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What can a new employee do if being bullied?

Dear Nancy,

What can I do as I’m constantly being abused and bullied because I’m new? I was called a lunatic by a female doctor. I was functioning in the role of an RN circulator. I did my assigned duties in a timely and safe manner. Being the person I am, I didn’t respond. I spoke to my manager afterward, and I was told the doctor had been written up before for this kind of behavior. I am fairly new to this institution and am still on probation. My manager says I’m doing well.


Dear Davida,

It is unclear why you being a new employee gives other staff the right to treat you in this manner. Rather than calling you names and shouting at you, your orientation could be better handled with a more helpful and instructive tone.

What is of concern here is that your manager does not intervene to stop the bullying and name calling. This is even more troubling because the doctor has been written up for this type of behavior before. It might be helpful to request another confidential meeting with your manager and let him or her know the effects of this conduct on you and that you want it to stop. Moreover, others are treating you in the same manner and although others may not have been written up, they need to be instructed that this is not appropriate conduct.

Perhaps suggesting an in-service on civility in the workplace at your facility might help decrease some of this conduct. However, if you continue to be treated in this manner, you may need to share your experiences with the person to whom your nurse manager reports so someone higher up in the chain of command can intervene to eliminate this culture of disrespect, insensitivity and rudeness.

Cordially, Nancy

By | 2015-05-27T21:31:10-04:00 May 1st, 2015|Categories: National|0 Comments

About the Author:

Nancy J. Brent, MS, JD, RN
Our legal information columnist Nancy J. Brent, MS, JD, RN, received her Juris Doctor from Loyola University Chicago School of Law and concentrates her solo law practice in health law and legal representation, consultation and education for healthcare professionals, school of nursing faculty and healthcare delivery facilities. Brent has conducted many seminars on legal issues in nursing and healthcare delivery across the country and has published extensively in the area of law and nursing practice. She brings more than 30 years of experience to her role of legal information columnist. Her posts are designed for educational purposes only and are not to be taken as specific legal or other advice. Individuals who need advice on a specific incident or work situation should contact a nurse attorney or attorney in their state. Visit The American Association of Nurse Attorneys website to search its attorney referral database by state.

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