Rudeness kills -- like, literally

Jackie Vance
Jackie Vance

Maybe a blog about killing your patients right after Halloween is an appropriate topic. After all, that would make a pretty scary movie, right? But this isn't some scary movie. It's true.


I recently read an article about rudeness in the workplace causing medical mistakes leading to severe medical errors, including death. Rudeness, one form of bullying in the workplace, can cause the "victims" to become so distressed that they make mistakes, big ones. That's not necessarily so crucial in a workplace where, say, your waiter serves you someone else's meal. But it can be deadly if you give your patient someone else's meds or draw up too much insulin, for example.   


In an industry that is known for "eating its young" maybe it's time to rethink that evil practice. Yes, it is sad that in a profession where we are looked at as being angels of mercy, some of us can also be devilish in our treatment of our coworkers. And sometimes we have the unfortunate luck of having a Napoleon for a manager who leads by intimidation. I wonder if that person ever knows many lives her or she puts put in danger when leading that way.


Oh, and guess who is blamed when an error occurs after the intimidation has worn you down, upsetting you and turning you into a distracted zombie in this mini horror film we're talking about?

So what do you do, my friends, when you're on the knife's edge of rudeness? First, take a breath and then remember your intention. Why are you at work? Who is your primary responsibility and what is your relationship to them? Is your job primarily to please the person being mean and rude to you or to your patients/residents?  


Before you respond to the mean person, picture a little angel on one of your shoulders and a little devil on your other. The devil is whispering in your ear, suggesting you tell the person to take her comment and put it somewhere the sun never shines, which could be a career limiting move (and really, solves absolutely nothing). Or that little devil could be telling you that they are right: You are an incompetent, worthless mess, making you so distressed you don't know up from down.


The angel is telling you this: “You are an angel of mercy. Hold onto your intention and don't let this emotional vampire suck out your positive energy and stop you from being the wonderful person the good Lord made you to be.”


You need to step back and take this more angelic view because, honestly, there are lives at stake. And we're not talking about the kind of stake you want to put through the bully's heart to end his or her merciless treatment forever.


Just keeping it real,

Nurse Jackie

 

The Real Nurse Jackie is written by Jacqueline Vance, RNC, CDONA/LTC, a 2012 APEX Award of Excellence winner for Blog Writing. Vance is a real life long-term care nurse. A nationally respected nurse educator and past national LTC Nurse Administrator of the Year, she also is an accomplished stand-up comedienne. She has not starred in her own national television series — yet. The opinions supplied here are her own and do not necessarily reflect those of her employer or her professional affiliates.

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The Real Nurse Jackie

The Real Nurse Jackie is written by Jacqueline Vance, RNC, CDONA/LTC, a 2012 APEX Award of Excellence winner for Blog Writing. Vance is a real life long-term care nurse. A nationally respected nurse educator and past national LTC Nurse Administrator of the Year, she also is an accomplished stand-up comedienne. The opinions supplied here are her own and do not necessarily reflect those of her employer or her professional affiliates.

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