Bullying has been an issue for many years, discussed both in media and on television. However, the primary focus is usually on high school students and bullying among schoolchildren, which is not the only domain where this problem exists. Despite the fact that nursing as a profession implies compassion and care for others, workplace bullying has been an issue for many medical professionals. Nurse bullying has to be addressed by healthcare establishments and national agencies to ensure proper work culture and adequate environment for patient care.
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Implications of Nurse Bullying
Firstly, it necessary to define bullying and determine the primary characteristics of this behavior. Townsend (2016) states that it is the mistreatment of one person or a group that continuously repeats. In essence, this is abuse that intimidates and humiliates the victim of workplace bullying. The most dangerous consequence of such an attitude is harmful to one’s mental health. Hence, adequately addressing workplace bullying is vital for developing a safe and supporting environment in a medical institution.
The bullies can choose to either interfere in a nurse’s work or verbally abuse someone. The evident issue is that not only the victim of bullying is suffering, but also the safety of patients is impaired due to the problem. Additionally, many nurses decide to leave work because of constant abuse, affecting the workforce of the state (Townsend, 2016). This is a significant problem because the United States already experience a shortage of professional nurses, and the hiring demand for healthcare professionals will continue to increase. Castronovo, Pullizzi, and Evans (2016) state that research into the problem provides evidence that nurse bullying is connected to higher rates of patient mortality. Hence, the problem is severe and affects both people working in healthcare and those receiving medical services.
Understanding who is being bullied and why can provide some insight into the issue. According to Townsend (2016), young nurses with little experience are not the only ones subjected to bullying. The author states that over 65 million medical workers in the state report experiencing bullying at work, which indicates the prevalence of the issue. Experienced nurses possess valuable knowledge and skills, and them being bullied by their coworkers can significantly decrease the number of well-trained people working in this field.
While legislators and national healthcare agencies should address the issue, nurses have to be aware of how to respond to workplace bullying to support their mental health. Ulrich, Gillespie, Boesch, Bateman, and Grubb (2017) designed a role-play intervention for nursing students that allow teaching them appropriate responses that can help mitigate the effect of bullying. The findings of this study suggest that incorporating similar activities into the nursing curriculum can serve as an effective way of addressing the problem. Ulrich et al. (2017) state that this approach “evoked authentic affective responses from the participants,” allowing them to develop adequate response reactions (p. 203). Additionally, nurse students participating reported being more confident in proactively responding to bullying. This element is essential because in most cases, bullies lack competence and have low self-esteem.
Next, identifying the efforts made by the national agencies or organizations working in healthcare can help understand the issue better. Castronovo et al. (2016) state that some organizations and medical institutions attempted to address the problem in the past, but it did not lead to a positive outcome. One problem contributing to the failure can be the fact that workplace bullying is not acknowledged outside the medical field. Therefore, nurses should be more engaged in talking about the issue and addressing it publically.
Another way to combat the problem is to create an environment where medical centers can be subjected to significant financial losses if their employees experience bullying at the workplace. Castronovo et al. (2016) offer developing an incentive that will motivate healthcare institutions to address the problem. One approach to this is calculating a ratio connected to the reported bullying incidents that will affect value-based reimbursements provided to a medical establishment. This approach will require a specific survey that will be distributed independently from hospitals. Skarbek, Johnson, and Dawson (2015) state that it is vital to have a system that will allow holding the bullies accountable for their behavior. Nurse managers and leaders of organizations should focus on promoting efficient teamwork to achieve this.
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Overall, workplace bullying is an issue affecting many nurses in the United States. This behavior is abusive and repeats over time, which is the primary danger for a victim’s mental health. The primary dangers are harm to one’s mental health and the overall impact on the medical workforce since many individuals decide to leave nursing because of bullying. There are many strategies that can be used to address workplace bullying. For instance, students can participate in role-playing activities to learn proactive response mechanisms. Legislators can incorporate bullying ratios into the calculations that affect the payments received by hospitals. Finally, leaders of medical establishments should create environments where bullies are held accountable for their actions.
Castronovo, M., Pullizzi, A., & Evans, S. (2016). Nurse bullying: A review and a proposed solution. Nursing Outlook, 64(3), 208-214. Web.
Skarbek, A., Johnson, S., & Dawson, C. (2015). A phenomenological study of nurse manager interventions related to workplace bullying. JONA: The Journal of Nursing Administration, 45(10), 492-497. Web.
Townsend, T. (2016). Not just “eating our young”: Workplace bullying strikes experienced nurses, too. ANA, 11(2). Web.
Ulrich, D. L., Gillespie, G. L., Boesch, M. C., Bateman, K. M., & Grubb, P. L. (2017). Reflective responses following a role-play simulation of nurse bullying. Nursing Education Perspectives, 38(4), 203–205. Web.