Look at the following situations. If they have happened in the past week in your workplace you might want to take this week’s challenge.
-A group of nurses talk softly and abruptly stop when another approaches
-A new graduate nurse asks her preceptor about the organization’s morning assessment expectations and the preceptor responds, “You went to which nursing school?” Or “Didn’t they teach you how to do an assessment in nursing school?”
-A nurse is asking questions about a new patient during a shift change. The outgoing nurse ignores the nurse and walks away without answering, withholding key patient information.
-A nurse manager confronts a nurse publicly at the nurse’s station about a patient situation or medication.
Even if you do not see them in this light, the above situations are bullying. Bullying is becoming one of the most expensive problems in the medical field. Nurse drop-out rates are higher than ever due to the high-stress situations they work in. Not only with patients, but now more than ever, with team members. As a leader, it is your responsibility to not only stop any of the above behaviors in yourself, but also set an example for others to do the same.
I wish that there were a better word for bullying, since many times it is discounted as something only children do. Perhaps better would be harrassment, incivility, or even more pointedly, cruelty.
Whatever the word, those participating in it are in serious need of correction and change. It’s an easy trap to fall into, and the majority of us have been bullies at one time or another in our lives, even though that may be difficult to admit. Few things unite people like a common enemy, but the unification that comes from lifting up the outcast is not only inclusive, but highly effective, over time, in eliminating this scourge of incivility. As a leader it is up to you to change the culture of bullying in your workplace.
Good luck this week.
The scenarios from this post were taken from the article “Confronting isolation and bullying in the work place.” Nursing 2018.