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Bullying is a major problem for nurses

1 in 3 nurses quits his or her job because of bullying. Share this article

Believe it or not, one of the biggest threats to nurses is other nurses. As stated in Marie Claire magazine, at least 85 percent of nurses have been verbally abused by another staff member. Moreover, 1 in 3 nurses have quit a job because of bullying. When it comes to the global nurse shortage, the long hours nor the stressful workload are always the primary cause. It's bullying.

The odds are against nurses 
Over the last few years, more nurses have felt compelled to share their stories with the world in hopes of improving this staggering issue. And while simply acknowledging that there is a problem is the first step, hospitals and nursing homes should take action against hostile work conditions. 

Here are a few common forms of bullying that nurses face on the job:

  • Rumors and gossiping: A lot of bullying that takes place in a health care facility is subtle. For example, Christi, a 27-year-old intensive care unit nurse at a North Carolina hospital, told Marie Claire magazine that many of her colleagues whispered about her or gave her dirty looks throughout her shifts. 
  • Neglect and ostracizing: Many veteran nurses formed cliques, and together they'd ostracize certain new members of the staff, letting them know that they don't fit in. Christi recalled several occasions where nurses would blatantly ignore her requests for help. In one instance, she pressed the code button, which alerts other nurses that a nurse needs assistance for an emergency situation. Not one person went to help her. 
  • Verbal abuse and berating: The old adage, "Nurses eat their young" still rings true in many workplaces. Inexperienced staff members are often berated or publicly humiliated by co-workers if they're unsure of a particular procedure or if they ask a question. 
Nurses can be subject to gossiping. Nurses can be subject to gossiping.

When bosses are bullies
Perhaps the most harrowing part of bullying in the workplace is that in some cases, nurses feel as though they don't have a higher up that they can confide in. Sometimes, the person in charge is the bully and acts out with an onslaught of passive-aggressive behaviors. 

Nurses who work under the supervision of these bully bosses often face inconvenient schedules, insurmountable workloads and other forms of neglect. According to Psychology Today, because the majority of workplace bullying is under the radar, there are few laws in place that can protect people from these incidents. 

"Bullying not only harms the individual, but it does a number on the hospital."

Bullying not only harms the individual, but it does a number on the hospital. As stated by Psychology Today, the physical and mental effects of bullying can greatly reduce productivity. Hospitals across the nation can take a number of steps to create a zero-tolerance policy for bullying at work.

Psychology Today stated that although intervening can be intimidating, it's crucial to hold an intervention, be cognizant of negative rumors that spread throughout the workplace and hold others accountable. It may be a tough journey to knock out bullying. However, it can pay off in the long run. 

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