Case 018 - NHS

I have worked in an NHS orthopaedic department since December 2000. I watched a colleague trying to deal with a bully: the Manager.

I gave my support, a shoulder to cry on, even offered to speak with the line manager about the individual, but she insisted that she could do it alone.

This colleague then left to work in another department and then it was someone else's turn. Again I offered support, senior members of staff talked with the manager about the situation and things did improve. Not for long though. I was the next victim.

You just don't realize how someone's actions and behaviour can affect you so badly until you actually leave the bullying environment. I am a nervous wreck as a result, on my fifth week of sick leave and undergoing counselling. I only qualified as a nurse in February 2000 and this situation has put me off nursing for life.

I had to endure being told off in an aggressive manner in front of patients and colleagues on a regular basis. I was like the school child in front of the Head Mistress. If her footsteps were heard in the department everyone looked for something to do because you knew she'd be looking for something to pick you up on.

You think you're doing things the way she wants them done, but all of a sudden the boundaries have changed and actually things should be done in another way. This results in staff not being able to fully concentrate on the standards of their work which gives her more fuel to pick people up on things. It's a vicious cycle.

I thought the personnel department and the union rep were supposed to support victims of bullying at work, but it seems that from their perspective it is better to just move to another department and try to forget about it. Apparently it's not worth going down the legal route to get some form of justice, as I have to be able to prove that she bullied me with intent and was negligent.

Approximately 20 employees of the trust have gone through the department and left because of her behaviour. Surely that would warrant some form of legal action, but I suppose at the end of the day the personnel department are employees of the Trust and it's in their interest to take the side that pays their salary.