How a Mentoring Culture Transforms a Bullying Culture

Recently a nurse confided in me, recalling her first days as a nurse. Becky found herself frazzled. She was new to the job, in the midst of a learning curve, and was having trouble keeping her head above water. She walked by one of the more experienced nurses who asked how she was doing. Becky responded that she “was drowning.” At that, the nurse fired back, “Well, you’d better learn how to swim.” That abandonment stuck with Becky all her days as a nurse. You’d better learn how to swim??? Really? How a Mentoring Culture Transforms a Bullying Culture...

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Choose To Be A Hero

My mom is a nervous wreck. I’m flying overseas twice this month, and one of them connects in Brussels – the location of a recent bombing, and she’s totally freaked out. I remember saying to her a few weeks ago that tragedy can happen in my own backyard. And then there was Orlando. A lone gunman, Omar Mateen, entered a Florida nightclub and left 49 dead, 53 wounded. It was an event born out of hate. Listening and watching the horror as it unfolded, as a healthcare provider, I couldn’t help but focus on the medical and non-medical people...

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The Wrong Way Leaders Respond to Toxic Employees

Amani has been working as an ICU nurse for decades and has a reputation for eating students, new nurses, and new physicians for breakfast! When employees are hired, they are often warned about Amani. When nurses get pulled to the ICU, they are warned about Amani. When there is a change in leadership in the ICU, they are warned about Amani. Toxic Employees Amani is a toxic employee and everyone knows it. New nurses drop like flies and experienced nurses somehow find ways to transfer to other units. Turnover is high and staff morale is low. Why is Amani...

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How to Identify Low-Level Behaviors of Bullying

Behaviors of Bullying Maggie was warned about Karen when she started her new job on a cardio step-down unit. Karen had worked on the unit for decades and had a strong reputation as the queen bully. Everyone was afraid of her, even the manager. Maggie up to now had successfully steered clear of Karen, but today, she found herself alone with her in the break room. It wasn’t long before Karen honed in on Maggie. She walked right over to where she sat, leaned over her and said, “So you’re the new girl. I heard you came from Medsurg....

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The Key to Nursing Success: GRIT, The Power of Passion and Perseverance

In her book, Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, Angela Duckworth shares her extensive research demonstrating the power of persistence and passion, in other words – GRIT. I first learned about her research on this topic when I watched her TED talk . She studied the debate between natural talent and I.Q. versus practice and plain old hard work. Her research is fascinating and actually, makes me feel a bit better about the fact that I wasn’t born with certain talents but with passion and perseverance, I can achieve almost anything I want. What is the Key To...

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Disruption, Incivility, and Bullying Behaviors. What’s the Difference?

Disruptive behavior, bullying, incivility, disrespectful behavior, etc. all describe basically the same thing – bad behaviors that should never occur in healthcare. Although similar, there are subtle but clear differences. Disruptive behavior Disruption means to separate or create a divide. Common words used alongside disruption are “wild, unruly, or undisciplined”. When we think of disruption in healthcare, we tend to think of someone or something that is stopping the flow of care. This disruption can be a person (patient or coworker) or a situation (unexpected admission or additional duty). However, in the context of disruptive BEHAVIORS, we can easily...

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3 Steps to Stop a Bullying Boss

Jackie became the target of a bullying boss after just 3 months on her new job, working in the Emergency Room at a Level I Trauma Hospital. Jackie wasn’t a new nurse but this was her first time working in a city hospital and therefore, she knew the people would be intense. At first, she didn’t recognize she was experiencing various forms of bullying (public criticism and name calling, threatening disciplinary action to the point of termination, and being overly critical). Jackie thought it was normal behavior considering that she worked in the Emergency Department where stress levels are...

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Why Humans Choose a Career in Nursing

Although the human body fascinated me, I never thought about becoming a nurse. I wanted to be a physician. I wanted to become an OB-GYN physician and deliver babies. That’s all I ever wanted to do. So at the age of 17, I enrolled in a pre-med program at a large university. But then life got in the way. At the age of 19, I found myself pregnant. We got married and I had a miscarriage. While on summer break, I got pregnant again and because of complications, I quit school. Two years and 2 kids later, I found...

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You Already Have the Tools for Nursing Success

When my husband and I were planning to purchase a new car, we really had no idea what make and model we wanted. All we knew was that we wanted an SUV. Our family and friends gave us their opinion (Hondas, Mitsubishi, etc) but we still weren’t sure. We decided to visit a Mazda dealer because the sales person was a friend of our neighbor. She trusted him and that was more important to us than the car. He recommended a Mazda CX5. And we bought it. I never heard of one or seen one but as soon as...

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3 Ways to Protect Yourself from the “Crabby” Nurses

If you catch a bunch of crabs and put them into a basket, something interesting occurs. One crab will try to escape by climbing up the walls of the basket. However, when the other crabs see one of their own trying to escape, they pull that crab back down. They will exert great effort to stop that ONE crab from escaping even to the point of breaking off the crab’s legs and eventually killing the crab! Nurses do the same thing to each other. I’ve talked to many nurses who try to downplay their accomplishments because they know their...

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