I’m a 54-year old psychiatric RN day charge nurse who worked for the same employer for over 23 years. I had a perfect record on all my evaluations up until about two years ago, when my supervisor of many years resigned after management asked her to do unethical things.
The new young male supervisor sided with bullies and believed whatever they said. The bullies hated me because I would not be a part of their unscrupulous tactics. The new supervisor loved one of the young, pretty nurses. After she would leave his office, he would dance around me singing “out with the old and in with the new!” This nurse, the secretary, and another nurse would constantly ask me “what would you do if you lost your job?” and “don’t you want to stay home with your new grandson?”
The harassment, ostracizing, and mind games came about swiftly. My schedule was changed from dayshift to 12-hour shifts. One of the main male bullies was moved to the dayshift. I was outnumbered by all the bullies at that point. Everyone on the dayshift wanted me out. My supervisor micromanaged me, stopped talking to me, sent his bullies to undermine my authority, and would put his hand in my face or point a finger in my face. He would tell me “I don’t want to hear it. One finger pointed at others, three fingers pointed at you, and if you ask me one more time about getting your day shifts back, I will put you on nights!”
One of the male nurses was abusive to me and the patients, didn’t do his work, and stayed on break. I knew he was in the clique but I reported him anyway. He was fired.
The bullying got worse after that. No one would help me. I was unable to eat or go to the restroom hardly. It was so busy that a couple of times I held it in too much and I urinated on myself. I had to go shower and put on hospital scrubs. No one would get up to help the patient, so I had to. I had papers or binders slammed on my desk angrily by the secretary or the male nurse who was eventually fired stating “here you go, charge nurse.” I was the only one not invited to the activity therapist’s birthday party. She came the next day sarcastically asking “did you see the great pictures of me taken at my birthday party? Oh, I forgot, you weren’t invited.”
I was ridiculed for my faith in God. I had a photo of the sacred heart of Jesus taped on my desk. The supervisor would laugh and say “huh, Jesus!” He would mock and laugh. The activity therapist told me “that picture of Jesus won’t help you!” When I would get in, my picture of Jesus would be covered up by another picture of Jesus with possums crawling over him, wearing a black leather vest smoking a cigarette. When I would get there in the morning, the techs would ignore me and never look up.
My supervisor’s supervisor told me she finds older nurses have trouble with change. I said “if I had trouble with change, I wouldn’t have handled being sold to three companies in the same hospital.” I was called into my supervisor’s office. He was rude, loud, and with an angry tone asked “are you going to quit? Are you sure you are not going to quit?” I told him “I am not a quitter.” The next day, I was called into his office with the chief nursing officer and put on possible termination following the outcome of the termination meeting. I asked them if they could call me on the phone to fire me since I did not want to cry and be upset while getting escorted out with the security guard like so many of the department heads and nurse managers who had been there the longest and were fired or forced to resign not long before.
He called me on Monday and fired me. I was devastated.
It has been close to a year, and I am just able to think more clearly and not cry all the time. The nightmares are less frequent.
I loved my career. The patients and the psychiatrists loved me. My job was my passion. It came naturally to me to give an abundance of love, caring, compassionate, and mercy to my patients and others.
No matter how badly I was treated, I always gave back kindness.
Share your workplace bullying story. Email to firstname.lastname@example.org in one page along with an optional photo:
Where did you work and what did you do?
How did the bullying begin? What tactics were used?
How did you feel?
How did it escalate?
How did your employer react (or not react)?
What was the impact on you?
What was the impact on the organization?
Why do you want workplace bullying legislation to pass?
What advice do you have for others going through bullying at work?