harassment classes, and then if the bullying persists formal, and maybe legal matters would take place.
Bullying is never appropriate, and will be stopped.

Anonymous 3 years ago
Bullies beware! We are on to you. ..!I came back to Nursing after a 15 yr break to follow my Art passion.. Prior to my current position as a PACU nurse, I was a Nurse Practitioner in Women's Health. I am now back from a 3 month medical leave after having what at first symptoms, was a cardiac event. After some extensive evaluation revealed the chest pain to be esophageal spasms brought on by months of bullying by two nurses and an actual physical assault by one of them. I am deeply familiar with bullying. The bullying was originally reported by another nurse stating to Admin that "they must be paying me a lot because no one would come to work for anything less than high pay to suffer this mean treatment"! It was really disturbing my other coworkers to see me bullied. Months of meetings with administration was just an HR game of "how long can we drag this on until someone quits" ruse. I was told that if the bullies did not change their behavior, I would get fired for the suffering and abuse to those who witness it! Dysfunctional distorted thinking here is an understatement. Meanwhile, they also required me to report the abuse since they did not have a clinical charge onsite to manage the staff themselves. Reporting others' bad behavior towards me was a Catch 22 since it would only hasten my getting terminated. I was absolutely tortured by this demented Management tactic and my physical health crisis ensued. I have read more blogs and books on the subject than I care to admit . In the end, my body decided to take me to the Exit when I thought that all my best thinking, nobel behavior of turning the cheek and so on would influence them and they would "be nice".Kumbaya..not! There is no legal recourse here in California at this time. No laws broken. Evidently, a Nurse can even be assaulted breaking a companies Policies and Procedures and they can still carry on! My Management let me down and now, I am without full time work and job searching. The two Beast Nurses still work at the Out Patient surgery center here in San Diego, and as bullies are want to do;they will look for their next targets. They cannot help themselves unless they admit to their Machiavellian ways with determined insight and a sense of responsibility for their actions. Of course this has not happened and there has been no penalty for them. I am gone. Business for them as ususal. I am doing much better just being away from such outrageous hostility and poor leadership. It was unsafe for me there in many ways and I just remain positive that when I do find work, it will be a better place. Bullies don't just suddenly become this way, they have always been that way since childhood. They are that way generally for life or until a stressor forces them to change. My real job now is to be healed and undo some of the emotional damage done and shed any guilt that seems to be heaped on me by myself and society when we blame the "target". As Nursing struggles to gain the identity of "professional" with longer education commitments and requirements, they are losing the very ground underneath themselves when basic social and moral codes of conduct are not expected and reinforced. We ought not wait for legislation on how to behave, we should lead the way by example. That would serve the ideal of "Profession" more substantially.

Anonymous 3 years ago
After working in healthcare for 25 years and never experiencing bullying, I went into nursing as a 2nd career and I have been shocked at the nurse bullies and the lack of support from management. I worked at a VA hospital that is a revolving door of nurses coming and going because of 1 nurse that is pure bully. She is even called "Bully". No one ever uses her real name. It is very expensive (taxpayer dollars) to constantly hire and train new nurse only to have them leave because of bullying. Shame on management everywhere that puts up with this. Great article, this needs to be brought into the limelight and there needs to be zero tolerance for bullies.

Anonymous 3 years ago
I have been an LPN since 1993.I took a few years off to spend with family.Then decided to go back to work.I accepted a positiopn an a skilled unit in a nursing home.It was part time but that was what I was looking for.I was the only nurse on that unit to do meds, treatments and assessments.One day the RN in charge called in 2 afternoon nurses to "help".I was told they would do my treatments and assessments.Well the assessments were done but no treatments.A patient askd me at 2:15 p.p. when her treatment would be done.I go to find the nurses, they were in a conference room eating, drinking pop, joking, braiding hair.Even the RN in charge was braiding hair.I asked about the treatments.The nurse said "oh, you are doing your own treatments".She had already signed in TAR that she did all the treatments.I was not very happy.My shift was to end at 3:30 p.m.I just turned away and did what I had to do.When I went back to work a few days later, the other RN asked me how my day was.I explained what had happened.4 days later I go back to work to work and the RN who was braided hair that day came from the other end of the building even though there was an RN on duty on my end and preceded to play with the othe LPN hair.I came up the hall and the RN said "here comes Diana I better stop or else."The LPN said"you are so bad" and they started to laugh.Then the another LPN comes in on afternoon, who was one of the ones that came early before nad got report from me but refuses to count narcotics with me.She "did you already count."I go through the meds before I start charting to make sure I sign all the narcs that I gave.I said "yes, but we need to count."She got up walked away and ignored me.I was so upset that when I got out to my car I began to cry.i enoyed working there but I could not take it.The RN that was braiding hair and made that comment is a very good friend og the DON.So I was afraid to go to human resources due do retaliation afterwards.So I just quit.I was told that everytime a new nurse is hired there that the older nurse do not like it so things happen so the new nurse leaves.My husband and I are going on vacation soon then I will look for another job.But this was so unhuman to treat a nurse like this.If the nurses at this place would have treated a new grad like this, it would have been a lasting effect on them.

Anonymous 3 years ago
To make a long story short. I'm almost positive bullying has happened to any nurse who has been a nurse for a while, like myself. It doesn't even matter about the race, national heritage, or education, as far as I'am concerned. I've seen some PHD, and master prepared nurses that are put to shame by the breath of knowledge, and basic common sense of a 2-year associate degree nurse. I've been a Registered Nurse now for 27 yrs). I think people who decide to become "real nurses" are purely in this because they truly care about helping sick individuals, and ignore those nurses who bully one another. I've always looked upon nursing as a respectable field, but how can one demand respect when we don't treat our patients with respect? Respect is something that is earned, and just because you are a nurse, doesn't mean you have automatically earned respect. If you bring disrespect to the profession, then, this is what you get out of it. It takes every nurse to do their part, and over the years, I have seen respect go down the drain. Number one, a lot of nurses have become nurses because of the money, and this is all they want out of it. They don't care about respect, or the patient.

Anonymous 3 years ago
This article is on target. I am currently the bullied one. The difference is that is it being done by scrub techs (ST), led by a former ST who is now an RN. Whenever anything is said to management, depending on what the issue/person is, the answer may be, "well that's just her personality," or "it's a generational issue and you need to get over it and accept it," or my personal favorite, "I have gone to HR with this issue, and there isn't anything that can be done." It is insulting and demoralizing. It must be terrible to be so miserable, have such low self esteem and self worth, and be so unhappy with your life that the only way to feel better about yourself is to strike out at others. Everyone is different and brings a unique set of skills to the table. Just because someone has different experiences, may not know the same things and have different skills, does not mean that they are stupid, ignorant or "unworthy" of respect. I hae been an OR nurse for 25 years. I am tired of others belittling me, dismissing my concerns and trying to make me feel insignificant. I keep in mind a quote that is attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt: "No one can make you feel insignificant without your permission." Some days it is truly trying. Some days at work make me feel like I am back in high school with all the cliques and "we can't be nice to you because we've worked together for ten years and it is just so hard to welcome new people; that's why we can't be nice to you." (That is an actual statement!!) I am currently working on my BSN completion. I plan to get a Master's in education and perhaps a law degree. One of the comments about it being this way because it is mostly women is right: I would rather work with men any day. As long as we tolerate and encourage this behavior, and as long as management chooses to do nothing to correct the inappropriate behavior, the situation will not change. Sadly, this will drive away the brightest and best of our noble profession.

Anonymous 3 years ago
I have been a nurse for 44 years and am still working full time and proud of it. About 15 years ago I took a managerial job for a private contractor at a prison that required the use of a computer for frequent daily emails. I knew nothing about this technology and my AA had to teach me EVERYTHING. One day she was away and my computer froze. I saw a yellow sticky on the side of the computer that said "for computer problems call It at 1-800-etc..." So I called the number and asked to speak to It, which I thought was a person's name. I could not get the person answering the phone to understand that I needed either Mr or Ms It. She kept insisting there was nobody working there by that name. Finally I said, "my computer won't work and I was told to call a Mr or Ms It to get it fixed." Amidst peals of laughter at my ignorant faux pas, the receptionist said that I must mean I.T., which is a department, not a person. Thank heavens we didn't have Skype technology then to show my red face. I never really found out what the acronym meant for another 2 years. I'm happy to say I am very computer literate now.

Anonymous 3 years ago
Wow - all those CAPS by MV. You really made your point. I am sure when you are old and ever in need of a bedpan you can insist on a BSN for your care and wait for an overworked aide to get the message. As an 2 yr. degree RN I am not above meeting this basic patient care need but it appears you'd rather wait as long as the BSN delegates. Your belittling of LPNs and Associate RNs sounds like bullying - exactly what this article is talking about.

Anonymous 3 years ago
One thing is clear from the article and comments - the education level and professionalism of nurses remains inconsistent and quite frankly rather "whiny" in tone.

I find that many nurses still want to have instant recognition at some level as having a "higher calling" or as I call it "the missionary syndrome". All well and good when you are at the bedside - but that mentality does not work with colleagues and other professionals who have management responsibility.

The nursing profession has done itself an incredible injustice by not mandating a baseline education requirement of a BSN. It has affected salaries, professionalism, and the respect that we garner in the workplace. In addition, I have encountered many nurses that have been promoted to management levels - without one class in management, business or any of the other skills required to manage a team! No wonder, then that ineffective communication "bullying" is allowed within their workplace.

Compare nursing to the therapies. Also female dominated health careers - but the therapists do not have 1/10th of the issues that nurses have. They have mandated high levels of education and the pay/respect has come with it. They also have created the shortages which increase their value by mandating Masters and now Doctorate level education as an entry to their profession. They have designated "para-professionals" to handle tasks that do not require these degrees.

It would have been good for the Nurse Educator who is writing about the "bullying" that goes on in our profession that it is a direct result of the inconsistent education level of RNs.

I am appalled that since my graduation in 1981 - nurses have STILL not resolved this issue. Nursing will always be a "second class" profession until we within the profession demand respect within and without.

Anonymous 3 years ago
Yeah, well, as they say, karma is a real drag. It would seem that the "bullies" are now the "bullied".

I am quite familiar with unkind remarks from other nurses, having started out as an LPN--the snide put-downs from those who fancied themselves better than we lowly "Little Pretend Nurses" still rankle.

I now hold a BSN and make it a point never to belittle co-workers, no matter what position they presently occupy (nurse aide, LPN, or RN)

Well...okay, Physicians assistants, interns, residents and docs are always fair game...

Anonymous 3 years ago
I have been aware of this problem for years now, in addition to being on the receiving line. I have been a RN for 32 years now and my clinical career has been very diverse. I have experience both in clinical sales and marketing, business ownership as well as nursing. My nursing skills and knowledge provided me with these other opportunities. I have now found it very difficult to almost impossible to find a position in Nursing. I have taken positions in alternate care settings where the level of hostility was palpable. My most current experience was when I was hired by a local hospital to be trained as an Infection Preventionist. The nurse training me has been a nurse for about 16 years. I realized right off the bat that there would be some territorial issues with her because she has been performing in this role alone for three years. I was very respectful of her space. She was pleasant at first but quickly lost patience. Her office was very small and I had a table smaller than a bedside table to view lab results and check computer results on a small tablet. It was very claustrophobic! I had been acting for feedback all along to gauge my progress and to work on any areas of weakness since I had no previous experience in this field. They soon found an office space for me two floors up from hers. She would not allow me to take any manuals or the hospital infection control manual up to my office to study. She spent alot of time on the phone and her temper became short with me. When in the ICU on rounds, she would become upset if I asked a nurse or the physician a question and she would tell me it was none of my concern as she tapped her fingernails on the counter. It was very embarrassing. Once 30 days had past, I asked my director about my 30 day eval and she stated that she would get it done but she had not heard anything derrogatory. Three days before my 90 days, I was called into a mtg. with the nurse who was training me and our manager. I was then terminated being told that I was not polished enough and I did not fit into their culture! My manager then directed directed me to HR to see if there was a more suitable position. Infection prevention is serious business not just in healthcare settings but in our daily lives. I could not crack a smile or have a single thought of own in this job.I really loved having the opportunity to learn something new and now since I have had so many short term jobs that is also working against me. If anyone has any suggestions, I would love to hear them. I would not recommend anyone to go into Nursing as a profession anymore.

Anonymous 3 years ago
MV, all of the education in the world couldn't stop you from sounding like an idiot.

Anonymous 3 years ago
I have been a nurse for over 31 years. I have always loved to share everything I can with my co workers. Within the last year I have been a victim of bullying. My manager has sided with the clique and has went so far as making one of my coworkers write me up to add to a claim by another nurse. This coworker told me she did not want to write me up but the manager made her. It has now come to our facility a class to bring nurses together to deal with these issues. I hope this is a true program and not one to check the box. However, when management does not want to hear true FACTS but go on hear said and negatively mark the record of our nurses that truly care I am afraid nursing is going to muddy our profession.

Anonymous 3 years ago
MV's comment is the reason why the article was written in the first place. "Jerky" (namecalling?) "My profession" (?) the entire comment was in all caps, which either makes this individual very angry, yelling, or ignorant or current "internet comment protocol" I always encourage additional educatio, however, bullying these people listed *is* also bullying. Therefore, MV, thank you for giving us a good example of what it looks like. I would not trust someone who is "belittled" by caring for a bedpan with something as important as an IV. BTW, I teach ACLS. I have more initials behind my name than will print. I don't need to publish them for my self worth. I respect LPN's, Allied Health workers, Aides and all those who have chosen this profession. If you can't do that, it is time you get out. Perhaps, a case of burnout!

Anonymous 3 years ago
What is the sense complaining, nobody listens. Even when good nurses become Management, it is all about their paycheck and they are not going to 'jeapardize' it by trying to stand up for what is right.

Anonymous 3 years ago
Even though I disagree with the bullying, I also have another side to the nurses who are not computer savvy. I had seen some veteran nurses who had refused to use a personal computer do very well using a computer at work; however, there are those veteran nurses, despite all the years of college practically getting their Doctorate in nursing act as if they have no clue with even the basics, as to what a mouse is. Now don't get me wrong, it doesn't justify any disrespect but we all know of the nurses who "act" naive around certain areas so as to get out of doing them entirely.
I also think nursing needs to change, and gain more respect from Colleagues, coworkers, patients, and vistors that we are MORE than maids. I either get treated as beneath them (mere gofers) or spoken to as though "you make so much more money why don't you do it?" Clearly we can't do it all, we need help, and team work I see is very much lacking in health care versus the hierarchy mentality of (like dominoes) work trickling down; however, you have to delegate work or it won’t get done. Where I work people are fed up and are leaving, staffing is tight, and the work is just adding up, so, more work to delegate but with less people and less time to get it done.
Also, I think it is unfair to judge veteran nurses who refuse to go back to school, many of them may not be able to afford to go back to school, and you can't disregard the years of experience versus a piece of paper. I know many nurses with a MSN who are very book smart but dumb as a bucket of nails versus a "diploma" nurse who are just as knowledged as an NP.
Nursing to me is a career, it is not my life, and i would not have gone into healthcare if it were not about helping people but I am not a martyr, I need to pay bills, rent, student loans (had gone so far as almost getting my NPP, but couldn't afford it, had to put it on hold), etc.. I have to afford to live.

Anonymous 3 years ago
This has been happening across the country in OR nursing for the past 8-10 years. It is so repugnant to me that I am D-O-N-E with it! Looking for a new career in nursing....

Anonymous 3 years ago
I find that the bullying is increasing and, incredibly, very tolerated. I worked night shift in a pretty busy suburban ICU; there was a large group of nurses who knew eachother prior to coming to our hospital. Generally, I am pretty quiet, but always friendly and always helpful. I usually had nurses ask to follow me on dayshift because I left everything from patient to documentation complete and correct. This group of nurses spent a large part of the night gossiping, shopping on the internet and eating. When one would take her break, the others would sit and eat with her, but would not count that as their own break. I was heavier a couple years ago, before my cancer, and they had no problem with making fun of me and saying things to my face about my weight. And while I was heavy, I was 30 pounds overweight, and I am a muscular person. So while they made fun of me, they had no problem asking me to move their patients for them, which I did willingly. Right before I got diagnosed, I was sick quite often, but still worked. One night they just were being terrible to me, and the charge nurse, who I had a bit more than a "work friendship" with-or so I thought-noticed that I seemed sad. She asked me what was wrong, and so I told her, giving specific instances. Her comment was that I was "standoffish;" I will never forget this-I said to her, "so, because I don't sit around talking and shopping on the internet all night, and because I do my work and mind my own business, I deserve to be made fun of?" and she said, "Well...yes"

Anonymous 3 years ago
I left the field of Hospital nursing and this was one of the reasons. One of my friends who was a physician (the MD was a woman) asked me one time, "why do nurses eat their own?" I did not have an answer to that question then, nor, do I now. However, it is the case and well documented. I have theories. In my opinion, the field of nursing is clearly dominated by females and it could be inherent in the female psyche that they berate and belittle other women. However, the behavior can be changed. Men, as described by the other poster who is the nursing profession, clearly articulates this concept. This issue will not diminish on its own until there are additional men in the profession. Having grown up surrounded by all men, this concept of the nursing eating their own was a foreign concept to me. I did not like it and will not return to a Hospital environment because of this. It is the untreated malignancy in the profession and as far as I can tell not being addressed in any educational program. It is so very sad that Nursing has progressed so far and additional demands are to be made upon the profession and the bullying and berating is, to date, allowed to stand unrestrained either by the educational professionals that train Nurses or by the administrative leaders. Shame on the Nursing profession by letting this behavior to continue unchecked.

Anonymous 3 years ago
I too have experienced this type of bullying, however,being the big old alpha female that I am lol...
Did speak to my boss about it with a" what the heck is going on" atittude. In this conversation it came up that no one was reading their email and that meetings were being missed. She just didn't get it.
I reminded her that 3/4 of her staff were late forties early fifties and many didn't even know how to text.
I asked her to post on the bulletin board the next meeting and she had a 95% turn out.
Know your audience when trying to communicate. It sure helps.

Anonymous 3 years ago
This is a great topic and though I can relate to a lot of the stories (for I have been bullied often) I really relate to the comment made by Donna K. We all need to get empowered and #1 realize we are a "Profession" We do have "Value". We need to treat ourselves and each other just like physicians, dentists lawyers etc. We need to let our egos fly because we are knowlegeable competent and an integral part of the healthcare team. In fact we run the team. We ALL know that yet we stay in the wings and allow everyone else to take our glory! Then we wonder why we're angry. This is why I became a coach for nurses. I still believe we CAN turn this around. It will start with each nurse accepting their exceptionalism and the exceptionalism of our fellow nurses!

Anonymous 3 years ago
I agree with C.V.S., this is not isolated to nursing. The United States has become a Jerry Springer "live" society. Our younger nurse's grew up watching precocious witty youngsters on TV, who got the laughs while making the adults of authority in their lives look like bafoons. There is a complete breakdown of "professional" behaviors and attitudes, but that is across most workplaces with most workers. I truly fear for my children/grandchildren, where respect and calm discussion on an issue, to find the best solution for all, will be pushed aside while the bullies take what they want and run. Even our politicians can't refrain from bullying. The wilds of Northern Canada are looking better all the time.

Anonymous 3 years ago
I have been a nurse for over 30 years. I have went from being the village idiot because I was a young nurse,to earning respect with my work ethic. I see how disrespectful both older and young nurses are to each other. I am now at the stage where I feared becoming the village idiot again, as my hospital transitioned to all computer orders and documentation. As I thought I was computer illiterate I was very surprised I was sent to be a mentor for other users. I can do things on the system that even my manager can't do. It has been a great personal gain. The younger nurses were surprised but very thankful that they have someone that does understand it and can help them. I have learned patience over the years, something most of them had not learned yet.That helps me to teach them not just tell them how to do what they are having difficulty with. I still feel valued and who would have ever thought it would be such a odd thing to spark my interest in nursing all over again. Actually the new ( most younger than my children) nurses had a blast teasing me because I had such a difficult time learning how to use my smart phone, but can do about anything within our system easily. As nurses were should be able to work together as equals but not sure that time will ever come.

Anonymous 3 years ago
I AM SO SAD OVER WHAT IS HAPPENING AND HAS HAPPENED TO OUR BEAUTIFUL PROFESSION...WE ALLOWED TOO MANY INTO IT, THE CLIQUES STAY TOGETHER...YOU REAP WHAT YOU SOW YOU JERKY NURSES WHO POO POO FURTHER EDUCATION..WHO NEEDS A BSN??? YOU DO!!! WE DO!!! OTHERWISE YOU ARE LOOKED DOWN UPON, I SAY EVERYONE GET A BSN...SORRY...GO BACK TO SCHOOL...LEARN THE TECHNOLOGY AND HAVE SOME RESPECT OR GET OUT OF MY PROFESSION FOR GOOD!!!DIPLOMA, LPN'S, ASSOC. GET OUT!! THE PUBLIC WILL ALWAYS BE CONFUSED BECAUSE WE ARE ALLOWING ALL THESE AVENUES, GET ON BOARD WITH WHAT THE OTHER RESPECTED PROFESSIONS ARE DOING...AND YES, WE SHOULD NOT HAVE TO DO BEDPANS, THE PUBLIC SEEING THAT BELITTLES US.

Anonymous 3 years ago
It would be nice if the ENA would also address and acknowledge this problem instead of always empasizing research --- someone has to take care of the pts and noone seems to remember that, and it should be with compassion not for the paycheck

Mary P

Anonymous 3 years ago
i have experienced bullying as well. Continued to be targeted by younger nurses as being mean. They don't know assertiveness. They talk about each other in away of how that older nurse looks and even the base of hiring or not whether they are pretty or not. The younger nurses need there behinds spanked on their behavior towards more seasoned nurses because they think the older generation are out dated and no nothing and they tell their younger colleagues not to listen and turn around and go ask a younger nurse the same question you answered. They look to try to get them fired or in trouble

Anonymous 3 years ago
I was on the psychiatric unit for about 6 mos., when I was invited to experience what a schizophrenic patient smelled like. I had worked in surgery for 36 yrs., and was shocked by the way that I was treated by established nurses, who felt like I needed extra assignments to pay my dues. Even in my newer state as a psych nurse, I could tell that a' typical ' schizophrenic smell was a gross stereotype. Shortly afterwords, I asked the patients psychiatrist if she was aware of what a 'typical' schizophrenic smelled like. She demanded that I explain myself. I referred her to the nurse sitting nearby us. She did her best to try to cover her prejudice with her explanation to the psychiatrist. Within a couple of days, the assistant manager was confronting me in the hallway, saying there was a complaint about my body order. He handed me a bottle of cologne, and when I just stared at him, he said, "Well, isn't it better that I give it to you than someone like Anita (the manager). Within a few days, the manager came out with an email that talked about lateral violence. Unfortunately, this is just one story of many that were allowed to take place on the unit. Too much stress in an already intense environment, and not enough support by administration.

Anonymous 3 years ago
I worked on a childrens mental health unit at a large well respected hospital. Kids came in depressed and anxious from bullying. They were able to view first hand adult nurses bullying their coworkers. Management was aware and allowed it to go on as they may not have been able to hang on to their power without the support of these socially powerful nurses. Upper management needs to monitor what goes on more closely. With a useless Nurse manager these kids got very little mental health care for several years and no one seemed to care. Complaints filled were ignored or the source revealed for more attacks. Hope childrens med surg is better.

Anonymous 3 years ago
The NEW nurses that I have worked with just have a lack of respect for anyone, older nurses, patients, doctors.. the whole lot. It is not just a nursing problem, it is a problem with our society. OUR children are not taught respect for others past kindergarden. They are allowed to disrespect their parents and elders. So, they are seasoned to be that way. I ignore them. They are nasty little witches, who giggle all night while the patients are trying to rest and heal, making awful comments about the patients and their co workers. No use reporting this to the authorities in the facility, they want their buddies to be there. This is sad, and after 21 years in the field I am considering a second career.. away from them. And God help me if I ever get sick and have to have these people take care of me.

Anonymous 3 years ago
Interestingly this week before I read this article a younger co-worker stated that she noticed that it was the older Nurses who were ostracized.

Anonymous 3 years ago
I am 65 years old and a male R.N.. I am extremely technically competent. I have a lap top and a slate PC. However, the USA is an extremely Orwellian, authoritarian, and Machiavellian nation, society, and culture. Bullying, as a result, is not just a nursing problem in the USA. It is a national AND international problem for the USA.

Anonymous 3 years ago
I am so glad that this issue has been exposed. The younger generation of nurses seem to excel at the art of bullying. I was a charge nurse in an ambulatory surgery center and have never experienced the degree of bullying and flat out insubordination that was tolerated there. Combined with weak upper management that was only interested in "the bottom line"; in made it a very stressful place to work. If I would have had the power, I would have written up about 30% of the nurses that worked there and tried to convince then that they would be happier working elsewhere.

Anonymous 3 years ago
Trust and Psychological safety are essential to a safe work environemnt. There are many studies that back this up. These are precursers to patient safety and better patient outcomes. Yet, they continue to delt with on a supercial basis as far as staff to staff. Manager to staff hostility seems to be the last frontier. How do you get the fox to quit guarding the henhouse? Surveys are done but accountability is elusive due to poor survey methodology resulting in less than 30 percent participation. Done only by computer login, it further inhibits trust to be forthcoming about work environment issues.And demographic questions identify you to the individual. Throughout the nursing culture the chief survival technique is the fly under the radar.Those who speak up are "executed in the town square" to maintain fear. We all know that "bad things happen when good people remain silent. When will nurses stand up and be counted instead of just working for a paycheck and then going home internalizing their powerlessness? Resulting in many illnesses, work absence(known as mental health days) and turnover.

Anonymous 3 years ago
Jim S speaks of the bullying from managment and thank God for unions, Here in TX there are no unions to have our backs. Step out of a room and quietley say to yourself "That person is driving me to drink" and a social worker overhears you. The next thing you know the boss is calling you in questioning you how long you've been an alcoholic. Try to tell her it's just a phrase and you just get in deeper. Next thing you know the whole place thinks your a bozer and your pushed out of a job with no recourse.
I've also seen it work the other way, a DON who brings in their favorite people who they have worked with before, who even when they make dangerour med errors are protected by that DON. Other nurses are told "You will not write up or critizie MY nurses".
As far as younger nurses bullying the older ones, I believe it stems from a total lack of respect for tradition and each other. Heck I attended a RN pinning this past month and they had graduates in mini skirts and spike heals being pinned by just anyone who they chose to come up on stage. Where's the respect?

Anonymous 3 years ago
I have experienced jealousy & hostility from nurses with less education than I. This first occurred when I was a brand new BSN grad, & I was the only RN on the med-surg floor with a BSN. All the other nurses, including the head nurse, only had a 2 yr assoc degree. Now that I'm an NP with an MS degree, this same jealousy & open hostility is still occurring!

Anonymous 3 years ago
Have been an RN for a bit over 25 years and never really experienced severe co-worker to co-worker nurse bullying and harassment. Sure there was gossip and such but that goes with the territory sometimes. The most extensive bullying and harassment that I have seen is from nursing home managers to nurses. The floor staff are are too overworked to bully and harass. But let a manager with tons of time on their hands decide they have a hate in for you and watch the discipline flow! Suspend for this. Suspend for that. Terminate for the other thing. Did you actually do it? Well that doesn't matter at all. The almighty 'POWER' says you did it and proof that you didn't do it be dammed. Nothing like a manager who wouldn't know where to find a resident or even know their name decide on imagination or un-investigated rumor that you did what they said. A chance to defend yourself? No! No! No! You were told you did it. Therefore you did. Defending yourself is insubordination. (Thank God for Unions)

Anonymous 3 years ago
Have been an RN for a bit over 25 years and never really experienced severe co-worker to co-worker nurse bullying and harassment. Sure there was gossip and such but that goes with the territory sometimes. The most extensive bullying and harassment that I have seen is from nursing home managers to nurses. The floor staff are are too overworked to bully and harass. But let a manager with tons of time on their hands decide they have a hate in for you and watch the discipline flow! Suspend for this. Suspend for that. Terminate for the other thing. Did you actually do it? Well that doesn't matter at all. The almighty 'POWER' says you did it and proof that you didn't do it be dammed. Nothing like a manager who wouldn't know where to find a resident or even know their name decide on imagination or un-investigated rumor that you did what they said. A chance to defend yourself? No! No! No! You were told you did it. Therefore you did. Defending yourself is insubordination. (Thank God for Unions)

Anonymous 3 years ago
I feel that there is more than one issue, which affects whether "NURSING" will ever be truly a profession. To the young technologically savvy nurses, I must remind you that you will some day become "seasoned" and there will always be CHANGE and expansion of technology. Consider that, perhaps one day, you will find yourself in your "older" co-worker's position. Now, on the subject of the "older" nurse. Please do not assume that "seasoned" and "older" equates to personal non ownership of a computer and a lack of technological skills. Many seasoned nurses have focused on acquiring these skills, though not a part of their formal education, as it is for "younger" /inexperienced
nurses. It is not a matter of age, but one's willingness to commit to life long learning and change.
We must unite as a group of individuals, who have allowed hospital, nursing managers and educators to treat us with a lack of respect for the jobs we do. Nurses are constantly told that they do not generate income, but what income would be generated in a hospital, without their care? We have tremendous responsibility and accountability and in many cases, not reimbursed for the care we provide. Nurses need to be empowered to obtain individual growth and recognized in significant, meaningful ways, that reflect management's belief that they are professionals who truly are the patients' advocate. Nurses, today are looking for avenues to distinguish their practices and nursing excellence. Lack of respect from managers, educators and some physicians appears to incite lateral unprofessional behavior and bullying of others. I must point to our physicians and how the interact with one another. Even though they may have significant differences or a dislike for one another, they "circle the wagons" and are the least likely to attack or criticize an incompetent, troubled, or disruptive peer.Any professional infighting is discouraged, because it may be THEM, the next time. They mentor and assist each other, with the knowledge that this enhances and builds their professional reputation, status and "network". We as nurses need to examine how we are treated, looking at areas that need to change to gain professional growth and actually become "PROFESSION".
Instead of belittling a peer to enhance our performance, lets examine what is essential to each of our practices, to address how we are perceived and treated by employers, management, supervisors and nursing educators. As a group, we have taught each of these entities how to treat us. If nurses were empowered with incentives that are meaningful to them and viewed with respect for practice excellence, the need to denigrate and demean co-workers would diminish. There needs to be support and "mentoring" non judgementally, by each individual nurse, according to their strengths. Please notice I did not say "preceptorship". Each of us has so much to offer each other and it would result in more job satisfaction, improved patient care and "happy" nurses represent the organization or hospital, in a manner that has the potential to increase the employer's bottom line. Organizations tend to tolerate "bullying", because presently it is not illegal and has a low probability of consequences for their bottom line. Unfortunately, the "target" is often unfairly identified as the problem, "mobbed" by the rest of the staff,(they could be next)and by nursing management. This can result in termination of the person being bullied, after making a formal complaint. We need to understand the psychological dynamics of how we are perceived,the actions and steps we need to take to begin lobbying and uniting for positive unifying change, individually and as a "group". I am reminded that no one can disrespect or mistreat you, without your consent. We need to VALUE ourselves,our education, experience and be reminded of the responsibility and accountability we assume each day. This should be reflected in various manners, that convey recognition and respect for our "profession", not highly evident as evidenced by the many comments posted, which suggest dysfunction and negative attention seeking. Until we learn to "circle the wagons" and support one another, as our physicians have, we will never be considered a "PROFESSION".

Anonymous 4 years ago

I remember during my clinical's 15 years ago my nurse preceptor was curt and not very welcoming. It seemed like she forgot was it was like to be a student nurse. I haven't experienced that since and I have the utmost respect for the nurses who have so many years of wisdom to share. I am not the type of person to bully anyone. I remember how I felt when that nurse treated me the way she did and I look at it as a lesson she didn't even know she was giving me.


Anonymous 4 years ago

Thank you so much for this article. As the mother of a nurse I would cringe when my daughter would text me "I'm in the back room crying." She almost gave up her profession because of it. Thankfully she found a hosptial where the nurses act like nurses and help each other out.


Anonymous 4 years ago

It is a problem in nursing when other professionals act unprofessional. It is devastating to the morale and the cohesiveness of the unit. I have been exposed to that unprofessional and intimidating behavior. I followed the protocol to report it and discovered that nothing would be done about it. In fact, the boss was a bully. This has soured my view of nursing and whether I will continue in nursing. I am sad about this but feel helpless to change it. There has to be a better way for management to intervene and prevent bad behavior between professionals.


Anonymous 4 years ago

Hey I get "bullied" racially--I am one of the 7% of white nurses --the rest are African-Americans, or from the islands mostly Jamaica. What is funny is I am totally non racist. Go figure. Many "island" team members fight with each other all the time, fight with patients and management. Loudly. There are two sets of codes of conduct. Get me outta here!


Anonymous 4 years ago

Bullies continue to be bullies because they get away with it. People are afraid to speak up for them selves and each other, and that is very sad. When someone is being unkind to me, I very loudly say things like .. "oh my friend, aren't you feeling well today, you are so cranky..you are just not yourself." OR "I have heard such wonderful things about your nursing, and I just know that if you teach me EVERYTHING you know, I will be just as good a nurse as you. If you would spend some extra time now, teaching me your techniques, I will try to find some way to repay your kindness in the future". I say these little things with an audience - usually gets the heat off me ! When I see a coworker being abused I say, "I do not tolerate abuse of another person in my presence. If this verbal abuse continues I will be force to take action."


Anonymous 4 years ago

what a wonderful script and awesome comments. 26 year nurse wondering how shes going to make it 20 more years....love what i do.


Anonymous 4 years ago

Bravo, Susan.........I applaud you. As an RN for more than fifty years, I've seen all sides of this. When I was DON in Long Term Care, I had nearly zero per cent turnover in staff, due to the respect I gave everyone.


Anonymous 4 years ago

Bravo, Susan.........I applaud you. As an RN for more than fifty years, I've seen all sides of this. When I was DON in Long Term Care, I had nearly zero per cent turnover in staff, due to the respect I gave everyone.


Anonymous 4 years ago

When I was attending nursing school in 1984, I began completing my nursing care plans on a Commadore 64 computer. I saved all of the nursing diagnosis on the mini tape that took hours to load. My instructors did not like these computer generated care plans and I had to return to the handwritten method. Now that I am a "seasoned nurse" I can complete patient care in my sleep. I have shoes older than most of the "new nurses" yet after a 4 hour class and three weeks of orientation, I was placed on extended orientation because "you just don't seem to be picking up the computer documentation as quickly as you should". I would have quit right then and there except I decided to call their bluff. I not only "picked up the computer program" I learned more about it than most of the "new nurses". The reasons for computerized charting are to improve documentation to obtain the highest amount of reimbursement possible. I am not against this however, It feels like we are more concerned about treating the computer and not treating the patient. I have never been bullied nor have I been a bully in my career. But this experience has left a very bad taste in my mouth. Thank you Susan for a long overdue article.


Anonymous 4 years ago

Thankyou all for your articles. I feel sane given that I have been bullied at my job and realise that I am not the only one. It is a shame that really at the end of the day, nothing gets done except the bully winning and the victim questioning their mental health. Hospitals don't do enough for the victims. Even my bullies awarded themselves a big nursing award and got away with it! I love my job, but have panic attacks and post traumatic stress when around the bullies. It makes me want to give up nursing and change professions.


Anonymous 4 years ago

I am in so much disappointment and shock after reading too many articles online about nurse bullying. I recently decided to go back to school to pursue my 2nd career in nursing, and I just registered for pre-health year. I just cannot believe this is the sad reality in nursing. I worked as a secretary for many many years, and I was bullied by the administrator and then HR teamed up with the administrator. Coming from computer background and being the youngest and physically fit (I do personal training on the side), the co-workers who were older secretaries and not so computer savvy, ostracized me. I eventually left this job, since it was effecting my well-being. I had no idea about the nurse bullying, and many of the good nurses seem to have experienced what I had experienced as a secretary. I was depressed at learning such a sad reality in nursing, and I have decided to pursue something else in the health care. Thank you for sharing your experience with everyone. I cannot afford my health and student loan for a 2nd career where I'd be at a risk to get bullied...or let's say most probably be bullied.


Anonymous 4 years ago

It is very true the facts stated in this article, the sad truth is that at the bottom of all bullying is a love of greed and materialism that was not a part of our society 30yrs ago, bullying of the young was of a diferent nature more like mother-daughter rivalry, today weather it is due to tech savy generation is debatable, it is rooted in the money part; the younger are after money, the more the better they become cut-throats or even head hunters as long as they get their money, no empathy, no respect, no real nursing, this is what this career has become, it wasn't this way. The new generation is much more greedy and thy will bully at anyone's expense all for the love of money, god help us all!


Anonymous 4 years ago

I have been a nurse for 20 years. Its hard to beleive that I was 20 when I graduated school, yes, that makes me 40 now. I am a seasoned nurse, but also a young nurse who uses computers often. I was bullied by nurses and see it cont. today. Seasoned nurse or new nurse, we continue to have the same problem, we do not stick together. As a male nurse, my female collegues often tell me its because I work with women. I used to think that was insulting, but now 20 yrs in, I think theres something to it. Men dont care if one guy is better looking, thinner or whatever, but women do. Younger have issues with older and older with younger. To ALL my nursing collegues, grow-up! Stopy bullying each other and stand united, we have much bigger fish to fry. When we act like this towards eachother, it gives others permission to devalue our role. GROW UP! RESPECT EACHOTHER and STAND UNITED!!!!