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.   Dr. O’Hara is tough and anyone, like millions of us who watch the show, clearly know her boss must be a dinosaur who somehow cluelessly evolved from pre-feminist days.  So, it was cool to see Dr. O’Hara take just nanoseconds to steel herself as she prepared herself to confront Dr. Cruz.  Mere mortals like ourselves may never have that courage –  and here was Dr. O’Hara  in her wonderfully forthright way staring down Cruz as she told him that she doesn’t appreciate being bullied by him.  She is, she firmly states, strong enough to handle the situation.  What happens next is exactly why I love this show.   Dr Cruz quickly points out that he did it for a vey different reason: his specialty is obstetrics and he was far more qualified to handle the trauma.  Ummmmm…..

That’s the beauty of fiction – of art.  We can learn from it and it shows us why we need a variety of voices in the workplace bullying movement.  All bosses are NOT potential bullies.  Sometimes we perceive bullying – but we are wrong.   How do we know the difference?

2 thoughts on “Nurse Jackie and the Workplace Bully – or is he?

    • Hi Sula, Well for one thing if you read the anti-bullying law that’s currently pending around the country you’ll see that it protects everyone but the person accused of being a bully. I’ve been viciously bullied in the past so why do I care? Sometimes it may look like bullying to everyone – as it certainly did to viewers of Nurse Jackie – but it’s not. Compounding that is that the bill bends over backwards to protect the employer. That’s too bad because they are ultimately the only ones with the power to stop bullying in their workplaces.


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