Workplace bullying is damaging. Workplace violence is scary. I’ve been very fortunate that I haven’t had to deal with too much workplace bullying or violence. But we’ve all been subjected to it, and there are so many different sources it can come from. Don’t be that nurse. Don’t be the nurse that instigates, the nurse that stirs the pot. Be the nurse that spreads positivity.
Our patients. We try so hard to provide the best care possible to our patients, but sometimes our patients aren’t happy with some aspect of something and we take the brunt of the blow. Nurses have to worry about their patients screaming at them and verbally abusing them, but some nurses have been subjected to physical violence. It’s a fear that every nurse lives with.
Patient visitors. Aside from trying to please our patients, we also have to worry about their visitors. In a hospital, emotions tend to run high for everyone involved. I once walked out of triage to see nurses running towards a patient’s room. Everyone was yelling to call security, but the nurses and techs were the first on the scene. Two of the patient’s visitors were fighting, punching each other directly over a mother who had just delivered a baby. Without even thinking, nurses broke up the fight until security arrived and escorted them out of the hospital. I have a very real fear that someone one day will have a gun.
Other nurses. Thank God I’ve never had to deal with workplace violence from my awesome co-workers… but it does exist. Workplace bullying is something that many nurses have had to deal with in one way or another at some point in their career. The only thing I can say: don’t be that nurse.
Physicians. Although I can’t say I’ve ever experienced violence from a physician, it is not unheard of! I have heard of many stories from seasoned nurses about what their work life use to be like “back in the day.” You know—when physicians ruled the roost and did whatever they pleased. I’ve heard of physicians (again, back in the day) throwing stuff at nurses, locking them in rooms, and screaming in their faces for not following an order. Thank God times changed!
Leadership. I have heard many people talk about bullying from management, and often nurses don’t know what to do about it. You may feel like someone in leadership is “picking” on you, singling you out, or trying to find fault with everything you do. My advice is to take a step back, look at the situation unemotionally, and speak to whoever in management you deem as the catalyst for your feelings. Be clear and direct, and don’t let your emotions cloud your judgement.