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Bullying in Nursing and Ways of Dealing With It

By Nurse Jobs Ireland Admin on 30 November 2017

Workplace bullying is a significant issue confronting the nursing profession, with victims described as being part of an oppressed group. There have been cases where managers have bullied staff or failed to provide support for possible victims, and it is not just senior staff who carry out the bullying; often nurses have reported that both the bullies and victims are the nurses themselves.

Identifying the Signs of Bullying Behaviour

Victims of bullying tend to feel intimidated and often experience job dissatisfaction as well as physiological and psychological effects.

Causes and Victims of Bullying

One of the suggested reasons for bullying is longstanding power struggles arising from conflict of values often caused by organisational conditions and unsympathetic leadership styles.

Others have noted one of the causes of bullying to be discrimination towards overseas-trained nurses, suggesting that racism can sometimes become entrenched in the nursing workplace. The reasons behind bullying can also be political, where it serves the self-interest of the perpetrators and is frequently due to a need for power and competition for promotion.

Combating Bullying of Nurses in the Workplace

A number of steps can be taken to support a healthy workplace and thereby prevent bullying.

  • Developing codes of acceptable conduct and introducing a zero tolerance policy
  • Leaders and managers must use a harmonious approach and work collaboratively to prevent any form of intimidation or bullying
  • Excessive workloads and a lack of autonomy should be prevented
  • Nurses should have the opportunity to raise concerns about patients’ care or organisational wrongdoing without fear of accusations

Read more on recommendations on how to prevent bullying here.

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