I once worked with someone whom everyone referred to as a “lazy nurse”. It was because Tamara’s primary goal during a 12-hour
Aggressive Nurse Bullying: Signs that you might be in danger
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Susan didn’t like Karen and everyone knew it. When they would have catfights at the nurses’ station or get into a shouting match in the locker room, everyone just ignored them. “That’s just the way they are.”
But then one day, Susan took it too far.
On a Saturday evening, in the middle of the hallway, Susan pointed her finger at Karen and said, “My boyfriend knows what shuttle you take. He’ll be waiting for you and is going to beat the shit out of you!”
Was she serious or just kidding around?
73% of all nurses report being the victim of or at least witnessing bullying behavior in the workplace. Most behaviors involve open criticism, being treated in a humiliating and degrading way, ignored, given unfair assignments or spreading rumors. However, some bullying behavior can lead to physical violence.
A nurse refuses to get out of another nurses “chair” so the nurse throws a cup of water in her face.
A nurse doesn’t like the assignment she received from the charge nurse so she pulls her hair and yells at her.
HOW DO YOU KNOW WHEN BULLYING BECOMES DANGEROUS?
1. It starts with verbal assaults.
According to law enforcement officers, most physical attacks start with verbal assaults. Rarely does anyone get physical with their targets before they verbally assault them. So, pay attention to nurses who verbally criticize.
In Susan and Karen’s case, their arguments began as mild nit picking, but then gradually escalated to louder and louder verbal attacks.
2. Many aggressive bullies warn their victim with a threat
No one thinks it will happen to him or her, but when someone actually threatens you, take it seriously. Many times, victims of physical assault admit that their aggressive warned them before they engaged in violence.
Karen took Susan’s threat seriously. Security escorted Karen to her car, and sure enough, Susan’s boyfriend was found close by with a baseball bat in his hand!
3. Aggressive bullies may show signs of mental health problems
Bullies who resort to physical violence are not mentally healthy. You may see evidence of dysfunction manifested in other ways: labile emotions (laughing hysterically one minute and crying the next); unpredictable and inconsistent behaviors; or illogical thinking.
Susan was suffering from a bipolar disorder and wasn’t compliant with her treatment.
Please note: Not all individuals with mental health disorders resort to bullying. However, it’s important that you heighten your awareness regarding mental health disease.
Please, please take all potential indications for violence seriously by reporting any threat or verbal attack to the appropriate person/department. Document every situation with a co-worker that you believe may lead to physical harm. Speak up and tell others if you’re concerned. And, don’t forget to listen to your gut!
I’d love to read your comments about the topic of aggressive bullying. Has it happened to you?
Thanks for reading. Take care, stay connected and be safe!