Workplace Bullying: No Longer On the Playground
According to a recent study done by Kaplan, 48% of new graduates are worried about workplace bullying. Is there anything to worry about? Well, maybe. A further study conducted showed that 60% of new nurses leave their first job due to workplace bullying; this is definitely indicative of a problem.
From a field that is supposed to have a caring, compassionate culture, these statistics are concerning. How is it that some nurses are kind to their patients regardless of race, sex, history, or socioeconomic status, but they aren’t kind to each other?
Have you ever seen it?
It might not look like your typical fight on the playground picture. It could be something as simple as a charge nurse humiliating the new guy in front of the unit. Or maybe someone is overall just being treated unfairly. Bullying doesn’t have to be a simple physical or verbal confrontation.
What is considered bullying?
Bullying can be indirect:
● Speaking poorly of someone behind their back to a coworker
● Purposely isolating someone professionally or socially
Bullying can be done by management:
● Giving impossible deadlines
● Assigning work or training with mal intent
● Denying time off with no logical reasoning
Bullying can be purely verbal:
● Could be refusing to meet or speak regarding necessary workplace information
● Spreading rumors, gossiping, or falsifying information about a person
● Screaming or cursing at someone
Bullying can be body language:
● Repeated glares or sneers
● Blocking an exit to the workspace
What is it going to take to curb this culture?
That same survey by Kaplan found that more than 70% of nursing school graduates feel there should be special training and workshops to provide education on how to handle bullying situations. Training could be a good start, but ultimately this is a problem that is going to require effort from leadership down to the support staff. Implementing mandatory education among stricter policies on bullying and the consequences seem to be the top two logical places to start.
What should you do if you see someone being bullied?
Until we can change the culture, many of us will come across situations that are just not right and we need to know what to do about them.
1. Report the behavior to leadership. If it is leadership that is involved, go to their boss or human resources. Follow the chain of command.
2. If there’s something you can do to help (legally), then consider doing that- even if it is just lending an ear to talk to.
Bullying doesn’t go away quietly. We must start with a conversation.
What ideas do you have? Have you come across a bullying situation?