Dear Nurse Bully...
Dear Nurse Bully,
The first time I met you, I wasn't even a nurse yet. I was young, struggling to adjust to college life. I thought I went to a college prep high school, but nothing prepared me for the jump in academic challenge. Instead of guiding me, you told me to quit. You said I'd never make it as a nurse. I thought this was normal.
The second time I met you, I still wasn't a nurse. I was a student nurse assistant, halfway through school. Instead of teaching me the finer points of nursing, you complained about me behind my back. You wrote me up. You shut me out. I thought this was normal.
For a few years, Nurse Bully, I retreated into my own space. I struggled. I lied a few times because I feared ridicule for not knowing everything. Thank God I didn't make any lethal mistakes. I thought this was normal.
I met you again a few times over the years. Each time, I swam in a pool of confusion, hurt and frustration. I nearly quit nursing altogether because I thought this was normal.
Once, I even tried to join you. I thought that if other successful nurses were tough like that than I should be, too. But, I didn't like it. It did not feel normal at all.
I often wonder, Nurse Bully, if you would recognize yourself if I called you out. I doubt it. I believe bullying is in the eye of the receiver. Maybe my actions were once perceived as bullying. I do not know. But what I do know, is that I don't want this to be accepted as normal anymore. I don't think anyone does.
So, please Nurse Bully, stop and think of what you are saying to your coworker. Are you helping him or her with your words? Is it necessary to belittle someone just because you feel stressed? Is it too much to give a little guidance now and again? Because that is what should be our normal.
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