There are over 7 trillion nerves in the human body but some people are just wired to get on every damn last one of them! Thursday was one of those days. I had worked my ass off for some reasons all babies both premature, post-date and term telepathically decided to rain hell on me.
I had just finished weighing the sixth bully of the day when I decided to take a few minutes from it all and top up my blood sugar when it all happened. For most nursing students starting your practice where you did your placement seems like fun.
Besides eliminating the brisk jitteriness that paralyzes most new newbies on the first day of reporting to their designated hospitals, it may lead you on to drown on the deluded fallacy that everyone there knows you or just the evil skepticism that you've studied each character in that movie for the whole of your student days.
The undergraduate practice, however, offers little in terms of emotional maturity. Despite stringing students into a trail of robotic vitals- taking ritual, no one ever gives a lesson on "How to Deal with Narcissism after Placement."
I walked straight to the tea room which was just opposite the nursing station and poured myself a cup of coffee I barely took the first sip when Chloe walked in with other 3 RNs. It was the third day after I reported though I had shadowed Chloe and team during my placement for like a month before finishing my rotation. “Morning?" I offered excited to meet them again but they just muted for some reason, noticing the tension I finished my coffee and headed back to the ward.
I slipped on to my boots only to feel a firm grab on my shoulders "Those are my boots!" I turned shocked as the 2 other RNs I had left in the tearoom scoffed at the drama. "No, I came with my boots" I responded showing a label I had placed, even from the size the boots were way smaller than her feet, she took another pair of boots from the shoe rack and shoved past me aggressively. I stood in awe wondering if it was the same person I met as a student. I was not ready to pick a fight on my first week of reporting let alone in a labor ward.
Nurse hazing or bullying is a rampant backward culture that preys on new practitioners especially young nurses.
Research shows that at least 85% of nurses have been victims of verbal abuse by fellow nurses. Bullying causes 60% of nurses to leave their jobs. Up to 34% consider leaving the profession for good. Stringent as it may sound our actions as professionals may actually be the precipitating factor for the projected 1.05 million nurse shortage in America by 2022 (U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2018).
What are we doing about it?
The ANA position statement highlights the shared individual and institutional responsibility of creating an ethical environment that sustains a culture of respect, free of bullying and incivility also referred to as "Zero Tolerance" on workplace bullying. So what do you do with a bullying incident?
The lesson you missed on dealing with narcissism and workplace bullying.
- Don't let the situation lead you to decompensate or act unprofessionally take a moment and breath.
- Be proactive by letting the offender know you don't appreciate being treated that way, you can choose to talk to them or let a superior intervene if you're not comfortable with a direct discussion.
- Practice self-awareness by identifying situations that may heighten your emotional responses.
- Identify them early and act in an appropriate manner.
- You can use documentation.
- Practice prevention personally and for the sake of others.
- Don't be a bully it doesn't reward to kill people's spirit through intimidation.