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L’intimidation en milieu de travail : cessons de nous taire

Échos de conseil février 2012

L’AIINB tient à remercier chaque personne pour son témoignage personnel et ses commentaires respectueux. Ce forum a été une occasion unique d’engager les infirmières et infirmiers dans un dialogue sur cette question critique qui touche le milieu de travail. L’Association reconnaît que, pour faire cesser la violence, nous devons cesser de nous taire.

Présentatrice : Judith MacIntosh, B.Sc.inf., M.Sc., Ph.D

Doyenne adjointe, Recherche et perfectionnement du personnel enseignant, Université du Nouveau-Brunswick

L’AIINB tient à remercier chaque personne pour son témoignage personnel et ses commentaires respectueux. Ce forum a été une occasion unique d’engager les infirmières et infirmiers dans un dialogue sur cette question critique qui touche le milieu de travail. L’Association reconnaît que, pour faire cesser la violence, nous devons cesser de nous taire.

Nous remercions sincèrement Judith MacIntosh pour s’être associée à l’Association en collaboration avec les membres pour lancer le premier forum virtuel de l’AIINB. Nous tenons à souhaiter beaucoup de succès à Mme MacIntosh dans la poursuite de ses recherches sur l’intimidation en milieu de travail, et nous prévoyons publier un article final récapitulatif dans le numéro de septembre d’Info Nursing .

Mot de la fin de Judith :

Merci à toutes les infirmières qui ont pris l’initiative de participer à ce forum virtuelsur l’intimidation en milieu de travail. Les tactiques d’intimidationet les conséquences personnelles que vous avez décrites concordent avec les résultats de mes recherches auprès de cibles dans une variété de milieux de travail. La plupart du temps, les cibles de l’intimidation sont des travailleurs compétents, consciencieux et attentifs qui, souvent, ne savent pas pourquoi ils subissent cette intimidation. De prime abord, l’intimidationest difficile à déceler, car elle commence habituellement de façon subtile et en privé, avant de s’intensifier avec le temps. Comme vous l’avez dit, l’intimidation en milieu de travailpeut viser des infirmières dans n’importe quel poste. L’intimidation a un effet néfaste sur la santé, parfois à long terme; elle détruit la confiance et la foi envers les autres, et elle porte atteinte aux réputations et aux carrières. Bon nombre d’entre vous ont eu recours aux politiques et procédures à votre disposition pour lutter contre l’intimidation, d’autres ont déposé des griefs, et d’autres encore ont signalé les comportements offensifs conformément aux politiques de leur employeur. J’observe que ce n’est pas souvent que vous déclarez avoir résolu l’intimidation, et peu de récits se terminent bien.

Malgré la détresse évidente que je vous entends décrire, la qualité et la nature respectueuse de la plupart des commentaires de ce forum m’ont impressionnées, tout comme la passion et le profond intérêt dont vous témoignez à l’égard de la profession dans son ensemble. Bon nombre d’entre vous ont suggéré des stratégiesutiles pour aider d’autres personnes ciblées par l’intimidation à y faire face ou à gérer leurs expériences. I existe des approches pratiques et appropriées que les personnes ciblées peuvent adopter pour se protéger. Toutefois, si des efforts collectifs ne sont pas déployés pour résoudre ensemble et prévenir l’intimidation en milieu de travailau niveau de l’organisation, il est probable qu’elle se poursuivra. L’Organisation mondiale de la Santéa défini l’intimidation en milieu de travailcomme un problème mondial qui est une préoccupation importante dans les pays industrialisés et les pays en développement (OMS, 2002, p. 1), et elle a déclaré que les travailleurs de la santécourent un risque important d’en être la cible. Nous pouvons toutes et tous continuer à travailler pour protéger et maintenir la crédibilité et l’image professionnellede la profession infirmière en faisant preuve de respect mutuel dans toutes nos interactions. J’admire la façon dont vous avez modelé cette approche lors du forum.

ORGANISATION MONDIALE DE LA SANTÉ. (2002). Directives générales sur la violence au travail dans le secteur de la santé. Genève, Organisation internationale du Travail (OIT), Conseil international des infirmières(CII), Organisation mondiale de la Santé(OMS), Internationale des Services publics (ISP), dans le cadre de l’activité du programme commun sur la violence au travail dans le secteur de la santé, 2002.

Commentaires archivés


Anonymous

J’ai vécue et observée de l’ intimidation au travail. Cela a apporté un stres énorme sur ma santé. Stress accompagné du Zona…..suivit de crise d’anxiété, par la suite congé de maladie. …. Suivit par TS et psychologue……c’est tu assez?


Anonymous

La pire violence que j’ai vécue fut lorsque j’ai occupé un poste de haute direction dans un hôpital régional. Un membre de l’équipe soignante – et je dis bien un membre car la plupart étaient professionnels et travaillaient en collégialité – savourait toute occasion pour ventiller ses frustrations sur la scène publique (devant les patients, devant d’autres collègues, durant les réunions). Les paroles étaient blessantes et ciblaient les individus plutôt que la situation. La frustration passait au niveau de rage qui souvent aboutissait aux attaques personnelles et pârfois des objets étaient lancés. Ces situations me deséquilibraient et me faisaient douter de mes capacités de gestionnaire. Quand je me faisais appeller pour régler des conflits à l’étage, le coeur me battait à cent mille à l’heure, j’en avais des nausées. Je prenais l’escalier pour libérer un peu de stress et je me rendais sur place pour désamorcer, souvent sans succès. J’ai vite appris que de me déplacer pour me rendre sur place ne faisait qu’enflamer la situation et était une forme de reconnaissance et de gratification pour la personne concernée. C’est à ce moment que j’ai compris que je devais tout au moins contrôler le milieu physique et ainsi protéger les infirmières, les patients et les familles témoins de cette rage incontrôlée. Je le faisais appeller d’urgence à l’intercome et je le recevais à mon bureau. Avec la porte entre-ouverte, je l’accueillais avec toutes ses émotions et on essaie d’analyser la situation. Ça m’a pris du temps -beaucoup de temps – mais éventuellement, cette personne venait me rencontrer de lui-même. Leçon apprise – retirer l’irritant du milieu, contrôler l’environnement physique, ne pas tolérer les scènes publiques et prendre l’escalier.


Anonymous

I have filed harassment and bullying charges in my work place. It was the most stressful experience of my life. The bullying and harassment worsened and I was given work in another unit. I felt that while the investigator did her work, the « bullies and gang members » should have been moved to aniother unit. Many nurses were driven from my previous nursing unit by these same individuals. Make no mistake, these bullies know exactly what they are doing and reel in other nurses to support and fuel their anger. During this time I spoke to NANB who could not directly give me support other than verbal support and talk about « ethics ». I feel that this is an issue that needs to be adressed by NANB. It is unethical behaviour and is abuse in the workplace. NANB needs to investigate these nurses, especially if they have been found guilty as charged as they were in my case. Unbelievably, I was told the verdict and then plans were made for me to return to this same workplace (which was an area I loved) but the bullies and their gang-like supporters would still be there. I worked 2 shifts with these horrible « humans » and nothing had changed so I thought, I do not have to put up with this same behaviour……..whispering behind my back, not speaking to me, giving me a heavier workload, ignoring my presence, etc. During my reprieve (away from the bully unit) these bullies even would call and ask if I was working. They tried to have my casual shifts cancelled and contacted the local NBNU president who came and talked to my NM on their behalf. These bullies should be ashamed of themselves for their childish hurtful behaviour. To this day, they and their gangsters will not even look at me or speak to me. I am a better person than they are. I have moved on and was accomodated to a job with a higher level of pay. I smile when I see them because I will never stoop to such a low level of human behaviour.


Anonymous

J’ai perdue toute mon estime et ma confiance en moi-mème. J’ai fais cauchemars après cauchemars directement reliés à ce que je vivais. J’ai fais plusieurs tentatives pour retourner travailler sans succès. Anxiété, angoisse, insomnie pour nommer que quelqu’un des éléments du tableau. J’ai passé plusieurs heures en thérapie en qui n’ont pas été assez pour me rebatir. (Je suis encore en thérapie d’ailleur). Mon manque de confiance s’étend dans d’autres sphères de ma vie. J’ai beaucoup de difficulté à prendre des décisions pour quoi que ce soit. Je suis en invalidité longue durée et ce depuis environ 2 ans. Conseils. 1. Si il s’agit d’un problème d’équipe ne soyez pas seule à l’aborder. 2. Ayez l’aide du syndicat et d’un thérapeute. 3. Documenter tout de façon détaillée. 4. Agissez tôt car parfois on ne s’en rend pas compte au début commenent le problème est grave. 5. Parfois les ressources humaines peuvent aider. (Je dit bien parfois). 6. Tàchez de mener une vie équilibrer: exercices, alimentation, vie sociale. 7. Si vous en êtes capable pardonner car la rancune n’amène rien de bon. Ça vous permettra de rompre avec le passé afin de poursuivre votre cheminement et de grandir. 8. Ne vous définissez pas d’après ce qui vous a été dit à votre sujet. (Voyez vos points forts et vos faiblesses) 9.Ne continuez pas dans rôle de victime car ça sera trop difficile d’en sortir. 10. Aprenez des techniques d’affirmations de soi. Soyez patientes avec vous mêmes car ça peut être un travail à long terme de rebatir son estime et sa confiance. Anonyme


Anonymous

Nursing has always been my passion. I not only enjoy the hands on care and the associated skills-set, the assessment, the challenges and education, but I also enjoy being associated with the « caring » professionals who share my joy of nursing. I have nursed in different provinces and have thoroughly bloomed in every hospital in which I worked. I have never before been bullied and I have always had a great relationship with my past nurse managers and peers. I was so excited to move back to my home province and area of New Brunswick. I couldn’t wait to get started! That was until I set foot on the floor that was to be my « home base » unit. The bullying began almost immediately. I was harrassed because of my size (I am plus-sized)and my language skills (I am Anglophone, although I do speak French). It was the most demeaning experience of my life, having been a nurse for over 20 years! I was made fun of in a grotesque manner mimicing « badly » how I walked. I was discussed at length, in my presence, in French, all the while thinking that I didn’t understand what was being said about me. I was ignored when I spoke to anyone and dismissed. I would ask for some assistance with a patient and I was denied. I was always given the heavier workload. I was refused time off when I needed the time off. For example, getting married…I had informed the management of the dates a year in advance and to her credit my Nurse Manager fought hard for me to get this time off. Whisperings behind my back, my daily nurse worksheets shredded before the end of the shift (I could see my handwriting on the shreds in the waste baskets). I could go on and on. I couldn’t take the harassment any longer and was forced to take a stress leave by my family physician after he saw how distraught I was in this situation. Upon my return to work, I was moved to a different unit, while my abusers all stayed together on the original floor. I so enjoyed the type of nuring on the original unit, but now I felt I was being punished and was moved to a Geriatric Unit. I was insulted after years of working in Acute Care. Finally a new position came up and I applied. I was so happy to begin a new type of nursing altogether. This new job experience has restored my faith in the nursing profession and I am well respected in this position! Thank you for giving nurses a chance to voice their experiences with this horrible new pattern that seems to be emerging. There is a difference between being a nurse in your head and being a nurse with a heart. Nursing is more than just a job that you turn off when you go home at night. Nursing is a lifestyle built on caring about people. Nurses are people too and we should once again start caring about each other!


Anonymous

I too experienced a lot of what was described in the post above, by the nurse moving back to New Brunswick. It is a common scenario possibly made worse by the bilingual nature of our province, at least that is my opinion. Fear breeds bullying behavior – fear of being replaced by someone unilingual, fear of being « bumped », fear of having to do more work because of an enthusiastic, committed co-worker. Managers need more help to learn how to truly deal with bullying behavior and not be intimidated by it. They need to model healthy behavior and not be a bully themselves. Middle managers need protection and support to do so from above, in the hierarchy. Co-workers need to be empowered to « name » bullying behavior and protect the victim. Victims need to be assisted to speak up and recognize whom they can trust for help. It needs to be acknowledged that, in some cases, if we are to protect each other, it’s easier to protect each other from a bullying manager than it is from a bullying co-worker! The true challenge is in stepping up to plate and taking on the care and support of each other. Nurses, the professionals, who were and are educated to be « caring » are often the least likely to care for each other. I do agree that the bully should be the one to be relocated but it’s not always possible due to today’s staff shortages and a bully is the last person who needs to be relocated to a geriatric unit where the most vulnerable lay in waiting. It’s a challenge for sure. One good thing, victims are usually the trail blazers. It’s a tough way to get conditioned for the job but once one has experienced bullying, one usually makes a promise to never, ever see another person go through it. Time for a change and if this dialogue accomplishes it, great, long overdue.


Anonymous

I am very proud to be a RN and recommend the profession to everyone. I believe I have been provided with so many opportunities because I am a nurse. However, I read with interest the postings by others. When being bullied you often feel as though you are the only one. There have been two notable times in my career as an RN that I felt bullied the first time I was a new graduate. I had just graduated from university, jobs where scare at the time I worked casual at the local hospital and part time at a nursing home. The RN who was suppose to mentor me at the nursing home use to make nasty comments about university educated nurses to me and the support staff. The comments where never about me as an individual but everyone knew I had graduated with my BN. Care aides joined in the comments with one going as far as saying when her daughter graduated from high school she was going to take something useful at university and she would never allow her to waste her time by taking nursing. I stayed at the job less than a year. I felt demoralized while there …I never spoke up to the nurse nor did I tell the Director of Nursing as most of the comments were in fact made about her but implied to all BN educated nurses. Over the years I took conflict resolution courses and conflict management courses which helped me in dealing with co workers and took on management jobs to make a difference for other RNs. In addition I was blessed with a couple of RN mentors who made me realize the opportunities that lay in front of me. But nothing prepared me for the second case of bullying. I worked in senior management and had to deal with a Board of Directors and had nursing and non nursing staff reporting to me. I was the first RN and only second female hired into the role. Three board members where toxic they made false accusations at staff, yelled at meetings and did not include me in important decisions because I was a woman and actually told me that: one even went as far as saying that it was an old boys club and I better get use to it. I felt I needed to be the buffer for other staff. The sad thing is the Board had 13 other members and only once did one of them speak up in a meeting and say they had heard enough and told the other member that they were being abusive… after meetings it was a different story several would voice concern ….but even they could not speak up several board members only lasted a year. I refused to give in and gave more than what was needed and expected in an effort to prove I was capable. I stayed in that role for almost 4 years until I gave so much that my life was a mess I did not know who I was or what I wanted in my life. I would drive home every night crying it was a time in which I was filled with a lot of emotion and I found myself being very angry with those close to me. It took me at least 4 years to get over the negative impact on me as a person. When I left I advised the board as a whole that changes needed to be made or others would leave as well I wanted changes to be made. Though it was a difficult time I believe I learned a lot about myself at the time and I actually feel pity for the men who made my life so difficult. I believe that bullies are not happy people they are not happy with themselves or with the world and by bringing others down they feel better for a short while.


Anonymous

l’intimidation sous n’importe quelle forme est inacceptable. Par contre, le silence la dessus est encore plus dangereux. Je suis une nouvelle graduee de la grande region de Moncton venant d’une minorite visible et mon experience avec l’intimitadion au travail a ete breve mais assez pour me marquer. Elle etait sous forme de propos inappropries, de mepris et de confrontations sans aucunes raisons apparentes. initialement, j’etais decue, desapointe et perdue mais j’ai choisi de saisir le taureau par les cornes, j’ai averti mon oppresseur que certains comportements etaient inacceptables et si cela se reproduisait mon chef de service serait averti. j’ai ete chanceuse que cela ne s’est plus reproduit mais je le vois a tous les jours et si ce forum aide a sensibiliser les gens, les milieux de travail connaitrait un changement phenomenal.


Anonymous

I must say that hearing these stories of workplace bullying is maddening! I have witnessed it first hand. I am not the type of personality that can be bullied. I believe being a bully takes a certain personality, but being bullied does as well. My opinion has always been « I’m great and if you do not realize that, your loss not mine ». I think we need to focus more on befriending the new person. Standing up for what you believe us right, practicing the golden rule, and being confident enough to stand up for yourself and your beliefs. I have always welcomed newcomers and taken them under wing. I remember a RN that I worked with who was and remains what others would call lazy. Let’s face it, some people just are. Some people have different work ethics . This one « bully » was fed up with her. She and her ontarage were on there way to the bosses office to report her and I knew it wasnt necessary so I called her on it. She backed off. These bullies sometimes need to be called on there behavior. Advocacy is our biggest Job as a nurse. We need to stand up for those who can’t speak for themselves. Even if those people are our coworkers. It’s not not easy. The right thing rarely is.


Anonymous

I encountered work place bullying fresh out of university. It was my first job so I was very inexperienced. In the beginning, I took the constant criticism as « constructive feedback. » But after months of getting overloaded with work, not receiving proper training for my job and having my superiors belittle me for my mistakes. I began feeling overwhelmed. I felt sick at the thought of going to work everyday. I didn’t feel like I had anyone in the office I could to talk to and I began doubting my abilities. I got to the point I was terrified to answer an email for fear I would say or do something wrong. Eventually, I left my job and was able find employment somewhere else. I began at the bottom at my new job but have managed to find the confidence I needed to get a promotion. I now work in a team oriented environment. I enjoy going to work everyday and feeling valued. If you feel that you are being bullied make sure to speak to someone in your Human Resources Department. In my case the bullying was going unnoticed and because I didn’t speak up nothing could be done to help me. I realize now I should have said something to defend myself.


Anonymous

Lorsque j’ai commencé mon premier emploi, j’étais a une hopital où tous les dossiers sont en anglais. Ma première journée, j’ai été défendue de parler en français sur l’unité même avec d’autre collègue ou plusieurs des médecins qui étaient français. Au cours de la prochaine année, ceci a continuer de la part de deux infirmières, qui étaient mes partenaires de travail. Mes notes evolutives étaient lu tout haut en riant, elles changaient mon assignation au milieu de la journée et m’ont meme défendu d’appliquer sur certains postes qui demandaient une infirmière bilingue! Elles minimisaient ma pensée critique à un moment où j’aurais du apprendre par le travail d’équipe. Je me sentais mal dans ma peau. J’ai fini par quitté l’hopital un milieu plus convenable et je suis maintenant très heureuse.


Anonymous

I’m in a position of authority where I work, and often have to ‘direct’ what nurses are doing. I am also the person who others come to when things are not being done properly, or problems occur. Due to the nature of my job I have to approach staff about issues other health team members are having, and mistakes that are made. I was accused of bullying/harassment for doing my job. I find this a particularly fine line. I am sure that the nurse who accused me of this honestly believes this, but I myself feel the same way! Because of her accusations I am ‘walking on eggshells’ all of the time, and feel that any direction or pointing out of mistakes is now being taken out of proportion. I am human, and got visibly upset once – no swearing or snide comments, but this nurse knew I was upset with her because I was abrupt with her when she questioned why I was asking her to do something which was a ‘stat’ situation. I immediately apologized directly to her for being abrupt. (It was after this that she made the bullying comment to my boss). Since then I have received the ‘silent treatment’, no responses when I ask her a question, and situations where she asks other staff if they have noticed my tone with her, and snide comments about being singled out for making mistakes (I have reported the same mistakes by other staff, and make incident reports when I myself was in the wrong). She has also attempted to rally some of other staff by complaining about me to them. I’m really not sure how to handle the situation, much of how I feel I am being bullied is such subtle behavior. I have been to two of my bosses, and they have been supportive – but I am still experiencing some sleepless nights, and anxiety at work. I too love my job, and really don’t want to let this ruin one of the best jobs I’ve ever had – but don’t want a bullying charge on my file (and have had many years of great comments on my work performance from staff and patients). I take great pride in being a nurse, love mentoring students and new staff (definitely unusual in our field!), and hope that co-workers see me as being fair, knowledgeable, and hard working – with patient care and advocacy as my main goal. I feel like a bullying charge would KILL my spirit and my whole experience as a nurse thus far has been to help the ‘underdog’, mentor the new staff, and I have actually helped other staff in the past who were being bullied – I stuck up for them, even reporting the behavior when I saw it. To have someone say this about me is eating away at me everyday.


Anonymous

Six years ago I went to a new work area after floating full time for almost 25 years. No weekends, no nights and no Christmas for me anymore, was I happy? Yes for a few weeks. My first clue was when a wonderful RN that I had worked with in the past said, ‘ I have been wishing for a nurse like you to come to work here. » I was told to F… off, I was told there were 7 incident reports on the unit managers desk with my name on them, support workers would not speak to me or ot do their work when I was on the desk, would not help me move stretchers even when asked, RN’s would not answer questions when I asked them;stating I should have learned that in my orientation, they would put down co-worker in front of me, and were often seen whispering and gossiping in corners. One day when I was on the desk they slowed down so the work would not be done on time, and they told me they were doing it. They even complained when I was on the desk and was in a good mood to patients coming in to the department if we were busy. No I did not put up with this, the correct people were spoken to but somehow the person being bullied get P the blame. I felt the manager sided with the bully. After that I kept notes, dates and names for along time. I went to anything I could find on bullies in the workplace. I ended up going to HR and they spoke with my manager and I did get some results due to the book with my notes, names and dates was in my hand and I was prepared to use it. I worked with a few really wonderful nurses, but as for the Bully Queen and the princess’ in training to become bullies, you have nothing to be proud of. You have lost the chance to work with some of the best nurses in the N.B. by treating them in this terrible way. I have moved on because you can only subject yourself to so much bulling and it becomes a weight you can’t bear. I think the policy is there to stop bulling but the manager doesn’t use it or she/he gets something from this unit acting out like this. I got some not so good work reviews from one manager here and nothing was about my work, it was about how I was disrespectful of the bully. You can only guess what my written reply on that review was.The thing I found the hardest is when they are so nice to one person and mean to you. I was also hard to watch them bully others. I work with mature and well rounded staff now and think I have died and went to heaven.PS KEEP A BOOK OF TIMES, NAMES AND DATES……YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO BE TREATED WITH RESPECT


Anonymous

Bullying has affected my nursing career and my life more than once. In my nursing practice, the most memorable event was when another nurse grabbed my arm very firmly (enough to leave a temporary mark). I cried that day by myself in the bathroom. My supervisor provided no support and denied the event. She even stated she was dissapointed in me! the next day I gave her a two minute notice. I often refer to the law of the least effort… human nature? Often I see grumpy nurses otherwise known as bullies and can’t help but wonder… are they miserable because they have soooo much to do or are they being miserable because no one will ask them to do anything if they continue the behaviour? Is this hidding feelings of incompetence? Are they getting away with it? Don’t we all know this nurse who never gets up from that chair very quickly to assist anyone? If they are grumpy with us as team mates… what is it like with patients? Why is it that bullying is portrayed as this extreme act… it really is mostly a combination of little acts that add up. My only way to deal with it is to continue being who I am. A competent team worker. I also do not hesitate to ask mostly grumpy nurses for assistance when required and I openly offer assistance to all of my team. I make a great effort to assist even more when I feel someone has what I call group dynamics issues with the grumpies. It is so unfortunate, we must face it, bullying is almost everywhere and even more present when stresses and pressures increase in our environment. Maybe most dont even realize what they are doing… Maybe education is the key. Mind you, when one break the law, he or she is still guilty even if they didn’t know it was illegal! Maybe we should come up with clear written ground rules posted on each unit. On one side unacceptable behaviours and the other serious consequences attached to each… makes me smile! Vivid imagination and humor also helps.


Anonymous

Il y a 5 recommandations que j’aimerai ajouter pour les infirmières : 1. J’encourage les jeunes infirmières, lorsque possible, d’acquérir de l’expérience de travail dans divers secteurs des soins-Infirmiers plutôt que dans un secteur spécialisé. La raison est que les expériences dans divers secteurs sera un outil avantageux si jamais elles veulent changer de poste dans un milieu de travail ou tout simplement changer de milieu de travail. 2.Il est important également de garder son C.V. ainsi que ses références à jour. Possiblement garder contacte avec des personnes qui les ont nettement aidés dans l’apprentissage de leurs fonctions. 3. Ce ne fut pas mon cas mais plusieurs se tournent vers l’alcool et drogues dans des situations d’intimidation. C’est évidemment à éviter car cela ne finira que par créer d’autres problèmes. 4. Certains hôpitaux ont des services de mentorat pour les infirmières. Elles peuvent également demandé de l’aide auprès du service d’aide aux employées. 5. Éviter l’isolement social. Ce que vous faites est très important. En espérant que cette information pourra être bénéfique à des personnes dans le besoin.


Anonymous

I am not sleeping lately, and finding it hard to concentrate as I see someone else being harrassed to quit. No reason..but a different culture. I hope these blogs lead to solutions and reveal the degree of bullying that is doing on in New Brunswick hospitals today.


Anonymous

Like previous writers I recall several incidences of bullying as a new grad from experienced nurses in my first job many years ago.I remember vividly to this day asking an expert nurse a question and being told that I was the one with the BN so I should have all the answers, so I quickly learned who I could safely approach and who I needed to stay away from to problem solve patient care issues. It saddens me to see that bullying continues to be an issue in the workplace while at the same time I am comforted to see that research is being done to address this issue and moreover those who have experienced bullying are given an opportunity to safely share their stories in this forum; it can be very cathartic. I have also experienced humiliation and disrespect from colleagues who hold either teaching or in an upper management position in a faculty of Nursing at a University environment but unfortunately I feel uncomfortble sharing these incidences in this forum.


Anonymous

Well I find that after 28 years of nursing that bullying has become a very common place event with very little to stop it. That is my experience anyway. I recently found out that a co-worker of mine,who is senior to me,spread a rumour that I was favoring one company over another because I had a crush on the sales representitive. Being a male nurse over the years in this hospital I have had to battle homophobia and bulling from most surprislying other nurses.I actually left one unit because they wouldnot stop with the comments and picking on my nursing care and other activities. At this point I would like to say that my performance apprasials have always pointed out my attention to patient care. Other male nurses who have worked there also left that paticular unit and they were hetrosexual. Back to the current situation I didnot favor any rep. and that was proved, as this person checked all my work and found out that she had given them more business but the accusation was already made. Now that my professional credibility as well as my personal reputation has been insulted nothing can be done. For the following reasons, 1)The person who told doesnot wish to become involved 2)If I say anything this person who told me will be the target of more bulying by this nurse and 3)My manager isnot willing to do anything as another situation had arisen before and when i confronted her and ask her directly and said this sounds like a case of homphobia to me she replied probably is and did nothing. With only a few years left to retirement and having had huge personal loses of recent I donot have the strenght to fight this situation. And I point out that I have no expectation that anything would be done anyway. I know of at least 5 male nurses who have left this hoapital regardless of sexually in the last few years because of the bullying. I wish to remain anonymous my name not published. Thank You


Anonymous

The bullying I encountered happened in the later 199o’s. I was not the only person to experience bullying in the same time period. Those of us that were badly treated were all intelligent, hard-working, experienced professionals. We have all gone on to bigger and better things, but initially the treatment affected us all. For me, I was distressed to be belittled and sidelined because I had a difference of opinion with the bullyers. I had to keep a low profile for awhile and stay out of their way, but I never forgot what they did to me and to others, particularly people I admired and respected. I was actually told to « Keep my mouth shut and do what I was told ». My contract was not renewed and when I had my exit interview, I was patronized and treated in a consecending manner. Fortunately, I had other options. My bullyers eventually lost their jobs, which was a bit of Karma, ( I did do the Happy Dance), but administration said they were totally unaware of their behaviour. ( I will never believe that they knew nothing). The experience left a bad taste in my mouth and I decided to work somewhere else far away, for a time. Having a new experience and going back to grassroots nursing helped me regain my faith in my profession. I am a tough cookie and my own personal strength and resourcefulness helped me manage. I made a change, went to work somewhere interesting and recovered. I am a survivor. I also had some good friends who were supportive and understood what I was experiencing. I am not bitter anymore, but that took awhile. I have found a job that I really enjoy and have the support and autonomy to make my worklife what I want it to be. I am older and wiser and the next time I was confronted with bullying, I took the bully aside and told him that his behaviour was unacceptable and that was the end of the matter. I had tried incident reports and gone through the channels, but that had little effect, so I had to sort it out myself. I think that there should be support for those that experience bullying and discrimination in the workplace. The victim should not be made to feel alone and vulnerable. There should be no tolerance of bulying. What I experienced was unacceptable treatment from persons fairly high on the « food chain ». I found that scruples are not always a priority and honesty often requires lots of courage. I recently had to evaluate someone who exhibited bullying behaviours. I did not gloss it over, but identified it as a problem. It has been dealt with. Some people don’t know how to interact with others, but there are many bullys who do know better. I hate to use a Dr. Phil « ism », but they do it because it works. We need to give persons an opportunity to seek help and to follow through with addressing the issues and not allowing reprisals. Negotiation is sometimes needed and perhaps bullys need to have some therapy and /or consequences. Person who are victims of bullying need to feel safe. Bullies operate on fear. Fear of pain, hurt, humiliation, loss of employment or just making one’s worklife miserable. They also isolate the victim. That needs to stop. Bullys are less bold when the victim is not alone. Sometimes our corporate culture sets a bad example. We are not allowed to speak out against our organizations or be critical. We are sometimes « sworn to silence » under the guise of confidentiality agreements. We have to have a forum to feel able to speak out when something is wrong. We have to « tow the party line » rather than express our opinions. THat too is a form of bullying. How do we change that? Thank you,Judith. Hopefully this has been helpful. It is kind of cathartic to have the opportunity to speak out. Nurses have had the reputation in the past of « eating their young » and that hopfully, is changing. We need to foster a new culture of respect and tolerance. I will still chose to remain anonymous, for this survey, but I will strive to discourage bullying in my own workplace, as best I can.


Anonymous

Bullys are in school yards, the stronger bigger child picking on the smaller child – would we tolerate this? The adult bully is someone who obviously does not realize they have grown up and no one is going to tolerate this behavior .Unfortunately their behavior will not change unless you stand up to them. Why would we as a professional nurse tolerate this behavior from a co-worker, a physician,a patient or their family ! We are no longer children who have few options. As an adult you need to address this unacceptable behavior. No one has the right to intimidate another. We all have the same objective to administer the best care for our patients. No one is perfect.Find your mentors,band together and confront the issue.


Anonymous

I find that when a bully is feeling threatened that the person they are bulling is going to report them they often say they are being bullied themselves. Yes, the person you bullied to not friendly to you because you have hurt them. Nurses being bullied are not two faced, pretending to be your friend when you are being mean to them, treating them like they have a target on their back. If the person being bullied speaks up for themselves they are not bulling you, they are letting you know this behavour is not accaceptable. Bullies and their gang ofen brag themselves and each other up and pay no attention to the work done by the person being bullied. Bullies look at the person they are bulling as less value then themselves, but the truth is the bully has low self esteem and is not happy and is trying to bring the other person down because they know that person is often a well rounded and wonderful person and nurse. I find this very sad and confusing. If you are a bully go get help and don’t put your stess on you co-workers who are trying to take care of the patients in N.B.


Anonymous

I would like to post the following ANONYMOUSLY: I experienced bullying as a nursing student by a teacher, as a new grad by other new nurses, and as an experienced nurse by older nurses. I was bullied because of my appearance, because of my bachelor’s degree, and because of my personality! Now I defend myself by using good clinical judgement at work, maintaining my cheerful personality, and giving empathetic care to my patients. My concise nursing notes have protected me in some instances of bullying. I will not yield, I will not fuel their fires, I will not stoop to their behaviors. I will continue to be me, a caring competent nurse. No one’s comments or behaviors can take that away from me. I love being a nurse and caring for my patients. THAT’S what matters! Thriving despite bullying is the best revenge!


Anonymous

Bullying has been quite common throughout my nursing career.It seems to be a culture in Health Care Settings passed down from doctors from a time when it was quite common for them to treat their peers and other staff ,especially nurses, in a bullying way. The culture has had a trickle down effect and has become (in some areas) the culture of nursing. I am a senior nurse who has been the target of and a witness to workplace bullying. In my experience most nurses have been exposed to it and at one time or another and have discussed the issue with peers. Recently Suzanne Maltaise gave an in service at my workplace. Even though there is no bullying presently (that I know of) at my workplace , it opened the door for discussion. Even though bullying is recognized in the workplace nurses are ill equipped to deal with a bully,especially a Bully Boss. To eliminate the culture of bullying in nursing we need more workshops & seminars to help nurese deal with bullies effectively , a No Tolerance Policy for workplace bullying and policies & procedures to deal with a bully , especially when the Bully is a Boss. The opinions expressed in this email are my own & may not be shared by management or peers at my workplace.


Anonymous

Ce qui serait utile pour les personnes victimes d’intimidation…de pouvoir en parler et ne pas se faire juger ou être mal perçues ex: comme des personnes faibles ou passives…d’être outilées pour mieux répondre à l’intimidation dès que cela commence…d’avoir des milieux de travail sains où le respect et la résolution de conflits sont intégrés pas seulement sur papier (il y a une politique d’intimidation mais il n’y a pas de suivi dans certaines situations; cela décourage d’autres à ne pas entreprendre des démarches). Ce qui est semble de plus en plus évident dans les milieux de travail c’est l’exclusion sociale de nouvelles personnes dans certaines équipes, particulièrement si elles sont différentes (personnalité, culture/ethnie, compétences et pratique antérieures, en transition, rôle dans l’équipe, génération, etc). J’en suis témoin et j’essais à ma façon de sensibiliser sur le respect et le dialogue. Les collègues au travail sont d’accord qu’il y a une problématique d’intimidation mais n’ont pas le courage de se prononcer lorsqu’ils.elles témoignent même les petites situations de manque de respect. Je trouve désolant lorsque des infirmières dénigrent le travail des infirmières dans d’autres rôles (ex: gestionnaires,monitrices cliniques, etc) Nous sommes tous des infirmières qui contribuent au bien-être de la clientèle. Anonyme


Anonymous

J’ai cessé de travailler depuis plus de 2 ans. Cauchemars, anxiété, insomnie,dépression, attaques de panniqes,sentiments de dévalorisation, etc. Ma confiance et mon estime de soi sont très pauvres. Aujourd’hui ça se réflète même dans d’autres sphères de ma vie. J’ai passé de longues heures en thérapies et encore aujourd’hui d’ailleur.J’ai fait plusieurs tentatives de retour au travail sans succès. Je suis maintenant sur l’invalidité.Je cherche à cesser de ruminer sur les choses qui m’ont arrivés dans le passé. C’est un long processus pour moi. Ce que la thérapie ma appris, à long terme,c’est de rompre avec le passé et de ne plus m’identifier comme victime. Facile à dire mais parfois difficile à mettre en pratique. Éviter également de se définir par ce que les autres ont dis. Je sais reconnaitre mes forces et mes faiblesses. Il faut demander de l’aide dès le début. Parfois lorsqu’on est dans la situation on ne se rend pas compte comment c’est sérieux. Les ressources humaines peuvent parfois aider. (Je dis bien parfois). Documenter tout les évènements troublants.Le syndicat peut également être une bonne ressource.Continuer à avoir de bonnes habitudes par rapport à votre santé. (Vie équilibrée) Pardonnez aux autres si vous le pouvez c’est beaucoup plus utile que la rancune car ça finira par vous gruger à l’intérieur. (Faites le pour VOUS aider) Il y a certaines recommendations venant de moi qui figurent sur le forum. J’aurai bien aimé un forum de ce genre plus tôt mais il n’est il n’est jamais trop tard. Anonyme


Anonymous

I experienced bullying by my professors for the duration of my BScN…but now that I teach english students in a largely francophone area I have to say that it is much worse. English-speaking students are treated as imposters, and I often hear the French-speaking staff cursing and insulting them (and myself) under their breath. It is my humble opinion that the split into 2 regions, separated by language, will set us back at least 20 years. Anglophone graduates are passed over for jobs…even when they have more accumulated work-time than francophone applicants…I have witnessed this at least twice, personally. As well, when anglophone nurses are hired they are required to take a french course, but there is no such owness on francophone nurses. The general morale in the hospital is atrocious. I often have students miss work due to the treatment they receive while they are there. Its terrible. Its everyday. Its all the time. Its exhausting. Since when did anglophones become second class citizens??!


Anonymous

C’est un sujet qui me touche énormément. J’ai rédigé certaines suggestions et un texte et puis d’autres idées me viennent encore à l’esprit. Je ne travaille plus. Ma licence est inactive. Ma situation était très complexe et je ne vais pas la décrire. Si vous êtes dans une situation dans laquelle le problème en est un d’équipe je vous suggère de l’aborder en équipe. La situation m’a ébranlée de sorte que plus de 2 ans après les évènements sont encore gravés dans ma mémoire. Dans ma vie actuelle j’ai tellement peu de confiance en moi que j’ai de la difficulté à prendre une simple décision.Si vous voyez un problème au niveau de l’intimidation chercher à identifier des solutions. En général, dans un milieu de travail ,si vous soulevez un problème on va vous demander comment le résoudre. Bonne chance ANONYME


Anonymous

I have an interesting Bullying issue for the forum. How about a younger Director being bullied by her senior RN staff? Even though the Director has vast clinical nursing experience she is contiually undermined, personally attacked through inappropriate comments made to other staff, refusing to carry out new best practice plans to benefit the patient care. Basically, the senior staff refusing to move forward in any way. How does one person stand up to this type of behaviour? It is upsetting, disturbing and makes you question the professionalism that does not exist with these individuals. In all honesty it makes nurses look BAD. Sincerely, Sad Lonely Nurse


Anonymous

First of all thank you NANB for providing this forum. Workplace bullying is not tolerated at my place of work (we have NANB Bullying posters on several walls!) however the « head honcho » likes to bully those below her. What would the recourse be in this case? Should I leave my place of work because of her? I sincerely think that she thinks her behavior is nothing but professional however many can verify that it is not. It’s got us feeling trapped, helpless and at her mercy. Can you provide some tools to help in this situation? Feeling helpless in Fredericton, Jane Doe


Anonymous

C’est tellement fait de facon sournoise qu’il nous est impossible de denoncer, malheureusement. Et, lorsque l’on affronte la personne ou les personnes pour leur faire part de ce que nous avons vu et entendu, elles se moquent de nous en nous traitant de paranoiaque, alors nous ne sommes jamais gagnant. Dans le milieu hospitalier, c’est tres frequent, pour ce sont ous des gens eduques. Pour ma part, ca me fait detester mon travail, dont j’ai tavaille si dur pour y parvenir, tout ca a cause des clics et des moqueries au travail. Et oui, ca commence avec certains professeurs, lors des stages. Il n’y a pas seulement moi qui subit ce traitement, j’en ai vu d’autres, se faire harceler (surtout indirectement), ca m’apporte beaucoup de frustration d’etre temoin de cela. Une si belle profession, mais dans le non respect. Si je quitte mon emploi, un jour, ca sera la raison, car je n’ai jamais connu cela ailleurs. Anonyme


Anonymous

I have been a nurse for 30 years and my current position is nothing but harassment and bullying.I am an RN with the Federal Government. The Clinical Director is always threatening to terminate our employment if we do not conform to their opinions and beliefs, often we question the policies in place and are basically told to obey the orders.This has been brought to the Association and we were told to get everything in writing, obey the orders and fight later. I have been verbally abused in the work place with foul language,screaming and belittling comments in front of co-workers and also clients. When I reported this incident to my Supervisor, nothing was done or addressed with the person involved. I work with many younger nurses, with less experience, and they lack professionalism. They are often discussing their sexual conquests in front of everyone with very foul,degrading terms being used. There is alot of inappropriate conversations that take place on a daily bases. Again the Supervisor has been made aware of these incidents and again nothing has been addressed. The morale is very low and most of us feel that we have no manager, no one in control of this group of unprofessional, unethical nurses.It really makes nurses look bad, and we are all treated as one body. The reputation of nurses has really gone downhill because of these events. Sincerely Tired and Frustrated Anonymous


Anonymous

I worked in an environment that was so toxic I truly could not function at an optimum level. Whenever I brought an issue to my supervisor I was always told it was my ineffective communication skills(which I beg to differ).I felt and still feel abused over this and other situations. When I saw subordinate staff not behaving properly toward other staff or the residents I was ultimately responsible for (I work in long term care),I do feel it is my responsibility to have this matter dealt with in an appropriate fashion. I could attend all of the leadership courses offered and it would make no difference. We learn progressive discipline and are not allowed to use it.Work conditions became so unbearable that I had to resign. It was traumatic to work under those conditions and I felt worse resigning but I tell myself if I hadn’t I’m sure my supervisor would have found a way to fire me.I will say that I am feeling a lot better having left. I should have done it sooner.I am still in long term care but the environment tha I currently work in is far more satisfying. I wish there was more that could be done as some people in a powerful position intimidate and manipulate situations to benefit themselves. There are several other people at this work place that do not have options to get full time work elsewhere so they are stuck in an unhealthy environment. Anonymous


Anonymous

When my boss was being bullied by her director, I stood by her and told her she did not have to put up with it, but the director got her way and my boss was terminated without cause, a friend was hired. The workplace became unbearable with back stabbing, tattling, eaves dropping, someone going through emails, etc. One subordinate felt that his office was bugged. The new boss screamed and hollered and belittled. A month before I was terminated without cause I was warned by someone from another Commission that the employees were going to be put in there place and shown who was boss. At a meeting when she ran me down and belittled me in front of clients, the clients said you should not have to put up with this verbal abuse and bullying. No-one stood up for me when I was terminated, not co-workers, government people in charge, no-one. I do not trust people, I do not believe in people in general. And as time passes I find that my trust does not improve. The only thing that will help people who have been or are being bullied is having the knowledge that the people will face some kind of decipline, lose their jobs, not get promoted, etc But that will never happen, they continue to get away with it.


Anonymous

I could write many pages regarding this subject having had unique experience in workplace bullying which I have sought to rectify since 1995. I have been through many processes and sought help from many agencies including NBNU, NANB, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of NB, the NB Human Rights Commission, every Health Minister and Premier of NB since 1995, the Provincial Ombudsman, a handful of legal representatives and others. I lost my job in 1995 as an RN after a very dirty campaign that was headed by a physician and went viral from there. I caution all who read this — nurses in particular — watch out if you bullied or harassed by a physician. They can say the most ridiculous things and levy the most outrageous charges against you and they are believed because of the power that the medical community still wields over all of us. I am fighting to change that, and I am hoping relief for me and others is in the offing. I was harassed unmercifully by this physician and when the Administration of the hospital wouldn’t help me, their employee of over 8 years, I filed a harassment complaint under the Workplace Harassment Policy. I was put out on a leave of absence even though it was the physician who was causing the problems, refusing to take a report or provide orders to me as an RN in documented cases of seriously ill patients in an intensive care unit. (Note: — it was I who was put out on a leave, not the physician) I was invited back to work as a « valued member of the health care team » after my complaint was investigated and found to be valid. The physician refused to accept the report even though both he and I were officially told on hospital premises and in the presence of authority figures that they report would stand and the recommendations would be implemented. The physician was allowed to retaliate by filing a false complaint against me (retaliation is officially prohibited in Workplace Harassment policies). His complaint against me was vile containing false charges such as me having made an « obscene phone call » to him while he was resting in the Doctor’s Lounge while I was working. (It was nearly a year later that he conjured up the obscene phone call allegation.) I have suffered a great deal as has my family due to these matters. I lost my job at a time when jobs were scarce. And oh, I didn’t mention — the physician who created such hardship for me had been my family physician and had been counselling me regarding my divorce which I was going through at the time. My ex-husband moved to the state of Utah and took my two sweet young daughters as I had to take travel nurse jobs in the US to support myself without a job here at home. The losses I suffered because of these matters are too painful and innumerable to mention. The report that I received regarding the 2nd complaint, that of the physician, was provided after a very long 7 months. And yes, again, I was the one put out on the leave of absence, not the physician. Many rumors rumbled around the gossipy hospital community and the small community where I live — and again, everyone believes them because physicians apparently can’t lie. I was fired and the incidents wherein I contacted the physician requiring orders for hospitalized patients were considered « harassment ». Ridiculous? Of course. But I had little recourse. I did file a grievance with NBNU which they refused to take to adjudication. I then began a very long journey, shored up my faith in God, dug my heels in, and worked and worked, and wrote letter after letter. To date, I am still waiting and my children who I lost custody of and saw infrequently because of these matters are grown ups with children of their own. My reputation has been tarnished immeasurably for no other reason but the frantic and hysterical ramblings of a very unprofessional physician and a number of equally unprofessional colleagues. Thankfully, violence in the workplace is now being recognized for the evil that it is and I now find myself in a climate where I might just have a voice. I refer the reader to the work of Professor Kenneth Westhues of Waterloo University — in particular, his article entitled « At the Mercy of the Mob » which can be easily found in a google search. Professor Westhues describes how faulty human relations or glitches in how we treat one another can occasionally lead to these awful situations which I found myself in. I appreciate the opportunity of commenting here and of Ms. MacIntosh’s work on this important subject as well. I also thank NANB for providing this virtual forum that all of us may be benefited hereby. I know that my faith will be rewarded and this terrible evil will soon be illuminated for the workplace crime that it truly is. Again, thank you and God Bless. RN in Exile


Anonymous

I find the concept of bullying to be a perplexing one. I feel my 35+ years of active progressive nursing has allowed me to see my work environment from many angles (the new grad, the team, the supervisor, the teacher, the confidant included). For seven very long years in the mid 90’s I felt I was bullied by two of my lateral team members. In reflection I know I carried more than my load for my team, just to physically avoid the two bullies. I perceived the bullying to be not only verbal but also physical. When I reported to my supervisor I was informed that she too was being bullied by the same two team members. She had made several active attempts to « reign in » these co-workers but her attempts fell on deaf ears. When she reported up the chain of command, her superiors told her to suck it up. It was a happy day when I left that toxic environment, however the bullys continued, just refocused on someone else. In my current advanced practice role I encounter interdisciplinary staff with varying years of experience. I hope that I have managed to bring all my years of human experience along with me , whether those experiences were positive or negative. I believe those experiences have made me the nurse I am today. One valued observation I have made is: senior nurses (let’s say 20 yrs practice or more) appear to ignore a team bully; staff with 5 years or less appear to want someone else to solve the issue – absolving themselves of any role in the problem or the solution; the in between years appear to gang up and attempt to thrash the accused bully. In the past six months I have been introduced to two new team members, both « newer » grads. I formed my own opinion through personal observation (via one on one teaching sessions and followup) that both new nurses provided substandard care, actually lied that care had been provided, and did not work as cohesive team members. When I approached their supervisor to discuss what could be done as a next step , I was informed that both young nurses had accused their previous teams and supervisors of bullying and picking on them.Is it possible that some individuals believe that anyone that points out an error in their ways is bullying them? Bottom line is that I know there really are « bully’s » out their, they are terrible. BUT….. have we as a society developed a culture in which we do not accept that we are not perfect, require some guidance and feedback from our peers. Sign me as survivor of bullying but perplexed at what some perceive as bullying.