Work Place Bullies

February 15, 2017

 

This is a topic that I think deserves some attention or in better words needs to be put on front street.  I am speaking only from a healthcare professionals perspective.  My thoughts are my thoughts and my experiences are my experiences.  My hope is by calling attention to this problem we can work together to change the mindset of the aggressor and the Victims.  This is in no means a bash session.  I would hope we can have a open dialogue and talk about why we cant get along and make the workplace great again!

 

It seems from as far as I can remember there has been some sort of  tension between Nurses and Certified Nursing Assistants.  There seems to be a sort of power struggle or defiant behavior that occurs during the work day.  I can speak from the perspective of a Nurse and a CNA, because I have been in both roles.

 

Like I shared in my last post I was a CNA for six years, I worked in a nursing home helping to care for patients in A alzheimer's unit and then I transitioned to the hospital where I was trained in phlebotomy and other medical procedures required for me to do my job effectively.  I remember feeling excited and fortunate to have secured a job in such a huge hospital!  They were providing me with certified training and knowledge that wasn't available to me at my other place of employment.  I worked on a medicine unit as a patient care associate, with a high acuity and very sick patients.  Nurses often ran with a 7:1 patient ratio.  With that being said they relied on the PCA's (CNA) to do their job.  They often delegated tasks that we were trained to do so that they could move on to something more critical or a task we were not trained in.

 

Now I admit sometimes I felt overused, abused, disrespected & unappreciated by medical staff and patients.  I can remember even feeling pissed that I was the only PCA with 30 something patients who needed blood draws, weights, ekg's and much more. But something I learned early on was that we were a team! The medical staff and patients depended on me to collect data, fill in where the nurse wasn't able and report back.  Often times the PCA see's the patient more then the nurse.

 

I can recall caring for a patient who was not herself. I notified the RN I was working with that day and she ran to the room right away.  She trusted my assessment, she knew that if I called her and told her something wasn't right she should come. Because of my training and time spent with the patient I was able to help the nurse with a patient she was not familiar with. Sadly, this patient was very sick and passed with the both of us at her bedside. 

 

My point is, Its not them against us its us working towards the best outcome of our patients as a team. The days I work with a awesome team where everyone did their job and did it well we rock it!  No drama, patients and family members satisfied.

 

For the life of me, I could never understand why  the CNA's or PCA's would be so upset and defensive if someone called them a aide or asked them to do a CNA task.  I mean lets keep it real, YOU ARE A CERTIFIED NURSING AIDE, why is it offensive?  Everyone has a title and thats yours, every single worker is vital and important!  I cant stress this enough!!

 

As a nurse I experience what I call the PCA bully.  These are workers who are awesome and amazing at their job but refuse to do it!  On the daily its a struggle, a real life power struggle.  They seem to have control issues, they control the computers, nursing assignments, phones ,hide linen, you name it they are in it. if they like you your straight, by like you i mean if you let them get away with their bad behavior you will be their best friend. if they don't or you pissed them off by having to delegate a task well you better gear up because they will gang up on you and you will be doing your own patient care and every other thing on your own!  I kid you not!!

 

The sad thing is that, we have some amazing PCA's who can really sparkle and shine.  Its just the insecurity they have about there job description or title that gets in their way.  they don't do well nurses delegating, they would much rather tell you to do it yourself. 

 

New nurses have it the worst, they are often treated poorly.  They are in a sense hazed by the PCA's.  They refuse to take delegated tasks form the nurses and just plain give them a hard time.  So many times I have been witness to nurses crying and having breakdowns in the back room because of this.  They are already overwhelmed by the work and now they have to fight with their colleagues.

 

On what planet are we allowed to tell our manager and other workers off and still have a job?  Its so perplexing to me the amount of unprofessionalism and insubordination that exists. 

 

Now, I am not saying that there are not cases where the RN can be overbearing or what we call a PCA rider (needy). But hello, talk to the person with the behavior that offends.  Communication is key, our entire job revolves around communication and service.  Not passive aggression, neglect or lateral bullying.

 

I must say I am intolerant of this behavior, I am one of few who is not messed with.  I am fair and I am a grinder!  By grinder this means I am neck and neck with all my coworkers no job is to little for me.  I am a team player.. I don't believe in leaving my coworkers or patients behind.  We are a family sure we can be dysfunctional but together we can function as a well oiled machine.

 

What I would like to say to he CNa's, PCA's, MA's what ever your title is it doesn't matter.  Your title doesn't define who you are or how important you are.  It's how you carry yourself and perform your job..  Be respectful. Be kind. Be confident in what you know and do. We ALL play a vital role in the work that we do. Our patients and institution depend greatly on us and our skills.  We are only as strong as our weakest link.  

 

 If you have insecurities about your job title and responsibilities in that role, well guess what YOU have the power to change that!    

 

Don't blame your colleagues for your lack of performance, bad attitude and thuggish bullying behavior.

 

 Blame yourself!!

 

 

Bullying- is the use of force, threat, or coercion to abuse, intimidate, or aggressively dominate others. This behavior is often repeated or and habitual.


Lateral Violence- refers to violence in the workplace, defined as violence or abuse occurring between workers.  It includes both overt acts of verbal and nonverbal aggression. 

 

 

 

 

 

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