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We Won A Webby for our Documentary on workplace bullying!

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HBO’s “Getting On” and Workplace Bullying

409454_PA_Getting-On_27x40Given the epidemic of toxic workplaces in the healthcare industry it shouldn’t surprise viewers that the second season of HBO’s “Getting On” opened with the topic of workplace bullying front and center in a very sensitive way. As the title implies, the show takes place in a hospice center. Nurse Dawn is being pressured by her superior to help with a research project in addition to her already emotionally overwhelming job tasks.

Dawn’s immediate supervisor, Patsy De La Serda, tries to help her understand the situation she’s in:

“Dawn, I think we both know what it is. It’s Dr. James. You’re in an abusive and toxic relationship with a woman who hates women and she’s taking it out on you. I think you have difficulty maintaining firm boundaries and saying no.”

Dawn responds: “I say no to her all the time even though it’s very hard for me. It’s true that I am sensitive and it’s true that I let people take and take and take and take and I’m not very comfortable it doesn’t come natural for me to focus on me.”

Patsy counsels her: “Which is why we need to work on your mindfulness training. You can’t be solid in life unless you’re solid with yourself. I take care of me first and then you. I put my seatbelt on then yours. Mindfulness is mind fullness.” [more below]

HBO Clip

Later, during a staff meeting they open the suggestion box to find one from anonymous: “Could Doctors, especially Directors of Medicine, kindly stop abusing and coercing nurses into participating as unpaid research assistants.”

It’s clear in the conversation that follows that the Director of Medicine (Dr. James) has no clue that what she’s accused of doing is over the line or that her behavior is perceived as abusive or overbearing — in fact she quickly turns the conversation around to try to show to everyone that she’s the real victim. Dr. James also knows perfectly well that anonymous is Dawn. “I can’t even look at you,” Dawn tells her. “Because, if I look at you either I’m going to feel bad about myself again. I am allergic to you. You have psychologically overwhelmed me. I am physically ill. I am nauseous all the time. I don’t want to do your research I just want you to leave me alone so I can do my job.” Dawn leaves and Patsy tries to speak up for her as the room goes silent.

It’ll be interesting to see where Executive Producers, Mark V. Olsen & Will Scheffer take the story line. Fingers crossed they don’t go off course, our nurses could use a little TLC.

Warm hugs of thanks to our most precious worker – the first responder

(Letter from Staten Island)

Dear First Responders:

Hurricane Sandy tanker

photo by Beverly Peterson

Monday night an ominous OEM alert, “shelter in place,” flashed onto my cellphone and our neighborhood’s power flickered out.  It was comforting to hear emergency sirens piercing the dark as Hurricane Sandy began pushing the Hudson River up our street.   A few blocks away an oil tanker washed ashore.  Transformers
exploded lighting the sky with strange alien flashes.  The smell of (more…)

Community Party Reports On Bullying In Hartford

image from http://www.wypr.org/

The Hartford News publishes a regular column on racism and homophobia by the Community Party.  They are currently focusing on claims of abuse at Connecticut Valley Hospital and note that “Rep. Matt Ritter has agreed to meet with CP and CVH employees next month to discuss abusive workplace conduct at the facility.”  The CP is hoping that workplace bullying legislation would strengthen protections for CVH employees.  With permission, here’s an excerpt from the Community Party’s latest article: (more…)

Bullying Policies #FAIL

Yesterday’s New York Times article, The Bullying Culture of Medical School, should  shake up everyone involved in the struggle to curb bullying.   13 years ago UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine incorporated policies and prevention techniques to curb bullying.   Surveys in the 90s  showed that 85% of third year medical students believed they were being mistreated.  UCLA’s effort to stop and prevent bullying was broad and encompassing. (more…)

Nurse Jackie and the Workplace Bully – or is he?

Last night I caught an episode of Nurse Jackie.  Paramedics quickly wheel a pregnant woman into the ER.  Dr Cruz, the newest member of the team who also happens to be in charge of everyone, tells a very pregnant Dr. O’Hara to step aside so he can take control.  It’s clear to viewers that Dr Cruz has falsely assumed he needs to protect a very pregnant, and therefore very weak, Dr. Ohara from an emotionally trying situation.   (more…)

Workplace Bullying Is Not a “Silient” Epidemic Anymore!

Using the media to bring attention

It’s not unusual for me to get emails with attached documentation from victims/targets suffering abusive work environments.  Sometimes they hold up and sometimes the evidence suggests the real bully is the one reaching out to me – angry that they can’t dictate what management should be doing.   No doubt mainstream journalists have had access to these stories for years and ethical concerns about printing subjective information that can destroy careers and businesses kill story after story.  But, as bullying has become a popular topic among readers it’s now far more common to see allegations of abuse hit the headlines. The latest example out of Minnesota is featured in today’s Star Tribune(more…)

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