Advice from Real Travel Nurses on How to Avoid Nurse Bullying

Job Seeker

By Sarah Wengert

Nurse bullying is a very real phenomenon, whether aimed at travel nurses, newbie nurses, or others. Hospitals are just like any other workplace — with politics, different personalities, and human imperfections. But add in the high-stress healthcare environment and things can sometimes rise to the level of bullying.

Travel nurses who are actually just coming in to help permanent staff avoid burnout and boost patient care by ensuring ample staff, may be especially seen as outsiders and targeted by bullies. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has created even riper conditions for travel nurse bullying. So, we turned to several current Medical Solutions travelers to gather some great advice from real travel nurses on how to avoid nurse bullying.         

“Always remain professional. If you’re in a situation that’s unbearable, politely and privately speak to the person who’s causing havoc and try to come to an understanding between each other. Stress that you may not be friends but you’re sisters/brothers in nursing, and want to help create a calm, delightful work environment. Hopefully, that will rid the awkwardness. Being a team player will gain their trust and likely friendship. Don’t go in trying to make any changes. The facility is well aware of the problems and issues that they have. Go and do the job to the best of your ability and within your scope of practice.”  — Audrey H.

“Bullying is never OK, and you’ll always find that one person everywhere you go. I let them know that I’m not there to take their job, I’m there to help them. I explain that I have to give up seeing my family and friends for long periods of time and I still have bills to pay just like them. Sometimes it works to just explain your side of the story, but sometimes nothing works. You can always talk to your recruiter about it, but don’t let a bully get away with it. Stand up for yourself, but in a nice way. Kill them with kindness. You make friends by being friendly and showing that you’re there to help and make their lives a little easier.”  Brenda G.

“Bullying has to be handled with a professional adult outlook. First, walk away. Remember that you can’t take back anything you say. Right away, write down what was said in direct quotes, who was present, tones of voice, body language, and facial expressions. Don’t doubt yourself. Each individual deserves respect and courtesy. Speak to your supervisor — not your other coworkers — about these situations, otherwise things can get messy quickly.”  — Tina S.

“I do not tolerate bullying of any kind, to anyone. In my experience, a bully’s bark is worse than their bite.” — Karrie M.

“I’d tell the newbies to always remember they’re just visiting, and the facility is like the perm staff’s house. We’re not there to change the way things are done in their house — like telling them how things are done at other hospitals. Also, don’t talk about monetary things, like how many houses or cars you have, or how much you make. Remember that the staff nurses there are probably trying to make ends meet and may need their overtime. Travelers being there may take some overtime away and sometimes it makes those nurses resent travelers.”  — Euletha S.

“I’m just honest with the bullies. I confront them with what I think the issue is, then go from there. If there’s no way to stop the bullying, go to your manager, and just ignore the situation if the issue isn’t resolved. Remember, your assignments are only temporary so don’t let anyone beat you down about why you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing.”  Brittany B.

A big thanks to all of the travel nurse who shared their advice on how travel nurses can handle nurse bullying! We hope this helps anyone out there who may be struggling with this issue or concerned about nurse bullying happening on their next travel healthcare job.

Remember that Medical Solutions is always here to have your back and support you with any problems that come up during your travel nurse assignment. So, if you’ve been dealing with nurse bullying, make sure to reach out to your recruiter, a member of our internal clinical team, or call our 24-hour customer care line

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