Chances are, if you have been a nurse for more than six months, you have been exposed to bullying or disruptive behavior. Research shows that more than 82% of nurses have been a target of bullying or have witnessed it. Over 60% of new nurses who experienced bullying are planning to leave their jobs. The frightening part of these statistics is that bullying is underreported!
Bullying is not an isolated incident. It is deliberate, rude, inappropriate, and possibly aggressive behavior of a coworker(s) to another coworker. The behavior is repetitive in nature, and may be overt or covert. It can also reflect an actual or perceived imbalance or power or conflict.
Bullying and disruptive behavior has been recognized as a threat to a nurse’s well-being and a threat to the safety of our patients. When a care team cannot get along, errors are made, patients feel the tension, and patient outcomes suffer.
As nurses, we are all working today in a very stressful environment with heavy workloads. More demands are being added on almost a daily basis. We are struggling to take good care of our patients and the stakes are high. Adding bullying to this equation makes the situation worse.
The paradox of bullying in nursing is that we all joined this marvelous profession because we are caring individuals. We want to show our compassion and be a healing presence to others. So how is it that this behavior is so prevalent in nursing? Research shows that the behavior continues because nurses are afraid of retaliation, normalize the behavior, don’t like conflict, and don’t really know what to do.
Here are 3 steps you can take to address this uncaring behavior in a caring way:
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