I was a young and a new nurse once. Twenty six years ago to be exact, I was once striving and had to learn different techniques and adapt to the hectic and rudiments of the profession that I have chosen. At first, I really didn’t want to be a nurse. I wanted to be an architect or in the media. I wanted to take Architecture or Mass Communication as arts was my passion then but since I started my Bachelors already which was in Nursing, I went ahead and finished it.
It was in my clinicals that I really started becoming more interested in it. I love the interactions with patients. I enjoy the return demonstrations of skills and the techniques. I anticipated to learning more skills and theories as my course progressed. I realized that part of me in which helping the sick and the needy is natural. It’s part of me and I really enjoyed it. It’s the feeling of giving without expecting in return that really made me fall in love with the profession.
My First Year As A Nurse
As soon as I graduated I tried to look for jobs. I knew I needed to go do something else first because back then after taking board exams it takes months before the result would come in which means I should either go for a trainee without a license in a hospital but I will be the one paying (terrible right, but that’s how it was back then in my country) or find a real job where I will be paid.
I became a medical representative and worked for a Pharmaceutical company for 6 months. It was a lot of work and very tricky as haggling and sales pitch were involved. I quit as some process didn’t align with my principles. It was a job that involved a lot of commuting and dealings with sales persons and doctors who back then involved themselves with some fishy business. Just can’t deal with those!
So I ended up in a small community hospital in my hometown where I did not pay them for me to be a trainee but I did not get paid as a staff neither. Even though, they only gave me food allowance I still loved it. I love the idea of less commute and spending time with patients. I like the caring and the helping part of my profession.
That year was sort of the honeymoon phase of my nursing career. I was in heaven and loved the first few months of that practice. I was making a difference. Every coworker that I worked with and patients that I had just absolutely liked me and I liked them in return. I became a charge nurse right away and got better at it. Until, one day…
First Taste Of Bullying
Fast forward, I had to leave that job and move to America due to economic reason. I became a nurse assistant first because I was not licensed yet in the U.S. and my first few weeks was when I tasted bullying. The charge nurse I guess didn’t like me or something and so I have been noticing that she would always give me the heavier loads compare to other nursing assistant.
I remember as a 95 pounded woman then, I would get two 300 lbs. patient that were unable to walk or move and plus other patients. One of the tasks of course was giving them a shower in which these patients need to be placed in a shower chair then had to be pushed to the shower room. I remember getting teary eyed with the thought because I didn’t know how I would do that, but God helped by allowing me to be friends with male personnel who helped me every time they see me with those heavy loads.
Second Experience With Bullying
Another fast-forward, few years after, I tried working in a Dialysis Center. Everybody were so friendly and accommodating except for one nurse who was of my same nationality but much older. She was also the charge nurse. The first day she already tried to show me how mean one can be by talking to me with sarcasm and just ignoring me and whatever I had to say.
There was a state visit one day and so we had to rearrange stuff in the hallway and what I already fixed she disorganized and she would give me a mean look every time she would catch a glimpse of me making friends with other staff. Needless to say those times that I worked with her she didn’t make my life easier.
I tried reporting her to the manager but I later found out that she’s a good friend of the manager so that didn’t help. Days passed and it was horrible going to work as she has been on my case all the time. One day, as I was hooking a patient to a Dialysis machine she all of a sudden came in the middle of nowhere and started accusing me of not doing the right thing. And because she startled me as she snuck up at me I was unable to lock those IV tubing clamps so those saline ended up flushing onto the patient’s face.
Luckily the patient vouched for me and was very nice and accepted my apology. As soon as I was done resetting him up on to the machine, I went and talked to that charge nurse but due to her unprofessional behavior I ended up taking her to the locker room in which I had to tell her off and really had to stand my ground that there is no way she will ever do that again.
But as a newer nurse then, I had to think and asked my self is this what I signed up for? As health care professionals, we should be compassionate and caring to our patients but how can one be mean to her coworkers then treat her patients with care? How genuine are those patients interactions are going to be? Those were my questions then and a lot of times until now. As I still see this all the time in my work place which does not sit well with me. The good thing ‘though nowadays is there’s a no bullying tolerance on most of the hospital. It has been added in the policy that if proven guilty of bullying, one can be terminated.
So Why Do Nurses Eat Their Young
Now that I have more experience and has had a ton of dealings with all kinds of nurses with different styles and techniques, I realized and learned that some nurses didn’t really mean to pick on the new ones but rather they believe that by giving them a hard time and making their assignments much harder will make them tougher and more competent. Which to me is wrong because not only did they crushed the new ones self-confidence they also made the profession looked bad.
This young and inexperienced nurse was probably looking forward to learning and have a good training ground but was all of a sudden given an initiation that no one deserved. I really believe that training them properly with respect and dignity is the key. Not only will they pass that good training to the other generation but she will in return be respectful of the one who trained her.
Another reason that I sighted was some nurses were given an initiation when they started so they believe that’s how it should always have to be done or they have to take it out on someone since they’ve had it hard when they were starting. Actually, I didn’t think of this as a reason to bully someone else until one nurse who I worked with was giving every new nurses that she works with a hard time. She told me one day that she was treated that way before so she had to do it as well. There’s no way she will make it easier for a new nurse, she said.
But after five years, those untoward behaviors caught up with her. She was reported and was investigated and got fired due to that grounds…BULLYING!
I guess, It goes without saying that treating one the way you wanted to be treated should always be the rule. For every profession, one learns easily if her/his self-esteem and confidence are intact. Nursing profession is one of the most respected career and as nurses our focus are geared towards the best interest of the patients. But if as a new nurse you are not treated well by your peers or mentor how is that going to be balanced? I am not saying that if a nurse is being bullied will she be treating her/his patients unwell. I believe, as I have experienced it before, it’s less traumatic and more enjoyable to work if there’s harmonious relationship around you.
If you have experienced bullying in the work place or anywhere, please share them as I would like to hear them and create a discussion. For any questions or comments please leave them down below.