How do I deal with nurse bullies?

iStock | 4774344sean
iStock | 4774344sean

Any nurse who has been rejected by a nurse clique or has been the victim of another nurse’s malicious gossip wonders, “Weren’t we all supposed to grow out of this?”

Unfortunately, no.

According to one study, 38 percent of working adults have experienced bullying at work and 42 percent have witnessed bullying behavior. And while most workplace bullies are men, women can be bullies, too: 40 percent of all workplace bullies are female, according to the “Workplace Bullying Institute.”

What exactly is workplace bullying? For the most part, you can rely on the old adage “I know it when I see it.” If you prefer something more concrete, try this definition: “any vexatious behavior in the form of repeated and hostile or unwanted conduct, verbal comments, actions or gestures that affect an employee’s dignity or psychological or physical integrity and that result in a harmful work environment for the employee” (Canada Safety Council, 2005).

If a fellow nurse is bullying you, refuse to stoop to her level. Don’t answer her rude or unfounded allegations; she’s just trying to get a rise out of you, and if you respond, she wins. Instead, hold your head high and continue to do your job as competently and professionally as ever. That doesn’t mean, however, that you should simply ignore the bully. If you can, confront the bully in a professional manner. Don’t scream, yell or cry; simply call her on her behavior and tell her you will not tolerate it anymore.

Start a file and document your interactions with the nurse bully. You may need this material later to provide evidence of hostility over time. Keep your statements as objective as possible: who, what, where and when. Include quotes whenever possible.

Report the bullying behavior to your nurse manager as well. She needs to know what’s going on, and ideally will take steps to stop the behavior. If not, you may need to progress up the chain of command.

It’s also important to seek support. Talk to a trusted coworker, friend or spouse, and find a way to release some of the stress you may feel as a result of the bullying. Whatever you do, don’t let the bully get the best of you. You’re better than that.

Have you ever been bullied by another nurse? How did you handle it?

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47 Responses to How do I deal with nurse bullies?

  1. Nicole, RN

    Working with primarily women I have seen the likes of cliques that form at work, or badmouthing other coworkers behind people’s backs. Women are the ultimate gossipers, and I think it is important for all women to remember the golden rule about treating others as you would want to be treated. Some people cannot control their mouths but if you are the type that can, tell the gabber in the nicest, most tactful manner that the person they are talking about would probably not enjoy the fact that you are talking behind their back. And suggest that perhaps a face-to-face conversation with that person would be more productive. Don’t join in. Although it sounds like something that would exist in high school, the issue exists today.

    • Erica, RN RN

      Clicques are bad because members can bully their victims as a group. This makes it harder for nurse managers to want to intervene. Again, it’s easier to get rid of the one person victim then to reprimand the clique group. There is safety in numbers for the bullies.

  2. Carol

    What can you do if this person is your DON?

    • Cheryl RN

      I say go over her head to the COO, CEO, or the hospital board. Write a letter telling them what is going on. Speak in terms of how this is detrimental to their bottom line. Tell them that if they don’t investigate, you will be forced to go public. There is power in the pen. Also, as a whistleblower, you are in a protected class.

  3. bullies are everywhere not just in the NHS. I was never bullied but I did see colleagues being bullied. nursing is a profession that has changed over the years.

    • Val RN

      Bullies may be everywhere, but there is no place for them in nursing. Targets are often the best and brightest nurses, who are attacked because their skill, education, or expert knowledge base is threatening to the nurses whose only goal is to stagnate, socialize, and hold out till they can retire. Often times, these bully nurses are the ones who make the most money, but do the least work. It’s very discouraging to be a nurse who wants and tries to excel and who is held back because that is too intimidating. Or, to come to work and be criticized, undermined, or treated badly in any way. The healthcare industry is in crisis. We need nurses to be entering the profession and we need the best and brightest ones to stay, not to be driven out by these bullies. The bullying situation seriously is so bad where I work that nurses are beyond miserable. I’m sure some of their misery gets projected towards patients too. Some nurses actually blatently will refuse to work with another nurse. Gossiping is a regular activity, it’s like their sport. Nurse managers who tolerate bullies or bully behavior, or worse, who are bullies themselves, need to be reprimanded and preferably removed out of their positions.

      • deeellen RN

        I just recently started a job and quit on account both the adon and the unit manager were bullies They constantly criticized and offered very little help, The work load was so heavy I barely had time to use the restroom. Let alone take a break! I worked and tried so hard,but always heard about not being fast enough! On my second day of orintation! I do not think they were fair and did not do what they promised when I hired in. I have another job now. But I just can’t beleve how I was treated!

  4. Jane

    Nurse bullies are definitely out there in many workplaces. After 17 years of nursing in many different hospitals and deaprtments, I recently had the unfortunate opportunity to have to work with the meanest nurse I had ever known or seen. We were co-charge nurses in the same department. I had been a staff nurse in the dept. for 3 years when she was hired. Initally things were fairly smooth but after about 4 months of working together, she began to exhibit hostile behavior such as : ignoring my questions, walking away when I asked a question or giving me an impatient, agitated, curt answer. I am SO not a bully, so I began to feel intimidated and eventually avoided asking her anything unless I absolutely had to. This is EXACTLY what she wanted me to feel. I approached her privately about the difficulty I was having with communication between us, but all she would say was how stressful and hard her job was and how she had to check behind all her nurses’ work because they all “lacked critical thinking skills”. Over the next 2 months she became more and more hostile toward me. I went to our nurse mgr. 4 different times but things NEVER improved. In private charge nurse meetings with just the mgr. and us 2, I learned how she had agendas to convince our mgr. that several nurses in our dept. didn’t have the skills to work in our dept. and should be transferred out or let go. I saw our mgr. believing more and more of what she was saying and agreeing with her. I left my job there because I could no longer take the stress. I had lost 10 lbs. the last month I was there and had to go onto high blood pressure meds. It just wasn’t worth it. I worry about many of my dear friends who are still there and still dealing with the bully. Bullies create an environment that puts patient safety at risk. I saw that first hand. Why can’t we all just work together and support and love each other??? I now have fears about going into another work environment where I might be another bullie’s target. One thing I learned : DOCUMENT every incident, take it to the mgr. and ask that a copy be placed into your file, keep a copy for yourself. Go to the next level of mgmt. and the next and keep DOCUMENTING. And, hang in there.

  5. selma

    i just left a facility,and boy,i’m so much happier now!money was lousy,6 to 7 patients for each nurse,and the most unprofessional group of nurses that i’ve ever work was non sweet day,the night shift charge nurse slaaped my back,while yelling “let the charge nurse speak first!”i did not say am,i went to my nurse manager, and i said “such and such did that yesterday.i really hope you deal with her, because i’m about to sue her for assault,battery,and harrassement in the work place.i guess the magic word “law suit” shut the heck of the unprofessional charge nurse.2 days after the incident,she was fakely calling me “sweety”.nasty bastard!

  6. jenni

    I recently left my department because my DON was a huge micro–managing bully. I stuck it out for quite awhile before realizing that leaving was the only solution. I literally tried everything—including submitting an 8-page document to HR outlining her extremely hostile and unprofessional behavior–but nothing worked. HR claims they’ve had complaints about this person for 2 years and are ‘building a file’ against her. I am so much happier now that I’m out of that toxic atmosphere! Sometimes the only solution is to leave, which is extremely unfortunate.

  7. Em

    I have seen bullying as well as being a victim. I was bullied as a new graduate many years ago. More recently, I began to have a declining relationship with my nurse manager. I was also a victim of someone who bullied me for not only professional but personal reasons that went back to our high school years. She was friends with the clerk who listened to her side of what I had talked to her about-her unprofessional behavior. I walked away from my job for other reasons. I just have to take care of myself. I feel sorry for an institution that allows this behavior to carry on.

  8. April Hopkins-Freeman RN BSN MBA?HCM

    How many nurses think this form of workplace hostility needs to be brought under control, sooner, rather than later? We do alot of blogging about this to one another, perhaps we should really be addressing our legislators.
    Australia has anti-bullying laws, and Anita Hill had to face Congressional hearing before her sexual harrasment led to legislative actions from the federal government in this country.
    We have to acknowledge the issue to address it effectively, and so long as we merely pay lip service to the problem all we will get in return is more of the same. We can ‘turn the other cheek, ‘ walk away, quit and go elsewhere (and find more of the same) or we can begin a campaign to stop malicious behaviors in the workplace. Nobody goes to work, particularly in a hospital with the expectation of being bullied, harrassed or verbally abused by others. It’s unprofessional, unneccessary, illmannered, rude, destructive, emotionally damaging and effects the quality of care being provided to patients. We fail to serve our patients, our units, our organizations and ourselves, not to mention the industry as a whole by engaging in degrading, demoralizing and destructive behaviors.


    • Lisaflandcalinurse

      The behaviors should be stopped immediately, but we are so far off from that goal. How do you suggest we start?

  9. kd

    I was bullied in my last job. First by a new coworker then by my supervisor. I went through proper channels with complaints. But first I tried confronting the bully. It just made things worse. Our instutution was supposed to have a zero tolerance bully policy- NOT!!. My supervisor joined in on the festivities. Never had an experience like it. Left for my health, both physical and mental.

  10. Holly, BSN, RN, CDN

    I was bullied, too, and have witnessed much bullying. April, I’m with you. I will join an effort to push the issue to our legislators. I just don’t know where to begin.
    If there hasn’t been research demonstrating this, I wouldn’t be surprised to find that the “aging” of nurses has something to do with the lateral violence that pushes newer nurses out or keeps capable prodigies from pursuing our field…

  11. CCATT RN

    Use a method of elevation and progressive documentation.

    1. Confront the individual regarding the behavior in a professional manner, make clear your expectations of the individual. Use words such as bullying, hostile work environment, and intimidation. Make a memo of the encounter. Document only the facts, avoid pettiness and whining…it only makes you look weak.
    2. Inform management (in writing), make clear your expectations and your previous attempt to resolve the issue at the lowest level. Use words such as bullying, hostile work environment, and intimidation.
    3. Notify Director or HR (in writing) provide previous documentation, make clear your expectations. Use words such as bullying, hostile work environment, and intimidation.
    4. Get a lawyer, provide all documentation.
    * Any idiot who fails to effectively interdict before it gets to this point deserves what they get. Be sure to above all, remain professional and do not engage the bully in any public display of unprofessional or fireable behavior.

  12. Lena

    One of my friends is a nurse. Her floor was so hostile and full of bullying, backstabbing and gossip by so many nurses that it caused the death of a patient. The hospital had to hire outside therapists and relational experts and have mandatory meetings to deal with the behavior.

    WHY do people do this? Especially nurses! I wonder how many patients died from this.

    • Lisaflandcalinurse

      I am very worried that a sentinel event will happen with a patient before I can get out. I currently work with a few nurses who will not help me or one of my patients on a cardiac surgical Stepdown unit even in an emergent situation. I have recently received many accolades for early interventions in patients with early critical signs, and then it became even worse when I recently obtained my progressive care certification. I have already put in my notice. My manager is very upset to lose me and is trying to retain me, but that’s not enough for me to stay and take the bullying and intimidation tactics with patient safety bring compromised. I am not a new grad, but I have left other jobs and floors due to the same hostility. Bullying is very much alive in Florida. One facility I left was a top magnet facility.

  13. SusanRN

    Over the last several years, there has been much written about the prevalence of workplace bullying in the healthcare industry.
    We currently have a classic workplace bully as our department director. Numerous complaints have been waged against this woman in regards to her behavior to staff members and her undermining tactics as a manager. To date, HR and upper management have ignored the complaints and concerns brought to their attention. They fail to implement the ‘zero tolerance’ polices they have in place. Why? Because the bullying director has money management skills that administration views as beneficial to the network as a whole.
    So why is workplace bullying so prevalent in the healthcare industry? Because it is allowed.

  14. Barb, RN

    Perhaps this issue will only be addressed when droves of nurses leave the profession over the mistreatment they receive. Nurses don’t just eat their young, but any nurse who the bully or bullies deem are not acceptable in their group for whatever reason their sick minds create. Administration is of no help either as they tend to only punish the one who complains that they are receiving bullying behavior which empowers the bullies. This happened to me. After 37 years of being on the receiving end, I left the profession to save what little health and dignity I had left. Financially it has been very hard, but since leaving, I have realized the toll the constant barrage of critical remarks, ostracism, sarcasm, denigrating ones abilities in front of peers and bosses, fear of what’s coming next,etc. took on me. Unfortunately, I really don’t care to go back to a profession that says it values each individual nurses gifts and abilities, but does nothing to confront bullying when it occurs but punishes the one being tormented.

    • Lisaflandcalinurse

      Thank you for your 37 dedicated years to our profession. It’s sad to me that you left, but I hope you are at peace and that your health has improved. I understand it well. The anxiety of being under fire daily by my jealous coworkers is starting to manifest with physical symptoms. 7 years and counting here. Long way to go. Hugs

  15. edrn1

    Ok, thoughts on how to manage when this nurse bully LIES and makes something up and documents it in your file? I’m currently dealing with this.

    • kasey68

      I am dealing with a similar situation. A fellow employee spread a rumor that I had lied and made up a patient complaint about her. I asked to meet with her with the manager present and confronted her about attempting to hurt my credibility with my employer (slander) by lying and saying I made the complaint up. My manager also informed her that the patient had in fact filed a complaint about her and asked not to have her as his nurse again. Later that week we had a staff mtg where the manager said there was to be absolutely no more gossiping. Two nights later the same nurse spent the entire shift going on and on about me to our co-workers until one of them got sick of listening to her and told her to be quiet. The next night she was talking about two other co-workers. This is a regular occurrence,

      BUT, here’s the problem. This employee claims a disability because she has ADHD, so mgt is handling her with kid gloves. I don’t doubt she has issues related to her ADHD, but she is old enough to know the difference btw right and wrong, truth and lies. And NO disability should give her the right to spread hurtful lies about another. If she truly has a disability that prevents her from being an honest person and accepting responsibility for her actions, she’s probably in the wrong profession. I have talked to my asst. nurse manager and my nurse manager and my next step is filing a complaint with human resources and getting an attorney if need be. Any suggestions?

  16. Erica RN RN

    Unfortunately in the nursing profession today, bullying is commonplace. Not much is being done about it, and often times the nurse managers are the worst offenders. If a nurse victim tries to bring attention to the problem, she is told, “you are imagining, you are too sensitive, or you are instigating.” Often times it is the target victim that gets into trouble for trying to bring attention to the matter. It’s easier for management to shut up one person then to deal with the big issue. I have worked in places where nurses will refuse to work with other nurses, and this is big patient safety concern. Healthcare organizations pay a big price for nurse bullying, so it is financially adventageous for them to deal with the problem. Patient safety is at risk and litigation is costly, not to mention the cost of hiring new nurses to take the place of good ones who leave because they can’t tolerate the toxic work environment.

  17. Cheryl RN

    There needs to be a safe place for bully targets to voice what is happening to them. Maybe an anonymous hotline or something. They shouldn’t have to fear backlash or retaliation from either the bully clique or management. It’s not OK for nurses to mock, undermine, criticize, or purposely make up false accusations to try and get the victim into trouble. Nursing is supposed to be a caring profession. How is this type of behavior considered caring? Nurses who are identified as bullies should have to attend mandatory remediation class and then if the behavior continues, the organization should fire them! Often times it is the best and brightest employees who are bullied. This is because their intelligence and determination is threatening to nurses who are “comfortable” and lazy. It’s time for nurse directors / administrators to deal with this cancer in our profession.

    • Lisaflandcalinurse

      Yes. People think it’s just new nurses being bullied. I’m not new. Not that being new makes it ok (certainly not)! I am currently bullied for accolades received in patient care from patients, families, medical staff, and nursing management. Then to top it off I recently obtained a specialty certification…it got worse after that. I have already placed my notice, and my director is trying to retain me, but I just can’t do it, being under fire daily from jealous bullies.

  18. wjjrnwyo RN

    As DON of home health and hospice, I just dealt with this very thing. I won’t even begin to try to understand why one of my nurses felt she had the right to treat everyone the way she did. She was totally miserable to work with, but she layered it periods of “overly nice,” like she was just your best friend. I do know she felt she was above any reprimand, was the best and the smartest. Her condescending attitude, and treating most people like idiots was really unbearable at times. She also felt she was a police person of sorts, taking it upon her self to pick out what she felt was misconduct, what other employees were doing with their time, and liked to lecture others. She had no position of authority and had no right to do any of these things. She then started using the words “I refuse…I will not…. “etc, to me. I ended up firing her after a few warnings, counselings, and write ups. We now have an Antibullying policy. It’s in my job description. I feel she was so delusional that she would never be convinced her behaviour was harmful and totally rude and in appropriate. My other staff that treat each other with respect and actually want to be there to take care of patients and get along with each other deserve better than that.

    • GracyMae CNA

      @ wjjrnwyo – GOOD FOR YOU! I hope when I graduate and get a job that I have a DON like you!!

  19. tahor

    It is sad that hostile/bullying exists..been a nurse for 30 plus years and not to long ago, was witness to it..not from older staff but younger in their 20’s…go behind your back to other
    staff, department head, etc…but the most frustrating part was I had recommended she be hired, thought she would do a good job…little did I know…but on the side, working elsewhere and liking it,,,I had been in the department the second longest…after I , the nurse that had been there longer saw the light and she was the next victim AND the only side the dept head wanted to hear was theirs..go figure

  20. needluck

    I had my manager leave me a note on my desk that said go kill yourself… She was a 38 year old brat to say the least..thinking back I should have reported her immediately

    • Lisaflandcalinurse

      I’m 39. I was in management very early in my career. Someone like her, should not be in our profession, let alone a management position.

      • Lisaflandcalinurse

        That one could have been reported yes. To the cops even.

  21. jlbw RN

    I know of a situation where a nurse was on nightshift and the dayshift had a couple of nurses that would go through all her charts and pick out mistakes and write them up. And when they found out she was going to be on dayshift with them, they went to the nurse manager and told him they were going to quit if she moved to their rotation. So, she came and they did not quit, and then when she came, they all acted like they were glad to have her with them. But she has decided to go back to nightshift for the money and will be watching her back very closely. Sad to say this is more prevalent than people think.

  22. askibum02

    I was bullied constantly by a charge nurse. She consistently went out of her way to make my life miserable, to include giving me a dangerous patient load. My Head Nurse was well aware of her behavior, being witness to it on several occasions, and still did nothing. I was told to “just work it out between ourselves.” It came to a head one day when she threatened me. Instead of reporting it, which I felt would do no good, I retaliated verbally. I was rewarded by being the one that got in trouble for it, not her. I was held to a higher standard because I was active duty military, and she was a civilian. The sad thing is that she was rewarded with a promotion, and my military career was put in jeopardy.

  23. thegatekeeper

    I thought moving to the ICU from telemetry, that people would gossip less, that they wouldn’t pick at each other like chickens so much… wrong, wrong, WRONG!

    I’m glad I work nights, where it’s tolerable, but during the daytime, they are RUTHLESS.

    I have just come to accept the fact that people talk about me behind my back simply because it’s done to EVERYONE.

    The uncomfortable moments come when I have been “accepted” into some imaginary group, and the bashing starts around me about others. It’s difficult because I don’t want to participate, but I also don’t want to be targeted. The way I handle it is not saying anything, but laughing and contributing when it’s someone being self-deprecatory and trying to contribute my own self-deprecatory story.

    The men there are often just as bad as the women with their gossip…

  24. radioheadchik RN

    I transferred from a post-surgical floor to an ICU to learn more, for more opportunities, etc. about 5 months ago. thegatekeeper is right – not only is bullying and gossip not prevalent there, it is worse! for the most part I work with a great team who is always happy to help and teach – but there are those few who are the “ICU know-it-better-than-you nurse” who degrade you instead. Yesterday I was getting a really sick patient from an outside hospital and was searching for everything to get ready – the charge nurse was standing by so I asked her for some help since I was a little flustered (it was going to be at change of shift, my other patient had a procedure going on that I needed to attend to). She replied to me “you have been here HOW long and you can’t find what you need????”. I was so upset I almost started crying, and haven’t been able to shake it. How you can feel completely comfortable at a new job in a completely new hospital in 5 months is beyond me. I wish nurses could always be a bit more supportive..

  25. staceyv RN

    Is there anyone on here that can help me? I’m in a situation at a large top 10 hospital where I work on surgical step-down unit that also has an 8 bed Observation Unit (kinda like a small ICU). I’ve been there for 1 year and 2 months, straight out of nursing school. I even did my preceptorship on this floor. I loved my job until a couple of months ago. My floor has been experiencing many changes under a new manager. She rarely listens to her nurses on this floor and definitely has her favorites. Some of the nurses that have been on that floor for many years have recently quit due to her unwillingness to listen or take advice from the nurses. She has put patients at risk because of some of her decisions. A couple of months ago I started to try and transfer to one of the ICU’s the hospital has. It’s always been my dream job. When she found out, there was an increase in tension between her and I even though she knew this was what I’ve always wanted. I interviewed for a position at one of them, but did not get the job. Two months ago I had an extremely bad night. It started off bad. I had been promised to train in a charge position that night, but when I got to work I was replaced by someone who had called in the previous two nights and I was given 5 patients. The lead charge had already left for the day, but she left one of the day crew in charge in her place. When I questioned it, I was aggravated and the day nurse told me that I could call the lead charge. I chose not to and just went about my business taking care of my patients. At the end of the shift, I was giving report to another day nurse who made an extremely rude comment to me in front of my patient. I made some kind of retort, and she got huffy. This nurse has had many altercations with many nurses on both days and nights. As I was clocking out I over heard her retelling the story to two other people and I called her out on it. As soon as I left, I called ky lead charge because I knew what I did was wrong and I handled it the wrong way. A couple of days later my lead charge tells me that quite a few of my fellow nurses felt like they were walking on egg shells around me. I was flabbergasted! I thought I always got along with everyone! Anyway, about a week later I was called into my managers office over the altercation with the other nurse and I was again told that nurses had been calling her and my lead charge about the egg shell feelings. At this point I had not said anything to anyone. I was told that the nurse who had many more altercations was getting in trouble, too, but I was being mandated to go to EAP. For what?! My manager told me that I must have issues because of what people were telling her and my lead and because I had been filling out the transfer requests for the ICU’s, then took pity on me when she saw my reaction and decided to read to me what people had said about me in employee evaluations. She said no one turned one in on me so they must have nothing nice to say about me. So now I’m highly upset questioning myself. I ask the one co-worker I know I can trust if I ever made her feel like she walked on egg shells around me and she said of course not. I got a little bolder and asked a couple more and they said the same thing. Then, two days ago I’m called back into see the manager and lead charge and now the HR rep for an incident that supposedly happened last week. I had asked a co-worker (and only because she’s the one who answered the phone) if she could come in early for me the next day since she was back. It was only 15 minutes early. She said yes and said then I guess you’re going to get my patients, which were in the OU. So when I got to work I noticed that I was actually on the floor, not the OU because the nurse who had the patients the night before was back. My co-worker told me she talked to our lead and the girl that was going to be charge when our lead left (the same one from earlier in the story) about the other nurse having to get her patients back, but no one called me. I could have found some one else so this poor girl wouldn’t have to get report from me, give it again 15 minutes later to the nurse who would be taking my patients, and then go get report on hers. So I questioned the night nurse who was going to be in charge. She said there was nothing they could do, I never did see the day nurse who was left in charge until a short while later when she was staring at me while the night nurse in charge told her what I am assuming was my questioning why no one called me. Throughout the night the night charge, a tech, and a secretary were laughing loudly and whispering behind my back. When I would walk by ethey would shut up and restart when I walked away. The night charge wasn’t even in the OU with herbpatients for most of the night!! Then im being called into this meeting with hR, the manager, and the lead andbeing wrote up, because they had “numerous” complaints that I was loud when I questioned why I didnt get my co-workers patients, that i stomped my foot, cried, went into the break room and slammed my locker and threw things and was being hostile. I kept to myself that whole night because of what the night charge, secretary, and tech were doing to me. They even ordered food and when I asked they said,” oh, I’m sorry we thought we asked you.” I have to go back to EAP, I was drug tested, had chest pains and rushed to the ER for stress and anxiety and today I was told that, because I refuse to acknowledge and consent that that is what happened that I cannot go back until I actually meet with EAP. I have no one to go to since HR completely agrees with my manager (they were really chummy together) and I spoke to EAP on the phone and the guy turned around and immediately called my manager. I’m a good nurse. They have never, ever gotten a complaint from my patients, but rather get reports from ky patients all the time about how much they love me. I was told, too, that the people who said they walk on egg shells are not the same ones that complained this last time and that 3 people I had trouble with last week weren’t the ones who complained, either. Then who? There was no one else around. They also can’t tell me what I supposedly said when i got “loud”. Well if I’m loud, wouldn’t you be able to hear what it was I supposedly said? My drug test, of course, was negative. I scared for my job, hurt that there are people saying these outrageous things about me, and I have no one to help me defend myself. What can I do? iS there anything i can do?

    • ThreePalms

      First I have to hug you. I’ve been there. You have three choices:
      1) ignore everything and carry on the best you can = stomach ulcers, vomiting, headaches and burnout asap.
      2) call your union and insist on mediation help and documentation to force your facility to provide a non-hostile work environment for your dept with mandatory staff training. May or may not work, may or may not help.
      3) phone an attorney and begin legal proceedings because you are working in a hostile work environment with potential constructive discharge (where others are forcing you out of your position from pressure, false allegations and humiliation/physical symptoms). But get ready to start looking for a new job. Once you hire an attorney, ‘they’ will begin to treat you nicer but it will be fake, you will still feel left out and terrible and it sounds like a non-fixable situation.

      Once you have stepped back and you realize you are in a no-win situation, you may decide to accept that you cannot force anyone to be mature, compassionate and team players. You will need to find that happy place to work and once you find it, remember to stand up for the scapegoats if others gang up on her/him. Courage and strength to you!!!!!

  26. jenjenjenrn

    I work with bullies and I feel my nurse supervisor ignores it which creates more bullies in my dept. It is the least supporting dept in the hospital I think. Why do I stay?? Because I feel it is not fair to have to leave a job because of these “mean” nurses, I truly am there for the patients. Also, they work day shift; it is a totally supportive crew in the evening shift which is of course the best shift to work!!

  27. rescugirl

    Im. currently stuck I. this situation and the nurse has been playing releness games I. fro t of me while ignoring any and all communication for several.months. I have been ousted from all our friends and now the toxicity is spreading through the whole department with things that are u true. How do I protect my job?

  28. Magally P

    In response to how to deal with nurse bullies,it would be very unfair to get rid of the victim,because of the clique. We need to address the problem,rather than making the bullied twice a victim,or this will become a recurring issue.The only way to do this problem is to confront the clique,and let them know in no uncertain terms that the behavior will not be tolerated,and at the same time sanctions should be implemented after examining the issues;remember that each person is unique,so don’t expect everyone to be the same,as members of the clique….let’s take a lesson from the story,”A Lion And a Mouse.” Everyone’s contribution to the growth of an organization should be valued,no matter how small it is.

  29. ThreePalms

    You can never win with a bully. Unless someone with AUTHORITY disciplines the usual 3 strikes you’re out, that bully will remain and oftentimes, bully the nursing supervisors, administrators and patients. The ONLY reason they continue in their jobs to torture everyone is because the management ALLOWS them to remain there, 30 yrs or more – no excuses!

  30. Magally P

    Fairness and effective organization can help to minimize work place bullying

    About a month ago one of my colleagues told me of an incident that occurred during the 3-11 tour(the busiest shift in most places,with less resources than the day shift). The supervisor didn’t assign admissions to the nurses in terms of who would receive the first,second etc. and to make matters worse, the shift had no charge nurse,however from what I learned….two nurses were told that they were getting admissions,Nurse A was called to the nursing station to take a report,while Nurse B sat beside her attending to paper work,and listening to the response of Nurse A as she spoke to the nurse at the hospital. Well,I was told that the admission arrived,and B tried to rival A by attempting to claim the admission even without a report,because she wanted to be the first person to leave the facility at the end of shift. The clique that B hanged with gave her the idea to rival A. Nurse A saw the ambulance attendants,and the empty stretcher leaving,so she rushed to the room just in time;she told B that the admission was assigned to her… cut a long story short….B wasn’t too happy about the interception,she gave up the attempt to claim the admission,however she verbally abused A in front of the patient. A report was made to the supervisor regarding the matter;she told Nurse A, that it was just her perception,and no disciplinary action was taken.

  31. Standup

    I got in trouble for standing up for my self against bulling!!

  32. NPG

    I just Quit and walked away. To stressful.


    I’m just in school and every single class this one person says something or makes a joke out of me. Now she has a clique laughing at me too. I don’t want her thrown out of school but I wouldn’t let her touch me or my family as a nurse. I’ve dealt with this before and I’m no spring chicken

  34. medtech2305

    I am a medication aide in Rhode Island. I get that many nurses see med aides as nurse wannabes or unnecessary or whatever else they may think. I also agree that at this time CMT’s should not work in hospitals where skilled nursing is critical especially with meds. As a med aide I am dismayed at how low the standard is to pass a med aide course. The one I took only requires a 69% to pass. That is embarrassing. Having said that, there are many of us who ARE smart and professional and who take the job very seriously and can be a great help to a nurse on a busy floor. I personally educate myself regularly to keep up on new meds and their applications and I also research new scrips my residents get to make sure there are no conflicts with their established regimens. I have been the target of bullying nurses. I hear their mean comments about “stupid med techs” and have been treated very badly by some. The place I work now is non-profit and they pay very little and extract as much work from us as the traffic will bear. The program nurse one day told a resident within earshot of myself and another CMT that these “CNA’s” that work here are better at scrubbing toilets than passing meds. She routinely screws up med orders, tells med techs to pass meds for which there are no orders because she forgot to get a scrip renewed and whenever something goes wrong with an appointment or a med order she will try to blame us. I have had no luck complaining because as is the case with many here, HR decided I was the problem and wanted to extend my probationary period. As a trucker I was valued for my safety record and my reliability. As a med aide I am bullied for the same things. Working in a team environment is very different than the solo life of a trucker and it has been an adjustment for me, one I have put heart and soul into making. The cliques, the gossip, the “mean girl”stuff I thought I had put in my rearview mirror after junior high, well, it’s alive and well. I love my residents, I love the challenge of the job and the grave responsibility I assume in making a med pass. For all the nurses who view me as an unnecessary annoyance or someone who is taking up a job an LPN should have, I suggest they need to police their own ranks before they dismiss me.