Serial bullies ‘don’t change their spots’On 1 Mar 2003 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Thank you for printing the letters on Bullies at Work (August 2002) relatingto what happens when it is the occupational health nurse being bullied. From 1988 to 1999, I was the OH manager for a nurse-led occupational healthservice in west London. In 1999, I moved from a very secure and happy working environment to take upa post as OH manager in an NHS Trust in South Yorkshire, which has an excellentreputation for its staff education and training programmes. The first six months were excellent in terms of the challenge the servicedemanded, but slowly, and without me being aware, I was being very subtlybullied by the consultant, who was both my manager and the director of theservice. It did not matter how much effort was put in to developing the service,reports, and discussions, the work was always wrong, there was constantnit-picking, and nothing was right. I was undermined in meetings; informationwas never passed on until the last minute, so I was unable to meet deadlines;and there was never any support to enable me to manage difficult departmentalissues. Over a period of 12 months, I began to question my own ability, and worriedas to why I was unable to do my job as effectively as I had done for manyyears. My self-esteem and confidence became non-existent, sleep patterns wereinterrupted, thought patterns were eroded and decision-making became ahorrendous task. The situation came to a head when, at a meeting with others present, theanger that was directed at me by my manager made it so difficult for me tocontinue to work in that sort of an environment, I had no alternative but toleave the meeting. I was so distressed by what had happened that I went on sickleave for six months. It took a considerable amount of time to realise that it was not me that hadthe problem. When you are in the cycle of checking and double checking everypiece of work before it is submitted, to then find out that it was not what wasrequired, you are unable to apply rational thinking to the situation. I received a tremendous amount of support from the nurses and the physicianwithin the team, and I remain very concerned for their well-being. I have now left the employment of this Trust and re-commenced working atmanager level. I have returned to an environment that is a pleasure to work in.Since leaving the Trust, I have discovered that the situation I found myselfin was nothing new – other senior nurses have left due to the treatment theyreceived. During my period of employment, I spoke with my manager regarding the effecttheir behaviour was having on me and, on a couple of occasions, to the chiefnurse, who was my manager’s manager, in the hope that the situation would beresolved. The consultant remains in post; nothing appears to have been done. Serial bullies do not, like the leopard, change their spots. The Trust’spolicy on bullying and harassment did not support me. The impression this givesis that you can get away with this sort of behaviour because no-one is preparedto do anything about it. I have been a nurse since 1963, and worked in the occupational healthsetting in the public and private sectors and have never before been subjectedto the treatment I received during my time in South Yorkshire. It has taken me a year to get my confidence and self-esteem back and havethe courage to write this letter. Name and address supplied Related posts:No related photos. Comments are closed.