nurse bullies, horizontal violence, mentoring, nurse bullying, incivility
Nobody succeeds as a nurse without help. However, sometimes the journey to success takes much longer for some than others. I believe that the speed of success depends on the ratio of mentors to tormentors along the way.
I’ve done so many different things as a nurse (love it!). From bedside, homecare and managed care to administration, education and now nurse business ownership; I’ve seen my share of mentors and tormentors over the years. Seriously…there were so many times as a new nurse that I wanted to quit nursing altogether. The tormentors convinced me that I didn’t have what it took to be a good nurse – and I believed them!  Fortunately, 24 years later, I’m still a nurse (and a pretty good one too). The reason why I was able to find success in these various roles was because I always had the ability to find the mentors and avoid the tormentors.
If you want to have a successful nursing career, my single most important advice to you is to seek support from mentors while avoiding the tormentors.
Nurse Mentors
Nurse mentors are important catalysts in the development of other nurses at the bedside and beyond. Mentors assist in the learning and development of the less experienced nurse in any role. The mentor often serves as a guide, expert, counselor, wise teach and role model for other nurses. Like a mom watching her child ride a bike independently for the first time, or give the commencement speech as Valedictorian; mentors are proudest when their mentee succeeds.
Nurse Tormentors
Nurse tormentors are like viruses in an organization, infecting everyone they’re exposed too. They sneeze their venomous attitude and distain for human beings onto anyone within close range. They inflect gloom and doom on others, tend to be bullies, and can single-handedly destroy employee and unit morale. Tormentors love watching others fall off their bike, NOT get the promotion…they LOVE watching others fail.

But how do you know if your colleague is a mentor or a tormentor? You might not know at first, but they both leave clues. Your goal therefore, is to pay attention to the clues.
Clues left by mentors versus tormentors
·      Mentors welcome new staff – tormentors ignore them or worse…glare and stare
·      Mentors actually LIKE having a student or new nurse assigned to them – tormentors openly complain…sometimes in front of the student/new nurse!
·      Mentors encourage – tormentors complain
·      Mentors set others up for success – tormentors (overtly or covertly) set others up for failure
·      Mentors are nurturing – tormentors are jealous
·      Mentors help – tormentors ignore (you could be on fire and they wouldn’t give you the courtesy of spitting on you!)
·      Mentors influence others in a positive way – tormentors suck the life out of you
Successful nurses actively seek out mentors and avoid the tormentors. Once you figure out who is who, deliberately start spending more time with the mentors! They will help you grow and develop in ways you never thought possible. I did. And now I find joy in actively mentoring other nurses to be successful – like you!

Oh, and by the way – we each need to flip the mirror back on ourselves and ask the question: Are WE mentors or are WE tormentors?
I’m counting on you to become more mentor-like so that we can tip the mentor-tormentor balance in the nursing profession!
Thanks so much for reading. Take care and stay connected.
Renee
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