Bullying in Nursing

Bullying in Nursing:

‘Nurses eat their young’ is a saying widely known in the world of nursing. It refers to the bullying and harassment many nursing students and new nurses face in the workplace. While bullying is not limited to new nurses they tend to be the most affected by bullying overall. According to the The American Nurses Association’s (ANA), between 18% and 31% of nurses have been bullied by colleagues at some point in their careers; however, it is suspected that number is much higher. It’s so common in fact, some consider it ingrained in the culture, a rite of passage, and somewhat normal. However, bullying is never normal, and if not stopped can take a severe toll on nurses everywhere.

Horizontal Violence:

Horizontal Violence is non-physical, hostile, aggressive, and harmful behavior toward a coworker or group via attitudes, actions, words, and/or behaviors it can also be referred to as lateral violence.

This can be experienced in many ways including:

  • Ostracism
  • Intimidation
  • Harassment
  • Unfair Assignments
  • Mocking
  • Gossiping

These are just a few of the ways nurses experience horizontal bullying in the workplace.

What can you do?

  • Document & Report it– If you or someone you know is being bullied document it each time include details including date/time and what exactly occurred.  Do not be afraid to report it as well, you have a right to report it to management and/or HR.

  • Address it Head On & Set Boundaries–If you feel comfortable doing so, confront the person(s) bullying you and stand up for yourself, set boundaries and let them know you will not tolerate being bullied.

  • Change the culture – Lead by example and foster a culture that doesn’t tolerate nurse bullying and creates an environment of respect and collaboration.

Nurse bullying is a serious problem that can negatively affect patient care, workplace morale, and employee retention. Addressing this issue should be a high priority for healthcare organizations throughout the country.

How can you prevent this from happening? Let us know in the comments.