September 18th, 2013
Guest Blog: Break the Silence, Report Workplace Bullying
By Sarah Yuengling, RN, MSN 9/6/13
Workplace Bullying University Alumni
Save your co-workers life; report bullying. Suicide and Post Traumatic Stress do 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.
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.
This entry was posted on Wednesday, September 18th, 2013 at 3:21 pm and is filed under Guest Articles, Tutorials About Bullying, WBI Education. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.