Break the Silence Report Bullying

by SEABOATSHELLS 18,155 Views | 85 Comments

Save your co-workers life; report bullying. Suicide and Post Traumatic Stress does occur from being bullied in the workplace. Nurses take an oath to do no harm to others. This includes protecting your co-workers from being bullied. Reach out your hand and help your co-workers so they can receive counseling.

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    Break the Silence Report Bullying

    The importance and impact of bullying in the workplace is significant to nursing in many ways. Bullying threatens the very foundation, of not just nurses, but its business ethics, structure, and productivity. Nursing is a sensitive structure that demands teamwork, dedication, and drive.

    The rise of bullying threatens to create barriers in nursing that will result in a negative way. This impact bullying has on nurses impedes their ability to function professionally by interfering with teamwork, morale,and personal health. Prevention is the only way to stop or eliminate bullying. An anti-bullying program must become an integral part of nursing training by deeply imbedding the need to identify and prevent this destructive action in the workplace.

    A nurse takes the oath to do no harm to others. Nurses dedicate their hearts and minds to practice faithfully in their profession. The qualities a nurse must possess are to be compassionate, sympathetic,and empathetic towards others. These qualities are especially important for nurse managers so they can guide and mentor nurses along their career path. A nurse manager who lacks these qualities and does not support their nurses, creates problems in their working environment.

    An unspoken problem is nurse manager bullying. The nursing issue is that nurse manager bullying can cause intimidation and psychological harassment amongst their employees. This harassment can cause the employee to have devastating psychological, physical, emotional, and social outcomes.

    It is time in the nursing profession to break the silence that nurse managers who bully nurses create an unhealthy work environment that can result in health problems or cause nurses to resign. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and suicide does occur in staff who are bullied by their co-workers and/or nurse managers.

    It is time to be proactive as nurses and identify bullying behaviors and report them immediately. Look at your co-workers who are being treated poorly reach out your hand and guide them to get counseling so they can heal from this.

    Here are some basic suggestions on what to do if bullying occurs in the Workplace:

    1. Send the employee who is being bullied to Employee Health to talk with an appointed staff member who can guide them in where to get counseling.

    2. Remove the employee immediately from the toxic environment and place them in a better working environment so no form of retaliation can occur.

    3. Employee Health should report bullying to the Bullying Task Force. The Bullying Task Force is composed of a Peer Counsel Committee who will review each case. This Peer Counsel Committee is important because it does not consist of management who possibly would not be as objective as a peer.

    4. Implement a Bullying Support Group. This is important in the recovery of staff who are bullied. The Bullying Support Group will utilize a twelve step program much like Alcoholic Anonymous.

    5. Have employees fill out a survey online that can be filled out anonymously and sent directly to the Associate Directors office.

    6. Have Human Resources track all staff who leave a position and have them fill out a bullying survey online.


    Exit interviews should be conducted on all employees leaving their jobs. This interview should be kept confidential so it does not interfere with or impact new job opportunities. Surveys should be done that ensure confidentiality in the data collected. In order to collect honest and accurate data it is extremely important to provide confidentiality. Surveys that ask identifiable data such as age, work level, and sex are often a deterrent for employees to complete the survey honestly. A person's identity can easily be assessed by this information. All of the data collected can be utilized to help strengthen the laws, guidelines, and policies to provide a safe working environment and to stop bullying

    Educating hospital staff on the importance of looking for suicide and PTSD symptoms is extremely important. Nurse managers need to be educated that treating their employees in a caring way will help to retain them. They will realize happy employees are more productive and tend to stay in their jobs. Cruelty will cause the human spirit to fail. Nurse managers that bully allow the human spirit to fail in the employees they bully. The human spirit is affected by the consequences of bullying which are physical and psychological changes in the person that is bullied. Jean Watson's Human Caring Theory should be taught to all employees to restore caring in the health care system so bullying behavior can be stopped.

    Educating and providing resources to new employee nurses on bullying, Whistle Blowers Act, and sexual harassment should be incorporated into new employee orientation. All staff would also benefit from a yearly review on these topics. Hopefully, this will keep nurses aware of proper workplace behavior and we can retain nurses. There are programs available for this problem, but many nurses are not aware this issue exists nor how to identify bullying. There are several other that provide information on books, education, and counseling available for anyone who is bullied.

    There are no governmental laws that prohibit workplace bullying. Governmental laws addressing workplace bullying should be in place. There needs to be a law acknowledging that bullying exists. Once legislation is established then health care organizations will have zero tolerance in allowing this behavior. Strong institutional policies need to be in place in every healthcare organization to prevent bullying in the workplace.

    Report Bullying; Break the Silence; Save Your Co-Workers Life

    Sarah Yuengling RN MSN
    Last edit by Joe V on Sep 7, '13
    bluenurse85, SeattleJess, Nola009, and 13 others like this.
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  3. About SEABOATSHELLS

    Retired Navy Nurse LCDR; Operation Iraqi Freedom Veteran; Attended Training at Workplace Bullying Institute

    SEABOATSHELLS joined Oct '10. Posts: 2 Likes: 17; Learn more about SEABOATSHELLS by visiting their allnursesPage


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    85 Comments so far...

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    Hello I really appreciate that some light is being shed into this topic. I remember as a New Grad LPN working in a very busy SNF unit, the nurse whom I always received report from would pick on me , she asked me at times if I got my licence in the USA. I dreaded Thursdays and Wednesday because she worked those days and when i complained to the nursing /unit manager she told me that I have to just ignore her because that's just the way she was. she made me cry at report and threaten to report me to the BON for medication errors. I was just a new Nurse I had no clue on what to do. she even went to the extent of spreading rumors about my hygiene, she complained to the unit manager that I did not take a bath and was so uncomfortable around me. I cried my eyes out and looked for someone to turn too but there was no one, i was on my ow I had to find a way for her to get off from me. after 6 months of torture I had enough and finally I stood up to her one day during report, I describes her behavior as being carnivorous and similar to vultures who eat their young and prey on the weak. I further said I am not perfect but always ready to learn and her behavior is toxic and needs attention because she is poisoning the work environment. I told my unit manager that if proper steps are not taken to avoid instances of bullying and hazing then I will call corporate office. The next day i came to work and the nurse and unit manager had quit their jobs. Bullying is definitely a huge problem in nursing and I remember how bad i felt when i was treated badly by a peer nurse. Lets change the saying of Nurses eat their young to Nurses protect their young.
    Jbmiller83, marvelmom, bluenurse85, and 11 others like this.
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    Bullying is becoming more and more common unfortunately. I worked at a medical office where the office manager made it so no one would talk to me other then maybe a "hi". I felt sorry for them because these are people that have probably been bullied themselves and have low self esteem. And there is no one to see the sabotage and lies that these women create. The company as a whole suffers because your too worried about being caught by the bully. How can you put a stop to it when everyone is afraid to lose their job.
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    The topic of bullying seems to be a popular topic these days. The only thing I think of is: how exactly do you define bullying?
    When I was younger, bullying was believed to involve getting beaten, roughed up, threatened with serious harm. In some lines of work a generation ago, hazing new people was expected and considered normal.
    It is hard to define something whose borders and definitions change.
    SeattleJess, phaniea69, lindarn, and 1 other like this.
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    There is a free webinar on 9/26/13 on this topic [bullying vs conflict in the workplace] that has an added bonus of counting for CEU's if you live in a state that requires them. It is through Advance Healthcare Network for Nurses; here is the web link Bullying vs. Conflict.
    Last edit by Joe V on Sep 7, '13 : Reason: added direct link to webinar
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    I have an absolutely horrible nurse manager who I've thought about reporting to HR. She has a history of sending long emails that belittle and call out other people. She has threatened to call us out in front of our peers, she has called us lazy and told us that the partients wants and needs should be responded to immediately, never mind we are severely understaffed and over worked. She has also complained about her job and the fact that she is on thin ice with her bosses. She has also shared that she has multiple job offers with WAY higher salaries. To me, sharing all of that information is just unprofessional and to belittle people like that is uncalled for. She has said some other things that have made me want to report her to hr, but I'm not high up enough in the food chain for it to matter.
    Irish_Mist, MauraRN, kismetRN, and 2 others like this.
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    Quote from ThePrincessBride
    I have an absolutely horrible nurse manager who I've thought about reporting to HR. She has a history of sending long emails that belittle and call out other people. She has threatened to call us out in front of our peers, she has called us lazy and told us that the partients wants and needs should be responded to immediately, never mind we are severely understaffed and over worked. She has also complained about her job an the fact that she is on thin ice with her bosses. She has also shared that she has multiple job offers with WAY higher salaries. To me, sharing all of that information is just unprofessional and to belittle people like that is uncalled for. She has said some other things that have made me want to report her to hr, but I'm not hihh up enough in the food chain for it to matter.
    Presenting copies of those inappropriate & unprofessional emails to the right person just might break that "ice".
    MauraRN, Irish_Mist, *LadyJane*, and 1 other like this.
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    My two cents:

    To confuse "obnoxiousness" with "bullying" does not help to deal with either. Just because someone is obnoxious does not equate to bullying. Not everything that you find unpleasant is bullying.

    I'm so tired of this victim mentality.
    MedChica, sweetdreameRN, phaniea69, and 13 others like this.
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    Certainly obnoxiousness isn't helpful in a workplace as important as health care. It's obstructive to patient care.
    MedChica, bluenurse85, Nola009, and 2 others like this.
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    Quote from Altra
    My two cents:

    To confuse "obnoxiousness" with "bullying" does not help to deal with either. Just because someone is obnoxious does not equate to bullying. Not everything that you find unpleasant is bullying.

    I'm so tired of this victim mentality.
    This is true and educating people on the differences would help too. Basically, a good class on interpersonal skills may be needed for some work places. I can see where getting on the bad side of an obnoxious person can turn into bullying. So my question would be, even though most things really are not bullying, why to we have to walk on eggshells for people who are hard to get along with? It still creates a hostile work environment when someone goes out of their way to be ugly or smear your name. It's the other people at the work place that give these people power. How nice it would be if someone said something ugly about another person and the others responded "we don't say things like that about others." It would stop the ugly rumors and model how it should be in the work place. Or while someone is getting chewed out in public that the person doing the chewing is told that things like that are handled in private and calmly. It takes the power of potential bullying away from a lot of cases. Of course some people are just evil and mean and need to be reported for their horrible behavior.
    bluenurse85, SeattleJess, AtheistRN, and 6 others like this.


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