Workplace Bullying: More Than Eating Our Young
Repository Posting Date2013-05-13T10:25:37Z
Author(s)Townsend, Terri L.
Author DetailsTerri L. Townsend, MA, RN, CCRN, CVRN
Lead Author Sigma AffliationNon-member
Other Title(s)Clinical Session: Building a Safe Work Environment
Session presented on Saturday, April 13, 2013: The playground bully who used physical means to demonstrate superiority has grown up, using social and psychological means to create hostility and fear. Bullying may be termed horizontal hostility, hazing, relational aggression, lateral violence, or workplace incivility. Bullying destroys unit morale and jeopardizes patient safety. With approximately 60% of nurses leaving their first job within six months because of bullying, the costs are high, both from a financial standpoint as well as the emotional standpoint from staff members. In addition, bullying can lead to poor communication, lack of teamwork, and inadequate staffing, as victims of bullying have a 50% higher absentee rate. Bullying victims may suffer stress-related health problems, such as nausea, headache, insomnia, anxiety, depression, weight changes, and alcohol and drug abuse. In Canada, one in seven adult suicides results from workplace bullying. Bullying affects bystanders as well, making them wonder if they'll be the bully's next victim. Students often experience bullying during the classroom and clinical settings, from hospital staff as well as faculty members. Common bullying behaviors are examined, as well as the culture of bullying in a unit or institution. In order to break the bullying cycle, institutions must develop zero-tolerance policies and create a culture where healthy behaviors thrive. The Center for American Nurses and The Joint Commission, AACN, as well as other nursing professional organizations published position statements against violence and incivility. Learning to identify bullying behaviors and healthy ways to respond to them are discussed, and case studies involving bullies in the workplace are presented. The Healthy Work Environment Standard ofTrue Collaboration is emphasized to create major culture changes and zero tolerance policies that promote positive relationships among nurses.