Thursday, 26 April 2018


Nurse Expert Advice, Nursing Skills, Nursing Guides

Nick Angelis doesn’t get much flak from doctors or other nurses because he has built himself to be eccentric and people never know what will come out of his mouth. 

“I work with an improvisation group, and I do a lot of writing and acting. People bully those who they think will cower. If they aren’t sure how it will go over with certain people, doctors will pick out the weakest,” he says.

Angelis, C.R.N.A. and M.S.N., is the author of How to Succeed in Anesthesia School (and RN, PA or Med School) and co-owner of the Florida-based BEHAVE Wellness, which trains individuals and corporations about bully prevention.  

What is considered inappropriate behavior?


As a nurse, he has seen his fair share of bad doctors who bully, throw things, get in people’s faces, and make workplaces miserable for others and a whole bunch of other bad behavior. 

Understanding what is considered inappropriate behavior could be the first defense against a difficult doctor. According to Jacksonville, Fla., University, disruptive behavior from a physician can encompass abusive, demeaning or profane language; rage or violent behavior such as throwing objects and physical abuse; insulting or disrespectful comments to or about staff, patients or families; inappropriate sexual comments or touching; repeated failure to respond to calls; and failure to take recommended corrective action.

What should you do if you feel unsafe? If you do feel unsafe with a doctor, Angelis says that most hospitals and workplaces these days have policies in place for these situations. 

“If you go to your boss or the human resource department and say, ‘I don’t feel safe right now,’ or ‘this is a toxic environment,’ most the time every management will pounce on it right away,” he says. 

When should you report inappropriate behavior?


Nurses are masters of hiding their true feelings, Angelis adds. But when something doesn’t feel right, and you have to start walking on eggshells at every move around a doctor, it’s time to say something. Also, you need to get to know certain doctors to understand if they are just being a jerk temporarily and let it roll off your back, he says.  

If the situation allows you to talk with that doctor before turning them in, then do it. Stand up for yourself and explain what that person did to you. If things don’t change, then go talk to a superior. 

Here are some tips to help your situation with a bad behaving doctor:

TRY TO GET ALONG

The end goal is to have a better workplace for yourself, Angelis says.

“No one can work endlessly at a job always going with righteousness and truth. Sometimes, you just need to get along opposed to having right on your side all the time.” 

The Type A personalities will confront bullying, and the others will hope it goes away, Angelis adds.

FIND ANOTHER JOB

When people around you and in the administration don’t care that the doctors are bullies, then it’s time to find another job. Sometimes, that’s easier than making a fuss. Being honest in an exit interview can be the tough part, especially if you are in a highly specialized nursing area. You don’t want to burn any bridges, he adds.

TAKE CONTROL OF THE CONVERSATION

Angelis uses flippancy, apathy or goofiness, and it has worked for him. Several times, he has said to a ranting, raving doctor that “This isn’t as a big of deal as you think it is.” That is a more direct confrontational way. If you take that approach, it’s not giving the doctors the benefit of worrying about something. You are basically saying to the doctor that they are overreacting, he said.

NETWORK WITH OTHER NURSES

Hear what it’s like at prospective employers and how not to be an easy, lonely bullying target, Angelis says. Compare the rumors and opinions of several people to get closer to the truth. 

KNOW AND USE YOUR STRENGTHS

“I have a great sense of humor and an absent sense of drama,” he explains. “I find fun in situations that others would find dreary or stressful, and I don’t get offended easily.” 

This combination allows him to work long hours in difficult situations long after his peers are burned out or discouraged. Someone not as random or carefree needs to mentally prepare for an always shifting work environment. This way, you’re not making drama over petty, possibly misinterpreted behavior from physicians. 

SAY SOMETHING UNORTHODOX

When Angelis has had a doctor get misbehaving, he would look really seriously at them and say things like, “Cheetahs can only charge at 65 mph for about a quarter mile, but the key is in the flexibility of their spine.” They get unsettled trying to find the passive or aggressive meaning behind his nonsensical statement and then leaves him alone. 

REALIZE EVEN NICE PEOPLE GET UNHINGED

Doctors have bad days, too, and sometimes, those stresses make them say and do things against those around them – just like everyone else. Angelis says that even nice people who get unhinged at work are finding their self-worth from that. It’s much harder to force good behavior from someone whose very identity is tied to their clinical performance, he says.

Angelis has found through the years and through bullying research that no one needs to feel like they have to be the crusader if they take some other job. 

“The Type A personalities will confront bullying. The others will hope it goes away,” he says.

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