Have you ever witnessed a nurse getting bullied? Have you ever teased a co-worker yourself? Sixty percent of new nurses quit their job within the first year due to workplace behaviors, and a whopping 78% of all nurses have either witnessed or been the target of bullying. This behavior is nothing new, but it still remains entirely unacceptable, especially within a field of a caregivers.
Bullying has lasting physiological and psychological effects on victims, in addition to negatively impacting the quality of patient care. Bully culture in nursing results in job dissatisfaction, more time spent on leave, decreased productivity and lower morale.
So why do nurses eat their young? Essentially, bullying is usually used as some form of social control or a as means to combat stress in a high-stakes environment. Some nurses may feel threatened by a new co-worker, or perhaps a new co-worker is being hazed as a way to “prove themselves” to nurses who have been at the practice awhile.
Traveling to a new destination can give you the jitters, but the fear of being bullied shouldn’t be one of them. The only fear you should have while traveling is that you’ll fall in love with your destination and want to extend your stay.
While you may not have the power to stop bullies or change workplace policies, you can control your actions and also take the time to research company bullying policies.
What you can do
- Don’t tolerate inappropriate behavior
- If another nurse makes fun or talks down to you, address the behavior immediately. Stand up for yourself and make it known that you won’t tolerate disrespect.
- Speak up
- If you witness bullying and don’t report it, you are almost as bad as the ones doing the bullying. Not only that, but speak up for other nurses if you see them being bullied.
- Steer clear of cattiness
- It seems every workplace has one drama queen (or king) that is surrounded with complaints and problems. While it is good to remain civil with everyone, don’t become best friends with the workplace gossip.
What your organization can do
- Educate employees
- It is possible that bullies may not know they’re bullying. By educating employees on appropriate and inappropriate behaviors, chances of a peaceful work environment improve significantly.
- Have high expectations and set an example
- Setting the bar high is the best policy, and the higher ups in the hospital should set a pristine example for all its workers.
- Enforce policies
- There is no point in having rules if they are not enforced. To provide a safe work environment, organizations should act with integrity and take proper action if an employee is behaving inappropriately.
Most importantly, don’t let anyone discourage you through hazing or bullying from doing what you love. Keep your head high, even if you’re feeling low. Avoid negativity like the plague, and as Gandhi said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”