Our Experts | Melissa Marion, Recruitment Specialist
I’m sure by now everyone has seen the investigation of nurse bullying – the reports and statistics, or maybe you’ve even seen it firsthand. When I worked in Grand Junction, CO as an STNA, I saw it first hand myself. Unfortunately it is very real. While I was there, I worked under a head nurse who threatened people with violence. She was later arrested for said threats (that’s right – real legal troubles. I’ll wait while you forward this to the bully in your life). We all know that it is a mental and physical strain on our nurses who are suffering from bullying, from the stress and anxiety to patient care he or she is tending to alone – not to mention the patients who suffer from a lack of adequate care as a result of nurse bullying. On top of all this, it really hurts the employer. Not only will a hospital get a bad reputation from nurse bullying, but the hospital will also be wasting all sorts of time money on high-turnover staff. Training and hiring takes time away from other valuable employees and many attached expenses that all get thrown out the window when someone quits from being bullied months later. So what can you do to combat nurse on nurse bullying in your workplace?
- Most establishments have zero tolerance policies that protect you against a bully. Legally, or by the laws of your employer, they cannot treat you that way without consequences such as a verbal warning all the way to suspension or dismissal. Be sure to document everything with detailed written notes about what happened, when and where – and report that bully.
- Create a conflict resolution plan if there isn’t one in place (or bring new ideas to the table if it isn’t working). If someone is being bullied, there should be a well-developed system with certain steps they can take. They should know how to document their complaint (EVERYTHING NEEDS DOCUMENTED. ALWAYS), who they can turn to, and there should always be a neutral third-party that can step in and evaluate or even mediate the situation.
- Incorporate daily huddles. Let all the nurses come together and talk about their day, what problems they are having, etc. This gets everything out in the open and also creates a feeling of togetherness; you are all there for the same reason, after all.
- Have a suggestion box and read the comments out loud in front of everyone (perhaps during your daily huddles). The comments can be anonymous but still let everyone know when there is an issue. This also helps to see if the same concern arises multiple times.
Finally, find your true friends and band together. There is certainly strength in numbers, so make it a priority to form friendships and build each other up. Protect each other and kill others with kindness. Be the change you want to see.