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Education is the Answer to Nurse Bullying

We have all heard about it and more than likely as nurses we have experienced it- I speak of bullying in nursing.  The term “nurses eat their young” is not new. Upon entering the workforce almost 30 years ago the phenomenon existed but unfortunately this behavior seems to be more pervasive in the workplace today. 

I am highly perplexed by this behavior from nurses: a profession that supposedly we joined because we are a group of caring people. How can it be then that so many nurses are uncaring towards their own kind? It is not a paradox that I have been able to understand much less explain.

The consequences of bullying behaviors in healthcare are enormous. The bullied suffer, the patient suffers, healthcare organizations suffer and the nursing profession as a whole suffers. Yet despite the detrimental effects to all concerned this behavior continues and is a growing problem.

So how do we as a profession stop this behavior? I am an educator-therefore I typically face issues by addressing the lack of knowledge that contributes to the problem.  This just seems to be a natural place to start.  If companies would understand that the issue of bullying in the long run is costing the organization money in response to absenteeism, high staff turnover, low morale, lower productivity and patient safety—perhaps the issue would be addressed in a more direct fashion.

Zero tolerance of bullying behaviors should be expressed and enforced by management. A simple place to start would begin with the education of our management teams. If nurse managers had sufficient skills to identify bullying and an arsenal of tools to effectively manage the behavior and the nurses that exhibit this bad behavior - I think we would begin to see a turn in the tide of this insidious disease of incivility that plagues nursing.    As well, nurses in the “trenches”, should be armed with education and knowledge of how to deal with situations of nurse bullying and stop the vicious cycle seen throughout the healthcare system.

Many state boards of nursing mandate continuing education topics that must be completed by all nurses that are renewing their license.  The issue of bullying in nursing is pervasive and in the long run detrimental to nurses as a whole profession, it would seem to be a topic that should be addressed by every state board in the nation. I am waiting for a statement by all boards that this type of behavior on all levels is unacceptable, not to be tolerated—and has no place anywhere in the realm of nursing.  I guess until then it will be up to the professionals in nursing to issue a zero tolerance policy and band together to enforce it.

Pedagogy is happy to announce a new course Healthcare Bullying Solutions by bullying expert Donna Krasowski MN,BSN,RN.

Donna works with concerned healthcare organizations to help reduce the costs associated with workplace bullying. Donna developed targeted workshops that give participants the skills needed to improve their work environment, increase patient safety and quality of care and reduce the fiscal consequences of workplace bullying.  Overall, Donna is committed to transforming the healthcare environment into a healthy place to work and receive care.  www.stophealthcarebullying.com

Blog post by Capra Dalton RN, CEO of Pedagogy Inc. 


Posted: 8/19/2014 1:30:37 PM
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