I know you are, but what am I? You're mom.
Sticks and stones.
These are probably not the best way to deal
with a bully in the workplace or anywhere else.
So, how should we
deal with bullies?
How should we handle microaggressions
or mega aggressions in the workplace?
How can we recognize and address
bullies in our workplace?
Hint...it's not with a
witty playground comeback.
Bullying in healthcare
is way too common.
18-31% of nurses have been bullied by colleagues
according to the American Nurses Association.
It is so common that many refer to this
as a professional write up passage.
This can dramatically impact performance, esteem,
morale, team community, and patient care.
Reports from nursing administration quarterly
show that up to 34% of nurses leave
or consider leaving the profession
because of bullying, 34%.
In 2018, Journal of Nursing Management found
that 60% of nurse managers, directors,
and executives experience
bullying in the workplace.
26% of those leadership positions
consider the bullying to be severe.
Chances are you will unfortunately have to confront bullying
at some point in your time in the healthcare profession.
But here are a few ways that you can
address bullying in your workplace.
First, recognize bullying.
Sometimes, when we are in the midst of being
bullied, we may not recognize bullying.
Bullying is defined by the American
Nurses Association as repeated, unwanted,
harmful actions intended to humiliate,
offend, and cause distress in the recipient.
Sometimes, this is seen in overt
more aggressive forms of action.
This includes an intimidating raise of voice. It
could be pushing, pulling, shoving, or hitting.
It could be name calling,
belittling team members,
or minimizing team member's performance,
accomplishments, or challenges.
It could be unprofessional comments about your
performance to you, team members, or patients.
Sometimes, the bullying could be less overt,
but equally effective in toxicity, gossiping,
ignoring, eye rolls, exclusion, and scoffs are
little actions that can lead to a big impact.
If you are experiencing these actions in your workplace,
recognize that this is not a healthy culture.
This is bullying.
This is not okay.
This toxicity can take a toll on
your personal and professional life.
So the first step is to recognize bullying.
The next step is to confront the bully.
If you are a nurse or a healthcare professional that is
experiencing bullying, I want you to consider these tools.
One tool you can use is to find an ally
that can help champion your success.
This is a person that can be a part of your
team and back you up if you need support.
Another tool that you can use is to confront the bully directly
using the feedback models discussed in earlier lessons;
seeking understanding, proactively creating a game
plan, and clarifying desired alternative actions.
A third tool is to use your leaders as support to
help alleviate the bullying in your workplace.
Your supervisor, your manager is there to help you.
Use them as support.
Go to your supervisor or manager first and then after they
have been involved and if a resolution is not reached,
you may also involve human resources to help resolve the
bullying and create a more positive working environment.
As you experience bullying,
please document the bullying.
This does not have
to be complex.
Document the date, time, persons involved,
and a short description of the incident.
If there were other witnesses, you might ask them if they feel
comfortable including their account in the documentation.
Any inappropriate texts, emails, messages
should also be saved and documented.
This may seem like a lot now, but it can be of tremendous
help if the situation is not solved in the future.
This will help the manager or HR if any
disciplinary action is required in the future.
Document when the
You probably will not remember in exact detail the bullying
actions that happened 3 months, 6 months, or a year ago.
Document bullying when occurs.
Bullying can happen through
microaggressions or mega aggressions.
In any case, this is
what I want you to do.
I want you to recognize when bullying actions
and attitudes are happening in your unit.
If you are being bullied, recognize
that this is unacceptable behavior
and use these tools to confront
the inappropriate actions.
If you witness bullying in your unit, be
an ally for the person being bullied.
Stand up and speak out against bullying to
create a more positive work environment.
If you recognize that you initiate some of
these actions and might be the bully, stop,
take some time to assess the reason for these
actions and take proactive steps to improve.
Treat your team members
with respect and dignity.
If you are a leader of a team
that is experiencing bullying,
understand that you can take the lead
to change this professional stereotype.
Bullying is not inevitable.
It is a habit.
And just like all habits, you can change
your culture, you can change your habits,
you can create a work environment that
is uplifting, supportive, and positive.