The 5 nurse bully types every hospital is hiding

Shutterstock | PathDoc
Shutterstock | PathDoc

Sometimes, the hospital feels like a giant playground filled with lots of expensive equipment. That’s because earning a set of scrubs doesn’t necessarily eliminate one’s bad habits—and bullying is no exception. In fact, the hospital may even be worse than the playground as far as bullies go—at least your middle-school nemesis didn’t carry a syringe.

Anyway, you know what they say: If you can’t beat them, classify them according to obscure and long-winded stereotypes.

So we did just that.


1. The “ancient but fierce” type

Every unit has at least one nurse on staff who’s been around since the Civil War. Administration doesn’t really know what to do with her (rumor is she lives somewhere in the hospital). She doesn’t really like people, children included, and her methods are so outdated, they’re actually kind of dangerous.

The “ancient but fierce” bully doesn’t really do all that much, mostly because she’s a major liability, but she sure has a lot to say. Things like “That new nurse looks like a real harlot,” “Nurses nowadays are too soft” and “There are no men in nursing.”

If you read up on your history, you’ll find that the phrase “nurses eat their young” entered the nursing world at the same time she did.


2. The selective bully 

If there’s one bright side to having a real tyrant on the floor, it’s the steel bonds he or she creates between you and all the other sane nurses. That’s why the selective bully is simply the worst.

When Dale from the ER accidentally eats the selective nurse bully’s Clif bar, the bully laughs it off and tells Dale they’re going to have to start packing a lunch for two.

When you accidentally eat the selective bully’s Clif bar, the bully writes you a note saying you and your loved ones are no longer safe.

Dale can’t understand why you act so sour toward the selective nurse bully, who is always so generous and kind to him. You must be socially awkward.


3. The “See’s Candy”-style bully

You know that saying “Life is like a box of chocolates—you never know what you’re going to get”? Yeah, so is this nurse bully. Depending upon the day, you’re not quite sure whether the See’s Candy nurse is going to bring you baked goods or verbally abuse you. So in their presence, you mostly just cringe.

Now, there’s no perfect formula, but you’ve at least discovered a slight pattern to this bully’s behavior. Before 11 am? Terrifying. Tuesdays? Approachable. Wednesdays? Forget about it—you might lose your hand.

Pages: 1 2 View All

, ,

Scrubs Editor

The Scrubs Staff would love to hear your ideas for stories! Please submit your articles or story ideas to us here.

Post a Comment

You must or register to post a comment.

6 Responses to The 5 nurse bully types every hospital is hiding

  1. Cardiolyte

    The young new nurse bully is alive and well, has no respect for the older experienced nurse.
    Also, they run to administration with any perceived slight. The I didn’t know answer gets old fast. …. This has been my experience from ICU to Hospice nursing. No all new nurses just a few.

    • rshevzov

      Wow, you’ve just described my unit to a tee. It seems like all the young nurses want the easiest assignments, don’t want any admissions during their shift, and like you said any perceived slight and they run to the boss to complain!!

      • rshevzov

        OOPS, and just like you said, it’s not all of them, but from what i’ve seen, it’s a good majority of them right now!

    • stressrn

      Poorly written article, you may call it being a bully, I call it experience . Not all but many new nurses have such a poor work ethic and failure to care attitude. When dealing with peoples lives are we supposed to give extra chances and excuse mistakes ? Yes anyone can make a mistake but it appears to me that the attitude is to overlook . As you say any perceived slight will be reported. A bunch of cry babies that need to be accountable for their own actions. This article is bulling in reverse, again no respect for the older experienced Nurse. I have been a RN for 40 years and I can still run circles around those half my age and have kept current on my skills, accreditations ,and am not even close to being a danger to patients compared to the quality of some of nurses graduating . I also taught Nursing for 3 years and am well versed in how they are pushed out of school with little actual clinical skills.

  2. Pack nurse

    It is a real problem. My friend wrote to m that she was bullied. She also got a DUI and lost her nursing liscence. She really felt alone and committed suicide. She had been a nurse for more than 25 years. Hospitals should not allow this environment to continue.

  3. stressrn

    Oh and if you want to call me a bully, thank you for the title. I have also mentored and orientated many new Nurses and if you call having high expectations being a bully then again thank you for the title, I will wear it proudly rather than be complacent and allow injury to patients. Only those insecure in their skills and knowledge will feel the sting of a bully, prove yourselves and be a Nurse that can achieve the high standard expected and you will be respected and not bullied